Friday, 25 July 2014

Changes to Speed Limits - decision imminent

The Speed Limit Review for the roads to the west of Frodsham and back of Helsby is about to be concluded.  CWaC has published the proposals map and the report which considers the consultation responses.

Here is the report

When the report was published CWaC advised that the decision would not be made before 1 August 2014 - so if you have any last minute comments - do make sure you make them.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Chester Performs in Frodsham

My wife and I have just come back from a fun evening at Castle Park. We watched the classic British film from 1951 of The Lavender Hill Mob starring Alec Guiness outdoors, courtesy of Chester Performs and their outdoor screening equipment.

The film is a humorous romp of a 'gentle' bullion heist where the villains ultimately get away with very little and then get caught.  There is as much joy in the film's script as there is in appreciating bomb damaged London and what passed as high tech in 1951.

It is great fun to be sat in a garden chair having a picnic watching a movie outdoors.  The sound quality was fantastic as we were all equipped with headphones.

Castle Park House makes an excellent backdrop. 

Chester Performs are returning three more times this summer with:
Breakfast at Tiffany's on 2 August;
Leon on 16 August; and,
The Jungle Book on 30 August.

All showings start at 8:45 with doors opening at 8:15.

Enjoying the show with Castle Park Arts Centre Trust Chairman Peter Vickery

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Frodsham Marshes - replacement of the drainage pumps

The drainage of Frodsham and Ince Marshes has been a topic of discussion and debate ever since the Environment Agency (EA) decided that, after 2015 they would no longer fund the management and drainage of the marshes.

Quite frankly, so far as the EA is concerned this was and is a cost benefit analysis.  They have limited funds available to support flood alleviation schemes in the country - and in terms of priority and flooding risk our marshes were a lower priority than other schemes.  One only has to remember the flooding in Somerset recently to understand their position - even if, locally, we don't agree with them.

The good news for all of us is that local businesses, landowners and the Highways Agency have come together and are working up arrangements to maintain the complex web of drainage ditches, a siphon and sluices.

The first main step in this reached a milestone yesterday when the EA agreed to co-fund the replacement of both pumps (one at Ince, the other at Frodsham) with the Highways Agency (HA).  The HA clearly have an interest in ensuring that the M56 is well drained!

The existing pumps are 1930s vintage and are now well passed their serviceable life.  Getting spare parts for them is nigh on impossible.  Also they do not meet the latest environmental standards - including the Eel Regulations.  The EA accepted that they couldn't in all fairness hand on - non-compliant pumps to new operators - hence their decision to co-fund their replacement.

I'm hoping to be able to discuss the new arrangements for managing and maintaining the pumps and the drainage ditches shortly.  The good news for all council tax payers in the Borough is that the new management and maintenance arrangements look set to be paid for and managed privately.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Swing Bridge - Proposed Permanent Traffic Regulation Order

The text that follows below is the CWaC formal notice, statement of reasons and accompanying plan proposing a permanent Traffic Regulation Order for the A56 at the Swing Bridge to the east of Frodsham.
The bridge is set to re-open in the early autumn.  The restored bridge will only have one lane in each direction.  
As you can see from the plan the proposal is to continue with the existing temporary traffic management arrangements.  
This allows free movement of traffic into Frodsham and from Frodsham to the M56 motorway.  Those wishing to travel from Frodsham to Sutton Weaver will continue to have to loop around the first M56 roundabout.  This arrangement works without traffic lights.
It is important that everyone who wishes to express a view on the proposal responds to this consultation by 8 August 2014.    I'm going to have my say - make sure you have yours!

NOTICE is hereby given that the Cheshire West and Chester Borough Council propose to make the following Traffic Regulation Order in accordance with the provisions of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.
The effect of the order will be to prohibit any vehicle proceeding in a northerly direction on the A56 Sutton Causeway to make a right hand turn into the A56 Chester Road, Sutton Weaver
Full details of the proposal are in the draft Order together with a plan which may be examined at the offices of Cheshire West and Chester Borough Council, Wyvern House, The Drumber, Winsford, Cheshire, CW7 1AH between the hours of 9am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday.
If you wish to object to the proposed Order, or to any provisions contained in it, you may do so in writing specifying the grounds on which it is made, to the undersigned quoting reference TRO 865 by 8TH August 2014

Richard Flood
Area Highways Manager
Localities Directorate
Cheshire West and Chester Council, Winsford Area Highways Office, Phoenix House, Clough Road, Winsford, Cheshire CW7 4BD

16th July 2014 


As part of the major refurbishment of Sutton Weaver Swing Bridge currently being undertaken, it is proposed to reduce the traffic to two lanes over the bridge to protect the structure from vehicular impacts.

Extensive traffic modelling work has been undertaken to assess the traffic impact of reducing it to two lanes over the bridge.

It has been requested by the Executive Member for Localities that a traffic order should be advertised to prohibit vehicles travelling from Frodsham towards Sutton Weaver to access the A56 Chester Road, Sutton Weaver. This will facilitate the removal of the traffic signal junction as the A56 Sutton Causeway and A557 Clifton Road will be the main route between the M56 motorway and Frodsham.

