January 27th Update
Huge apologies for not having posted an update for so long. I was shocked when I realised how much time had elapsed.
However as we start a new decade my resolution is to get back to using this blog as an effective way of keeping in touch with many of you in between my annual InTouch which is delivered throughout our ward. One of my frustrations has been not knowing how to monitor its use. It used to be done by Stat Counter but ceased recording other than zero this time last year. If anyone knows another more reliable method I would be glad to hear about it. Otherwise it does feel rather like talking to an empty room! Do follow me on Twitter as well.
So moving on I would like to wish a slightly belated ‘Happy New Year’ to you all.
On December 12th as you know a General Election was held with a convincing win and increased majority for the Conservative Party. Our local MP Nigel Huddleston increased his majority so congratulations to all. Canvassing in December was not ideal but we got the job done. Many thanks to our staff from Wychavon electoral services for delivering the process so efficiently.
If any of you are interested here is a link for a detailed breakdown of our constituency results. Election Result
Community Recognition Awards
Wychavon is a great place to live and work and one of our best assets is our residents. There are a huge number of individuals and groups working voluntarily week after week, helping to run clubs and projects that make a real difference to our communities. To show this, every year we ask members of the community to nominate people who they think have:
- Gone the extra mile in supporting their community.
- Given their own time for the benefit of the people living in their town or village.
- Helped make their town or village a better place to live.
If you know someone who this applies to, why not nominate them to thank them for their efforts in 2019?
The categories are: young volunteer award; volunteer award; arts recognition award; sporting hero award; community project award; community group award; enabling healthy lives award; and, lifetime achievement award.
The deadline for entries is 31 January 2020.
For more information and to download a nomination form, please click here.
The awards ceremony will be on the evening of Thursday 5 March 2020 at Peopleton Village Hall (invitation only). For more information please contact Tracy Grubb on 01386 565168 or email email@example.com.
Please do share news of these award in any communications you do to residents and community groups in your wards.
Are you concerned about the increase in Rural Crime?
You are invited by Kington & Dormston Parish Council to a
Crime Prevention Open Evening
on Thursday 27th February 2020 at 7pm Kington & Dormston Village Hall
Come and hear about initiatives to improve the security of your home, property and belongings.
Mike Simpson, Rural Crime Officer will be present to answer your questions and concerns. Our Wychavon Community Safety Officer will also be attending and bringing some useful deterrents and notices. Myself as your District Councillor and Rob Adams as your County Councillor look forward to seeing as many of you as possible from our Ward.
Finally some very exciting news: Wychavon recently considered nominations for their Wychavon Village of Culture which is awarded annually. I am pleased to report that this year it has been awarded to four of our smallest villages working together. The title and prize of £5,ooo will go to White Ladies Aston,Spetchley, Churchill and Broughton Hackett towards an exciting year of cultural events. Inkberrow were the previous winners and Broadway and Cleeve Prior were runners up so we were in good company. Huge congratulations to them and especial thanks to the volunteers who brought their bid together.
As well as designing a flag the final version of which i will share with you in the future ,they have created four mascots who are all set to travel the globe and share their adventures on their return. Two have already flown off to the U.S.A and New Zealand and the remaining two are coming to receive their prize at Wychavon’s Council meeting on the 19th February.
The 4 Mascots for this year’s Village of Culture were introduced to residents as Sister Sarah of Spetchley, Brother Hackett, Brother Churchill and Sister Aston of White Ladies together with details of their mission as below.
They would like to travel the length and breadth of the UK and experience the delights of the rest of the world. If you live in one of these villages or have strong connections to them and are going for a day trip or holiday, let us know if you would like to take one along with you. Then send some pictures on your return that we can add to a display.
May 4th Election Update:
I am very pleased to announce that I was re-elected as your District Councillor yesterday. This will be my fourth term at Wychavon so I hope we shall continue to work well together for the benefit of you all. I am particularly proud of the fact that we had the second highest turnout in Wychavon at 39.2% beaten only by neighbouring Bowbrook who managed 40.30% these figures are well above the national average where many were considerably lower than usual.
So a big thank you from me for all your support, help and congratulation messages.
If you would like to see more details on the results across Wychavon including District wards & parishes please use this link: wychavon.gov.uk/current-elections
April 23rd update:
Apologies for this post being slightly late but this month has been rather hectic. We have been blessed with wonderful Easter holiday weather and I can assure you that many of your gardens were absolutely resplendent with all the Spring colour and blossom as I toured the ward. Sadly as I write this Storm Hannah is threatening to cause some damage overnight across our patch.
Hopefully by now you will all have received a hard copy of my annual In Touch but in case anyone has slipped through the net please find the electronic version below.
My thanks to all those who have helped with the delivery of this and my election leaflet. Getting them out to the 1500 households in the ward is quite a task so all help is greatly appreciated. Thanks also to those of you who have sent me some positive feedback. I think ours is one of the only wards in Wychavon that sends out a newsletter annually so it is good to know that you find it interesting.
The earlier than usual circulation was deliberate to coincide with the District Council elections that are taking place next Thursday on May 2nd. I am looking for re-election as your District Councillor for the Upton Snodsbury ward for the next four years and hope for your support to do so. Many of you may have already sent off your postal votes, evidently 55% of them have already been received for the whole District as has been the case in previous years so it will be interesting to see if fears of a low turnout are correct .Our ward traditionally has one of the highest turn outs so you clearly use your democratic right to vote which is admirable.
As I am sure you are aware it is the centenary this year of women getting the right to vote thanks to the work of the suffragettes. I could not resist the small purchase of a commemorative rubber duck on sale in the Parliament shop in Westminster recently!
In that very same year in April one of our oldest residents, Dorothy Richards from Cowsden was born in Liverpool. She recently celebrated her 100th birthday with family at the popular Twisted Spoon and proudly showed me her card from the palace sent of course by ‘Royal Mail’.
She was on fine form & we shared an interesting two way conversation on Brexit & the current state of national politics!
Congratulations to her on reaching this milestone birthday.
March 7th update:
Another month has flown by mainly memorable by the unseasonal but very warm temperatures experienced in February. A real bonus us all but a shock to the system and nature as things get back to normal this week.
I have printed out some of the updates we get as Councillors from Wychavon monthly as I thought they may be of interest to you.
This week the Wychavon magazine was delivered out to all households. I hope you enjoyed reading it. This is a fairly unique service and is not common practice across the country.
Slightly less welcome was the Council tax bill that arrived in the post today. I was pleased to see that we had managed to freeze on the Wychavon element for the second year running. However the average household will still have to pay approximately seventy pounds more than last year as a result of increases from County, Police & the Fire Authority. I would recommend reading the handy information leaflet that is sent with your bill. It explains how your council tax bill is split and how much goes towards Wychavon’s key services.
Waste and Recycling Consultations
The Government has published four consultations as a follow-up to the new national waste and resources strategy, which was published in December. The four consultations are:
- Recycling Consistency (includes food and garden waste collections).
- Packaging Extended Producer Responsibility.
- Deposit Return Scheme.
- Plastic Packaging.
Perhaps the key consultation for Wychavon will be Recycling Consistency. To help drive up household recycling levels, the Government will introduce a consistent set of recyclable materials for collection in England (including separate food waste collection), no matter which part of the country people live in. This particular consultation sets out options for how this will work in practice and which widely-recyclable material should be included, such as plastic bottles and plastic pots, tubs and trays, glass packaging (bottles and jars), paper and card, and metal packaging.
All of the consultations will run for 12 weeks, which means this one will close on 13 May 2019. You will find all four of the consultations here.
Wychavon’s public toilets recognised at awards
Our public toilets flushed out competition at the Loo of the Year Awards after they were recognised for their cleanliness and quality facilities. We entered 13 toilets in the annual competition, ten of which were graded as platinum and three as gold standard.
The Pershore High Street toilets were also recognised as the best non-attended toilets in the country and the Lido Park toilets in Droitwich were shortlisted for the national Parks and Gardens award.
The Loo of the Year Awards encourages the highest possible standards in all ‘away from home’ washrooms and takes into account signage, hygiene equipment, décor, cleanliness and more.
The new innovative energy saving Propelair toilets and Dyson taps/hand dryers in Pershore High Street were also recognised; these together have resulted in 40% savings in water costs over a nine month period.
Last year we carried out various works to toilet blocks in the district, this included the replacement of all out-of-date and inefficient hand washing machines with new integrated tap/hand dryers.
As well as this, two Changing Places toilets were created – these offer facilities for residents with severe disabilities who need specialist equipment that isn’t available in regular disabled facilities.
This is a great outcome for us at the Loo of the Year Awards and I would like to congratulate everyone involved in helping us to achieve such success. We are committed to providing high quality, hygienic and safe public toilets for the residents of Wychavon and we are proud to be recognised time and again. The next steps will be to fully refurbish the toilet block in Church Close, Broadway and to replace the outdated toilet block on Church Walk in Pershore. The photo below shows the smartly refurbished loos in Pershore High Street…the best non-attended toilets in the country.
Full steam ahead for new car park as Broadway Railway Station car park gets officially opened this week
Our investment of £650,000 in the car park on land provided by the GWSR will meet the demand for visitor parking at the station. It is also designed to discourage parking on the main road and provide safe parking for those having a day out on the steam railway. The investment also provides a good financial return for Wychavon taxpayers.
A total of 85 spaces have been created, along with a pleasant grassy area next to the line that can be used for picnics. Later this year, electric vehicle charging units will be installed.
The parking charges are from 50p for half an hour up to £5.00 for 10 hours. Those purchasing a £5.00 parking ticket can receive a £3.00 refund from GWSR against the purchase of one train ticket on that same day. Pay and display parking tickets can be purchased with cash or by using the RingGo app, as provided in other Wychavon car parks.
The GWSR reopened Broadway station – a brand new replacement of the one demolished by British Railways in 1963 – at Easter 2018 after almost 60 years of closure. Since then it has carried more than 144,000 passengers – an increase of over 42% compared with the previous year. This demonstrates the additional attractiveness of the line extension to Broadway and the heritage tourist offering that, in turn, brings visitors into the area and supports the local economy.
This is a fantastic investment in a popular tourist attraction and is a great boost for the local economy. The incredible work of the volunteers to keep this historic heritage offering thriving is humbling to see and I’m so pleased that we can support it along with the business and tourist economy, with traders commenting that the railway has made a positive impact.
January 31st update:
As I write this we are being given severe weather warnings for snow & ice later today We have been very lucky to get to the end of January without any real winter weather and I fear nature has been tricked by it. In my garden snowdrops, primroses and daffodils were in full bloom. They do look a little sad today after last night which evidently was our coldest night so far this winter.
Please spare a thought for any elderly or vulnerable people living near you. Sudden cold can be a shock to their system and slippery drives and footpaths cause damaging falls. Some will wisely stay at home but may not have enough provisions. An offer to collect groceries if you are going out yourself would be much appreciated. Finally the sense of isolation is increased in bad weather and short grey days so a friendly hello or chat can make all the difference to someone’s state of mind. If you are unable to do anything yourself please let others know if you have any cause for concern. I know that our sense of community is strong in our villages but we all need to be vigilant if we suspect anyone is in need of help.
Happily bad weather this late in the season tends to be short lived and we can look forward to the coming of Spring and be amazed once again at how nature soon recovers. Do stay warm in the meantime though and spare a thought for those in parts of America suffering from a polar vortex with temperatures of -46C in Chicago, colder than Antarctica
On the subject of Community, Wychavon District Council are offering up to £50,000 in grants for Community engagement by voluntary and charitable Groups. The grants are available for projects that include all aspects of life such as community building, health, sports and arts together with any projects that benefit the Community. I have given posters to your parish councils so details should be available on your notice boards.
