Thursday, 29 November 2012

Labour trying to remove UKIP from polling stations in Rotherham

UKIP's candidate in the Rotherham by-election, Jane Collins, is reporting that Labour activists are trying to forcibly remove UKIP polling agents from polling stations.

Labour think they own Rotherham and it appears they're prepared to risk breaking the law to give themselves an advantage in the face of the very real threat from UKIP.

People in Rotherham have the opportunity to send the arrogant Labour mafia a message today - no political party owns Rotherham and Labour don't have a monopoly on democracy in the town - by voting for UKIP's Jane Collins.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Response to Boundary Commission consultation

We had an extraordinary meeting of the parish council tonight to formulate a response to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England's (LGBCE) consultation on the number of borough councillors Telford & Wrekin Council needs.

All of this was kicked off when the Conservative group won a vote in 2011 to ask the LGBCE to review electoral arrangements in Telford.  The Conservative group are proposing a reduction in the number of councillors from 54 to 44.  The Labour group are in favour of the status quo and the borough council has made a submission to that effect.

I asked for a Conservative councillor to be invited to the meeting to put forward the case for reducing the number of councillors as the three Labour borough councillors on the parish council had already told us in last week's full council meeting that they had returned their own submissions in favour of maintaining the status quo and we would only hear one point of view.  The chair wouldn't allow it so I got a copy of both submissions myself to make sure I had the facts.

After reading both submissions I came to the conclusion that 54 councillors is probably the right number because a lot more work is coming their way.  However, the council is getting less money that it needs and there is an expectation that the gap between the cost of new obligations and the funding to pay for them will get bigger as time goes by.  Clearly something needs to be done to get costs down and the £79k saving from getting rid of 10 councillors is a drop in the ocean.

The answer, in my opinion, is to keep the number of councillors at 54, reduce their salaries by half and abolish the role of Chief Executive/Managing Director which will save almost half million pounds a year.  That saving can either all be used to offset some of the funding shortfall the council is expecting or some of it could be used to employ some support workers to help the councillors with the extra work they're being expected to take on.  Half the money saved could employ a team of four full time support workers and still save the council nearly a quarter of a million a year.  We don't need career politicians in local government, we don't need two captains steering the same ship and we need to find some real cost savings.  This compromise ticks all three of those boxes and has been submitted as UKIP Telford & Wrekin's official response to the LGBCE consultation.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Last night's Planning & Environment Committee

Last night's meeting of the Planning & Environment committee was fraught with a controversial application for a hand car wash at the Rose & Crown pub in Stirchley to be considered.

The application had been before the parish council before and was rejected because of concerns about noise and pollution from the waste water entering the lake adjacent to the site.  Telford & Wrekin plans board approved the application (as they do) with conditions stating that drainage works had to be carried out to prevent pollution of the lake and restrictions on the number of cars and operating hours.  The previous applicant failed to complete the planning process for personal reasons and the consent was withdrawn but the owner of the pub had the drainage work completed anyway and has now applied for the permission himself.

Because Telford & Wrekin plans board routinely ignore parish councils on planning matter, believing that they know best on all occasions the parish council's planning committee is more of a damage limitation exercise than a safety valve.  With that in mind I questioned the landlord of the pub extensively after listening to the objections and proposed agreeing to the application with two conditions: that Telford & Wrekin Council inspect the drainage works carried out to ensure that they are adequate and that Telford & Wrekin Council undertake to address the parking problems on Northwood Terrace.  This motion was agreed by the committee.

The objections, in a nutshell, were that there was a danger of waste water leaking into the lake and polluting the water, the noise nuisance and the pre-existing parking problems in Northwood Terrace.  The applicant said that drainage works had been carried out by professionals and on their advice a sediment trap had been fitted and the drains connected to a foul sewer.  I was personally satisfied that the hours of operation (9-6 Mon-Sat and 10-4 Sun & bank holidays) were reasonable for a moderately noisy operation and that the amount of noise created by 15 cars on a weekday and 25 cars on a weekend was unlikely to create much in the way of a nuisance - there is an alleyway running down the side of my house used all hours of the day, you quickly become used to any noise!

I did observe inappropriate parking on Northwood Terrace myself on Sunday but the car park was closed for a bonfire and fireworks so it wasn't a normal day.  The landlord of the pub told us that the pub car park would lose 6 spaces for the hand car wash and that the car park comes within 6 spaces of being full maybe once a month so there is theoretically no reason why cars should be parking on Northwood Terrace.  He also said that he regularly confronts patrons parking on Northwood Terrace.  The official status of Northwood Terrace is an adopted, unmade bridleway with vehicle access for residents so it is Telford & Wrekin Council's responsibility to deal with parking and access problems.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Roadworks chaos comes to Brookside

The roadworks chaos blighting the borough has come to Brookside and it's already going wrong!

The three way traffic lights at the junction of Brookside Avenue and Bridgnorth Road (the Tweedale road) are causing traffic to queue up back to the Cuckoo Oak island thanks to the 5 second green light window. Because the lights aren't set properly people are just ignoring them which is making the situation worse but there is no option other than to go through one car at a time. I've informed Telford & Wrekin Highways Department and hopefully they'll get the lights sorted quickly.

The lane closures on the A442 between the Town Centre and stitchery Interchange are also causing long tailbacks. There was a fatal accident there the other day so take care on that stretch of the road.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Disabled parking bays

With so many people rightfully condemning the complete hash the British government have made of reassessing long term sick and disabled people on benefits which has inconvenienced and upset so many you'd think that the number of people abusing disabled parking spaces would be almost zero.  Sadly not.

This afternoon I popped to Tesco in Madeley and parked in second row from the store in the half empty car park.  I walked between the two rows of disabled parking bays and looked for blue badges in the cars parked there.  Out of 13 cars (actually, 12 cars and a van with a child sat in the passenger seat all by himself) parked in the disabled parking bays, only 4 were displaying a blue badge.

I wonder how many of those people parking in disabled bays that they don't need to park in, inconveniencing and upsetting disabled people just so they can be 10 yards closer to the supermarket door shake their heads and tut in disapproval when they read stories in the newspaper about disabled people being told to look for work when they're clearly incapable of working.

The drivers of these cars should be ashamed of themselves, as should Tesco who care so little about their disabled customers that they refuse to deal with the continued abuse of the disabled parking spaces in their car park.  Tesco say that it's unreasonable to expect the store's security guards to confront someone about their parking in case they become threatening or abusive but it seems the risk is acceptable enough to expect the same security guards to stop shoplifters walking out of the shop with things they've nicked off the shelves.

