Tuesday, 20 January 2015

My Latest Newsletter

Friday, 16 January 2015

Update From #WoodsideLink Discussion

'Woodside Link' will go through this scrubland between Sandringham Drive and Wheatfield Road. Photo: A D Winter
On Wednesday I was at our Strategic Development Working Group meeting at HRTC where officers, and art designers were present.

We were told that the scrub under the 'diamond shape' pylons east of the old Parkside Drive-Pastures Way buslink will not now be done in the first season; it will be left until 2016.
We were also told that it was not intended to remove all of that scrub, anyway, but rather to make a grass footway through it.

We did ask them about planting along the edge of the wall and they gave us their experts opinion that this might be difficult to achieve given the north facing wall, and limitation of water supply to roots, and so on.  
The CBC commissioned artist explained her design for the the wall facing out onto Sandringham Drive. Colourful rectangular upright shapes of various heights would be painted onto the sides of the walls to break up the eye level; in addition the wall would project outwards at regular intervals. They showed us 3D cardboard samples of how that might appear, too, which was very helpful, and unfortunately does not convey in a 2D picture.  In addition, trees can be planted on the grass verge between road and cycle paths, further reducing the impact of the wall. I now feel on balance that I can support this; we all agreed to support it.

The artist commissioned by CBC who came up with the acoustic sound wave on the inner side of the route fence explained how it would work. People would be able to download an app to convert the painted blue sound bars into noise.
After answering my questions on practicality, and road safety, I expressed reservations, but ultimately I think they will do it anyway. The choice of what sort of noise is to be worked out, possibly with some community involvement.

We were told that they would work with the community to put in planting (foraging, if that is what is wanted) in the community gardens south of Frogmore Rd.

I again suggested that CBC should set up a Facebook Page specifically to convey news of Woodside Link progress. This was on the basis that when Poynters Rd was closed for 11 weeks a couple of years ago, a specific FB page was set up for that, and this seemed to work quite well, with local residents being able to quickly find the information they want, and able to report the things they were unhappy with.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

No One Likes Mess, So Houghton Hall Park Needs More TLC

I'm bringing this matter to the attention of CBC.
I was down there, in the new car park a couple of days ago and the ordinary bin was full to overflowing - possibly people are emptying rubbish out of their cars and helping to fill them up.
And the dog bins get full up too quickly.
The bins in Houghton Hall Park either need emptying more frequently or we need bigger bins.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Charlie Hebdo Cartoons

Two of my favourite cartoons illustrating the drama of the last couple of awful days in France.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Houghton Brook Blockage

Reported this blockage today. Wondering if Environment Agency at enquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk will take note? Otherwise I'm going to be stuck on the phone explaining it to them.

Update: The email worked. A man from EA rang me at 17:00 2/Jan/15 to say he had cleared the debris. Result. Yeah!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

I do wish people would turn up to council meetings when they are supposed to

I was just reflecting on a Town Council working group meting last Friday morning.

There's them that does the work, and there's them that are just hangers on.

The Town Council are asked to comment on working time arrangements, landscaping and other minor points about a scheme that CBC have already got planning permission for.

To prepare for this particular meeting, there were big volumes of documents to read. I spent some 4 1/2 hours reading through them on the Monday, plus a couple of hours on the Thursday. I stimulated some public discussion of a sort on a particular aspect of the scheme I find abhorrent - the wall to be situated alongside Sandringham Drive in Houghton Regis - on my Facebook Page, Houghton Regis News Desk. The town clerk had arranged for leaflet drop of several hundreds to areas closest to the road scheme area,  out of which about 12 people dropped into the TC offices to take a peak at the documents. And at 6pm on the same drop-in day, a few members of the public came in to discuss, as requested by the Town Clerk.

So, well done to the members of the public who bothered to come along for that. The essence of your thoughts were fed into our little meeting on Friday by the Town Clerk. Those of us members of the Strategic Development Working Group that bothered to turn up were pleased with your efforts, to which we added our own comments. That was David Jones (Lib Dem), and myself (Independent). The Labour member apologised for absence and sent a substitute (well done). The Lib Dem group leader who should have been there sent an apology but had not arranged a substitute, and the  "Community" councillor that cost the Town Council 5 grand by forcing a by-election in June, just never made it. Well, it would have been nice to have their extra comments to present a more substantial feedback on the Council's thoughts.

I dread to think what will happen next May. I just hope we get town councillors who are prepared to put in the time and effort to make those important  meetings.

Footnote 1:
We had another meeting of this committee on 14th January. Only three again. In attendance: D. Jones, A.Winter, J. Carroll. The Labour member has resigned from the Council. Apologies from T. Swain M. Rolfe.