The closing date for Grants is noon on Friday 29th March 2019. Grant application packs are available at Wychavon on www.wychavon.gov.uk/grants or contact Tracy Grubb on 01386 565168 or by e mail on firstname.lastname@example.org Wychavon also offer grants briefings to help with applications. (Details are in the pack).
Finally I was pleased to see that Wychavon has once again been recognised in the Halifax Quality of Life Survey 2019. We were voted Top District in the West Midlands & 19th in the UK as a whole. Good to see us up there among the best!
Hope you all enjoyed your Christmas & wishing you a very Happy New Year
December 22nd update:
Hello & Festive Greetings to you all,
What a turbulent time we have had over the last few weeks in the world of politics. Even Wychavon District Council has had to start making contingency plans so as to be ready if a snap General Election were to be called or a second referendum announced. It has been good to step back and fully embrace what is happening locally and matters to you as well as discuss your perspective on national issues.
It is that very busy and wonderful time of year again and our Communities have been holding special events and services to celebrate Christmas. As well as carol services in Pershore Abbey & Worcester cathedral I have been pleased to attend a coffee morning in Broughton Hackett, a venison supper at White Ladies Aston, the Xmas tree festival at Upton Snodsbury and a carol service at Churchill last week. Thursday afternoon saw the Kington & Dormston Seniors’ Xmas party which went well and is becoming a bit of a family affair as my husband played the role of Santa for the third year in succession with our grand- daughter acting as his elf. Even Rob Adams your County Councillor got to sit on Santa’s knee! Tomorrow afternoon in what sounds like a bit of a marathon I am hoping to go to Kington for their Carol service followed by a Christmas get together at Cowsden and finally weather permitting, carol singing in the streets of Peopleton.
Thank you all for your generous hospitality and warm welcomes. I am sure I may have over indulged on mulled wine, mince pies, stolen & shortbread ,but it is Xmas after all! Apologies for the events I did not manage to get to, there were so many. My thanks as always for all the volunteers who make these events so memorable.
Please find some photos below that I have taken on my travels.
Finally I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Very Happy Xmas and hope it is a special one for you and your families, friends and neighbours. No snow in the forecast but hopefully some dry weather to be able to get out and about and let the children let off some of their excitement & exuberance in the wonderful area we live in. Also a chance to walk off the effects of all those festive treats!
October 31st update:
As some of you may have already heard or read in the Press I stepped down as Leader of Wychavon District Council on the 24th October. I had held this role for three and a half years with pride for what our team at Wychavon has achieved under my Leadership and the Legacy I have left. However moving on, the good news is that I am still your District Councillor for our Upton Snodsbury Ward and with your help in the elections next May will continue to be so for some time yet.
On the 16th October we held a Communities & Agencies Together (CAT) evening at Peopleton Village Hall. This was held as a trial for rural areas and was enjoyed by those who attended. Although most of our villages were represented it would have been nice to have seen a few more people. Feedback from participants has been very positive and I would like to offer my thanks to our speakers on the panel for giving up their evening for us.
Please find attached a link to a brief summary of the event as recorded by our Localism & Communities Officer Communities and Agencies Together (CAT) Also see a link to details of a Rural Crime Event being held at Three counties showground on Thursday 22nd November that is mentioned. Protect Your Farm
On Saturday 27th October Maurice and I joined with 80 other Peopleton residents of all ages for an entertaining evening of Mouse Racing. All proceeds raised went to Peopleton Village Recreation Trust and a fun night was had by all. Personally I think I will stick to choosing winning racehorses rather than mice at which I was singularly unsuccessful! However Just heard that a total profit of £ 1200 was raised so well done to the organisers. Let’s do it again next year!!
WW1 centenary. On November 11th 2018 at 11am on the eleventh day of the eleventh month the armistice was agreed with Germany and hostilities ceased. Many of our towns & villages across Wychavon will commemorate this event with their Communities as I am sure you all will. I did some research before writing this and thought you might be interested in what I found. In total 37 million lives were lost including civilians, 10million British soldiers were killed in the conflict. Over 700,000 were from the Worcestershire Regiment amongst those 19 were from across our ward with the greatest number of 9 coming from Spetchley & WLA. For more details on individual losses per village please follow this Link to WW1 search tool
Their ultimate sacrifice is suitably remembered each armistice day and as the famous quote and my personal favourite by John Maxwell Edwards – 1916 says “When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow we gave our today”.
Finally as I close today, is Halloween and whilst I hope the children enjoy their dressing up &‘trick or treating’ during half term please be aware of our elderly & more vulnerable residents who may not wish to be disturbed.
September 22nd update:
Hello & apologies,
I am sorry that this update has fallen a little behind my normal monthly schedule. August and September turned out to be a very busy time for me. The good news however is that I managed to get my annual’ In Touch’ written, printed and given out to all residents in our Upton Snodsbury Ward. It was delivered to 1400 homes so I hope you all received one. For anyone who did not see it please use this link to access an electronic copy. Intouch 2018a
At this point I would like to say a huge thank you to all those who helped me hand deliver them round all our villages. Without that support I do not think it would be possible to achieve. Thanks also to those who have given me feedback which is always welcome as it shows that at least it is being read!
The summer holidays just flew by but the glorious weather was a real treat for those of you who like it hot and sunny! It did get a little too warm at times and our countryside and gardens were looking rather parched as I made my rounds. The children are now settled back into school and I hope those who have progressed from our village schools at Flyford & Upton Snodsbury have settled in to the next stage of their education. Welcome also to the newcomers to our reception classes. The unique & personal experience offered by our small rural primary schools has sadly been lost in many areas and we are fortunate to still have two such excellent examples.
As the leaves on the trees are changing colour and temperatures start to drop heralding the start of Autumn our thoughts inevitably turn to keeping warm. Sadly energy costs continue to rise and although we hear much about the savings brought by switching suppliers it can all seem too complicated. However Worcs. County Council are promoting a scheme called i.choosr which helps you to switch and uses the power of collective buying. To find out more follow this link www.worcestershire.gov.uk/energyswitch .Our family did this several years ago and definitely felt the financial benefits. It is very simple to do, you simply express an interest without obligation by the closing date of Monday 8th October, an auction is then held and you will be notified of how much switching to the successful energy supplier could save you. You then choose whether to proceed with the switch.
Wychavon District are encouraging their Councillors to hold events to engage with residents supported by officers. This has normally taken place in the form of ward walks or at village events. I held mine at Peopleton Autumn fair last year but did not feel it gave me a wide enough coverage across our ward. Members from towns have held town events with some success so I am going to trial one for a rural ward. It will be held on Tuesday 16th October at Peopleton village hall. I hope as many of you as are able will come along to what should be a unique opportunity to engage with lead figures from our local authorities and partners. As the flyer explains as residents you will have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss issues that matter to us. I am assured that representatives from the police will be present.
A good attendance will show that rural communities like to be part of the conversation as well!
July 29th update:
Hello & welcome.
As I write this our extended heat wave has come to an end and we are finally getting some long awaited rain. That should please our farmers and gardeners but possibly not those who have chosen to stay in the UK for their summer holidays! Dave Throup from the County Environment Agency tweeted that we might get 10-20mm of rain over the next few days right across our river catchments which is what’s urgently needed. I cannot remember seeing our area so dried out and brown before and can almost see the green creeping back outside. I am sure many of you will be relieved to have a break from the high temperatures and uncomfortably sticky nights. Our hospitals were seeing an increase particularly from the elderly of heat related admissions. We of course had two fires nearby during harvesting at Inkberrow & Croome the first of which destroyed the combine harvester, fortunately no one was injured.
The children broke up from school a week ago and so my granddaughter and the rest of year four bid a sad goodbye to Flyford Flavell First School. Our village schools are very special and should not be taken for granted as funding cuts and reduced numbers threaten their very existence. As a local authority Governor I have certainly come to appreciate the pressures they are under and will do all I can to support them going forward. I hope their pupils and staff enjoy their summer holidays and wish the children luck in the next stage of their education.
I am planning to get an In Touch delivered in September so if anyone could offer any help with delivering please let me know. Also I am hoping to hold an Open evening for all Upton Snodsbury residents in October at Peopleton village hall. As well as myself & our County Councillor, Rob Adams there will be representatives from Wychavon, County highways, the police, Rooftop housing and planners to speak on their work for us and answer any questions you may have. The provisional date is October 16 th from 19:30 till 21:00pm and light refreshments will be provided. More details will be sent out in due course for what I hope will be a very informative evening. Do try and come along if you can.
Finally I have attached a link to a copy of our latest Ward profile from Wychavon which is full of interesting facts and statistics. It provides an overview of our population, housing, economy, education &skills, health, crime and deprivation to help increase your understanding of our ward and its residents. I hope you find it interesting.
Last month many of you came out to watch the exciting spectacle of the women’s cycle Tour of Britain speeding through our area including Flyford Flavell, Kington & Dormston. Here is a photo of the leading pelaton speeding past The Red Hart. We are hoping to have them back to Wychavon next year as it was such a success.
Last Thursday evening 20 members of The Trotters walking Group from Kington & Dormston came to our farm at Stoulton. We enjoyed a two hour walk despite the heat along some of the Millennium way including visiting Stoulton church & the Wychavon owned Stoulton Community woodland. Tea and cake followed in our garden. New members are always welcome to their group. I would be most happy to welcome any other walking groups from our ward for a similar experience.
June 15th update:
Hello & welcome.
What wonderful weather we have enjoyed since my last pos , at times it has felt positively tropical! I realise that by now most of our farmers & gardeners would like some rain but a lot is happening in our ward tomorrow so I am hoping for another nice fine day.
The season of village fetes and garden parties is well underway and i have some key dates for you. Firstly three very different events of interest for the 16 th June. From 11am till 5pm Uspra are holding a ‘living history event’ in the park at Upton Snodsbury. I called in this afternoon on the way back from the school run at Flyford. Preparations were well underway for what looks to be a fun and informative event for all ages.
At 1pm the Ovo Energy Women’s tour, Britain’s most prestigious professional women’s cycle race will flythrough Flyford on the Radford road then past the Red Hart at full speed on the A 422 towards Inkberrow (more details on their flyer below inc. highlights on ITV 4 tomorrow evening).
St.James’s Church at Kington are having a busy weekend with flower displays, exhibits, stalls, and refreshments on Saturday & Flowers in the church with a cream tea following their Songs of Praise at 4:30pm on Sunday.
This weekend the Three Counties show at Malvern is also being held so there really is something local for everyone.
Future dates include a garden party at Grafton on Saturday 23rd June at 3pm & White Ladies Aston village fete on Saturday 30th June at 2pm.
I hope you manage to get to at least one of the above they really epitomise what our rural life is all about. Thanks as always to all the hard working volunteers without whom they would not be possible.
28th April 2018 Update
Hello & welcome,
Firstly I must make apologies for having left it so long without an update. I hope you all enjoyed Easter. It has really been a very busy time for us at Wychavon as we come to the end of our Council year on May 16th with our Annual Council meeting .Fortunately we do not have the distractions of Local Council elections this Thursday like our neighbours in Worcester, Redditch & Birmingham. For us at Wychavon our four year term comes to an end next May when the whole council including myself seeks re -election. So now is an opportune time to look back on 2017/18 and forward into 2018/19. I recently made a speech to the AGM of Mid Worcs. Conservatives and will include highlights from it to give you an idea. These will also be used as an update at all your Annual Parish meetings that start next week.
‘As Leader of Wychavon, I am pleased to be able to give you all a brief update on our work over the last year and what we have planned for the future This year has brought great success, but as ever has not been without its challenges. For me there are two big things that really stand out as worth giving special mention to. One is our start to the coming financial year, which saw us offering residents a 0% rise in their Council Tax. Very few Council’s are able to offer this. But our strong financial management has yet again paid dividends and we want to pass this onto residents.