It's not in Madeley that it happens though - here's the church minibus parked across one of the disabled parking bays outside Stirchley Co-op last weekend.

Bridgnorth Road speed limit signs replaced at last!

Telford & Wrekin Council have finally replaced the 30/40 speed limit signs on Bridgnorth Road between Tweedale and Brookside Avenue, almost 8 months after I first reported the missing signs to them.


The missing signs were replaced in July but instead of the correct, large delimiter signs being put up the contractors instead put up repeater speed limit signs which are not legal.

I had some correspondence with the highways department who were under the mistaken impression that it is acceptable to mark the boundary of two speed limits with repeater signs despite this clearly not being the case as anyone capable of doing a Google search can find out.  This is the second time this year that I've informed the council that they've done something that's not legal and it's taken them months to concede that they were wrong (the other occasion was the pay and display car park at the council-owned Addenbrooke House that they didn't have planning permission for).

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Brookside Regeneration Outline Plan

We had an extraordinary meeting of the parish planning committee tonight to consider an outline planning application by Telford & Wrekin Council for the regeneration of Brookside local centre.

The masterplan is broken down into three phases - shops, community centre and houses.  The first phase is due to start in 2013, the second phase in 2014 and the third phase (you guessed it) in 2015.

The first phase will see the new shop building to rehouse the existing tenants in the local centre - the hairdressers, the chip shop and the supermarket and post office sharing premises.  The second phase will see work to demolish the existing shops and extend and reconfigure the community centre.  The third phase will see new low density bungalows and/or houses built on the site of the youth club and nearby flats.  It was unclear at what stage the associated changes to the car parks and playgrounds and construction of the community gardens are going to be made.

The main bone of contention with the outline plan is the proposal to extend the car park in front of the green outside Windmill School.  I am, of course, opposed to any encroachment on the green and (along with the parish council) successfully stopped the council's own application to build houses on the site.  The application to register the site as a village green was only postponed because Telford & Wrekin Council promised not to build on it - a promise that it is now clear was absolutely worthless.  However, it is important to consider the safety of children going to the school and the appalling parking around the school - parking on the grass, on the car park entrance, on the no parking zig zags outside the school gates and on the road reducing Beaconsfield to single file traffic.

With a bit of heated debate and compromise the committee agreed on a position that the parish council doesn't agree with the creation of the extra parking spaces and believes that Telford & Wrekin Council should be doing more to encourage walking to school but if the creation of the extra spaces does go ahead then Telford & Wrekin Council need to voluntarily register the rest of the green as a village green.  I was a little more blunt and told the planning officer that if Telford & Wrekin Council didn't agree to that then I would personally put in the application for village green status for the whole plot and they wouldn't be able to do anything at all with it.

Other feedback was that houses, not bungalows should overlook the community gardens as the bungalows are most likely to have elderly people living in them and they are less likely than a younger person to confront anyone trying to vandalise the gardens.  We also had concerns about the planned footpath running from the school through the community centre area being used as a rat run by people on motorbikes and quads.

I have very little faith in Telford & Wrekin Council's planning department actually taking any notice of the feedback the parish council gives them because they invariably do what they want no matter who comments or objects on planning applications (the wind turbine at Windmill School being a prime example - I have a complaint outstanding with the planning department over this still) but it's important that the council puts back a proper response on the off-chance they might decide to listen.  We do have the solution to this problem incidentally - check out UKIP Telford & Wrekin's local planning policy.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Garages broken into in Birchmore


Thieves were active in the area again last night, breaking into 6 garages in Birchmore and stealing hundreds of pounds worth of tools and other items and damaging one garage door.


The perpetrators are probably the same lowlives that broke into the sheds at Stirchley allotments a couple of weeks ago.  The advice is the same as always - make sure you keep your shed and garages secure and invest in an alarm if you keep anything valuable in them.

Sadly there is no way to stop a determined thief, you can only hope to make it inconvenient enough to deter the casual criminal and with cuts to police budgets in Telford it's only going to get worse.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Allotments, shed thefts and the Sambrook Centre

Last night we had the Allotment Holders Association liaison and Allotments Sub-committee meetings.  This was my first allotments meeting as I was out of town when the first one of the year was held.

This was the first council meeting in the newly-refurbished Sambrook Centre (formerly Stirchley library) and the building is looking great.  The library section looks a bit forlorn but a small library is better than no library.  The parish council took the decision to share facilities with the library as the library was at serious risk of being closed due to the high running costs and budget cuts necessary to be able to keep on paying the top 11 staff at Telford & Wrekin Council nearly £1.5m between them.

On Monday night five sheds were broken into at the allotments and the police are warning of a gang currently operating in Telford breaking into sheds all over the borough.  At Stirchley allotments they only stole a stove and a kettle, leaving tools and other items behind but causing damage to the sheds.  Allotment holders will be removing anything of value from their sheds after the break-ins and the police are warning residents in Telford to do the same.

Obviously the meeting was dominated by concerns about security but I discovered that the allotment holders are planning to open a small shop at the allotments soon offering gardening supplies and produce at reasonable prices.  This is great news as the nearest farm shop to Brookside and Stirchley is in Priorslee.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Cutting the number of councillors isn't enough

Leader of Telford Conservatives, Cllr Andrew Eade, has called for the number of councillors in the borough to be reduced from 54 to 44.  A spokesman for Telford Labour (presumably Cllr Shaun Davies) says that it would reduce representation and overwork borough councillors.

LocalismCllr Eade is correct in saying that we don't need so many borough councillors but just reducing the number of councillors isn't an answer in itself - a more significant change in the balance of power and boundaries is needed.

Some wards have three borough councillors which is clearly unnecessary whilst other wards only have one and would benefit from more.  Wards such as Dawley Magna and Ketley & Oakengates have large populations which qualifies them for three borough councillors yet wards such as Church Aston & Lilleshall and Ercall Magna which cover a large and diverse area but have a small population qualify for only one.  A large, homogenous area such as Dawley or Oakengates doesn't need three borough councillors to represent it whilst a large, rural, disparate area such as Church Aston or Ercall Magna is clearly harder to properly represent with only one.

A transfer of power is also needed from the borough council to the town and parish councils.  Truly local services and decision making are better off in the hands of a parish or town council than the borough council.  How likely is a borough councillor in the large town of Wellington (population 20k+) to know what's best for the rural village of Kynnersley (population 180) and vice versa?  This is why we elected town and parish councils and this is why we need more decision making taking place at the lowest level.

