Author Archives: Eric Rayner

Overnight lane closures on Soke Parkway

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There are likely to be overnight lane closures on the Soke Parkway (A47) this week as work starts to clear trees and vegetation around the Rhubarb Bridge (A15) flyover.

Clearance works around Junction 18 of the A47/A15 will start on Monday 19 and last until Sunday.

The work is being carried out by Amey on behalf of Peterborough City Council and will take place between 8pm and 5am each day, with lane closures put in place.

Work is taking place as part of preparations for major repairs to Rhubarb Bridge and improvements to the junction which will start in January.

This will see structural works to the bridges which will help maintain them for the next 10 years, as well as the construction of new pedestrian crossings.

The project will increase capacity and improve traffic flow at the junction.

Councillor Peter Hiller, Peterborough City Council’s cabinet member for growth and economic development, said: “As motorists will be aware, this is one of the city’s busiest road junctions and it has been in need of improvement for some time.

“We are not expecting this preparation work to cause any lengthy disruption, however we want to make drivers aware of what is happening so they can plan their journeys accordingly.”

Where will our library go?

Thorney Library

Thorney looks likely to lose its current library in January when the building is put up for auction.

Thorney Parish Council heard on Monday evening that Peterborough City Council is hoping to sell the building, along with the former community centre in Church Street, for £300,000.

Both the old community centre and the library were the village’s infants’ and girls’ schools until 1940, when the Duke of Bedford School opened.

Parish councillor Russ Bevington, responding to a question from Doris Pacey, a member of the public, said the village would not lose its library, but he couldn’t say whether there would be a break in service or what the new provision would be.

He said there had been talk of a mobile library or putting up a temporary building next to the Bedford Hall.

The future of the library seems tied up with the future of the Bedford Hall, the village community centre. There is a proposal to house the library in space at the back of the hall, but cost was estimated at £110,000.

A suggestion to accommodate it at the school was rejected by school governors.

Mr Bevington said the city council had promised the money from the sale of the Church Street premises would stay in the village and that some of it would be used to help fund a new pavilion in the park.

Anti-social behaviour problems

Residents of Park Close attended the meeting to complain about anti-social behaviour that was making their lives a misery.

It was claimed there had been fights, threats against other residents, drinking and drug taking. There had been three police raids, including one by armed police.

City councillors agreed to take up the issues with Cross Keys Housing Association to see if something could be done.

Parish Council chairman, John Bartlett, said the problems stemmed from when Peterborough City Council changed its letting policy, which resulted in families being housed in properties that were intended as old people’s bungalows.

Council vacancy

There have been two applications for the vacancy on Thorney Parish Council. Councillors will interview candidates at next month’s meeting.

Heritage street signs

The “heritage” streets signs for Church Street and Abbey Place are due to be delivered this week and should be installed soon.

LED street lights

Installation of LED street lights in the village is almost complete. A number of old lights with concrete lamp-posts remain to be converted and the heritage street lights for Church Street and Abbey Place have not been installed.

The parish council had been concerned about the cost of these rising from £10,000 to £20,000 and had still not received an explanation from Peterborough City Council.

£300 for Tommies

The Parish Council is to pay £300 towards the cost of the Tommy silhouettes that were used for the commemoration of the centenary of the end of the First World War.

Village signs are rotten

It might cost up to £15,000 to replace Thorney’s four village signs, which are now rotten.

The quote was for replica signs in aluminium, which would have a lifespan of up to 25 years. The Parish Council thought this was too much and are seeking quotes from other companies.

Nathan Potts said he’d had quotes from a local craftsman who could carve the signs in oak at a cost of £11,000.

It was suggested the current signs would need to be changed as the abbey was much too short and squat. New signs should get the scale right. Another suggestion was for a silhouette design, which might be substantially cheaper.

A decision was deferred until December to get more quotes.

Flower power …

If you’re out and about in the village this week, you may see small bouquets of flowers left in random places.

It’s the work of Thorney Plus Women’s Institute members who have made the bouquets and left them around the village.

President Jane Crossland says the idea is to spread a little happiness. Members hope people will pick them up and give them to someone who deserves a bunch of flowers or who might need cheering up.

New Poppy Organiser for village

Tommy 2

Bev Smith from Eye has taken over from John Culpin as Poppy Area Organiser for Thorney.

She has been the area organiser for Eye for the past five years.

Bev says the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War has generated a lot of additional interest in the Poppy Appeal and sales of poppies have been going well.

She said she loved the efforts the two villages had made to remember the soldiers killed in the First World War. Eye has put large poppies on lamp-posts, along with one of the names of the 41 men from the village who were killed in the Great War.

She thought the soldier silhouettes in Thorney were very evocative and loved the efforts made in the Abbey and the graveyard (see picture).

