Monthly Archives: January 2018

Better service promised at post office

Thorney’s part-time Post Office is up and running with fresh equipment and new personnel so the problems that have been experienced are hopefully now a thing of the past.

It is run out of the Parson Drove Post Office so should you have any problems, please ring Jayne or Phil for assistance on 01945 700 511.

The opening hours remain the same:

Mondays 10.00am until 2.00pm

Wednesdays 11.00am until 2.00pm

Fridays 11.00am until 2.00pm

Please make good use of this important facility in the village. The Post Office is at the Bedford Hall, in the meeting room, just around the corner from the main entrance.

Charity quiz night for Alzheimer’s

Quiz night

A charity quiz night is being held at the Bedford Hall on Saturday, February 17 in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK.

It is being organised by the Hurn family as part of a fund-raising campaign this year which will also include having a runner in the London Marathon.

The campaign was prompted by the experience of Lizzie Hurn, whose mother Pamela suffered from Alzheimer’s.

The quiz night starts at 6.30pm and will include a light dinner and is £6 per person with teams of between five and eight people. If you can’t raise a full team, don’t worry, you can be allocated to a team that’s short.

Bring your own drinks and glasses.

For tickets or more information call Ben Parker on 270217 or e-mail: benparkeraruk@outlook.co.uk

Excel slashes bus service to village

X1

The X1 bus service through Thorney is to be cut from a half-hourly service to once an hour from February 4.

Operator Excel says that the service is being cut in order to allow the bus to keep to its timetable at peak periods when the A47 suffers delays due to traffic congestion.

However, at the same time as cutting services to Thorney, the bus company has introduced a number of new stops – one in King’s Lynn and all town stops in Wisbech.

An online petition objecting to the cuts has attracted more than 1,000 signatures so far and regular users of the service have written to the Thorney Post to explain how the changes will affect their lives.

Emily Shipton (24) who lives in Sandpit Road uses the X1 to get to work each day. She takes the 6.30am bus to Peterborough train station and then the train to Cambridge. The 6.30am bus is being cut and the first bus into town will be just after 7am meaning Emily will have to finish work later.

“I will not get back to Peterborough rail station until 6:26pm, so I will miss the 6.14 bus and  will have to wait 1 hour 20 minutes for the next bus and won’t get home until after 8pm. Overall, there is a 90-minute wait between the buses at a peak time for commuters to Thorney,” she said.

“My brother uses the 7.30am bus to get to senior school in the centre of Peterborough. He will now have to catch the 7am bus to get to school, which means getting up at 6am each day.

“The X1 is a key social connector along the A47 corridor. For many elderly people who do not drive, this is their only means for accessing services which are no longer provided in the village, such as the post office and bank amongst other things.

“If things continue to deteriorate, people like myself will reluctantly be forced to move out of the village that I have called my home for 24 years. This in turn will cause even further decline to services and amenities. It will just be a vicious circle of degeneration which I do not believe we should have to put up with. From commuters who rely on a fast, convenient and regular service, to the elderly who rely on the bus as their gateway to services; no-one should have to put up with the cuts.”

The new timetable for the X1 (which will be renamed the XL from February) means Thorney getting an hourly service, but the much smaller hamlet of Thorney Toll retaining its bus every half hour.

There is certainly traffic congestion on the A47 into Peterborough at peak times, but the route through Thorney isn’t congested and avoiding the village will save only a couple of minutes. The new XL will just reach the traffic jams in Eye and Peterborough a bit quicker.

The 36 bus service, operated by Stagecoach is unchanged, but its pick-up times in Thorney for Peterborough are only a few minutes later than the XL, so there will be two buses available each hours, but at almost the same time – six minutes past the hour and 13 minutes past.

A statement from Excel said:

“As a result of demand and punctuality analysis, as well as feedback from passengers, drivers and stakeholders, we’re making some important changes to our X1 service from Sunday, February 4.

