Thursday, 31 December 2009

Watch out - the TV licence chasers are about!

Northwest Evening Mail:

"Joanne Wharton, 39, of Larch Grove, Ulverston, was fined £225 with £75 costs after pleading guilty"

Just when I was debating whether I really wanted a licence based on how little I watched over Christmas.

Once before when in the Gill I was knocked up by the TV Chasers because they couldn't believe I didn't use a Tele. It was good to be able to tell them to clear off.


Another new business in the town

The Westmorland Gazette announces

"A THRIVING South Lakeland microbrewery is set to move to Ulverston after being granted planning permission and an EU grant worth around £40,000 for the relocation.

Owners of Ulverston Brewing Company now intend to move the business from its current home at Lindal Moor, Pennington, to the Auction Mart Building in Lightburn Road, in March."

This will be into the old Auction Mart and next to the excellent new DIY store - parking for both will I imagine be at the rear.

Great to have this building being used so creatively.

Now how about the tea hut over the road at the bus station having a major revamp and serving their beer in what was the Rose Garden?

Some excellent photos from Hoad

Thanks to "Jon's Photo Page"

Definitely worth a look!

Lots of others too.


Result of our first poll

Someone set up this poll for us:

Where do you like to shop in Ulverston?

The result has now got stuck at 94 individual responses with I love:

  • Tesco . . . . . 64%

  • Coop . . . . . .22%

  • Booths . . . . 10%

  • Barrow. . . . . . 5%

  • Any . . . . . . . . 3%
The result I believe is reliable and reflects the views of those viewing this blog.

What more it tells us, I'm not sure!

What shall we poll next?


Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Watch out - it's going to be really cold.

Believe it or not this is most likely due to global warming.

I found this BBC page quite informative.

As well as this short 3 min video on the effect of our disappearing ice cap at the North pole.

This is effects the flow of the Gulf Stream and leads to the cold winter we are experiencing.

Also impressive is the news just announced that John Gummer is to step down from being an MP so as to concentrate on coordinating work with other European colleagues as a result of the failed Copenhagen Summit.

It's good to see that there are prominent people taking this issue very seriously - which is what is desperately needed if humans are to survive.

Well worth a watch

A half hour fantasy ! With BBC i-Player

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

‘We’ll pull out all stops to bring £300m plant to dale’

In an article in the Teesdale Mercury the future of the new Glaxo Plant is discussed.

We should be prepared for the likelihood that it won't come to Ulverston.

One of the main attractions of Ulverston in the early days with an emphasis on fermentation was that effluent from the plant could be put out to sea.

Maybe this new plant doesn't require heavily on fermentation.

Reading this article makes one aware of a completely different attitude of the Barnard Castle Town leaders to ours in Ulverston.

However we have so much to offer here that surely the presence of the Bay shouldn't be a factor - unless the threat of flooding lurks strongly in Glaxo thinking.

I'm not aware of a vibrant leadership here that will put up a fight over anything. Apathy abounds everywhere?

What do you think?

Monday, 28 December 2009

How does this match with reality?

We read in the Sunday Sun under the title :

After the Flood

“The Welfare Recovery Group is overseeing the recovery of places hit, including Cockermouth, Workington, Ulverston and Keswick and all manner of things have been planned from Christmas parties and lunches to setting up 24/7 pager helplines over the Christmas period.

“So many different charities are involved as well as us too, such as Churches Together and the Salvation Army. We are all working hard together.

“Cumbria isn’t sitting back and waiting for things to happen . . . the community as a whole is getting on with it.”

A view from the BBC

"We gave Sharon Phillipson Reed in Ulverston a camera to record what happened in the aftermath of last month's flooding."

Sunday, 27 December 2009

"I enjoyed that - it was quite a challenge"

Was the remark I heard at the top of Hoad - in amongst talk where conquering Everest had been mentioned.


The paths had been very slippery in places with the rain on top of compressed icy snow.

It's the time when we overcome obstacles, particularly through our own abilities that give us a buzz.

Being reliant on sophisticated complex services is the downer.

We've unfortunately come to believe that humans can solve every problem.

It ain't so.

The Christmas travelling public became angry to find that the Eurostar trains couldn't cope with the snow and cars on the Basingstoke ring roads couldn't cope with gridlock caused by undrivable conditions.

