Local democracy during coronavirus

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Agenda item

Main meeting 7-8:30pm

·        Introductions

·        Selection of the Ward Planning Panel

·        Talk York consultation – have your say and help shape the future of York

·        Supporting volunteers – what can the ward do to encourage and support volunteering

·        Ward budget update – an update on recently funded projects

·        Have your say

Minutes:

1.    WELCOME AND INTRODUCIONS

The meeting was chaired by Cllr Fenton who welcomed everyone and set out the agenda for the meeting.

 

2.    SELECTION OF THE WARD PLANNING PANEL

The role of the Ward Planning Panel was explained by Michael Thornton, the Panel Secretary.  The Panel currently comprises six members and meets every three weeks for approximately one hour (which includes tea and biscuits).  New members of the Panel with an interest in buildings within the ward would be very welcome and no particular expert knowledge is required.  A variety of issues pertaining to local buildings and land are addressed (i.e. how to adaptations to semi-detached properties, requests to fell trees etc). A weekly document is also circulated to members.

 

Cllr Fenton confirmed that members can be co-opted throughout the year and thanked the Panel for their commitment.  Following a show of hands by the residents Margaret Silcock, Fiona Barclay, Phillip Metcalfe, Ann Gray, Michael Thornton and Julie Ainsworth were selected.

 

3.    TALK YORK CONSULTATION

Claire Foale and Katie Porter-Smith led a detailed interactive discussion regarding future developments in York.  Claire Foale emphasised the importance of engaging with residents in the process in order to ascertain how they felt about York as a city (both now as well as in the future) with the aim of reaching a consensus about how best to attract inward investment and opportunities.   She went on to explain how York is at an historic moment as a considerable amount of funding is being invested in order to enhance and enrich the city (e.g. York Central, Castle Gateway and improvements to the Guildhall).  She also emphasised several positive achievements involving York residents such as:

·         Developing alternatives to plastic

·         Testing driverless vehicles

·         Projects combating malaria

·         Innovations in food technology and bioscience

·         Improving soil quality

·         Film events (i.e. Aesthetica)

·         Young entrepreneurs

·         Smart Travel Evolution Programme (STEP)

 

Residents were then asked to write down three adjectives (positive and/or negative) which best described how they felt about York.  These included:-

 

Positive

Cycle Friendly

Desirable Location

Friendly

Good Schools/University

Historic City

Tourist Attraction

Racecourse

Vibrant

Welcoming

Negative

Anti-social Behaviour

Crowded/Overpopulated

Dirty Streets

Expensive Housing

Inadequate Amenities (i.e. No Bus Station)

Inequality

Lack of Opportunities

Neglected (Shop Closures/Footpaths)

Traffic Congestion

 

There followed a lengthy and engaging interactive discussion and included the following comments:-

 

Racecourse – York Racecourse is an important asset and serves all ages.

 

Welcoming – Cllr Fenton and Claire Foale both commented on how welcoming local people were.

 

Anti-social Behaviour - If York was only known for drunks and alcohol then shame on York.

 

Expensive Housing   - There are too many luxury apartments, high rents and not enough affordable housing.

 

Inadequate Amenities - There is poor transport interchange, no bus station, poor bus service and not enough cycle lanes. 

 

Inequality – Cllr Fenton considered York to be a place of inequality with regard to opportunities and earnings.  There was also a disparity between schools

Lack of Opportunities – Cllr Mason commented on York’s failure to keep tech businesses. Another resident lamented the lack of manufacturing in York and felt that office space just moved money around. 

 

Neglected – York has lost its character and needs modernising.  Pavements are uneven and in poor state of repair.  There are also too many closed shops and the centre of York is appalling.  Why would people want to walk down empty streets?  As Coney Street doesn’t get much sun, why can’t the shop fronts be moved to the riverside and accessed via a river walkway?

 

Traffic Congestion – There are too many traffic lights which slow down traffic.  When they aren’t working – perfect!

 

Claire Foale thanked everyone for their comments.

 

She went on to say that York has a highly skilled workforce.  Although forty-eight per cent of residents have degrees or higher qualifications, there are not enough higher paid jobs.  However, the proposed development of (Grade A) commercial space will lead to the creation of over 6,000 higher paid jobs.  There are also plans to build two thousand five hundred new homes on York Central (twenty per cent of which will be affordable housing) http://www.yorkcentral.info/2019/06/20/secretary-of-states-decision-not-to-call-in-york-centrals-planning-decision/

 

She confirmed future council consultations will address issues on how older people can live well in the city as well as My City Centre consultation which will look at what we want from our high streets.