“These changes have been designed to help our buses keep to time more easily when the traffic is heavy and when we experience major incidents on and around the busy A47 corridor, as well as matching service levels and the times of buses to meet the needs of the majority of passengers.”

You can sign the petition objecting to cuts at:  https://www.change.org/p/first-norfolk-suffolk-don-t-let-our-rural-communities-rot-stop-the-changes-to-the-first-x1-excel-bus-service

At least £350,000 needed to fix Bedford Hall

Bedford Hall

At least £350,000 will be needed to fix Bedford Hall, according to Thorney Parish Council.

The Parish Council discussed the future of the building this week, having received some reports on its condition.

Peterborough City Council, which owns Bedford Hall and is responsible for the maintenance of the listed building, wants to give the building to the village, but that means we would also be responsible for repairs.

The City Council has said it will use monies from the sale of the old Church Street Community Centre to fund repairs and also the move of the library, but the Parish Council is concerned the sale will not raise enough.

The Parish Council is still waiting for a formal letter confirming exactly what the City are offering in respect of the building and have said that no further discussion will be held until they have that letter.

This is the full text of the Parish Council’s statement regarding Bedford Hall:

BEDFORD HALL, THORNEY 9 January 2018. – Thorney Parish Council comments on Survey Information and Library Relocation Proposals received on 4 January 2018 from Caroline Rowan, City Council SURVEY (Refs: 23-27-8-3-1006 December 2017 + 23-27-18-3-1006)

Our initial reaction to these building surveys and the additional information they contain is a concern that this historic, listed building has been so neglected and allowed to fall into such a state of disrepair. We are also concerned by the number of items needing attention particularly as many of them are given Condition Rating ‘C’ ( Exhibits major or multiple defects) or ‘D’ ( Life expired, Exhibits major deterioration, Serious risk of imminent failure).

We note the overall costs of these works (excluding mechanical and electrical works) is estimated to be £176,660. As to some extent the survey is rather superficial, it seems likely that the closer inspection and testing suggested in the survey for a number of items will increase this cost.

Is it proposed that this closer inspection/testing is put in hand in order that a more accurate assessment is made of the building’s condition with the estimate revised accordingly? We believe the only way to establish what the real costs may be would be by putting these works out for tender and including a contingency for extras as the work progressed.

LIBRARY ( Hanson Barron Smith drawings HBS -DR-B 01 + HBS – DR – B 02) Either arrangement seems satisfactory. We assume they both have the approval of Vivacity.

Both show a point of access but no alternative means of escape is indicated for either – does this comply with current regulations?

We assume the budget costs ( £93,000 to £108,000) are for the refurbishment of either Unit 3 or 5 only and do not include for any mechanical or electrical infrastructure to the other areas in this rear part of the building e.g. heating, lighting, smoke detection, fire alarm system etc.

Can it be confirmed whether or not any basic works will be carried out to the parts of this building not allocated to the Library. It is possible that the proposed village referendum to determine the future of the Bedford Hall may indicate a preference for the funds to be allocated to other works to the building rather than a library.

GENERAL The costs allocated as above to the survey works and the library total £284,660. If the forecast costs in the mechanical and electrical survey (M+E Condition Survey Report 17 February 2017) are added to this (£59,017) the total increases to £343,677. This figure not only exceeds the monies that are expected from the sale of the City Council’s Church Street property but probably does not present the Parish with a fully usable building.

We query how this monetary shortfall will be dealt with and how those areas of the rear building will be refurbished rather than left in their current run down and non-usable condition. We look forward to receipt of the City Council’s ‘Offer’ which we trust will be to offer this listed building in a complete state of repair and fit for use in its entirety with sufficient other proposals to make this an attractive and viable proposition for consideration in a referendum in the Parish.

We would be grateful if we can be provided with information regarding the organisation and supervision of a referendum together with an estimate of the likely cost.