Thousands of people are set to pedal their way around York on Sunday 14 September on traffic free streets in a celebration of all things cycling during Sky Ride York.

Sky ride participant forgets York pothole menace

Sky ride participant forgets York pothole menace

Last years event was not without incident so hopefully lessons will have been learned fro 2014.

Sky Ride York is set to be a brilliant day out. There will be music and entertainment, competitions and above all, a great traffic-free route to ride around the centre of York. It doesn’t matter how old you are, how old your bike is, or how fast you ride – at Sky Ride York there’s something for everyone.

Sky Ride ambassador Sir Chris Hoy said: “We want more people to enjoy riding a bike – that’s why Sky and British Cycling have teamed up to bring you Sky Ride. We’ve made it easier than ever to get out on your bike and spend quality time with your family and friends.

“Sky Rides close towns and cities for big bike events so you can ride safely on traffic-free streets, with a huge festival atmosphere and loads to do both on and off the bike. They are great fun and a great way to get on your bike.”

Everyone who registers their free place online will receive a Sky Ride lanyard that unlocks a fantastic bundle of on-the-day benefits and goodies. What’s more, the first 1,000 people to register at will also receive a limited edition Sky Ride gift on arrival at the event.
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Labour run York Council’s legal battle over traffic restrictions on Lendal Bridge and Coppergate has cost taxpayers £700 a week, according to figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats.

Lendal Bridge sign

At the end of March a Government Traffic Adjudicator ruled that the council had “no power” to issue fines on Lendal Bridge or Coppergate. Since then, York Council has been contesting the Adjudicator’s ruling on both the schemes.

However, last week the council said it was dropping the Lendal Bridge appeal and only continuing with the Coppergate challenge.

The Lib Dems can now reveal that so far the council has spent £11,330 on the legal battle, with the figure set to continue to rise as the Coppergate row rolls on.

The revelation comes at a time when Labour are refusing to say when their proposal to repay the fines unlawfully imposed on drivers using Lendal Bridge will be refunded.

Despite claims made on TV and in Council media releases that the Council had decided to repay the fines, it emerged at the last Council meeting that no such decision had been made.

A meeting to discuss the proposal – and a move to withdraw the Councils appeal against the traffic adjudicators decision – was promised “shortly” but has still not yet been scheduled.

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2016 opening date now in doubt

The latest timetable for the construction of the new community stadium at Huntington confirms that it is running over 2 years behind the timetable set by the new Labour council when it was elected in 2011.

York stadium-Aerial

The previous LibDem administration had identified a way of funding the £14 million project and it had been expected that construction would take place alongside the new John Lewis store which opened on 10th April 2014. That part of the project had been delayed by 6 months following the discovery of Great Crested Newts on the site.

The Councils timetable showed a completion date of June 2014 just early enough to allow the football club to move from Bootham Crescent this year and well before the start of the rugby season.

Council papers now reveal that final tender papers are only due to be received this month and that the Labour Cabinet is therefore unlikely to award a contract before its meeting on 2nd September 2014.

It could then be 4 months before a planning application is submitted. Although the principle of the stadium use has already been established, there is likely to be a 3 month delay before the proposal reaches the Planning committee in March.

March 2015 (just 2 months before the next Council elections) was the absolute firm date given by the present Council Leader for a start on site – but that new looks increasingly unlikely.

Construction work will take two years, so there is now doubt about whether the stadium will be ready for the start of the 2016 football season.

The delays also impact on the running of other major leisure facilities in the City – such as Energise – which the Council wants to include in an all encompassing management contract.

NB A question on the progress being made with the leisure contracts was tabled at the last Council meeting but no response from the responsible Cabinet member has yet been published.

“Scrutiny” review could lead to new fees

It looks like Labour are considering introducing more charges for waste collection and disposal.

Residents criticised Labours decision to introduce charges for second (and subsequent) green bin collections this year.

Mixed messages from Labour

Mixed messages from Labour

This came hard on the heels of some new charges at civic amenity sites (and the closure of the Beckfield Lane facility)

It now seem that the Council is set on considering other charges which may include:

  • Commercial waste collection including service provided to schools and charitable organisations
  • Trade waste disposal at household waste recycling centres including service provided to charitable organisations & landlords/letting agents
  • Clinical waste collection
  • Provision of waste containers
  • Hazardous wastes including chemicals

In other parts of the country Labour have been campaigning against green waste charges ironically using a “one nation” slogan (left)

A background paper can be read by clicking here

Although not specifically mentioned in the York Council officials report, it is known that, in some countries, charges are levied on the basis of the weight of (landfill) material collected from each dwelling.

