Action Planning for Cradley & Storridge PC

Rationale.
The Council currently faces a number of issues, in addition to ‘business as usual’ and agendas are becoming unmanageable, so that meetings are less productive and significant issues do not receive the discussion they deserve.

Recent meetings have attempted to cover both routine and strategic matters, but some well intentioned actions have proved problematic. For example, we recognise that Standing Orders require modification, and some initial work has been done to address this – but for various reasons has not yet reached an outcome. In the meantime, we have resolved to operate with working groups rather than committees, but set these up without terms of reference or clarity of remit. At our recent meeting we then began to reconsider the issue of committees. No organisation can continue to operate like this – we need to break the cycle.

Proposal.

The Council appoints a small Action Planning group who will:-

  • Identify what we need to achieve in the next 6 months, in the various areas of work (eg Governance; Employment; Finance; On-going business)
  • Identify and place in order the tasks to be undertaken in each area.
  • Establish a timescale for completing each task, based on preparation for PC meetings.
  • Establish who can be assigned to each task.

The Action Plan would be presented to the April meeting for discussion, amendment if required, and – hopefully – approval.
Delivery of this Action Plan, with appropriate planned agenda items at relevant PC meetings, should be the priority for the PC for the next 6 months. By September, we would expect to have an informed, well-organised Council with relevant policies and practices in place, working together to serve our community.

Temporary Speed Restriction on A4103 at Cradley

Balfour Beatty have advised:

“There will be a temporary speed restriction in place on the A4103 from 600 metres east of the junction with the B4220 t0 600 metres west of the junction with the B4220, planned to be effective for a period of 4 weeks commencing on the 26th February 2018.  This is to enable us to safely carry out works to the junction.  The works themselves will be carried out under convoy.”

Sewage Waste Fly Tipping

On Friday 2nd February at around 2:30 pm, someone disposed of what appears to be a septic tank full of sewage waste into a storm drain in Oaklands. The result was a stream of foul slurry pouring from the storm drain outlet into the fresh water stream that borders our garden in Beech Close and feeds a tributary of the Cradley Brook at the bottom of our garden. We were fortunate enough to be in the garden at the time and so were able to pinpoint the time of this environmental crime.

We reported the incident to Severn Trent Water who reacted very swiftly and worked throughout the evening to identify the cause of the slurry pouring from the storm drain outlet. They returned the following morning and filled 3 bin bags with sanitary waste and flushed the storm drain and stream until the water flowed cleanly again.
Some of our neighbours were able to add detail and reported having seen a small tanker of a light colour (possibly yellow) with an elephant hose, working in the road at around 2:30pm that day. It was accompanied by a medium sized white van. Just before this, men were seen inspecting each of the man holes in the street in turn, presumably to identify the main sewer drain. A dark blue transit van was seen parked on the opposite side of the road at the top of Oaklands earlier in the day.

This appears to be someone fly tipping sewage. Had they picked the correct drain, no-one would have been any the wiser, though it would clearly still have been a crime. Our concern now is that this may happen again, if not in Oaklands, but somewhere else. We hope that by alerting the community of this illegal activity we shall all now be aware of the practice and take a more active questioning approach to unusual vehicles working in our streets. It is the last thing I would have expected a tanker in my street to be doing!

In addition to Severn Trent Water, the Environmental Agency and Herefordshire Council have been informed and would be interested if anyone has any further information.

Peter and Sue Warner

Smart Meters for all Homes by 2020

We have received a request to publish this article on our Parish Council website, regarding Smart Meters.  If you have any questions, please get in touch or follow the links below.

“As I’m sure you’re aware, the Government is rolling out smart meters into all homes and businesses before 2020. However, research shows that a huge percentage of the population are still not aware of the options available.

Working in conjunction with the smart meter authorities nationwide, we are ensuring that all local councils have the up to date, correct information on their websites to ensure we are fully prepared as a nation for this switch. Provided below are links to full guides domestic and non-domestic smart meters handed to us by the Government.

Non-domestic –
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/236488/Non_Domestic_Leaflet_v_02.pdf

Domestic – https://selectra.co.uk/guides/smart-meters

I have identified the news or useful links section as a suitable place for this information.
Please get in touch if you require any further assistance.”

Consultation for Challenge Fund Road Maintenance – A4103 Re-surfacing

Residents are being asked to give their views on the planned second phase of re-surfacing works on the A4103 due to start in May 2018.  If you wish to comment, you may email Cllr Chowns, our Ward Councillor at ellie.chowns@herefordshire.gov.uk  or respond directly to Mr. Clive Hall, Head of Highways and Community Services in Hereford, via the form within this letter Challenge Fund phase 2 letter FINAL.  The Parish Council have received an extension on the date of their response so it may be discussed at the Parish Council meeting on the 13th February.

Email received from Mr. Hall, via Cllr Chowns:

“We may have to close the section from Hereford to Newtown Crossroads for a period to complete all works safely and to the required standard. This second phase of work is scheduled to begin in May 2018.

In Phase 1 we have used high quality surfacing materials with a lifespan of over twenty years, and will  reduced the need for future maintenance.  However […] the use of this material requires us to operate under a full road closure and we appreciate this brings with it disruption.

Following phase 1 we have carried out a lessons learned exercise with Balfour Beatty and this learning will inform delivery in phase 2. As a result we are seeking views on the method and timescale for the remaining works, particularly the nature of the proposed closures.  We  can move forward by:

  • Undertaking works in a short, concentrated period of road closures (for example of up to 4 weeks) which may include some periods of 24 hour road closure to reduce the overall duration.
  • Using a series of shorter road closures over a longer period of time (this could include, day time,  night time closures or 24 hour closures), with the road being open for definite periods between each closure.
  • Completing the works using materials that do not require substantial road closures. However the road surface would be less durable, potentially tripling the cost of maintaining these roads in the long term. Requiring us to return with roadworks sooner.
  • Ceasing works on this project. This would require us to return the £5 million central government funding. The works completed to date would have to be paid from existing highway maintenance budgets and we would still have to be liable for the undertake works to maintenance of these roads from existing council budgets at some time.

We would very much appreciate your views on the above options.

Clearly when working on the A4103 between Hereford and Newtown Crossroads (by whatever means) traffic will be able to progress freely along the A4103 from Worcester to Newtown Crossroads and visa versa.

The decision re which of the above options will be taken forward to delivery, or not as the case may be, will be taken in early March. We will then seek to publicise details of our actual operations based on that decision.

Draft Budget for 2018-2019

The new Parish Council met for the first full Council meeting on Tuesday 23rd January 2018 and discussed a draft budget to establish the precept for 2018-2019.  The Finance Working Group is due to meet again on the 2nd February to finalise the draft budget to be presented for discussion and decision at the February meeting, 13th February 2018.

Please look out for the draft budget and if you have any comments you would like considered, please use the contact page on this website to contact the Clerk.

Bruce Herriot
Chairman