HMO planning application update

An application to re-designate a property in Wains Road as a ‘House in Multiple Occupation’ has been withdrawn.

HMO application withdrawn for 146 Wains Rd

HMO application withdrawn for 146 Wains Rd






The application made for 146 Wains Road, and a similar application made for 8 Leven Road, attracted a number of comments on the council’s online Planning portal. The application for Leven Road remains live.

The property at 146 Wains Road now has a ‘To Let’ sign in the front garden.

Homeless young people Enable older pair to make their first move in 40 years.

To help a mother and daughter move home for the first time in 40 years, City of York Council and SASH, a charity for homeless young people, will be decorating the pair’s new council flat.

City of York Council’s 60+ Housing Advice Service and SASH are delighted to announce their fifth Enable Project. Enable brings together young people who have experienced homelessness and are now part of the SASH supported lodgings scheme, and older people who are working with the 60+ housing service. The older people may be experiencing difficulties with decorating or gardening, and the young people may need to learn these skills for when they have their own home – as well as getting a taste of volunteering. The older people get to pass on their skills and knowledge while getting a much-needed job done, and both young and old enjoy gallons of tea and tonnes of biscuits!

The project is also supported by Homebase, with staff from the York store helping out on the makeover days and sharing their DIY expertise with the young people, along with donating much-appreciated decorating materials.

The council’s 60+ Housing Specialist has been working with Thelma Wright, aged 86, and her daughter Sally for over a year, as they made the difficult decision to move from the house where they have lived in for over 40 years, into a flat in council’s sheltered accommodation at Barstow House.

Thelma Wright said: “We’ve decided the flat will be much easier to manage and it is an exciting new start for us. The Enable team will be going to help with the decorating, giving the whole place a lick of paint ready for our move.”

Esh Construction to complete Hob Moor homes

Hob Stone development 20th June 2015Yorkshire Housing has appointed new contractors to complete homes at three developments which had been on hold due to contractor Southdale Homes going into administration.

 Esh Construction will take over work at Hob Stone which is located off Windsor Garth in York.

Work on the site is expected to recommenced later in July. Some of the properties are expected to be occupied before the end of the year.

18 months ago, the development met a lot of opposition when it was revealed that the Labour Council would almost double the number of houses to be built on the former school site.

Since then, progress has been very slow with growing concerns about the development’s impact on the neighbouring Hob Moor nature area as well as pressures on local transport systems




Complaints about poor housing conditions in York increase to 318

…..but inspectors find only 14 hazards

Housing inspections - click to enlarge

Housing inspections – click to enlarge

Despite complaints about conditions in some privately rented homes in York increasing from 248 in 2012/13 to 318 in 2013/14, inspectors found fewer problems when they visited.

In the most recent year for which figures are available the number of “category 1″ hazards found were (previous year in brackets):

  • Damp and Mould – 2 (1)
  • Excess cold – 6 (17)
  • Overcrowding – 0 (0)
  • Falling hazards – 2 (9)
  • Fire – 4 (4)

Three improvement notices were issued by the Council along with 14 “hazard awareness notices”.

As well as 99 visits to privately rented accommodation, Inspectors visited 63 Houses in Multiple Occupation, 5 socially rented properties and 5 owner occupied homes.

The information was provided by the Council in response to a Freedom of Information request

Only 107 new affordable homes completed in York last year

The York Council continues to perform poorly in the provision of affordable homes in York. It has steadfastly refused to buy on the open market despite having a £15 million balance on its housing account.

In total, 345 additional homes were provided in the City during 2013/14. During the first 6 months of 2014/15, 235 homes were provided.

Housing completions 2014

click to enlarge

York Council homes sold under “right to buy”? (New Council homes completed)

  • 2010/11 = 10 (0)
  • 2011/12 = 6 (0)
  • 2012/13 = 24 (19)
  • 2013/14 = 53 (0)
  • 2014/15 (up to 1/12/14) = 39 (18)

Number on housing waiting list.

  • 2010/11 = 3294
  • 2011/12 = 3972
  • 2012/13 = 4692
  • 2013/14 = 2306 (eligibility change)
  • As at 20/01/15 = 1462

Over 2000 planning applications for housing have been approved during the last 18 months, with the vast majority for “brownfield” (previously developed) land

Liberal Democrat housing policy can be read here

Government boost for brownfield housing in York

York central site among 29 nationwide to be shortlisted for financial help.

York central site

York central site

Campaigners seeking to protect York’s Green Belt have welcomed a government initiative which could accelerate the development of housing on the York Central site.

Papers released on Friday suggest that it may be designated as a “Housing Zone”

Development of the site (behind the railway station) has been stalled since the start of the recession in 2008.

In 2011 the then LibDem led Council agreed a Local Plan which would have seen 1780 dwellings built on the site which enjoys excellent transport links and a full range of services within walking distance.

Although the Labour led Council has since tried to pare down that number, the government scheme could provide a big boost.

Most housing zones are expected to be big enough for between 750 and 2,000 homes. Successful bids were submitted by councils working with developers> They were invited to bid for a share of £200 million for infrastructure and land remediation to get their ideas off the ground.

