Petition to save the Beckfield Lane recycling centre launched

Reuban Mayne at the Beckfield Lane recycling centre

A petition is circulating in Acomb calling on the Council to reprieve the Beckfield Lane recycling centre. The Centre is due to close after Easter as part of the Labour Council’s cuts programme.

An alternative Salvage and Re-use centre, which was to have been provided at Harewood Whin, has also been axed.

Funding to continue the Beckfield Lane facility would be found by halting the “free” roll out of WiFi access in the City centre.

The petition has been organised by local Acomb resident Reuban Mayne who can be contacted on York 781589

The petition should be available to sign “on line” shortly.


Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Social Inclusion Cllr Nigel Ayre has revealed that the Liberal Democrats will submit plans to reverse the cuts to voluntary sector organisations planned by the City of York Council’s Labour Cabinet to the Budget Council meeting on Thursday 23rd February.

Organisations which would see their funding restored under the Liberal Democrat plans include YREN, York Citizens Advice Bureau, York CVS, Older Citizens Advocacy, Relate, SNAPPY (a charity that provides social and recreational opportunities for children and young people with special needs) and the Salvation Army.

Cllr Ayre believes Labour’s voluntary sector cuts, which the cabinet openly admit could lead to an increase in inequality in York, should not be targeted at those organisations which work with the least well-off.

Councillor Ayre said “Many of these organisations work with the most vulnerable people in York. These voluntary sector groups have been targeted for cuts larger than those in, for example, the Arts sector. Labour’s cuts in the voluntary sector will hurt the very people they claim their budget will protect. Labour’s ‘fair’ budget is a sham, but we are pledging to restore funding to many of the voluntary sector groups in order to make sure the worst off really don’t lose out.”

“The Council has a responsibility to promote fairness and inclusion. Local Liberal Democrats will not avoid that responsibility. We are committing to funding these projects that Labour are planning to cut because we think that these voluntary sector organisations need help with their admirable work. Labour’s choices suggest they don’t care about this important work.”

Cllr Ayre slammed Labour’s hypocrisy over this year’s budget, saying “Labour have kept the extra money they put into the budget last year for additional taxpayer-funded union officials, but can’t find enough funding to support, for example, the Salvation Army’s work with the homeless. Labour might talk about fairness, but their actions tell a different story.”

Labour spent £1 million on consultants while planning £19 million in public service cuts in York

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Figures released by the Council reveal that over £1 million was spent on consultant’s fees in the final 6 months of last year.

The expenditure came at a time when Labour were preparing to announce an unprecedented £19 million cut in pubic service budgets with over 100 jobs losses in the pipeline.

In opposition, Labour had criticised the use of outside consultants by the Council despite being assured that it was often cheaper to do so than recruit permanent additional employees. Now they seem to have got that message, but the scale of the conversion will have surprised many.

With hundreds of thousands of pounds also being spent on new furniture, it is likely that some scrutiny of the cost assumptions for the furnishing of the new Council offices will be demanded.

The Council should re-use existing furniture wherever possible.

New city centre sheltered cycle parking in York

Cyclists now have more choice where to park their bikes in the city centre.

The new cycle parking area is based in Newgate Market, which was created by converting a row of empty trader stalls at the back of the market.

The row of cycle racks has room to park up to 20 bikes, which will be sheltered from the rain (or snow) as they are under the old trader stall’s canopy, which has been retained.

This new area of cycle parking is best accessed via the archway from the Shambles and is monitored by nearby CCTV.

Where Labour’s budget cuts will bite in York: 5. Schools and Children

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Although schools now receive their own funding direct from the government, the Council is trying to pass on additional costs to the joint schools fund.

One example is a £195,000 bill for Broadband that schools will have to pick up in future.

This means that the will be less money to support small schools like the Burnholme College which nearly closed 2 years ago before the, then LibDem controlled, Council provided a financial lifeline.

Children travelling to faith schools will lose their right to free transport next year.

The Youth Service – the people who provide activities for teenagers – is also set to get another cut as are Children’s Centres while York’s remaining Children’s Home will be privatised.

Children’s Social Workers will receive less training while there will be lower grants to voluntary organisations working in the education and children’s services areas.

“Dig in” at Cornlands Road park

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“Dig in” Cornlands Road park
The next time the Dig In team will be at the Cornlands playground site will be Saturday 25th February 10:30am – 12:30pm, this is the first gardening group gathering. They will be finalising the design for the garden and also sowing some seeds in pots that can be taken home and nurtured then brought back to the garden to transplant in April.

The next big free family event is on Saturday 7th April. (See poster right)


Liberal Democrat Councillors are leading a fight against the Labour Cabinet’s proposals to have vital meetings on key decisions about York’s future held behind closed doors. Cllr Ian Cuthbertson made clear at the Council’s Audit and Governance meeting last night (13/2/2012) that the Lib Dems would not stand to see Cabinet Members’ public accountability abandoned without a fight.

