Tuesday, 30 September 2008

What do you make of this behaviour?



video

Comments please.

Should we kick up a fuss or ignore it or just say something politely like.

"Would you mind not parking there when you go to the cash machine?"

The latter is to be preferred when one is brave enough but sometimes just filming is the easy option and hoping someone he knows sees it and points it out.

Perhaps he won't do it again!

Perhaps Dick Base, traffic warden will say/do something.

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps, he's your husband/boyfriend and you won't approve.

Perhaps you think :

"Get this ruddy nosy-parker out of here"

Post a comment or

Perhaps you couldn't care less. (but then you wouldn't have read this far . . !)

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Turning things upside down

With my entrance into the "you can't get things done here" realm of politics, the thought occurs to me -

"Why fight the buggers?"

All that effort talking, persuading, holding public meetings and finally - getting nowhere - other than stressed out and frustrated.

Why not use all those man hours of effort and just go and get the job someone else should be doing - done.

The next stage would be to deprive the buggers of our cash to throw around and waste. There's a move afoot to give more power directly to the people. Hand us back the decision making and some cash and keep the self-serving politicians out of it. An improved version of the Community Neighbourhood Forums with some increased funding - How about seeing what we could do with £250,000 ? That's £20 per person in Ulverston.

Road signs painted, cobbles repaired, Signs functioning, Dragley Beck behaving itself and a bit left over for the odd school building built with local labour.

How many bricks can you buy for £25,000 ? Can anyone build a vertical wall, someone else understand Building Regs, some one else teach? Wow - we're off!

Are they still debating the issue in County Hall - some one tell them to go home and sleep - the school's built and the first class just graduated and just gone off to the university of life ! Any councillors ready for their nice snug beds with room service and a a matron who tells them what to think "Get up it's 9 am, go to bed its 9pm. Who needs them?

Make sense to anyone?

Be careful this is pretty close to Communism - what's going on - have our minds been infiltrated by the terrorists?

Friday, 26 September 2008

Back to Low Mill



After a hard day at County Hall, being insulted with what some have the nerve to call Democracy, yesterday, my system needed a bit of doing - not talking - so the idea to come down here to do a bit of tidying up appealed strongly!

This was thoroughly enjoyable!

Before


During





and after! - Down under.



Now from the Bridge



that feels better!

Even survived the six foot nettles - they didn't see me sneaking in underneath!

No wonder Cumbria County Council are in the bottom 15%

My presentation of your petition with 200 signatures to censor the area Highways Engineer, Nick Raymond, fell on not only deaf but unsympathetic ears.

This was not Democracy in action - far from it!

The aim was to try and persuade the Cumbria County Councillors that the Highways Authority had failed to supervise the contractors who have dug holes in Market Street so that the setts were left in atrocious condition after they had finished their work.

The chairman, Geoffrey Cook, failed to recognise that Area Engineer totally evaded answering the question that was posed and prevented other councillors discussing the issue even when a request for further information was put by one councillor. Most councillors totally failed to understand the cause of the problem.

One councillor thought that the cobbles were in bad condition because of the amount of traffic on the road and was suggesting that asphalt was the solution. This is clearly not the case. The cobbles that have been laid correctly are in beautiful condition. It is the ones relaid by contractors like Balfour Beatty that are the cause of the problem. The workmen were incapable of doing this skilled job and no adequate jointing material was used.

The text of the written reply that was read by the Chairman is awaited. No reference at all to the supervision of the contractors in the answer can be remembered which was the whole point of the question.

Once again perhaps 'Yes Minister' officers were able to hoodwink ignorant politicians with evasive answers.

My mistake was not to have posed a very clear question in words of one syllable. I should have realised how far short of the mark our councillors are. No wonder Cumbria County is in the bottom 15% of those in the country according to the audit commission.

We will push forward now to use the legal system and take civil action on behalf of the 200 signatories against the county with the reserves of cash that have been donated already.

Once again a Liberal Councillor, Geoffrey Cook this time, has shot himself in the foot, now with the collusion of the other parties. Wendy Kolbe, the Labour Councillor for East Ward who is responsible for Market Street said absolutely nothing.

When will we have people fit to govern us?

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Statistics for this Blog


Steep rise is probably due to visits from those reading my comments on the Westmorland Gazette Forum

Using this even more in the future could be a good idea if handled sensibly ! - great getting the views of others and being brought down to size!