Successful zones will  have access to cheaper borrowing from the Public Works Loan Board and priority access to expert planning and technical support from the ATLAS service run by the Homes and Communities Agency.

It remains to be seen whether the York site will be one of the 10 finally chosen to benefit from the additional funding.

Since the announcement was made on 8th January there has only been stony silence from the Councils Labour “leadership”.

More details of the scheme can be read on the government web site (click)

Old dog, old tricks?

Those looking for a change of approach from the “new” Labour leadership on the York Council will be disappointed by the content of reports being circulated with next weeks Council agendas.

Having already broken the long standing convention that no party political opinions should be published in Council documentation, both the outgoing Leader and Deputy Leader have produced reports which criticise their opponents or seeking to blame the Coalition for all the ills of the world.

So much then for any attempt at making a fresh start or reaching consensus. Some at least want to continue the confrontational approach which was rejected so comprehensively by electors in the October by-election

Overgrown garage area

Overgrown garage area

One report even seeks to blame the government for a reduction in the number of people registered to vote in the City!

More significantly it continues to turn a blind eye to the deteriorating condition of the infrastructure (right) on many Council estates in the City.

Cllr Alexander sadly has written his own epitaph by claiming “Liberal Democrats want no Local Plan or one that would fail Government requirements” In reality, a Local Plan agreed in 2011 which Labour tinkered with and then withdraw.

Liberal Democrats want a Local Plan which respects both the priorities of the City’s population and which seeks to preserve the unique qualities of the City. Labour’s plan to expand the size of the City by over 20% during the next 15 years satisfied neither of the tests.

Failure to produce a Local Plan which could attract the support of both the Council and the people of the City is a poor legacy to leave to your successor.

How many Labour Councillors does it take to change a light bulb?

Two Cabinet members are to be summoned to a meeting on 11th December to decide whether to include the Punch Bowl in on a list of properties subject to an article 4 direction.

A meeting in October rejected the request even though designation would only require any proposed change of use to be subject to a formal planning application.

The Cabinet members for Planning and for Finance are now being asked to remove permitted development rights by CAMRA who are backed by a 1200 signature petition.

Bus service cuts – no consultation planned

Residents will have to wait until early January before finding out which local bus services Labour plan to cut. A decision meeting would have aired the issue was to have taken place on 11th December. old bus

The issue has now been referred to a Cabinet meeting scheduled for 6th January 2015.

The Council has made it clear that they are not proposing to consult with passengers likely to be affected by any cuts.

New scheme announced to support the most vulnerable rough sleepers in York

On Tuesday 4 November, Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) is launching in York.

Whatever the weather this winter, and to give the most vulnerable rough sleepers safe shelter, on Tuesday 4 November,Arc Light and York Mind are launching Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) in York .

York – Number of residents accepted as homeless & numbers in temporary accommodation at year end
Year Accepted in temp. accom. at 31st March
2003/4 460 242
2004/5 424 259
2005/6 433 233
2006/7 214 207
2007/8 258 209
2008/9 208 167
2009/10 130 79
2010/11 183 94
2011/12 151 93
2012/13 146 99
2013/14 109 80
2014/15 Not available 65


Newbury Avenue development – Hob Moor fears

New Newbury development site layout, Click for large maps

New Newbury development site layout, Click for large maps

A new layout plan for the controversial 9 flat development on the garage area off Newbury Avenue has been published.

It is unlikely that many residents will have seen the plan as objectors have not been alerted to the changes.

The new layout increases the number of parking spaces to be provided to 16 with an additional 5 to be located on vacant land at the Newbury Drive/Windsor Garth junction.

This is the junction which is subject to ponding after heavy rain.

Unfortunately at the same time the Council has said that it won’t be acting quickly to deal with the lack of proper parking opposite Carlton House. Vehicles parking on the bend have caused the bus to mount the footpath on several occasions. It had been hoped that individual driveways for the house would have been provided across the green area with more parking for residents being constructed to the rear of the flats.

Poor drainage already a problem in Windsor Garth

Poor drainage already a problem in Windsor Garth

There is no news on where the occupants of the garages will park in future. It had been suggested that the Council should provide dropped kerbs/verge crossovers where the 24 garage occupants wanted to construct an alternative parking space in their gardens. This idea has not yet been taken forward.

The background papers for the development can be accessed by clicking here

The 3 storey buildings will prove eight 2 bedroomed flats and one single bedroomed unit. Access to each will be by an external walkway.

There are some big questions on drainage arrangements which are yet to be satisfactorily answered.

A report from the Councils protection unit concluded “Therefore, there is a plausible possibility that residual contaminants may be present onsite”. This arises from its former use as a waste disposal site in the 1950’s.

In a later objection the Unit expresses concern about methane gas levels in the area and says,

The soil sampling results identified elevated levels of lead, PAHs, arsenic and vanadium. Remedial work is therefore required, in order to ensure that the site is safe and suitable for its proposed use, and a remediation scheme must be submitted for our approval in due course”.

The ground conditions mean that piling will be required in the construction process.

It is expected that the application will be determined at a meeting which is scheduled to take place on 8th October.