Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Remembrance Day

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them
Today on Frodsham Hill - the act of commemoration was led by Fr Michael - who, as usual found the words to make everyone reflect on the futility and suffering caused by conflict and war.  

Young and old remember

The solemnity and quiet dignity of Remembrance Day is always very moving.  Cllr Lynn Riley represented both of us and Cheshire West and Chester Council on the hill today and took these photographs and suggested some of the commentary.

I wasn't able to join the commemorations in Frodsham today as I was representing clients at an Inquest in Leicester.  All of us in the packed court room stood in silence at 11am and observed two minutes of reflection.  I found that small act of quiet remembrance remarkable and poignant.  All disputation, representation and challenge ceased as we remembered those who fought and died for us to have the freedom to deliberate matters in court and all the other freedoms we take for granted.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Remembrance Sunday - St Lawrence Church, Frodsham

St Lawrence church was packed this morning for our annual Remembrance Sunday commemorations.
Father Michael leading the commemoration

we had more wreaths laid this year than we have had in many years

Professor Tim Wheeler laying a wreath on behalf of HM Queen and Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire

Cllrs Dawson & Riley laying a wreath on behalf of Cheshire West and Chester Council

Cllr Allen Wales Mayor of Frodsham and Frodsham's Junior Mayors

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Frodsham and Ince Marshes

Over the last 18 months or so I have been sitting on a steering group seeking to work out how the drainage and flood risks associated with the Frodsham and Ince Marshes can be managed going forward.  The reason this issue has arisen is because the Environment Agency ('EA') announced some while ago that they would cease to take responsibility for the pumping stations on the marshes and for the clearance of the main water channels from April 2015.

We've now got to the point where Heads of Terms have been broadly agreed and each respective landowner, business and Town or Parish Council needs to decide whether they are going to sign up to the largely informal arrangements.

The EA has agreed that it will transfer the pumping stations to others.  In the case of the Frodsham pumping station - to the Highways Agency, and in the case of the Ince pumping station to a consortia of Peel, Grow How and Quinn Glass. The EA has also agreed to replace the pumps - with modern eel compliant pumps before they transfer the responsibility to others.  The new pumps will have the same capacity as the present ones - although the 4 pumps and the Ince station will be replaced by 3 pumps of slightly greater capacity.  The water engineers tell us that this will increase the syphonic effects and will make the water flows more efficient. (In other words the water's own flow will help convey more water through the system).

The riparian landowners (that is the legal term for the owners of land either adjacent to, or through which a watercourse flows) are responsible (as they always have been) for cleaning out the watercourses as needed.  Historically the EA had carried out some of the maintenance work - but if you listen to the farmers they will tell you that they didn't do it particularly well.

Last year the farmers and local land owners carried out the watercourse clearance work - and for the first time in many a long year the marshes drained effectively.  The marshes are designed to work as one system - and it therefore makes sense that everyone interested acts together as an informal partnership, co-operating with each other.

FTC will need to make a decision at its next meeting whether or not it wants to be part of the Partnership Management arrangements going forward.  FTC has to be very interested in what happens on the marshes for several reasons.

  • First the vast majority of the marshes lie in the Frodsham parish;
  • Second, all of us in Fodsham have a very real and direct interest in seeing that the land drains effectively - none of us want to contemplate the M56, the A56 or the railway lines being flooded, ever before we think of Main Street;
  • Third the marshes are perhaps the greatest and most underused leisure asset in Frodsham - and so much more could be done to encourage sustainable recreation and leisure activities;
  • Fourth FTC is, itself a modest landowner at 'Marshlands' - and that land floods!

If FTC wants to be part of the arrangement then it will need to agree to make modest supportive contributions.  FTC can't spend precept monies on drainage works, but it could spend monies on things like:

  • commissioning with others periodic expert reports on the drainage arrangements and how well they are performing;
  • aiding people who want work experience to work with the contractors clearing the ditches, or those with an interest in ecology; etc
  • commission a website or facebook style page where all information on all aspects of the marshses could be published - such as details of the footpaths, bridleways and cycle tracks, the latest bird-watching news, whats happening in terms of road and track maintenance and an information exchange on water flows;
Now if FTC agreed to make this sort of contribution it would be given a seat at the table and be in a position to influence how the marshes are drained going forward.   Personally I think FTC should be very interested in what happens here - however I am looking forward to debating this issue at our next meeting.

Incidentally if you are a landowner living with a water course and you want to know what your legal obligations are, and you don't want to speak to a lawyer you can have a look at this advice leaflet Living on the Edge

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Road Works in and around Frodsham

As most of us will have spotted we have had and are going to have road works around Frodsham for most of November.

Lynn and I have done our best to minimise any disruption as we have impressed on officers at CWaC that planned highways works in and around Frodsham should not take place during rush hours, and ideally they should only take place over night or in the evening.

So for 4 days of this week around the Swing-bridge on the A56 and Clifton Road we will have road resurfacing works.  They will take place overnight between 7pm and 7am.  There will be single lane, traffic light controlled working, and there will also be a workman on hand to control the traffic lights manually.

And then, starting on the 10 November we will have road works on the A56 between Castle Park and the Netherton.  These works will encompass both resurfacing and the introduction of a crossing. They have been scheduled to be done outside peak hours.

Fingers crossed.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Frodsham Library - free e-books and free wifi

Libraries are great - and at the risk of sounding like Mohammed Ali - our library in Frodsham is the greatest!

This week CWaC is launching free WiFi at our Libraries - so if you have a need to get on line - get on down to the library.  If you don't have your own device you can use one of the Library computers and our library staff are on hand to help if you need it.  Everyone in the Borough who can get to a library can get on-line.

And, if you are a member of our Library you can now borrow, free of charge up to 3 e-books at a time for either 14 or 21 days.  Best of all there are now no risks of fines for late returns as the e-books automatically disappear from your devices at the end of the loan period!

There are over 2,000 e-book titles available ranging from reference books, to children's stories and encyclopedia as well as a host of the 'usual material.'

You can use virtually any tablet type device... If you want to know more go and chat to Jen and her colleagues at the library.

The service is supplied by Overdrive and is available from the Cheshire Libraries Catalogue http://libcat.cheshire.gov.uk/