Power company fails to cash chequeCheque

The Council has published a list of the businesses which could claim Small Business Rates Relief but who had, by the end of July, declined to do so.

The list can be accessed by clicking here

The Council has also published a list of Business Rate refunds where the cheques have not been presented.

Click here for the list which includes, as well as companies that went into administration, some big names such as NPower, the Theatre Royal and the District Valuer (!)


The agenda and background papers for the meeting on 27th August, which will review whether or not to contact drivers to tell them of the availability of refunds for those fined for crossing Lendal bridge, have been published.

Details can be found by clicking here

Lendal bridge notice

Both the LibDem and the Tory Council groups are advocating telling drivers of the availability of refunds.

Labour are putting the onus on drivers to appeal against the fines and say that they will rely on the “media” to get the word out.

Many of those fined were tourists who live in other parts of the UK and Europe. It is highly unlikely that all would read about the changed policy in local newspapers.

As the Council has withdrawn its appeal, against the traffic adjudicators judgement that the fines were unlawful, it has effectively admitted liability for maladministration.

That could in turn bring about further penalties for the Council if it fails to take all reasonable steps to refund the unlawfully imposed fines.

Residents can register to speak at the meeting. They must register by telephoning 01904 552061 before 5:00pm on Tuesday 26th August.

NB. Labour still have a majority on this “scrutiny” committee so there is no guarantee that changes to the Councils policy will be made.

 Below are the latest planning applications received by the York Council for the Dringhouses and Woodthorpe ward.

Full details can be found by clicking the application reference


Location:       11 Summerfield Road York YO24 2RU

Proposal:       Single storey side and rear extension

Ref No: 14/01861/FUL

Applicant:      Mr Barry Green  Consultation Expiry Date        8 September 2014 Case Officer:   Carolyn Howarth Expected Decision Level DEL


Representations can be made in favour of, or in objection to, any application via the Planning on line web site.  http://planningaccess.york.gov.uk/online-applications/

NB. The Council now no longer routinely consults neighbours by letter when an application is received.

Mystery deepens over Council decision as FOI response reveals only 4 empty units may be affected.

11-15 Front Street

11-15 Front Street

The Labour Cabinet came under fire earlier in the month when it nodded through a proposal to give 50% Rates relief to any empty property in the “Acomb” area that was brought back into use.

Now the Councils list of empty retail (and commercial) properties in the YO24 and YO26 area has been published.

The list reveals that the main “problem” property (which is also very prominent) is 11 – 15 Front Street (part of which was formerly occupied by Superdrug). We understand that the property was sold be the Coop Bank a couple of years ago and is now understood to be back on the market.

Many will feel that this site needs redeveloping although what Rates discount would apply to new properties remains unclear.

As we have said before, there is a good case for improving on the government scheme which gives a Rates discount on re-occupied properties which have been empty for more than 12 months.

However if discounts apply from day one then this could rightly be regarded as unfair competition by existing traders.

It was pointed out at the time, that the area of benefit was ill defined and – if it was intended to boost the Front Street area – then it needed to be focussed on longer term empty properties.

With the recession now ending it appeared that most shops had either been occupied or were under offer. Some prime sites are now understood to be changing hands at a premium.

The LibDems submitted the following comments to the meeting earlier in the month

The Liberal Democrat Group was disappointed that the Labour Cabinet did not support a comprehensive regeneration proposal for Front Street at July’s full Council.

This proposal, which uses powers given to Councils by the Coalition Government, seems to have been cobbled together in a rush – as the rewrites in the paper published on the council website indicate. Key details such as which exact area the discount will apply within are missing (the council papers refer only to “Acomb”). The paper does not explain why the scheme is restricted to retail premises (the similar Government scheme refers to all businesses) and it does not explain how temporary ‘pop-up’ units will affect entitlements.

We would also like further information on how the process will work given the September deadline for applications. The concern that the discount could be used by national chains, moving into prime sites immediately as leases become available, is not addressed and no alternative proposals are considered e.g. focusing discounts on properties which have been empty for over 3 months (business rates are not payable on a commercial property for the first 3 months that it is empty).