The other big news is our injection of energy and investment into social mobility. For me it was bizarre that we should find ourselves in such a desirable place to live (Wychavon was once again one of the top places to live in the country in the annual Halifax survey) and yet, in pockets, have some of the worst social mobility in the country. By social mobility, we mean the life chances of our young people.
Therefore, we are working directly on this now, and in May we are holding a summit bringing together schools and organisations to thrash out the causes and look at how we can improve moving forward. I feel confident that by us pushing this agenda on we can make real differences to our children’s lives. We have also committed funds for dealing with this.
There is so much else to tell you though – we have now set up a housing company to bring more affordable market rental properties to the area. Many innovative Council’s have started doing this, but we are committed to high quality and great choice. This will really gain momentum this year when we hope to start building – so watch this space for Wychavon Homes.
Also, on the subject of housing, in February we held a homelessness Summit in Pershore with our partners at Worcester City and Malvern Hills. This will prepare us for the new Homelessness Reduction Act.
Affordability of housing remains a major challenge for our area and that is why it is a Council priority. The latest publication by the National Housing Federation, which came out last week, shows that Wychavon has the highest affordability index in the West Midlands at 11.2. This means that the average house price (at £278k) is now 11.2 times average earnings. We need to keep our focus on this and continue to work with our housing associations to get urban and rural affordable housing built.
Vale Park and Worcester Six continue to expand. For example, Siemens and Kimmal are two big names that have now signed up for Worcester Six. Watch this space, as other major employers are now in the pipeline.
Transport projects are very important to us. Worcester Parkway is under construction and it will transform rail journeys, and the Pershore northern link road progresses with Growth Fund money now committed, and our partners at the County Council keen to see it underway. All this supports our thriving economy and helps keep us moving.
Everyone’s favourite the SWDP is back again – would you believe that despite working on it for all that time we have to review it again! Plans need to be updated every 5 years under new government advice. That said it is such an essential document and will plan the future for south Worcestershire until 2040. One member commented he wouldn’t actually be around to see that date – which does put it into context of just how far ahead we’re looking.
If we need major infrastructure, then it is best to start planning early for it.
Another incredible success has seen us bring Droitwich Salt to market with the help of local business, Churchfields. This is the first time in almost 100 years that the towns brine has been used as an edible product. Churchfields have done a fantastic job of creating a unique and high end brand for the product, and not only are they increasing their stockists all the time, but they’re also gaining interest from top end chefs and national television exposure. This is great news for the town and continues to celebrate Droitwich’s heritage and we also gain a small income from this.
Our entrepreneurial approach to ensuring that the Council remains sustainable, that we help foster growth and prosperity of the local economy, got a boost this year when the Council agreed a £3m strategic land investment fund, which we will use wisely to bring forward opportunities.
This is one of the things we were recently praised for in our LGA peer review – which took place a few weeks ago. Peer Reviews are how Councils get external assessment and we embraced the challenge fully. It was a truly glowing report that picks up so many positives. We, of course, have areas to work on and we will set an action plan, but it’s so fantastic to get the validation of our peers.
The peer team also praised the Council for its innovative use of New Homes Bonus, and we are currently updating our procedures but find ourselves in the unique situation where we are now able to commit more money to the communities over the next 3 years than the last 3 years.’
New Homes Bonus.
Wychavon is in an enviable position that whilst many other councils have had to use theirs to support their revenue spending we have been able to use it to support many initiatives across the District that have benefitted communities and the District’s economy.. Since 2011 we have allocated over £3.5 million of NHB to our parish/town councils. Our Ward of Upton Snodsbury has spent a total of £20,383. We still have a total of £34, 175 remaining balance available from 1st.April 2018. For the next three years we are introducing a new NHB Protocol please apply to your parish council with any expressions of interest from July2018.
I have two good news stories for those of you keen on cycling and the benefits it can bring for the District. Yesterday I attended the opening of Boardman bikes new enterprise at Valley Park Evesham. This is a state of the art facility for amateur & professional elite cyclists to evaluate and improve their fitness and performance. This is a first globally where a wind tunnel is combined with high tech analysis of technique & fitness. I and others who attended including the cycling elite were very impressed and all this at our doorstep plus the presence of the charismatic legend Chris Boardman, a true ambassador for cycling.
As if that were not enough on Saturday June 16th the Women’s tour of Britain Stage Four starts at Evesham and travels through Wychavon to finish that stage in Worcester. See www.womenstour.co.uk for more details. Hopefully it will come through our ward.
Finally and I did warn you it had been a busy time and lots to share with you Wychavon once again made it into the top three in the Country of the Halifax Rural Quality of Life Survey. Wonderful news, we came third and highest in the Midlands in this survey that measures access to employment and education as well as social and environmental factors.
So that is it for now and I am sure I am not alone in hoping for some dry weather so that our farmers and gardeners can catch up with the calendar!
6th March 2018 Update
Hello & welcome to my latest update.
I am sure we are all glad to see the back of the Beast from the East & storm Emma that hit us last weekend with heavy snow and freezing temperatures all the way from Siberia. The drifting snow seemed to cause most problems in our area along with frozen pipes which made life hard for those of us with livestock. I felt sorry for any new born lambs and was sent a wonderful picture of one being warmed up under a heat lamp in a barn and there sharing the experience was a crafty robin! We sadly found one of his feathered relatives frozen in our garden. We were also visited by the rare site of a Lapwing sheltering from the bitter wind who seemed revived by some corn and fresh water. At least we in our ward were more fortunate than many and did not suffer prolonged power cuts or water shortages down to so many burst pipes.
Now I hope we can look forward to Spring and some warm sunshine.
Wychavon Budget News.
On the 21stFebruary at our full Council meeting our recommended budget & promises were adopted. I am pleased to announce that we have frozen our share of the council Tax in 2018/19. I have attached a fact sheet for you with more detail, Fact-sheet-for-members-1
Lastly some sad news. I am sorry to report the passing of Mrs. Lynne East from Flyford Flavell. Lynne was the hardworking Parish Clerk for both Naunton Beauchamp & Kington & Dormston Parish Councils. I have known Lynne since I was first elected in 2007 and had huge respect for her both as a colleague and as the personal friend she became to me. She had fought a long and brave battle with cystic fibrosis and sadly a long awaited lung transplant was not successful. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family, she will be sorely missed by all those who knew her. Her cremation is tomorrow (7th March) in Redditch with friends gathering at The Boot in Flyford from 1pm
6th February 2018 Update
Hello and welcome to my rather late first blog of 2018. I am not sure where January went it passed by so quickly! It has never been my favourite month and I can well understand the in vogue term’ Blue January’. Now February is upon us we can look forward to longer days and early signs of Spring. Snowdrops are in abundance and catkins can be seen in the woods with early flowering daffodils braving the cold. However as I write this it is starting to snow so we are still in the icy grip of Winter for a while yet!
I thought you may find it interesting if I share with you some of the key things that we at Wychavon are looking to do in this New Year of 2018.
- Do more to tackle litter. This will include commercial recycling. Encourage the use of less plastics. Provide more education on the environmental risks from plastics . Inform residents that we are not able to re cycle black plastic and give a reminder not to put their recycling loose in the green bins not in non-recyclable white plastic bags.
- Start the review of our South Worcestershire Development Plan
- Encourage tourism. Create a visitor action plan to increase visitor numbers and overnight stays.. Create a car park at the re -opened Broadway GWSR railway station(.Regular service starts from Good Friday via Toddington to Cheltenham)
- Support even more new apprentices
- Launch a Wychavon village of Culture Competition
- Sustainable travel options- more cycleways, electric car charging etc.
Wychavon Diamond Jubilee Community Recognition Awards
This scheme has been running since 1993 and Town & Parish Councils who contribute are invited to nominate one or more people who they think have made a real difference to their community.
I am delighted to announce that at the Awards evening last night Tony & Pam Gale who were nominated by Flyford Flavell, Grafton Flyford & North Piddle Parish Council were Runners Up and received £100 , a photo and a certificate .
Their nomination listed all that they have done and continue to do for their Community where they have lived in Flyford Flavell together for over 25 years. Tony was born in the village his family having farmed there. Brief highlights include reinstating the Village fete. Active members of the village Social Group and Church activities & fund raising. Pam has taken on much of the work of the Church Warden for several years.
Together they deliver the Parish Magazine, collect for the 100 club and deliver flyers. Pam is also an active member the Friends of St Peters Church Development Group which is dedicated to improving the facilities in the Church enabling it to be used socially as well as retaining it to be used as a place of Worship.
I would like to offer my Congratulations to them both and was proud to be there to see them collect their awards. My appreciation to them and all our other volunteers who do so much for our Communities is immense.
WYCHAVON COMMUNITY GRANTS SCHEME 2018 is open until 23rd March with £50,000 available for voluntary & Charitable Groups. Please see the attached link Wychavon Community Awards 2018 for more details and feel free to contact me for any more details.
Finally I was at Wychavon’s Localism Advisory Panel yesterday for the latest allocation of New Homes Bonus applications. I was pleased to support the following successful applications from our ward as follows.
For Upton Snodsbury- £800 towards a defibrillator for the Parish & £2,000 towards a new all –weather multi Sports and fitness area in their recreation park.
For Flyford Flavell, Grafton Flyford & North Piddle- £5,259.oo towards heating in the nave of St. Peters Church which is being converted to a community space & £411 towards four benches for Community use at our new Public Open Space, Flyford Green which was provided as part of a development in the village.
I am so pleased to see these and other successful NHB applications coming forward from our New Homes Bonus scheme. Wychavon District Council is unique in offering 40% of our Grant from Government back to the Towns & Parishes. Last year we awarded over £3million across the District
19th December 2017 Update
As we enter the often hectic last week before Christmas I often ponder on whether it has all become too commercial? The pleasure of giving can become tainted with guilt as to whether it is enough or matches up to expectations. This is a slippery path. It is the spirit behind the gift that matters and should not be forgotten. We leave in a world where more is constantly demanded of us or the philosophy that big is beautiful. This even feeds through to local Government and my role as a Councillor. Sometimes it can be little gestures that can make such a big difference to others.
When we had the unexpected snow last week. Our communities came to the
fore yet again. Shopping was taken to elderly neighbours who dared not risk the treacherous roads or icy pavements. Our Wychavon bin men who could not get out on collections helped clear the footpaths on the High streets. Volunteers with 4×4’s helped drive hospital and medical staff to work. With schools unexpectedly closed Grandparents ,neighbours and friends supported working parents with child care. Happily as is so often the case we all pulled together for which I thank you all.
Perhaps the greatest and most valuable gift of all whilst not in monetary terms is giviing a little of our time for others?
On that theme Wychavon would like you to recognise some of our unsung community heroes in our Community recognition awards . They deserve our thanks. Please send a nomination form in as we would love to hear about our much valued volunteers.
So enjoy the run up to Christmas and all the excitement amongst the children. At the same time do spare a moment of your time to say hello to an elderly or lonely neighbour.
As 2017 draws to a close I have made a list of some of the main outcomes Talk About 6 Issues from Wychavon this year. Just click on the underlined link and I hope you will find them interesting.
Nigel Huddleston our MP has also done his review of the year (please click the following link) Nigel Huddleston Xmas Message
Please find attached a copy of the Wychavon Christmas refuse collection dates in case you have mislaid the Wychavon magazine that they were in. Just click on the link below
Finally I would like to wish you all a very Merry Xmas & a Happy New Year
4th November 2017 Update
Apologies for having taken a little longer than usual with this update. As you will see some changes have been made to my ‘your cllr.com’ website and I did experience some difficulties getting to grips with them. I am quite a dinosaur with technology I am afraid! Hopefully you will all like the new format and continue following me on it.
