Liberal Democrats on the City of York Council have announced that they have called in the Cabinet report which lays out the plans for the future structure of Ward committees. The report, which had been set to go before the Labour Cabinet on Tuesday 4th March, will now be subject to further scrutiny before being considered.

The plans lay out ideas to make fundamental changes the current system in which Councillors and council officers hold meetings in local areas so that residents can have their say on schemes in local schemes. Critics of the Labour Cabinet’s plans argue that the changes suggested will have a negative effect on Councillors’ links with their local communities.

Councillor Carol Runciman, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, said “The plans Labour have put forward are unclear, rushed and poorly thought out. They come on the back of huge cuts to Ward Committee funding for local projects, meaning that the result of the changes suggested would be poorer relations with local communities and a reduction in services for local residents.”

She went on to highlight the rushed nature of the process. This has resulted in the plans being brought forward without consultation with local councillors. She said “It appears that instead of Labour coming up with a carefully thought out plan, they voted to cut the budget by 65% and are now trying to pull together a system which will fit what is left.”

Cllr Runciman added “We presented an alternative budget which would have reversed the cut to Ward Committee funding. Liberal Democrats believe the council should not be in this position, but now that we are, we need to make sure that the system created is the best possible one for the people of York. A rushed approach like this is not the way to achieve that.”

Free compost offer

City of York Council and Yorwaste have teamed up to give local residents free compost this spring and summer.

Green fingered gardeners will be able to collect their free compost from Yorwaste’s Harewood Whin site, on Tinker Lane, off Wetherby Road on:

• Sunday 4 March
• Sunday 1 April
• Sunday 6 May
• Sunday 3 June
• Sunday 8 July
• Sunday 5 August
• Sunday 2 September
• Sunday 7 October

The compost will be available from 9.30am until 2.30pm each day and residents are asked to bring a shovel and bags or containers to take the compost home in.

Craig Capper, Harewood Whin Site Manager, Yorwaste, said: “Last year the Giveaways were really successful and residents took around 2,320 tonnes of compost. We hope that this year, we will give away even more.”

For further information residents can visit

Residents collecting signatures on petition outside Beckfield Lane Recycling Centre

Andrew Waller and Richard Hill collecting signatures on the Beckfield Lane petition today.

About half a dozen residents were outside the Beckfield Lane recycling centre today collecting signatures on the “Save Beckfield Lane Recycling Centre” petition.

Around 100 signatures were collected in the first hour with many users taking forms away to collect more support.

Volunteers are required to help collect signatures at the centre on Sunday. Ring Andrew on 337757 or Reuban on 781589 if you can help or if you would like a poster or car sticker to display.

Leading children’s charity praises Acomb Explore library

A leading children’s charity has hailed City of York Council’s library services for being a ‘good place for all young people to come’.

The Children’s Society has praised the council after an assessment was carried out by disabled young people who visited Acomb Explore Library Learning Centre last November.

In feedback provided to Acomb Explore, the young people unanimously agreed in their report that the Explore Centre “provides a wide range of inclusive activities, it is fully accessible and the staff have a good attitude”.

Lynda Corker, programme manager of The Children’s Society in York said: “The award isn’t just about ramps for wheelchairs and accessible toilets, important as they are, but also looks at the attitude of staff and their commitment to ensuring disabled people receive a warm welcome and support when it is needed.”

The ‘Good Place To Come’ Award is granted by disabled young people from The Children’s Society’s PACT project in York who aim to help places become more inclusive to disabled people.

The Acomb Explore Library was built by the last Liberal Democrat Council. Further examples followed including a massive refurbishment of the Central Library


Liberal Democrat Group Leader Carol Runciman has urged the Labour Cabinet to release secret briefing papers about the Community Stadium project to the public. The call comes amid fears that important information about the scheme will only be discussed behind closed doors by Council leaders.

The Community Stadium project is set to come before the Cabinet on Tuesday 6th March. However, large parts of the council papers have been made confidential including key details regarding how the project will be financed.

Councillor Carol Runciman said “The plans for the Community Stadium, which the Liberal Democrats initiated when in office, are something we back and we are pleased that the matter has now progressed to cabinet. However, hiding vital details from the public is not the proper way for the council to operate.”

