Author Archives: Eric Rayner

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

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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.”

Electric car numbers double

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More Peterborough car drivers are going electric than anywhere else in the UK.

There was a 52 per cent increase in electric cars between September 2016 and September 2017 (rising from 5,425 to 8,249).

Back in 2012, there were just 12 electric cars registered in the city.

There are plans to extend the number of charging points in the city from eight to 16 over the next year.

£58K grant to build indoor riding facility

Laura Horrell with Sprite LR

A Thorney riding school and livery yard has received a £58,000 grant to build a new, indoor training area.

Middle East Farm Riding School, which trades as Bar Pasture Stables, has received the cash from the Rural Development Programme for England and Opportunity Peterborough.

It’s a pot of funding aimed at helping rural business and the rural economy.

Bar Pasture Stables has been running from Thorney for seven years and is home to 17 horses, offering riding lessons and livery.

Manager, Laura Horrell (pictured), said, “Having an indoor arena will mean we can hold our classes year-round no matter the weather. Ice, rain and heavy winds can be problematic and potentially dangerous for beginner riders, so with only outdoor space available at the moment, we have to reschedule quite a few lessons.”

Groundworks are scheduled to begin this month to have the building completed by November.

The grants are aimed at boosting the rural economy, from supporting tourism and small business growth to the development of agriculture, farm diversification and forestry. In rural Peterborough and Rutland, there’s a £1.3 million funding programme which is allocated by Opportunity Peterborough (operated by the City Council) and Rutland County Council.

Steve Bowyer, chief executive of Opportunity Peterborough said, “The grant will support real business growth and have additional benefits for building local skills at the riding school. Supporting the rural economy is vital – particularly given the huge role it plays across Rutland and Peterborough.”

Deadline for applications for the next round of grants is the end of August, with the final round due in March next year.

Thorney Parish Council – August meeting

The Parish Council has been quoted almost £1,000 by Peterborough City Council for installing a bench in Thorney Park. The sum was considered too high, although it was felt some benches were needed for old people. It was decided to ask local craftsmen to quote for building a suitable bench.

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The abandoned tipper truck on Wisbech Road will be removed. City Councillor Steve Allen said because of the poor state of the vehicle, the council had agreed to put a seven-day notice on it. If it’s not removed during that time, it will be towed away.

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The Parish Council has asked for the 30mph speed limit along Whittlesey Road to be extended as far as the cemetery. They are waiting for a response from the City Council.

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Woburn Drive and Sandpit Road may be included in speed surveys undertaken by the village’s SpeedWatch team in future.

Organiser Samantha Godley told the Parish Council that Cambs Police hadn’t surveyed those roads yet, but as soon as they had, checks would be carried out.

Three sessions had been undertaken on Whittlesey Road and Wisbech Road so far and there had been a marked slowing of traffic during the survey period. Four drivers had been found to be speeding. There are another six volunteers and a training session for these will take place on September 8.

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Repairs to Woburn Drive will be made by Larkfleet Homes, developers of the Thorney Meadows estate, but not until work is finished on the site.

There will also be a traffic survey to determine whether traffic calming obstacles should be installed.

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The Parish Council is to consider how community fund cash from the Park Farm housing estate might be spent in the village.

For new developments over a handful of homes, the developers has to pay a levy to the City Council to help pay for new infrastructure, such as schools, play areas, etc.

Fifteen per cent of the money goes to the community, but it can only be spent on an agreed scheme. Russ Bevington said the council should be considering how the money might be spent in the village and asked other members for suggestions.

The levy is about £4,000 per ‘roof’ and could amount to over £50,000 for the 90 homes.

Mr Bevington was also concerned about the cost of maintaining the access road and green spaces. This cost would fall on residents, but he’d read reports about people living on new developments being charged large sums.

“What happens when the road is full of pot-holes and people start fly-tipping on the green spaces? They will be liable for repairs and cleaning up,” he said.

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The area around Thorney Abbey and The Green is to get “heritage” street lights paid for by the Parish Council. Now there’s a proposal to install “heritage” street names as well.

Samantha Godley had surveyed over 40 homes and 27 had been in favour of the idea. The street names would be white on either dark blue or dark green and there was also an option to provide cast-iron name plates.

The Parish Council would have to pay for them and pay for the city council to install them.

Ms Godley will complete the residents’ survey, also provide costings for the next meeting.

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Residents in new houses in Goodman’s Close (off Station Road) are having to bring their bins to the main road because refuse trucks can’t access the site.

The developer has not yet made the connection between the estate road and Station Road and is in dispute with the City Council, which wants a wider junction than originally required.

Russ Bevington said the pavement looked a mess and was a potential trip hazard.

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There are only four vacant plots on the village allotment site off Gas Lane. Clerk Tony Hovell said the allotments were looking better than at any time in the recent past.

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The bungalow at 3 Laurel Close has been sold, subject to contract, it was reported. It had been the subject of concern due to the overgrown state of the garden.

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There have been complaints about there being just one swing in the children’s play area.

Nathan Potts said he’d asked about this and been told the frame was now judged too narrow for two swings, it was not set deep enough into the ground and the soft matting had to be larger.

The Parish Council has asked the city council to sort it out.

Former MP will not fight to regain seat

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Former Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson, who lost his seat to Labour in the 2017 general election, has announced he will not be standing again.

“It feels like the end of an era but I won’t be seeking the Conservative nomination in Peterborough for either by election or General Election,” he tweeted.

The Conservative party will choose its next Parliamentary candidate next month.

Village news and services on your smartphone

App for Thorney

A new mobile App will be launched for the village later this summer.

The app is intended to work alongside the Thorney Post and the Facebook Community Forum to serve as a quick and easy guide to local businesses, parish councillors, city councillors and local clubs and organisations.

Sections can be added to present further information as required – whether for events, topical issues, community initiatives, etc. A meeting for the local groups and organisations will be arranged following launch to discuss how they can use the App to communicate with their individual groups.

The business directory will initially be created from those advertising in the Thorney Post – at no additional cost to them – and will include contact information, company profile and links to their website and social media pages.

The App for the village will be included in the launch of a new mobile App platform created by local resident Michael Shuster.

“We’ve been using our system to deliver mobile apps for local businesses and organisations for the last few years – including grassroots football leagues, County Football Associations and business networking groups.

We’re now adapting our system to create an ‘app community’ where people can have a huge amount of information available to them for ease of access whenever and wherever it may be required, in a way that is affordable to small businesses and organisations and helpful in improving their communications and engagement.

Our App community will be called Robin Road (searchable in App Store and Google Play hopefully from September) and is sufficiently flexible to apply to most types of businesses – please visit www.one-app.uk or contact Michael on 07957 576765 for more information.

Please note that the App for Thorney is being delivered at no cost to the village and will be administered by Michael Shuster.

Eric Rayner, editor of the Thorney Post, said: “This might be the future for village news. We’re very happy to work with a local business, giving them access to articles and data, to help get this off the ground.”

 

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