Labour budget announcements. Council Tax up 2.9%, parking charges up 18%, Rents up 7.4%. Key services cut

Headline figures

• Council Tax up by 2.9% in April 2012 and at least 2.0% more from April 2013 (£54 pa)

• Council House rents up by 7.4%

• Business rates up by 5.8%

• Water and sewage up by 6.1%

• Car parking charges up between 12% (short stay) and 18% (standard stay) for residents

• 8% cut in grants for voluntary sector

• 200 jobs to go over next 2 years

• Council to borrow £20 million more

• £2.8 million in public service standard cuts over 24 months.

• £5.4M a year in “efficiency” improvements

• Libraries to be outsourced

• More to pay for increased numbers requiring elderly care and for looked after children
• £100k for consultants to prepare a “bus contract”

We will be publishing a further analysis over the next few days

Eco cabs needed in York

Renault Fluence

It’s a couple of years now since the York Council agreed to try to reduce the emission levels of public transport vehicles in the City. Top priority was to deal with some types of buses, but taxis and private hire fleets also needed to be modernised.

It a shame that London now seems to be forging ahead of York with this initiative.

For short journeys, electric power is perfectly adequate and better for the environment than even a hybrid. It would be good to see a couple of bays with charging points reserved at the railway station for use by eco cabs. The Council should tender the availability of a couple of licences for a company that was prepared to provide such a option (perhaps in return for a 3 – 5 year contract).

Customers would themselves decide whether to use an eco cab or a conventional taxi.

In the meantime this is what they are doing in London.

“Driving in the city usually isn’t a pleasant experience. Due to the city being the hub for major shopping outlets, businesses, restaurants and etc, traffic tends to be congested and most of the time you end up burning fuel unnecessarily. The good news is if you’re a resident of London, or if you’re planning to take a trip down for the 2012 London Olympics, you might be interested in checking out the Renault Fluence Z.E which will be the city’s first zero-emission cab as part of their plan to go green.

These taxis will be operated by eco cab company ClimateCars who have recently added the Renault Fluence Z.E.s to their fleet. The company has previously offered low carbon/hybrid vehicles in the past, which makes the Fluence Z.E.s the company’s first electric vehicle offering. These cabs will be powered by a 94hp electric motor and will feature a range of 115 miles on a single charge, and to encourage the adoption and usage of electric vehicles, the Renault Fluence Z.E. cab will be charging the same fare as normal cabs in London”.

Learn to play golf

City of York Council has teamed up with Heworth Golf Club to offer coaching lessons for beginners this February.

The courses are an ideal opportunity for anyone who is still trying to get into the swing of 2012 and are looking for a new sport to play.

The courses will be running for five weeks, starting on Saturday 11 February. It will cost £20 per person for all the sessions and this includes an hour of expert tuition from a club professional, as well as equipment hire.

The previous golf sessions have been highly successful, attracting over 100 people who are new to the sport.

Will Saville, Sports Participation Officer at City of York Council, said: “After the success and popularity of the last lot of coaching at Heworth Golf Club, we decided to offer more opportunities for beginners to get into the sport.”

Places are limited to a maximum of eight per course and are for over 16′s only. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
For further information or to book a place members of the public can contact Will Saville or Robin Lavin on 01904 553377.

How to contact a Liberal Democrat member of the European Parliament

It is likely to be several weeks before new MEP Rebecca Taylor has set up a new local office.

In the meantime residents are reminded that they can contact our other MEP Edward McMillan-Scott.

He can be Emailed on

Web Site

Office admin telephone number 07730 682677

Nick Clegg with Edward McMillan-Scott

New fitness class launching for people who have a mental illness

City of York Council is launching a new fitness class for people who have a mental illness.

Classes start this Thursday and will take place every week from 12noon to 1pm at York St John University Sports Hall.

The Wellbeing Circuits Classes are aimed at encouraging people to take regular exercise to help them cope better with their illness.

They are the latest addition to the council’s expanding HEAL (Health, Exercise, Activity and Lifestyle) programme which helps people who have medical conditions to exercise.

Exercise may help combat depression and make you feel happier, boost self-esteem, help you concentrate, sleep as well as enable you to look and feel better.

The Wellbeing Classes are designed to be fun and friendly in a supportive environment, giving people the chance to feel better and meet with those who have had similar experiences.

Katie Ellis, Exercise Pathways Officer at city of York Council, said: “Exercise can be a small change that could help make a big difference to your health. It’s important to try and keep active, no matter how hard that can feel in difficult times”.