Bev said she wanted to pay tribute to John and thank him for his many years of hard work for the Royal British Legion and the Poppy Appeal.

You can contact Bev on 222995 or smithbev16@gmail.com.

City lights switched on this Friday

Peterborough’s Christmas Lights are to be switched on this Friday.

The big switch-on is to be staged in Cathedral Square at 7.30pm.

Heart FM breakfast show presenters Kev and Ros will be playing music and introducing local bands from 4pm until 8pm.

The switch will be flicked by city mayor, Chris Ash and council leader John Holdich. There will also be a burst of fireworks to herald the switch-on.

Father Christmas will also be in attendance.

Parish Council may run deficit

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Thorney Parish Council is struggling to balance the books this year and may be faced with an overspend of up to £27,000, depending when payments fall due.

Monday’s Parish Council meeting heard that a range of commitments meant the council may have to draw on reserves and the village could face a rise in its precept – the first in many years – in the new year.

Work being funded includes:

:: Extension to cemetery, drainage, landscaping, fencing and hedge/tree planting.

:: Heritage-style street lights for Church Street and Abbey Place.

:: Contribution to play equipment in the park.

:: Legal charges.

:: Roadworks to reduce the pinch-point in Wisbech Road.

:: Grant for structural survey of Bedford Hall.

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People on the new Thorney Meadows estate are considering setting up a residents’ association and already have their own Facebook page.

Stuart Francis and Helen Baker attended the meeting to ask if the Parish Council could help put pressure on Larkfleet Homes, the estate developer, to finish work on the park, play area and finishing roads and pavements.

Mr Francis said residents were anxious for the park and play area to be completed before winter, otherwise it would not be ready for use before next summer. All the homes are now occupied and residents want to see roads and pavements finished and no more trucks driving about.

Ray Wood said he hoped Larkfleet would resurface Woburn Drive and perhaps that could be done at the same time as the estate roads.

The Council agreed to write to Larkfleet asking them about progress.

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There has been no further progress on Bedford Hall, with Peterborough City Council sitting on a number of actions, it was reported.

Thorney Parish Council has agreed in principle to fund an independent full structural survey and viability study through a grant offered by the Architectural Heritage Fund. This would match funding 50:50 up to a limit of £15,000.

The Council is getting a list of companies able to undertake the work to start a tender process. This is expected to take about six to nine months to complete.

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A decision on whether to spend Parish Council money on new road name plates in an antique style for Church Street and Abbey Place has been deferred.

Church Street resident John Richardson, who has been campaigning for the signs, said seven would be needed and funding had been secured for three of those. The name plates would be white on black and would have the appearance of being cast iron.

Plates would be sited at ground floor level (some are currently much higher) and those on posts would be secured to walls or buildings.

He promised to report back with prices at the next meeting.

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Peterborough City Council was accused of doing a shoddy job of resurfacing pavements along Sandpit Road, Smithfield and Park Close.

Claudine Lewis said tar had been splashed up people’s walls and the green on Smithfield had been hacked up – it looked dreadful.

Nigel Simons agreed. He’d been to look at the work and said he wasn’t impressed. He said he would take it up with the City Council.

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The Parish Council has asked for a “SLOW” sign to be painted on the road along Whittlesey Road where the 30mph limited has been extended.

Dorothy Halfhide said 20mph speed limit signs by the school were contradictory. There were speed limit signs, but another sign stating times the limit was in operation. It was in force all the time.

Margaret Long said one of the 40mph signs as you enter Nene Terrace had fallen off.

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A planning application to convert a house on Dairy Drove into a children’s home has been withdrawn.

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The Parish Council is to raise the poor state of Green Drove and Whittlesey Road with the City Council. Margaret Long said there was a huge crack in the middle of the road on Green Drove, with the surface crumbling, between Sly’s yard and the pumping station. Ken Parish said he’d had numerous complaints about the state of Whittlesey Road.

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There are now only two vacant plots at Thorney allotments. Samantha Godley said, sadly, there had been hardcore and household rubbish dumped on the site and on the field approaching the site.

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The level-crossing gates at the entrance to Kingsline Close are rotten and will have to be replaced.

The gates were to be repainted, but have been found to be too rotten. They were put there by the developers as a planning requirement when the estate was built and mark the site of the old level crossing on Station Road.

The Parish Council is to get an estimate for their repair and may have to take them down. There was a suggestion from resident Helen Baker that the work might be undertaken by inmates of the prison as a skills project. She promised to try to get some information.

Dorothy Halfhide said the gates should be retained and it was important to recognise that the railway had run through there.

The gates are not original. When the development took place, the builders found the original gates had rotted and had the current ones built using the original ironwork. The concrete posts are also original.

