Category Archives: News

Steve Allen gets new council role

Steve Allen

Thorney councillor Steve Allen is the new Cabinet Member for Housing, Culture and Recreation on Peterborough City Council, following a reshuffle.

The Conservative group lost their slim majority on the city council in the elections this month, but stay in charge following a deal with the Werrington independent councillors.

A press statement said: “Homelessness and rough sleeping is an absolute priority of this administration, and so Steve’s portfolio has been expanded to give a focus to this.

“Cllr Allen also retains responsibility, for ensuring that arts, culture and recreation thrive in this city, which was part of his previous role as a Cabinet Advisor.”

We are against quarries – says Parish Council

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An editorial comment in the Thorney Post came under fire at Monday’s Parish Council meeting.

The editorial, asking why there wasn’t a public outcry over the number of quarries being developed between the village and Peterborough, was criticised by Russ Bevington, who said the Parish Council has consistently objected to plans.

“We don’t want extra lorries in the village, we don’t want the congestion, but there is very little we can do,” he said.

“The Parish Council has objected on traffic grounds, but the Highways Agency will never say the A47 can’t cope, no matter how many extra lorries use the road.”

Other councillors asked if there was any benefit to the village from the quarries. They were told there’s a £1 per tonne tax which goes to a national fund and communities affected by quarrying can apply for grants. Thorney had applied in the past but had not been successful.

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The Parish Council has said no to a skateboard park in the village.

Recently re-elected city councillor Steve Allen said four people had raised this with him when he was canvassing and he wondered if one might be built on public space at the new Park Farm housing development at the eastern end of the village.

Margaret Long said a skate park had figured quite low down the list when surveys were done to see what type of play equipment was wanted in the park.

Russ Bevington said planning rules would not allow a skate park to be built within 100 metres of homes, so finding somewhere suitable would be difficult.

Ray Wood said if one was built there would be no end of complaints.

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The village’s fight against dog mess continues …

The Parish Council has obtained stencils which will allow them to paint warning signs on pavements where fouling is a particular problem. A bin for dog poo is to be installed on the green space at the corner of Chestnut Drive and Berberis Close.

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Police are to conduct speed checks along Whittlesey Road in response to complaints about speeding in the extended 30mph limit.

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John Bartlett has been re-elected chair of Thorney Parish Council. Margaret Long was re-elected as vice-chair.

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The war memorial at the Bedford Hall is suffering from the effects of weathering and its lettering needs to be re-filled.

Ray Wood brought the issue to the attention of Thorney Parish Council, who said the memorial was the property of the Royal British Legion.

Sheila Reeve, who is a member of the legion, said she would raise it at their next meeting and Mr Wood said the council should be prepared to help with cost of repairs.

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Bollards along The Causeway will not be removed.

Peterborough City Council has suggested their removal to declutter the road following its downgrade from trunk road status.

But the parish council wants them retained. There was concern that cars would be parked on the verge and that gipsies may also move in.

Members did agree the bollards were very dirty and said they should be washed.

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A quote of just under £3,000 has been obtained for making new replica level-crossing gates for Kingsline Close.

Two further quotes are due this month and the council will then apply for grants from the wind-farm community fund.

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Rotten village signs will cost around £250 each to be recast in metal.

Andy Bunyan reported figures to the parish council meeting on Monday. The signs would then have to be painted.

The current signs were erected in 1980 paid for by private donations and cost £1,500 for the four.

There had been a suggestion at a previous meeting that the four signs should be replaced by just one, sited on the grass verge at the crossroads.

Russ Bevington said he thought removing a sign from the far end of the village and erecting one at the crossroads would exacerbate the “us and them” feeling among some villagers.

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A heritage-style streetlight for Abbey Place will cost the village £4,500, it was reported.

The light was missed when the City Council installed the new streetlights in the “heritage part” of the village as it was inaccurately listed as being in Wisbech Road.

Ray Wood said no-one seemed to have noticed and he didn’t think the parish council should pay any more.

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Barbed wire has been strung across a stile on a public footpath linking Whittlesey Road with Toneham. The wire was put up when cows were turned out into the field. It has been reported to the City Council.

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Allotment holders should contribute to the cost of an access road, it was agreed by the Parish Council.

The current road was been churned up over winter, making it inaccessible for all but 4x4s.

The parish wants to lay heavy-duty mesh which will prevent the ground being churned up and allow grass to grow through, but the cost might be £6,000.

Andy Bunyan said he thought the City Council should pay as it was their land. Steve Allen suggested the best way forward was to put rents up so that the allotment holders made a contribution, helping pay for the access road over a number of years. He thought the City and Parish Councils could also contribute.

An accurate quote is being sought.

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Costs are being obtained to buy privet hedge plants to cover ugly railings at the crossroads.

