Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Fosse Division Community Forum - 16 June

Latest Thursday night, I attended the quarterly Fosse Division Community Forum meeting in Withybrook where matters affecting, and of interest to, the Fosse area are discussed.

It was nice to see a good turnout from the local area at this meeting: four Shilton parish councillors were in attendance, along with a further five residents from Barnacle. This turnout was principally to hear the item on local policing priorities, which is when the
Rugby Rural North Safer Neighbourhood Team ask members of the public what they would like to see the local police team focus on during the next three months.

The discussion was led by Sergeant Sam Oakley, who heads up the local Safer Neighbourhoods Team. There were a number of suggestions put forward for policing priorities, including carrying out extra patrols to try and curb much of the anti-social behaviour that seems to have increased around the Top Road area of Barnacle recently. The police were supportive of this request and agreed to adopt it as one of their priorities, albeit slightly diluted by rolling it into a wider priority to deter anti-social behaviour in Barnacle, Shilton and Ansty collectively. I hope that proper focus is given to where anti-social behaviour is currently happening, rather than where there are (largely unsubstantiated) community fears that it might be.

Helpfully, the Safer Neighbourhood Team keep a log of the action they have taken in response to this policing priority, which can be viewed
here. At the time of writing, two specific patrols had been conducted by PCSO Matt Havelock on Friday 17 June at 9.50am and Saturday 18 June at 3.20pm. There is a commitment to undertake a minimum of 15 extra patrols during the next three months.

Anna Rose, Head of Planning and Culture at Rugby Borough Council, then gave a presentation on development issues in the borough. These focused on the proposed housing development at the
Rugby Radio Station site in the east of the borough (providing 6,000+ new homes) and the Gateway development site in the north of Rugby town (which will provide a further 1,000+ new homes). Whilst not impacting directly on the Fosse area in themselves, these will be significant housing developments that will meet the future housing needs of the borough up to 2026.

More contentiously, Anna Rose also updated members of the public on the development of wind farms in the borough (the current planning application by
SSE Renewables for nine turbines at Churchover can be viewed here) and on the appeals that have been lodged against Rugby Borough Council's refusal of planning permission for two gypsy caravan sites in Top Road, Barnacle. The first appeal, at land on the south side of Top Road (and known locally as 'Top Park 2') is scheduled to begin on 1 November, with the appeal at the larger 'Top Park 1' site to commence sometime after that date.

Finally, Tonino Ciuffini, Warwickshire County Council's Head of ICT, gave a presentation on the campaign to improve broadband speeds within the county, and
urged everyone to complete a questionnaire on the broadband service that they currently received, as well as what they'd like to receive in the future. I've blogged previously about this questionnaire (which is being organised by the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, with support from Warwickshire County Council).

The poor broadband line speeds that are being experienced by too many people in the county (including in Shilton and Barnacle) mean that we are increasingly being left behind as more and more public services, as well as social/leisure services, are being delivered on websites that need highspeed broadband availability to make full the use of.

Questionnaires need to be completed by 30 June. Click
here to complete the questionnaire if you a a business, or here if you're completing it as a local resident. I would urge everyone to do this, as it all helps in getting the evidence needed to securing funding to improve line speeds.

The next Fosse Division Community Forum is scheduled for 29 September 2011 at 7.30pm at a venue to be agreed.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Parish Council Meeting - 2 June

On Tuesday night I attended the June meeting of Shilton Parish Council.

Introducing himself at the meeting was PCSO Matt Havelock who recently started work in the
Rugby Rural North Safer Neighbourhood Team, which includes the Shilton and Barnacle area. Matt seemed keen to get to know the villages and the problems that are being experienced, and to help with this he has restarted the mobile police station scheme whereby he will visit each of the larger villages within his Rugby Rural North area in order for local residents to meet him, raise issues of concern or to get more information on police matters.

The mobile police station will be in the village hall car park, Wood Lane, Shilton between 3.15pm - 4.15pm on Sundays 19 June, 10 July, 31 July and 21 August. Sadly, timings do not yet allow for the mobile police station to visit Barnacle, and this matter was raised with him. He promised to see if it could be scheduled in later on in the year.

PCSO Matt Havelock can be contacted on (01788) 853853.

In other business,
County Councillor Phillip Morris-Jones reported on recent matters at Shire Hall, including Warwickshire County Council's continued attempts to save £66m from their budget over the next three years. Part of these savings (a seemingly trivial £16,000) will come from the closure of Bulkington library, although local residents there are making good progress in their attempts to take over responsibility for the library to ensure it remains open.

Councillors also congratulated Councillor Morris-Jones on his
recent election as Chairman of the county council for 2011/12.

The parish council considered its response to two on-going public consultations: Warwickshire County Council's proposals for improved partnership working (which includes proposed changes to the way
community forums operate), and a consultation from the Department for Communities and Local Government on changes to the Government's guidance to local authorities on the provision of travellers sites. This is clearly relevant to both the settled and gypsy/traveller communities living in the parish, and it is appropriate for the parish council to express its views on the matter.

Those of you at the
Annual Parish Meeting in May would have heard of the plans to replace the hedge in the sports field that runs alongside Bulkington Road and to erect netting to stop balls from straying on to the road. The parish council is keen to progress with this project, although it will not be cheap to do and the proposals will therefore require significant oversight and scrutiny to ensure that value for money is being achieved.

Councillors discussed this on Tuesday night and asked for a number of further quotes to be sought, as well as examples of where similar type netting had been installed at other sports pitches so that they were clear as to what exactly was to be provided.

The parish council's internal auditor has returned its audited accounts for 2010/11 and these were circulated to councillors. I will attach copies of these accounts to this post in the next few days so that you can see exactly where the money's been spent during the last year.

Councillors also agreed once again to sponsor the trophies presented to participants in the Shilton village sports day being held later this year.

A long meeting ended just after 10.30pm. The next meeting of the parish council will be held on Tuesday 5 July at 7.30pm.