Traffic wishing to travel to Sutton Weaver will have to continue along A557 Clifton Road around Clifton Road Roundabout and back along A557 Clifton Road turning left into A56 Chester Road. This is illustrated on the plan attached to this order.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Downhill Run and Festival in the Park

Wow what a fantastic 6th July in Frodsham.  You can forget the Tour de France, the British Grand Prix and the Men's final at Wimbledon.  Today was one of those fantastic days in Frodsham when we celebrate being a wonderful, vibrant, inclusive community.

A huge thank you to Rotary, Roundtable, the Community Association and the army of volunteers who turned out to make the Downhill Run and the Festival in the Park such a fantastic occasion.  I very much appreciate the hard work put in by many people without which we wouldn't have had such a wonderful day.  Thanks also to the CWaC officers for their hard work behind the scenes and for manning one of the many stalls.

I also have to say thank you to my daughter Sarah who took many, many photographs - some of which I've posted here.  If anyone wants a higher resolution copy of any of these images, or if you want me to look to see if Sarah captured you or your family on the downhill run just be in touch and I'll see what I've got.  I have around 50 of them!

It was wonderful to see so many parents running with their youngsters.  I'm personally very grateful that they do - it is the only way I have a chance of finishing in the top half!

Now for the second year running I won the particular challenge I set myself - beating Graham Evans MP to the finish line.  I breezed passed him at the Ring O'Bells.  I keep the bragging rights for another year!  Incidentally Graham and I are exactly the same age - we are the twins that never were!

For data protection reasons I've limited the size of the 'family photos' and the numbers I've reproduced here.

Chris Larkin was the first one home
The downhill run's appeal is that it is for most of us a family fun run.

I'd love to say 'accelerating' at the Ringers - but that wouldn't be true!

Graham Evans MP and son 

still smiling at the finish.
Cllr Sarah Wakefield and fiancee Greg with Graham Evans MP and his son. I'm in the middle!  Ironically we're lined up in the order we finished!


Mayor of Frodsham Cllr Allen Wales presents

Just before the shower!

Friday, 4 July 2014

Frodsham South By-election Result

Here is the formal declaration of the Frodsham South by-election result from yesterday.

A big thank-you to everyone involved in working so hard for Caroline and to those who helped give Caroline and the Conservatives the opportunity to increase both our majority and the share of the votes cast for a Conservative since this seat was last contested in August 2011.

This was an election we didn't seek - but having been called we were happy to contest.

With all-out Town Council elections due in May 2015 we would have been content for the Town Council to co-opt to fill this vacancy in the full knowledge that a Conservative would almost certainly not have been adopted even presupposing one had been put forward - which would have been very unlikely.   We can say this as, until last night, there were only 3 Conservatives on the Town Council and we don't act as a political party on the Town Council in any event.  Had this vacancy occurred in or after October 2014 no election would have been permitted given the proximity of the all-out elections in May 2015.

For a parish or town council to hold by-elections 10 local voters have to petition to say they seek an election, otherwise the parish or town council can co-opt to fill any casual vacancy that arises.  Each by-election costs the Town Council close to £5,000 - and this is third by-election we have had to the Town Council within a year.  With the all-out elections in May 2015 so close I pose the question whether this was money that needed to be spent.  It is literally the price of democracy.

Since the last all-out elections in May 2011 there has been 1 co-option (Cllr Alan Wales (Independent)) and 4 by-elections fought and contested. 

There are now 4 Conservatives on the Town Council out of the 16 members.  At the all out elections in 2011 all 3 Conservative candidates seeking election were elected and a fourth was elected in the August 2011 by-election.  

All Conservatives on FTC are pledged to working independently of each other and to work with all other town councillors willing to work collectively.  We don't hold pre-meetings or stitch up council business before hand.

We tell you honestly and openly we are Conservatives so you can appreciate the philosophy we bring with us - however we do not act as a political bloc or caucus at the Town Council.  

We are the only political party to act in this open and honest way in Frodsham.

Other political parties have a long track record of putting forward so-called independents - who then declare, when elected, political party affiliations in their declarations of interests.

Comprehensive Victory for Conservative Candidate Caroline Ashton

Today was the by-election for Frodsham Town Council's South ward.

The result declared earlier this evening was:

Caroline Ashton  Conservative   229 votes         59.3%
Ryan Edgehill                              116 votes         30.1%
Tom Reynolds                               38 votes           9.8%

Spoilt papers                                   3 votes            0.8%

Total votes cast                            386 votes

There was a 22% turnout.  Caroline Ashton secured 59.3% of the votes cast in an overwhelming endorsement of her positive, no-nonsense manifesto.

I am really looking forward to working with Caroline.  Her straight forward, candid approach will be a tremendous asset for Frodsham.

This seat was last contested in a by-election in 2011 when Carol Davis (Conservative) was elected with 183 votes to Geoff Bath's 132 votes.

Caroline Ashton's election has increased the number of votes cast and the proportion of victory for the Conservative Party.  Absolutely fantastic!