Local democracy during coronavirus

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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Dunnington Methodist Church

Contact: Cindy Benton  Community Involvement Officer

No. Item


Ward Resident Drop In

·         An opportunity for residents to chat to your Ward Cllrs and the Police



Local residents were given the opportunity to speak informally with Councillor Rowley and Councillor Warters prior to the main meeting.




Main Meeting 7pm


The meeting was chaired by Councillor Rowley who welcomed everyone and set out the agenda.   He introduced Sgt Victoria Lowery, PCSO Jason Brooks and Cindy Benton (and made a point of thanking Cindy for her hard work and positive input).  He was also encouraged by the number of residents in attendance.



Police Update

There will be an update from the local Policing team and residents will have the opportunity to raise any issues in the ward


Sgt Lowery confirmed that since June 2019 the Neighbourhood Team had made 800 visits to the area with the main crime being identified as online fraud.  Consequently, PCSO Brooks offered to provide fraud prevention advice and support to residents if required.  Seven calls relating to anti-social behaviour had also been made and residents were reminded to call 101 in the event of any further (non-emergency) incidents. 


One resident asked what constituted a visit.  Sgt Lowery and PCSO Brooks confirmed that a house call or a patrol through the area (if the police vehicle stopped for longer than ten minutes) were recorded as one visit.  The majority of patrols involved a PCSO either on a bike or on foot.


Concerns were raised with regard to a local traveller site and the fact that several vehicles with no apparent tax or insurance had been seen being driven around the area.  Although these sightings had previously been reported approximately two months ago nothing seemed to have been done since then.  Councillor Warters commented that the traveller vehicles moved on a daily basis so were likely to have been driven illegally (which was a police matter).  There followed a further discussion about identifying whether a vehicle was legally roadworthy by checking the DVLS website.  Sgt Lowery said she would discuss the matter with her colleagues in the Traffic Enforcement Team as they had all the relevant information. 

One resident raised concerns with regard to incidents of speeding in Dunnington (particularly near the railway bridge).  Sgt Lowery confirmed that residents could apply to the Traffic Enforcement Team for an assessment as to whether a speed camera would be an appropriate deterrent.  Councillor Rowley said that from previous experience he considered Community Speed Watch (using hand held speed detection devices) to be an effective deterrent. There was also a discussion about the 30mph limit sign (which had been relocated against the wishes of Dunnington Parish Council before being subsequently moved back to its original position on Common Road following an accident).   Residents felt that they had been hampered with regard to traffic issues and that the VAS (vehicle activated sign) had been damaged, it has now been agreed by CYC that the VAS is to be replaced using Highways budget.


Sgt Lowery was asked by one resident whether it was appropriate to have vehicle lights on all the time when driving.  Sgt Lowery confirmed that it was important to be well lit between dawn and dusk but it was not necessary during daylight hours (except in conditions of poor visibility).  She went on to say that cyclists without lights or high visibility clothing were an ongoing problem.


Another resident raised a query as to whether the police would be able to locate properties in more rural areas (i.e. in Holtby) where local police knowledge may be limited.  Sgt Lowery gave assurance that their mapping systems were very accurate (even in the absence of numbered properties).


Councillor Rowley commented on a recent (positive) meeting with Inspector Lee  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Feedback on Ward Grants

Feedback from some local community groups that have received ward grants this year


Councillor Rowley provided an update on local grants and schemes and encouraged residents to apply for funding if they had any projects which they felt would enhance and benefit the local community.


A representative from Holtby Parish Council confirmed that they had received funding for planters to be installed in the village.


A representative from Dunnington Playing Fields Association explained the benefits of having local sports facilities (in terms of both physical as well as mental health), particularly with regard to young people.  He went on to say that Dunnington Sports Club was integral in occupying and nurturing young people and that local volunteers had “worked their socks off” to achieve this.  He also added that the installation of CCTV had kept anti-social behaviour to a minimum.  He thanked Councillor Rowley, Councillor Warters, Cindy Benton and local volunteers for their support with regard to the restoration of Dunnington playing field following an infestation of chafer grubs as well as damage created by crows and rabbits.  He showed photographs to residents of the poor state of the playing field prior to the restoration.   The representative was, in turn, thanked for his contribution to the community by another resident.


Although a representative from Kexby Parish Council was unable to attend, Councillor Rowley confirmed that funding had been awarded for a new notice board which enhanced the village.


A member of Dunnington Methodist church then referred to their weekly cinema club (attended by approximately fifty residents) as well as children’s activities which will be greatly enhanced by a new loop system and projector for which they were very grateful.


