Main meeting 19:00 - 20:30
· Selection of the Ward Planning Panel
· Presentation on the council’s approach to providing accommodation for young people in care – Amanda Hatton, Corporate Director – Children, Education and Communities
· Cold Calling Controlled Zones – Dawn Clarkson, Project Officer
· Ward budget – an update on projects funded in 2019
· Group discussion about ward priorities and use of ward funding in 2020
WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS
The meeting was chaired by Councillor Fenton who welcomed everyone and set out the agenda for the meeting as well as general housekeeping rules.
SELECTION OF THE WARD PLANNING PANEL
The role of the Ward Planning Panel was explained by Margaret Silcock, one of the five panel members who informed residents of their bi-monthly evening meetings (which also included refreshments). Panel members have the opportunity to comment on any local applications (ranging from tree preservation orders to house extensions) and their comments are then fed back to the City of York Council. Although existing members were keen to stand again, new members of the Panel would be very welcome and a request was made for anyone interested to provide their details at the end of the meeting. The current Panel members wishing to carry on are Margaret Silcock, Fiona Barclay, Philip Metcalfe, Ann Gray and Julie Ainsworth.
Councillor Fenton thanked the Panel for their commitment and dedication. He went on to say that the range of planning applications varied significantly and could range from an application for dormer windows to the proposed construction of several properties.
PRESENTATION ON CITY OF YORK COUNCIL’S APPROACH TO PROVIDING ACCOMODATION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE IN CARE (Amanda Hatton, Corporate Director – Children, Education and Communities)
Councillor Fenton then introduced Amanda Hatton who gave a presentation on the provision of accommodation for young people in care in York.
She confirmed that there were currently 251 young people in care in York, 90 per cent of whom lived with foster carers with only a small portion living in residential care. (When residents were asked to guess how many young people were in care in York, the answers ranged between 250- 500). Amanda Hatton went on to say that City of York Council had legal responsibility for these young people and was considered to be a ‘corporate parent’. Although there had recently been a significant increase in the number of foster carers recruited, they were still looking to increase the number even further.
Amanda Hatton then asked residents to suggest what they thought young people wanted from parents. Their responses included:-
• Good Food
She went on to say that according to a survey of young people in care, ‘Love’ came top of the list.
A six minute video was then shown involving some young adults from the care system in Lancashire who had written poignant, positive and life affirming letters to their younger selves regarding their previous experiences.
Amanda Hatton emphasised the importance of having local foster carers/residential homes in order to maintain close links with young people’s birth parents and their local community. She went on to explain the difficulty in finding suitable accommodation for the small numbers of young people in care. Although there was only one residential home in York, it was not large enough to accommodate six teenagers. Ideally, City of York Council would like at least two smaller family size homes; one accommodating 8-12 yrs olds and the other accommodating teenagers.
Amanda Hatton further explained that 90 per cent of their young people were from a white background with those aged 10-15 years comprising the largest age group. There were more boys than girls and most were subject to Care Orders.
She then outlined the legal framework and referred to the Children and Social Work Act 2017 which sets out corporate parenting principles within local authorities to ensure that due consideration is given to the impact of their work on young people in their care (including those under the age of 25 who were previously in care). A corporate parent has legal responsibility to:-
• Act in their best interests and promote their physical and mental health
• Encourage and take into account their expression of views, wishes and feelings
• Ensure access to services
• Promote high aspirations and seek to secure best outcomes
• Ensure safety and stability in their home lives, relationships and education or work
• Prepare them for adulthood and independent living
This legal framework was achieved by allocating a social worker for each young person and electing a panel of members with responsibility for looking after them. The needs of all young people were reviewed on an annual basis and regular OFSTED inspections undertaken.
At this point Amanda Hatton invited questions from residents.
Question: One resident expressed surprise at the lack of local residential care homes.
Answer: Amanda Hatton said it was difficult to find appropriate (and affordable) housing stock in York.
Question: Another resident asked what percentage of the 251 young people in care were in full-time education.
Answer: Amanda Hatton confirmed that all of the young people were in full-time education and that a significant number were doing very well (in spite of the setbacks encountered as a result of their previous disruptive and difficult life experiences).
Question: One resident asked whether Lime Trees was going to close.
