Parking income problems increase for York Council

Marygate

It looks like the installation of barriers at the Marygate car park – which cost taxpayers £100,000 – has reduced Council income by around £35,000 (20%) over the last 3 months.

Marygate-car-park-equipment-768x1024

Income from Marygate Car Park in the 13 week period from 30th June to 28th September totalled £142,000 in 2014/15.

The equivalent figure for 2013/14 was £177,000.

Those expecting the blame to be placed on faulty barriers – they have been jammed in the raised position on a number of occasions recently – will be disappointed.

The York Council says,

“There have been some minor faults which, as with all newly introduced schemes, is to be expected whilst the system beds in. These have been dealt with expeditiously with minimal disruption to the fee-paying public”. (!)

It is the latest in a series of parking management blunders since Labour took control of the Council in 2011.

Most residents have faced a 100% increase in the amount that they pay to park while the Council sold off the Haymarket car park for a fraction of its true value in the depth of the recession.

Minster Badges

In response to a question tabled by the Liberal Democrats at the last Council meeting, Labour have admitted that only 6,300 of the new £20 Minster badges have been sold so far.

Over 30,000 of the old style badges were in circulation.

Minster Badge

A Minster badge is necessary to qualify for free evening parking. It also entitles users to a discount on day time parking fees.

The relatively low take up of the badges suggests that the charging scheme may be discouraging residents from visiting and shopping in the City centre.

“Free” parking

The Labour Councillor with responsibility for car parking in York has admitted that he doesn’t know how many drivers are taking advantage of the “free” car parking available at a limited number of locations on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

More worryingly, he says that the impact of the scheme on the Councils car parking account is impossible to calculate because of other factors such as the opening of the new Park and Ride site at Poppleton.

The Council are promising to check the vehicle counters at individual car parks over the next few weeks to try to get some idea of the impact that the – very expensive – scheme is having.

Subjectively it does appear that the morning rush hour has been busier over the last couple of months with journey times increasing.

When introduced, the free parking scheme was criticised by many as encouraging more vehicles onto the road during the morning peak period.

Landal Bridge – fine refund process not working

Only 5500 motorists have so far applied for repayment of the fines – unlawfully imposed by Labour – on drivers using Lendal Bridge during the closure trial which started in August 2013.

Lendal Man

This represents only a little over 10% of the total penalty notices issued.

Labour have set an arbitrary deadline of the end of December 2014 by which applications for refunds must be made.

The responsible Cabinet member claims not to know where the applications originated and the suspicion remains that tourists and other visitors to the City remain largely unaware that the refunds are available.

As we have said before, the reputational damage to York is irreversible but we believe that the new “balanced” Council must take immediate steps, to write to all these who were fined, telling them about the refund process.

It also seems reasonable to remove the deadline for applications.

With Labour having lost their overall Council majority they will no longer be able to block a public Inquiry into the actions that they took during the Lendal Bridge fiasco

Separately the Council has confirmed that its appeal against a parallel ruling on fines imposed on Coppergate, using similar signage and enforcement methods, has still not been heard.

Currently no enforcement action is taking place of the Coppergate access restrictions.

Green bin tax – Labour will not rule it out.

The last York Council meeting heard that Labour Councillors are still actively considering introducing a Green Bin Surcharge.

Andrew Waller is opposing more green bin charges

Andrew Waller is opposing more green bin charges

As previously reported, this new charge would apply to all green bins not just the supplementary bin charge introduced last year.

Most residents feel that the “winter break” for green bin emptying comes too early in the season. Many homes now have only one more bin emptying day before the service is suspended at the beginning of November.

Like last year, leaf fall has only just begun and adding this source of compostable material to grey bins will do little to improve York’s – now relatively poor – recycling rates.

Skips

The skips below are funded by your local residents association using their Estate Improvement Grant. The skips are removed once they are full so please make sure you arrive in good time if you intend to make use of them.

1. Please remember to take your waste to the site only on the dates advertised

2. If the skip is full or not on the site, please do not leave your waste. This is classed as fly tipping and is illegal

3. Bulky items including furniture, fridges and freezers are not accepted. To arrange disposal of Bulky items including furniture, fridges and freezers are not accepted. To arrange disposal of one of these items please ring York (01904) 551551.

