Monday, 31 August 2009

Pavement - Eastrea Road

To those of you who have commented to me about the state of the pavement on Eastrea Road between Cemetery Road and Sir Harry Smith, it has been reported and I am awaiting an update. I have filmed this quickly just to provide a reminder as to how bad it is.
video

I will update when I know anything.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Radio Interview on Tuesday

I have just agreed to do an interview on Tuesday about recruitment of social workers. I am looking forward to it, it gives me a chance to say good things about social workers - something that doesn't happen enough.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Congratulations again

I have always tried to keep out of the debate about how many got XXXX at GCSE this time of year. It does nothing for the students whose personal results are so important. Ask me that question in a couple of months. Both of my children out performed me in their GCSEs (I did GCE's) - but both of them worked twice as hard as me - and we ignore and undermine that effort at our peril.

I would just like to congratulate everyone who has worked hard to achieve their results, as well as the teachers and parents who have supported them.


Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Planning Committee

Interesting planning committee today. Two compromise decisions, reducing a temporary use of a Silver Street from the recommended 6 months down to 3 (with the agreement of Anglian Water), and a change to allow some details for the new Anker's site in Eldernell Lane that would normally need to be submitted prior to beginning work on site to allowing them to be provided within two months of commencement of work (may have been 3).

We also deferred one application for a month so that we could discuss some details at committee with a Highways Officer. Planning is often difficult because you almost always make someone unhappy - but I think these were good decisions.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Help the Heroes Day at the Brickies

I have just had a call from The Bricklayers Arms in Whittlesey (one of my occasional watering holes). They have a "Help for Heroes" day on 12th September. I have agreed to turn up at some point - although I will have to behave because I am running a half marathon the day after.

I am from an Army family and served six years myself. I think Help for Heroes is a fantastic charity, Please go along if you can and provide some support.

Congratulations to Sir Harry Smith 6th Form

Congratulations to the 6th Form students at Sir Harry's, I am hearing about some great AS and A Level results today.

We should also recognise the effort teachers make at Sir Harry, we have some fantastic teachers who bust a gut to get the best out of our young people.

I am a proud dad again today.

UPDATE:

The Cambs Times Website has an article about results here. There are also reports from other Fenland Schools on their website and again it looks like really good results.


Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Whittlesey and the Fens featured in Country Walking

There is a lovely article about walking in the Whittlesey area in this month's Country Walking Magazine. Although it focuses mostly on Holme Fen, Whittlesey does get a few mentions and there is a great photo of the writer walking along Briggate.

The most important thing is the descriptions of the Fenland Landscape:

"They may be flat, man-made, featureless and agro-industrial, but they are also exceptional lands of vast horizons and thrilling skies"

It is great to see the Fens getting that sort of recognition. Our landscapes are exceptional and we should keep reminding the world of that.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Tesco interest in Whittlesey

The fact that Tesco are looking to develop a store in Whittlesey to the North of the New Queen Street Surgery has finally been made public. It makes life quite interesting, there are now two potential supermarket sites in the Town. They are quite different applications which potentially offer different benefits. I obviously cannot comment on what the final planning decision will be.

It is worth stressing that, despite rumours to the contrary, if this site is developed we will not end up without a Fire Station - Tesco have pledged to build a new one.

It is sad that this is announced at the same time that Costmill announce that they are to close. Costmill have been around for as long as I can remember and there are things about it that are unique - such as that it is the only place I know where you can still buy individual screws.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Cycle Path Resurfacing

I ran along the cycle path today as part of the training for my Half Marathons in September/October. It looks like the surface on the stretch of road between Stonald Road and the new football pitches is being hard surfaced. I know this was part of the planning conditions for the football pitches and creates another community benefit from what is a great project from Whittlesey United.

This now means that there is only one short stretch between Whittlesey and Peterborough that won't be hard surfaced. I feel an email to Sustrans coming along.

I have said it before, but it is worth repeating. It is now quicker to cycle into Peterborough than it is to catch the bus - and the cycle along the back of the brickyards and the river bank is an absolute pleasure. I even managed to enjoy watching a heron today while I was running.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Flooding

Thought some of you might be interested in this post by Steve Barclay, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for North East Cambridgeshire, about flooding. I have had discussions with him and fellow Councillor Kay Mayor as well as with officers at Fenland over the last few days.

Cambs Times - Wacken

Nice to see my blog makes the Cambs Times this week.