She referred to the Lowfield Site in Westfield and the building of a new residential care home https://www.york.gov.uk/downloads/file/14645/proposed_lowfield_development_masterplan_in_planning_application_1702429outm

 

Claire Foale went on to discuss Castle Gateway (which will involve the Clifford’s Tower car park being relocated to St George’s Field and the construction of a new town square equivalent with additional commercial units), York Station Frontage (which will involve the removal of Queen Street Bridge to make way for improved accessfor all vehicle types, and reveal currently hidden parts of the city walls) and the Community Stadium which will generate approximately three hundred jobs on completion.  This generated the following queries from residents:-

 

 York Station Frontage (which will involve the removal of Queen Street Bridge to make way for a new public space) and the Community Stadium which will generate approximately three hundred jobs on completion.  This generated the following queries from residents:-

 

Question:  A resident asked why the Ryedale Building in Piccadilly had been left empty for so long and then turned into residential apartments (instead of offices). 

 

Answer:  Claire Foale confirmed that Ryedale House is being converted into residential apartments as it was not considered to of a standard high enough to be Grade A office space.

 

Question:  A couple of residents asked why there was a lack of manufacturing in York as they believed that increased revenue would come into York if more land was made available for manufacturing.

 

Answer:  Claire Foale agreed that this is a difficult issue but that industry across the country has changed, that York doesn’t have enough land for large manufacturing businesses and as one resident pointed out, there are different types of manufacturing now which is more tech-based and uses smaller premises. 

 

Question:  A resident wanted to know whether the proposed new care home on Lowfield site included nursing care.

 

Answer:  An 80 bed residential care home is being built on Lowfield Green

 

Question: One resident asked for information about what affordable homes really means when you can get houses for much less out of York?

 

Answer: Claire Foale said the council have shared a table explaining the amounts you would pay for shared ownership and/or market value and has added below

 

 

Question:  Several residents wanted to know how to access York Central, how to accommodate the buses and whether there would be (covered) cycle stands. 

 

Answer:  Claire Foale confirmed that with the removal of Queen Street Bridge, access to and around the station frontage would be easier, the buses would be relocated past the existing station and Covered cycle stands would be for the railway station owners (LNER) to confirm.York Central Partnership covers access to the new site by different vehicles in its ‘Your Questions Answered’series.

 

Question:  One resident expressed deep concerns about York Central (which he felt was a hugely risky venture).

 

Answer:  Claire Foale stated that the risk of not getting enough or suitable commercial occupiers had helped lead to this consultation and that this was residents chance to get involved and help shape a story that attracts the businesses York wants and needs.

 

Question:  Several residents were keen to promote environmental issues (including better recycling and more attractive green spaces). A query was also raised as to why residents needed to separate recycling into different boxes if the refuse collectors just tipped everything into the same container within the refuse lorries.

 

Answer – Claire Foale confirmed that City of York Council recycles high grade plastic and incinerates everything else.  Waste is sent to Allerton Waste Recovery Park in North Yorkshire. This includes receiving household waste which is taken through the mechanical treatment plant to remove metal and plastics for recycling, any left over waste is incinerated which produces steam to feed electricity to supply 40,000 homes. Organic waste is also treated through anaerobic digestion, which generates biogas renewable electricity too.   Nothing goes to landfill in York, as this site closed earlier this year.  Harewood Whin Landfill Site has now been turned into a wildflower meadow. 

https://www.york.gov.uk/info/20010/waste_and_recycling/642/waste_strategy

Cllr Fenton had already queried the separate recycling issue and confirmed that as far as he is aware paper, cans, plastic and glass all go into separate slave bins.

.

At this point, Claire Foale asked residents to consider how they would describe York in light of the discussion.  Responses included:-

 

·         Environmentally Friendly

·         High Profile

·         Shouting loud and proud about the good things York has to offer

 

4.    SUPPORTING VOLUNTEERS

Due to lack of time, Cllr Fenton suggested deferring the discussion of supporting volunteers until the next scheduled meeting.  In the meantime, however, he asked residents to let him know of any suggested activities they would like to be involved in and (regarding current volunteers) to let him know of any concerns relating to their volunteering activities.

 

5.    WARD BUDGET UPDATE

Cllr Fenton confirmed a capital budget of £55,964 (spread over a four year period 2019-23) and revenue  budget of £19,585 (2019 – 2020).  He went on to explain the Housing Environment Improvement Programme (HEIP) the aim of which is to enhance the local environment for the benefit of City of York Council housing tenants. 

