Monday, 28 May 2012

Parish Council moving in with Stirchley Library

The parish council is moving out of Progress House and into Stirchley Library to save money and help protect library services.

Stirchley Library is the most expensive district library in the borough and was at risk of being closed but Cllr England (who is a parish and borough councillor for Brookside and the cabinet member with responsibility for libraries) said he was determined to keep it open and in conjunction with the parish council, came up with the idea of sharing the library building with the parish council.

The library will be staffed for fewer hours but a self-service system will be put in place.  Parish council staff won't be working for the library but will be there to keep an eye on things.  Additional services including a coffee bar will also be introduced at the library.

By sharing the library building with Stirchley Library, the parish council can save money and help keep Stirchley Library open and open for longer.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Telford & Wrekin disappoint over Randlay Avenue again

I have been away in Leeds for a week and got back to Telford expecting to find Randlay Avenue dug up or perhaps even resurfaced as Telford & Wrekin promised the work would be started on Monday of this week.

I was disappointed to drive up Randlay Avenue on Friday evening and find that absolutely nothing has been done once again.

I have sent the following email to Highways tonight:
Dear Highways,

It's Sunday of the week commencing the 21st of May and the repairs to the damaged road surface I first reported in October last year which has been scheduled for repair several times this year still havn't been started.  Also, not all of the surface damage has been marked out, including the worst part which extends from the kerb to the middle of the road.  I phoned last week to tell you about this.

If the work is not finished by the end of next week I will be putting in an official complaint.  I don't think it's reasonable to wait 8 months for a road repair and to be told several times that the work is going to be carried out only to find that it's not been done with no explanation.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Telford & Wrekin Council putting broadband funding at risk

Back in August last year I wrote a bit of a round-up on broadband internet provision in Brookside and mentioned £8m of funding to improve internet access in Shropshire, including Telford & Wrekin.

Rather disappointingly, Telford & Wrekin Council are one of only six local authorities in England that have failed to agree a plan for spending the available funding with the British government after apparently withdrawing from the county-wide plan and intending to go it alone.

According to the British government, everyone has a "right" to 2mbit internet as a minimum and this is what the funding is for.  I doubt there is anywhere in Brookside that is incapable of getting 2mbit broadband but that doesn't mean people in Brookside wouldn't benefit from improved internet access elsewhere in the borough - it could be keeping in touch with friends and relatives in rural parts of the borough, getting a job with someone who's been able to start their own business thanks to a good internet connection or even getting an order for your own business from someone who's been able to start up their own business because of the investment in broadband.

So come on Telford & Wrekin, pull your finger out and get this money while it's still available.

Big Local lottery meeting tonight

There is a meeting tonight at Brookside Community Centre at 7pm to kick off the £1m Big Local lottery fund.

Please try and find the time to go along to this meeting which will start the process of basically how are we as residents going to spend the £1m lottery grant that we've been given over the next 10 years.

The money is there to be spent on sustainable investment - in this context, sustainable meaning it doesn't need public money year in year out to keep it going.  The most obvious suggestion - and I believe it will be formally proposed tonight - is the establishment of a Community Interest Company (CIC).  CICs are a special type of company that are owned by local communities in much the same way as a co-operative is owned by its members and with a similar ethos in that its main aim is to provide a service to the community and like a co-operative, it makes a profit for the benefit of the community rather than corporate shareholders.

A CIC could run the community centre, offer soft loans to new businesses in Brookside, bring in training providers to help people get jobs, fund community service-type activities, etc.  The good thing is, CICs are likely to endure any number of changes of political groupings at the council or in Westminster because they fit the agenda of all the main political parties - they are similar to a co-operative so that keeps Labour and the Lib Dems happy and it's local people doing something for themselves which keeps the Conservatives and UKIP happy - so we're unlikely to see funding or support for CICs pulled any time soon, unless someone comes up with a better replacement.

So please try and get down to the community centre this evening, get involved and show everyone that Brookside residents really do care about their local community.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Randlay Avenue repairs to start Monday

Work is finally starting on Randlay Avenue on Monday, seven months after I first reported the damaged road surface.

This repair work has been promised many times and it's great to see it finally happening.  Bizarrely it looks like the road surface is going to be patched even though there are only a few inches of space between the marked out areas nearest the mini roundabout.  Equally bizarrely, the spot near the mini roundabout with the worst damage (half the width of the road) hasn't been marked for repair out even though it's only a couple of feet from where the road has been marked.  I have phoned Telford & Wrekin and asked them to include this part of the road as well.

The work is expected to start on Monday and last for up to 10 days.  The road will be closed at times with access maintained for residents.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Parish AGM and new committees

We had the AGM of Stirchley & Brookside Parish Council last night, followed by the first full council meeting of the electoral year.

Parish council meetings are rarely dull but last night's was quite entertaining due to the traditional jockeying for position and banter that the longer-serving councillors engage in at the AGM.

The committees have been rejigged this year to support delivery of the huge list of things we want to do this year so the Environment & Community Committee I was on last year doesn't exist any more.  I have, however, found myself on the Community & Leisure and Planning & Environment committees this year so that'll keep me busy!