A representative from Dunnington Parish Council also mentioned the new crisp packet recycling bin which had recently been installed in the village.


Finally, concerns were raised by a resident with regard to confusing recycling procedures.  Councillor Warters compared York’s poor recycling target with that of East Riding and Councillor Rowley said he would raise this issue with City of York Council.




Ward Budgets

Cllrs will give an update on the ward budgets available and ask for any ward improvement suggestions from Residents


Councillor Rowley proceeded to discuss current ward budgets.  In addition, he confirmed that £6,800 (spread over four years) would be allocated to the Housing Estate Improvement Programme (HEIP), the aim of which was to improve council properties.  He also confirmed that Cherry Tree Court had benefitted from some nice planters and thanked Councillor Warters for being proactive in his quest to obtain several planters throughout the ward.


Revenue             2019 - 2020

Dunnington          £16,356

Holtby                  £841

Kexby                  £1,107

Murton                 £3,000

Osbaldwick          £15,312


Highways           2019 - 2023

Dunnington          £38,449

Holtby                  £1,979

Kexby                  £2,604

Murton                 £7,053

Osbaldwick          £35,994


1.    GRANTS AWARDED 2019 - 2020

·         Dunnington Methodist Church - £2,500 to purchase new projector and accessories

·         Dunnington Parish Council - £285 to purchase a crisp packet recycling bin at the park on Intake Lane

·         Dunnington Parish Council - £300 for flower barrels on Garden Flats Lane

·         Dunnington Parish Council - £600 for repairs and securing of the shed at the Undergate Field Allotments

·         Dunnington Playing Fields - £1,500 for upkeep of the playing field which needs spraying to stop the damage caused by chafer grubs.

·         Holtby Parish Council - £524 for planters

·         Kexby Parish Council - £1,980 for replacement notice board

·         Murton Parish Council - £1,600 for street light embellishment kits

·         Murton Parish Council - £600 for replacement fingerpost sign

·         Walking for Health - £100 for continuation of Health walks from Dunnington and Holtby



·         Streetlight scheme in Meadlands, Osbaldwick - £1,557

·         Metcalfe Lane repairs - £571

·         Improve parking area at Farndale Avenue Shops – estimated £10,000




Have Your Say

Residents have the opportunity to raise any local issues or concerns with Ward Cllrs


Residents were then invited to raise any other queries or concerns. 


Councillor Rowley acknowledged that Hagg Wood was a very emotive and contentious issue and understood the frustrations evident within the community.  Nevertheless, he respectfully asked residents to express their views in a measured and considerate manner.   He also explained that representatives from the Public Rights of Way Team (PROW) from City of York Council had been requested to attend the meeting but had refused.  Consequently, there were two vacant seats next to Councillor Rowley and Councillor Warters (with a copy of the Ombudsman’s report strategically placed on one of them).


Councillor Rowley acknowledged that the closure of the gate on a lane leading to Hagg Wood (which had come under new ownership in recent weeks) had inconvenienced and upset many residents.  The current owners (who he said had no wish to upset residents) had been advised by their legal representatives to lock the gate (due to liability issues) until a decision was made with regard to public access.  Councillor Rowley further stated that he would be more than happy to arrange a meeting with all the relevant parties in an attempt to resolve the matter as soon as possible.


One of the residents was disgusted and appalled that representatives from the Public Rights of Way Team were absent from the meeting.  She could not understand why the current owners had made the decision to lock the gate and why they had not explained their decision to the residents.  For the purposes of democracy and transparency she believed that they should have attended the meeting to explain their actions.  She also expressed her significant distress with regard to the situation which had created a toxic atmosphere and real sense of disenfranchisement within the village which she had not known in over twenty years.  Councillor Rowley said that the owners were aware of residents’ concerns but felt that it was the responsibility of the Public Rights of Way Team to clarify issues and progress matters.


Another resident was angered by the impact the closure had on people with impaired vision or mobility who were unable to gain access to Hagg Wood.


Confusion over parking on Intake Lane and Hagg Lane was also flagged up as well as the poor state of the road surface.  There was a sense of general frustration with City of York Council due to the impasse.


Various ideas were raised by several residents in an attempt to find solutions to the issue of liability.  These included: -


·         Purchasing the freehold land by the Forestry Commission in order to facilitate a dedicated right of way;

·         Setting up a creation agreement by City of York Council;

·         Extending Parish Council insurance.


One resident suggested accessing the Natural England website as a potential source of useful information particularly relating to public rights of way.


Another resident asked how long it would take for the legal issues to be resolved.  Councillor Rowley said he was unsure at this stage but was keen  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


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