Off to Kendal to point out the errors of their ways


What a mess and 200 others agree! Off tomorrow to present these petitions to the County Council Area Committee at Kendal

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Vandalism by the Town Council Continues



This is enough to put any sane person into a state of rage.

This lovely well made solid wood picnic table that has withstood the markings of graffiti and teen age violence - it was too thick to break - has now been destroyed by a senseless Council .

The other picnic table at the end of the path is identical - destroyed.

Here the table is being played like a musical instrument only a month ago! - Sad, sad, sad. Such mindless unthinking people are in positions of power and cannot be prosecuted for their thoughtless actions.



David Parratt refuses to explain to me what is happening other than to say:

"SLDC are in the process of carrying out repairs/restoration work to various seats at the Hoad, Little Hoad and Gill Banks. A few seats will be removed, surplus to requirements.

A rationalisation of all the seats has been carried out. When this work has been completed, the Town Council will take over responsibility."

How much longer is this mindless destruction of what is cherished by some of us on a daily basis to continue?

Please phone David on 01229 585778 between 9:00 and 12:00 Monday to Friday next week, to get your answer. His email address is ulverstoncouncil@btconnect.com

Are there any more senseless shocks round the corner? If you complain - will anyone listen?

Can anyone offer a bit of sympathy!

Presentation to the County Council at Kendal



The petition to have the cobbles repaired is being presented to the County Council Local Committee for South Lakeland this next Thursday morning at 10:30 at the beginning of the meeting.

Along with the petition, the following question is being asked which the County have received prior notice, and has been circulated to all the relevant County Councillors.

I have also prepared on-line videos and photos that illustrate the problem. See below.

The Petition

Repair of Cobbles in Market St, Ulverston

We urge the County Council to review their duty to make contractors accountable for shoddy workmanship resulting in dangerous road conditions after work to install their services. We request an undertaking to repair the length of the street by March 2009 otherwise we will pursue legal action against the county.

(Note: we already have a commitment from one local businessman for £10,000 and have 200 signatures in two days of standing at the market including some from door to door visits.)



The Question

Why have the County Highways Authority failed in their duty of care for Market Street, Ulverston’s main cobble street in the following respects and when will they repair all the cobbles and bring them up to the high standards required by a conservation area?


1. The cobbles in Market Street are in the Conservation Area and the Planning Authority of South Lakeland District Council take great care to preserve the appearance of the town. This is important not only to the residents but to an important industry that the County Council seeks to promote – Tourism. The County Highways Authority has prepared a Code of Practice setting down principles and practice for all highway and environmental works affecting the character of the district’s Conservation Areas. They are clearly flouting this responsibility.



Furthermore The Government states that: “Local authorities need to develop policies which clearly identify what features of the area should be preserved or enhanced, and set out how this can be done.”


2. Unlike Bradford Council , the County Highways Authority failed to ensure that Balfour Beatty used their conservation team when they contracted to carried out the extensive work for United Utilities down Market Street. Bradford on the other hand ensured that the setts where returned in perfect order when a similar situation required work to be carried out on the cobbled street of Haworth. Instead the workmen in Ulverston appeared to have no expertise in re-installing the setts and failed to label them and return them correctly as was done in Haworth.

3. When Ulverston Town Council approached the County to do repairs this was not done even though United Utilities were legally required to return to make good all deficiencies in the work done by their contractors. The County Highways Authority have failed in their duty to make sure that the work was carried out to the high standard consistent with the Conservation Area and its status as a Quality Town with a street market with its traditional cobbles . These features are extremely important in view of their Tourist Attraction Potential

One reason put forward by Stuart Taylor, the local inspector for the Ulverston’s Highways employed by Capita (working for the County) for not getting the work done was that they were ignorant of which contractors did which work and that it was impossible to attribute blame.

This we believe to be untrue

The presentation of photos and video, which will take several minutes to load correctly, can be seen here.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Dragley Beck

As a result of sending an email to the Environment Agency with links to the footage presented below on Dragley Beck , the following reply was received:

From the Environment Agency


Mr Dellow
Thanks for your email regarding maintenance on Dragley Beck.

Just to update you, we are looking to remove gravel from under Fitz Bridge and the ford on Rope Walk, hopefully this work will be undertaken in the next two weeks.
At this point we have no plans to take material from Low Mill Bridge although we are looking to undertake some river modelling to ascertain what impact the gravel is having in and around this location. The results of this study could take some time but once we do have an answer I will let you know.

We are planning to remove overgrown vegetation from a section from Fitz Bridge to 500m below Low Mill Bridge, this work is planned in the next two months.