Nationally, UKIP believes in real localism with decision making taking place at the lowest practical level and in Telford & Wrekin we already have a local policy of devolving planning to parish and town councils.  We believe in devolving even more decision making from the borough council to parish and town councils either formally where the law allows or informally where it doesn't.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Royal Mail deliveries in Brookside

Royal Mail have notified residents of flats in Brookside that they will no longer attempt to redeliver post if they are unable to gain entry to the block.

Wrekin Housing Trust open the doors to the flats at the time the post is expected but the post delivery in Brookside is all over the place lately, sometimes being delivered late in the afternoon or not at all.  Obviously the flats can't be left open all day which leaves the residents with the prospect of daily visits to the understaffed sorting office in Tweedale which is only open for a couple of hours in a morning.

I spoke to Royal Mail and asked them to change their policy but was told that attempting to redeliver post to flats wasn't company policy and that it must be a local thing so there was nothing they could (or would) do.  They said that the responsibility lies with Wrekin Housing Trust to ensure that entry can be gained when needed.

I brought this up at the last parish council meeting and asked the clerk to write to Wrekin House Trust to find a solution, suggesting that they allocate keys to Royal Mail on the condition that Royal Mail keep a record of who the keys are given to.  This is far more secure than leaving the doors open and they will know who has which key at any given time if somebody needs to be held accountable for something that happens.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Traffic lights fixed at last

It looks like the traffic lights on Holmer Farm Road have finally been repaired after a week and a half of me complaining about them changing to red every minute or so.

It seems to be getting more and more difficult to get things done in Brookside.  Whether it's getting traffic lights repaired, speed limit signs replaced, motorbike riders on footpaths dealt with or roads resurfaced it's taking more and more time and effort just to get the simplest jobs done.

No doubt this will be blamed on "Tory cuts" which seems to be the default answer to any complaint about poor service but the cuts don't seem to be severe enough to prevent these things from being done elsewhere in the borough (usually where there are senior Labour councillors) or the creation of unnecessary jobs with obscene salaries.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Five months on and still waiting for speed limit signs!

When I first reported the missing speed limit signs on Bridgnorth Road between Tweedale and Brookside, I didn't think that after over five months it might have actually been sorted.

Telford & Wrekin Council replaced the speed limit signs that were missing earlier this year but they replaced them with repeater speed limit signs that can't be used to mark the start of a speed limit.  I told them what had happened and they said "Oops, we'll sort that out" (not their exact words but that was the gist of it).


What I find difficult to understand is why nobody questioned the instructions to install two of the repeater signs on lampposts back to back with different speed limits despite the fact that you would never put those signs together.  Presumably the contractors the council used to install the signs are experts at this sort of thing  - you wouldn't call a plumber to repair a car or bake a cake - so it's reasonable to assume that they would know what they were being asked to do was wrong, surely?

It's now over five months since I first brought the missing speed limit signs to their attention and they still haven't fixed the problem.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Wind turbine application rejected by parish council

The wind turbine application for Windmill school was turned down by the parish council last night, thanks in part to my objections but also thanks to a couple of other councillors who also saw how ridiculous the suggestion was and helped make the case against it.  The application will now go to Telford & Wrekin Council's plans board who get to make the final decision.

On reading the initial application I did some research.  Well, quite a lot actually and spoke to a couple of MEPs who know a lot about wind turbines.  I also got into protracted debates with people on Facebook, none of which live in Brookside but they were in favour of wind turbines in general.  The result of all this was a two page document detailing what is wrong with the application and why its educational value is virtually non-existent unless you were intending to teach people where you would never site a wind turbine.

It's worth noting that the person or persons with a professional understanding of the planning system and in particular with wind turbine applications that told the applicant what to put in the application and supporting letter anticipated objections and recognised how inappropriate the application was because there are false statements in the application and pre-emptive quoting of guidelines out of context to suggest that there are no reasonable grounds for objection.  My belief is that the application was made with the considerable assistance of an officer at Telford & Wrekin Council and the company who is trying to sell them the wind turbine.

I am not opposed to renewable energy production even though I don't believe in the man made global warming scam.  Clearly we can't continue to burn dead dinosaurs forever and a day.  However, where green activists are interested only in pushing their agenda regardless of the cost or impact on the rest of the population, I am firmly of the opinion that renewable energy production needs to be constrained by what is economically viable and good for society as a whole.

The last government purposely scheduled power stations - such as the one here in Buildwas - for decommissioning without planning new power stations to provide enough power to keep meet our needs.  There will be power shortages in the next few years - that's not an opinion, it's a fact admitted by the British government already!  Wind turbines can't produce anywhere like enough power to supply our needs and they aren't economically sustainable.  No company will build a wind farm without a subsidy from the taxpayer because they can't make a profit out of them - they produce hardly any electricity and they cost a fortune to build and run.  Without taxpayer subsidies, there wouldn't be any wind farms because they don't make good business sense.

Solar panels are more viable than wind turbines but still require taxpayers money to make them pay.  I do believe that solar power will become economically viable in the near future - most likely in the form of solar roof tiles - but it isn't now.  However, it is the least expensive way of producing renewable energy and if the school were to propose putting solar panels on the roof of the school and generating electricity that they would use then I would actively support that application.  That is a good educational tool.  In fact I suggested that at the meeting last night, as did other councillors and that suggestion will be going back with the parish council's rejection.

Rather than repeat myself any further, here is the two page objection I put together over the last week:


House of Commons Library
Wind Farms - Distance from housing
Standard Note: SN/SC/5221
Last updated: 5 July 2012
Author: Christopher Barclay
Section: Science and Environment

England has no separation distance, although noise limits suggest a minimum separation distance of 350 metres for a typical wind turbine.  Lincolnshire County Council has a minimum distance of 700m from residential premises. In Wales it is 500m and in wind farm obsessed Scotland it is 2km.

Planning Application
The application has been submitted by a member of staff at the school who is married to the Estates & Investments Team Leader for Development at Telford & Wrekin Council. In my opinion, the application has been prepared by a council officer with experience in steering through inappropriate and contentious planning applications.  In my view, the objectivity of the whole application can be called into question – a planning application is not a sales pitch.

Section 14: Existing use of where the turbine is intended to be built is specifically a nature reserve in the school grounds.

Section 15: There are many trees on the site but the application states there are none. The second question asking if there are trees adjacent to the site that could influence the development is unanswered and the answer is yes.

