Local democracy during coronavirus

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Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Melbourne Centre, Escrick Street

Contact: Cindy Benton 

No. Item


Drop-in Surgery

The drop-in surgery will give you the opportunity to talk to your councillors, your ward team and visiting speakers informally before the meeting.




1.1       Residents had the opportunity to talk to Cllr. Andy D’Agorne, Cllr Dave Taylor, Kay Bailey and Michal Czekajlo from Neighbourhood Management Unit, Mark Hebblethwaite from Street Environment Team, Andrew Flecknor from Electoral Services, Robin McGinn from Persimmon Homes and Sally Cawthorn from  Major Development Projects and Initiatives Team.


1.2    Swap Shop took place in the surgery area. Residents displayed unwanted gifts, toys, books, clothes and other items on the tables provided and swapped items with each other.


Welcome and Minutes



2.1    Jonathan Tyler, Independent Chair introduced himself, ward councillors and invited speakers to the meeting.


2.2    Housekeeping and fire safety information were presented to the meeting.


2.3    Minutes from October 2011 meeting and evaluation forms were provided for all attendees.


Saver Neighbourhood Police Team

Officers from your local Safer Neighbourhood Team will give an update on the work they’ve been doing in the ward and take your questions.




 3.1   Kay Bailey, Neighbourhood Management Unit passed apologies on behalf of Fishergate Safer Neighbourhood Team. No one could attend the meeting, as the entire team was involved in issuing warrants on that evening. 


3.2    The following update was provided by PC Andrew Thompson and read out by Kay Bailey.

The Fishergate ward has seen a drop in crime compared to this time last year.  Crime over all has dropped by 8.07% compared with this time last year which means there has been 47 fewer victims of crime. 

Theft from motor vehicles has dropped by 53%, Criminal damage has dropped by 47% and violent crime has dropped by 10%.  Over the past 4 months house burglary had increased in the Wellington Street area so your Safer Neighbourhood Team targeted patrols there and we have now seen a drop in crime by 24% compared to this time last year. 

Your Safer Neighbourhood team remain committed to reducing crime and the fear of crime and will continue to proactively patrol the ward.  In response to the increase of burglaries the Safer Neighbourhood Team have launched Operation WHISPER which will target the persons believed to be responsible for committing these crimes and also make it harder for them to sell the stolen property.

Operation WICKER has been developed to combat Anti Social Behaviour in and around the Fishergate Ward and this will continue to run until the end of the year when it will be reviewed.  The main areas that OP WICKER target are Wenlock Terrace, Millennium Bridge, Ordnance Lane, Low Moor & Kilburn allotments.  The team will also patrol any area that appears to be having an emerging problem with ASB.


3.3    Cllr. Dave Taylor offered to make a note of any issues that need addressing and forward them to the Police. 


3.4    Cllr. D’Agorne spoke about his visit to the Police HQ control room earlier that day.

          New non emergency 101 number is now operating. It enables residents to contact particular officer directly. 

At this point minutes of the October meeting were ratified and signed. 




Germany Beck Proposed Development Update

Representatives from City of York Council City Development Team and Persimmon Homes will give the latest update on Germany Beck site development.



4.1    Robin McGinn, Persimmon Homes gave an update on the site development. Map of the development was presented to the meeting.


4.2    Outline planning approval was granted by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in 2007 for 700 residential houses development.

All other matters were reserved for subsequent approval. The outline planning permission granted the principle of development. This reserved matters application will seek approval of the detailed design elements of the proposal (appearance, landscaping, layout or scale). 

          Public consultations on the reserved matters application will start on Monday 6th February 2012.


4.4    The outline approval was granted subject to 36 conditions, covering the following areas:

·        Information required as part of the subsequent reserved matters approval;

·        Completion of landscaping works;

·        Open Space;

·        Germany Beck Nature Park;

·        Archaeology;

·        Environmental Protection;

·        Flooding and Drainage;

·        Design and Layout;

·        Highway matters;

·        Materials.


