Scam alert in York

sCAM ALERTCity of York Council has had reports of a scam in which cold callers in the York area are selling household items, and claiming that this is part of a rehabilitation scheme run by local probation, youth offending or prison services.

Residents have told the council that individuals are going door-to-door in York and the surrounding areas trying to sell dish cloths and other cleaning or household items.

They claim to have identification (ID) cards issued by the Youth Offending Team, Prison or Probation Services.

This is not the case and any IDs produced will be fakes.

Falsely claiming to work for the council is an offence, so please call Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer helpline 0345 4040506. North Yorkshire Police also recommend that people concerned about unwanted visitors should call 101, or dial 999 in an emergency.

York Council Tax arrears hit £5.9 million

Council TaxAt the end of March 2015, the York Council was owed £5,968,577 in Council Tax arrears.

This was up from the £5,314,296 recorded at the end of 2010/11.

A total of 14,383 residents were in arrears.

292 residents owed more than £3000, while 6 residents owed more than £10,000.

In 2011 the latter figure had been zero.

7535 liability orders were issued last year and bailiffs dealt with 3637 cases.

The Council wrote off over £370,000 in Council Tax debts last year.

More detailed figures can be read by clicking here

Motorcycle safety awareness week

In a continued effort to reduce motorcyclists’ deaths on our regions roads North Yorkshire Police are launching a series of biker events as part of the National Police Chiefs Council Motorcycle Week of Action.

White Horse 5

Starting on Bank Holiday Monday and continuing throughout the week, BikeSafe events will take place in a number of locations popular with bikers.

BikeSafe is a nationwide police-led motorcyclist casualty reduction initiative that is run by the majority of forces throughout the country.

A BikeSafe workshop explores the main riding hazards that face bikers on a daily basis. We know that unfortunately 70% of motorcycle collisions are down to rider error; such as taking the wrong line through bends or inappropriate overtaking. By delivering theory based presentations and observed rides, the workshops aim to help riders discover their strengths and weaknesses and also where to go next to develop and get more from their biking.

The BikeSafe scheme is also supported by 95 Alive partnership colleagues who regularly visit venues popular with bikers, promoting Bikesafe and distributing other potentially lifesaving informationBikeWreck2(1)

Events are scheduled to take place throughout the week at the following times and locations:

  • Mon 31st Aug – Helmsley Market Place from  12 to 6pm
  • Weds 2nd Sept – Manor Café,  Bellerby  from 4pm to 8pm
  • Thurs 3rd Sept –  Whistlestop Café, Whitby from 4pm to 8pm
  • Sat 5th Sept – Squires Café, Sherburn in Elmet from 10am to 7pm

Police advanced motorcycle officers will be on hand to provide advice and information. Riders will also be able to pick up a copy of the Biker’s Guide to North Yorkshire which has been produced by the 95 Alive York and North Yorkshire Road Safety partnership. The guide provides invaluable advice about riding in North Yorkshire, highlighting hazards and high-risk locations on the most popular riding routes.

Traffic Sergeant Sean Grey, who is the Regional BikeSafe Coordinator said:

“BikeSafe is an invaluable scheme which provides constructive advice to enable riders to get the most out of their biking. By improving skills, knowledge and hazard awareness it makes riding safer and more enjoyable. The events are open to all to come along, have a chat with us to learn more about the training and enrol on a course. ”

As part of the week’s actions, the regions high risk locations will also receive increased police attention with support being provided by the NPAS helicopter on key routes.

Police will also be using a range of other enforcement methods, combining high visibility patrols, unmarked patrols, covert patrols, unmarked motorcycle equipped with speed detection and video recording equipment and mobile safety camera vans.

DCC Tim Madgwick, who is the NPCC Lead for Motorcycling said:

“The BikeSafe scheme offers riders a great opportunity to improve their skills, get more from their riding and ultimately keep themselves and other roads users safe – we know that the more training you get, the better and safer the rider you become.