It will take the review committee several months to report so it is unlikely that any additional charges could be introduced before next Mays Council elections.

Hot weather attracts more to river plunge

Man jump York Bridge


A report to a Council meeting next week, from the Safer York Partnership, confirms that there have been 24 deaths by drowning in York’s’ rivers over the last 15 years.

There were more deaths in the river Foss (14) than the river Ouse (10)

Of 6 deaths in the Ouse in the City centre area, 4 have been treated as accidental.

The report comes at a time when many young people are risking their lives by jumping off City centre bridges (see above).

The report says,

“Between 1999 and April 2014 there have been 24 deaths connected to rivers within the York district. Of the 24 deaths that have occurred 10 of them went into the River Ouse in York and 14 of them went into the River Foss in York.

Of these 10 deaths connected to the River Ouse, 4 of them did not enter the river in the City Centre and 6 of them did enter the river in the City Centre.

Of these 6 deaths that were within the city centre connected to the River Ouse; 2 are believed to have entered the river accidentally; 2 are believed to have committed suicide and 2 climbed barriers to jump in and drowned accidentally.

Between May 2013 and April 2014 there were approximately 35 other reported incidents to North Yorkshire Police that were connected to the river that involved some from of possible harm.

This figure is likely to be an underestimate due to difficulties in data retrieval and classification. The following are known about these incidents;

  • 4 incidents involving falls in to the river;
    • 20 incidents involving swimming in the river;
    • 11 incidents involving threatening to jump in the river;
    • Approx 1/3rd of incidents involved people under the age of 18;
    • There is no significant pattern by hour of the day;
    • Incidents are reported all year round but peak in July / August;
    • Reported incidents are mainly on the Ouse river;
    • Reported incidentsareatmanydifferent locationsontheriver,withkey locations being Lendal Bridge and Scarborough Bridge”.

    “the service was not responding quickly enough or effectively enough to the challenges it faced” – Auditors

    The Council has now published an outline of how it intends to recover from the Social Care budget deficit discovered by Auditors. The Auditors identified a budget pressure of £2.5 on this year’s budget together with outstanding actins needed to secure budgeted savings of £1.4 million.

    Social care

    In a separate report the Auditors they say

    “Our view is that financial management and commissioning in the adult social care service needs to improve and this service has not responded quickly and effectively enough to the challenges that it faces.

    If the underlying financial pressures are not robustly addressed and actions to secure significant future base budget reductions are not effective, there is a risk that the Council will not be in a position to deliver the best possible value for money in adult social care services.

    Of critical importance to the delivery of sustained improvement is a review of existing contracts and a new commissioning approach that secures the required services at an affordable price”.

    The crisis had led to the demotion of the Cabinet member, who had responsibility for the department, earlier in the year with several senior staff following her out of the door last month.

    A summary of the action that the Council intends to take can be read here

    10 substantial issues, raised by the Auditors, are addressed. They include:

    • Producing a clear and unambiguous budget for the current year which eliminates overspends
    • Improved accountability for senior officials
    • More delegation of responsibility
    • Improvements in the budget build process for next and subsequent years
    • A clear savings plan
    • Improved management information systems and IT
    Council Leader with Cllr Simpson Laing (right) a few weeks before she was sacked from her Social care post

    Council Leader with Cllr Simpson Laing (right) a few weeks before she was sacked from her Social care post

    Challenged on the problems at the last Council meeting, the Leader declined to say why he had not taken action last year to address the emerging issues.

    Council officials has earlier declined to say why one of the saving projects – the opening of a new “super care village” at Lowfields – was running 3 years behind schedule.

    Big changes at Knavesmire Manor Hotel and Tesco

    Knavesmire Manor Hotel

    Knavesmire Manor Hotel

    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:       Knavesmire Manor Hotel 302 Tadcaster Road York YO24 1HE

    Proposal:       Change of use from hotel (use class C1) to residential dwelling (use class C3) and demolition works including removal of rear extension and external fire escape

    Ref No: 14/01407/FUL

    Applicant:      The Knavesmire Venture LLP      Contact Mr Ian Atkinson Consultation Expiry Date        11 August 2014 Case Officer:   Clare Davies    Expected Decision Level DEL


    Location:       Tesco Supermarket Askham Bar Tadcaster Road Dringhouses York

    Proposal:       New restaurant area to ground floor with associated external seating and access

    Ref No: 14/01578/FUL

    Applicant:      Tesco Stores Ltd        Contact Matthew Stevenson       Consultation Expiry Date        11 August 2014 Case Officer:   Heather Fairy (Mon – Wed)       Expected Decision Level DEL


    Representations can be made in favour of, or in objection to, any application via the Planning on line web site.