Free hawthorn hedge plants are available, but Thorney Parish Council wants evergreen privet to hide the railings and match the hedges at the house opposite and the Rose & Crown.

Mother witnesses drug deal in her back garden

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A Thorney mother has been left shocked after witnessing two men use her back garden for a drug deal.

The woman, who doesn’t want to be identified for fear of reprisals, told Thorney Post that she was staggered by what she saw.

“Two teenage lads walked along the back of my house and did a drug deal – passing the money and drugs in broad daylight,” she said.

“The guy then pushed the drug packet down the front of his shorts and walked away. Drugs are not welcome in this village and certainly not outside my house where I have young children living.”

High-tech app helps rescue cow

Cow rescue Thorney 14 April 2019

Firefighters rescued a cow from the River Nene in Thorney on Sunday, using a new mobile phone app to locate the farmer and the stranded animal.

The ‘app’ called what3words is accurate to three metres and still works in areas where there isn’t a reliable data signal.

To help crews get to the right location along the river near Old Knarr Fen Drove, Fire Control used the location app to pinpoint the caller and the calf. The location was relayed to crews to ensure they arrived in the correct location as quickly as possible.

Crews from Dogsthorpe, Stanground and Wisbech arrived to find a calf stuck on the riverbank. Working alongside the farmer, firefighters wearing in-water gear, secured the calf using strops, a winch and teleporter.

The calf was released and left in the care on the farmer and a vet.

The app is free to download and works with both iOS and Android phones and Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue is keen for more people to use it.

Station Commander (Control) Clare Smith commented, “Our emergency call handlers are now able to respond to calls where a three-word address is used.

“The new way of identifying precise locations complements the systems we already have in place and can save time when mobilising crews to incidents, where every second counts.

“What3words is a great app and is definitely worth having on your devices, should you ever need it in an emergency.

“Emergencies can happen anywhere, from a road collision in the middle of the countryside, to someone in trouble in a river, to an incident outside a shopping centre, which could have a number of different entrances. In these situations, identifying precisely where help is needed is critical – and this can be near impossible if you are in an area with no address or if that address isn’t good enough to describe exactly where you are.

“Even in a well-addressed town or city, if a caller is in distress they may not be familiar with their surroundings, or able to share a location with accuracy – for example, the description “near Cambridge” will not help emergency services to get to the right place.

“It’s free, it’s simple to use, and one day it might make sure you get the help you need, when you need it.”

School needs more reading buddies

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The Duke of Bedford School is keen to recruit more reading buddies.

No teaching skills are required, just a willingness to spend a few hours each week listening to children reading. This reading aloud practice is a key element in improving reading skills.

Days and times are flexible, but you should be prepared to commit to attend on a regular basis. Volunteers of all ages are welcome.

If you are able to help or want more information, send your name, e-mail and contact number to Cathy Gibson, Assistant Headteacher at enquiries@dukeofbedford.peterborough.sch.uk.

Concern over traffic at quarry

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Two-hundred lorries per day will be used to bring in waste to fill a gravel quarry in Thorney.

Pode Hole quarry is now fully worked, but more gravel has been extracted than planned and soil set aside to fill in the earthworks is not sufficient.

The owners have applied to Peterborough City Council for permission to infill with waste (not household refuse) and return the land eventually to agricultural use.

The plan involves a six-year project, working from 7am to 6pm on weekdays and on Saturday mornings, where 19 lorries an hour will deliver waste to the site.

Thorney Parish Council considered proposals at its meeting on Monday and said it had major concerns about additional lorries and road safety on the A47.

Russ Bevington said that work would start soon on widening the entrance to Willowhall Road for the Pasture House Farm quarry and if that coincided with this work, then there could be traffic chaos.

The Parish Council will write to the city council expressing these concerns and also suggesting a lower speed limit along this section of the A47 for the duration of the work and that trucks delivering waste do not use roads through the village.

The Parish Council is also keen to see the cycle lane extended to reach Eye, so that people can safely cycle into Peterborough.

Land on the opposite side of the A47 to Pode Hole and Pasture House quarries has also been put forward for a new quarry, extending as far as Bukehorn Road. Planning permission has not yet been sought, but there was a suggestion that if this did go ahead, access would be from Bukehorn Road.

Dorothy Halfhide said she was strongly against that idea. She thought Bukehorn Road was totally unsuitable, it had dangerous junctions at either end and would be a safety risk.

Local taxes to rise from April

Thorney residents will have to pay an extra £12 per house on average to cover Parish Council spending.

At Monday night’s monthly meeting, the Parish Council voted unanimously to increase their precept to raise £77,000 from the village rather than £65,000 previously. This is an increase of 24 per cent.

There was some concern that such a large percentage increase would look bad, but it was pointed out that there had not been an increase for 10 years.