4.5    The reserved matters application will be open to public comment. Any such comments should focus on the details and information submitted as part of the application. Comments that could not be taken into account in the consideration of a reserved matters application are in relation to the principle of residential development of the site, the means of access to it from the A19 and matters that would be dealt with through the conditions on the outline approval, such as flood measures, the scheme for the Germany Beck Nature Park, and archaeology.


4.6    Developers held a pre-application consultation event on Friday 9th December, in the Old Library Room, Fulford.


4.7    For more information regarding consultation please contact Hannah Blackburn on 01904 551325, or e-mail Hannah.blackburn@york.gov.uk


Residents were given opportunity to raise questions.


Q       Will the access to the site be considered in the reserved matters application?

A       Matter of the access to the site from the A19 was already dealt with by the outline planning application, therefore will not be considered under reserved matters application.


Q       Potential of 700 or more cars coming from the site every day will affect the traffic on A19. Will that not be looked at now?

A       Matter of the access from A19 was already dealt with by the outline planning application. Technical design of the junction and traffic lights location will be looked at the later stage.


Q       What is the next stage after reserved matters application for putting that project in place?

A       Once the reserved matters application is successful, detailed access issues will be looked at in May/June 2012. We should be able to bottom that down before the end of the year.


Q       Will the impact of the development on  traffic quantity coming to Fishergate be considered under the reserved matters application?

A       That was one of the key issues we had to address. It was already dealt with by the outline planning application and doesn’t form part of the reserved matters application.


At this point Cllr. Dave Taylor stated that the concern about  impact on  traffic in Fishergate was raised while outline planning application was considered; nevertheless that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Ward Boundaries Review

Andrew Flecknor, Electoral Services Manager, will speak about ward boundaries review and take your questions.



5.1    Andrew Flecknor, Electoral Services Manager spoke about ward boundaries review.


5.2       Periodic electoral review is undertaken by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England.

They are independent to Government and political parties and directly accountable to Parliament through the Speaker’s Committee.

The LGBCE are responsible for reviewing local authority electoral arrangements, administrative boundaries and structure.

Their recommendations are presented to Parliament for implementation by an Order.


5.3    The aim of the LGBCE is to ensure that each council represents approximately the same number of electors.

Criteria for starting an electoral review are where:

·        30% of wards have an electoral variance of more than 10% from the average.

·        One ward has an electoral variance more than 30% from the


York has one current ward with an electoral variance of -32% from the average that is Fulford Ward.


5.4    York last had a review of its electoral arrangements in 2001. The number of councillors was altered to 47 with 22 wards.

An Order came in force for the 2003 local elections.


5.5    The review will decide the pattern of wards for the entire city.

The LGBCE will decide the total number of councillors, total number of wards, names and boundaries of the wards.


5.6    The review criteria:

·        Electoral equality

o   Optimum number of electors per councillor;

o   Five year forecast of elector growth;

o   Enacted for the next local elections;

·        Community identity,

o   Parishes as building blocks;

o   Strong boundaries;

·        Effective and convenient local government

o   Coherent wards with good internal transport links.


5.7    Types of electoral reviews:

·        Type A – no expectation of change in council  size (26 to 30 weeks);

·        Type B –  expectation that any change in council size will be small (42 to 50 weeks);

·        Type C – expectation that a change in council size could be substantial (52 to 62 weeks).


5.8    The review stages:

·        Preliminary stage 6 to 8 weeks (April 2012) and it includes Council size discussion and submissions on the proposed number of councillors.

·        Information gathering stage 10 weeks. At this stage warding patterns will be invited from anyone interested. Commission will publish draft recommendations.

·        Open consultation on draft recommendations 10 to 12 weeks. Representations from public and interested parties can be made.

·        Commission publishes final recommendations. Final recommendations will be implemented by an Order in the Houses of Parliament.


5.9    What next?

          Further information can be found on the LGBCE website.




City of York Council will have a webpage providing information by the end of March 2012.


Residents were given opportunity to raise questions.