Answer: Amanda Hatton said that Lime Trees (which provided therapeutic support for young people with mental health needs) was not closing and reiterated the importance of placing young people within their community in order to ensure access to local mental health facilities such as Lime Trees.
Councillor Fenton emphasised City of York Council’s commitment to providing support for these young people and the importance of raising awareness of this issue. He thanked Amanda Hatton for her input.
COLD CALLING CONTROLLED ZONES (Dawn Clarkson, Project Officer)
Councillor Fenton then welcomed the opportunity to discuss the issue of cold calling (particularly in light of the number of complaints he had received regarding aggressive traders) and introduced Dawn Clarkson.
Dawn Clarkson explained that cold calling zones in York were first set up in 2007. Any residents wishing to join the scheme could nominate their street as a potential cold calling zone which would involve displaying a designated sign on a lamppost at each end of the zone as well as visible stickers for residents to place in their properties. Although there had been a charge associated with the scheme since 2014, Councillor Fenton suggested that this could potentially be covered by the ward budget as the scheme promoted community safety.
Dawn Clarkson then informed residents that if any traders disregarded the signs, she should be notified so that the errant traders would receive a warning. If they made a second attempt we would look at any offences made because they had be given a warning.
Dawn Clarkson then invited residents to ask any questions.
Question: One resident queried whether a cold calling zone (which had previously been set up in 2007) was still valid even though the signs had fallen down.
Answer: Dawn Clarkson confirmed that the zone remained valid and that she would arrange for new signs to be installed if she was provided with further details.
Question: Another resident wanted to know whether young offenders were involved in any local trading schemes.
Answer: Dawn Clarkson replied that the local probation service did not run any local schemes. However, she did warn residents that some traders came from as far away as Middlesbrough in order to try and sell very expensive household goods (i.e. cleaning products). These were considered to be scams.
Question: Concerns were also raised regarding the potential exploitation of young people.
Answer: Dawn Clarkson confirmed that all legitimate traders should have appropriate identification and that if anyone had concerns about potential exploitation they should contact City of York Council. Councillor Fenton also reiterated the potential safeguarding issues regarding vulnerable individuals and the importance of reporting any concerns. He went on to say that he intended to find out which local zones were currently involved in the scheme and to gather information regarding problematic areas which could benefit from scheme.
Question: One resident then asked whether cold calling bans applied to charitable organisations.
Answer: Dawn Clarkson confirmed that legitimate cold calling extended to charitable organisations, religious groups and councillors (provided it was done before 21:00).
Question: Another resident asked if she could include details of cold calling on the local nextdoor.co.uk website.
Answer: Dawn Clarkson said she was happy for her to do this.
Question: One resident raised the issue of scam telephone calls and whether there was anything they could do to prevent them.
Answer: Dawn Clarkson replied that unfortunately, there was no protection from scam calls (particularly from other countries) and warned residents against responding to them (particularly those calls requesting access to personal computers).
WARD BUDGET UPDATE 2019 – 2020 (Councillor Fenton)
Councillor Fenton confirmed an expenditure of £35,545 (with £2,230 unspent) most of which had focussed on local initiatives including:-
• Grants to local groups
• Tree planting
• York City Knights Foundation and York City Football Club Foundation Summer Holiday Activities
• Community notice boards
Councillor Fenton had been surprised to discover that additional tree planting in Little Hob Moor had not been as universally popular as he had anticipated (due, in part, to the view that the naturally open aspect of the area should be retained). The idea of planting fruit trees had also concerned some residents due to the potential for the fruit to be used as ammunition by local youths. There had also been mixed views on the issue of re-wilding. Despite the lack of open spaces within the ward, Councillor Fenton welcomed any suggestions on how to further enhance the environment.
With regard to youth activities, Councillor Fenton was concerned at the lack of provision for teenagers. He also wondered whether there was the possibility of using Moor Lane Youth Centre as a potential youth club. Michal Czekajlo informed residents that 15 places at the York City Football Club Foundation Young Sports Leaders Project had been sponsored by Dringhouses and Woodthorpe and Westfield wards. The Project aimed to provide recognised qualification and build confidence in young people. One resident recalled Moor Lane Youth Centre being known as Moor Lane Estate and another resident recalled it being opened by Jack Charlton in 1961.