The precept is a local tax added by the Parish Council to City Council rate bills. The figure of £12 more is an average and higher band homes will pay more, those on a lower band less.

Thorney Parish Council snippets

Reports from Thorney Parish Council meeting on Monday, January 14.

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Allotment holders can’t reach their plots due to the muddy track across the field at the bottom of Gas Lane.

Helen Baker said her car, with two children on board had got stuck in the mud. She asked if the Parish Council could improve the surface of the track.

She was told the field was owned by Peterborough City Council and rented to a farmer who would object to a track being laid.

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Sheila Reeves has been co-opted onto Thorney Parish Council.

Sheila, who worked for Peterborough City Council before she retired, has lived in the village for 16 years.

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People outside the village living alongside the A47 are prisoners in their own homes, Les Lazell told Thorney Parish Council’s January meeting.

He was seeking their support to campaign for a walkway alongside the main road to the east of the village. He said there had been a footpath, but this was removed when the road was widened.

“The road is dangerous,” he said. “There’s an accident every five days. If someone was in a mobility scooter or using a pushchair, they’d have no choice but to go on the road. What happens if you break down?”

The Parish Council said this was a Highways Agency matter and Mr Lazell should write to his MP.

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The Parish Council is to purchase a notice board for £479. The board will be placed inside the bus stop in front of the Duke of Bedford School and will be big enough for four A4 sheets.

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A local tradesman will be asked if it’s possible to repair the level crossing gates by Kingsline Close.

The gates are rotten, but it was felt they could be repaired in-situ by using wood filler or splicing in new wood.

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One of Thorney’s village signs is to be taken down to obtain quotes from a specialist company to provide new signs in cast aluminium.

The signs are becoming rotten and replacing all four signs may cost £20,000.

Dorothy Halfhide suggested that the four signs might be replaced by one on The Green and there was an alternative suggestion that the grassed area next to the traffic lights would be a better location.

A decision will be made once alternative costs have been obtained.

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Thorney Parish Council is to give the church £1,300 to remove a dangerous tree in the graveyard and also cut back another. The total cost of the work is £1,800, but John Bartlett said the church had been given an anonymous donation of £500.

Some parish councillors thought the church ought to pay the entire amount, but a motion to that effect was defeated.

Ray Wood said if the tree was in his garden, the Parish wouldn’t pay.

Russ Bevington agreed that the diocese ought to pay but said they wouldn’t. “The tree is in a dangerous state and needs to come down quickly. The graveyard is a major village amenity, tourist attraction and is used by many people to walk through to the park.”

He said part of the order was for a replacement tree to be planted and he thought this should be an orchard-type tree that wouldn’t grow too tall.

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A new hedge along the field boundary of the cemetery is being planted on January 26. Any villagers willing to help are invited to come along.

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New LED street lighting will be installed along Northside in February,

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The extended 30mph speed limit on Whittlesey Road is not being obeyed, Dorothy Halfhide told the council. She said she’d been overtaken by two cars travelling very fast and there was nothing from the end of the village to tell drivers it was still a 30 limit.

The city council is being asked to paint 30-signs on the road.

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Ray Wood asked if the Parish Council could see the surveys on the state of Woburn Drive. He was concerned that the road had not been resurfaced following completion of the Thorney Meadows estate.

He also raised concerns about parents parking illegally when picking their children up from the Duke of Bedford School. “They take no notice of double yellow lines,” he said.

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Thorney Parish Council is to hold a closed meeting on January 24 to agree their policy towards Bedford Hall.

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The Parish Council will write to the police thanking them for their efforts when a man went missing in the village last week.

Russ Bevington said four vans, eight policemen and a helicopter with infra-red camera were deployed and a family-liaison officer had been with the family throughout. Along with numerous villagers who turned out to help after seeing an appeal on Facebook, a thorough search of the village had been done.

Dorothy Halfhide said the police had been surprised by the village’s response. Happily, the missing person was safe.

Roads may be repaired following cash boost

Thorney Dyke

Government cash earmarked for road repairs in the Budget could be used to fix a number of massive dips in local roads.

Peterborough City Council had been warning that serious subsidence affecting a number of roads was unlikely to be sorted out before next year.

The extreme cold of the so-called Beast from the East spring storm, followed by a very dry summer has been blamed for causing subsidence on fenland roads, and Thorney Parish Council has complained about two particularly bad cases – one on the Causeway as you enter the village by the old nursery and another on North Bank heading towards Whittlesey, just before Fouracres car dealership.

The city council has put up warning signs and had said there was no cash to repair the roads this financial year.

But now, the council has secured £1.5 million for urgent repairs and has said it will announce in December which roads are to be fixed.

Fenland roads, which are built on clay or peat foundations are highly prone to subsidence due to drought and the city council has already undertaken a huge programme of repairs on local fen roads this year.

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.”

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