Local Lib Dem councillors are in discussions with McColls to try to get a much-needed deep clean of the larger of the two car parks to the rear of the Moorcroft Road shops.
The car park, which McColls has responsibility for, is in a very untidy state, with weeds, brambles and overgrown vegetation gradually taking over the perimeter, and major issues with litter and dumping. There is also a black Peugeot car which has been there for sometime, and appears to have been abandoned – the tax expired in April, two of the tyres are flat and one of the headlights is smashed.
Weeds and litter
Cllr Stephen Fenton has met on site with the McColls area manager to discuss a plan of action, starting with McColls instructing their property management team to undertake a thorough deep clean of the car park. Stephen has also approached DVLA about the abandoned car – as it is on private land, there is nothing that the council can do.
Another concern is the seemingly increasing use of the car park as a ‘park & ride’ car park, with people parking up and getting the bus into town. This reduces the parking spaces available to shoppers and those visiting the nearby doctors and dentists surgeries. Stephen discussed with McColls the possibility of erecting some ‘Customer Only Parking’ signs to deter long stay parking.
Local Lib Dem councillor Stephen Fenton has called on the council to undertake early and meaningful engagement with local residents on plans to build homes on the former Askham Bar Park & Ride site.
Cllrs Stephen Fenton and Ann Reid at the former P&R site, which is currently used as a pay & display car park
Cllr Fenton spoke at a meeting of the Council’s Executive on 12 July, which approved a proposal to undertake detailed design work to develop and submit a planning application for mixed tenure housing on the former Park & Ride site.
The Askham Bar scheme is part of a wider housing package that will see council-owned land and investment from the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) utilised to directly deliver approximately 550 homes on six sites of which 40% will be affordable housing. This represents 20% more affordable homes compared to the number that would be delivered by the market if they were to comply with planning policy.
Cllr Fenton said “The site is currently an eyesore, and so it is good to see some progress being made on developing the site to provide much-needed new homes.
“But before the planning application is submitted, I want to see meaningful engagement with ward councillors, local residents and other interested parties.
“There are already significant issues in the Askham Bar area in terms of traffic congestion, which has a number of impacts such as on bus timetable reliability. I am keen therefore that we take this opportunity to look at the highways infrastructure and how we might make changes to help improve matters for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.”
Cllr Fenton also sought clarification that the number of homes planned for the site is in line with the number (60) included in the draft Local Plan. He also asked what was happening with the proposed demolition of garages and construction of six new council homes on Chaloners Road, with a suggestion that the two schemes be progressed together.
Six new council homes planned for Chaloners Road
It is anticipated that the design and planning of the Askham Bar scheme will begin this summer, with a view to getting on site in Autumn/Winter 2019.
A seven-day video traffic survey on Thanet Road has got underway, designed to gather evidence to support decisions on possible measures to improve road safety.
The survey has been prompted by residents’ concerns about speeding, damage being done to parked cars and lack of off-road parking.
Two cameras have been installed, between the junctions at St James Place and Jervis Road, which will operate for seven days.
The footage will then be studied to identify what traffic calming or other measures might be effective and appropriate.
The survey is being funded through the Dringhouses & Woodthorpe Ward Committee budget.
Local Lib Dem councillors are calling on City of York Council officials to recognise the problems being caused by inconsiderate parking on both sides of Moorcroft Road in Woodthorpe.
Parking outside the doctors surgery and the dentist is causing difficulties for the number 12 bus, which serves Woodthorpe, which on occasions has been unable to get through.
An officer report to the Decision Session of the Executive Member for Planning and Transport on 17 May noted that residents who had objected to the proposed double yellow lines outside the doctors had said that the restrictions would be better placed on the other side of the road, outside the dentist. This suggestion was rejected by officers, who responded in the report by saying that “parking here [outside the dentist] is thought to be more intermittent.”
Cllr Ashley Mason attended the 17 May meeting to make the case for parking restrictions outside the dentist, but this was refused. Instead, it was agreed to defer the installation of double yellow lines outside the doctors surgery to enable more evidence to be gathered via a 7-day video traffic survey, which the councillors propose to fund from the Dringhouses & Woodthorpe ward budget.
Cllr Stephen Fenton commented “We first made the case for parking restrictions outside the dentist at a Decision Session of the Executive Member for Planning and Transport held on 14 September 2017, but this was refused. It is disappointing that the same has happened again. Parking outside the dentist is not ‘intermittent’ as the officer report suggests – it is persistent. The photograph below, taken on 6 June, demonstrates this.”
Moorcroft Road – dentist on left, doctors surgery on right
Residents on the Middlethorpe estate have rejected a suggestion that concrete bollards could be installed at some junctions in the hope of protecting verges from being overrun by heavy vehicles (such as at the junction of Whin Road and Middlethorpe Grove, pictured below).
In response to a request for feedback in the Spring 2018 edition of Focus, all but one respondent said that they did not favour bollards being installed. Reasons given included that they would be ugly and would be difficult to mow around.
One alternative suggestion put forward was for template letters to be drafted which residents could be put on the windscreens of vehicles parked inappropriately, asking them politely to park elsewhere.