Q       If one or two wards are above/below threshold why entire York has to go through the review?

A       The review of entire York has to take place every 10 years.


Q       How do you engage students in the review?

A       We have access to York University, York St John University and Askham Bryan College students registered for voting list.


At this point Cllr. Dave Taylor observed that York population has increased over the last 10  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


City of York Council and Ward Budgets

The ward committee will speak about the budget process and field any questions about ward committee budgets.




6.1    Cllr. Dave Taylor explained to the meeting that the next year ward budget is unknown at this point in time, as ward budgets and possible cuts will be decided at the Full Council budget meeting on 23rd February 2012.

          Cllr. Andy D’Agorne along with other party leaders will meet with Cllr. James Alexander on 3rd February 2012 to hear what the budget proposals are.

          Those proposals will be made public on Monday 6th February 2012.

          The council’s budget for the next two years will be decided on 23rd February. It is highly unlikely that alternate approach to the budget will be considered and the proposal presented by the ruling group will be approved.

Central Government has offered to the Council a grant which will allow council tax to be frozen in 2012/2013. However accepting that offer means further cuts and/or council tax increase in year 2013/2014.


The following questions were raised.


Q       What is the Council total budget?

A       It is around £150m and the savings of £19m have to be found. Schools will not be affected by the budget cuts.


Q       What is the reasonable percentage of council tax increase?

A       Around 3.5%, as the higher increase would trigger referendum to decide whether people want the increase. The Fairness Commission recommendation is to increase council tax somewhere between 3.5% and 6%.


Q       Will the ward committee funds be affected by the cuts?

A         We don’t have the definite answer at this point in time, but are aware of the proposal to slash ward budgets substantially. It will all be clear after the Full Council budget meeting on 23rd February.


Q         This meeting was badly advertised, does it mean ward committee meetings will discontinue?

A         We do not believe that ward committee meetings will discontinue. Previously we had Your Ward advertising those meetings. As a result of budget savings the last edition was merged with Your Voice, which is a citywide publication. We have anticipated the issue and advertised this meeting in our newsletter.


Q       I would like for ward committee meetings to continue, but I am less convinced about the schemes voting process. The outcome of the voting should be made public.

A       It has always been publicised, only the outcome of the last year voting wasn’t. We always go along with the outcome of the public consultation when deciding about ward budget spending. Sometimes schemes that were going to go ahead did not due to various reasons, such as feasibility, or legality. Good example here is the Walmgate Stray signage scheme that still hasn’t happened despite the amount of £2000 committed towards it from the ward budget.


Residents were offered feedback forms to provide their comments.






Have Your Say!

Your opportunity to raise questions not covered in the agenda.



Residents were given opportunity to raise question about the issues that were not covered by the agenda items.


Q       Steps leading from Grange Garth to New Walk were damaged by the recent flood. Could you arrange for them to be repaired?

A       It will be looked at.


Q       Could the flashing signs warning drivers to reduce their speed be installed near Fishergate Primary? Has the review of 20mph zone taken place?

A       The cost of one sign is around £70,000. We are afraid that due to the current budget cuts that will not be possible.

          The response we were given from Council officers is that the entire 20mph zone scheme is being looked at currently. That matter will be pursued by us.


Q       At the last meeting I have asked if it would be possible to remove the barrier on Alma Terrace, as it is obstructing the pavement. Will anything be done about that?

A       That idea was put forward as a scheme suggestion, but was not supported by residents. After the removal of that barrier alternative method to discourage motorcyclists of going there would have to be found.

Q       I wrote to Andy Vose from the Council regarding that barrier and received a reply that there is no issue with motorcyclists using that part of pavement.

A       There could be safety issues attached to that corner part of the pavement leading to New Walk. If the barrier was to be removed we might need to look at other measures to be put in place.  


Q       I oppose to the new Monks Cross development. Who should I address my concerns with?

A       Please write to Michael Jones, officer in Development Team who deals with that issue. Your comments and objections on that proposed development are vital.




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