North Yorkshire Police mobile safety (speed) camera routes 29 February – 6 March 2012

North Yorkshire Police will be carrying out mobile safety camera enforcement on the following roads between Wednesday 29 February and Tuesday 6 March 2012. (York area only. Full list on Police web site)

•A64 east-bound carriageway Bowbridge Farm Tadcaster
•Strensall Road, Huntington, York
•A1237 Monks Cross, York
•The Village, Stockton-on-the-Forest, York
•A1036 Malton Road, York
•York Road, Haxby, York
•A64 west-bound carriageway, Bowbridge Farm, Tadcaster
•Broadway, Fulford, York
•Murton Way, Muton, York
•Fordlands Road, Fulford, York

The mobile safety cameras will be in operation at the above sites at various times during the dates stated. Cameras will not be in use on the above routes all day, every day.

Ward Committees consigned to history?

The Council’s cabinet is to receive a report next week which effectively signals the end of public participation in “Ward Committee” meetings. It follows on from a savage budget cut to neighbourhood funding.

The budget for Ward Committee neighbourhood improvement schemes for 2011/12 was £646,000.

The Labour Council budget agreed last week reduced this to £224,000. A cut of 65%.

Now Labour are proposing to divide this money into 3 “pots” with only £75k available for schemes voted a priority by local residents.

Thus, pro rata, a Ward like Dringhouses which has had an annual budget for improvements of around £50,000 a year will find that reduced to about £6,000. This is what residents have voted on each autumn with eh available funds over subscribed usually by a factor of 4. It has been used in the past to address security concerns, provide better fencing, clean up derelict areas, improve play facilities, address parking problems etc.

There will be similar sums “ringfenced” for grants to organisations operating exclusively within a particular ward plus some for cross city voluntary groups. However the amounts likely to be available are derisory.

As with most of the Labour budget, we believe that York residents simply don’t realise yet what is going to hit them.

Mixed signs on local York economy; Average weekly wage now nearly £500.

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The number of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance in York has increased. This is inline with an increase for the region as a whole. A council report confirms:
• Male Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) claimants (3.3%) remain higher than females (1.5%)
• The rate of females claiming JSA is increasing faster than males, but still remains one of the lowest in the region.
• The total number of benefits claimants has decreased in 2011 by 4%, from 12,350 in 2010 to 11,900 now.

5.7% of young people are now classified as “not in education, employment or training” (NEET). That is just less than in North Yorkshire as a whole. It means that the City has one of the lowest youth unemployment levels in the country.

Average weekly pay for city residents is £492.30 for 2011, which is above the regional average. York is still below the national average but the gap has narrowed (now 2.2% below compared with 4.2% in 2010).

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Save Beckfield Lane recycling centre campaign gets timely boost as £3 million bill hits York taxpayers

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The Council has admitted that it is York is “slipping behind other unitary authorities, who have introduced alternative waste management methods and strategies”. This is despite a forecast 2% increase, in the amount of waste recycled by residents, by the end of the year (47.01% compared to 45.1% in 2010/11).

The failure to invest in reuse and salvage, coupled with the pending closure of the Beckfield Lane recycling centre on 10th April, means that taxpayers will pick up a bill for £3 million in landfill tax penalties this year.

The petition to keep the Beckfield Lane facility open is getting good support. Anyone who can help to gather signatures on a petition is asked to contact Reuban Mayne on York 781589

Proposed changes to York Sunday bus services 112 & 113

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Major changes are planned to the Sunday bus services which provide links to Copmanthorpe, Bishopthorpe and Skelton. This results from the decision by Coastliner to discontinue their 112 and 113 services.

The Council are proposing to subsidise 3 new services one of which would route down Tadcaster Road.

Proposed changes
• The Council propose the following option for Sunday services in place of the existing services on routes 112 and 113:
• Provision of an hourly service between Bishopthorpe and the city centre via South Bank on the same route as the weekday route 11.
• Provision of an hourly service between Copmanthorpe and the city centre on the same route as the weekday route 13.
• Provision of an hourly service between Skelton and the city centre on the same route as the weekday route 19.
• No direct services between Skelton, Clifton Moor, Wigginton, Haxby and Monks Cross.
• No services before 10.00 or after 19.00 on these routes.

Comments on the new arrangements by emailing transport.planning@york.gov.uk or writing to Paul Brand, City of York Council, 9 St Leonard’s Place, YORK, YO1 7ET. Please ensure that your comments are received by 2 March 2012.

It is likely that any new routes and services will begin in summer 2012

Make do and mend

Celebrate International Women’s Week and recognise the ingenuity and inventiveness of women through the ages.

This lecture with Meridith Townsend starts right back in the Georgian Period and concentrates on how women altered, borrowed and adapted their clothes to keep up with the latest fashions. It goes on to concentrate on the War Years of the 1940s using anecdotes from women, who came up with the most ingenious ways to keep their families clothed and to continue to celebrate events, such as weddings, in style.

