A ROW has erupted over ward funding in one of the most deprived areas of York.

Westfield Liberal Democrat Councillor Andrew Waller has called on the council’s Labour bosses to honour £49,000 worth of funding committed before May’s local elections to enable local improvement schemes to go ahead.

But City of York Council's executive member for housing, planning and safer communities, Cllr Michael Pavlovic says that, having investigated the claims the spending was not approved before May’s local election when the council was run by a Lib Dem and Green coalition.

Read next:

Cllr Waller says that at a meeting of Full Council on November 23 he presented four petitions which were prompted by the Labour council’s decision to abolish the Housing Environmental Improvement Programme (HEIP) which benefits council tenants, and their refusal to release ward capital funding.

He says it had been planned to use these funding sources to support schemes benefitting the community which Cllr Waller’s petitions seek to highlight:

  • Release the £6,000 allocated for parking bays in the Ascot Way area to cope with additional demands on Lincoln Court, and to enable the 24 bus to get through
  • Release the £15,000 allocated for verge crossovers on the Chapelfields estate, particularly on the bus route where the Number 1 bus can struggle to get through parked vehicles
  • Release the £15,000 allocated to make improvements to the narrow Dijon Avenue for construction traffic, and to get the promised repairs to the road, verges and surface of Lowfields Drive
  • Release the £13,000 allocated to improve parking in the area around the flats on Askham Lane opposite the junction with Cornlands Road

York Press: Cllr Andrew Waller in Bramham Avenue in York where a row has blown up over Westfield ward fundingCllr Andrew Waller in Bramham Avenue in York where a row has blown up over Westfield ward funding (Image: Supplied)

Cllr Waller has called on the Labour-run council to release the funding to enable the improvements to go ahead.

He said “The HEIP (estate improvement grants) and ward capital funding pots provided a way of making sure that residents could have a say in decisions that affect them and ensure money is spent on local priorities. It is very disappointing that distant council bosses think they know better than local residents on what happens in their local area.”

Cllr Pavlovic said: “Having investigated these claims these items were, contrary to what the Liberal Democrat councillor suggests, not approved items of spend before May’s local election.

"It’s disappointing to see him seeking to re-write history and misleading Westfield ward residents in this way.

“It’s equally disappointing to know that insufficient numbers of residents supported one of these schemes, yet Cllr Waller appears to want to override their views. Additionally, a parking bays proposal was deemed unviable due to verges being too narrow, while the Housing Delivery Team has confirmed remedial works will be carried out around the Lowfield development once it is complete. 

“The reality is we are dealing with the financial mess left by the old Liberal Democrat administration, being forced to find £40 million of cuts over the next four years. Clearly the council must scrutinise proposals carefully for both viability and public support before considering if they can be funded.”

York Press: Cllr Michael PavlovicCllr Michael Pavlovic

In 2021 Office for National Statistics data showed that in Westfield, Chapelfields and Foxwood 56.4 per cent of households were classed as deprived.

This was based on criteria including whether any member of the household is unemployed; households were no one has at least five or more GCSE passes or equivalent qualifications; there's anyone living with a long term health problem or there is overcrowded accommodation or no central heating.

York Press: Cllr Andrew Waller in Ascot Way in York where a row has blown up over Westfield ward funding Cllr Andrew Waller in Ascot Way in York where a row has blown up over Westfield ward funding (Image: Supplied)