The news of the withholding of significant data comes in the context of a stream of stories highlighting Labour’s unwillingness to be open with the public about decision-making. The Liberal Democrats have most recently been demanding that Labour change their plans to remove the publicly-held decision making sessions for Cabinet members.

Cllr Runciman pointed out that Liberal Democrat made sure when in office that they minimised the ‘confidential’ elements of any council reports, so that the actions being taken were clear to the public. She said “When Liberal Democrats ran the council, we always made sure officers released as much information as was possible to the public, but in this case, it appears that Labour are trying to cover everything up. There are nearly 100 pages of information which Labour has refused to release.”

The Lib Dem Leader said that the Community Stadium was too significant a project to not disclose this information to residents. She said “The Community Stadium is an important project for the future of York. It is wrong that the cabinet has not made all of the relevant information available to the public. We are urging the Labour cabinet to release as much paperwork as possible and not keep the majority of it hidden, so that the basis of the decisions being made is clear to all of York’s residents.”

Sport Relief stars in York

England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales will be represented by teams composed of stars from sport and TV undertaking a 1,000 mile challenge – each team running the final mile through the city of York finishing at the Eye of York for an overnight stay.

As part of Sports Relief 2012, four national teams will start the race simultaneously from their home cities of Cardiff, Dublin, Edinburgh and London and will head off clockwise around the UK and Ireland via the other four capital cities as they battle to be the First Nation Home.

Participants include top TV presenters and celebrities Gethin Jones, celebrity gardener Diarmuid Gavin, presenters Andrea MacLean, Phil Spencer and Craig Doyle, actress and model Gemma Atkinson, Olympians Sonia O’Sullivan, Iwan Thomas and Chris Boardman, Dame Ellen MacArthur and rugby stars Thom Evans, Josh Lewsey and star of Big Brother, Gareth Thomas. Scotland arrive on 10th, Ireland 13th, Wales 15th and England 16th March. Join the Civic Party and give them a good Yorkshire welcome!

Teams wil be expected to finish at the Eye of York at 6pm (any alterations to times will be posted on on Sat 10, Tues 13, Thurs 15 and Fri 16 March.

New Monks Cross plans on display on Saturday

Last year Oakgate (Monks Cross) Ltd submitted plans for a new Community Stadium and enabling retail development at Monks Cross.

Since the planning application was submitted, they’ve made a few changes to the proposals. The most prominent of these is the removal of the development site to the south of the spine road and the addition of all-weather pitches for community use, which was something that was raised by the Council.

Other amendments include increasing the areas of landscaping and reducing the car parking numbers on site to 1,340.

An exhibition of the revised proposals is taking place at the De Grey Rooms, next to the Theatre Royal in St Leonard’s Place, York City Centre on Saturday 3rd March, between 10am and 5pm. Plans and images will be on display and members of the development team will be there to answer any questions.

Beckfield Lane recycling centre petition

Window posters have been printed (see right).

Volunteers will be out at the recycling centre on Saturday (and maybe Sunday) collecting signatures on the petition.

Another 3000 leaflets are being delivered to residents in the Acomb and Foxwood areas over the weekend.

The petition should appear on the Council web site shortly for anyone who wants to “sign” electronically.

The campaign now has its own Facebook site

The intention is to present the petition to the Council meeting on 29th March.

Further details and blank petition forms are available from Reuban Mayne on York 781589

First ever York Children’s Book Awards

City of York Council is launching the first ever Children’s Book Awards to find York’s favourite children’s picture book and story book of all time.

The council is inviting all children aged 14 years and younger to take part and have their say on what their favourite book is.

A special event to launch the awards will be taking place on 3 March at Explore York Library learning Centre, with well-known children’s author Andy Newbound. The event will take place between 2pm – 3.30pm with lots of activities for children on offer.

Children will be able to nominate their favourite book via the council’s website at from Saturday 3 March, or they will be able to vote by asking for a form in one of 14 libraries across the city

Nominations will close on Friday 27 April and a shortlist of the five favourite books in each category will be announced in June. Lots of copies of the shortlisted books will be available and children will be encouraged to read and vote for their favourite. Voting closes on 16 September, the same day as the Summer Reading Challenge.

A grand ceremony is set to take place on Sunday 28 October, where prizes will be awarded.