Applications invited for ward funding

Dringhouses & Woodthorpe ward is inviting applications from local organisations for ward funding.

The deadline for submission is 28th June, and applicants will need to demonstrate how their project meets at least one of the four ward priorities.

Applications can be made online HERE.

Due to changes made by the Labour administration, the funding available for 2024/25 is just over £13,000, far lower than under the Lib Dem-led administration. As a result, many schemes that it had been hoped to commission, such as further improvements to local play areas, are unlikely to come to fruition.

Labour’s scrapping of the ward highways budget also means that small-scale improvements to roads and footpaths to support cycling and walking cannot now go ahead.

Council announces highways programme for 2024/25

City of York Council has announced its programme of road and footpath repair and renewal work for the 2024/25 financial year.

Disappointingly, Dringhouses & Woodthorpe ward will see £0 invested this year by the council to make local roads and footpaths safer. Badly potholed roads such as Middlethorpe Drive, Lycett Road, Hob Moor Terrace, Alness Drive and Acomb Wood Drive will continue to deteriorate, making it less likely that residents will choose to cycle rather than drive.

Hob Moor Terrace is a well-used route for cyclists

Footpaths across Woodthorpe in particular continue to deteriorate, with the top layer of tarmac crumbling away on streets such as Annan Close.

The local Lib Dem team will continue to report in locations in need of attention, though more often than not the response from the council is that no action is required.

Cattle set to disappear from Hob Moor

The sight of cattle grazing on Hob Moor is likely to be absent this year after City of York Council confirmed that the area will be mown for a hay crop instead.

The council has also confirmed that there will be no cattle on Walmgate Stray either, though it is understood that cattle will be kept on Bootham and Monk Strays.

Cattle grazing on North Lane Pasture

Cllr Stephen Fenton was told the news in an e-mail from a council officer after rumours had circulated locally that cattle would not be returning to Hob Moor this year:

“With the loss of the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), the largest rural payment scheme providing financial support to the farming industry, farmers are increasingly having to diversify their operations to meet lost income. With the associated difficulties of managing stock on Hob Moor, the 24/7 availability of a nearby staff member is essential. However this will not be possible with the loss of BPS and the loss of income from the refused planning application.

“From a nature conservation point of view ideally we’d want both cutting and grazing, to better reduce the nutrient status of the land. The cutting and removal of vegetation in summer should keep bulky species in check and allow the more delicate species to flourish. Flowering heads are fewer on grazed land, so with the absence of cattle more wildflower seed could be set.”

The planning application referred to relates to a farm diversification project under which storage units would have been permitted to remain on a farm at Strensall, generating income for the tenant farmer. The application was however refused by members of the council’s Planning Committee.

In recent years Hob Moor has been mown as well as grazed, though there have been concerns from residents that mowing at the wrong times of the year could destroy the nests of any ground-nesting birds.

Cllr Fenton has asked council officers whether any attempt will be made to find a farmer who would like to keep cattle on Hob Moor this year and has asked for further information about the proposed mowing regime.

Residents encouraged to have their say on Sim Balk Lane housing plans

Following the publication of a planning application by Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust for 114 homes to be built on a site in the green belt off Sim Balk Lane, local residents are being encouraged to have their say.

General comments, or expressions of support or objection, must be submitted by 23rd February.

In March 2023 the developers held a drop-in session at York College at which the initial designs were shared for comment. Feedback from that consultation exercise has been published along with the detailed plans, which will be considered by the council’s Planning Committee at a meeting (date to be confirmed).

The plans are for 114 affordable homes, with a mix of social rent and shared ownership 1, 2, 3 and 4 bed properties.

The initial design included an area of 30 parking spaces for use by Bishopthorpe White Rose Football Club. This car park seems to have been removed in the final plans, although the ‘Statement of Community Involvement’ refers to a “dedicated parking area available for use by residents and those visiting Bishopthorpe White Rose Football Club.”

Two car parking spaces will be provided for all 2/3-bed properties, and three parking spaces for 4-bed properties. The Travel Plan refers to “promotion of car share scheme” and “communication every year to highlight particular aspects of the Travel Plan to residents, for example walking, cycling, car club or public transport” although the plans seem to suggest that there will be no dedicated car club spaces on the estate.