Block Plan & Location Plan
Both plans fail to mark out the nature reserve in the school grounds that the wind turbine would be built in.  There is no plan showing elevation of the surrounding properties, in particular the houses on Burnside which are raised in relation to the school itself and will have a clearer view from their upstairs windows.

Accompanying Letter
The accompanying letter claims that “the proposed wind turbine is considered small scale, being 10.2m (approx 30’) in height.  10.2m is 33 and a half foot, more than half the height of the Angel of the North statue.  It claims that the turbine won’t be visible from Bishopdale because of the line of mature trees, omitting to point out that the trees will provide next to no barrier in the winter when they have no leaves on them.  The letter goes on to say that a Jubilee orchard will be planted to further obscure the view but this isn’t in any plan so how much it will obscure the view is not known and more trees will reduce the efficiency of the wind turbine even further.

The letter claims that the same row of trees that would obscure the view of the turbine from Bishopdale would also obscure the view from Briarwood and Burnside.  There are no trees obscuring the view of the proposed site from Briarwood or Birchmore (which isn’t mentioned) and the trees across the boundary with Burnside are much smaller than along the boundary with Bishopdale.

The letter claims that the turbine will be very quiet but doesn’t back this up with actual noise levels, nor does the accompanying manufacturers’ fact sheet.  Guidelines say that wind turbines should be located at least 350m from residential properties for noise reasons.  This is a small scale wind turbine so wouldn't be as noisy as those the guideline is intended for but it will still produce noise by the nature of what it does - this is a matter of simple physics.

The letter points out that national planning guidelines shouldn’t require the applicant to prove that that there is a need for the turbine and that it should be recognised that even small scale projects provide a valuable contribution to cutting greenhouse gas emissions but this is a point that is very relevant to this application, particularly when taxpayers money is being spent.  The site is surrounded by houses and trees with trees in close proximity to where the turbine would be built.  There is also a plan to plant an orchard nearby which would further reduce the amount of wind that would actually reach the turbine.  The lack of wind, coupled with the fact that the turbine only has a maximum generation capacity of 0.3kw means it will, in reality, produce very little electricity. Whilst the mediocre efficiency of the wind turbine may be good enough for the school’s requirements (although I very much doubt it will), it’s contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions will be effectively zero.  The average wind turbine has an environmental payback ratio of 0.29 which means it takes almost 3 and a half years for the savings in harmful emissions produced in the manufacture of the turbine to be negated by what is offset by the "clean" electricity that it produces.  This is with a conventional wind turbine sited for maximum effectiveness which is not the case with this proposed wind turbine, which is being located to reduce its visual impact in a location that isn’t particularly windy anyway and as a result will produce a fraction of its maximum capacity.  It would therefore take many years to save enough harmful emissions to offset what has been produced in constructing and maintaining this proposed wind turbine, if it ever does.  The turbine isn't being connected to the school or the grid and the building it will be connected to (a shed) doesn't have power now so it won't reduce the school's consumption at all and the small amount of power it produces won't be enough to power (for example) electrical equipment in the aforementioned shed.  As one of the stated aims of the wind turbine is to educate children on renewable energy, this would be a terrible example to use unless the lesson was where you would never put a wind turbine if you want it to be useful (which it clearly won't) or how to waste taxpayers money.

The letter quotes what would appear to be a very old policy on renewable energy developments, judging by the use of the word “district” in place of “borough”.  The policy states that the council will support the production of renewable energy to reduce local dependence on fossil fuels, “moving the district towards a position of self sufficiency in terms of energy production”.  Clearly this cannot be construed as applying to this application as the turbine will contribute nothing to “local self sufficiency in terms of energy production” unless “local” is to be defined as the wooden shed it will supply power to which would clearly be a ridiculous interpretation.

The pictures included in the letter as evidence that the turbine would be obstructed from view by trees have been taken in the summer when the trees are heavy with leaves.  In the winter, the trees will provide barely any obstruction of the view of the turbine.  The view from the western site boundary has been taken form a low level over a hedge, giving the impression that the bushes will obscure the view from the houses.  The view from the northern site boundary has been taken roughly at head height, ignoring the fact that the properties behind the photographer are flats and their living rooms face onto the field.

Cost
The school has applied for a grant to buy the wind turbine but the taxpayers will still contribute to the cost of building it.  It will be maintained at the taxpayers expense for the next 20 years when it will be decommissioned at the taxpayers expense.  It won’t be connected to the grid so there will be no revenue from it and it won’t be connected to the school’s supply so it won’t save the school money. It will be a drain on public finances for the next 20 years and its main educational value lies in demonstrating where not to build a wind turbine.  This is not good value for money.

Thin end of the wedge
Telford & Wrekin Council's draft sustainability plan highlights the green edge of Telford near Brookside as a possible location for wind turbines.  The area highlighted extends from the Wrekin, all the way round south Telford and up to Priorslee.  We already have large wind turbines at Madley Academy visible from as far away as Aqueduct and the more wind turbines that are built in this area, the more likely we are to see a large wind farm built nearby.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Proposal to build wind turbine at Windmill School

Windmill School is applying for planning permission to build a 33ft tall wind turbine in its wildlife reserve.

The intended location is in the wildlife reserve that the school have constructed that has trees and a pond and currently attracts lots of wildlife including birds. The application claims that there are no trees on the proposed development site with is incorrect and doesn't answer the question as to whether there are any adjacent which of course there are - lots!

The wind turbine will be visible from Briarwood and Buford flats and some houses on Bishopdale, Burnside and Birchmore. This wind turbine would be more than 5 and a half times the height of an average man or half the height of the Angel of the North statue.

I intend to object to this application as it is too close to houses, it will be visible from a great many houses, it will be built in a wildlife reserve and false statements have been made on the planning application but I would like to know what local residents think about the application.

Edit:
To add some context to this application, Telford & Wrekin Council's draft sustainability report has a map showing potential sites for wind farms in the borough (page 138), all of which are around the Wrekin and south Telford including Brookside.  There is only very low potential for Brookside which means that Brookside isn't a particularly good location for an effective wind turbine but does mean that we are in the "at risk" area of wind farm developments and should developers wish to blight the green edge of our town with windmills, they would no doubt point to the already prominent wind turbines at Madeley Academy and this one too and ask what harm a few more will do.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Road "repair" outside Bembridge Garages

I was contacted a few weeks ago by a resident who is currently posted away from home in the armed forces regarding the state of the road outside Bembridge Garages.

