City of York Council is running a session for residents on Saturday 15 October from 10.00-12.00 at Hazel Court

The session will be delivered jointly between a number of council teams and external agencies, including: the Environment and Community Officers, Neighbourhood Enforcement Team, Waste Management, Public Realm, York CVS and the Environment Agency. It will be delivered in a number of formats including practical demonstrations and display material and information on the following topics:

1. Get Ready for Winter – an opportunity to see and hear our plans for our winter maintenance programme, see one of our gritting vehicles in action and look at the ways in which you can get involved at a local level.
2. Promoting the ways in which residents can get involved in the many volunteering roles within the city including Snow Wardens, Litter Pickers, graffiti removal.
3. How to sign up to be a Flood Warden, including what the role involves, through the Environment Agency.
4. CVS will be there recruiting volunteers for their “Ready for Anything” – the voluntary sector’s emergency response campaign.
5. Promoting the Council’s commitment to digital solutions and the customers ability to report issues directly through our on-line reporting tool plus the One Planet York App.
6. Promoting recycling and waste management.

Families Urged to Come Forward For Help With Winter Bills

Information from Rural Action Yorkshire
One-off grants are available to families and individuals on low incomes, to help with their winter bills. The payment is expected to be about £140.
Customers can either apply online via their electricity supplier or telephone them.
For support with the Warm Home Discount application and other energy matters such as debt or switching suppliers, contact Kate Unwin, the Yorkshire Energy Doctor, on 07738 818391 or 01757 249100.
Families can also talk to Warm and Well in North Yorkshire for a wider variety of support around being cold at home.

Call 01904 704177 or go to their website:

Bishopthorpe Library Coffee Mornings

Bishopthorpe Library holds a coffee morning on the first Wednesday of each month between 10.00 and 12.00. It is organised by the Friends of Bishopthorpe Library and drinks and delicious home-made cakes are available.

The last coffee morning on 6 July was well-attended by villagers of all ages between 1 and 80.

The next one will be on Wednesday 3 August – why not come along?

Dogs on the Acaster Lane Sports Field

We have received reports of dogs being walked regularly over the playing fields situated at Acaster Lane / Ferry Lane, despite there being signs forbidding it.
The groundsman often has to clean up dog faeces before he can cut the grass for the football and cricket fields.

Dog fouling is unsightly, unpleasant and can lead to toxocariasis in humans. Toxocariasis causes serious illness and even blindness.
This is clearly a health risk for the children and adults who use these facilities and we would ask that anyone walking a dog chooses another route.
Thank you.

Vernon House Update

City of York Council has agreed to let the Parish Council manage Vernon House for the benefit of users from the village. New doors will need to be fitted before Vernon House can re-open. This is to comply with rules under the updated Disability Discrimination Act. This work will commence on 4 September and it is hoped that Vernon House will be opened again shortly after this date. The laundry facilities will also have to be removed due to current Health & Safety regulations. Further details, when we know them, will be posted on the village notice board.


Chairman’s Report 2015

Annual Parish Meeting held 28 April 2015

Report of Chairman for Financial Year Ended 31 March 2015

I would like to thank Cayley Godfrey, our Clerk, for bringing all our meetings together, making sense of our discussions, producing minutes, maintaining our financial records and still remaining sane! This year-end has been particularly busy for Cayley because we have been randomly chosen for a full external audit which involves further work over and above our routine annual accounts.

I would also like to thank all the other residents of the village who undertake various tasks around the village including Keith Thornton, Caretaker of the Village Hall; Marie Addinall, Village Hall Bookings Secretary; Linda Holland and Margaret Christie who open and close the Sensory Garden and Becky Clarke who opens and closes the Keble Park Play Area. I would also like to thank the volunteers who help out on various committees along with local contractors who undertake all kinds of work for us and are also prepared to respond at a moment’s notice when we have the occasional emergency.

As I said, Cayley maintains our accounts and during the past financial year we have spent £58k out of an income of £59k so we are managing to keep within budget.

We have continued to waive the rent for the village hall for the local Brownie Group and Bishopthorpe Playgroup/Tots to enable them to use it free of charge.

We have also provided £300 to the History Group to allow them to purchase of a new computer and we part fund the use of Ferry Lane facilities for the local Play Group and Football and Cricket Clubs.

Our current reserves are approximately £40k. We have therefore agreed to maintain the precept at the current level of £28k for the next financial year. One change next year to our accounts will be the start of a separate fund to allow for replacing major items within the Keble Park Play area and we intend to start this fund off with £5k.

Overall we will continue to maintain a reserve of approximately one year’s precept and by purchasing relevant insurance we believe we are fully covered in the event of an exceptional occurrence within the next financial year.

We started the financial year with a full complement of 10 on the Council but due to family reasons or work commitments Gillian Clifton and Mike Elsworth both resigned during the year and I would like to send my thanks to both for the time they served the village.