The lecture takes place at Explore York Library Learning Centre 1.30pm to 2.30pm on Sun 4 March – cost £4

For tickets please visit www.feelinginspired.co.uk

Acomb Wood: Welly workout

We will be having a general tidy up of the woodland. We will be cutting back some trees, litter picking and any other little jobs that need completing this spring before everything starts growing again.

Mon 5 Mar, 1pm to 3pm at Acomb Wood

Cost: FREE!

For more information and to book you space please contact Jenny Cairns on 07833 436832 or jennifer.cairns@york.gov.uk. Please come prepared to get muddy. All tools will be provided.

Blossom Street roadworks start on 5th March

The Second phase of work is due to start next month (week commencing 5 March).

Significant work was carried out on Blossom Street at its junction with Queen Street, close to Micklegate Bar during phase I in September 2010. Phase II is due to start shortly and will focus on Blossom Street and Holgate Road and their junctions with The Mount and East Mount Road.

The main features of the work will include:
• Full replacement of old traffic signals with new modern equipment.
• Partial resurfacing of the carriageway
• Pedestrian crossings to be widened and modernised, incorporating on-crossing detection.
• Widening of the footway on the corner of Holgate Road.
• Inbound and outbound cycle feeder-lanes on Blossom Street.
• Inbound cycle lane on Holgate Road starting at Dalton Terrace.
• Inbound bus stop outside the Reel Cinema to be extended and the shelters and cycle parking repositioned.
• A new bus shelter introduced at the outbound bus stop (for bus numbers 3 and 4).
• New stop-line and signals (inbound only) on Holgate Road near to Holgate Villas to keep queuing traffic out of, and ameliorate the air quality in the bottle-neck at the end, but which will not affect traffic capacity.
• No change to number of traffic lanes.

Full details of the planned improvements are available at www.york.gov.uk/council/consultations/current/blossomst/

Labour confirm Council Tax increase in York

Labour have gone ahead with their threat to increase Council Tax rates by 2.9%. A further rise of over 2% is forecast for April 2013. They turned down the offer of a £1.8 million subsidy from the government to freeze tax levels

We know that many residents still don’t fully appreciate what is going to hit them over the next few weeks and months. Our guess is that anger will grow as the following sequence of events take place:

• February: Acomb Council branch office closes

• March: Higher Council Tax bill arrives. Many find that they will have to pay over £30 a year more.

• April: Car parking charges up 18% for residents. ResPark charges up. Issue of refuse collection sacks in terraced areas stops. Beckfield Lane recycling centre closes. Number 4 ftr bus services axed. Disabled people attending specialised work placements told that they may be transferred to the private sector. Unemployment increases as organisations like Future Prospects are forced to reduce their activities.

• May: Potholes in roads and footpaths are still unfilled following winter damage. Only a handful of roads are put on resurfacing list. Elderly seeking Council help with home care are told that the bar has been raised. Council will now only act if their needs are judged to be “substantial”. Around 200 elderly people lose existing home care service. However the Council finds money to provide “free” WiFi in City Centre.

• June: Complaints about stray dogs and footpath fouling increase following a reduction in dog warden numbers. Residents expecting more CCTV, security improvements, car parking lay-bys etc, told that Ward Committee funding averages less than £10,000 per ward. 20% of litter and “poop scoop” bins removed.

• Summer: Reduced spending, on crime prevention, results in more burglaries and vandalism. Enforcement of alcohol sales to minors scaled back. More anti social behaviour evident. Voluntary bodies and charities struggle with reduced grants. Some flounder. Litter on streets increases following a reduction in street sweeping. New refuse collection rounds bring chaos. Collection is on different days each fortnight. Cuts to parks and open spaces budget means York fails in “Britain in Bloom” contest. Fly tipping up since Beckfield Lane centre closed.

• Autumn: Number of cyclists involved in accidents increases. The Council faces increased insurance claims from pedestrians who have fallen on uneven footpaths. Enforcement of under age sales of fireworks is scaled back. It is a noisy October. Gulleys haven’t been cleaned for at least 6 months. Heavy rain brings flooding to several streets.

• Winter: The number of streets gritted is reduced. Salt bins, left out all year, are found to have been vandalised. Those remaining are filled only 3 times before the budget runs out. Salvation Army forced to reduce services for “rough sleepers” as grant runs out. Street environment budget also used up. No money available to deal with damage to verges, graffiti and dumping.

• Spring 2013: Charities, sports clubs, scouts and charities told that they will lose their discretionary rate relief. Parish Councils told that provision to avoid “double taxation” is being discontinued. Green bin garden waste collection stopped. Residents told to compost waste in garden. Privatisation of waste collection announced.

York’s debt per head is at an all time high. Opposition Councillors point out that it is now the equivalent of the external debt of Fiji (and twice that of Greenland).

Partners In Crime Thursday 8 March, 7pm – 8.30pm at Dringhouses Library

An evening with mother and daughter crime novelists Pauline Kirk and Jo Summers, who write as PJ Quinn.

Pauline and Jo will read from ‘Foul Play’ and forthcoming novel ‘Poison Pen’, and give tips on getting published. There will be a question and answer session at the end.

To book your free place contact Dringhouses Library on tel. (01904) 552674 or email dringhouses.library@york.gov.uk