This resident's mother tripped in one of the potholes recently and he asked me to see if I could do something about the road so I took a look at it, took some pictures and reported it to Telford & Wrekin Council.  A few weeks later and no news so I called and reported it - this time getting an email confirming that a job had been created.

Last week I was away on holiday so I took a look today and the pothole people have been round and filled in some holes.  Not all the holes, just a few of them with no apparent rhyme or reason for leaving the ones they have.

Clearly this isn't an acceptable road repair - if it wasn't for the paint still on the road and the fact the tarmac hasn't faded to grey you wouldn't know it had been repaired just days ago.  If they repaired all the potholes and damaged road surface then they would have virtually resurfaced the whole road.  It's already a patchwork of previous repairs and needs resurfacing.  It's not a busy stretch of road as it only serves the garages so a cheap surface dressing should be enough.


I put this to the Highways department at the council today and was told there isn't any money to resurface, surface dress or even fill all the holes in that stretch of road.  It's August and budgets run from April to April so are we really expected to believe that there is no money in the budget for an hour's work surface dressing 50yds of uneven, unsafe road that has already caused an elderly lady to trip and fall?

I drove back from Wellington today via Dawley and marvelled at the lovely, recently resurfaced Cock Hotel lights junction.  There is money to pay for that stretch of road to be surfaced apparently.  I was less impressed by the "metalled" surface on Dawley Road between the white church and the Livian Autos island (it's a noisy road surface) but impressed nonetheless that they've managed to find some money in the budget to pay for resurfacing that half a mile stretch of road.

So there's money in the budget for major road resurfacing in Dawley and Wellington but not to resurface 50yds of road in Brookside?  That's not good enough.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Brookside drug dealers convicted

West Mercia Police have made a number of arrests in Brookside recently for drug related offences.

Last month two Brookside drug dealers were convicted of possession of cocaine, heroin and cannabis with intent to supply.  Dirk Howell was sentenced to 3 years and 8 months in prison and Kerrie Aulton was given an 18 month suspended sentence.

It is a well documented fact that people with drug problems are more likely to commit crime than those that don't and of course most drug dealers wouldn't think twice about giving someone a going over to teach them a lesson.

Drug misuse is a problem in Brookside and there are many drug dealers in Brookside known to the police and local residents.  Slowly but surely the police are ridding us of these bottom feeders but they need information from residents to help identify and deal with them.  I'm often told by residents there's no point reporting drug dealers because the police don't do anything about it but it's important to remember that the police won't just send someone round when a drug dealer is reported.  They will build intelligence, try to find out who is supplying them and when they get their drugs.  Taking out a small time dealer will achieve very little in the long term but taking a supplier off the streets along with the dealers he's been selling to will achieve far more and as can be seen by the news of the prison sentences above, drug dealers will get their comeuppance eventually.

You can pass information about drug dealers on to West Mercia Police via their usual number 0300 333 3000 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.  If you don't want to deal with the police yourself you can contact me and I will happily pass on any information you give.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Stirchley Library closes on Saturday

Stirchley Library will be closed from Saturday until some time in the autumn.

The closure is so that refurbishment of the building can take place to allow Stirchley & Brookside Parish Council to share premises with the library.  Co-locating will save money for the parish council and keep the library open.  As the most expensive library by far in Telford and because there are alternative libraries within a couple of miles, Stirchley Library was likely to have been closed in the next year or two.

The closest libraries to Brookside are Madeley, Dawley, Telford Town Centre and Ironbridge in that order.

When the library and parish council offices reopen in the autumn, the building will be renamed the Sambrook Centre in memory of the former chair of the parish council, Ute Sambrook who died of cancer in 2009.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Fun Day Cancelled

Unfortunately it has been necessary to cancel tomorrow's Sturchley & Brookside fun day because of the bad weather which is expected to continue into tomorrow.

The parish council hopes to arrange an alternative event in September.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Telford & Wrekin speed limit fail

Back in March, Telford & Wrekin Council confirmed that they would be replacing the long absent 30mph signs near the junction of Bridgnorth Road (the road to Tweedale) and Brookside Avenue and placing 40mph repeater signs on Bridgnorth Road.

For some inexplicable reason they have instead put a 30mph repeater sign to mark the boundary of the 40mph and 30mph speed limits which isn't legally enforceable meaning that technically the speed limit on Brookside Avenue for anyone entering from Tweedale is 40mph and the police can't enforce the 30mph limit.

I have contacted Telford & Wrekin once again and hopefully they will do the job properly this time.  Thanks to Alan the Mobile Barber for telling me about the latest cock-up!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Regeneration meeting tonight & village green status

There is another regeneration meeting tonight at Brookside Community Centre from 6:30pm to 8pm.

At this meeting you will have the opportunity to see and discuss the draft plans that Telford & Wrekin Council have drawn up following early consultations with residents.

We saw the first draft of the plans at the last regeneration meeting a fortnight ago and they look great but there is one element of the plans I am undecided on: extending the car park into the green outside Windmill School.  Even before I became a councillor I opposed the development of the green, collecting feedback from residents regarding village green status and speaking at the planning board meeting considering the council's own application for a number of houses on the green which they deferred at that meeting and later withdrew.  When I stood for election I said that I would oppose building on the green and would continue to work for official village green status to protect the valuable green space for future generations.

So, the dilemma I have is that the draft regeneration plans foresee a larger car park where the current one is now.  This would be realised either by cutting down the trees at the front of the car park and extending towards the road or by encroaching on the grassed area.  The trees are teeming with birds during nesting season so I don't think cutting them down is an option so the only real choice for an enlarged car park is to take away some of the grassed area.  A larger car park is certainly needed as anyone who has been there at school opening and closing times will testify but the price of a larger car park is the loss of a few yards of the green.

My initial thoughts were that the green should remain intact and that the enlarged car park should be opposed but there is a need for a larger car park and it's only a few yards of the green that would be lost.  My more recent thinking on it is that perhaps the larger car park should be accepted on the condition that Telford & Wrekin Council voluntarily grants village green status for the green and the field behind Windmill School.  A promise not to develop either is no good because the parish council already has a written promise from the borough council not to build on the green which they have ignored with their draft regeneration plan.  Village green status would legally prevent any development of the green or the field (which is zoned for housing at the moment).