Labour’s plans would see public Cabinet Member Decision Sessions being abolished to be replaced by meetings held behind closed doors. That would mean crucial decisions being made with only Labour’s Cabinet members and Council bosses in the room. Cllr Cuthbertson argued that such proposals exclude members of the public.

He said “These plans show a blatant disregard for public opinion. If members of the public can’t be present and make representations when individual Cabinet members decide things, the door is open to more secret decision-making and less accountability. Labour’s Cabinet seem determined to keep local residents in the dark and sideline opposition councillors.”

The Labour Cabinet has argued that savings can be made by removing sessions in which Cabinet members make their plans clear in public. However, Cllr Cuthbertson argues that allowing the public to be present and make representations if they wish this matter is a small price to pay if the Council is to be seen to act in an open and transparent way. Officers have been asked to review the proposals and to re-present them, including a means by which members of the public can be present and speak at such decision-making sessions if they wish.

Cllr Cuthbertson said: “We recognise that the Council needs to save time and ensure that things are done efficiently, but decision-making sessions need to be held in public when the public request it. Although it seems that a relatively small number of such public sessions would be needed to ensure transparency, we believe that democracy should not be threatened in this way.”

“Local Liberal Democrats want to see more openness and accountability but it seems that the Labour cabinet think differently. We will look out for the amended proposals and will continue to fight to ensure that Cabinet members are accountable to York’s residents who, after all, elected them.”


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Councillors have reacted angrily as it has been revealed that the Labour budget will target 20% cuts at voluntary sector organisations that work with some of York’s most vulnerable residents. The revelations became apparent as Lib Dem spokesperson for Social Inclusion Cllr Ayre looked deeper at cuts labelled “review of grant funding to voluntary sector organisations to improve the efficiency of administration.”

Cllr Ayre said, “In reality this is the worst kind of cut. To describe the proposals as an efficiency saving is intentionally misleading. The council administers two funds to the voluntary sector totalling £340k and Labour’s plan is to cut this funding by £81,000. This cut is nearer 25% than the 8% Labour have claimed in the newspapers.”

“The list of people who will be affected by this are a list of some of the most vulnerable in our society including the Family Mediation Service, Older Citizens Advocacy, Relate, Snappy, the Welfare Benefits Unit, York Citizens Advice Bureau, York CVS, York Credit Union and YREN. To target these with some of the most severe cuts shows Labour’s claims to be placing fairness and inclusion at the heart of their budget are a sham.”

Further investigation of this budget saving has revealed that none of the affected groups have yet been informed of the proposals and may be unaware that they face drastic cuts and possibly even complete loss of funding all together.

Cllr Ayre said “Labour have hidden this budget from the public for as long as possible and now we can see why. They are trying to hide savage cuts with misleading reports in the hope the short timescale will prevent scrutiny. Cutting more than £80,000 of funding to the voluntary sector is not a matter of efficiency. Labour are choosing to remove funding from groups that work with the most vulnerable people in our city.”

Cllr Ayre has been contacting affected groups to alert them to the proposals.

Acomb Council branch office to close on 28th February

The Council has confirmed that its Acomb office will close to customers on Tuesday 28 February at 5pm.

Some new advice sessions are starting on Monday 13 February. They are, however, a wholly inadequate substitute for the branch office which was open 5 days a week.

The advice sessions will run as follows:
Mondays, Gateway Centre, Front Street, YO24 3BN
Housing advice and Council Tax and Housing benefits service: 9am – 3pm

Wednesdays, Foxwood Community Centre, Cranfield Place, YO24 3HY
Housing advice and Council Tax and Housing benefits service: 9am – 12 noon

Thursdays, Sanderson Court Community House, Bramham Road, Chapelfields, YO26 5AS
Housing advice and Council Tax and Housing benefits service: 9am – 12 noon

Fridays, Acomb Explore Library Learning Centre, Front Street, YO24 3BN
Council Tax and Housing Benefits service: 9am – 1pm

Fridays, Moor Lane Youth Centre, Wains Road, YO24 2TX
Housing advice: 1pm – 4pm

A homeless support worker from York Housing Association will join the Monday morning sessions at the Gateway Centre from 27 February between 9.30am and 11.30am.

Online services for housing at and housing benefits advice at will continue and residents can have free use of computers, internet access and support from staff at Acomb Explore.

Face-to-face help and advice will also continue at the council’s customer service centre at Library Square and advice on the phone can be requested for benefits on 01904 551556 and for housing on 01904 551200 (option 2).

Acomb Council Office closing in 2 weeks