Tomorrow is Bonfire night and I hope you all enjoy the fireworks and bonfires being held in our District over this weekend. It feels as though the weather is sticking with tradition and getting colder, with our first minus overnight temperature predicted for Nov.5th. I spent this morning bringing in any frost sensitive plants from my garden. It looks quite bare now as it has been a rare treat to see geraniums and fuschias blooming into November together with roses, petunias and dahlias. I was even still watering my hanging baskets this week as it has been so dry!
At least that has allowed our farmers to get the harvest in and work & reseed the arable fields before the wet of winter sets in.
Sad news from Spetchley this week with the passing of Mr. John Berkeley owner & trustee of Spetchley & Berkeley Castle Estates. My sincere condolences go out to his family.
Items of interest for you as below this time are the outcome of the Boundary review Consultation Changes from February .Quite a different proposal for Wychavon and inevitably details of a further consultation.
Secondly details of two strategy events being held at Wychavon shortly where as residents you can have your say in our forward priorities. We will be asking for your views on our services and what we could do differently. Please try & come along if you can.
Lastly very welcome news from the County Council re the confirmed improvements to Pershore ‘s Pinvin crossroads and the building of the new bridge for the long awaited Northern Link including an explanatory sketch map.
2018 Boundary Review – Revised Proposals for new constituency boundaries
On 17 October 2017, the Boundary Commission for England published its Revised Proposals for new constituency boundaries. There will be an eight week consultation period during which time the proposals and maps will be available to view at the reception desk at the Civic Centre in Pershore, or alternatively online at www.bce2018.org.uk. This website can also be used for making comments on the proposals.
This will be the final time the public will get a chance to give the Commission their views on the latest proposals for the nine English regions that are open to consultation, before recommendations are reported to Parliament in September 2018.
Please spread the word about the proposals and the consultation with the people in your wards and through your own communications. The eight-week public consultation period will run until 11 December 2017.
Residents can have their say
On the subject of our strategy, we are inviting residents to have their say when it comes to deciding what our future priorities should be.
At two special focus group events taking place on Wednesday 8 November at 2.30pm and Wednesday 15 November at 6.30pm, both at the Civic Centre in Pershore, we will be asking residents for their views on our services, whilst also asking what new actions we should develop.
Anyone interested in taking part in one of the focus groups can email their name and contact number, along with the detail as to which session they would prefer to be on, to email@example.com. Alternatively they can telephone 01386 565333.
Our current strategy contains three priorities, with each one containing a number of promises, which you can see in the poster below.
(Click on this line\ link above to see background\ details of the proposal & dates of Public exhibitions & opportunities to comment.)
12th September 2017 Update
It certainly feels as though we have slipped rapidly into Autumn with high winds forecast for this evening. Bad as our weather often feels at least we seem to manage to avoid the extremes felt by other parts of the world. The recent hurricanes and earthquakes have taken lives and caused mass destruction . I was proud to see our troops setting off to help the relief effort in those areas worse affected. For much of the time these places are described as paradise but it certainly has its drawbacks!
We enjoyed wonderful weather a few weeks ago on September 2nd. I had the privilege of opening Peopleton’s Autumn fete which was very well attended. Thanks to all those of you who came to see me at our Wychavon gazebo .Well done to all the volunteers who worked so hard to make the day a success.
Unfortunately the weather was not so good the next day for Libbery’s Annual Horse & Dog show but our locals do not allow a drop of rain to spoil things so there was still an excellent turn out and lots of fun had by all.
I hope some of you managed to catch a glimpse of The Tour of Britain as it flashed through the corner of our ward towards Pershore. It was fun to watch it on Sky TV and see some of our local landmarks. Hundreds flocked to Pershore to cheer them on as they sped through the town.
Now for some news from Wychavon. Our family and many others saved a considerable amount last time IChoosr held their auctions. There is no obligation until you find out how much you might save.
Worcestershire Energy Switch
Worcestershire County Council is working with group buying experts IChoosr, to help give as many residents as possible the opportunity to find a better deal on their electricity and gas bills. We, along with the other districts in the County (including Malvern Hills), have signed up to take part in this collective switching and we will be promoting this to our residents over the next few auctions. The first auction date is Tuesday 10 October, and we will be encouraging our residents to take part online and in paper format. Act on Energy will be promoting it and enabling our residents to take part with various events throughout the districts. Please use this link – www.worcestershire.gov.uk/energyswitch – to get more information and to register interest in this scheme, and please share this information in your own newsletters.
By harnessing the power of collective action, a large number of people who want to switch supplier can do this more easily and also, potentially, pay less for their energy. IChoosr organise the auction and the supplier who offers the cheapest tariffs gets to offer those who have registered a new contract. After the auction they receive a personal offer and can see how much money they might save.
Those who register for the scheme can consider the offer before deciding whether or not to switch suppliers, and there is no charge to join the scheme.
The amount of money that can be saved will vary depending on individual factors such as the current tariff, payment method, consumption and the winning bid. There is no guarantee that an offer will be the cheapest, but the model aims to ensure the majority of participants are offered lower annual energy bills than they currently pay or are available at the time of the offer. Once again, for more information go to www.worcestershire.gov.uk/energyswitch.
Finally just when you may have thought it was all over re the chicken farm proposals here is an invitation from WPAG to attend an Environment agencies drop in session this Friday . Also a reminder that the latest planning application which was recently turned down by Wychavon Planning Committee is going to Appeal and your comments are welcomed as below.
You are invited to a Drop in Session at Upton Snodbsury Village Hall – Friday 15th September 2017 2 – 7pm
If the Planning Inspectorate uphold the decision of Wychavon Council in April to REJECT the application for a Chicken Farm there is a good chance planning will not succeed on this site. There is NO current Planning Permission.
Wychavon Council have consistently rejected applications on this site.
All the local Parish Councils are backing the rejection of this application.
The Planning Inspectorate rejected the last Appeal for 4 sheds.
Numbers count…so make sure your voice is heard.
We can do it again but only with YOUR help.
1) The Environment Agency as part of their consultation for a site of HIGH PUBLIC INTEREST will have experts on hand on 15th September to discuss the new Environmental Permit application by A&C Poultry.
The Deadline for Objections to the Environmental Permit is 29th September 2017.
2) WPAG members will be on hand to explain and provide guidance and answer questions on both the Planning Appeal and the Environmental Permit. (I shall be there also)
The Deadline for Objections to the Planning Inspectorate is 22nd September 2017.
We are asking you to write to both the Planning Inspectorate and the Environment Agency.
Please tell your friends and neighbours how important this is.
A few moments of your time NOW could make all the difference. Links to the websites are below.
Details will be on our website and on the leaflets we will be distributing in early September so look out for those. (Any help to distribute would be welcome.)
Or search for the Planning Application W/16/03009/PN
16th August 2017 Update
Fairly quiet on the Wychavon front at the moment as many officers take their annual leave. A break from meetings for the District & Parishes gives us Councillors some time to catch up with other chores. My garden is almost weed free which is a rare occurrence although with the hot damp weather they are soon growing back. I have also deleted many e mails and filed others that I need to keep or follow up. Some welcome time too to catch up with friends and family who often struggle with my social availability.
Last weekend I went to the excellent Battle re- enactment at Spetchley Park. Definitely a good day out for the whole family. Such enthusiasm from those taking part, it certainly makes history fun! I have heard the cannon noise from home before but this was my first visit and will not be my last. It was quite loud close to!
A quieter time also gives me a chance to get my Annual ‘In Touch ‘out around the Upton Snodsbury ward. Here is a link for anyone who did not receive one. August 2017 InTouch Also a link for the latest complete ward profile Upton Snodsbury which I found very interesting and hope you will too but I could only fit a sample page in the newsletter. I am feeling very happy today as all the leaflets have gone out for delivery and many have already been done. It was good to see some of you whilst I was out and about doing some. Huge thanks for those wonderful people who help with the mammoth task of getting 1500 delivered to your doors. If any of you could help in the future please let me know as even small numbers help lighten the load.
Monday saw the Media launch for the Tour of Britain and the classic pose with the mascot. I did have to smile when the expected professional cyclist failed to arrive and we had to enlist an enthusiast from the local sports shop in Worcester. I was a little naïve as to what a big sporting event this is and just how many followers there are. There will be live television coverage throughout and the fact that it goes through part of our ward is very exciting. For more up to date timings & info go onto www.tourofbritainco.uk for the official website.(It even goes past the end of our drive on the way to Pershore!)
I hope you all enjoy the rest of the holidays and the weather gets better. Perhaps we shall have an Indian summer to savour!
Hello, plenty of news in this last month starting on June 14th with the tragedy of the fire at Grenfell Tower in London. I had to go into London for a meeting two days later and was struck by the poignant sight of the long row of flags opposite Parliament hanging at half mast as a mark of respect for all those who lost their lives. We also lowered our flag at the Civic Centre and held a minutes silence. I also sent our condolences. Many residents have donated clothes and funds to the Grenfell Appeal for the many who have lost everything in the fire.
I have never seen fire crews and emergency services look so exhausted, upset and frustrated. They did a wonderful job under such difficult circumstances
If you wish to donate please use this link https://beta.redcross.org.uk/appeal/London-fire-relief-fund
My first question to our officers at Wychavon whilst knowing that we have no high rise tower blocks was had the type of cladding used at Grenfell been used on any properties? Please find below the information I received which was published on our Wychavon web site a few days later. Thankfully we are not affected but investigations into the tragedy have inevitably put Local Authorities under scrutiny. The official enquiry is still ongoing and I think we may see a revision of current Building Regulations as a result
Advice to residents regarding Grenfell Tower fire
The tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in London has understandably prompted concerns about fire safety, particularly for those living in flats or tower blocks.
Wychavon and Malvern Hills District Councils do not own any properties, having transferred them some years ago to Housing Associations, known as Registered Providers (RPs), with the majority now owned and managed by Fortis Living and Rooftop Housing.
We have been in contact with them and Rooftop has confirmed they do not have any housing more than five storeys high and Fortis do not own any properties more than three storeys high in either district.
In both Wychavon and Malvern Hills districts we are also aware of a number of properties that have had external insulation/cladding applied to their properties as part of the Green Deal Communities scheme and may understandably have concerns.
We have been in contact with the contractor that carried out that work, Wetherby, and they have assured us the cladding has a Class 0 or low risk rating for the behaviour of the spread of fire and is again different to that used on Grenfell Tower.
In a statement Wetherby said: “Although much information is yet to be released on the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, Notting Hill which occurred on 14 June 2017, the system used to refurbish and clad the block was ventilated rainscreen system and not an insulated render/brick slip system.
“Wetherby Building Systems complete in-depth fire testing on our EWI systems through the BBA (British Board of Agreement) and BRE to ensure our systems achieve the highest industry standards and meet current building regulations with regard to fire resistance and spread of flame.”
We hope this has provided some reassurance to our residents and would advise anyone with any specific safety concerns to contact their landlord in the first instance.
Every month I seem to have a different Consultation for you and this time it is from John Campion our Police & Crime Commissioner .He is proposing to take on the roles of our two local Fire Authorities, in order to significantly improve local police & fire services and save the taxpayer £4m a year without impacting frontline services.
This is proving to be very controversial so do please take a look via the link and see what you think. The closing date for the consultation is on the 11th September
Finally a word of Congratulations to our MP Nigel Huddleston who has recently been appointed as a Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Department of Culture Media & Sport.
As the children break up for their long Summer holidays I hope you all enjoy them. May the good weather also continue and bring a bumper harvest for our farmers.
Less than a month on since my last post and politically much has happened. A gamble was taken with the early call of a General Election and I think it is safe to say that things did not quite go according to plan resulting in a hung parliament ! However we still have a Conservative Government and I am sure lessons have been learnt.
