This Blog will be re-launched soon

30 October 2013

I hope to find time in 2014 to give this blog a complete makeover with the aim of focusing on current issues and deleting old or past issues.

 

 

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Re-starting the process to achieve an A350 Westbury Bypass

12 April 2012

Last month I took the initiative and laid a motion down at Westbury Town Council to obtain support from the town council to call on Wiltshire Council and other stakeholders to restart substantive discussions to find a suitable route for a bypass. The town council passed my motion unanimously.

I have now laid a similar motion for Wiltshire Council’s Westbury Area Board meeting which is to be held on Thursday 19 April at 7pm in The Laverton Hall, Westbury.

The motion is as follows:

“Westbury needs an A350 bypass as soon as possible, not least because heavy traffic flows along the A350 are expected to continue to grow for a wide range of reasons. Westbury Area Board calls on Wiltshire Council’s cabinet, Wiltshire Strategic Economic Partnership and all other relevant stakeholders, without further delay, to restart substantive  and meaningful discussions and relevant technical work to identify an appropriate and practical route for, and to properly and diligently plan for the implementation of, an A350 Westbury Bypass that will both remove long distance traffic from the town and help to improve journey times along the local A350 corridor, on the basis that by the time the necessary research and planning stages are substantially completed government or other suitable funding is more likely to be available again.”

 

A Statement on my Hillsborough comments

16 July 2010

16 July 2010

 To whomever it may concern,

 I apologise unreservedly for any offence I have caused as a result of some quick comments I made on my personal Twitter page on 29 June 2010 about the Hillsborough stadium disaster. I am very sorry.

 Those comments were unfortunate, inadequate, misleading and only expressed part of what I really meant.

 I never intended to cause any offence. As soon as I realised that this was being stirred up by the media and others far beyond my usual small readership on Twitter, causing further offence, I immediately withdrew (deleted) them and apologised for any offence.

 My initial apology for any offence was entirely unqualified and posted the same day in a message that is still on display on my Twitter page with its date stamp of “6.04 PM Jun 29th” (ie. Tuesday 29 June). It states: “Some of my earlier comments are being taken out of context. I was not talking about victims. I am very sorry to anyone who took offence.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Area board pledges support for Victorian pool against possible closure plans

17 February 2010

Concern about the potential threat to the country’s oldest swimming pool was voiced at Westbury’s community area board meeting on Thursday.

People attending the packed village hall at Heywood were concerned because the pool is part of a countywide review of leisure facilities. The Conservative administration has stated publicly that West Wiltshire “has too many swimming pools”. And although no firm decisions have yet been made by the council’s Tory cabinet, and won’t be until after the general election, the four members of the area board pledged to do all they could to keep Westbury Swimming Pool open.

Health and wellbeing also featured in another section of the meeting when Director of Public Health, Maggie Rae, presented a snapshot of the community’s health. Concerns included above average numbers of teenage pregnancies and rates of childhood obesity.

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Time is running out for the man-made climate change fraudsters!

14 February 2010

“Climategate U-turn as scientist at centre of row admits: There has been no global warming since 1995”

  • Data for vital ‘hockey stick graph’ has gone missing
  • There has been no global warming since 1995
  • Warming periods have happened before – but NOT due to man-made changes

See article in Sunday Mail: http://tiny.cc/Fraudster

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Exact location of new A350 Pelican Crossing by Cedar Hotel in Westbury announced

13 February 2010

At the Westbury Area Board meeting on Thursday 11 February, WC highways officers confirmed the exact position of the proposed traffic-light controlled pedestrian crossing over Warminster Road (A350) near the Cedar Hotel.

The Pelican Crossing will be exactly in line with the footpath running along the far western side of Wellhead Lane at the junction with Warminster Road.

This footpath lies on the western side of a small grassed area and runs along the flank wall of an end-of-terrace house.  The grassy area lies between the pavement on the western side of Wellhead Lane and the nearby end-of-terrace house.

Construction works will occur this Summer.  Final detailed designs are being completed at the moment and then Traffic Regulation Orders will be published.

Westbury’s town centre free car parking under threat

12 February 2010

Plans by the Conservative administration at Wiltshire Council to ‘harmonise’ parking charges across the county could lead to general increases and the introduction of charges to car parks which are currently free.