I will make this suggestion at tonight's meeting to see what the reaction is but I would like some feedback from residents on what you think the response should be to the idea of losing some of the green to enlarge the car park.  Please leave a comment or contact me.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Sustainability Report Consultation Response

Telford & Wrekin Council have been asking for comments on their draft sustainability report.

It's a fairly weighty 329 pages long but I've ploughed through the whole thing and made extensive comments which I'm pretty confident will be summarily dismissed by the review, if not rejected by the censors first.

The council has an obligation to commission this report on a regular basis under EU regulations. They don't have the skills to produce the report in-house so they have to spend large sums of our taxes employing consultants to produce it for them.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Pot Your Own Day pictures

Despite the inclement weather the Pot Your Own Day event went really well today.  A large number of people came to pot plants and vegetables, get their faces painted and take part in the crafting activities and over £90 was raised for Help for Heroes.





Thursday, 14 June 2012

Pot Your Own Day - Saturday, 10am



BIG AGM 10th July

Brookside Improvement Group's AGM is on Tuesday 10th July at 7pm at Brookside Community Centre.

At the AGM, all the officers for the group are elected - Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.  If you want to stand for election to one of these posts, you can fill in an election nomination form or make your nomination in person at the AGM.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

A new year at the council

Last night was the first meeting of the Planning and Environment committee and the Community and Leisure committee.

Neither committees existed before the AGM last month when we agreed to swap around the existing committees and add an extra one to help deliver all the things we want to deliver over the next year or two.

I was asked to go on both the Planning and Environment committee and Community and Leisure committee at last month's full council meeting and at one of last night's meetings I was asked to sit on the allotments sub-committee.

I'm sure many people think being a parish councillor is nothing more than spending a couple of hours a month drinking tea and complaining about litter but it's really not.  You can do nothing but spend a couple of hours a month drinking tea and complaining about litter if you want but you're not going to achieve much and you'll soon get on everyone's nerves.

Being on three committees I'm now committed to around 5 hours of council meetings a month before I do anything else.  This Saturday I will be at the Pot Your Own Day outside Progress House to try and find some Stirchley residents who might be interested in setting up a Stirchley Improvement Group to mirror the fantastic work Brookside Improvement Group (BIG) do in Brookside.  I haven't been able to make it to the last couple of BIG meetings but I would normally attend at least one BIG meeting every month.  I haven't been able to make the last couple of regeneration meetings either but I would normally attend those meetings when they are held.  I wander around the estate from time to time to see if I can spot anything that needs attention - fly tipping, damaged road furniture, overgrown trees and bushes, etc.  I also deal with requests for information or help from residents.

As well as doing my job as a councillor, I have a full time job, a wife and four children.  Apparently there is such a thing as "spare time" but I've yet to figure out what it is!  Being a councillor - even a parish councillor - can be demanding at times but I personally find it very rewarding and would certainly recommend it to anyone community minded.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Telford & Wrekin fined £90k for data protection breach

Telford & Wrekin Council has been fined £90,000 for breaching the Data Protection Act by the Information Commissioner's Office.

The fine has been for serious breaches of privacy surrounding vulnerable children that resulted in details of foster families being given to two mothers of children in care has been reduced to £72,000 for prompt payment.

The idea of a quango fining a local authority is galling - it's our council tax that will pay the fine for the ineptitude of one or more council officers. The ICO should be pursuing and prosecuting the accountable officer, not the council. If council officers were directly accountable for their actions, we might see a bit more sensible decision making and a lot less "bending" of rules and creative interpretation of guidelines to suit personal agendas.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Ice Rink to be closed throughout summer holidays

Unbelievably, Telford & Wrekin Council has chosen to close the ice rink for refurbishment today and it will stay closed until October.

This means that the ice rink will be closed during the school holidays, not only depriving local families of a popular venue during the six looooonnnnnng weeks of holidays but depriving the council (and ultimately the Telford taxpayers their money comes from) of a valuable source of income at what must be the ice rink's busiest time of the year.

Serious questions need to be asked about why the decision was made to carry out refurbishments to the ice rink at one of its busiest times of the year.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Parish Council moving in with Stirchley Library

The parish council is moving out of Progress House and into Stirchley Library to save money and help protect library services.

Stirchley Library is the most expensive district library in the borough and was at risk of being closed but Cllr England (who is a parish and borough councillor for Brookside and the cabinet member with responsibility for libraries) said he was determined to keep it open and in conjunction with the parish council, came up with the idea of sharing the library building with the parish council.

The library will be staffed for fewer hours but a self-service system will be put in place.  Parish council staff won't be working for the library but will be there to keep an eye on things.  Additional services including a coffee bar will also be introduced at the library.

By sharing the library building with Stirchley Library, the parish council can save money and help keep Stirchley Library open and open for longer.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Telford & Wrekin disappoint over Randlay Avenue again

I have been away in Leeds for a week and got back to Telford expecting to find Randlay Avenue dug up or perhaps even resurfaced as Telford & Wrekin promised the work would be started on Monday of this week.

I was disappointed to drive up Randlay Avenue on Friday evening and find that absolutely nothing has been done once again.

I have sent the following email to Highways tonight:
Dear Highways,

It's Sunday of the week commencing the 21st of May and the repairs to the damaged road surface I first reported in October last year which has been scheduled for repair several times this year still havn't been started.  Also, not all of the surface damage has been marked out, including the worst part which extends from the kerb to the middle of the road.  I phoned last week to tell you about this.

If the work is not finished by the end of next week I will be putting in an official complaint.  I don't think it's reasonable to wait 8 months for a road repair and to be told several times that the work is going to be carried out only to find that it's not been done with no explanation.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Telford & Wrekin Council putting broadband funding at risk

Back in August last year I wrote a bit of a round-up on broadband internet provision in Brookside and mentioned £8m of funding to improve internet access in Shropshire, including Telford & Wrekin.

Rather disappointingly, Telford & Wrekin Council are one of only six local authorities in England that have failed to agree a plan for spending the available funding with the British government after apparently withdrawing from the county-wide plan and intending to go it alone.

According to the British government, everyone has a "right" to 2mbit internet as a minimum and this is what the funding is for.  I doubt there is anywhere in Brookside that is incapable of getting 2mbit broadband but that doesn't mean people in Brookside wouldn't benefit from improved internet access elsewhere in the borough - it could be keeping in touch with friends and relatives in rural parts of the borough, getting a job with someone who's been able to start their own business thanks to a good internet connection or even getting an order for your own business from someone who's been able to start up their own business because of the investment in broadband.

So come on Telford & Wrekin, pull your finger out and get this money while it's still available.