In Mid Worcs. which is our parliamentary constituency our standing MP Nigel Huddleston was re elected with an increased majority.(.Please click on the link below for a more detailed breakdown)
Our turnout was high at 72.57% which was excellent. In Wychavon as a whole we of course have three MP’s.
Harriet Baldwin was also re elected with an increased majority for West Worcestershire including Pershore . A new Conservative Candidate Rachel Maclean won the former Redditch seat of Karen Lumley who sadly stepped down due to ill health. Her constituency stretches as far down as Inkberrow.
The Conservatives held all six seats in Worcestershire. Robin Walker won a close battle in Worcester and Mark Garnier held his seat in Wyre Forest. Sajid Javid retained Bromsgrove and I am pleased to hear the news today that he is to continue as Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government ( very useful for us in Worcestershire).
My thanks to all those of you who helped deliver leaflets for Nigel. I know that he visited many of our parishes and was frequently tweeting photographs to prove it. He commented on our wonderful gardens and how splendid they all look in full bloom.
In my last post I mentioned that we are approaching the season of fetes and Garden Parties.
Dormston’s Arts Celebration weekend was my first which for me culminating in buying an old oil painting of Paris which I love and now has pride of place in our converted barn. I was happy to contribute towards the purchase of a defibrillator and came back with my arms full of paintings , frames and plants! The Open Gardens were a real treat and inspired me to do some much needed work on my own patch.
Unfortunately I did not make Naunton Beauchamp’s fete and dog show yesterday but was pleased to see the sun shining for them.
The weekend of the 24th& 25th of this month sees White Ladies Aston fete on the Saturday and Grafton is holding their garden party on the Sunday afternoon .
The 8th July is the fete at Upton Snodsbury and Peopleton Autumn show is on the 2nd September.
I am sure there are more for which I do not yet have details so please let me know of any. Try to visit other villages’ events as well as your own. There is always a warm welcome usually in a good cause and a real feel for our special Local Communities. Thanks as always to the band of willing volunteers who make them happen.
As we move into the last few weeks of the scholastic Summer term I would like to wish all our students the best of luck in their exams. Before we know it talk will be full of well deserved Summer holidays!
A few updates for you all. I had hoped to be writing to you as the new County Councillor for Pershore as well as the District Councillor for Upton Snodsbury. However things did not go as I hoped and Liz Tucker remains the County Councillor for the Pershore Division for now! I would like to thank all those who voted for me and also those who helped with my campaign. The County Divisions are huge and Pershore has 8,500 residents which is a lot of people to try and meet!
Congratulations are due to Cllr. Rob Adams who retains his Upton Snodsbury seat and substantially increased his majority.
A copy of the full results can be found by clicking on this link Results
I hope that any of you who visited this blog in the run up to the local elections may continue to do so. Pershore will remain in my sights for the future so it is a good way of staying in contact.
Just as we have all recovered from one election it is time to get on with the Campaign for the General Election on June 8th. I would like to send out a plea for any volunteers to help deliver leaflets throughout our ward. Please message me if you are available. I have added link to Nigel’s election message for interest.Nigel Election Message
Harriet Baldwin is the selected candidate for West Worcestershire which includes Pershore.
Next Weekend Dormston are holding an Arts Celebration to raise money for a village defibrillator. Please see details below.
If anyone else wishes me to publicise a Community event on this site please send me details and I would be happy to do so.
Hello & Welcome
An interesting and I suspect controversial notification has been sent to myself and many local residents re a proposition for an Aldi supermarket at Pinvin. I have attached more details of their proposal which I am sure will be of as much interest to our villages as Pershore itself.
There is no live planning application for this as yet but there is a Public consultation being held at Pershore Library between 3pm & 7pm on Thursday 4th May . This will give an opportunity to discuss the plans in more detail and ask any questions from their team. It is open to all. (click on this link to see their leaflet) Aldi
No doubt there will be a variety and some difference of opinions amongst you as to the suitability of this site off Abbey View road and the relative merits of its location . The proposed site already has an extant planning permission for a filling station on this out of town site.
In conversation with some of you the following points have been raised for and against!
Aldi has a growing band of followers who would like the convenience of a new store on our doorstep with the advantage of free parking.
Wyre Piddle would be adversely affected by the increase in traffic.
The Pershore Northern Link bridge needs to be built first. This will just cause more congestion especially during construction.
Extra employment would be created.
This will be the thin end of the wedge and spark off an out of town retail centre to the detriment of Pershore High Street as we have seen elsewhere in the country.
The Co-Op will be forced to close. Existing traders in the High Street will not be able to compete with the convenience of everything under one roof at costs that can only be matched by huge bulk buying discounts.
If people no longer choose to shop at Asda the footfall on the High Street will drop.
Pershore Market will be put at jeopardy of closure.
Aldi already have two stores in Worcester with one at Evesham and another proposed why do we need more?
A top end supermarket would offer people around Pershore more choice.
This just gives a flavour of the different opinions amongst you that I have heard. It is most certainly not a ‘done deal’ as has been suggested to me and has no planning permission as yet. Please come along to the consultation on Thursday to find out more and participate in the planning process that is likely to follow.
A date for the diary
Next exciting news for sports fans and our local economy. On Sunday September 10th the Mens Tour of Britain cycling race moves off from Worcester via Spetchley, Drakes Broughton, Pershore and Defford on its way to the finish at Cardiff. Top cyclists from the Tour de France will be competing. Last time they came through Wychavon thousands of people came out to watch and support. This will be so much better as it is on a Sunday so do come and enjoy the unique atmosphere right on our doorstep.
Since I last wrote a General Election has been called on June 8th. I am pleased to be able to tell you that Nigel Huddleston has been selected as the Conservative candidate for mid Worcestershire which includes the Wychavon Upton Snodsbury and Pinvin District wards. Harriet Baldwin has also been selected for the West Worcestershire constituency which includes Pershore. They are both excellent proven MPs and I hope you will give them your support.
The County Council elections are still on for May 4th this coming Thursday when Rob Adams will stand for the Upton Snodsbury Division and myself for Pershore. We have both had a good and positive campaign. I have met lots of residents from Pershore and its villages and really hope that I will soon represent you both at County and Upton Snodsbury at District level. Please make the effort to come out and vote at these crucial elections so that we can influence decisions that affect us all both locally and nationally.
Once again I am pleased to report that Wychavon has been voted top of mainland Britain in a recent poll and second to The Orkneys if we count the islands! ( see attached map) Below is an extract from the media.
RESIDENTS living in Wychavon enjoy the second best quality of life of any area in rural Britain, according to a new survey.
The 2017 Halifax Rural Areas Quality of Life Survey placed the district in second out of 50 places on their list of the best rural places to live in the UK. The district finished behind the Orkney Islands which topped the standings for the first time.
Researchers compiled their results by looking at a range of factors including; education, crime rates, pollution levels and employment.
Wychavon scored highly on a number of measures, this includes high average life expectancy – with the average life expectancy for men 81.2 years and women 84.5 years.
The survey also found 95 per cent of adults in the district are also in good health.
Wychavon also has some of the biggest homes in rural Britain, with an average 6.1 habitable rooms per home. 98 per cent of houses also have central heating and 92 per cent of all houses have superfast broadband.
The district also has low levels of CO2 emissions at 1.8 tonnes of CO2 per household, a high employment rate at 79 per cent and those in full-time employment typically enjoy high weekly average earnings at £609.
Schools also perform well, with 65 per cent of 15 plus year-olds achieving five or more GCSE results at grades A to C.
Cllr. Linda Robinson, Leader of Wychavon District Council, said: “We’re delighted that once again Wychavon has been confirmed as one of the best rural places to live in the country.
“It’s obviously no surprise to those of us who call it home as we know it has much to offer like beautiful surroundings and a strong sense of community spirit.
“As with all things in life there’s always room for improvement and we’re committed to working with our partners to do all we can to make Wychavon an even better place to live, work and visit.”
One resident even went lyrical about us as below.
As we basked in sunshine this weekend amidst the glory of blossom and Spring flowers I fully understood why we are so recognised and felt justly proud.
Moving on, some of you may be aware that we have County Council elections being held on May 4th. I have decided to stand for the neighbouring Pershore Division . This includes Pershore town, Pensham, Pinvin, Upper& Lower Moor&Hill, Wyre Piddle, Bishampton and Throckmorton.
I will still remain your District Councillor for the Upton Snodsbury Division. Rob Adams will be standing again as your County Councillor so I hope you will support him.
I have put details for this blog on my election material so would like to extend a big welcome to anyone looking at it for the first time from the Pershore area. This is one of my ways of keeping ‘In Touch’ with residents on a regular basis and could be adapted to cover a larger area.
I hope you all enjoy the Easter break and the weather holds good for the holidays and my campaign!
Update March 21st
As I write this the welcome sight of yellow daffodils are in abundance through our area which promises the arrival of Spring. However the chilly temperatures today are not matching up to that promise. As many of you are aware we have had good news from the Regional Growth Fund announced after the budget. £5 million pounds was earmarked for the Pershore Northern Link road after a succesful bid put together by the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership on whose board I sit. The project will still require additional funding from Worcestershire County Council but has now got the green light for extensive modelling paid for in part by £150,000 from Wychavon District Council. The link road is part of an important plan to help attract more business to the town while making journeys easier for motorists at all times of the day. It will also help take pressure off the notorious Pinvin crossroads which will also see much needed improvements done to it.
Please see the link below for a detailed map of the proposed route
Yet another consultation for you. This concerns the proposed changes to our Parliamentary Boundaries by the Boundary Commision . These were first raised last November and are now looking for comments on the counter proposals put forward then.The closing date is March 27th and some of the proposals could affect us all so please send in your comments.
Update February 7th
Time for a quick update and I for one am always glad to see the back of January and its ‘grey wintery weather. Signs of Spring are already emerging with catkins on trees in our woodlands and the welcome sight of snowdrops. The daffodils sending up green shoots and the early brave yellow tips will soon follow in sheltered spots. Although I am sure winter is not done with us yet!
For any of you who thought we had heard the last of intensive poultry farming at Upton Snodsbury another application has been submitted to the planners at Wychavon. This is an application for three poultry units housing 48,000 birds for free range egg laying. This will be on the same site that already has permission for two units next to Froghall Farm bungalow. There is to be a public meeting at Upton Snodsbury village hall on Monday 20th February at 18:30pm .Should you wish to look at the application on Wychavon’s website the planning app.no. is W/16/03009/PN
No apologies for alerting you to yet another consultation that will affect us all and may be of interest to you. This one is from Worcestershire County Council and is on Worcestershire’s next Local Transport Plan (LTP4), which sets out transport policies and strategies for Worcestershire from 2017 to 2030
Please take time to look at their proposals and if you wish to comment on them the public consultation will finish on 17th March and responses will be published over the summer of 2017 on their website: www.worcestershire.gov.uk/LTP The finalised plan will be submitted to County’s Cabinet in the summer for formal adoption. Here is a link to the LTP Consultation Document which can be filled in on line or hard copies are available at Pershore Town Hall, Wychavon Civic Centre reception and County Hall. Also please find below a further link to the presentation that was given to us at Wychavon and is more local. Transport affects us all and this includes rail as well as road improvements so as our population increases extra measures are needed, why not have your say!
Hello Everyone & Welcome to my first post of 2017.
As the January days are short and bad weather tempts us back into the warmth of your homes, here is something to take a look at, details of two consultations that concern us all. Please respond if you can on these important issues. The first is on the Future of Acute Hospital Services in Worcestershire and runs from the 6th January until the 30thMarch. As well as the consultation on this there are drop in sessions at the Alexandra Hospital from 10am till 4pm on the 17th January and at Worcester Royal also from 10am till 4pm on Thursday 19th January both accessed by the main entrance.