Perhaps we need to start resetting our expectations of everything working smoothly at every turn.

The Floods here in Ulverston and Cumbria made us rethink whether we could rely on public services.

But we can expect this sort of thing to happen more and more in the future.

Global warming, I believe has upset the natural sequence of the weather and there will be an increasing number of situations where we will find ourselves to be helpless.

The result of the Copenhagen summit left me very depressed. There is no chance of the human race surviving at this rate of progress.

So what can we look forward to?

Lots and lots of opportunities of working together to becoming self reliant.

Whilst we can't rely on the weather, we can develop friendships that endure.

We can also become more self sufficient and less dependent on others.

Take keeping warm for instance.

Anyone with a fireplace that can support a coal fire or better still peat could preserve it even if it's not used now. With a stash of fuel - you can bury a few tons of coal- that won't deteriorate - so that you can be warm for a while even when the national grid brakes down. It's good to feel that one doesn't have to rely on other anonymous services.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Water Yeat Village Hall

Full of Christmas pud?
Then please join us for our
Christmas Walk

To The Beacon via Beacon Tarn for wonderful views and company!

Monday 28th December
10.30am from the village hall

followed by hot drinks and biscuits
(donations welcomed)
and of course a good natter
(No food is planned this year)

This is a copy of an ad received from Crake Valley News

Using this blog

On the right you will find a list of the labels used on this blog in order of their frequency.

Further down a list of titles in time order.

Also local information and other blogs that may be of interest.

If you make a comment I try to publish this within 24 hours often quicker.

I do enjoy having alternative views expressed because they help me sort my own thinking out.

Ultimately, I look forward to having a discussion with you over a drink somewhere in town.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Puzzle for the day

Why don't most Christians have services on Christmas Day?

Does Midnight the previous day count?

You'd have thought they would.

Wouldn't you?

Perhaps family, presents and food are more important?


Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The end of the year approaches

We've just hit 400 different viewers of this blog in one month.

2009 is disappearing fast so I'm looking back over your comments.

Starting in reverse order, here is a selection:

Zap has left a new comment on your post "Is Art useless?":

Dear Sadie, I have particular interest in the horse hair under garments of Mongolian women and I am becoming excited about your forthcoming exhibition.

A little off topic maybe?

Wise Old Dave has left a new comment on your post "Is this acceptable?":

Being a regular reader of Geoff's Blog, being a regular local imbiber, being a share holder in Ulverston LVA, being a staunch supporter of Mike McKenzie, being the Leader of The Knowhere Beer Blog I feel I am overly qualified qualified to comment on this topic.

Why should Geoff not comment on a matter that deeply concerns him?

To place a rubbish recepticle in full public view is absolutely disgusting. If I was still in my old position I would sack all the staff.

I have also had recent problems with this establishment, I recently had to leave after only drinking five pints because no one would talk to me, all the staff hid away, all the customers left after my second pint. In utter disgust I had to crawl ten miles up't ill to the Old Friends to get my usual further five pints of Guiness.

Strangely a similar thing happened, not long after I entered the Old Friends both of the previous three customers left. aving recently had my monthly bath, I knew it could not be my personal hygene (or could it)? Perhaps its my personality - NO IT CANT BE - (AFTER ALL I AM QUITE A CHARACTER AULD LAD) I'm from barrer.

So moving on,I rolled donw't t'ill and stud up in't wine bar and was gutted t see ma auld mate Steve wi a wench. Na , i waz gutted when a saw i'm wi a wench, coz ah git bit green in't eyes tha naw.

A thowt ad av a cupl more beers so ah tested a cheshir blond, she wuz orrible so sampld Sailor Jerry (he was more to my taste). Bout now wendy chuckd me out. Called t' coachman t' tek mi bac t't ovel.

U wan'a talk rubbish Geoff?

This guy has a real talent with words - with a sting in their tail!

Wendy Kolbe has left a new comment on your post "Message sent to our two County Councillors":

Geoff,You don't half rabble some shite

Direct! What's happened to her now?

