Ward funding boost for Dringhouses and Woodthorpe

Dringhouses & Woodthorpe ward will receive a big funding boost this year thanks to plans brought forward by City of York Council’s new Executive.

good-news

The proposals will see Ward Committees given an allocation of a £925,000 budget to fund projects such as street clean-ups and offer grants to local voluntary groups. The process for allocating highway improvements has been partly localised as part of the plans as has some social care funding. Work will also be undertaken by council officers to identify further budget areas which could be devolved to communities.

Here is how Dringhouses & Woodthorpe will benefit:

  • Annual ward Budget: £23,785
  • One-off ‘Pride in York’ fund: £4,260
  • Ward highway programme: £13,991

Re-establishing proper Ward Committees was a key part of the Liberal Democrat manifesto and something we are pleased to have been able to deliver.

The proposals begin the process of devolving power and budgets to local residents and community groups. This enhanced pot of money will give wards the opportunity to tackle local priorities and develop community initiatives. It increases overall funding to nearly £1million from the £75,000 in grants available under the previous Labour Council.

A full breakdown of funding by ward is set out below.
Funding by ward

Public asked to nominate favourite cops.

North Yorkshire Police are calling on the public to nominate members of the policing family who have made a difference within their local community.

Police

For the first time, the public will be able to nominate an individual who has gone above and beyond their day to day duties and have demonstrated one of three core behaviours – courage, compassion or inspiration – whilst keeping their local community safe.

The three behaviours – which are central to North Yorkshire Police’s Code of Ethics – are: 

Courage – Not just where a member of the police family has acted bravely, although of course they will  be considered, but also where a staff member has had the courage and conviction to appropriately challenge a decision or used their influence wisely. Also where a member of the police family has displayed courage and tried a new way of doing things, accepted accountability or stepped outside their comfort zone.

Compassion – They have demonstrated care for victims and recognising the needs of others. It may be an instance where they may of helped an individual or community to build supportive networks which have to brought about a sense of well-being.

Inspiration – They have inspired our communities and have helped to build North Yorkshire Police’s reputation as a responsive service that goes that extra mile. By behaving as a role model, demonstrating integrity and helping to create an environment of learning, success and innovation.

Members of the public can nominate :

•             Police Officers

•             Office of Police and Crime Commissioner Staff

•             Police Staff

•             Police Community Support Officers

•             Volunteers

•             Special Constables

Nominations can be made via the online form.

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City centre pedestrian numbers fairly stable

increase-footfall-retail

The latest “footfall” figures released by the Council suggest that fewer people have walked through the Parliament Street area over the last year.

A 12% reduction in footfall numbers may partly be influenced by the location (and relocation) of the market while a single week increase may indicate a special event being staged.

The camera records for Parliament Street stretch back to 2009. In some weeks the numbers may have been affected by visitors being “channeled” by stalls and other street furniture either beneath the cameras or out of their range.

However using a 12 month rolling weekly average numbers have declined in recent months.

Elsewhere in the City centre, footfall cameras suggest a more stable visitor pattern.

  • In Church Street the latest yearly rolling average shows 26,671 visitors per week. This is slightly down on the March figure of 27,766
  • Comparable figures for Micklegate show 49,605 now, an increase compared to the 49,161 counted in March
  • In Stonegate 133,569 people walked down the street each week in the 12 months leading up to August 2015. The 12 months leading up to March 2015 had seen an almost identical number of pedestrians (133,596)
  • In Coney Street a rolling average of 239,000 was recorded in 2010. This fell to 180,116 on the latest figures although camera locations have changed.

Overall the figures suggest that the City centre has felt the benefits of a recovering economy. However there are some concerning trends which may require action by the new “Make it York” economic development body.

The figures are likely to strengthen the case for establishing a Business Improvement District in the City centre

The figures can be downloaded from the Councils open access web site. A summary spreadsheet is available by clicking here 

Pavement problems tackled

Our regular ward patrols have highlighted a number of pavement problems in need of urgent attention.

A section of pavement on Tadcaster Road just south of the junction with Pulleyn Drive is badly potholed. Stephen reported this last week, and council workers have already marked up the areas to be fixed – see below.

Tadcaster Road pavement marked for repair

Tadcaster Road pavement marked for repair

Down the road on Aldersyde, Stephen has also asked for a badly broken paving slab to be replaced – see below. It looks as though a heavy vehicle has driven over it.