There is also a public meeting of the South Worcestershire CCG Governing Body at Wychavon’s Pershore Civic Centre on Thursday 26th January at 2pm .
The consultation runs until Thursday March 30th and all the consultation material is available online at www.worcsfuturehospitals.co.uk
The second is on the Medium Term Financial Plan from 2017 – 2021 for the West Mercia Police. Details are available on our Police & Crime Commissioner’s (John Campion) website, www.westmercia-pcc.gov.uk
Both are extremely interesting particularly the changes proposed to our hospital services. Please see below for details released last week.
5 January 2017
Future of Acute Hospital Services in Worcestershire
CONSULTATION TO START ON THE FUTURE OF ACUTE HOSPITAL SERVICES IN WORCESTERSHIRE
Public consultation on the Future of Acute Hospital Services in Worcestershire will start on Friday, January 6th 2017.
Under the plans being put to public consultation all three main hospitals, the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, Kidderminster Hospital and Treatment Centre and the Worcestershire Royal Hospital will remain open but will work differently in future.
The main difference would be the separation of planned and emergency care and the centralisation of where children stay in hospital and where women have their babies in hospital.
Under the plans most planned operations would take place at the Alexandra and Kidderminster Hospitals which would allow the Worcestershire Royal Hospital to concentrate on caring for the sickest patients and those who need emergency operations.
By separating planned and emergency care the NHS believes it can reduce waiting times and the number of cancelled operations.
The clinical model being put forward in Worcestershire proposes moving:
- Most planned orthopaedic surgery from Worcestershire Royal Hospital to the Alexandra Hospital
- Some planned gynaecology surgery from Worcestershire Royal Hospital to the Alexandra Hospital
- More planned surgery – eg breast surgery from Worcestershire Royal Hospital to the Alexandra Hospital
- More ambulatory care (Medical care provided on an outpatient basis including diagnosis, observation, consultation, treatment, intervention and rehabilitation) from Worcestershire Royal Hospital to the Alexandra Hospital
- More day case and short stay surgery to Kidderminster Hospital
- All hospital births from the Alexandra Hospital to the Worcestershire Royal Hospital
- Inpatient children’s services from the Alexandra Hospital to the Worcestershire Royal Hospital. (Out patient and urgent services for children with minor and moderate illnesses will remain at the Alexandra Hospital)
- Emergency surgery from the Alexandra Hospital to the Worcestershire Royal Hospital
Irrespective of the changes 95% of people would continue to receive their care in the same hospital as now and 80% of children who currently receive their treatment at the Alexandra Hospital would continue to do so.
Both Accident and Emergency Departments would remain open 24-hours a day but due to the transfer of inpatient children’s beds, the A&E at the Alexandra Hospital would be for adults (over 16 years old) only. Both the Alexandra and Worcestershire Royal Hospitals would have new Urgent Care Centres which would treat adults and children with minor and moderate illnesses and injuries. Diagnostic tests and outpatient appointments would take place in all three hospitals, as now.
Festive Update December 21st
Seasons Greetings to you all,
What a busy time of year! So much going on and unfortunately I came down with a virus last week so have missed quite a few of your Xmas festivities. I did manage Peopleton’s Xmas party in the village hall which was great fun and very well attended. I also went to the carol service at Churchill which was my first visit to that lovely old church which was packed full of residents from Spetchley, Churchill, White Ladies Aston, Broughton Hackett and even some from Upton Snodsbury. Thanks to the excellent performance from WLA choir. It was good to see you all. Despite the diary being quite full I have been confined to ‘Barracks’ so apologies.
I am hoping to venture out later if it stops raining as I feel I am on the mend and getting quite bored. My destination is’ Carols on the Green ‘at Flyford . Interestingly Bloor Homes were recently awarded with a Wychavon Design Award for Distinction in Community Architecture for Flyford Green. A nice recognition for the effort put in by myself as your District Councillor, planners at Wychavon, the parish council and residents to influence this successful development and the legacy of a new open space in the heart of Flyford Flavell.
Slight time lapse and I am back home having been made very welcome by the Flyford Flavell Social Committee along with about one hundred residents and children. Santa joined us around the Christmas tree and it even snowed! (courtesy of a mini snow machine). Traditional songs were sung and hot chocolate and mulled wine plus mince pies were on offer. The Green was a perfect venue and I look forward to many more Community Events being held and enjoyed there
Another award of which I am very proud was announced this weekend and made National Press and television. Wychavon came third in the whole of the UK for the ‘Best Place to Live in the UK’. in the Halifax awards
A quote from The Telegraph asks: What makes the perfect place to live? According to Halifax, it is health and life expectancy, employment and earnings, low crime rates, general levels of well –being, and access to places for socialising and downtime.
We were beaten by the Orkney Islands and in the lead the City of Winchester so well done to them. For interest click on this link for the detailed results and their conclusions.Halifax Quality of Life 2016
So what does make Wychavon so special? I think I know the answer it is all of us who live here and our very special communities so well done!
Update November 8th
Well today certainly feels like winter is approaching. As I drove to the civic centre early this morning I had to scrape the frost off the car windows. The temperature on the display read -3 which is the first time I have seen it read below freezing since early Spring. A real shame as many of the Autumn flowers were still in bloom and the leaf colours have been exceptional. The changing of our seasons is such an important part of our rural way of life. After an excellent harvest and an unusually warm Autumn it is time to light the fires and enjoy time with family and friends as the days get shorter and colder!
I have recently come back from a few days in Southern Sweden which was very interesting. However I found the permanent greyness of their weather which I am told is fairly constant from September to May quite depressing. My first morning back was clear and bright which felt much better. I went over there mainly to see how they manage recycling and their waste treatments plus their building of affordable sustainable housing. Both were very impressive. Nothing goes to waste with electric public vehicles powered by solar panels. Bio fuel created from their residual waste heats their homes .As well as burning peat and timber from their bogs and forests. Reclaimed grey water is used for industry and agriculture. Recycling is big business and there were many lessons to be learnt not least the need for joined up long term panning to achieve such green credentials.
At Wychavon we are currently looking at exploring the creation of some District Heating Systems from geo thermal supplies which run under some of our towns and villages. This could also be used in The Vale for food production such as tomato growing. The new Energy from Waste plant at Hartlebury is currently being tested and should be operational early in the New Year. This will take most of our residual waste that currently goes to landfill at Throckmorton which will then be wound down and used only as a household waste site as now. We are currently going through the procurement process for a new waste contract with Malvern Hills which looks set to generate significant savings and an improved service for residents. At the moment around 43% of our household waste is reused, recycled and composted. We are looking to extend our trade waste re cycling as well.
I feel strongly about the benefits of recycling not least to our environment. However many residents do not realise that not all counties are set up to recycle the same things. Just because an item says it is recyclable our facility may not be able to accept it. For information I have included in this post information on what can and cannot be recycled in Wychavon. Please click on this link Recycling.
Also it is important to note that some wrong items in your recycling can contaminate a whole lorry load which is frustrating, expensive and wasteful.-
Please note that there is currently a Parliamentary Boundary Review Consultation under way. The proposals for Mid Worcestershire are extensive and could incorporate much of South Warwickshire. Please follow the links and look at the proposals or call me if you have any queries. I shall be attending a Boundary Commission hearing at Leamington this week to speak from our local authority perspective. Your comments are welcomed as part of the consultation.
I hope to see many of you in the busy run up to Xmas which will be upon us before we know it!
Update August 22nd
Hopefully most of you reading this will have received the latest hard copy of my annual ‘In Touch’. Perhaps you are visiting this site for the first time in which case welcome. I have attached a copy for anyone who did not see it, although thanks to some wonderful volunteers and myself most properties should receive one. Naunton Beauchamp will get theirs later this week as I was a few copies short and have ordered some more from the printers. Taking them round is always a good opportunity to meet new as well as existing residents and also to see any changes to our ward. The most notable of these is Flyford Green opposite the Boot Inn. All these houses are now occupied and the planting on The Green is establishing itself and creates a welcome piece of public green open space which will be managed by the Parish Council.
(click above to open a copy of my InTouch!)
I am always reminded of what a wonderful and diverse area I represent. The gardens looked resplendent in the bright August sunshine as did the golden fields of corn ready and waiting for harvest. A reasonable spell of dry weather has helped to get most of it in a little earlier than in recent years and of good quality. A welcome relief to our farming community!
Fruit trees are also carrying a good crop especially apples. Plums are also plentiful and with the August Bank holiday next weekend I would like to remind you all of Pershore’s plum festival which is held from the 27th to the 29th August. If you have never been it is well worth a visit and there is something for all the family . On Saturday one of our local celebrities Mark Stinchcombe from Eckington Manor, winner of Celebrity Masterchef ;The Professionals will officially open proceedings in Chapman Court (Plum Alley) near Asda at 11.30am.
Other attractions over the weekend include a Craft market, Dog show, fun fair, Farmers market, Classic cars and for the children Teddy parachute & zip wire drops at the Abbey. Plus plenty of music &trade stands.
In line with commemorations of the First World War the part played by the Pershore Plum is also acknowledged. On Saturday the Pershore WI who are the oldest surviving WI in Worcestershire are hosting a WW1 Home Front pop up event in the Town Hall from 10am till 4pm. Also on Monday there will be a World War display in Abbey Park which I am told is a travelling museum of war time memorabilia offering a unique experience for both young and old.
I was unaware of the importance of our local plums in providing fruit for the troops. The large yellow Pershore Egg Plum was particularly used for jam making and provided the key ingredient for apple and plum jam that was sent to the Front. In 1927, a Great Western Railway locomotive was renamed the Pershore Plum to commemorate the wartime contribution of the Vale’s fruit harvest.
Pershore Heritage Centre in the town hall holds further fascinating about the WW1 history of the town . Wychavon District Council supports the festival and for more details go on line to www.pershoreplumfestival.org.uk
I am delighted to see that our ward is getting involved with a Brown Hairstreak Open Day at the Three Parishes Hall in Grafton Flyford on Sunday 28th August. Guided walks from the village hall to Grafton Wood in search of rare Brown Hairstreak butterflies which should be on the wing. Return to the village hall for plummy refreshments.
More info on www.westmidlands-butterflies.org.uk or telephone 07952 260153
I hope you all enjoy the rest of the summer and that the children make the most of the last weeks of their long summer break before returning to school in September.
Hello & Apologies,
Update July 28th
I cannot believe it is ten weeks since I last posted something. In that time so much has happened which has kept me so busy that this blog went to the back of my mind and having got my viewing stats up they have now dropped back down. Clearly ‘must try harder should go on my report!’
It has been interesting going back through my diary for events or items of interest and choosing which to include.
Royal Birthday Celebrations:
Firstly June 12th was the most popular date in our ward for many of your parishes to celebrate our Queen’s 90th birthday making her our longest reigning monarch.
At 3pm I was in Main Street Peopleton ready to judge the Fancy Dress (never an easy job as so much hard work and expectation has been put in by entrants and then the added dilemma of who to choose). Hundreds of residents had gathered for an afternoon of fun and entertainment. By 4pm all the children sat down for a traditional street party picnic (see photo). Ominous black clouds skirted around us and before tea was over a torrential rain storm tried to dampen our spirits. Half an hour later the sun re appeared and the festivities carried on I understand well into the evening.
I had planned to move on and join Upton Snodsbury and then Naunton Beauchamp, the latter of which I believe stayed dry throughout. Soaking wet clothes and an existing head cold sent me homeward instead but I am assured a thoroughly good time was had by all.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the very hard working volunteers who made these events possible for our communities to come together and enjoy .It is very easy to take them for granted but I am well aware of the enormous planning and preparation required for a successful occasion.
