The Green Party – Rosie Baker

 

Building on and enhancing existing community initiatives:

 

Our vision builds on the ‘One Planet York’ initiative as well as the ‘Planet Southbank’ community movement focussed on sustainability projects. Currently, Rosie is involved in volunteering for the latter and would, in the future, hope to enable new communities to develop their own such groups in York Central: this is an area which will incorporate parts of and be adjacent to, Micklegate ward and is therefore a significant issue for ward councillors to impact upon, monitor and share awareness about. There is already strong support for Green campaigns relating to sustainability, community well-being, supporting independent business and health promotion in our ward.

*Please see other cross-referenced links on this question throughout the following responses.

 

Promoting a safe and healthy community:

 

Overall, we want to see a high-quality, car free, low-zero carbon environment, where city life meets beautiful landscape. Close to the station this is an obvious site for a low-carbon development however the plan as it is needs strengthening to achieve a zero carbon exemplar, 21st century urban district using innovative designs which should attract safe walking and cycling to and from the development with direct, safe accessible links into the city centre across the river, sending the message from the outset that workers and residents would be accessing work and leisure by walking, cycling, bus or train.

This adds to/enhances existing initiatives:

Walking Cities Campaign from Living Streets which is calling on future city leaders to commit to creating ‘walking cities’ by embarking on ambitious pedestrianisation schemes and the York Bike Belles Community Organisation whom the Green Party already contribute ideas to.

We want to add a primary objective to the plans for the area which enshrines community & individual health and well-being:

“Creating community by ensuring access to local shops, cafes, sports and community space within or close to the new residential area.”

We support the proposal to create a linear park which incorporates health-giving biodiversity through creating a green corridor. The linear park needs to be based on the principle of sustainable urban drainage, to help manage peaks of storm water without flooding the railway and key road links around the site.

We are currently campaigning on the proposal for a ‘Clean Air Zone’ different from those proposed by the government for 5 major cities. The government proposes to bring in a charging regime for all diesel vehicles that are not ultra-low emission whereas York’s local strategy is different and should be implemented as a minimum. E.g. ban any vehicles that are not ultra-low on the most frequent bus services and targeted enforcement of the Air Quality Action Plan such as against drivers parked with their engines running.

This adds to/enhances existing initiatives: York University’s ‘Making the Invisible Visible’ air quality research into how to increase public engagement with the issue; National Clean Air Day and the council’s ongoing air quality monitoring work.

Additional health and safety points:

Utilities for well-being: The whole area would benefit from a ‘district heating scheme’ installed alongside high speed broadband, utilities and sustainable drainage for the whole site.

Included in our 2017-18 Budget proposals, we called for:

  • investment in a Fuel Poverty Officer,
  • additional investment in mental health services,
  • reversing the bus subsidy cuts,
  • Air Pollution Reduction Officer,
  • reversing Estate Improvement Grant cuts
  • extra investment in drainage/surface water flooding.

 

 

Taking a holistic overview of transport needs for today and in the long-term with special regard to pollution, traffic management and environmental concerns:

 

We do need a comprehensive traffic plan for central streets in York (which are overwhelmed by traffic, especially large vehicles like coaches, bin lorries and HGVs) and the York Central development is a great opportunity to instigate such a comprehensive plan for the whole city centre that strikes a better balance between people and traffic.

The proposed approach to sustainable travel for the area needs to be more radical – attractive sustainable travel facilities are vital to the success of the development and it should be designed around York Green Party’s proposals for ‘greenways’. For e.g. we don’t believe the right pedestrian and cycle routes have been identified: there should be a sustainable travel route from the western end of the site to allow direct off-road cycle route to both the British Sugar site (to allow cycling to the station from the new development) and to Manor School (to allow walking and cycling to school from the new residential area. This is essential to minimise additional traffic on Salisbury Rd/ Holgate /Poppleton Rd. and was modelled in detail in a council commissioned feasibility study in 2012. This could be more valuable than the proposed new bridge over the East Coast Mainline to the north which can be served by Marble Arch – Scarborough Bridge for access to the riverside paths.