 

Grants Awarded (successful bids from community voluntary groups)

Musical Connections - £900.00

Revival Residents Community Association - £250.00

Woodthorpe York Community Group - £592.40

Mayfield Community Trust - £286.00

Dringhouses Scouts - £2,350

The Occasions Choir - £1,020.00

Total £5,398.40

 

Schemes to Commission

York City Knights Foundation and York City Football Club Foundation Summer Holiday Activities - £2,000

Repairs to Community Notice Boards - £195.00

Leeside Playground Improvements - TBC

Tree Pruning and Planting - TBC

Contribution to Housing Environmental Improvement Schemes - TBC

Invest to Save Verge Edging Works - TBC (Cllr Fenton suggested investing in some tools and requesting assistance from Community Payback in collaboration with residents).

 

Capital Scheme Ideas

Off Road Parking (Wain's Road and North Lane) - TBC

Widen Entrance to Highmoor Close - TBC

Complete Little Hob Moor Path Resurfacing - TBC

Bollards (Planting to Protect Wain’s Road Verge) - TBC

New Street Lights - TBC

Resurface Snicket from Glenridding to Summerfield Road - TBC

Accessible Barrier at Dringhouses Snicket - TBC

 

Next Steps

Visits are planned to assess potential tree planting sites.

Visits to sites for potential capital/HEIP investment are planned for August 2019.

Feasibility needs to be established and quotes prepared.

 

6.    HAVE YOUR SAY

Cllr Fenton started this part of the meeting by asking some residents from Silverdale Court to comment on any anti-social behaviour.

 

Question:  A resident from Silverdale Court confirmed that nuisance behaviour included children climbing on car ports, taking drugs and behaving aggressively towards other residents.  However, he also felt that there had been a reduction in anti–social behaviour since the police were called out at the end of June 2019 and emphasised the importance of contacting the police each time in order to register the incident.  He also said that the police had been very supportive and asked whether anyone else from the wider Woodthorpe area had experienced anti-social behaviour.

 

Answer:  A resident replied that a friend who lived in Dringhouses had experienced children being rude and knocking on doors.  Cllr Fenton confirmed that any information received was shared with the police.

 

Question:  A resident reported obscene graffiti on the new play area on Nelsons Lane.

 

Answer:  Cllr Fenton acknowledged that this was very disappointing, particularly as £32,000 had recently been spent on the play area. He also confirmed that the police were aware of the graffiti.

 

Question:  Another resident asked whether erecting a bogus CCTV to act as a deterrent would be possible.

 

Answer:  Cllr Fenton replied that he would look into this. 

 

Question:  A resident wanted to know how to reclaim the pavements from overhanging holly and greenery which she felt was dangerous.  Another resident also commented on the potentially hazardous cycle lane at the Tesco Roundabout which had also become hazardous due to excessive foliage.

 

Answer:  Cllr Fenton suggested sending photographs to City of York Council who would arrange to cut it back if the vegetation was on council land. Otherwise, the householders whose vegetation was overhanging would receive a letter asking them to cut it back.  He also assured her that Ashfield Court Management Committee had confirmed that any overhanging foliage would be dealt with imminently. 

 

Question:  A resident wanted to know what was going to happen to Woodthorpe Post Office.

 

Answer:  Cllr Fenton replied that there were unconfirmed reports that the owners of Micklegate Post Office had expressed an interest (although this has yet to be verified).

 

Question:  A resident raised concerns regarding parents leaving their engines running outside Woodthorpe Primary School and parking on zigzag lines.

 

Answer:  Cllr Fenton mentioned a recent anti –idling day (which included some press publicity) in an attempt to increase public awareness.  Unfortunately, when he had previously challenged drivers they responded negatively.  Although it would not be cost-effective to have enforcement officers outside every school, the idea of mobile CCTV was discussed as a possibility.  City of York Council also has a parking hotline on the website.  Cllr Fenton also discussed the Community Speed Watch scheme which will shortly be coming to Grassholme and Alness Drive. In addition, there has been an influx of requests from residents living in Middlethorpe Grove due to a couple of cats being killed recently.  Cllr Fenton confirmed that training would be provided for residents keen to be involved in the scheme.

 

Michal Czekajlo added that some schools have a dedicated member of staff who liaises with parents about transport and parking outside the school issues.

 

Cllr Mason confirmed a public meeting at St James the Deacon Parish Church on 18/07/2019 to discuss Silverdale Court.

 

Cllr Fenton then thanked everyone for coming.

 

The meeting ended at 20:50 hrs.

 

Supporting documents:

 

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