Author Archives: Eric Rayner

Race will close roads

Thorney 10K

It’s the annual Thorney Road Race on Sunday, March 25 with runners starting at the Bedford Hall and following a course east along Wisbech Road and then up and down Old Knarr Fen Road.

Wisech Road will be closed to traffic from 10.30am to 11.30am from the Rose & Crown to Old Knarr Fen Road.

Station Road will be closed for five minutes at the start of the race (from 10.30am) and will be down to a single lane for the rest of the hour.

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.

Contract ended with company that quoted £6K for bus shelter roof

Binman

Amey, the company that provides a range of services, including refuse collection, is the end its contract with Peterborough City Council by mutual consent.

As well as refuse collection, Amey also looks after:

:: Parks, trees and open spaces

:: Property maintenance (including schools) and cleaning

:: Community link and home-to-school transport

:: Catering

The company caused some controversy in Thorney recently by quoting £6,000 to fix a hole in the roof of a bus shelter.

A council spokesman said it could be that these services are split up and separate providers sought for each area. Any new arrangement will allow the council more control over how services are provided and ensure that a percentage of any income generated by services is returned to the council to protect services for residents.

Councillor Gavin Elsey, cabinet member for waste and streetscene, said: “I would like to thank Amey for its commitment to providing services for the residents of Peterborough during the past five years. However, it has been clear for some time that our contract is no longer meeting either of our needs and is no longer compatible with the tough financial landscape we are operating in.

A key driver for the proposal is the council’s current recycling performance, which does not meet the targets set out in the contract. Recycling rates currently sit at 45 per cent and our target is 60 per cent.

If this proposal is approved, we will look to split up the contract and offer it to different providers in a bid to get better value for money in these areas, more control and greater opportunity to generate income.

Regardless of what happens, residents should be assured that the continuation of these services and a smooth transfer will be key factor for us in making any decision.

The contract with Amey will continue until a new service provider is in place. We are expecting this to be in autumn 2018.”

Help for people sleeping rough

Peterborough City Council has opened its winter night shelter and emergency provision to support rough sleepers.

The Peterborough Winter Night Shelter opened will remain open until 11 March. The shelter is run by a group of seven churches working together with the council to help reduce rough sleeping.

People wishing to access this provision need to visit the New Haven Night Shelter, 21 Towler Street, Peterborough or the council’s Housing Needs team at Bayard Place to complete a referral form.

People who are homeless can access an emergency night shelter at Fairview Court, 1 Oundle Road, Peterborough. People looking to use this service should be at Fairview Court at 10pm.

This emergency provision is only temporary until the temperature increases.

Councillor Irene Walsh, cabinet member for communities for Peterborough City Council, said: “Nobody needs to sleep rough in Peterborough. Not every town and city adopts this approach, but in Peterborough nobody has to sleep rough.

“There are a range of services and options that are made available and offered to every rough sleeper, including a winter night shelter and support for those who are struggling with mental health issues or are reliant on drugs or alcohol. In addition, the emergency provision will be in place until temperatures rise.

“The fact remains that there are still some people who refuse to accept help for a number of different reasons. We continue to engage with these people and offer them support, should they require it.”

If you know of someone sleeping rough please notify the council as soon as possible using the rough sleeper referral form on www.peterborough.gov.uk.

Further information is also available on the council’s website about what someone should do if they find themselves in housing difficulty.

People are able to make donations towards the winter night shelter provided by charities in Peterborough by visiting https://mydonate.bt.com/events/pwns1718

Cathedral celebrates 900 years

Peterborough_Cathedral

The campaign to celebrate the 900th anniversary of Peterborough Cathedral starts at New Year with a short burst of fireworks and a peal of the cathedral bells at midnight. There will also be a hot chestnut stand and a carousel.

The Reverend Canon Tim Alban Jones, said: “This coming year will be an exciting one, not only for the cathedral, but also for the whole of Peterborough.

“The building of the cathedral was arguably one of the most significant events in our local history and without it, the city would not be what it is today. It’s a beautiful building and integral to our community, it’s a great chance to celebrate Peterborough as a whole and what we as a city have achieved over the past 900 years.”

To find out more about the events planned throughout 2018 as part of the Peterborough Celebrates campaign and on how to take part, visit www.peterboroughcelebrates.org.uk

No leads on cemetery vandalism

Cemetry

Police have drawn a blank with their investigation into vandalism at Thorney Cemetery.

A spokesman said that despite publicity in local media and an appeal on Crimestoppers, no information was forthcoming and there are no further lines on inquiry to pursue.

A spokesman said: “The offence occurred on Halloween and was likely to be prompted by this annual event. There have not been further instances however, in the interim, there will be continuing patrols checking the cemetery.”

Additional dog-poo bins in village

For many years Thorney Parish Council has been lobbying Peterborough City Council to provide extra dog waste bins in Thorney, recently our three City Councillors took up the challenge.
Now, a new dog waste bin has been installed on the grass at the side of the footpath just as you enter the 30mph on the Thorney bypass side of the road on Wisbech Road as you drive into the village from Wisbech direction.
Once a new pedestrian gate has been installed at the Parish Council Cemetery in Whittelesy Road, Thorney Parish Council will fund a new dog waste bin to be fixed to the new steel fencing, this should take place in the coming months.
John Bartlett, chair of Thorney Parish Council, said he would like to say thank you to our City Councillors for making this possible.
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