Aldersyde pavement

Extra green bin emptying this winter. Christmas waste collection arrangements to be announced

Plans to empty Green Bins on two additional occasions this winter will be considered on 10th August.

Green waste refusebin

An officer report outlines options to either

  • have two additional green waste collections in November or
  • one additional collection in November with one additional collection in January.

Last year the then Labour led Council was heavily criticised for ending green bin emptying at the end of October. Only a by election win for the Liberal Democrats in the Westfield ward prompted the newly balanced Council to add in an additional collection in January.

The published report fails to indicate how much green waste was collected during this January collection which was also intended to pick up discarded Christmas trees.

Nor is any weekly collection volume data is included.

The same meeting will confirm bin emptying arrangements for the Christmas period. The paper  includes plans to improve recycling collections by reducing from four weeks to three weeks the maximum time that people would need to wait between collections.

Roughly half the city missed one recycling collection during the Christmas period last year and so had to wait 4 weeks between collections.   

The Council have yet to publish details of any pre decision all party discussion meeting. In the absence of such a meeting residents will be able to make representations at the meeting on 10th and also to make written representations.

In its Emergency Budget the new Lib Dem-Conservative Executive confirmed that it would reverse plans to charge for the first green bin per house – built into the council budget by Labour in February. The Emergency Budget also included provision to return two green bin collections over the winter. These winter collections were scrapped by Labour in April 2013.

The report will be considered at a Decision Session on the 10th August by Cllr Andrew Waller, Executive Member for the Environment. Cllr Waller  commented:

“We are responding to residents and helping them to recycle more for the city. Two additional green bin collections over the winter will help people to deal with leaves and woody waste which cannot be easily home composted.

“Residents have been faced with the prospect of putting their garden waste into their grey bins or driving to their nearest Recycling Centre.

“As well as improving the regular green bin collection service, I am also working with officers to look at options to help the recycling efforts of households that do not have a green waste collection. If we are to reach our target to take recycling to over 50% we need a city-wide effort.

“In addition, we are outlining proposals to stop what we saw last Christmas. In almost half the city households were left waiting a month for their recycling to be collected. We need to offer a better basic service to residents than the one they endured under the previous Labour Council.

“The communication plan we are working on engages with residents associations, parish councils and partners to help get the messages out during the autumn.”

NB Plans to introduce charges for green bin emptying were squashed at the last full council meeting

Bus service changes from Sunday

York bus service chnages 2nd Aug 2015

Significant changes to many of York’s bus services come into force on Sunday

Change Date Service No. Operator Brief summary of changes
01/08/15 44 Transdev (Unibus) Revised route: University (Hes. East Interchange) – York Station – Hamilton Drive – Acomb
02/08/15 1 First Minor timetable changes.
02/08/15 4 First Revised route: Acomb – Foxwood – City Centre – Tang Hall – Osbaldwick – University (Heslington East)
02/08/15 5
5A
First Revised route: Strensall – York – Poppleton Road – Beckfield Lane – Acomb
02/08/15 6 First Revised route: Clifton Moor – City Centre (Station Rd).
02/08/15 10 First Revised route: Poppleton – Leeman Rd – City Centre – Stamford Bridge
02/08/15 10 Transdev Revised route: Poppleton – Leeman Rd – City Centre – Stamford Bridge
02/08/15 12
14
First Minor timetable changes.
02/08/15 13
13A
First Cancelled.
02/08/15 13 ConnexionsBuses Copmanthorpe to Haxby (West Nooks) via City Centre.
02/08/15 66 First New route: York Station – York Sport Village via University (Heslington Hall).
02/08/15 HB1 Transdev Cancelled.
02/08/15 HB1 First University of York – York Hospital.
23/08/15 CB2 Transdev Cancelled.
30/08/15 944 Coastliner New route: Crossgates – Tadcaster – York College
21/09/15 56 First New route: University of York – City Centre circular.
28/09/15 UB1 Transdev Cancelled.
28/09/15 UB1 First University of York campus shuttle service

UPDATE: Art Gallery presses ahead with £7-50p charge

50% discount on season ticket agreed for YorkCard holders

UPDATE: A trust spokesman has now said that “people with an existing York Card -including one bought today – would still be able to gain free admission to the Castle Museum and Yorkshire Museum tomorrow and until the card expired. Cards bought after today will not give the same benefits”.