 

18 October 2014

Bramham Road/Grange Lane 12:30pm

25 October 2014

Jute Road 12:30pm

01 November 2014

Community House Bramham Road 8:30am
Bramham Road/Grange Lane 12:30pm
Kingsway West 8:30am
Stuart Road 10:30am
Windsor Garth 12:30pm

08 November 2014

Tithe Close 10:30am
Lowfields Drive 12:30pm
Don Ave 8:30am
North Lane 10:30am
Bellhouse Way 10:30am

15 November 2014

Viking Road 10:30am

06 December 2014

Community House Bramham Road 8:30am
Bramham Road/Grange Lane 12:30pm
Dringfield Close 8:30am
Ganton Place 10:30am

Renting privately in York

Recognising the importance of the private rented housing market, City of York Council is about to build on its understanding of the sector through a wide-reaching consultation exercise.

The consultation will run from 17October until 21 November 2014.

The council will be seeking views of tenants, landlords, letting agents, the wider community and other interested groups. This information will help to see if the council is undertaking the right actions to support the sector and to decide what it could do in the future.
Through its housing strategies the City of York Council is committed to supporting and, where necessary, improving the sector, which makes up nearly 18 per cent of households in this growing city which has grown from 10 per cent in 2001.

To complete the questionnaire go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PCJS9VK or, please contact the council’s Housing Standards and Adaptations Team on 01904 552300 or call in West Offices for a paper copy.

Liberal Democrats win Westfield by election with over 60% share of the vote

Thanks to all those residents who supported us in todays by election.

The swing from Labour was one of the highest ever recorded in an election in the City.

The full result was

Votes 2014% 2011% Change
Jason Brown Conservative 118 4% 15% -11%
Louise Corson Labour 588 20% 43% -23%
Sam Kelly ED 5 0% 0% 0%
Judith Morris UKIP 398 13% 0% +13%
Andrew Waller LibDem 1804 60% 35% +25%
Alison Webb Green 87 3% 7% -4%
Total votes cast 28.5% turnout 3006
2011 figures are based on party average vote
NB in 2011 Labour won all 3 seats in Westfield

Tudor Road arson attack – photo

Detectives in York have issued a CCTV still following an act of arson in the city as they appeal for the public’s help to identify the suspect.

It was reported to the police shortly after 12.50am on Tuesday 14 October 2014, by North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, who were dealing with a car fire on Tudor Road, Acomb.

The suspect was seen placing something underneath a BMW before setting it on fire.

After the incident, the person responsible headed towards Hamilton Drive.

As a result of the fire, the BMW 3 series was completely destroyed and a Citroen Berlingo and a Mazda were damaged. The front of the house was also damaged by the fire.

Detective Sergeant Mark Jackson, of York CID, said: “The act of arson took place very close to the house where people were sleeping. This fire could easily have led to potentially devastating consequences.

“If you recognise the person captured on camera, or saw someone matching their description in the Tudor Road, Gale Lane or Middleton Road areas around the time of the fire, I urge you to contact the police immediately.

“I am also keen to speak to anyone who works at local garages who may have sold fuel to someone filling a petrol can, and ask them to get in touch straight away.”

Anyone who can assist with this investigation should contact York CID on 101, select option 2 and ask for the department by name. Alternatively, information can be emailed to yorkcid@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk.

Or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111, quoting reference number 12140177124.

2.5% increase in pensions

Pensioners will benefit from a 2.5 per cent increase in their state pension thanks to the Liberal Democrat Triple Lock guarantee.

Figures out today (14 October) show that inflation is below target meaning that the basic state pension will be boosted by 2.5 per cent next year.

The Triple Lock guarantee means that pensions will increase with inflation, earnings or 2.5 per cent – whichever is highest.

key_Pensions.jpg

Commenting on the inflation figures, Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander said:

“This below target inflation number is good news for everyone, but will help pensioners in particular as the Liberal Democrat flagship ‘Triple Lock’ policy will kick in to give an above inflation pension increase.

“The Triple Lock delivers a pension rise of whichever is the greater of average earnings, inflation or 2.5%.

“This means that next year the basic state pension will rise by 2.5% or £2.85 a week.  With Liberal Democrats in Government the basic state pension has risen by over £950.

“This shows that pensioners are at the heart of our Liberal Democrat vision of a stronger economy and a fairer society.

“They’ve done their bit for society and paid their dues over a lifetime. Our Triple Lock policy ensures our country does right by them.

“This is in stark contrast to life under the Conservatives who broke the link between pensions and earnings in the Thatcher years, and life under Labour when pensioners were insulted with rises as low as 75p.”