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.


  1. Great use of survey monkey

  2. I think you should be very careful to seperate the role of Leigh Hunt as a Borough Councillor and her professional role as a ICT adviser at Warwickshire County Council.

    She should not be (even inadvertently) earning political capital from a politically restricted role at the County Council.

  3. That's a good point, and I've re-written the particular paragraph to avoid any confusion.

    To be fair, it was my slightly sloppy writing-up of the forum meeting that may have given an inaccurate impression. The presentation on rural broadband was actually given by Warwickshire County Council's Head of ICT, at the end of which Leigh Hunt stood up and made a few comments. From memory, she did not specifically indicate that she was speaking in her capacity as a Rugby borough councillor.

    At another point later on in the meeting, she did - in response to someone asking her who she was - identify herself as a borough councillor.

    I could have, and probably should have, made it clearer that she was at the meeting in a number of different capacities. But thanks for picking up on this point.