This suggestion chimes with a recommendation coming out of the grass verge scrutiny review in 2016, which was that:
“The Communications Team produces a pro forma letter to further promote community and neighbourhood pride and advise that it costs council tax payers £35 per square metre to repair damaged verges, which can:
- Be made available to ward councillors for distribution to drivers and residents when a particular problem is identified or reported;
- Be circulated to residents online or by text message via the new My Account system;
- Form the basis of a poster to be displayed in local libraries, community centres, other public buildings and included in relevant council publications.”
Pupils in York are being asked ‘should you sack your chauffeur?’ as part of a drive to improve pedestrian safety at school gates.
Dringhouses primary is one of a number of schools that are piloting the scheme and are holding short assemblies to launch it this week (w/c 26 February).
The children will be shown examples of poor driving habits, illustrated in a lighthearted way, but with the intention that they will help to encourage their parents to drive and park more considerately.
Currently, the council receives frequent and numerous complaints about unsafe driving and parking outside schools. This partnership approach with schools aims to involve young passengers to encourage their drivers to behave in a more responsible way around the school, making it safer and more pleasant for everyone.
In addition, parking awareness road sign characters will be loaned to the schools and located to best influence driver behaviour. The campaign will be supported by monitoring and enforcement against illegal and inconsiderate parking.
If the pilot proves successful, it will be rolled out to other primary schools areas where inconsiderate driving and parking have been identified as a particular concern.
Gill Williams, headteacher of Dringhouses Primary School, said: “Inconsiderate and dangerous parking and driving during morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up times is a constant problem for our school. There are road markings outside school to deter cars from parking close to the school gates, however a small minority of parents still choose to park on these lines or use the entrance to the school gates to drop off or do a U-turn. It is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured.
“We very much welcome this new safety initiative and hope that, by engaging the children in a fun and creative way, the importance of road safety awareness will be raised.”
Following a period of public consultation, double yellow lines have been installed at a number of locations in Dringhouses where problem parking was an issue:
- Junction of Ainsty Avenue and Mayfield Grove
- Junction of Nelsons Lane and Breary Close
- Junction of Cherry Lane and St Edwards Close
The proposal to extend the double yellow lines outside the doctor’s surgery on Moorcroft Road has been put on hold as objections were received from residents. This will now go back to an Executive Member Decision Session for further consideration (date to be confirmed).
Dringhouses & Woodthorpe Lib Dem councillor Stephen Fenton has called for action to stop out-of-town coaches from clogging up suburban streets.
The start of the St Nicholas Christmas Fair has seen a surge in coach parties coming to the city. The influx of visitors is a welcome boost to the local economy, but some coach firms are failing to make use of the parking facilities provided by Make it York.
Photographed below is a coach that was parked up on The Horseshoe, off Tadcaster Road, on Saturday 18 November.
Stephen Fenton said “When there is ample coach parking being provided, it is unacceptable that some coach firms are choosing to clog up residential streets that cannot cope with such large vehicles.
“I have raised this with Make it York, and they have confirmed that there are spaces available for coaches at the designated parking places.”
A Make it York spokesperson commented “We operate a booking system for the weekends of the Christmas Market, which involves managing a couple of sites with a team of stewards to welcome the coaches and help park. We work with Parking Services and the Highways department to ensure the huge demand for coach parking has little impact on the local infrastructure (we currently have over 400 coaches booked in over the period which is approx. 22,000 visitors). It’s disappointing that this coach company has avoided the booking system – we had space available.”
At a Decision Meeting on 14 September, the council’s Executive Member for Planning & Transport, Cllr Ian Gillies, approved the installation of double yellow lines at a number of locations. These measures will now be advertised, with the opportunity for residents to object if they wish to.
The report that sets out the proposed double yellow lines is available Here. The locations where double yellow lines were approved are:
- Junction of Cherry Lane and St Edwards Close (see map below)
- Junction of Ainsty Avenue and Mayfield Grove
- Junction of Nelsons Lane and Breary Close
- Moorcroft Road, from the doctors surgery to first junction with Bramble Dene
However a number of additional schemes which local ward councillors had supported were turned down:
- Moor Lane, near the entrance to Chapmans Pond
- North Lane, near junction with Jervis Road
- Junction of Acorn Way and Wharfe Drive
- Moorcroft Road, in front of the dentists
Cllr Ann Reid spoke at the meeting to ask Cllr Gillies to include these additional schemes, but to no avail.
In a recent survey undertaken by local Lib Dem councillors, Slingsby Grove residents expressed concerns about sight lines being blocked by cars parking in the ‘loading bay’ in front of the shops on Tadcaster Road. When cars, and in particular vans, park here, it obstructs motorists’ view of vehicles coming from the left as they pull out of Slingsby Grove.
We recently took this photo showing the ‘parking bay’ beyond the bus stop empty, whilst cars parked in the ‘loading bay’ (and in one case obstructed the cycle path).
We have asked council officers about the possibility of painting more striking markings for the loading bay, but this idea has not found favour. We will continue to press for action, as this is a matter of public safety about which residents have concerns.