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

    Council hosts first week-long celebration of sports for disabled people

    Published Monday, 21st July 2014

    City of York Council is hosting its first ever week-long celebration of sports for people with disabilities to meet the growing take-up of sport and opportunities for disabled people in York.

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    City of York Council is making a final call out to creative and cultural businesses who would like to access funding to create Apprenticeships and paid internships.

    City of York Council will be applying for the Creative Employment Programme funding in August on behalf on a consortium of creative and cultural organisations in York and the surrounding area.

    This is a £15m fund from Arts Council England, which is administered by Creative & Cultural Skills and designed to support the creation of traineeships, Apprenticeships and paid internship opportunities for young people aged 16-24. The programme provides part-wage grants to put towards the costs of a new apprentice or paid intern.

    This can cover wage subsidies of between £1500 – £3000 for entry level roles in music, dance, theatre, literature, visual arts, contemporary craft, combined arts, galleries, circus, carnival arts, museums and libraries. This includes all sizes and types of employers, supporting technical and sector specific roles as well as support roles in areas such as marketing, business administration, finance and HR.

    The consortium currently consists of 17 employers including libraries, galleries, theatre groups, museums and festivals who are looking to create around 20 internships and Apprenticeships for young people wanting to get into the creative and cultural sector. Any other businesses who would like to be involved should get in contact by Thursday 24 July, however, there may be the option to be part of the consortium at a later date if an interest has been expressed.

    Those who wish to find out more can contact Julia Massey on 07769640241 or by email [email protected]

    Following the national pattern house sales have increased on the Acomb side of the City during the last 3 months. Sales have included:

    Address Sold price Sold date Type
    2, Beechwood Glade, YO24 3JT £245,000 21 May 2014 4 bed detached
    19, Beagle Ridge Drive, YO24 3JH £179,500 25 Apr 2014 3 bed semi-D
    2, Willoughby Way, YO24 3NS £160,000 25 Apr 2014 3 bed semi-D
    119, Foxwood Lane, YO24 3LQ £173,000 04 Apr 2014 3 bed semi-D
    42, The Reeves, YO24 3ES £135,000 30 Apr 2014 2 bed semi-D
    13, The Reeves, YO24 3ES £125,000 02 May 2014 2 bed semi-D
    8, Huntsmans Walk, YO24 3LE £160,000 15 May 2014 2 bed semi-D
    170, St Stephens Road, YO24 3EF £160,000 14 Apr 2014 5 bed semi-D
    27, Troutbeck, YO24 2RE £135,000 06 May 2014 2 bed semi-D
    12 Ascot Court, Gale Lane, YO24 3AE £113,500 31 Mar 2014 1 bed flat

    Property for sale The list below shows some of the properties for sale

    Salmond Road £189,950 3 bed Terrace
    Tedder Road £175,000 3 bed Semi-D
    Tedder Road £159,950 2 bed Semi-D
    Lydham Court £105,000 1 bed Terrace


    Property for rent The list below shows properties for rent

    Moor Lane £1,295 4 bed Detached
    Dijon Avenue £400
    Gladstone Street £650 2 bed
    St Pauls Mews £725 2 bed Terrace

    Chain-free sales Below are properties nearby that are available ‘chain free’. These include properties where the seller is not buying a new home or has already moved out and could also include repossessions.

    Tedder Road, Acomb, York, YO24 £175,000 3 bed Semi-D
    Lydham Court, Acomb, York £105,000 1 bed Terrace
    Alness Drive, Woodthorpe, York £299,950 4 bed Detached
    Lerecroft Road, York £165,000 2 bed Semi-D

    Discounted sales Are you interested in snapping up a bargain? Below are properties for sale where the asking prices have been reduced

    St Stephens Road £100,000 -13% 2 bed Flat
    Collingwood Avenue £215,000 -6% 4 bed Semi-D
    Farndale Street £200,000 -4% 3 bed Terrace
    Highcliffe Court £150,000 -6% 2 bed Semi-D

    Information from Mouseprice