Finally, do you happen to know who the landowner is of the field upstream of Low Mill Bridge?

Regards
Andy

Andy Knipe
Operations Delivery Field Team Leader
Bridge End Depot
Levens
LA8 8EP

Reply

Many thanks for your quick reply.

However I cannot agree with your analysis.

I do not believe that you have examined and understood the video footage that is available to you ( It could certainly benefit from a more detailed explanation).

It is perfectly clear that the 3rd film of the water at Low Mill bridge shows the water is being held back before this bridge and not at Fitz Bridge even though this is where it burst its banks.

I suggest that you have an expert look at the footage and give you their opinion.

I can prove to you by straight forward logic that I am correct and any money spent removing gravel from under Fitz Bridge and the ford on Rope Walk will be misspent if it is not preceded by removing the gravel before and at Low Mill Bridge.

I trust that you will be willing to seek another expert opinion before making a final decision.

Time spent undertaking river modelling would be far better used in studying the real behaviour shown in the film.

Should you wish for more information on the exact points that the film was taken, I can provide this.

I look forward to hearing that you are reconsidering your analysis of the problem.

Sincerely

Dr Geoff Dellow

I do not know any of the landowners!

What follows is the content of a follow up email sent today to Andy Knipe at the Levens office of the Environment Agency.

Here are photos taken this Saturday, September 20th at this bridge.

I trust these will lead you to change your mind on the priorities and the urgent need of work that should have been done years ago had 'experts' listened to local knowledge.

I am giving you the opportunity until Thursday 25th this week to tell me what course of action you propose.

I have no wish to over-publicise this issue ( I have not shown these pictures to the press or even approached them yet!) but we have already some hundred signatures on a petition to have Dragley Beck serviced properly. We will present this to the County Council in due course - I am only allowed one per meeting!

As a result of the strong flow of the river a fortnight ago several things are now visible!

In the first a wheel barrow is buried in the river bed . This demonstrates just how much material has been allowed to accumulate under the bridge.



In this second picture concrete flags that were thrown over the bridge by irresponsible builders are obvious though these may not show up in the photos. This photo shows the area just downstream of the first.


The wheel of the wheelbarrow can be seen at the bottom

On the upstream side of the bridge a once buried shopping trolley can be seen!


To the right of the trolley a large boulder impedes the river flow.


The main obstruction to flow is a dense bank of material that has been deposited over time on the river bed to the left of the trolley again the two pictures overlap with the edge of the bridge at the bottom.




This picture was intended to show the channel that has now been cut through on the right side of the river bed but polaroid filter is needed to demonstrate this more clearly.


Here is the present level of the river passing under the bridge.


I am told that we have older photos which clearly show the river bed being much lower in the past - there being a much greater clearance under the bridge.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

What a Load of Cobbles that Need Fixing

Humps and depressions in Market St



Dressed to Kill


The Dancin' Cobbles

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Vandalism by the Council



People walking up to Hoad Monument in Ulverston are doing so in a state of rage. I talked to Fred Jackson who accused the council of vandalism and shared my fury.



They find that the majority of seats have had their timbers removed so they have few places to sit. Some are gone forever. One of them commemorating Bob Harrison, well loved partner of Smith and Harrisons hardware shop, has been removed completely, whilst an adjacent seat commemorating someone else was sawn up and removed even though it was in good condition and used by me last Saturday.



Finding out details of what is happening from the Town clerk and his secretary is impossible. The latter has the refrain “It’s all being taken care of” to every question you ask, while on a second visit, David Parratt states that a few seats are being removed/rationalised/restored but refuses to discuss the detail.



Why isn’t the work better organised so that there are always some seats available to sit on? Why pick the tourist season when the well-heeled come to down? At Chittery Lane end none of the six seats are usable.

Does this not smack of incompetence? When will the work be done and what is happening to perfect sound timbers? Will the memorial plaques be installed on the council’s seats with little view rather than the ones paid for by the people of the town? We can no longer sit on our customary seat as our minds slip back to the banter of Bob Harrison as we bought a pound of nails.



Is nothing sacred! It makes no sense destroying perfectly usable benches. If it's not the kids – it’s the Council who adopt a similar could-care-less attitude!

Relief - at the top, two seats haven’t been rationalised – enjoy the view and figure out the location of the Town Hall and imagine a shower of sheep droppings descending! There that feels better!

Fortunately there's the phone number of the Town Clerk, David Parratt given for the public to call to obtain further information.