We share residents’ major concerns that too much car traffic will be created on Holgate Rd and the congested central network. Greens have supported the proposal of a western entrance to the station with some bus routes from Acomb and Holgate servicing the area and this new entrance.

Our approaches would also help to make the financial case for possible light rail or tram solutions linking Poppleton/ British Sugar/ York Central to York Hospital/ Clifton Moor/ Haxby. This would help to relieve city centre and ring road congestion by providing a fast direct alternative link between some key sites and York Central/ the station.

Traffic reduction relies on good cycling and walking links to the station and city centre and to local schools which are safe & attractive. This would be achieved by:

A maximum of 20% of people accessing the site by private car – this is what was in the master plan as to what the road infrastructure can cope with;

converting Marble Arch to a bus, taxi and cycle link with the pedestrian tunnel exclusively for foot traffic;

Leeman Rd to be reduced to a bus/taxi-only corridor.

segregated bike and pedestrian direct routes crucially planned in from the outset on Dutch style principles, with 10mph and cycle priority designed into crossings of estate and service roads with overlooking, secure covered cycle parking more directly accessible to dwellings and commercial premises than provision for vehicle access and parking

the only off street parking provision being for disabled, visitor (eg health visitors) car club vehicles, deliveries etc. (Where appropriate the commercial developments could have access to car club vehicles

Park and Ride service linking directly to the Poppleton park and ride facility.

traffic should be focussed on access-only from the new Holgate Bridge to prevent through traffic.

removal of Queen St Bridge and negotiations to open up the walking and cycling route under the walls and out onto Toft’s Green/ Micklegate.

 

Promoting job creation emphasising start-ups and encouraging entrepreneurs:

 

In our response to the York Central consultation we suggested that between 5100-6400 new jobs should be created as part of this development1 . Our national policy, the Green New Deal plans to create a million jobs in the green industries of the 21st century: renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable building. Locally, in our budget proposals last year, we included a feasibility study on setting up a council-run renewable energy company to reduce bills for York residents and create jobs.

This adds to/enhances existing initiatives:

York Community Energy, an independent, volunteer-run charity aiming to set up a community-controlled renewable energy generating co-operative in the City of York area. York Green Party are a current supporter of this project and liaise with its director on a regular basis.

A Micklegate resident’s entrepreneurial goal of developing a social-enterprise fibre-optic internet provider; creating jobs/ boosting local economies by connecting-up homes to fibre optic using a community-project model, not using big private companies.

Our Living Wage Policy (2010) reflects the York Human Rights City Network’s aims for York becoming the UK’s first human rights city. One of their indicators is ‘a decent standard of living’ and we will therefore expect new employers operating in York Central to be accredited by the Living Wage Foundation.

We have recently campaigned on the tax hike adversely affecting some of the independent small businesses such as those in Micklegate, which form a key part of York’s unique appeal. We will continue to promote:

Planning laws allowing appropriate small businesses to operate in residential areas and ensure any large new retail developments include spaces for small local businesses.

Helping small businesses cope with regulation and provide tailored advice on energy efficiency.

Introducing a network of local community banks, which will provide, among other things, a new source of finance for small businesses.

Using our proposals to revitalise the Post Office network, in particular to help small businesses.

Reducing corporation tax for small firms to 20%.

 

Building on York’s heritage to promote research, education and training e.g. for railways and tourism:

 

Close to the historic city centre, this former rail yard area will build on the city’s existing assets to become a vibrant and exciting new urban quarter for York residents, workers and visitors.

We wish to retain and enhance the Railway Institute as an accessible sports facility. The Bullnose building is an important railway legacy that should be retained as part of the redeveloped NRM site and incorporated into the museum architecture. This could be retained by making better use of the current open car park area alongside the NRM on the north side of Leeman Road.