The Parish Council is also to inspect the village signs after reports that some of them may be suffering from rot.

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Additional Parish Council noticeboards may be sited in the village near Thorney Food Stores and opposite the school.

Meanwhile, the council’s Facebook page has attracted 132 people, with posts seen by an average of 115 people.

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Ken Parish suggested Thorney might purchase one of the life-size Tommy silhouettes being sold to raise funds for service charities. The council will contact the Royal British legion to discuss the idea.

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Canary Cottage (pictured), the old farm-workers home, sited on Knarr Fen to the east of Thorney, may become a listed building, it was reported.

Dorothy Halfhide said English Heritage were considering whether it should be listed after discovering it was much older than first thought.

She said it was one of very few mud construction buildings with thatched roofs to survive.

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Thorney now has seven trained Speedwatch volunteers and six more waiting for training.

Organiser Sam Godley reported that more speed surveys had been carried out in Station Road with five vehicles caught speeding – one at 39mph.

She said Woburn Drive had been added to their survey sites and they would also be checking speed of vehicles leaving the village on The Causeway.

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The Parish Council is to write to the City Council urging them to clean up the alleyway between St Mary’s Close and Sandpit Road.

The walk-way is overgrown with residents’ hedges and weeds.

 

Fake goods seized at car boot sale

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A large quantity of counterfeit goods were discovered at a car boot sale in Peterborough at the weekend.

Trading Standards officers carried out inspections at the ‘Bizzy Boot’ sale held in Wellington Street car park every Sunday.

Counterfeit goods were seized from a number of stalls on the site with investigations continuing. The seized items included:

  • Christian Dior Perfumes
  • Chanel Perfumes
  • Hugo Boss Perfumes
  • Nike Trainers
  • Armani Clothing
  • Adidas Clothing

The perfume/aftershave is of particular concern – it is a new style counterfeit product, sold in a 30 – 40 ml atomiser and is often described as ‘Demonstrator’ or ‘Tester’ with the wording ‘Not for retail sale’ written on it.

This is a clear attempt to give the item a degree of authenticity when sold cheaply at boot sales or markets.

These items are predominantly manufactured in Eastern Europe and past examples have been found to be unsafe causing severe skin irritation to the user.

Peter Gell, Head of Regulatory Services at Peterborough City Council, said: “People should be aware that by purchasing counterfeit goods you are having a detrimental effect on the livelihoods of legitimate local businesses and their employees.

“You may also be putting yourself at risk as counterfeit products are not subjected to the same health and safety checks as legal items. The sale of counterfeit goods will simply not be tolerated in Peterborough and I would urge anyone with information on this seizure to contact us.”

The counterfeit clothing seized will be passed to the Police National Aid Convoy for redistribution to disaster areas over the world and the counterfeit perfume will be destroyed.

Residents who have information on counterfeiting activity can call Citizen Advice on 03454 04 05 06 or can pass on details by emailing trading.standards@peterborough.gov.uk

Peterborough schools again above average for A-level passes

A-levels

For the fourth year running Peterborough is above the national average for the number of pupils achieving A-level passes.

With results received from all the city’s 11 secondary schools, the overall pass rate has remained above the national average at 98.2 per cent. The national average is 97.6 per cent.

Both local and national figures are a slight decline on last year’s results, reflecting changes to A-level courses and the move to exam-only tests in many subjects.

The proportion of students achieving higher grades has remained high, with 44.7 per cent of students in Peterborough schools achieving A*-B grades.

Almost 1,000 young people sat A-levels or equivalent this summer at secondary schools across Peterborough.

Of 942 students sitting A Levels, 734 of them (77.9%) achieved passes in at least three subjects.
Changes to the qualifications system means that many A-levels have been decided by final exams, with no link to coursework or AS-levels.

Jonathan Lewis, Peterborough City Council’s Director of Education, said: “I would like to say a big well done to all the young people who collected their exam results today. The city’s schools are once again above the national average for the number of pupils achieving A-level passes which is fantastic.”

More than 5,000 new homes to west of city

Over 5,000 new homes will be built in Peterborough after planning permission for the Great Haddon development was issued.

The council has approved outline planning permission for 5,350 homes, new schools and community facilities on the site next to the A1 to the west of the city.

Developers will now draw up detailed plans for the site, which has been earmarked for housing for several years.

Councillor Peter Hiller said: “Peterborough is the fourth fastest growing city in the country and we are actively working to meet high housing demand, consistently completing around 1,000 homes a year. Our emerging Local Plan sets a target of delivering 21,315 homes by 2036, so it is crucial that we continue to build at a substantial rate.

“This site has taken time to progress, but due to the tenacity of our planning team professionals we can now look forward to seeing the completion of a major development which will benefit our residents for years to come.”

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