“From the extensive research conducted by the 95 Alive partnership, five strong themes have been identified which cause the majority of collisions – filtering, junctions, cornering, overtaking and group riding. If we can assist riders in improving their handling of these hazards, this will lead to less tragedy on our roads.

Council Tax single occupant fraud checks starting in York

CT fraud

The authority is carrying out a review of its single occupancy customer database to ensure that it is up-to-date. The council will also carry out a residency check to find out who may no longer be eligible for discount.

Ian Floyd, the council’s director of Resources, said: “We know that most people claim council tax discounts legitimately, but there are occasions when people’s circumstances change and they forget to tell us that their discount should be cancelled.

“The authority has a legal and social responsibility to ensure that everyone in York gets value for money and to ensure that only those people who are eligible receive the discount.”

More information on the single persons discount review can be found on the council’s website at: People can also cancel their discount online.

Householders who receive a single person’s discount review form can also contact the review team by ringing 01904 820900.


New free childcare service launched in York

childcareParents of toddlers in York are being urged to check out whether they’re eligible for free childcare.

From 1 September about 600 two-year-olds in York – double last year’s figure – will be eligible for up to 15 hours of free childcare a week at a playgroup, day nursery or with a childminder as part of a national initiative.

Parents who earn no more than £16,190 a year and receive Working Tax Credits, Child Tax Credit or Income Support could be eligible for a free childcare place.

Two-year-olds who are looked after by the council or have a Child Protection Plan automatically qualify for a place. And from 1 September children with special educational needs, those who have been adopted or who have a residency/special guardianship order will also qualify for a place.

The free places are available to children who are two-years-old and whose parents fulfil the criteria. The places can be taken up the term after the child’s second birthday.

Parents can apply on line at or to find out more call the Family Information Service on 01904 554444 or text ‘free place’ to 07624 802244.

The government was criticised yesterday by some childrens nurseries for trying to increase the amount of childcare provided without allocating sufficient funding

York businesses used to get “Connection Voucher” worth £3000

City of York Council is warning small businesses and registered charities that time is running out to apply for a £3,000 Connection Voucher to boost their broadband speeds.

Connection Vouchers

Since the scheme launched in April 2014, over 300 York businesses and registered charities have benefitted by upgrading to high-speed broadband, but organisations are being advised to apply for a Connection Voucher as soon as possible to avoid missing out.

Funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the scheme offers grants of up to £3,000 for SMEs and registered charities seeking faster and better broadband.

Due to the thriving nationwide demand, the scheme, which has issued 200 Connection Vouchers in York since April 2015, is fast running out. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport have warned that with current demand, vouchers are expected to be fully allocated soon so organisations are advised to apply as soon as possible.
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Planning committee to discuss multi use plan for Leven Road property

Leven Road

Leven Road

A proposal to turn a home in Leven Road into a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) will be decided at a Planning committee meeting being held on 3rd September. HMOs are houses which are let as individual rooms but where occupants share communal facilities.

They are often used by students.

Only the largest buildings are usually considered for this type of use and it is relatively unusual for a property in the Dringhouses area to be considered for such a purpose (although there are 3 other HMOs within 100 metres of the property concerned).

The proposal – if approved – would see a 3 bedroomed semi turned onto a 4 bedroomed HMO. The property has been operating as an HMO for over a year without planning permission

The application has been “called in” for consideration by the committee because of fears about anti social behaviour and parking. The street is residential in nature and there are concerns that the transient use of the property might conflict with local amenity

The Dringhouses and Woodthorpe Planning panel has objected on the following grounds,

“The internal layout conflicts with the guidance on room size for HMO’s, specifically Room 3 (a bedroom) is less than 6.5 square metres in floor area. In addition there are concerns regarding the safety and visual impact of each of the four occupants having a motor vehicle to park on or near the property. There are concerns that such a change of use will form a pattern and have a negative impact on the character of the local area and concerns if the property was to be occupied by students in term time only there would be a loss in council tax revenue”.

Three residents have also objected raising concerns about lack of parking space, noisy outdoor games and the use of the property as a “party venue”

Council officials are recommending that planning permission be granted.