Comments can be submitted via e-mail to, quoting reference 24/00129/FULM, or via the council’s planning portal HERE.

Bus shelter upgrades get underway

Improvements to local bus shelters have got underway, with digital displays and audio installed at the bus shelters on Moorcroft Road (near the shops) and Eason View (near the junction with Chaloners Road).

The work has been made possible thanks to the £17.4m Bus Service Improvement Plan funding that was secured by the previous Lib Dem / Green administration which ran City of York Council before May 2023.

Where the display shows minutes, eg ’11 minutes’ then that is a real time estimate based on location information sent by the bus. When the bus is approaching (less than 1 minute away) it will display “Due”. If the display does not receive information from the vehicle it will display the scheduled timetable departure from that stop eg ‘12.25’.

The display may not receive information for a variety of reasons such as the equipment on the bus is missing/faulty or it is passing through an area with poor network signal. It is only as good as the information provided by the operators.

It is planned to roll out these features to more bus shelters over the coming months.

Council confirms scaling back of Tadcaster Road improvement scheme

City of York Council has published an ‘Officer Decision‘ setting out the details of the £600k overspend that will mean that some of the measures to support walking, cycling and bus use along the Tadcaster Road corridor have been dropped. The report states….

“The ground conditions issues arose from an early stage in the project and have been monitored from early in 2023. The project team initially instigated a ‘value engineering’ exercise in conjunction with the contractor. This is an exercise to identify where proposed works can be removed from the scheme without detriment to the outcomes, and also where time can be reduced by approaching the work in a different way.

When it was realised that ‘value engineering’ on its own would be insufficient to meet the needs of reducing costs, a second process of more difficult decisions was undertaken. This involved cutting back to the absolute minimum where proposed works would be allowed to go ahead.

However it should be borne in mind that some items of work have gone past a point of no return and have to be completed. Likewise, finishing off processes such as carriageway surfacing, have to address the requirements of surface regularity and therefore have to be scheduled in.”

There is understandable dismay that the section of the route which is arguably most problematic for cyclists and pedestrians – the very narrow shared path near to Dringhouses Cemetery – will see no improvements, at least in the immediate future.

In better news, council officers have shared with local councillors details of a separate scheme to improve the spiral path at the entrance to the Solar System Way.

Cllr Ashley Mason at the entrance to the Solar System Way

The long-awaited improvements at this location were required as a condition of the planning permission that was granted for the construction of the Bishopthorpe White Rose football pitches which have been in use for some time.

Council officers have indicated that they do not believe that planning permission is needed for the path improvements here, as they are discharging a planning condition associated with the football pitches. It is understood that the works will get underway in March or April.

The plans shared with local councillors are set out below.

Wains Grove to be resurfaced

The council has announced that Wains Grove is to be resurfaced, with work starting on 23 January for three days.

The road – which has a tarmac layer on top of concrete – has deteriorated significantly in recent years, posing a hazard to pedestrians and cyclists in particular.

Councillors and residents have been campaigning for the road to be resurfaced

The works will be carried out between 8am and 5pm.

In order to carry out the work safely, the use of a full road closure will be necessary whilst works are taking place. All on-street parking will be suspended during the hours of the works for the full duration, but specific access requirements can be arranged by speaking to the site Traffic Management Operatives, who will coordinate with residents (and business requirements) around the ongoing work operations.

Emergency services will be permitted through the works in any situation.

Graffiti blitz hits Dringhouses & Woodthorpe

Litter bins, telecoms cabinets and bus shelters have been hit by graffiti ‘artists’ in recent weeks. The ‘tags’ used by these individuals are ‘Leeroy’ and ‘Rank.’

On 24 December Cllr Stephen Fenton cleaned graffiti at 20 locations, from Girvan Close in the west of the ward to Thanet Road in the east.

The Police have been asked to try to identify the culprits and charge them with criminal damage.

Network Rail have been alerted to ‘Rank’s handiwork on the St Helens Road railway bridge, which will need to be painted over.