Big Local lottery meeting tonight

There is a meeting tonight at Brookside Community Centre at 7pm to kick off the £1m Big Local lottery fund.

Please try and find the time to go along to this meeting which will start the process of basically how are we as residents going to spend the £1m lottery grant that we've been given over the next 10 years.

The money is there to be spent on sustainable investment - in this context, sustainable meaning it doesn't need public money year in year out to keep it going.  The most obvious suggestion - and I believe it will be formally proposed tonight - is the establishment of a Community Interest Company (CIC).  CICs are a special type of company that are owned by local communities in much the same way as a co-operative is owned by its members and with a similar ethos in that its main aim is to provide a service to the community and like a co-operative, it makes a profit for the benefit of the community rather than corporate shareholders.

A CIC could run the community centre, offer soft loans to new businesses in Brookside, bring in training providers to help people get jobs, fund community service-type activities, etc.  The good thing is, CICs are likely to endure any number of changes of political groupings at the council or in Westminster because they fit the agenda of all the main political parties - they are similar to a co-operative so that keeps Labour and the Lib Dems happy and it's local people doing something for themselves which keeps the Conservatives and UKIP happy - so we're unlikely to see funding or support for CICs pulled any time soon, unless someone comes up with a better replacement.

So please try and get down to the community centre this evening, get involved and show everyone that Brookside residents really do care about their local community.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Randlay Avenue repairs to start Monday

Work is finally starting on Randlay Avenue on Monday, seven months after I first reported the damaged road surface.

Eventually
This repair work has been promised many times and it's great to see it finally happening.  Bizarrely it looks like the road surface is going to be patched even though there are only a few inches of space between the marked out areas nearest the mini roundabout.  Equally bizarrely, the spot near the mini roundabout with the worst damage (half the width of the road) hasn't been marked for repair out even though it's only a couple of feet from where the road has been marked.  I have phoned Telford & Wrekin and asked them to include this part of the road as well.

The work is expected to start on Monday and last for up to 10 days.  The road will be closed at times with access maintained for residents.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Parish AGM and new committees

We had the AGM of Stirchley & Brookside Parish Council last night, followed by the first full council meeting of the electoral year.

Parish council meetings are rarely dull but last night's was quite entertaining due to the traditional jockeying for position and banter that the longer-serving councillors engage in at the AGM.

The committees have been rejigged this year to support delivery of the huge list of things we want to do this year so the Environment & Community Committee I was on last year doesn't exist any more.  I have, however, found myself on the Community & Leisure and Planning & Environment committees this year so that'll keep me busy!

Friday, 27 April 2012

St George's Day events at Town Park tomorrow

Telford & Wrekin Council's annual St George's Day event is being held tomorrow at the Arena in the Town Park.

It would have made more sense last Saturday as St George's Day was on Monday but it's great that Telford & Wrekin celebrate our patron saint's day and especially with a free event!

The good news is, the weather forecast for tomorrow says that it's going to be dry from 9am onwards so what better way to celebrate the first dry day in a fortnight than sharing some English culture, history and pride?

If you do go (and I hope you do) then you might want to think carefully about what you put on your feet because Mrs P and I went walked through there on Monday and it was pretty waterlogged!

Friday, 20 April 2012

New school for Stirchley

Grange Park Primary and the Lord Silkin schools are to be merged together and relocated in a new building.

The new school will be built on the opposite side of Grange Avenue to the current schools and be big enough for 1,150 pupils from primary age through to sixth form.

The cost of building the new school will mostly be covered by the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

1st Brookside Scouts to close

I was called to a meeting at 1st Brookside Scouts' headquarters on Tuesday night along with other parents whose children go to Beavers, Cubs and Scouts there where we were given some very sad news.

After 39 years, the group is folding and merging with 1st Dawley Brook, which is based in the grounds of the Phoenix school.

The group is no longer viable for a number of reasons but the two main ones are the state of the building and the lack of leaders to run the groups.

The headquarters is the old chapel on Aqueduct Lane which, whilst a lovely old grade 2 listed building, is in quite a poor state.  The roof has been vandalised many times and because it's a grade 2 listed building, any repairs have to be like for like.  Roof tiles for 200 year old chapels aren't easy to come by and the extent of the damage means a repair bill of around £10,000.  The walls were damp-proofed back when the Scouts moved in but the damp is coming in through the walls now and up through the floor when the building has warmed up in the winter.  This isn't too much of a problem though because it's virtually impossible to heat the building.

Buildings can be repaired and there's an outside chance the group could raise the funds needed to get the building repaired but it wouldn't solve the main problem which is that there aren't enough leaders to run the groups.  The District Commissioner, who is responsible for Scouting in the whole of the Shropshire Severn and Teme district has been running Scouts in Brookside for the last few months but he can't continue to do it, he has too many other responsibilities.  Cubs and Beavers is reliant on four members of the same family which is far from ideal.

It's a real shame to see 1st Brookside Scouts come to an end but there is nothing anyone can do to save the group.  The Chairman and committee have done everything they possibly can to try and save the group and it's a testament to their hard work that it's lasted as long as it has.

A lot of people have gone through the doors of 1st Brookside Scouts in the last 39 years.  If you'd like to share your experiences of 1st Brookside Scouts, there will be a place on their website to do so shortly.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Severn Trent selling Shropshire water to East Anglia

According to the Daily Express, Shropshire is likely to be declared a drought zone soon which begs the question: why is Severn Trent planning to sell water to East Anglia in the middle of a drought?

The botched privatisation of the water network gives us the worst of both worlds - consumers have no choice which water company they want to use which means they don't have to worry about providing a good service or keeping down bills and they control the distribution network as well as the water which means there is no joined up national network.

If water had been privatised properly like gas and electricity, Severn Trent wouldn't be the ones "producing" the water or pumping it down the pipes and they wouldn't be in a position to sell it to other companies leaving us in Shropshire at risk of drought.

If water had been privatised properly like gas and electricity, if Severn Trent does sell too much of our water and we end up with a drought we would be able to show Severn Trent our displeasure by changing to another supplier.

But it hasn't so we can't and we therefore have to just sit back and watch Severn Trent pump millions of gallons of water out of Shropshire and wait for the hosepipe ban.  And you can pretty much guarantee that the millions that Severn Trent will make out of selling our water to Anglian Water won't knock a penny off our water bills.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Open Mic Night @ Brookside Community Centre

A message from local resident and Brookside Improvement Group member, Steve Thayne ...
This Saturday we have a gathering, an open mic for anyone who lives in or has strong connections with Brookside. It will be from 5 till 8 at the community centre and is a place for our songs, stories, poems or dance, for any age.

