Monday, 19 March 2018

Reported a few potholes today ...

I reported a few potholes this morning and let people know on Facebook to avoid duplication. There were quite a few comments about other potholes so I decided to do a tour of Brookside to see if there were any others. There were one or two ...
  • Bridgnorth Road, Tweedale near the Cuckoo Oak
  • Holmer Farm Road near the Shell garage (a deep one)
  • The big island that is the junction of Brookside Avenue and Holmer Farm Road
  • Four speed cushions on Brookside Avenue between Bembridge and Beaconsfield, both sides of the road
  • A442 southbound between Hollinswood Interchange and Stirchley Interchange, lot of potholes
  • A442 northbound sliproad for Hollinswood Interchange, lots of potholes and badly worn road surface
  •  Stirchley Road by the Rose and Crown
  • Stirchley Road by the old school
  • Stirchley Lane by the side gate of the house called The Elms
  • Stirchley Lane by the entrance to the wood yard
  • Stirchley Lane before and after the bridge (some large ones)
  • Stirchley Lane just in front of the 1st speed hump past the bridge
  • Outside 34 Stirchley Lane
  • Sunken drain outside 1 Stirchley Lane
  • Sunken drain on the Dawley side of the bridge on Stirchley Lane
  • First two drains on the entrance of Birchmore have sunk and there is a large pothole
  • Entrance of Burnside (large hole)
  • Near 7 Burnside
  • Brindleyford by garages near 31
  • Brindleyford needs resurfacing from the junction of Brookside Avenue to Blossomfields
  • Entrance of Brackenfield
  • Rear of 154 Bishopdale
  • Rear of 62 Bishopdale
  • Read of 113 Bishopdale
  • Rear of 68 Bishopdale
  • Entrance of Cygnet Drive
  • Junction of Cygnet Drive and Teal Close
  • Near 63 Burtondale
  • Rear of 126 Burtondale
  • Entrance of Burford
  • Alongside 275 Burford
  • Rear of 270 Burford
  • Rear of 234 Burford
  • Outside compound near shops
  • Near 1 Bridgwood on the junction
  • Outside 1 Bembridge
  • Outside 5 Bembridge
  • Rear of 96 Bembridge
  • Bembridge needs at least partial resurfacing
  • Entrance of Beaconsfield
  • Outside 114 Beaconsfield
  • Junction before 114 Beaconsfield
  • Outside 125 Briarwood
  • Outside 111 Briarwood
  • Sunken drain outside 105 Briarwood
  • Outside 100 Briarwood
  • Outside 48 Briarwood
  • Outside 29 Briarwood
I also spotted some fly tipping ...
  • 31 Brindleyford (armchair)
  • 40 Brereton (household waste/furniture)
  • 11 Brereton (household furniture next to skip)
  • Rear of 56 Beaconsfield (furniture)
My inbox is now full of reference numbers from Telford & Wrekin Council!

In one picture a scuba diver pops up from one water-logged hole in the road.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Your children are not going to lose their free school meals

Are you worried about losing free school meals? You probably don't need to be.

Labour are busy spreading the word that the evil Tories have voted to take food out of the mouths of a million poor children but actually that's not true. What they have done is vote to lower the amount you can earn and be able to claim free school meals in the future.

No child that currently gets free school meals is going to lose them under this change unless your circumstances change and you're no longer eligible under current rules. If you apply for a child at some point in the future (I'm not sure when the change comes into effect) then you will be assessed on the new rules.

So what can you earn in future? £7,400 per year. That doesn't sound like a lot but with the benefits you will be entitled to on that income that becomes about £24k a year which is about £2,300 more than the average salary in Telford.

Where did the million children figure come from? Well, not from research by the Labour Party. It is, in fact, an estimate by the Guardian newspaper!

The cost of providing free school meals to all primary school children in England is estimated at about £800m per year. On top of that the British government would have to give Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland an extra £150m between them because they get a share of any money spent in England (but not the other way round of course). So it would cost £950m a year in total to give all primary school children free school meals. Or to put that into perspective, the amount of foreign aid we give to Nigeria and Pakistan which are the 21st and 24th largest economies in the world according to the World Bank.

Cutting the number of children eligible for free school meals is a bit of a crappy thing to do when the cost of living is rising faster than wages but it isn't depriving anyone of what they get now and you need a pretty decent income by Telford's standards to hit the cap.

John Howard Davies as Oliver Twist in the 1948 film

If you do find yourself struggling for food because of this rule change or for any other reason then you can contact Telford Crisis Network who can help you with the food bank and point you in the direction of people who can help you sort out your finances. If you have already been to the food bank and reached your self-referral limit and are still struggling then get in touch with me and I can make a referral.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

I can no longer represent UKIP as a councillor

Yesterday I went to Birmingham for an extraordinary general meeting of UKIP where we voted on a motion of no confidence in the leader, Henry Bolton.

