Wednesday 23 November 2011

More Anglian Water Problems - A605 closure 26/27 November November

This was emailed to me today:

"It has now been confirmed that there is a leaking water main in the middle of the A605 between Kings Dyke Level Crossing and the Water Tower at Whittlesey.  The main is approx 2.5 to 3 mts deep and Anglia Water have no alternative but to close the road to carryout the excavation and make the repair.

At present there is water coming up to the road surface, which AWA are monitoring and are happy at present to go in after the morning rush on Saturday and then work continuously until it is repair which they believe will take until at least Sunday afternoon.  They are having to monitor the weather as if there is a freeze they will have to go in sooner due to the danger.

Diversions with be either via the North Bank or Pondersbridge from Whittlesey. Signing advising motorists of the impending closure are due to go up shortly."

Sunday 20 November 2011

Humour in times of trouble

Well now we all have running water and can reasonably go to the toilet, I thought I would comment on Sunday in Whittlesey.
Actually - it was a pain in the neck, and it does force to remind you how reliant we are on simple things like running water.  I normally do a long run on Sundays and had to cancel because I really couldn't force those I love to suffer me after 11miles and no shower!

Twitter and Facebook come into their own with incidents like this - great for passing out information, but also a place for gallows humour.  Here are a few examples of the Tweets that made me smile:

  • Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. Lol jks they lived in Whittlesey. 
  • Guinness world record attempt TMO. Biggest ever communal bath. Manor Leisure Centre. (This was mine!!)
  • 11 hours without water in Whitltesey and it still smells better than XXXX (the XXXX represents an area in Peterborough - location deleted so as not to cause offence).
  • I hear bob geldof and midge ure are heading to Whittlesey as we speak

When it comes down to it, we suffered a while without water.  It all got sorted, we all got washed, shaved and ate and, for most, it was just an inconvenience.  Yes there are questions to be asked about Anglian Water and the advice they gave out, but nothing seriousand they did work through the night to get it sorted.

It seems everyone is entitled to a £20 rebate from Anglian Water as a result of the water outage. The link to their code of conduct is here. Let's use it for a good cause - can I suggest we all claim what is due to us and donate it to Water Aid and help people that really, really do need water - where the issue is one of life or death rather than just inconvenience.




Tuesday 15 November 2011

Fenland Discussions at County Council

At Cambs County Council Cabinet meeting this morning we had some very serious discussions about Fenland.  The first one was to agree to underwriting some of Fenland District Council's cost for the proposed new College of  West Anglia facility.  The County Council's approach to this is really important, not least because it proves its commitment to education in Fenland.  Something that is also shown by the way we fought to keep Building Schools for the Future in Fenland and have supported Thomas Clarkson Community College on its journey of improvement, both of which I was actively involved in as Lead Member for Children in the years running up to May 2011.

The next debate was about the issues highlighted by the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (which is, largely, a set of data that highlights Helath and Wellbeing outcomes across the County) and shows Fenland to be the area of highest Multiple Deprivation in the County.   Cllr Sales, a Labour Councillor for whom I have huge respect, chose to use the opportunity to suggest that the evidence shows a County Council failing.

I think his approach is misguided and, actually, a shame.  Whilst it is wrong to deny the existence of deprivation, and wrong to deny there is much more to do, the truth is that turning round areas of multiple deprivation takes a considerable amount of time, not least because it needs cultural change from deep within communities.  It is already clear that we have made a start.  Nationally, the Government have made huge changes to the way Public Health and Health and Wellbeing works, which allow us to take the sort of holistic preventative approach to communities that is needed at ground level, they have also introduce the Pupil Premium, which means additional funding for students from deprived backgrounds.  The County have taken a real proactive approach to schools and our Superfast Broadband policy has potential to benefit rural Fenland more than any other area of the County.  The investment in COWA (as already discussed) is the County Council investing its own money when the previous Labour Government chose to unilaterally withdraw from its commitment to fund the proposed March premises.  We invest in parenting support in Fenland to stop children going into care by working proactively with difficult families and have set priorities for the new County Wide Health and Wellbeing board that are directly related to the issues Fenland faces.

The truth is, turning around areas of deprivation takes time, but as long as I have been a County Councillor, the issues in Fenland have been a priority, there is also no doubt that the top down methodology of the previous 13 years of Labour Government have inhibited our ability to deliver, in a way that is a direct contrast to the localism agenda and an exciting new approach to managing the way Health and Wellbeing works.  We are further aided in this in Cambridgeshire by having GPs who are striving to work with us on this sort of thinking.

I want to give Paul Sales something to think about.  Where were his Fenland colleagues when the Labour Government were denying us funding?  They almost completely vanished when times were tough for Labour in Fenland, only to reappear when they thought there was potential for rich electoral pickings after the change in Government; some of them re-emerging as independent candidates to maximise their electoral opportunities.  As Conservatives we are lobbying this Government to get the case for Fenland across; his Labour colleagues should have been showing genuine support for the communities they want to serve, by lobbying and striving for a better deal from their Government.

Let's not also forget, Fenland is still a great place to live.  Core services are good, the countryside around us is magnificent, it is full of people with real heart and there are some real signs of good stuff happening.  So whilst there are serious struggles to overcome some real problems, we should not let anyone portray a total sense of gloom - but I suspect that might be Labour's latest strategy for the area.

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Charlie and Marie - A Tale of Ageing

I really like this video.  It is quite touching and covers many of the issues people face as they age.
I could make all sorts of comments about it, but better just leave it here for you to see.  It's a really good piece of work and is, at times, quite touching:

Charlie and Marie: A tale of ageing from The Young Foundation on Vimeo.