The National Railway Museum should be incorporated into York Central by retaining the rail link for getting steam engines onto and off the mainline.

There should be a new primary school for the area.

Creation of a new public square & events space: the western square should be merged with the linear park with active daytime and evening uses making it feel safe for tourists at night, and a place to relax as well as pass through. The public square should be designed for daytime rail-related events and social space with hard and soft landscaping.

This adds to/enhances existing initiatives:

Purple Flag status for town & city centres (recently adopted as something to aim for by CYC). It’s awarded for meeting or surpassing the standards of excellence in managing the evening and night time economy. A comprehensive set of standards, management processes and good practice examples designed to help transform town and city centres, including a research, training and development programme.

Our budget proposals this year included free entry to Yorkshire Museums Trust.

 

Promoting a range of housing types and tenures with priority to those in housing need:

 

We support high density housing and emphasise that this must include affordable family housing with roof gardens and play space to achieve a mixed community at the heart of this new development:

“A significant level of ‘affordable’ housing should be included and a specific allocation made for low cost community housing including self-build and co-housing. Provision for families should be included – families should be able to choose to live close to the centre with a high quality of life.”

As Policy Officer for the local party, Rosie conducted sustainable housing policy research in preparation for the consultation response and did this by using the examples of BedZed in London and ModCel technology used in Bristol and seeking advice from Matt Wood at Bioregional and strongly believes.

A diverse mix of housing tenures is necessary. The obsession with home ownership in order to capitalise on increasing values leading to individual gain at the expense of those who don’t have the resources to access any form of affordable housing, is a serious problem meaning we must provide housing opportunities for the growing number of households that are in employment but due to this dysfunctional housing market, cannot access home ownership. Therefore, we agree there must not be a focus on one single tenure (e.g. Cameron’s headline focus on home ownership) and housing strategy should give the greatest attention to those in greatest need. This would also help with changing the attitude towards ‘social hosing’ as a derogatory term to ‘social housing’ which actually means “getting on with your neighbours”-!

This adds to/enhances existing initiatives:

YorSpace, a volunteer-led Community Benefit Society: a local example of co-housing in its early stages for York. This is a pioneering group of people working towards the first community housing project in York, (similar to ‘Lilac’ – the Leeds example of an affordable, co-operatively run straw-bale housing project). I am a member of YorSpace and will support them in their application for a site to develop; another Green Party member is one of their directors. This could mean a truly innovative, low cost, co-operatively owned, sustainable housing model can begin to establish itself in York and prove there are alternatives to income and/or age-related housing problems.

Our housing priorities complement another of the York Human Rights City Network’s aims: the call for rights to housing to be respected, protected and fulfilled including the provision of heating as a priority, which our district heating scheme proposal will demonstrate.

Being open and genuinely participatory for local residents:

 

Green Group leader, Cllr Andy D’Agorne has said –

“The master-planning work should be based on the premise of community involvement.”

Our commitment to community space-making focus (e.g. a new piazza in front of the Railway Museum) means that we also support the residents’ fight to defend their community play-space from the potential new access bridge.

We are looking in to using a ‘Community Toolbox’ from Stir To Action (STIR) which is deliberately aimed at supporting Green Party groups to explore community engagement, working together, legal structures and social finance.

Our budget proposal for a yearlong ‘Participatory Budgeting’ trial meaning the public get invited to meetings and vote there and then on how to spend council money: a year-round conversation with residents in York.

This adds to/enhances existing initiatives:

Rosie is a member of the Micklegate Neighbourhood Plan Forum which aims to contribute to delivering a Local Plan, improving the socio- economic and general well-being of Micklegate ward whilst preserving its character. The consultation period for this is now open.

 

 1 It is a choice of how the site is apportioned between homes and employment; it is primarily about creating office jobs and may be too high but it’s important to distinguish between jobs in the construction phase and longer-term jobs – the above figure is the longer-term jobs.


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