We have operated during the last few months of this financial year with 8 councillors but will be joined by Mark Askew after the election on May 7th.  We are still looking for a further councillor to bring us up to full complement for the next financial year – so if you know anyone who would be interested please ask them to speak to one of the current councillors.

Perhaps I should also mention that we are unpaid volunteers trying to maintain and improve the way of life of their friends and neighbours in the village to the best of their abilities – that’s my get-out if we have done or do anything you don’t like!

So what do we do?

We hold monthly meetings and these may be attended by residents to ask for help or clarification about some issue in the village and, as all Councillors live in the village, we are often asked questions during normal village life along with receiving letters requesting clarification or help on numerous subjects. Hopefully, the vast majority of queries have been taken on board and the issue is resolved it to the satisfaction of all concerned.

We have a achieved a good attendance record for our monthly meetings but of course these meetings only form a small part of what we do with several supporting committee and one-off meetings as well as meetings with third parties. And, of course, none of us are afraid of rolling up our sleeves to plant trees, mend fences and gates, rake over the bark and sand surfaces in the play area or undertake any of the other one-off tasks that come our way!

Our routine meetings review:

  • Planning Applications
  • Management of:
    • The Village Hall
    • Ferry Lane Pavilion and Sports Field
    • Allotments on Acaster Lane and Appleton Road
  • Support for the Young, Disabled and Elderly of the Village

Specifically during the past year we have had plans drawn up and are in the process of receiving quotes to upgrade the changing rooms and showers in the Sports Pavilion on Ferry Lane.

Successfully negotiated an agreement to move the Post Office from Main Street into Maynews on Sim Balk Lane.

Helped to co-ordinate the improvement to the Council Houses on Beech and Maple Avenue.  This work has resulted in an offer to upgrade the kitchen facilities in Vernon House free of charge by the contractor Keepmoat.  Along with this we have potentially negotiated a charging solution with City of York Council to ensure the long term future of Vernon House.

We also maintain links with other Parish Councils, City of York Council and various organisations to ensure we are compliant with both existing and new legislation.

This has included a requirement to allow anyone to record either sound and/or vision of all Parish Council meetings – why anyone should want to do so defeats me – but the process is now in place.

All in all I believe we have had another successful year and look forward to the future where we can further develop plans to maintain and improve the village in which we all live.

Stewart Harrison


Chairman’s Notes March 2015

Bishopthorpe Parish Council Elections – Thursday 7 May 2015

  • Do you want to improve our village?
  • Have you any ideas or projects that could benefit the people who live in our village?
  • Would you like to work with like-minded people?
  • Are you able to spare one evening a month?

The Parish Council is not political but comprised of Bishopthorpe residents who are doing their best to maintain and improve our village.  If you are interested, why not come along to our Parish Council meeting on 24 March and discuss with the current councillors what the Parish Council does?

Then, if you would like to join us submit your nomination for the forthcoming election before 4pm on 9th April 2015 to the City of York Council Electoral Services Manager.

For further advice see the City of York webpage, contact any current councillor, or drop a note into the letter box on the Village Hall.

Vernon House – Temporary Closure?

I am writing this article in early February and have just read that City of York Council are putting forward a proposal to build six bungalows on three sites in Maple Avenue in Bishopthorpe.  The proposal includes the suggestion that Vernon House may be demolished to make way for 2 bungalows with a further 2 on the land currently used for parking opposite Vernon House and a final 2 on land at the junction of Maple Avenue and Beech Avenue.

As you are probably aware Vernon House was closed in early December by York Council due to health and safety concerns and it has now been established that the building will require significant investment before it could be re-opened for public use.  However, Vernon House is well used, mainly by the elderly in the village, for various clubs, societies and get-togethers.  During the current closure some of these activities have been put on hold until the expected re-opening of Vernon House as other venues are unavailable.

There was to be a meeting of the City Council on Tuesday 10 February about the development of these 6 bungalows along with a further 40 houses in York.  The Council’s cabinet is to be asked to agree to spending £25,000 on a feasibility study of the sites and this will include community consultation and necessary preparatory work.

It was pleasing to note that the City Council has already recognised the importance of Vernon House to the residents of Bishopthorpe as their current communication and consultation strategy includes community involvement and it is expected that there will be a public meeting to review the proposed plans with the right to agree, put forward amendments or object to the whole or part of the proposal.

It is accepted that further housing is needed in York but surely not at the expense of valuable assets such as Vernon House.

Parish Council Meeting

The next Parish Council meeting will be held on 24 March in the upstairs room of the Village Hall and all residents are welcome between 7:00 and 7:15 to put any questions or queries to the council.

Stewart Harrison

Chairman’s Notes Jan 2015

Best Wishes – 2015 Predictions

On behalf of the Parish Council I would like to wish everyone a Happy, Healthy  and Prosperous New Year!  2015 is a year when we will be asked to vote in  National, Local and potentially Parish Council Elections. I do not usually try  to predict the outcome of any of these elections but I think neither the  National nor Local elections will produce an overall majority for any party.   The Parish Council is not organised along political allegiances and with 10  positions available we have to obtain at least a majority consensus to  achieve a successful outcome.