Personally, I believe that when you get to know any community there are things of beauty and meaning within it. Brookside is no exception, and among the talented people hoping to come are two of the members of the band Thomson oldeman, currently being played as Radio Shropshires song of the month...you can hear why here...

http://m.soundcloud.com/thomsonoldeman/sets/thomson-oldeman-ep/
just as important though as our talent is that we come together to share, to spend time with each other. Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Excellent turnout for regeneration meeting

Tonight's regeneration meeting was really positive with about 70 people turning up at the community centre to talk about how Brookside residents want regeneration to happen.

The meeting was led by Brookside Improvement Group with Telford & Wrekin Council and Wrekin Housing Trust providing the logistical support and facilitators.  Two young ladies from the youth club came to give us the views of young people that they'd gathered - they were very nervous but did an excellent job!

I couldn't hear a lot of what was being said in our little working groups because I have a hearing aid and there was too much background noise but I muddled through by reading what was being written down and a bit of lip reading.  The accoustics in the hall in the community centre are terrible - it's something that realy needs to be addressed when the centre is renovated.  So if anyone was talking to me tonight and I either didn't answer or looked vacant, I wasn't being rude!

There was some really excellent feedback from the meeting and everyone involved was keen to emphasise that this is only the first phase of the regeneration consultation process and there is a lot more to come.  The next phase is a series of workshops to start coming up with some firm plans that can be turned into reality.  This regeneration is really happening and it's happening now.  Everyone in Brookside can help shape the regeneration but only you can take advantage of the opportunity.  If you want to get involved you contact Keith Whitton on 382182 or in person at the community centre.

Final reminder for regeneration meeting tonight

This is a final reminder for the regeneration meeting at Brookside Community Centre tonight.

The meeting starts at 6:30pm and finishes at 8:30pm - a big turnout is expected so to avoid disappointment, try and get there in good time.

This is our opportunity to have a say on what happens on our estate - it's not often we all have a chance to influence what happens in Brookside so take advantage of it!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Halesfield tip opening hours to be cut

Telford & Wrekin Council have taken the bizarre and counter-productive step of cutting opening hours of the Community Recycling Centres (what most people call "the tip") in the borough with effect from the 16th of April.

When the borough council started charging for bulk waste collections, fly tipping became more of a problem which costs the taxpayer more.  Now the tips are going to open only 5 days a week which will lead to even more fly tipping and cost the taxpayer even more.

The council claims that it is cutting back opening hours to save costs but it's not going to save money in the long run.  Lots of people, on discovering that the tip is closed when they arrive, will fly tip whatever they had intended to dispose of responsibly rather than take it home and try again another day.  It's not right but it's a sad fact that it does happen and will happen even more when it's not just a case of missing the opening time by minutes or hours but missing it by one or two days.

There will be a tip open every day of the week somewhere in Telford but it may involve a several mile round trip depending on where you live.  People in Trench could find themselves having to take a 15 mile round trip past the turning for Granville to Halesfield to get rid of their unwanted sofa or people in Brookside taking a 12 mile round trip to Ketley.  It's not going to work.

Closing the tip two days a week to save money will backfire on the council and cost us council tax payers a lot of money in the process.


30mph speed limit sign to be replaced at Tweedale

The missing 30mph speed limit sign on the junction of Bridgnorth Road (Tweedale) and Brookside Avenue that I reported a couple of weeks ago is going to be replaced soon.

As well as the 30mph sign at the junction, the borough council are also going to put some 40mph repeater signs on Bridgnorth Road to emphasise the difference between the two limits.

Sadly they won't put 30mph repeaters on Brookside Avenue because everyone should know that it's a 30mph road.  Judging by the number of cars and motorbikes that use the road like a grand prix track, that's possibly a big assumption.

Summer courses at Brookside Community Centre

Below is a list of courses being run at Brookside Community Centre during the summer term.  Not many opportunities for people who work during the day I'm afraid.

For details of how to enrol on to any of the courses, please contact Lifelong Learning on 01952 382181 or call/text 07794 999282.
Day
Time
Course
Start date
End date
Monday
Brookside Community Centre
9:30am – 12noon
English and Maths
(Skills for Life)
Students can enrol throughout the year
Ongoing
Monday
Brookside Community Centre
10am – 12noon
Introduction to ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
This course started in February.  Please contact 01952 382181 if you would like to attend a course starting later this year
Ongoing
Monday
Brookside Community Centre
6pm – 8:30pm
English and Maths
 (Skills for Life)
Students can enrol throughout the year
Ongoing
Monday
Brookside Community Centre
6:30pm – 8:30pm
NEW - Creative Writing
16 April
x 5 weeks
Tuesday
Brookside Community Centre
9am – 11:30am
English and Maths
(Skills for Life)
Students can enrol throughout the year
Ongoing
Tuesday
Brookside Community Centre
6pm – 8pm
NEW - Introduction to Computing
17 April
x 5 weeks
Wednesday
Brookside Community Centre
9:15am – 12noon
Brookside Job Junction (a ‘drop in’ session for anyone wanting advice on local courses, looking for work, producing a CV etc)
Every Wednesday
Ongoing
Wednesday
Brookside Community Centre
6:15pm – 9:15pm
Counselling
(First Steps Level 1 Interpersonal Skills)
This course started in February.  Please contact 01952 382181 if you would like to attend a course starting later this year
Ongoing
Thursday
Brookside Community Centre
9:30am – 11:30am
NEW - Working in a Classroom
19 April
x 10 weeks
Thursday
Brookside Community Centre
9:15am 1:15pm
NEW - First Aid and Food Safety (Level 2)
19 April
x 4 weeks
Thursday
Brookside Community Centre
1:30pm – 4:30pm
NEW - British Sign Language (First Steps)
3 May
x 10 weeks
Friday
Brookside Community Centre
9:30am – 11:30am
English and Maths
(Skills for Life)
Ongoing
Ongoing
Friday
Brookside Community Centre
10am – 12noon
NEW - Taking Charge of Your Life (Confidence Building)
FREE CRECHE
20 April
x 6 weeks
Friday
Brookside Community Centre
1pm – 3pm
NEW - Jewellery Making
20 April
X 10 weeks
Saturday
Brookside Community Centre
10am – 11am
Zumba (£2 per session)
Ongoing
Ongoing