Art gallery charges

 

A Press Release has confirmed that the YMT plans to charge residents £7.50 for entry to the Art Gallery from tomorrow, but they will offer all York Card holders 50% off the standard price of the annual YMT Card. That means that a YMT card will cost £11 (£10 with a direct debit)

Children under 16 continue to have free entry. There is also a discount (to £4) for some claimants*.

In doing so the YMT will be in breech of the terms of the lease they hold on the Art Gallery and Castle Museum.

In our view they would have been wiser to continue to offer YorkCard holders free entry at least until the Council had considered the matter further at their September meeting (see update above)

The YMT has not said whether it will make refunds to those YorkCard holders who had purchased season tickets before the latest discount was announced.

* Access tickets: up to 50% discount for visitors aged 17-24 or in receipt of Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance, Income–based Job seeker’s Allowance, Pension Credit or Income Support. Evidence may be required.

The York Council has not yet said when, or even if, it will commence legal proceedings to enforce the lease restriction

Cllr Nigel Ayre comments:

“It is surprising that the York Museums Trust has pushed on with its proposals. On Wednesday there was cross-party support for the charging plans to be halted ahead of further discussions taking place.

“However, I am pleased to see that following my decision last night the Trust has at least offered a 50% discount to York Card holders for the annual pass. This is a step in the right direction and an example of the further concessions we have been pushing for. It hopefully does give us a platform for further dialogue going forward.”

 

NB. The York Museums Trust is also seeking to appoint new Trustees. However intersted individuals only have until tomorrow (1st August) to submit their CVs

Latest planning applications Dringhouses and Woodthorpe Ward

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

Full details can be found by clicking the application reference

Location:       5 Slingsby Grove York YO24 1LS

Proposal:       Single storey side extension and conversion of garage into habitable room

Ref No: 15/01610/FUL

Applicant:      Mr Vincent McDermott    Consultation Expiry Date        17 August 2015 Case Officer:   Elizabeth Potter        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/

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

Art Gallery charging issue referred to September meeting

The Councils new more democratic decision makers decided last night that more information was needed before they could “clarify” the terms of its building lease to the York Museums Trust.

After an all party debate the responsible Executive member nodded through a proposal to defer the decision.

The YMT had planned to introduce admission charges at its new Art Gallery when it opens at the weekend. It is still able to do so, although the terms of the lease require it to provide free entry for York residents.

The Museums Trust will need to act promptly now to deal with the confusion as they are actively marketing an alternative (to the Councils Yorkcard) season ticket.

It is a shame that so far more formal records of meetings, which took place in the spring between the then Labour leadership of the Council and the Museums Trust, have not been published. Expectations on all sides might then have been clearer.  Incredibly some Labour Councillors are now claiming to be opposed to charging even though they – together with Green Party Councillors – voted through the cuts in subsidy in March – the decision which prompted the YMT move.

The Council has little in the way of morale high ground to retreat to on the principle of charging. It charged for Art Gallery admission when it directly managed the facility up until the middle of the last decade (when the Council was also under Labour control).

Museum charges

Charges have always been levied at the Castle Museum (£10) and Yorkshire Museum (£7-50p).  There are no lease restrictions on the latter.

Children are entitled to free admission

As we have said previously, the Councils Executive member simply could not make a decision, on easing the restriction included in the lease,  without being clear about the impact on the Trusts business plan and without a public debate about all the options available.

There is also the wider issue of public access to the plans and results of York’s burgeoning number of QUANGOS. Others (libraries, economic development) depend even more heavily than the YMT, on taxpayers subsidies to keep them afloat. None publish details of their management meetings.

That charging decision will now be made at an Executive meeting taking place in 24th September

 What might happen, if the Council and YMT are not able to agree a compromise, is a moot point.

 If the Trust simply ignored the restrictive covenant clause, then the Council might ultimately terminate the lease. As the Council no longer has the capacity or expertise to run the gallery and museums, that could lead to their closure.

A legal wrangle about the enforceability of the lease clause could sap the resources of both organisations.

On the other hand, if the Trust demands money, to make up any shortfall in its income resulting from a decision to continue to allow YorkCard holders free admission, then the cash strapped Council would be unable to provide it.

Some compromise is required and quickly now.