I believe that National Government will also have to work along a consensus  route after the 2015 elections although it is difficult to predict who will be  working with whom – will it be a Con/LibDem pact once again? Or perhaps  a Lab/LibDem pact? What impact will UKIP and the SNP have on the overall  party position? – All very interesting.

And what about the Local Government elections – Well I don’t think there  will be an overall majority for any party in York and I believe there will be  an increase in Independent Councillors – hopefully able to work together  (with Parish Councils) to the benefit of the City of York and outlying districts.   I said at the beginning of this article that potentially there will be an election  for the Parish Council because we have 10 positions to fill so will need more  than 10 candidates to hold an election. I hope we do get a few new faces  interested in joining the Parish Council to force an election and enable those  successful in being elected to at least feel they have a mandate to function  with the support of the village.

City of York and Parish Councils working together

City of York are currently exploring with Parish Councils ways in which we  can work together more effectively.  Parish Councils may be required to take  over some of the work currently undertaken by City of York due to a fall in  the income received by the City via the Council Tax.  We already undertake  some of the work the City do in other parishes e.g. maintain the Play Area,  the Village Hall and the Sports Pavilion and Field etc.  However, there may  be other areas we will have to review e.g. maintenance of grass verges,  emptying of dog, litter and grit bins etc. possibly by working with other  Parish Councils.

Post Office

As I have mentioned before, the Parish Council worked hard along with our  local MP Julian Sturdy to ensure Bishopthorpe retained a Post Office and it  has now been confirmed that the move into Maynews on Sim Balk Lane will  be effective from 19 February 2015.

Parish Council Meeting

The first Parish Council meeting of 2015 will be held on 27 January in the  Village Hall and all villagers are welcome between 7:00 and 7:15 to put any  questions or queries to the council.

Stewart Harrison

Chairman’s Notes Dec 2014

Best Wishes

Believe it or not I am writing this at the end of October so December and Christmas  still seem a long way away – although I have already bought some Christmas cards!   On the other hand, as I get older time appears to pass quicker and quicker and it  doesn’t seem that long since we were celebrating last Christmas.

The Parish Council takes up a considerable amount of time for all involved and I  would like to thank everyone for their hard work over the last twelve months – in  which time we have attended 12 Parish Council meetings, several sub-committee  and one-off meetings as well as taking on numerous small tasks to ensure the  village facilities are maintained and improved.  I would also like to thank you  all for your continuing support and, on behalf of the Parish Council, would like  to wish you a very Happy Christmas and a healthy and successful New Year.

New Projects

We have no major projects on the go at the moment and therefore, speaking  for myself, it becomes harder and harder to undertake the routine work  required to keep the Parish Council operating.  It is always good to hear that  people appreciate what we are doing – and in my case – take the time to read  my Link articles, and on occasions find them interesting!

This was brought home to me in the Post Office the other day whilst collecting  a parcel.  A lady (I won’t mention names to save embarrassment) was also in  the Post Office and heard that I was the Chairman of the Parish Council – she  knew my name but did not know what I looked like.  She turned and thanked  me for the work we do throughout the village and I in turn would like to thank  her, via this article (which she informed me she read), for giving me the incentive  to carry on.   Anyway, back to new projects – it is now some time since we undertook the  major refurbishment of the Village Hall and built the Play Area in Keble  Park – both successful projects to the benefit of people living in the village.

We are now looking at working on the Sports Pavilion on Ferry Lane to improve  the overall layout and upgrade the shower and changing facilities.  This work  has been met with enthusiasm by all users of the Pavilion i.e. Football and  Cricket Clubs and Bishopthorpe Playgroup.  We have now decided to discuss  the project with local builders to enable us to obtain tenders.  I love a new  project and look forward to starting (and completing this work) sometime in  the New Year.

Parish Council Meeting

Our next Parish Council meeting will be held on 9 December, early this month  due to Christmas and in the Sports Pavilion due to the Ebor Player Pantomime  in the Village Hall.  All villagers are welcome between 7:00 and 7:15 to put  any questions or queries to the council.

Stewart Harrison

Playground Opening Times

As the weather has started to improve, the number of people using the play area in Keble Park has also started to grow. With the impending change in the clocks [24th March], now is an apt time to remind all users of the opening times.

The play area will be open as follows:

Weekdays 09:00

Saturday 10:00

Sunday 10:30

And it will close at dusk or 7.30pm, whichever is the sooner.

Additionally the Parish Council has received a number of complaints from residents backing onto the area, about some users in the play area playing ball games. Therefore we would just like to give all users a gentle reminder that no ball games are allowed within the confines of the play area. This is to ensure that the users of the area and residents can co exist happily.

We thank you for your co-operation in this matter, whilst we have new signs made and put in position.