York Council loses Coppergate fines appeal

Another £400,000 to be paid out to fined motoristsCamera

The traffic adjudicator has rejected the York Councils appeal over fines issued for breaches of the  Coppergate access restrictions.

It means that drivers who were caught and fined during the trial period (August 2013 – March 2014) on the route will be entitled to have the fines repaid.

It also puts paid to any idea that the Council may have of switching its spy cameras back on.

The Council may have a right of appeal to the High Court over the ruling but it seems unlikely that the new Councillors, who are due to be elected on 7th May, will pursue that costly option.

In total over £2 million was unlawfully taken  by the York Council in fines on Lendal Bridge and Coppergate.

Even when it was clear (after only 6 weeks) that the trial had gone badly wrong and should therefore be suspended, prominent Labour Councillor Dave Merrett refused to suspend the restrictions.

His chances of re-election on 7th May must now be fading along with the hopes of other Labour Cabinet members who also failed to act to end the scandal.

Both major opposition parties have promised a full public inquiry into the circumstances which led the Council to act unlawfully. Labour declined to hold such an inquiry when they were in office, with Green Councillors also voting against a probe for the truth.

 

Care Act to cost £9 million to implement in York

care_act_hp

The York Council says that around £9 million is required to fully implement the new Care Act

1637 people with care needs who are currenty self funded are expected to apply to the Council for an assessment of their needs

The Council admits that currently there are no Joint Commissioning arrangements in place for the commissioning of health and social care in adult residential care placements in York

The Care Act 2014 brings together existing care and support legislation into a new, modern set of laws and aims to build a care and support system based on people’s well-being, needs and goals.

The Act sets out new rights for carers, emphases the need to prevent and reduce care and support needs, and introduces a national eligibility threshold for care and support.

It introduces a cap on the costs that people will have to pay for care and sets out a universal deferred payment scheme.

Council publishes list of 247 anti social behaviour cases

anti social behavior

The York Council has been forced to release details of the 247 cases of anti social behaviour which it claims that its new “hub” has dealt with.
The list includes the general location of the cases and the type of problem caused.
However the stats are not broken down by ward and  individual addresses have not been published.
The list can be found by clicking here

So who is pulling the Council’s strings in York?

The national media has revealed that half the candidates fighting winnable parliamentary seats for Labour are UNITE sponsored militants.

PuppetMaster

They include the York Central candidate Rachel Maskell.

However the level of manipulation and control at Council election level is much less clear. The Electoral Commission statistics are currently only quoting quarter 4 donations (£800 from the GMB to York Labour Party)

Trades Unions don’t sponsor candidates without expecting something in return.

 In 2011, UNISON’s £5000 gift to the York Labour party bought them job security for their members – or so they hoped. In the end, the new Labour administration cut deeper and privatised more jobs than had its LibDem led predecessor.

Relationships between a bullish and inexperienced Labour Council leadership and many employees were strained to say the least.

Electors though can get only a glimpse of who the puppet-masters are at this stage.

The sponsorship of existing Councillors is declared on the register of interests. Over 50% of Labour Councillors admit Trades Union links.

The amount of financial sponsorship has to be declared on elections expenses returns. But these will only be published later in the summer – long after votes have been cast.

A more sinister development is that some candidates have removed any mention of trades union affiliations from their biographies and twitter accounts.

All parties should publish a list of their major local sponsors before the elections take place.  Voters will have to draw their own conclusions about what any sponsorship is intended to buy.

The drift into “behind closed doors” decision making may be one consequence of the influence that sectional interest groups now have on Labour in York

NB. The Council’s interests register entries should be treated with some caution. Cllr Helen Douglas who is standing for election as a Conservative candidate in Strensall declares her membership of “The Labour Party” in her entry in the register!

Coppergate Fines – No decision until after the elections

Voters will go to the polls on May 7th still not knowing whether nearly £400,000 was collected by the York Council unlawfully.

The Council have appealed against a ruling by the traffic adjudicator that fines levied using ANPR cameras on Coppergate in 2013 and 2014 were unlawful.

Coppergate bus lane enforcement plans  June 2013

Coppergate bus lane enforcement plans June 2013

The Council accepted last year that similar enforcement tactics used during the Lendal Bridge trial closure were flawed. Refunds totalling over £1 million are owed to affected motorists.

The Council has been asked to provide an updated statement indicating how many drivers have responded to the claim letters which opposition Councillors forced the authority to issue to Lendal Bridge motorists in January.

On Coppergate the problems arose when the operating hours of long standing traffic restrictions were extended during the morning and early evening periods. For the first time in York, cameras were used to enforce a ban. The adjudicator ruled the scheme unlawful because the signs were inadequate.  

The ANPR cameras were switched off a year ago when an appeal against the ruling was lodged by the Council.

 It has taken over 12 months for the appeal to be considered with speculation mounting that the ruling will be sustained and that the new Council will be left to pick up the financial pieces of a mistake which has had calamitous consequences for both drivers and taxpayers.

Labour Councillor Dave Merrett was widely held responsible for the blunder although it effectively ended the York political career of former Council Leader James Alexander.

Latest Planning applications Dringhouses and Woodthorpe Ward

Moor Lane, The Square, Acomb Wood,

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:       112 Moor Lane Acomb York YO24 2QY

Proposal:       Dormers to front and rear

Ref No: 15/00681/FUL

Applicant:      Mr Ian Evans    Contact Mr Keith England        Consultation Expiry Date        11 May 2015 Case Officer:   Carolyn Howarth Expected Decision Level DEL

—————–

Location:       27 The Square Dringhouses York YO24 1UR

Proposal:       Fell field Maple tree protected by Tree Preservation Order No.: CYC08

Ref No: 15/00804/TPO

Applicant:      Mrs Sarah Booth Contact Rupert Craven   Consultation Expiry Date        11 May 2015 Case Officer:   Esther Priestley        Expected Decision Level

—————

Location:       Acomb Wood Adjoining Alness Drive York

Proposal:       Reduce by 50% Ash tree protected by Tree Preservation Order No.:10

Ref No: 15/00847/TPO

Applicant:      Mr D Knight     Contact Mr J N Hale     Consultation Expiry Date        11 May 2015 Case Officer:   Esther Priestley        Expected Decision Level

————–

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/

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

Baroness Harris joins the campaign trail in York

Baroness Harris Visit

Local Liberal Democrats were joined on the campaign trail on Friday by a high-profile member of the House of Lords.

Baroness Angela Harris of Richmond, a Deputy Speaker of the Lords and former Chair of the North Yorkshire Police Authority, joined campaigners in Dringhouses & Woodthorpe ahead of next months elections. The Life Peer met with local candidates and party members, including young Lib Dems from across the city.

The Lib Dems are standing a full slate of candidates in the local elections alongside parliamentary hopefuls Nick Love in York Central and James Blanchard in York Outer. Earlier this month, the party launched its local elections manifesto promising to ‘put residents first’.

Baroness Harris commented:

“I am delighted to be helping the campaign here in York. I am particularly happy to be speaking to young members some of whom will be voting for the first time. It is wonderful to see young people engaged in politics and I would urge all first time voters to go out and have their say on May 7th.

“I know there is a really positive mood around the Lib Dem campaign locally and we have tremendous set of candidates across the city. We also have a strong set of local policies which are going down well on the doorstep with residents.”

Cllr Keith Aspden, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, commented:
Continue reading