Not too disappointed with the article. The one piece of clarity that needs to be in there (and the Cambs Times didn't know this bit) is that I would have been at last month's Planning Committee if my flights hadn't been changed. I originally wanted to travel out on the Wednesday evening. I hope nobody begrudges me a holiday (in fact it is the first planning committee I have missed this year).

The self imposed quarantine was because of a sore throat - I wanted to make sure that it was only that and nothing worse (which it was).

They also don't do Wacken justice, it is a great festival. I could write for hours about its uniqueness and how it would never happen that way in Britain - but I'm sure you have better things to do.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

First Aid Training for our Young People

I popped in to the Scaldgate Youth Centre today to chat to Rebecca Hoy, our (relatively) new Youth Worker to talk about where we were in Whittlesey. Actually things have improved lately, especially as far as Friday night provision goes with sessions now being held both at the Manor and at the Youth Centre.

I also had a nose at some First Aid training that was going on with some of our Young People. It was quite refreshing to see 22 young people taking part. I managed to have a chat with a few of them, and they seemed to be having a good time as well as learning something.

Thanks to all who made this happen.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Lib Dems up to their old tricks

The Lib Dems are up to their usual tricks again. They made some sort of statement about calling for the Conservatives to look for funding to reopen the Bramley Line from March to Wisbech. I won't link to it because they don't merit it.

There is nothing wrong with the Bramley Line proposal, just that Conservatives have been examining it and looking at options for a long time, for the Lib Dems to then leap in and call for this is just jumping on the bandwagon for the sake of it.

This is the sort of stuff they do all the time, and it is why I have no time for them.

Soot Deposits

I am in self imposed quarantine today because of what I hope is just a sore throat. But I have been making a few phone calls. One of which is to the Environment Agency about complaints of soot deposits over the weekend.

I noticed a "taste" in the air when I was out running on Sunday, and then had complaints about soot on Monday - so I have followed up with the Environment Agency. If anything comes of it, I will update.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Neighbourhood Forum

I went to the Whittlesey Neighbourhood Forum last night.

They are always interesting and often challenging. But they do bring issues to light and it is always there to gauge opinion and listen to what is said.

It was nice to see that one of the priorities for the police was to focus on the parking problems outside of our schools. (I know schools are closed - but the priorities are set for three months).

The stars of the show last night were four youngsters who spoke about the need to expand our skate park - because of its success. Whether this can happen or not I don't know - but it is worth examining, but hats off to those young people. It must be really daunting to talk to an audience that, before they spoke to us,they had heard get quite animated and loud at times (no problem with a bit of passion), but despite this they were articulated and enthusiastic, if a but nervous.

We do have great Young People in Whittlesey.



Thursday, 6 August 2009

Ofsted unannounced inspection - Hunts and Fenland

The Ofsted report on the unannounced inspection of Children's Services in Hunts and Fenland was published today. A link to the report is here.

I have had concerns about Ofsted in the past - especially the outrageous report on Fenland Junction. But actually I think they got this right. The report is fair, recognises both strengths and weaknesses, but contained some areas for priority, largely based around recruitment and retention and capacity. We have focused a great deal on this area recently and have made in-roads - and the additional resources we have put in is mentioned in the strengths.

So we have reduced the number of vacancies - its just that not all are in post yet and, to be fair, recruitment and retention is an issue Nationally.

The most important phrase in the document, IMHO, is:

"The response to referrals of children at risk of significant harm is timely and appropriate, which helps children to remain safe. "

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Wisbech Park Adventure Playground

There is an event/exhibition on Saturday (8th August) all to do with the proposed (and potentially exciting) adventure playground in The Spinney at Waterlees. A link with more detail is here.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Looked After Children

One of my favourite meetings is our Children In Care Council in Cambridgeshire. They are representatives of our Looked After Children and they meet on a regular basis with me, Gordon Jeyes (Director of Children's Services) and senior officers.

They are a great bunch, who are not afraid to challenge and not afraid to tell you what you think. It is the sort of engagement with young people we need and they are genuinely aware of what the real needs of young people, such as boundaries and the need to learn and understand respect as well as how to improve the lives of Looked After Children.

We had a great meeting where we discussed a web project for them and some ideas to set down some principles of how it should be for Children in Care. It confirmed some of my own thoughts and taught me a few things.

So I should say just here to those involved (who I obviously can't name). 1. Thanks very much and I hope it's worth it and 2. Sorry for being late!!