Residents may attend the meeting and  register to speak on the proposals if they wish

Council set to consult people with learning difficulties

Adults (aged 18 and over) with Learning Disabilities and their family and carers are being invited to talk about their experiences of living in York as part of plans to improve services.

People are invited to attend one of two engagement sessions on Monday 14 September at Tang Hall Community Centre from 1-3pm or at the Priory Street Centre on Monday 28 September from 11am-1pm.

The sessions, which will be run by Inclusion North – an organisation promoting the inclusion of people with learning disabilities, their families and carers – will focus on a wide range of issues including:

  • Travelling in York.
  • Leisure activities and keeping healthy.
  • Keeping safe and hate crime.
  • Growing old and planning for the future.
  • Getting a job and learning new skills.
  • Young people moving into adulthood.
  • People being placed in services outside the local area.

The sessions have been organised by the Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Partnership Board, which is part of York’s Health and Wellbeing Board. Continue reading

Lib Dem campaign means 16-year-olds in York could vote in local elections

Votes at 16Liberal Democrat Councillors have written to the two local MPs in York urging them to support Lib Dem amendments which will give 4,000 16- and 17-and-year olds in York the chance to vote for their local councillor.

Earlier this month, Lib Dem peers in the House of Lords tabled an amendment to the Government’s Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill to give 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote in local elections.

The amendment was supported by Labour, and it means unless the Tories can overturn this amendment in the House of Commons, under-18s in York could be eligible to vote in local elections as early as next year and well in time for the next scheduled set of elections in 2019.

The move is part of the Liberal Democrat campaign to allow 16- and 17-and-year olds to vote in the EU Referendum and General Elections.

The letter to both local MPs calls on them to back these proposals in the commons and ensure that over 4,000 16 and 17 year olds will be given the vote.

Cllr Ashley Mason, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Children, Education and Young People in York, said:

“At 16 you are deemed to be old enough to sign up for the armed forces, pay tax, get married and you can drive a car before you’re 18, but you aren’t considered responsible enough to vote. It is past time that we extend this basic right to this important group in our society.

I recently attended a question and answer session with the York Youth Council and was impressed by how knowledgeable and engaged they were with political issues. Their engagement clearly shows that young people across the city should be trusted to elect their local councillors at the next elections in 2019.

“Securing their right to vote in local elections is an important first step in the Liberal Democrat fight to make sure 16-year-olds have the vote in the EU Referendum and in General Elections. I am now calling on York’s two MPs, Rachael Maskell and Julian Sturdy, to back the proposals in the Commons.”

Anti crime property marking scheme a big success in York

More than 1,000 York bikes, tools and gadgets have been marked as part of a ground-breaking new project to protect property and deter burglars.

Dot peen property marking

Four new ‘dot peen’ property marking machines were brought into action six weeks ago, and since then hundreds of people have attended drop-in sessions across York to get their valuable items permanently marked.

Every year, police recover hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of stolen property from the hands of criminals, but all too often there is no way of identifying its rightful owners. Being able to trace the ownership of the property not only helps people get the property back, but it can also provide evidence that is vital in securing convictions for theft, burglary and handling stolen goods.

Dot peen marking involves using a tungsten carbide-tipped pin to indent an object with dots to create a visible, permanent unique number. The unique number will be entered onto the national Immobilise property register database, vastly increasing the chances that it will be reunited with its owner if it is lost or stolen.

The dot peen machines have been funded by North Yorkshire Police, the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, and Safer York Partnership.

In just six weeks, officers have marked 727 garden and allotment tools, 234 cycles and dozens of assorted gadgets such as cameras, games consoles and speakers.

Among the more unusual items permanently marked and protected against thieves are a wheelchair, a Fender Jazzmaster guitar, two riding saddles and a cello case.

Drop-in sessions have been held at City of York Council’s West Offices, York District Hospital, St Lukes Chruch, York Riding School; community events across the city; and the allotments at Low Moor, Bootham, Strensall, Howe Hill, Hempland Lane, Glen, Bustardthorpe, Fulford Cross.
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