Sunday, 19 May 2013

Proposed traffic arrangements for Sutton Weaver Swing Bridge repairs

CWaC Highways are in the process of finalising the traffic movements scheme for the duration of the swing bridge repairs.  The latest draft is shown below.

The present plans are to allow the vehicles to be free flowing - no traffic lights.
Proposed traffic movements

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Speeding in Frodsham

From time to time residents write to me about speeding in Frodsham.  Research has shown that the majority of speeders tend to be locals as opposed to people travelling through to somewhere else.

We have two identified speeding hotspots in Frodsham at the moment.  They are Bridge Lane and Fluin Lane.  That doesn't mean there isn't speeding elsewhere - it is just that it appears more prevalent in these locations.

Now the speed limit on Bridge Lane will be dropped to 30mph when the bridge repair works start.  In fact the 30mph speed limit will be extended all the way to the Clifton roundabout and 500m up the road from the bridge towards Sutton Weaver.  This will be a temporary measure for the duration of the bridge works.  We should anticipate that there will be police enforcement activity there when the bridge works start.

Anyway I was walking home from the Frodsham Town meeting this afternoon.  I noticed that Cheshire Police had installed a SID (speed indicator device) just down from my home.

Even though I am aware that Fluin Lane is a speeding hot spot I was somewhat surprised to note that most of the cars I saw passing SID were speeding - after all SID was very visible.  Most drivers having been advised that they were speeding did reduce their speed beneath 30mph.  However others just drove on oblivious.  In the short time I was watching most cars were being driven between 30-35mph, but I did see SID showing 39mph.  Incidentally if the police had detected a driver driving at 39mph on Fluin Lane they would almost certainly prosecute.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Operation Karate

I was up bright and early this morning.  Well actually it wasn’t bright – it was dark and rainy!  I had been invited with other councillor colleagues to witness the police put Operation Karate into effect.

Operation Karate is a police operation, led in Cheshire seeking to disrupt the supply of crack cocaine and heroin supplies in Cheshire – very much centred on Northwich and Hartford area but with trails leading into other parts of the North West and also into Wales.  Around 300 police were involved in the operation.

We were invited to attend the police briefing – at 4:45am as well as the operation being put into effect.

The police gave Cllrs Gaynor Sinar and Helen Weltman and me the opportunity to witness the operation from the briefing, through to the arrests and processing at the custody suite in Middlewich.  We were also given a chance to witness the Silver Command operation room in action too.  Colleagues from Weaver Vale Housing Trust and Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Margaret Ollerenshaw witnessed the operation too.  I was pleased to hear that the housing trust will almost certainly be recharging the tenant the cost of a new door if he is subsequently convicted!

The police searched 34 properties and arrested 19 adult males in total, so all in all, the operation was a success with significant quantities of Class A drugs seized.

Whenever you witness these sorts of operations there are always things that surprise you, for example,  the location where we saw the search warrant was executed.  It was a place where 3 weeks previously I had delivered Conservative campaign literature.  Ah well some will always fall on stony ground!

A big thank you to all in Cheshire Police and especially to everyone involved in Operation Karate.  Thank you for inviting Gaynor, Helen and me to witness your vital work.  More importantly thank you for keeping our streets safe.  Carry on the good work!

The end of the line - the custody suite

Road Closure - Hatley Lane on 30 May 2013 for 5 days

Hatley Lane, Frodsham (from junction with Mattys Lane to under Railway Bridge)

CWaC has authorised the closure of this stretch of Hatley Lane for 5 days from 30 May 2013 for drainage works.

The diversion route is:

Traffic should proceed via: Godscroft Lane, A56 Chester Road, and Mattys Lane.

I guess most of us would have worked that one out!

Some random musings on a wet Wednesday

The BBC is reporting this morning that NHS England’s diagnosis rate of dementia in the population is around 20% lower per head than it is in NHS Scotland or Northern Ireland.  Now before we all rush to cultural stereotypes and poor taste jokes – the issue that is being highlighted is the ‘shocking low’ diagnosis rate in England.  A 20% improvement in diagnosis rates will still mean that around one-third of cases will go undiagnosed.  And this will merely bring up the diagnosis rate in England to that of our Celtic cousins.
There is an estimated 670,000 cases of dementia in England – this is set to double in the next 30 years on current trends.  Just think of the business opportunities for the care sector, or if you prefer the burden on the state that this will cause.

Dr Charles Alessi – Chairman of the National Association of Primary Care and an adviser for Public Health England gives some ground for hope.  He wants to see more preventative work undertaken – especially with regard to vascular dementia which is caused by reduced blood flow to the brain.  This condition can be limited or prevented.

Guess what the preventative measures are, don’t smoke, exercise, eat well, control blood pressure and avoid or control diabetes…

This got me thinking.  Should the state start giving fruit and vegetables away free to anyone who will cycle or walk to the pick up point?  Or better still should we all follow Todmorden’s example of ‘Incredible Edible’ and plant fruit and vegetable around our communities for us all to use.  Do you fancy roadside chive and fennel?  

And for those who prefer the stick to the carrot we could always tax less healthy foods!  These simple solutions seem like they should be particularly attractive … but beware.  I heard a challenging tale yesterday about food banks.  There has been an increase in anti-social behaviour reported in some areas where food has been given away free.  The ‘free eggs’ are not all being eaten!  Some are being hurled inappropriately.