Ulverston Cllr Col has left a new comment on your post "County Councillor not to be!":

Ok, I give in and that's democracy at work, but I think Wendy was a victim of the westminster stuff. Thing is Geoff did get out there and connected with people, even if he alienated some, we just pushed bits of paper through doors, which in the present climate was not going to achieve anything at all. Least of all explaining that the expenses scandal was nothing to do with local elections.
As an example, one of our very active volunteers at Ford Park who had always supported Wendy Kolbe in the past. At this election they told us they had ripped up thier ballot paper believeing all polititions were the same, and this action would send a message that said a plague on all your houses. I suppose it did, but did they really understand that this was an election for their local county councillor, and that this action was going to help elect someone they didn't want. I don't think so, but that's democracy at work, and there's probably more of these people who don't understand how the system works than those who do.
It would be interesting to know how many spoiled papers there were, wouldn't it.
Like you say Geoff, most people vote for a party rather than for a person, which is our fault, because most of the time we're invisible. We should take a leaf out of your book and spend more time knocking on doors, or holding surguries. Unfortunately we don't all have the time to do this, and we don't get paid either, at least on the town council we don't. we don't even get expences, or allowances. We have have jobs and care for families so time to engage is limited. That's where this new fangled internet can really help. Your blog has created a lively forum, and long may it continue. I will look forward to the rebranding.

Great to have Colin join in

Tom Henderson has left a new comment on your post "Roxy review":

Can someone defy the meaning of arts centre?

What's happened to Tom? Is he fed up with me?

The blog has left a new comment on your post "Open Letter to Colin Hodgson":

I really wouldn't bother with Colin Hodgson. I've lived in his bit of Ulverston for 16 years and have never seen him nor heard from him. The only correspondence or contact he ever makes is when he is due for re-election and does the smiley rounds. I wrote to him a number of times re: the trees in the health centre but it still took two years and phone calls from me and you to get them planted. It was Colin's responsibility to check that planning conditions (tree planting) had been met, not mine or yours. He really is a waste of space. Much more concerned about his own small town tory agenda than the concerns of those he purportedly represents.

The view from the elector.

Stephen 'Tap' Watney has left a new comment on your post "Lightburn Park - we're heading your way!":

While taking my 2 year-old child for an hour's fun on Lightburn Park's playground this afternoon (28.11.09) I felt a bit disturbed by the sight of a gentleman taking photographs. While I, myself, have received suspicious looks in the past("man in children's play area with camera"), onlookers' fears have always been allayed when they see that I am with a child. This man was not with a child. Also, at the risk of sounding somewhat judgmental, his appearance could be described as 'dishevelled'. I thought it important to mention this on a 'local issues' forum. I took some photographs of this man in case anything untoward occurred this afternoon and any evidence may be needed in the future.

Disheveled - me?

Sloane has left a new comment on your post "The need for us to talk":

Geoff, I could go on ond on about this one, but I'm about to go to bed. I'll be brief.

The problem is , since 1997 the country has been led by the most totalitarian government for more than a century, which, whilst succeeding in controlling and monitoring the activities of the law abiding majority to a degree never known before, has utterly failed to control, deter, or improve the behavior of the antisocial minority.

The rot began when the Tories were in power prior to the current administration, notably when the then Home Secretary Michael Howard introduced the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which sought to ban, amongst other things, utterly harmless open air 'rave' and dance parties. The Labour opposition could have thwarted this bill by voting against it, but many did not, siding with the then government; the bill was duly passed. This was a sign of things to come.

Since the Labour government came to power in 1997 even more things that have previously been regarded as sociable, community based activities have been banned or restricted; notably smoking in pubs, which has accelerated the decline of an institution at the very heart of traditional British communities. Activities such as carnivals, school sports days and villiage fetes - essential to community cohesion - have begun to be eroded begause of increased bureacratic intervention and health and safety concerns. Admittedly this problem took root long before the current administration, but the Labour government, ostensibly there to represent and support working class values, has done nothing, absolutely NOTHING, to address these issues. This is because it is composed of, and seeks to promote, the interests and concerns of a Metropolitan elite, who care nothing for the wider community and are wealthy enough to not need to depend on communal support. Their blinkered, insular, self satisfied mindset sets a very poor example to those they are meant to lead. They claim to know what is best for others; but their actions lead to what is best for themselves.

As if all this wasn't bad enough; we have a justice system which is inconsistent at best; with regular public outcry about leniency shown towards serious criminals, such as knife wielding attackers or paedophiles.