Let this blog know if you find out:

When will the seats return to the seats?

Why have perfectly good seats been destroyed?

The rationale for using public money to replace perfectly useable seats?

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

"It's all being taken care of"

"It's all being taken care of"
"It's all being taken care of"
"It's all being taken care of"
"It's all being taken care of"

So cries Sue, The Town Clerk's Secretary, when asked about the work going on with the benches on Hoad.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Petitions being signed by the majority

I have already well over 120 signatures for most of the issues.

I hope to get many more this next Thursday and Saturday on Market Street see me there!

Door to door continues in Central Ulverston



I'm thoroughly enjoying the chats with people that I meet as plod along. On target to cover the whole of East Ward by the election, in spite of the winter coming!

Concerns of the Market Traders



Ralph Spours speaks out!
see this article

I share the concerns expressed in this article.

In my view the Stan Laurel museum should never have planned to move to the Heron Glass/Booths location.

I will campaign for the Booths site to be used as an outlet for wares being made by local artisans whose workshops can be visited by the public and tourists. It is appropriate to have a glass-making factory, a pottery, weaving, printmaking or any small craft industry.

The museum is clearly to do with the history of the town and should be in the town where he lived. As Stan is the reason some people come to visit the town, they will want to see the streets and buildings where he grew up. There is little incentive to travel into town if people arrive by coach at Booths.

I agree that Heron Glass needs all the support that we can provide. This needs to be given to provide skilled jobs and and the sale of the ware that these artisans produce. The more successful the sale of what is made the more jobs are provided. The town should promote these wares through an attractive web site not the mess we have now.

This lack of clarity of direction in planning stems in my view from the shortsightedness that is so prevalent amongst the Town Councillors. They are not proactive for the town. What we need is a group of people who will nurture Ulverston and promote forward thinking for our town. They do not need to have more powers to provide good planning for the future. They do need to organise themselves to look after the present and future issues of the town. At the moment they show no initiative and are a waste of space and a little money.

On my travels door to door, I have met no one who has any respect for any of the councillors except for those directly related. This is very harsh as there may be two or three councillors that swimming upstream through what must feel like a quagmire of indifference and self-congratulatory political correctness.

Let's replace most of them as soon as possible with non party politicians who have a background in getting things done in other occupations. We need good thinking and planning ahead.

Visit to the seat of power


This photo will be removed on request - I was ticked off for taking it by the Labour front bench and Chair, Cllr Clare, stooping forward - lower right. Enjoy it while you can before I am made to remove it!

I attended the County Council Chamber on Wednesday only to witness what the Westmorland Gazette describes as a Farce.

I saw full grown adults behaving worse than the small children I used to teach. Going through nonsensical manoeuvres of registered voting, adjournments, sniping and refusal to enable work to be done.

This lasted a full four hours whilst in the region of 30 top level officers were made to stand by getting nothing done. This was disgraceful behaviour which brings into discredit the democratic system. With a bit of self control the business of the day could have been completed before lunch and those that had work to do could have done it and left the children to play batting party balloons across this lovely dramatic hall!

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Boy Racer in Ulverston

Youngster gets threatened deservedly because of dangerous driving. He gives lip back with smart arse remarks!


Told off by me - he mumbles sorry!

Whose kid is this?

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Market Street Survey


Safe on Market Street?

Comments from people interviewed:

One person was cautious about the uneven cobbles with the push chair. The cobbles can turn the wheel over.

A woman with two toddlers had a problem with cars coming down New Market St towards the junction with Market Street. In Market Street the buggy was difficult to manage with the narrow pavements


Another member of the public stated that cars come quickly down New Market Street to this junction. This was found to be intimidating. Double parking on New Market Street gives problems with the wheel- chair also the narrow pavement means going into the road with the wheel chair

A couple visiting Ulverston were walking down Market Street with a dog. They were from Oxfordshire. They were held up every time they met a pushchair because the pavement was too narrow. They waited to avoid the dog having to walk in the road.

A woman with a toddler stated that there was a problem with cars down New Market St. swerving and going too fast. With the buggy she found the narrow pavements to be a problem

Petitions

The following petitions are circulating in Ulverston and will be presented to the County Council at their meeting in Kendal on September 25th. Contact Geoff Dellow at gd at tygh.co.uk (written this way to avoid SPAM). Alternatively at the Rose and Crown at 11:00 any Saturday when Geoff looks forward to meeting proactive people!