I glanced at the BBC2 programme on a day in the life of the NHS yesterday.  I saw people with heart conditions having emergency treatment being encouraged not to smoke and uttering self-delusional comments about ‘I only smoke 5 a day etc.’ For the viewer the message was clear – but not to the patient.

I suppose all this goes to show that we have more to worry about than dementia.  Why are we as a species so ready to diagnose the remedy for others, but be so unwilling to take it ourselves?  If I am unlucky enough to get dementia I may well end up not being able to ponder whether I should have had more lettuce.  At least I won’t understand the ‘I told you so’ comments either though!  Now there’s a thought – enjoy them while you still can!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Day 2 of the Bee Festival - Its a Knockout and other things

Well it seems like it has rained all day - but even the damp English weather couldn't keep us down.  The Bee Festival continued to buzz to its 'It's a Knockout' finale.   I chatted with many of the retailers and stall holders - they were really pleased with the event and what had been achieved.

Whilst there may have been fewer people at the park today than yesterday we still had many hundreds.
Phoebe Hunt's winning entry

I helped tally the votes for the 'Be my Bee' competition.   It took a team of 8 of us to do it.  We must have had more than a 1,000 votes cast in the competition - a tremendous tribute to those taking part and for the festival as a whole.

Phoebe Hunt won the overall competition.  The quality of the entries was really super.  Those voting were also really taken with the entries from Kingsley County Primary, and Frodsham Weaver Vale Primary Schools.  Cllr Lynn Riley and I will be awarding each of those schools a small grant both to reflect their excellent work in the competition and also as a 'thank you' for taking the trouble to take part.

Some of the other entries in the Bee competition
Phoebe getting her prize

It's a Knockout was great fun - wet for everyone, intentionally for the competitors (although I stayed pretty dry!)

Our next Mayor of Frodsham Sarah Wakefield getting soaked

Kate Dodgson, me, Lynn Riley and Mark Warren
We've had some really tremendous fun over the last 2 days.  A big thank-you to the Foundation to Kate, Rod, Mary and all their helpers.  Thanks also to everyone who had a stall, spoke, marshalled and kept us all safe and dryish!  Thanks to Graham Evans MP for supporting the event and to FTC and Cllr Mark Warren for their support of the Foundation.  Thanks also to CWaC who allowed themselves to be talked into supporting the Foundation with cash and for the Member's Grant scheme which has allowed Lynn and I to innovate and really try to make big changes in Frodsham that benefit all of us.  You ain't seen nothing yet!

PS most of the photos were taken by my daughter Sarah who tells me she is asserting her © - I have 512 photos of this afternoon - if any one wants a copy or a larger image let me know!

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Frodsham - the place to be this weekend (and most of the year round too!)

Its all happening here in Frodsham this weekend.  Our two day Bee Festival is well and truly underway.  The circus is in town - and we have runners on the Sandstone Trail too.

First, a big thank-you to everyone who has made the Bee Festival possible.  I am really proud of the excellent start that Frodsham Foundation has made.  There was a real buzz in Castle Park today - and I'm sure there will be tomorrow too.

We've made local and national news with the Bee Festival.  If you haven't been there yet - make sure you go to Castle Park tomorrow.

We've had the Mayor of Frodsham out in full regalia - Graham Evans our MP has spent the afternoon with us too.  We've brought a helter skelter back to Frodsham for the first time in over 30 years.  This is ever before we think about all the stalls, talks and everything else that has been going on too.

Here are some pictures...

Helter Skelter back in Frodsham
Cllr Lynn Riley Mayor of Frodsham
On top of the world!

Graham Evans MP and Norton Priory Exhibitors

Kate Dodgson CEO of Frodsham Foundation

Debbie Richards

A good crowd in spite of the weather!

Incredible Edible - fascinating talk from Pam Warhurst (right of picture) with Cllr  Mark Warren, Graham Evans MP, Mary Hyde and Paul Smith

Chester Giant being prepared to open the festival

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Air Quality Forum

We had the latest meeting of the Ince Resource Recovery Park Air Quality Forum tonight.
This forum is made up of local residents and councillors from around Mersey Estuary with support from CWaC and Peel and experts.

Peel and Covanta (albeit after being pressed by Cllr Lynn Riley and me) have committed to funding the air quality forum and the air monitoring that it entails.  The monitoring will start around a year before the Ince Resource Recovery Park commences operations.

However, there is a rub - at the moment the building of the recovery park is on hold.  Covanta didn't win the contract to dispose of Merseyside's waste.  Necessarily Peel don't want to pay for air quality monitoring unless and until their park is going to built.

Now those of us living in and around the estuary really want to have the air quality monitored now.

We learnt that the incinerator at Ineos (over the border in Halton) which will be burning Greater Manchester's waste will be commissioned shortly.  There is some suggestion that will happen in September.

Unfortunately I gather that Ineos have not put in place an air monitoring forum - and they are seeking to limit the air monitoring they will put in place.

This raises a challenge for all of us living on the Estuary.

I will be exploring in the next few days with my CWaC Cllr and officer colleagues - as well as FTC - whether we can bring about air quality monitoring in Frodsham now.

We will be getting the final air quality monitoring report within a month setting out what the experts say should be monitored and where the monitoring stations could be.  I will publish it.