Micklegate Ward

Being an elected Green councillor for Micklegate ward represents what people want. Many people are scared into voting Labour ‘to keep the Tories out’ – but that’s not an issue here so people can, and do, vote Green Green Green!

We need to get a 2nd Green elected, to create a real councillor team in the ward that proves to people we offer something different and fit for 21st C York than the other parties do: with YOU, we can do more!

The ward includes the railway station and a social housing estate along Holgate Rd; the riverside from Leeman Rd; Lendal Bridge and Rougier St down to Skeldergate; within the walls there’s Priory St and Bishophill and Micklegate itself. Clementhorpe area and Rowntree’s park border the River Ouse. The semi-detached Nunthorpe communities and many terraced streets of Southbank, all head down to the Knavesmire. Blossom St and the Mount contain many shops, restaurants, take-aways, pubs, hotels and the Everyman cinema and the fantastic Crescent music venue, all leading towards the King’s entrance to the city, Micklegate Bar! Bishopthorpe Road with its large houses runs as a spine route down the eastern length of the ward until the architecture changes with all the new blocks of flats at Terry’s chocolate works site.

The ward was ranked 5th most deprived out of 21 wards in 2015 using the ‘Indices of Multiple Deprivation’. Even though it has crept up to 7/21 now, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a stark inequality gap between the very rich and the poorer households in our ward, as you can see here: Source Micklegate ward profile.

Some key aims:

  • Implementing Low Traffic Neighbourhood area(s);
  • Preventing development further into the Green belt towards Bishopthorpe/Nun Ings or any development on the brown field without major increases in amenities, economic opportunities, healthcare etc. to match it;
  • Creating more communal green spaces which bring neighbours together to enjoy the outdoors, biodiversity and reduce social isolation;

NB. Our current priority criteria for ward funding grants (agreed by all 3 councillors) are a) tackling social/financial disadvantage and b) increasing social inclusion

Read on for lots of useful context and more ideas for Green involvement:

Flood alert!

Many of the flooding issues that are seen as council wide/city wide issues play out in Micklegate ward. Flooding has a big effect on parts of the ward with riverside communities along the Ouse from North St all the way down to Reginald Grove where the riverside walk finally turns into a footpath. Around 135 properties in Clementhorpe are about to see their long-awaited flood defences start to be built after the last major floods in 2015. Several properties in both Skeldergate and south of Millennium Bridge are eligible for Property Flood Resilience schemes which are beginning.

IN CASE you didn’t know: There has been huge contention amongst many groups mainly advocating for fit-for-purpose, safe diversion routes for non-vehicular traffic during the disruption of the Clementhorpe flood defence works and also disagreements from some expert residents about the very methods themselves. On the most part, the at-risk-of-flooding residents are waiting patiently!

Communities

  • Planet Southbank – a collective of eco-minded people who coordinate events such as the Street Re-Cycle, Repair Cafes, eco-crafting sales, and Edible York beds.

Residents’ associations:

  • Nunnery Area RA – thrived under the last chairperson but she stood down during the past year and sadly the folded until a new chair can be found – cue, Green activism needed! You don’t have to be a council tenant but living in the estate/adjacent street most helpful.
  • Clementhorpe Community Association – uses the small Clementhorpe hall on Lower Ebor St, next to the Health centre. Currently the most active RA in the ward.
  • Terry’s community association (non-council)… not sure about the status of this one.
  • Bishophillbillies.. a group co-run by Pete Kilbane I believe (Labour colleague/opponent.)… I’m hoping Greens can take part more in ‘Greening Bishophill’ actions – residents have specifically asked me about gardening possibilities around here too and there is a great asset o Bishophill community garden opposite the Golden Ball
  • Lowther st/Cambridge st flats: there was a residents’ association quite a while ago but it is not operational now
  • St George’s place: the most starkly hidden/forgotten corner of social housing stuck at the end of one of the richest streets in York probably, just a couple of blocks of flats alongside the railway.
  • South Parade RA – (non-council) small, possibly still active?

Micklegate Neighbourhood Plan

Development currently dormant! Cue, Green activist opportunity! See background info here Micklegate Neighbourhood Plan – City of York Council

‘Indie York’ thriving across Micklegate

  • Bishopthorpe Road Traders Association… Bishy Rd high street won Great British High-street award back in 2015, championed by past independent councillor, Johnny Hayes. Any local business owners can join the TA with plenty of opportunities for Greens to volunteer for organising and shaping its community events.
  • Micklegate Independent Traders… not very active we don’t think and no known Green reps currently, but a key group to consult and support.
  • Southbank shops – no TA but a small collection of important businesses to this community with a recent attempt by a single parent who bought a property and wanted to re-open the shop but has frustratingly been refused planning to do the conversions needed to live there with family. See the history group’s most recent book for some great social history.
  • Planet Food: The Real Junk Food Project York – current Green councillor, Rosie set this up with another food-waste activist 2 years ago. It is going strong with many dedicated volunteers, a paid kitchen manager, work experience students, tons of food being rescued from landfill every year all to provide people with affordable, healthy food in a very inclusive happy environment plus lessen the impact of waste food on climate-heating.