Repair of Cobbles in Market St, Ulverston

We urge the County Council to review their duty to make contractors accountable for shoddy workmanship resulting in dangerous road conditions after work to install their services. We request an undertaking to repair the length of the street by March 2009 otherwise we will pursue legal action against the county.

Repainting the Road Markings in Ulverston
The situation has got so bad that over 50% of the white markings in the town including Halt, Roundabout and in particular the Zebra Crossing at the top of Brewery Street are extremely faint. We request that the County deal with this problem within the next few weeks as it can be dangerous in some cases.

Need for a Roundabout at A590 / North Lonsdale Junction .
It has become obvious that the present solution is both dangerous and restrictive to the flow of traffic at an important junction that will have increasing demands placed on it as both industrial use increases because commercial sites are developed and as the number of residents of South Ulverston having cars increases. We request that drastic measures such as compulsory land purchase are pursued with the Highways Agency as soon as possible.

20 mph Speed limit for North Lonsdale Road
To reduce the speed limit of heavy industrial vehicles and workers’ cars along this straight narrow road as they move through a residential area of some 600 adults and children.

Reducing the risk of Flooding of South Ulverston.
To have work done on the bed of the river so that Dragley Beck is less likely to burst its banks. We recommend work at Low Mill Bridge

Double yellow lines in the region of Kennedy Street/North Lonsdale Road
To increase visibility by preventing parking close to dangerous intersections. This will greatly reduce the risk of serious accidents between vehicles and pedestrians as they emerge from the likes of Kennedy Street and the speeding vehicles along North Lonsdale Road.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

I'm off to Kendal to make a fuss

This isn't Kendal of course - far grander - but it gives you the idea!


One of the reasons I decided to have a go at this politics lark was because of the way that the County Council treats Ulverston.

I heard them say at the Town Council Meeting that they couldn't do a thing about the way the County ignored their requests for road repairs and thought "How dare they be so defeatist!"

So I'm off to the County to tell them what I think about how they have been behaving.

I've chosen to speak to the local area committee of County Councillors on 25th September as a resident of Cumbria - something anyone can do, and because I get five minutes per petition I will have at least six - that will give me a full half hour ! !( I can't see them allowing this if they can avoid it - after all they have important business to plough through! - it may provide them with a change however- you never know until you've tried)

How does this work you may ask - here's a scan of the leaflet that I received from the county office. - I trust that you can read it!

Anyone else want to join in?

A Calmer Dragley Beck next morning

Low Mill Bridge 10:30 Saturday Sept 6 2008

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Raging Dragley Beck threatens South Ulverston

Taken at 18:30 to 19:00 Friday Sept 5 2008

Before Fitz Bridge



The Rope 'Walk' from Fitz Bridge


At Low Mill - the cause of the problem. Here film shows the view looking downstream towards Low Mill Bridge. The water is so high that the arch of the bridge can be scarcely seen. The water is being prevented by the small opening of the bridge from escaping. The solution is to dig out the river bed to the level it was many years ago when locals talk about being able to walk under this bridge and when river maintenance was good.


Before Fitz Bridge at the back of Park Estate

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

R a i n - Global warning


Ulverston September 2nd 2008

Close up . . . . .stair rods.

When will we wake up that our world is coming to an end . . . . if we do nothing?

There is no issue more important to the human race.

And yet we carry on as though life will continue as normal.

The problem is that we have all been educated and trained . . . .

not to think or ask questions.

So we don't . . . think . . . ask.

The government knows best so if it tells not to worry - we don't.

It's not a good political strategy ... to tell people to worry.

We don't want people to panic.

So tell them that everything will be allright - just go to sleep.

When you wake up . . . .

the nightmare will be real.

Don't worry .... it will all work out . . . . the human race will be succeeded by some very nice and

attractive . . . .beetles.

It's all happened before . . . . and look . . . we're still here . . . . .

doh.

Picking up litter

I'm hoping to encourage some of us to show Ulverston how it's done!

Any takers?

Or shall we just continue to do our own thing discreetly ?

I was very impressed to see a prominent ranting Ulverstonian who has more than a passing interest in your local "For Sale" notice!

He just stooped down as he was passing a discarded beer can and took it off to the nearest used beer can deposit bag. No fuss.

Wouldn't it be great if we all did this?

The unions might object - no litter pickeruppers required!

I noticed this article with people at work in Kendal!

Do they need to be tarted up to pick up a few bits of paper, I ask myself?

Or is this "Notice me, notice me" ?


I'll be guided by your comments!