Classes cost just £3 per session and those interested can simply turn up and take part.

For more information, members of the public can contact Katie Ellis on 01904 553377 or e-mail or visit

50+ activity day set for Energise on Monday 13th February

York’s first Eng-AGE 50+ Activity Day will take place on Monday 13 February at Energise, Cornlands Road.
Designed to showcase a number of different sports and activities, the event is open to everyone over 50 who is interested finding out more about what is available in York.

Taster sessions on offer will include circuits, aerobics, bowls, table tennis, aquafit, Zumba Gold, pilates, tai chi, badminton, and swimming sessions. There will also be group beginner runs, Nordic walking taster sessions and health walks all setting off from the centre, and specialised classes such as Neurological Pilates and Chair Based Exercise. Participants are able to try as much or as little as they like!

The day celebrates the first anniversary of the launch of City of York Council’s Eng-AGE programme, which aims to encourage people over 50 to become more active and which has seen the introduction of new classes in York in a number of different sessions. It is hoped that this event will give more people the chance to try new activities and discover something which they enjoy and then want to continue every week somewhere in York.

Catriona Sudlow, organiser of the event and City of York Council’s Older Peoples Physical Activity Officer said: “Over the past year since our Eng-AGE programmes were launched we have had a fantastic response to our sport and fitness sessions. People over 50 have enjoyed taking part in activities such as Tai Chi, Zumba Gold and Badminton. We hope that this day will attract and inspire even more people to live active lifestyles and we can show them that there are so many different ways in which they can keep fit and healthy across the city.”

Eng-AGE also promotes the benefits of exercise for people over 50, which can include improved sleep, stronger and more toned muscles and improved posture, co-ordination and balance. Exercise can also help reduce falls and keep individuals happier, healthier and more independent for longer.

The Activity Day opens for registration at 9.30am and finishes at 4pm. Prices are £3 for a half day and £5 all day, which includes a cup of tea or coffee mid morning and mid afternoon.

For more information and to register for the event please contact Catriona Sudlow on 01904 553377 or visit

Safety (speed) camera locations for forthcoming week

North Yorkshire Police will be carrying out mobile safety camera enforcement on the following roads between Wednesday 1 February 2012 and Tuesday 7 February 2012.

•A64 Seamer by-pass Scarborough
•B1249 Staxton Wold, Staxton, Scarborough
•B1249 Foxholes to county boundary
•A1039 Filey Road at Flixton
•A165 Reighton by-pass
•A64 Seamer Road, Scarborough
•A64 east-bound carriageway, Bowbridge Farm Tadcaster
•A64 west-bound carriageway, Bowbridge Farm, Tadcaster
•A1237 Monks Cross, York
•The Village, Stockton-on-the-Forest, York
•A1036 Malton Road, York
•A1237 Monks Cross, York
•York Road, Haxby, York
•Broadway, Fulford, York
•Murton Way, Muton, York
•Fordlands Road, Fulford, York
•A1237 Monks Cross, York
•B1222 Naburn lane, York
•B1228 Main Street, Elvington, York
•B1228 Dunnington Lodge, Elvington, 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.

School half term activities at Energise on Cornlands Road

School holiday activities at Energise

Energise run many extra courses and activities during school holidays, including climbing, trampolining, tennis and rollerskating. Details on upcoming holiday activities at Energise are available from the Shine webpages.

Activities can be booked by calling Energise on (01904) 552424, or visiting the centre in person. Cash, cheque and most credit or debit cards are accepted and payment must be made on booking.

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Consultation starts on Askham Bar park and ride changes

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Residents can now find the consultation documents, about the layout of the new park and ride sites, on the Councils web site.

The access arrangements for the site at Askham Bar are considerably more complex than the original roundabout plan. However the entrance is still beyond the Tadcaster Road/ Sim Balk Lane junction and should have the effect of removing a lot of the incoming traffic which currently clogs up the Tesco roundabout.

There may be concerns about having 2 pelican crossings and two sets of traffic lights in Tadcaster Road all in the space of less than 1/4 mile. Outgoing traffic queues may, as a result, be worse during the evening peak.

Residents have until March to make their views known

Dringhouses and Woodthorpe ward committee budget – ballot results

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Residents recently voted on how they would like to see the Ward Committee budget allocated for the next 12 months. The results are reproduced above.

It is unclear how much money will be available for this activity during the next financial year, although cuts have been forecast.

We will publish the final list on this web site when the budget allocation has been decided.