At the lower end of the scale; the governmental approach to dealing with antisocial behavaviour seems to be to ban or stigmatise entire activities or lifestyles; whilst the small minority of INDIVIDUALS who are committing offences are NOT PUNISHED IN ANY WAY AT ALL.
This 'sledgehammer-to-nut' approach only seeks to alienate young people; who are often are made to feel awkward about their very presence in public places; whilst they see the few nasty people they know behaving badly with glee.

If it is obvious that someone has committed a crime, they should be subject to some sort of sanction. Simple.

Many young people, and particularly those from lower-income or disadvantaged backgrounds, feel very vulnerable. They long for authority figures to do something about the criminal minority who represent such a threat. But the response they experience is the curtailment of the freedoms and the right to self expression of an entire, mainly innocent group.

It's time to target the INDIVIDUALS who cause the problems with swifter and more effective justice. Then the majority will be more at ease within our communities, which can then begin to recover.

Some other great contributions from Sloane. Sad to not hear from him recently

Candle lights on the spikes

This time they are being put up round the parish church at the end of Church Walk at 3.30 pm ready for the Children's get together at 4.30pm.

And then again for the meeting at midnight!

Rev Bing didn't think you'd notice the odd Ghoulish Grin being lit up!

Gives us more practice with the "keep the flames alight in the wind" technique.

Each light now has a hat to protect it from the wind and the rain.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Knowing where to look

The ultimate in labeling - of a box obtained in a Grange-0ver-Sands shop.

Where not to find something!

Anyone with some good photos ? Send them to me here at gd at and I'll display them with full credits given.

They could be snow scenes of kids having fun in the snow!


Monday, 21 December 2009

Something different for Christmas Morning

So far this has only been advertised by word of mouth as the Get Together at Ford Park at 10 - 12 am is seen as very much a local happening.

Nothing has been organised other than the meeting time.

Last year John brought along some goodies to share and I know someone is bringing some excellent Mulled Wine. but what do you eat and drink at 10am on Christmas Day.

Several people without dogs want to come along and just watch the fun. All are welcome. These are a great group of people and I'm looking forward to meeting them all in one place.

Here's what happened last year:

Sunday, 20 December 2009

It's important to me to be able to entertain myself

One of the ways I do this is by making up music!

If anyone's interested to talk about what I'm doing - you know where to find me.

Apologies for the low quality of the sound.

Great footage of the Dickensian Festival

For a short but imaginative video on Youtube from sheelz321

Also excellent coverage with many great photos by a Wrinkly Writer

Is there more good stuff out there?

Marl - a world leader

This Ulverston based form has always been at the forefront of lighting technology. They also set and example of a well designed commercial venture situated just opposite to private houses.

I came across this article about their latest form of lighting:

80% energy saving from Marl MR11/16 downlights
To quote the article:

"According to Marl, replacing standard dichroic halogen lights with its LED products will pay for themselves within a year when operated for 18-24 hours a day, and will last for nearly six years (50,000 hours) continuous illumination."

Wouldn't it be great if they used Ulverston to test some of their ideas in a creative way?

We've got some very capable people and businesses working here.

In answer to Jack Jones' comment, a quick search reveals that they do street lighting - which he probably knew!

No mention of Marl at Lancaster. Does Marl's site tell you anything?


Some children have never played in it before!

Snow now soft and slushy. Roads are being well maintained.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Five Planters for Gill Banks

First mix the soil for the planters - 3 parts garden soil with 2 parts Arthur Bowers peat free compost 1 part "Farmhouse manure" obtained from the Suppliers at Lindal - in the comfort of the workshop - it's cold outside. (I made these proportions up - comments welcome!)

This fills two and a half planters which have been constructed by gluing many parts of fired pottery together with the wonderful "Gorilla Glue" obtained from Graham at Smith and Harrisons (Can you remember it being in Theatre Street with those rickety stairs to the other store rooms ?):

Finally fill all five planters and add plants bought on the market - the Ivy looked very good, the Violas, root-bound but they'll do as a start.

Seeds donated by Chilterns Seeds are popping through in the cold frame ready for the spring, I'm hoping they'll survive the frost. These plants will replace these present flowers and could also be available for Lightburn Park.