Yesterday evening I was the guest of Kington with Dormston W.I. at their garden meeting held at Rectory fields Broughton Hackett. This was held in their beautiful gardens and by kind invitation of George & Jenny Simpson in celebration of the Queen’s birthday. I think this may be the last of our Royal celebrations and a fun evening was enjoyed by all. (Photo attached)
This was held on June 23rd and I attended the count at Pershore Leisure Centre with our MP Nigel Huddleston.
As the evening wore on it became apparent that the result was going to be very close and as our count was announced that perhaps there would be a different outcome than had been anticipated . The result was a majority across Wychavon to leave the EU of 12,013.This turned out to be the case locally and nationally and under this link Stats1 I have attached the results for Wychavon and the West Midlands Stats1 as a whole. Our turn out as is so often the case was one of the highest at 80.8% and I am proud that so many of you exercised your right to vote democratically. There is no breakdown by ward only for Wychavon and our results were then fed into the West Midlands as a whole.
A sense of shock and surprise followed globally and I cannot remember a time when politics have moved so quickly as a result in favour of Brexit sunk in. Within weeks we have a new and very capable and experienced Prime Minister in place who is clear that Brexit means Brexit. Theresa May has named her new cabinet with significant roles for some of our Worcestershire MP’s. Notably Sajid Javid MP for Bromsgrove becomes Secretary of State for Communities & local Government. Through Nigel Huddleston I have already invited him to visit Wychavon. Robin Walker MP for Worcester is the parliamentary Secretary of State for the department for exiting the European Union and finally Harriet Baldwin MP for West Worcestershire including Pershore & Malvern is a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State & Minister for Defence procurement. So I am pleased to see that Worcestershire definitely has a place at the top table and is well placed to represent our best interests.
We are in unchartered waters and are still awaiting clarification as to the intricacies of the Brexit process and any effects on Wychavon services. I feel we now need to move forward with a renewed spirit of optimism and certainly Wychavon & Worcestershire as a whole is looking to encourage and support business growth and expansion.
Call for help:
Finally I am putting together my annual In Touch for delivery in August/ September. Any offers of help to deliver would be most welcome. Our ward is quite a large area to cover and I think we always need to reach residents who are not on line or do not see this blog.
I hope you all enjoy the summer holidays and that we continue to have a good harvest. I am looking forward to watching Team GB hopefully winning medals at the Olympics starting next week.
Latest Update May 14th.
I am thrilled to see that the number of you visiting this site either for the first time or as a return viewer is steadily increasing. I am sent regular stat results monthly that record this for me. There is no greater incentive to post regularly so please visit again and spread the word!
It is now a year since I was re- elected as your District Councillor and also as Leader of Wychavon District Council. It has been one of the most interesting years of my life and I am really enjoying the challenge it brings. This is the time of year when our towns and parish councils hold their Annual Parish Meetings. I have attached my annual report for these meetings to this post. It includes some interesting facts and figures for Wychavon as a whole.
There were no local elections held in Wychavon this year but on May 5th we did hold an election for our Police and Crime Commissioner who will represent the vast area of Shropshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire combined. I am pleased to announce that this was won by the Conservative candidate John Campion. John comes from Bewdley and is no stranger to our area as he is already a County Councillor for Worcestershire and has served on their Cabinet.
Yesterday I had the privilege of attending his acceptance of the oath and Office at a reception held at our police headquarters at Hindlip Hall. When the official part of the ceremony was over we enjoyed tea and cake on the lawn. The surprise was that John had made the delicious cakes himself! Clearly a man of many talents. I wish him well in his new role and look forward to working closely with him on Wychavon matters.
Below are some pictures taken yesterday. An informal one on the terrace sharing a joke with John which was probably about my suggestion that he should appear on the Great British Bake Off for Comic Relief! The other group photo is of from left to right the Chief Constable of West Mercia police, yours truly, our new PCC, the Bishop of Worcester and the High Sheriffs of Worcestershire and Herefordshire.
As your District Councillor and for the last year the new Leader of the District Council I am pleased to be able to give you all a brief update from Wychavon for your Annual meeting.
Nearly a year in since the election it has been a successful period of time for us though not without its challenges.
We are working well with the County and its new leader plus the other five districts in Worcs. Also of course with all our Conservative MPs. And MEPs. Similarly with the Local Enterprise partnership or LEP on whose board I sit as the S. Worcs representative. Their main role is to encourage inward investment and support major infrastructure projects. We are also supporting their World Class Worcs. Campaign. Together we have a strong voice for our area and its promotion nationally.
Finally adopted the SWDP this Feb together with Malvern Hills & Worcs. City (9yrs.work –cost £1.3m)
New strategy for next 5 yrs. People, Place, Prosperity
New 4 yr. Business Plan which will be our Efficiency plan. Our Response to Gov. Grant reductions to avoid service cuts. Grow, Save, Charge
. Already reduced our 2019/20 budget by £4 million
. Need to find a further £1 million per year by 2020/21 through:
Efficiency savings of £125,000
Business Rates £250,000
Joint waste procurement £200,000
Negotiations are underway for a new improved joint Waste Contract with Malvern Hills & Worcs. city.
Joint working with Malvern Hills £240,000 we already have shared chief exec & joint SMT in April + other shared services
Other reductions £305,000
Direct investment in employment sites and Infrastructure – e.g. Vale Park, Evesham and Worcester Six & Pinvin
£190 million current commercial construction
New Waitrose store in Evesham – opening in March 2018
Housing -Last year 886 new houses occupied (one of highest in country)
Built 778 affordable homes and brought 280 long-term properties back into use
We have made land investments such as Vale Park in Evesham+
Good rate of return
Invested in Pershore wet lands and green energy in Pershore hydropower scheme on the Avon. More green flag awards than ever before in our parks
For our Communities
New Homes Bonus. Over £1m gone direct to Parishes & towns.
150k. to Droitwich High Street and the same amount to Pershore and Evesham for transport related improvements. In Pershore this will most likely be a contribution towards the Northern link scheme including Pinvin crossroads and a new bridge which would make a huge difference to local traffic flows bringing benefits to residents and businesses.
Satisfaction with the council is higher than ever even before the recession and no services have been cut in the last 4 yrs.
Finally according to a recent Halifax survey Wychavon is the best rural place to live in the West Midlands …and 24th nationally and I hope you would not disagree.
CELEBRATIONS April 23rd.
This has been a happy week of celebration. Thursday saw our Queen enjoy her 90th. Birthday and our Upton Snodsbury Ward duly entered into the spirit of things. I am sure you will all share with me in offering our congratulations to Her Majesty. In the morning whilst listening to Chris Evans on Radio 2 I was delighted to hear how Peopleton’s Brownies were commemorating the event. That evening Upton Snodsbury lit one of a thousand official beacons recognised by the palace in honour of this special event. Residents met on the Furlong behind the school and cider and beef sandwiches were distributed. Former Parish Council Chairman Terry Eagle read out the words sent by Prince Charles and as shown in the photograph deftly lit the beacon from a safe distance with the aid of a very long pole. Further entertainment was then provided for us by Morris Dancers who even demonstrated the Upton Snodsbury Jig as part of their repertoire.
I am really looking forward to the weekend of the 11/12th June when many of our villages are planning street parties to tie in with the Queen’s Official Birthday. Some Parish Council’s are offering commemorative medals to children as well. Celebrations are a wonderful way to bring Communities together so I hope all the preparations go smoothly and thank all the volunteers who are involved. Lets hope for wonderful June weather to make things extra enjoyable.
Today I was off to Evesham to celebrate the start of our now famous ‘Asparagus Festival’ as mentioned by our MP to David Cameron in Prime Minister’s Question Time in’ The House’ this week. Gus our Asparagus man seen with me in the photograph is no stranger to parliament as he went in full costume to the House of Commons last year to promote our book’ Grow in Wychavon.’
We also had St George’s Day to celebrate in beautiful Spring sunshine and were entertained by Eddie Grundy of ‘Archers ‘fame.
All this took place in the shadow of Evesham Abbey which was itself cause for further celebration. Today we saw the completion of restoration to the Bell Tower which has been a shining example of Community Fund Raising. In total the Appeal raised £500,000 and it was wonderful to see this iconic and important historic monument restored to such a high standard. Unfortunately some scaffolding is still in place but the works are now completed. More Morris dancing followed and then we were treated to an excellent peel of bells to commemorate the occasion. The bells have stayed silent for over a year whilst work has been carried out so it was a welcome sound to hear them once more.
The Evesham Abbey Bell Tower is Grade One listed and of national importance as one of the country’s finest detached bell towers. It was built circa 1524 to 1532 and holds an acclaimed ring of bells (one of the best English-hung ring of bells in the world
Easter Saturday Updates
I hope you are all enjoying the long Easter weekend .It was wonderful to get out into the garden in sunshine yesterday on Good Friday amongst the daffodils. What a shame the weather is on the turn again. Just as the fields were beginning to dry up!
Since my last update we experienced severe flash flooding which particularly affected the Avon and Bow and Piddle Brook. The water rose very quickly and when I went on the afternoon school run to Flyford I have never seen the flood plain opposite Tolley’s garage as swollen. Happily the recent flood alleviation works at Featherstone Bridge in Dormston served us well and no flooding was recorded. The water receded rapidly but I am sure was very worrying. I know a few of you suffered flooding in gardens and outhouses but if anyone had any internal flooding please let me know.
Beneath this article there is a link to a very useful leaflet from the South Worcestershire Land Drainage Partnership giving important telephone numbers, a list of Do’s & Don’ts in the event of flooding and some information on responsibilities.
I have also included a PDF copy of a leaflet about Flood Re which gives independent Government advice for homeowners on insurance for those who are at risk of flooding.
CCGs consult on cost cutting measures
The three Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) across Worcestershire are currently holding a joint consultation on potential ways they can reduce their budget. The groups – which buy in health care services for the county – say if they continue to commission the way they are currently, they will spend £25million more than they actually have in their budget. The proposals they are putting forward include restricting access to a range of treatments such as hip and knee replacements, cataract treatment and IVF. The CCGs say at this stage they are just ideas and the consultation is designed to get a feel for public/partners opinion before they decide whether to consider any of them in the future. These changes will obviously have an impact on our residents so please take the opportunity to complete the survey by clicking here (or share this long link with people locally: https://www.snapsurveys.com/wh/s.asp?k=145692897498.
The deadline for responses is 30 May 2016. The results will be published by the CCGs during their public meetings and on their websites.
On Wednesday this week I was amongst many of you who attended an Environment Agency
Drop in Session at Upton Snodsbury village hall. This was in regards to an application for an Enviromental Permit for an intensive poultry unit at Frogmore farm. (This is on land opposite the turning to Cowsden and close to the site of the other land proposed for the same purpose which is currently for sale and not in the same ownership. )
For more local background on the history of these applications go to WPAG’s (Wychavon parishes action group) website which is www.no-chicken-farm.org
To comment on the EA permit or read a copy of it please see details below.
Where can I find a copy of the permit?
Any new comments should be made in writing by 18 April 2016 to:
The Environment Agency
Permitting Support Centre
Environmental Permitting Team
99 Parkway Avenue
Parkway Business Park
Please quote reference EPR/FP3533/ZX/A001 in any correspondance
March 2016 Update
Another month has gone by and plenty has happened to update you on.
As the days begin to get longer and Winter is officially over (although it does not feel like it today) we can begin to look forward to Spring. Our fields in the ward are full of baby lambs enjoying themselves, daffodils are in bloom and Easter is just around the corner. Spring is my favourite time of year so I am looking forward to all it brings. I would like to wish you all a very Happy Easter and hope the dry weather continues so that our farmers can get onto their land at last and the children can enjoy some outside activities during their school holidays.