The Council needs to act promptly to clear u the confusion caused by its decision

The committee which runs the Foxwood Community Centre is urging residents to attend a meeting on Wednesday 3rd September which could determine the future of the Centre.

Page 1 click to enlarge

Page 1 click to enlarge

The Centre lost its Council grant this year – part of a range of cuts to leisure provision in the City imposed by the Labour leadership.

Consequently the Centre can no longer afford to employ a caretaker.

In turn this means a big increase in the workload for a handful of volunteer committee members.

Responding to a survey on the Foxwood are,a 88% of residents said that they thought that the York Council should continue to support the centre. This may become an option again following next May’s Council elections when a change in political control – and policies – is anticipated.

However, in the interim, a difficult 9 months is in prospect for the Community Centre.

The Centre has issued a newsletter to potential volunteers but is keen for anyone with an hour or two to spare each week to attend the meeting. The Centre serves a wider area than just Foxwood with volunteers for Woodthorpe, Acomb Park and the Acomb side of the City generally, being invited to get involved.

Page 2 click to enlarge

Page 2 click to enlarge

Details of activities taking place at the Centre – together with booking arrangements – can be found on their web site

There is some good news, with York Cares having agreed to rejuvenate the play area at the Centre, together with the Foxwood Park, when they undertake their “Big Challenge” in the neighbourhood during early October. Details here

The door to door survey has also revealed mixed feeling about the future of the play area to the rear of the Community Centre.

It is only now open when the re is an event taking place. There currently aren’t sufficient volunteers available to keep it in good condition so it may be that it will have to become a communal garden or allotments.

Details of the options are expected to be on display at the centre in early September.

At the last Council meeting Councillors were told that all work on the Poppleton Bar Park and Ride project would be completed by the end of July.

No end to Poppleton Bar works

No end to Poppleton Bar works

However there is still a considerable amount of work outstanding with periodic impacts on congestion levels in the area.

While the final May deadline for conclusion of the whole Access York contract is long past, it is unclear why there are continuing delays at Poppleton (other than the obvious one that the contractors are simply not fully resourcing their contract obligations).

Cycle tunnel in use but no lane marking on paths

Cycle tunnel in use but no lane marking on paths

Councillor Ann Reid is now pressing for answers and some have emerged as responses to Freedom of Information requests

One (click to download) confirmed that the whole Access York project – of which the Poppleton works form part – was due to be completed by 23rd May.

Details of the road closure orders have also been published on the Council’s web site

Meanwhile, the permanent traffic signals at the A59 junction with the Park and Ride access road are now in place, but the following work is still outstanding

  1. Considerable surfacing and landscaping work
  2. White lining (e.g. on the cycle path exit from the A1237 pedestrian/cycle tunnel. (If this is intended to be a shared cycle/[pedestrian space then it does not seem to comply with the specification agreed with the Blind and Partially Sighted Association)
24 hour lighting on new roundabout

24 hour lighting on new roundabout

Yesterday (Thursday) the street lights in the area were permanently lit. Taken with the decision to exclude the provision of on-site electricity generation from the project, this does seem to fly in the face of the Councils environmental policies?

Drivers now want a realistic completion date for the project.

Residents would also like to be reassured that there are penalty clauses in the contract which will be invoked to compensate the Council, taxpayers and drivers for the inconvenience and additional expense that they have suffered over the last few months.

Author Madeline Miller will be talking about her Orange Prize winning novel, The Song of Achilles, live from the East Coast of the USA.

The talk, including a question and answer session, will be broadcast from Boston via Skype to a large screen at Acomb Explore on Thursday 21 August, 7-8pm, with entry by ticket only.

The American writer is a classical specialist and her book is a very human retelling of the Ancient Greek tale of the god Achilles and his lover Patroclus, hero Hector and the siege of Troy.

A captivating retelling of the Iliad and events leading up to it through the point of view of Patroclus: it’s a hard book to put down, and any classicist will be enthralled by her characterisation of the goddess Thetis, which carries the true savagery and chill of antiquity.” Donna Tartt, in The Times

Madeline Miller was born in Boston and grew up in New York City and Philadelphia. She attended Brown University, where she earned her BA and MA in Classics. She has studied at the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought and in the Dramaturgy department at Yale School of Drama, where she focused on the adaptation of classical texts to modern forms. While for the last ten years she has been teaching and tutoring Latin, Greek and Shakespeare to high school students.