WARD PRIORITIES AND USE OF WARD FUNDING IN 2020-21
Councillor Fenton confirmed a capital budget of £125,693 and a Housing Environment Improvement Programme (HEIP) of £30,000 allocated to the ward over the four years period (2019-23). As 2019 had been a scoping year he was awaiting costing details for various projects including:-
• New Streetlights
• Resurfacing Potholed Footpaths
• Parking Bays/Verge Protection
• Cycle Hoops
• Storage Units for City of York Council Flats
The sum of £633,000 had also been allocated within the capital budget programme to resurface Tadcaster Road. In addition, City of York Council had submitted a bid to the Government to carry out additional work (i.e. unmapped draining and non-running gullies). If additional Government funding was agreed, a more extensive programme of repairs could follow.
Councillor Fenton then invited further questions.
Question: One resident asked which section of Tadcaster Road would be affected.
Answer: Councillor Fenton confirmed that work was planned along the section from The Horseshoe to St George’s Place but also referred to the poor state of road outside The Fox and Roman Pub.
Question: Another resident flagged up avoidance action taken by some drivers in an attempt to negotiate potholes in the road.
Answer: Councillor Fenton agreed that this was worrying.
Question: One resident commented that there were potholes all over the place (and not just on Tadcaster Road).
Answer: Councillor Fenton agreed and said that he had spent a lot of time cycling around the area taking photographs of any potholes.
Question: Another resident asked how long it took for potholes to be filled in when they had been reported.
Answer: Councillor Fenton estimated between 2-3 working days (although this varied).
Question: A resident also raised the issue of Tesco lorries driving along streets with weight restrictions.
Answer: Councillor Fenton urged residents to keep reporting potholes and confirmed that funding had been allocated for a dedicated pothole team.
2020 - 2021
Councillor Fenton confirmed a ward revenue budget of £38,297 to be spent in support of ward priorities including:
• Improving local environment
• Improving community involvement
• Improving access to services and support
• Promoting community safety
He was particularly keen on the latter (promoting community safety) as he had received several complaints about misbehaving youths (and reiterated his suggestion at making use of Moor Lane Youth Centre as a possible solution to anti-social behaviour). He also mentioned improvements to Leeside playground, additional tree planting as well as a possible community hub (similar to the Red Tower) and welcomed further suggestions from resident as to how to spend the budget.
HAVE YOUR SAY
John Hattam, Westfield Primary Children’s Champion gave a brief talk about Westfield Summer Cafe, a new initiative which would be based at Westfield Primary Community School during the last week of the summer holidays (01/09/2020 – 04/09/2020) from 11:30 to 13:30. The cafe would be open to all (irrespective of age or background) on a ‘pay as you feel’ basis and would also include several products for people to restock their cupboards.
Councillor Fenton added that each Monday, Tesco (Askham Bar) donated healthy food (mainly fruit which would otherwise go to waste) to Woodthorpe School which had been very well received.
Councillor Fenton then invited residents to raise any other queries or suggestions.
One resident referred to a community fridge project at the Carr Juniors School.
Question: One resident enquired about the current position with Dringhouses Library.
Answer: Councillor Fenton was keen to ensure that a library remained in Dringhouses with a view to improving the service (particularly as he recognised that the existing Grade 2 listed building required significant renovation). The aim would be to move to different premises and the old Park and Ride site was suggested as a potential venue. He further stated that Explore was in the first of a 15 year contract to run the library with the intention of moving to a new model of provision.
Question: One resident raised a few smiles when she informed residents that street lighting, road surfacing and speeding vehicles on Tadcaster Road were also key issues during a pre-World War One Parish Council meeting.
Finally, Councillor Fenton wanted to make a point of expressing sincere gratitude on behalf of the ward committee for the selfless commitment and dedication of the late Michael Thornton who had made a significant contribution to the community through his involvement in many local groups and activities. The fact that “he never said no” was also his greatest strength and the community was “all the poorer for his passing”.
Councillor Fenton then thanked everyone for attending the meeting which ended at 20:45.
- Ward Committee Main Presentation, item 2. PDF 664 KB
- City of York Council's approach to providing accomodation for young people in care, item 2. PDF 159 KB