Finally good news from the latest Halifax Rural Areas of Quality of Life Survey which has just been published. According to the survey Wychavon is currently the best rural place to live in the West Midlands and 24th nationally.
As I hoped the SWDP was adopted by all three South Worcs. Councils and now gives us the benefit of having an up to date local plan that will carry full and considerable weight in local planning decisions and crucially with Secretary of State Planning Inspectors at Appeal stage.
At our February Council meeting WDC approved the budget and the 5 year money plan. We have a gap of £1.1 million to find by 2021. Our new Grow Save Charge plan addresses this shortfall but without cutting any key services. So we are in a much better financial position than most councils.
We have raised the council tax by £4.99 on a band D property this year. This is due to the Government 4 year settlement which resulted in harder cuts over the next 2 years. The government expects district councils with a low precept to make this increase every year for the life of the parliament, however we have not allowed for this in the money plan. Despite this increase we still are the lowest in the county and are in the bottom 2O% in the country and it equates to less than l0 pence per week.
We also approved the new 5 year strategy concentrating on People, Place and Prosperity.
W Factor Final 2016
Last week saw the holding of the 9th ‘W Factor competition for young people aged 11-18yrs. in the Wychavon area. Categories included singing, dance, ensemble and drama. The standard as always was very high and congratulations are due to all those who participated. The overall winner was Erin Young from Lower Moor who gave an outstanding rendition of Mio Babbino Caro by Puccini. It was quite spine tingling and I am sure she is destined for great things in the world of opera. For anyone interested in taking part in the auditions for 2017 go on line at www.wychavon.gov.uk/communitydevelopment to find out more.
Pershore College Launch
Recently I attended the Opening Launch for the splendid new entrance building at Pershore Horticultural College. This includes a climate controlled tree fern collection, a living wall and
State of the art teaching facilities for students. On the first floor there is an open plan area which can be used for lectures, hospitality and some community use. Wychavon’s Intelligently Green Awards are due to be held here in April. (See photos)
Conservative Party Facebook Page
For those of you who are interested I have added the Conservative Party’s Facebook feed to this website which will help communicate the Conservative voice. This can be seen on the right hand side of my page.
February 2016 update.
It already seems a long time since Christmas & New Year. I do hope that 2016 is a good year for us all. If January is anything to go by it is certainly going to be a busy but interesting one for me.
Half –Term is already upon us next week and there is even talk of the possibility of some of the white stuff coming! The children would be excited by that I am sure.
As I am writing this ‘Storm Imogen’ is blowing over us accompanied by torrential rain. Is it just me or does it seem that now storms are given names we seem to have more of them! Whenever we experience heavy rain I worry for those of you who are prone to flooding and how to help. I am putting together some recent info re flooding with our drainage officers. As soon as it is finished I will put the details on this site together with a list of important contacts that I am sure you will find useful.
Budget & New Strategy.
On the 24th September at Full Council we shall be ratifying our budget. Final Government Settlement figures have been released this week and our proposed budget is being updated accordingly. Cuts to essential front line services have been ruled out by Wychavon District Council as a way of dealing with government funding cuts.
I shall post more information after the 24th.
Cuts to essential front line services over the next four years have been ruled out by Wychavon District Council as a way of dealing with government funding cuts.
Members of Wychavon’s Executive Board agreed at a meeting on Wednesday (3 February) they would instead fill the £1.1million gap in the authority’s budget by 2020/21, through continuing to pursue the council’s successful Grow, Save, Charge plan.
Good News for the SWDP
After nearly ten years in the making and endless debates and consultations Government Inspector Clews has concluded his official Examination with a recommendation for adoption by the three councils that prepared it. Councils are meeting on the 23rd & 24th of this month for ratification.
This should put us back into a position of being ‘plan led’ against unsuitable development and in a much stronger position to defend planning appeals.
Here is a copy of the latest press release for the South Worcestershire Development Plan. Government inspector backs South Worcestershire Development Plan. The official Examination of the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP), conducted by a Government-appointed independent Inspector, has concluded that the Plan is sound and can now go forward with a recommendation for adoption by the three councils that prepared it.
The Plan sets out a long term vision for south Worcestershire, with the emphasis on boosting the local economy and delivering sustainable housing development, up to the year 2030. It includes plans for 28,400 new homes as well as land for retail and employment.
Malvern Hills District Council, Worcester City Council and Wychavon District Council have jointly prepared the Plan and each of them will now be asked to formally adopt it at meetings on 23 and 24 February.
The Inspector, Roger Clews, has today published his report on the Plan, concluding that it is sound and legally compliant, following an Examination that began in October
In the report the Inspector says: “The South Worcestershire Development Plan provides an appropriate basis for the planning of Worcester city and the Malvern Hills and Wychavon districts.”
His report has today been published at www.swdevelopmentplan.org.
The Examination led to the councils producing a range of “main modifications” to the SWDP including an increase from the original housing number of 23,200. It is these modifications, already approved by the three councils, which enabled the Inspector to judge the SWDP as being sound.
Councillor Melanie Baker, who chairs the SWDP Joint Advisory Panel, said: “It’s fantastic news that the Inspector has given the Plan a clean bill of health. I am hoping all three councils can now move rapidly to adopting the Plan, which will be a vital tool in delivering the economic growth we need and providing the housing our current and future residents want.
“The SWDP sets out where employment and housing development is to take place, and once it is formally adopted we will have greater powers to resist speculative planning applications for unsustainable or harmful development on sites that are not allocated in the Plan.”
• The Inspector has accepted that the SWDP is based on extensive evidence and public consultations.
The Plan covers the period from 2006 to 2030. That means a significant amount of the development included in it has already taken place or planning permission has already been given.
In addition to the 28,400 new homes, the SWDP sets out plans for just over 300 hectares of employment land as well as new retail provision focused in Worcester City and the main towns.
The new housing is all set to be built within or on the edges of existing settlements.
Development in smaller villages or the open countryside has generally been avoided, although there will be some new housing in larger villages with local services where planning permission was granted during the preparation of the SWDP.
Councillor Baker added: “It is heartening that the Inspector has accepted the strength of the case for three councils producing a strong joint Plan and that the basic building blocks of our strategy for growth and its distribution are sound – in particular the Plan’s approach to the settlement hierarchy, settlement boundaries, maintaining of the Green Belt, and the retention of Significant Gaps and green space. The Inspector has also endorsed the links between proposed development and infrastructure provision.
“Housing sites are obviously one of the main focuses of the Plan, however it is important to remember that the SWDP also contains a major overhaul of all of our planning policies and establishes a consistent set of development management policies for south Worcestershire as a whole.”
More to follow soon. I am still hoping for your feedback!
I realise and apologise that this update is probably long overdue .This time I have an extra incentive having given this site’s details out in my Christmas inclusions for the parish magazines. I would like therefore to give a warm welcome to any subsequent new visitors. I hope you will find the content interesting and informative.
Life as your councillor and being Leader at Wychavon certainly keeps me busy. I also get to do all sorts of exciting things and do try to take photos to share with you. A selection of these are shown below. I recently went on an interesting tour of some of our businesses in Wychavon with our business manager. These included two from our ward; G Tech at Spetchley and then the newly opened Twisted Spoon cafe at The Oak in Upton Snodsbury. Hence, photos of me on G Tech’s newly launched electric bicycle which has gone on my Xmas wish list together with a request for more cycle paths throughout Wychavon to be able to ride it safely!! It seemed far more fun than their usual vacuum cleaners. Several delicious afternoon teas later (just for research purposes of course!), there is one of me surrounded by tea cups on the wall at The Twisted Spoon with the staff.
Next came a highlight for me when I was asked to attend a reception at Number 10, Downing Street last month. I was invited by a charity called Revitalise who provide respite care for disabled adults and their carers and are looking to build another facility in the Evesham area. Samantha Cameron is one of their patrons and had generously offered to host their reception. I really enjoyed the privilege of seeing behind the famous black door and absorbing all its history. I was also treated to a walking tour of The House of Commons by our new MP, Nigel Huddlestone, who says he has only just managed to find his way round using the many short cuts. It really is like a rabbit warren but fascinating! Finally, having been made the Local Authority Representative on the Worcestershire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership), I was asked to speak at their Annual conference on Friday 13th November in the Regent Centre at the Chateau Impney. I was part of a small panel, on a white settee (Graham Norton style), up on the stage answering questions from the six hundred delegates that attended! Thanks to Catherine from Upton Snodsbury who attended and sent me the photo.
For interest, Worcestershire as a county was identified as the third fastest growing local economy in recent years. The most recent statistics from the Office of National Statistics confirm that Worcestershire is now in the number one position for productivity growth, growing by 2.7% during 2013; the fastest rate out of all 39 LEPs nationally. For more information on our LEP as well as help they could offer your business go onto www.wlep.co.uk Also, please contact myself or Wychavon if we can be of any help to you. Many Wychavon businesses are currently benefitting from European funding that is available for growth. Worcestershire really is ‘open for business’.
As Christmas approaches I expect I will bump in to many of you socially and hope you all enjoy the run up to the festive season. Please do give me any feedback you may have so that this blog becomes more of a two way conversation.’
Till the next time we chat.
Here we are already at the beginning of August in the middle of the school holidays and thanks to the jet stream our weather is as unpredictable as ever. As the corn fields turn golden we can only hope it settles to allow for a good harvest.
Traditionally this is a quieter time for councillors at District and Parish level as many are on holiday so fewer meetings means I have time to update and refresh this site. I confess that it is difficult to stay motivated when it seems to be a one way conversation. The only comments I receive are from people offering to do things better at a price of course!
I am now settling in to being the Leader of the Council as well as your District Councillor and am relishing the new challenges it brings.
I recently attended the LGA (local government association) conference in Harrogate and enjoyed listening to key speakers such as Michael Heseltine, Jeremy Hunt and Greg Clarke our new Secretary of State for the environment. It was very interesting to hear national reactions on topics that affect us all.
The main topic of the week was the ‘devo’ (devolution) debate. Towns such as Manchester and Birmingham are close to creating their own Combined Authorities with metro mayors at the helm as in London. Ours and many other councils questioned how it would work in the Shires. There was no clear guidance given and it seems it is up to each area to come up with their own proposals for consideration.
As a consequence I am attending together with other leaders and chief executives from the six district & County Council authorities regular meetings to discuss Worcestershire’s position .
The current situation is as follows:
‘The Worcestershire local government family is actively working together and with broader Worcestershire partners to define what a devolution deal for Worcestershire might consist of. This work will be ongoing till the Autumn when all seven authorities involved will decide whether this is something they wish to proceed with. Simultaneously the three Northern districts of Wyre Forest, Bromsgrove and Redditch are actively involved in discussions about potential membership of the West Midlands Combined Authority (centred around Birmingham) and its emerging devolution proposition with a view to making a decision in the Autumn.’
All fascinating stuff and enabling me to have a far more strategic perspective. This has been further enhanced by my selection as the South Worcestershire local authority representative on the LEP (local enterprise partnership) board which deals with funding for infrastructure and business growth through the County. The LEP also promotes the County for future investment both nationally & internationally as below.
In the interest of greater transparency and to provide an accurate record of proceedings from now on all main Committees and full Council meetings in the council chamber will be web cast and available to view live .Should anyone wish to view : go to www. wychavon.gov.uk homepage or go to www.wychavon.public-i.tv/core/portal/home for live links.
For any of you interested in Health issues please follow the link at the top of this page for the latest from the Worcestershire Acute Hospital Services on their proposed changes in our area.
Should anyone reading this have time to let me know you have done so, I would be most grateful. At the moment it is a little bit like talking to yourself in an empty room!! I hope you find the content interesting, any comments or suggestions welcomed.