Green Spaces

  • Parks – Rowntree’s; arguably the most well-known and visited public park in York with something for everyone! (sadly no outdoor swimming pool as some older residents like to reminisce) There’s a very popular ‘reading café’ (part of Explore), skate park, basketball and tennis courts, a Friends’ association hosting regular activities and hoping to get a centenary birthday party organised before long. Nb. Don’t mention poo. The previous Green councillor had a goose management plan which we believe brought a ‘goose poo pooper scooper’ to the park… although i’ve never seen it! Some locals go out at dawn with lasers (non-harmful.)
  • Scarcroft Green… well-loved by many locals and has a community orchard where school children planted the newest trees as part of National Tree Planting Week and a ward-funded information board was unveiled.
  • Priory St… we think this hidden playground used to be at the Victoria Bar corner and one day it would be nice to see it back there for increased enjoyment. This idea could be part of major public realm improvements to Victoria Bar to deter anti-social behaviour in the area and make this lesser-Bar opened-up to more people. Ward councillors have already done some consultation with residents over whether to fix the broken bollard or instead close the bar to vehicles (as at Fishergate) and change the one-way systems around Bishophill as a whole. A ‘My Bishophill’ type project is in the pipeline…
  • Community gardens… ‘The Nose’ at Clement’s Church has compost bins and regular volunteer gardening sessions; Cherry Tree garden on Bishy Rd, new ideas forming to help residents ‘green Bishophill / Micklegate where ‘parklets’ have been trialled in parking spaces and more of this may become a reality since the Covid ‘pavement licenses’ are available AND residents of Fenwick street are also trying to pretty-up an unused patch to make it a sociable spot for neighbours to meet each other.
  • Allotments at Scarcroft, Knavesmire, Bustardthorpe… there is an artist’s collective at Scarcroft that more creative Greens could get involved with.
  • The Knavesmire…. With its race-goers! A key issue for people living in Southbank particularly but also along any of the routes drunken race-goers trawl after races. It is tolerated and there aren’t usually major issues but residents would prefer not to be hassled..
  • … As they have been by excessively loud music from concerts at the Knavesmire at times! In 2019 Southbank was blighted/entertained by very loud sounds 3 nights in a row during the Balloon festival with tribute acts Queen (yay) and Abba (not so yay!)… This did lead to noise assessments and the council recommending improvements to the organisers (Thanks to Councillor intervention of course.)
  • …and sport of course on the Knavesmire… football (Hamilton Panthers), cricket maybe? Horses! It’s a good place to play put it that way.
  • … AND has a beer festival.

Family and schools

  • Micklegate has 2 secondary and 2 primary schools (all Academies.) All (bar All Saints) take part in the ‘Schools Parliament’ – a grand name that really means student voice events which have been held at West Offices and Millthorpe – great for councillors to answer questions at and make themselves known to students and staff.
  • The ‘Collective Sharehouse’ community food provision at Scarcroft Learning Centre was set up recently for families who are struggling at the school but is really catering for anyone in the vicinity that needs food /other basic help… ward councillors will be funding the transition of this project to be housed at Clement’s Hall, which in turn could help develop that building’s identity as a Community Hub for the ward
  • Nursery provision has been contentious over the past couple of years with Priory St and The Crescent closing with plenty of campaigning going on for both. Sufficiency for families and viability for the providers is a national issue which Greens are keeping an eye on.
  • Songbox and various other parent support / activity groups happen at Southlands community centre.

The city centre arondissements

Micklegate is notorious for two reasons: the annual Soapbox challenge hosted by Minster FM and the traders’ association as a big festival and fundraising day AND occasionally being degraded to a ‘river of blood’ after days/nights when the city fills with partying visitors/locals… racegoers!

Skeldergate gets flooded and is a bus-noise-vibration nightmare for the residents living there. North St is a fairly pleasant riverside walk.. except for the Park Inn with all its masts and its giant ‘I heart NHS’ lights on all night.

The Station: The gateway to York is getting a grand make-over with the ‘bridge’ from Queen St being knocked flat opening up public space for buses, pedestrians, e-scooters.. and of course better views across to the historic walls! (ps. there’s also going to be a multi-storey car park built which Greens voted against arguing for an increase in cycle parking, bus stops and e-charging facilities alongside replacement parking.. where the white elephants pop up around the city is now left to fate.

York Central…..a city-wide major development for any/all councillors to get involved in regarding planning, design, employment, housing, leisure, sustainable transport, green and blue infrastructure! The ‘teardrop’ site does border Micklegate and there is a group of activists wanting to be granted control over a portion of the site for community ownership, ‘YoCo’ – and whom Greens not only support but know the members well due to their leadership in other key city projects (YorSpace housing; XR ; Kaizan Arts; Red Tower.)

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