The council is proposing four charging bands for the different sizes of settlement:

Band 1 with the highest fees would just be Salisbury

Band 2 – Chippenham, Trowbridge and Devizes

Band 3 – other market towns

Band 4 – small towns and villages

Consultants have now been asked to report back with detailed proposals on which towns fall into Band 3 or 4 and what level the car parking fees should be.  Consultation with Area Boards and local councils will follow.

The new fee system will take effect from April 2011.

Westbury’s town clerk has retired – New clerk starts on 15 February

9 February 2010

At an extraordinary meeting of Westbury Town Council last night, we fully agreed terms requested by our long-standing clerk for him to leave his post a few weeks earlier than originally set in the latest of several extensions to his employment contract.

Therefore, by mutual agreement – and at the request of Les Fry himself – our long-standing town clerk retired from his post yesterday on (confidential) terms requested by him.

Our new clerk, a long-standing Westbury resident, starts on Monday 15 February. The town council office will continue to be run efficiently and effectively by several long-standing and experienced staff.

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Wiltshire Council looks for new waste disposal sites

4 February 2010

Wiltshire Council (WC) has published a revised list of sites for waste disposal.  Some are near Westbury.

The consultation document contains a list of sites and waste uses that have been appraised by officers and deemed suitable for further detailed consideration.

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WC to consult on options for rubbish collection

1 February 2010

Update as at 17/2/10:

The consultation has been postponed until after the General Election.

______________________________________________

Until 1st April 2009, rubbish used to be collected by the four district councils and the old county council disposed of it.  

The problem for the new unitary Wiltshire Council is that the waste collection service is different across Wiltshire and needs to be standardised.

The Conservative administration at County Hall has now been forced to consult on proposed changes to rubbish collections after a cross-party vote to throw out their initial proposals to ‘harmonise’ the service.

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Westbury swimming pool under possible threat of closure

24 January 2010

The top Tory responsible for leisure services at Wiltshire Council (WC), Stuart Wheeler, has confirmed his opinion that West Wiltshire has too many swimming pools.

At a recent meeting of Wiltshire Council’s Environment Select Committee, Cllr Wheeler repeatedly confirmed the line. However, closures will not take place until later after each relevant Area Board has been consulted and … after the general election.

The committee was considering a report which has already been approved by the WC cabinet.

The report says that, “Inevitably there will be difficult choices”. It recognises the risk of people not liking having their pools shut by reminding councillors that: “The plan includes a range of proposals which may be seen by local communities as threatening local services. Local views may directly conflict with priorities identified within (the) report.”

As for where the axe will fall, the signs are ominous for West Wiltshire. “Some communities in the west of the county have several swimming pools serving them.”

There is an “Over provision of 25m swimming pools”.  Westbury Pool is 20m long. Trowbridge, Warminster and Bradford on Avon pools are 25m long. The Melksham Blue Pool is 30m long.

The author of the report says there should be “Fewer buildings more services”.

The report also indicates that opportunities should be sought to place any new facilities on school sites, as multi-function facilities.

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Westbury gets a new town clerk

19 January 2010

As a town councillor, I attended an extraordinary full Westbury Town Council meeting last night to appoint the new town clerk. One candidate shone out far above all others in all respects, so it was fairly easy for all the councillors to agree on the appointment.

Our current clerk, Les Fry, has done a good job and retires soon.

Taxi fares could rise!

19 January 2010

Last week, Wiltshire Council started consulting all taxi and private hire vehicle drivers in Wiltshire by post.

This is part of the “harmonisation” process for this service. The four fare systems over the old district council areas need to be made the same for the whole of Wiltshire.

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Wiltshire Council takes action on potholes

18 January 2010

Following the recent freezing cold weather, Wiltshire Council’s highways team is working round the clock to repair damaged roads in the county.

The damage has been caused by the prolonged cold weather following a very wet November and early December. Some of the road damage is serious and longer stretches of road will have to be completely resurfaced.

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Next Westbury Area Board meeting – 11 February at Heywood Village Hall

17 January 2010

The next Westbury Area Board meeting will be held in Heywood Village Hall on Thursday 11 February 2010.

More details will be available here.