Setting up a greenhouse in my garden is planned so as to rear other plants for public spaces from these same seeds donated for the purpose.

I'm a novice at most of this and would appreciate all the help possible from anyone interested. That applies to my allotment too - advice from the experts on the site as to what grows well there is most welcome. At the moment digging it over so that it gets the benefit from the frosts is my priority and going well.

A compost heap of horse manure has been created.

The bright idea of putting the above, planted up, planters on the top of this compost heap in order to stop the contents freezing even in this weather, has been born! Will this work?

When the temperature eases up again, the planters will be placed in Gill Banks.

All advice welcome!

Music in the Town on a Saturday

Once again the town is full of music

I missed the bands actually playing today though I could hear them in the distance.

Here are several examples of the Town Band Playing - I agree the camera shake is annoying.

I like this next video because it includes playing just outside the inside market.

A lot of people put energy in doing something they enjoy but at the same time give us a lift.

Last Thursday the woman selling the Big Issue in the "Potters Alley" was very happy.

In spite of the price having been raised to £2.50, she was selling plenty of copies. This makes up for the many times earlier on in the year when she's sold very few - she wasn't at all happy with the price rise to £2 in the summer.

There's a really good positive atmosphere in the town around Christmas.

It's sad that we don't have someone, selling the Big Issue from Ulverston to support.

Occasionally we get a local busker playing down by the Trustees Saving Bank. Maybe he could be persuaded to return regularly

Thursday, 17 December 2009

The Envoronment Agency - information about flooding

They provide loads of information and can be asked questions with the hope of an answer. If they don't we now know who to contact at the top.

South Ulverston people looking for facts could go to this part of their site to get maps under flooding conditions.

I should be possible to find out for instance just how much above high tide level is the pavement out side of your house. This would tell you if a simple drain could solve the problem or if a pump is required.

I firmly believe that you start to win arguments first of all by knowing the facts with which to confront the politicians.

The Environment Agency can provide those facts.

An article in the Westmorland Gazette

A friend of mine has forwarded a copy of an article published in the Westmorland Gazette, she had kept:

Familiar? - now look at the date at the bottom!

Flood Victims Call For Field Drainage
RESIDENTS of South Ulverston are calling for action to be taken to prevent a re-run of this week's severe flooding.
Torrential rain caused Town Beck and Dragley Beck to burst their banks, resulting in the worst flooding seen in the town in nearly 20 years.
Fire crews were kept busy from 11am until the early evening and council workers were drafted in to put sandbags on doorsteps to stop water from getting in.
Householders in Steel Street and Outcast now want new measures to drain fields and streets.
They say that nothing has been done about draining the fields alongside Dragley Beck, which flood regularly.
South View Farm, Outcast, was the worst affected with water reaching six inches up the wall.
Jennifer Atkinson, who was mopping up this week after the floods ruined carpets and spoilt furniture, said: "This shows Dragley Beck needs urgent attention. The flooding has caused such a mess, I still have a feeling of disbelief that the water came up this far."
Beverley Lewis called for maintenance work to be carried out on Dragley Beck after the garden of her house, which backs onto the river, flooded and water seeped onto the kitchen carpet.
"I've lived here for 12 years and its only been cleaned out once, about seven or eight years ago when they brought a JCB digger in to drain it," she said.
Dominic Scott, from South Lakeland District Council's environmental protection group, has been investigating the causes of the flood.
He said: "We had a large amount of water falling in a very short space of time. The rain ran off the surface very quickly into the becks and streams which couldn't cope with so much extra water.
"But we are as concerned as the residents and will see if any improvements can be made. If a new drainage scheme is needed we will try to see if there is money available to do that but it is such a big river it will be a fairly major scheme."
Meanwhile, on the other side of Dragley Beck, residents of Steel Street had a narrow escape.
Barry Jay, who has lived in the street for seven years, watched the water rising in the field behind his house and, fearing the worst, he rang SLDC.
Mr Jay said: "The field often floods but it just kept coming. We got anxious and I decided to dig a channel of gravel on the car park so the water crept round there.
"This terrace was just an island and the garden was awash, I just couldn't believe it," Mr Jay added.
A Steel Street householder, who did not wish to be named, commented: "We never get the drains cleaned out properly. When we had those big wagons pumping the rubbish out the drains were much better but now all they use is a small tube, its not enough."
During his investigation, Mr Scott discovered vandals had removed the metal sluice gate at Garden Terrace in north Ulverston.
This caused the water from Mill Beck to flow down Gill Banks and swamp back yards.
All the Ulverston residents praised the work of emergency services and council for their quick response.
Westmorland Gazette
9:30am Saturday 8th August 1998