I didn't vote for Henry Bolton during the last leadership election, nor did I vote for any of the other candidates. Henry winning was the result I was most happy with even though I didn't actively support him.

I voted to keep Henry as leader yesterday because I believed he was the best UKIP had to offer in terms of a leader. The party cannot afford a leadership election, either politically or financially. Unfortunately, 63% of the people at the meeting disagreed and voted him out.

I respect the outcome of the vote as much as I disagree with it but it has put me in a difficult situation. The National Executive Committee (NEC) has added to the long list of extremely poor decisions it has made recently by appointing Gerard batten MEP as interim leader of the party. Gerard recently described Islam as a "death cult" and gay marriage "a nightmare". It is rumoured that he will appoint as party chairman a man who believes being gay is a mental illness that can be cured. That's not acceptable for me.

I cannot, in all conscience, represent UKIP when it is led by people who hold so many views that I disagree with and who have behaved in such an unprofessional and incompetent manner in the last few weeks. I therefore resigned the whip last night and am no longer a UKIP councillor. Whether I remain a member of the party depends on what happens in the next few days.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Maintenance work on Stirchley football pitches

I have had a call today from an officer at Telford & Wrekin Council regarding the state of the football pitches at Stirchley.

The pitches have been unplayable since before Christmas due to being so waterlogged. This has resulted in a number of cancelled games for Randlay Colts who play home games at Stirchley and local residents being unable to use the pitches.

TWS will be asked to carry out earthquaking on the pitches as soon as they are able to get a tractor on them without damaging the ground further. They will also light roll the pitches to flatten them out as they have become quite uneven.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Telford & Wrekin local plan guarantees we will be a decade behind the electric car revolution

The British government say that 60% of new cars must be electric by 2030. That's just 12 years away. By 2040 they must all be electric. How well prepared is Telford & Wrekin for the electric car revolution? Not at all!

If every public charger in the borough (including those at Shifnal services which is just over the border) was in use at the same time just 10 electric cars and 4 Teslas would be on charge. The two car dealerships that have chargers for customers adds another 4 and there are another 4 Tesla chargers yet to be turned on.

There is a fund for electric charging facilities provided by the British government that local authorities can tap into. There is £4.5m of this fund unclaimed!

The new local plan for Telford & Wrekin has been published and in it developers are "encouraged" to provide electric charging facilities but only where it doesn't affect their profits. Clearly developers are not going spend money where they don't need to. The local plan was an opportunity to require electric car charging facilities in all new developments over a certain size and it has been squandered. By the time the plan is reviewed again the borough will be years behind other local authorities.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Reflecting on the snowpocalypse

Now the excitement of the snowpocalypse is pretty much over it's time to make some observations.

Firstly, Telford & Wrekin Council have put Shropshire Council to shame. Friends and relatives who live outside Telford have commented that you could tell when you were leaving Shropshire Council's area and entering Telford & Wrekin. I know that our gritters tried at least 4 times to get in to Ironbridge to clear the roads whilst Shropshire Council couldn't keep the main roads into Telford clear and large towns were cut off from the outside world. Gritting routes have been cut back over the last few years and grit bins have been left empty to save money but the people on the ground did their job and they did it well.

Secondly, our parish council have done a great job filling in the gaps that Telford & Wrekin Council left by clearing footpaths and filling grit bins with our own supplies. It's not the parish council's responsibility to do this but once again the ladies and gents at the parish council have stepped in to help the community.

Finally, Brookside residents have shown that when people are in need the community comes together. I have seen people offer to collect shopping for people who were unable to get out and about, people checking on the residents of the bungalows to make sure they were ok and see if they needed anything, people clearing their own roads and footpaths, people coming out of their houses to push cars that have got stuck (including mine). We often get hung up on the mischief, antisocial behaviour and personality clashes but the way everyone pulled together over the last few days tells you all you need to know about our community.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Please don't empty grit bins to clear your drive

I have just been and delivered a bag of rock salt to Beckbury Drive as the grit bin had been emptied this morning getting a delivery van up the road and a resident clearing their drive.

It should go without saying that the grit in grit bins is for the road, not for private drives but every time we get a cold spell there's always one nice clear drive near the bin and the road is untreated. The parish council spent quite a lot of money last year having the grit bins filled as Telford & Wrekin Council decided they were no longer going to pay for it to save money. It's your money we're spending so please don't empty the grit bins for your drives.

Unfortunately, I didn't realise there were two grit bins on Beckbury Drive so thanks to local resident Helen who is going up the road to fetch the bag of rock salt and put it in the right bin!

Finally, to preempt the inevitable question: no, I don't have any more rock salt for other bins. The parish council's environmental team don't work on Friday's during the winter months to make up for the long hours they work in the summer so there is no way of getting the salt out of storage or to the bins. This bag was liberated from the parish council office which has been closed early so staff can get home safely. If you would like to comment on the borough council's decision not to fill our grit bins any more then borough councillors' contact details can be found on the Telford & Wrekin Council website. 🙂