Saturday, 27 June 2015

Frodsham Windfarm - Map of the turbines

I asked Peel to produce this map.  It shows the position of the 19 turbines and the distances between the turbines and the nearest occupied house in each of the surrounding parishes.

All of the turbines are phyiscally in Frodsham.  The turbine to be sited near Marsh Lane, Frodsham is the closest of all to any housing.

This map is useful when considering which communities have an interest in the turbines, the construction work and any community benefit fund.  It sets out clearly the underlying facts.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Frodsham Windfarm update

Cllr Lynn Riley and I were shown around the wind farm construction site on the marshes today.  Most of the access roads, crane pads and turbine locations now have their access tracks built.  The next stage, likely to start in early July is the piling stage for the turbine foundations.

I'm pleased to report that, so far at least, there have been no complaints associated with the building works - even if many of us may still complain that the wind farm is being 'imposed' on us.

As someone who has cycled a lot on the marshes - and hopes to again soon - I was pleased to see the miles of access track that will be available for cyclist to use in the future.  I was also pleased to see that cyclists on national cycle route 5 that crosses the marshes have priority over the construction traffic.

Peel and their construction partners CHC were at pains to point out the quality of their environmental stewardship and how they are protecting the bird habitats, and badger sets.  In fact the need to protect the badgers have led to an access ramp being built near Grow How so as to leave the badgers undisturbed.

We were given the full tour of the construction site.  I took lots of photographs.  However as there is little to see above ground at the moment they are not that interesting to view - however I was interested in the way in which the access ways are being constructed on the soft ground of the marshes.

Most of the marshes are, in fact land that was reclaimed when the Ship Canal was contructed.  The land has been used as 'deposit grounds' for the silt dredged out of the Ship Canal and as such the land if very soft.  The road contractors have had to use a fibre membrane reinforced with plastic mesh to suppport the compacted stone roadway.  You can see elements of this in the photograph below.

This is the access ramp being contructed near Grow How showing the membrane and the mesh.

This is the site of the turbine pad closest to Frodsham

This is a roadway that has subsided and showed that the road contractors had to use a stronger membrane on the soft silty ground.  The 'failed' roadway has been replaced with a new access track parrallel to the original one.  The original one will be lifted in due course.

The contractor has 24hr security on site and a whole series of security measures I'm not going to describe.  Lynn and I have asked Cheshire Police to ensure to keep the marshes under scrutiny - and they have agreed to increase their surveillance.

Lynn and I also took the opportunity to have a lengthy discussion about the potential arrangements for the Community Benefit Fund and the Liaison Panel.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

CWaC Statement of Accounts for 2014-15 .

At CWaC's Audit & Governance Committee last night we got the first overview of CWaC's accounts for the 2014-15 municipal year.  The accounts are in the course of being audited - and the committee will have the audited accounts presented to it in August 2015.

These provisional accounts showed just how well CWaC has performed financially.  Here are some of the highlights from the report presented:

  • CWaC saved an additional £2m on its revenue expenditure more than had been budgeted for.
  • 'Overall the Council continues to demonstrate a healthy financial position, a strong balance sheet with net assets of £508m (up £24.5m) and a General Fund balance of £21.8m (up £0.5m).
  • 'The General Fund balance reflects the Council's core reserves and these increased from £21.3m to £21.8m; this value represents 8% of the budgeted cost of the services in 2014-15.  During the year the Council approved a Reserve Strategy which included a risk adjusted assessment of the target level for the general fund.  This indicated that the Council should seek to retain the reserve between £18.8m-£21.8m to be prudent and give the Council flexibility in future decision making.  The position at 31 March 2015 is at the top of this range and will therefore provide the Council with some flexibility in the future.'
I pointed out to the Committee what a 'golden legacy' had been bequeathed to the incoming Labour administration notwithstanding the public sector austerity of the last 5 years.  I hope they won't squander it for all our sakes.