The Song of Achilles was her first novel and was awarded the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction and was a New York Times bestseller. It has been translated into twenty-three languages including Dutch, Mandarin, Japanese, Turkish, Arabic and Greek. Madeline was also shortlisted for the 2012 Stonewall Writer of the Year, and her essays have appeared in a number of publications including the GuardianWall Street Journal, Lapham’s Quarterly and NPR.org. She currently lives in the USA, where she teaches and writes.

Fiona Williams, Chief Executive of Explore York Libraries and Archives, said: “This is our first event by Skype and we are privileged that it is with such an amazing author. Using this technology opens up the whole world to us and we will be using it lots more in the future. Madeline’s book is one of my favourites and I can’t wait to hear her talk about how it came to be written.”

Tickets are £5 and include a glass of wine and can be bought from any Explore Library.

York’s Health and Wellbeing Board’s Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) website is now live and the city’s residents are being asked to comment on its content.

It is the responsibility of the Health and Wellbeing Board in York to undertake this needs assessment.

In York this work is a shared responsibility between City of York Council and Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group.
Read more »

Skips on Saturday

16th August 2014 8:30am Sanderson House Bramham Road 12:30am Bramham Road/Grange Lane junction
30th August 2014 8:30am Bouthwaite Drive12:30pm Burnsall Drive
6th Sept 2014 8:30am Sanderson House Bramham Road8:30am Bramham Road/Grange Lane junction

8:30am Don Avenue

10:30am North Lane

8:30am Kingsway West

10:30am Stuart Road

13th Sept 2014 12:30pm Corlett Court12:30 Windsor Garth
20th Sept 2014 10:30am Thoresby Road
27th Sept 2014 10:30am Saxon Place10:30am Fossway
4th Oct 2014 8:30am Dringfield Close10:30am Ganton Place

12:30pm Cornlands Road


  • The skips are funded by the local residents association using their Estate Improvement Grant. The skips are removed once they are full so please make sure you arrive in good time if you intend to make use of them.
  • Please remember to take your waste to the site only on the dates advertised
  • If the skip is full or not on the site, please do not leave your waste. This is classed as fly tipping and is illegal
  • Bulky items including furniture, fridges and freezers are not accepted. To arrange disposal of one of these items please ring York (01904) 551551.

Tadcaster Road included in checks

Below are the enforcement locations for North Yorkshire Police’s mobile safety cameras for week commencing 13 August 2014.

North Yorks speed camera vanThe safety cameras are now more visible then ever before with each of the three vehicles bearing the same hi-vis livery as North Yorkshire Police’s marked vehicle fleet. Photos attached.

All safety camera locations are published on the force website along with an explanation of the various route types.

Members of the public can now view the results of the safety camera enforcement activity on the force website. Up to date data for the previous week is uploaded every Tuesday which can be interrogated by route and date ranges. http://www.northyorkshire.police.uk/10951

The mobile safety cameras will be in operation at the following sites at various times over the coming week. Cameras will not be in use all day, every day. The locations were accurate when this news release was produced.

Due to operating constraints, our mobile safety camera locations may change without prior warning.

  • The cameras operate at three difference types of site, these are:
    •Exceptional sites which are identified through the speed management protocol as being of community concern.
    •Motorcycle routes – route used by motorcycles that have a high incidence of collisions and anti social behaviour.
    •Killed or seriously injured – sites where people have been killed or seriously injured and where excess or inappropriate speed has been deemed to be a factor.

The list below now includes the site types.

  • A1237 Monks Cross, York – Motorcycle
  • A64 east-bound, Heslington York – Killed or seriously injured
  • A64 west-bound, Heslington York – Killed or seriously injured
  • A64 west-bound, Street Houses, Bilborough – Killed or seriously injured
  • Millfield Lane, Poppleton, York – Community concern
  • Strensall Road, Huntington, York – Community concern
  • Tadcaster Road, Dringhouses, York – Community concern
  • Church Lane, Wheldrake – Community concern
  • Greenshaw Drive, Haxby – Community concern

Read more »