Incompetent leadership at the Ulverston Flood Summit

Here is the full text of my letter printed (after removing the more controversial parts which were more critical of the Conservative Councillors) in the Evening Mail last Tuesday:

Ulverston Town Council should be complimented for the potential that this meeting had. The number and quality of the people on the panel was impressive, however the way the meeting was run, was very disappointing to say the least (the word "pathetic" comes to mind).

A carefully posed picture in Thursday’s Evening Mail of Chairman, Norman Bishop-Rowe looking "presidential" says it all. He was clearly enjoying being centre stage and the meeting started straight off in a disorganised way with random questions from the floor.

What never happened was an explanation from the experts as to where the flood water in people's houses came from and leading from this to determine a plan of action with preventative measures being agreed.

The experts were just allowed to give vague answers and confusion reigned.

The audience were not allowed to ask penetrating questions and our chairman lacked the competence to elucidate clear answers

Instead the focus of the meeting was diverted away by two red herrings that swam around merrily : why the drains were blocked and why planning permission was being given to future development of land adjacent to Kennedy St.

To secure the limelight hypocritical councillors (Colin Hodgson and others) bombarded the SLDC cabinet who are both Kendal and Liberal Democrats over past planning decisions he himself and his Ulverston Conservative colleagues had previously recommended.

Two apparent sources of large quantities of water were:

1. That flowing down Dragley Beck which then burst its banks in a similar way to that has happened regularly - last time in September 2008 which has been documented well on Youtube..

2. The large volume of water flowing down the town drain along North Lonsdale Road.

A lot of the focus was put on the drains whereas problems arising from the flooding from Dragley Beck, the performance of the main drain and the unfit drainage of surrounding land were only touched upon.

In view of global warming that leads to streams of air, heavily laden with moisture, coming across Cumbria, is it not likely that, with the above confused thinking, houses in South Ulverston will again be flooded within 5 years unless something dramatic is done to counteract this effect?

The Environment agency supported this view.

The following measures surely make sense:

1. A barrier wall is built close to Dragley Beck as was being outlined in questioning after the meeting.

2. A reassessment of an antiquated surface water and sewerage system so as to cope with high rain fall.

3. Government funds made available to enabled homes to raise their floor level by say on foot. Alternatively to purchase houses from residents to relocate should they wish.

4. A reliable means of draining or pumping the water to the sea that does gets close to the houses.

Glyn Vaughan from the Environment Agency recommended that a review be held in six months time.

This man who is clearly on the side of the residents, shed one ray of hope when he stated that a full consultation would be possible under new legislation.

After the meeting he showed me possible action plans and recommended the need for “people power” to get these implemented.

Why didn’t this come out in the meeting?

No wonder South Ulverston Residents are angry.

* * *
And here are the Town Council Minutes of the same meeting which illustrate the lack of clarity and action:

Go to the bottom to check what "action" is proposed.


Minutes of a Public Meeting to discuss Flooding Problems
in South Ulverston, held in the Coronation Hall on
Wednesday 9 December 2009 at 7.00 p.m.

Present :

Councils/Organisations & Agencies on Top Table :

Cllr. Norman Bishop-Rowe – Chairman & Town Mayor, Ulverston Town Council
David Parratt – Town Clerk, Ulverston Town Council
Cllr. Graham Vincent – Portfolio Holder for Economic Regeneration, SLDC
Cllr. Brenda Woof – Portfolio Holder for Environment & Sustainability, SLDC
Lawrence Conway – Corporation Director, Communities, SLDC
Simon Rowley – Assistant Director, Community Services, SLDC
Nick Pearson – Street Care Operations Manager, SLDC
Keith Masser – Area Engineer for South Lakeland, Cumbria Highways, CCC
Glyn Vaughn – North Area Flood & Coastal Risk Management, Environment Agency
Mike Fell – Team Leader, Asset Systems Management, Environment Agency
Eric McDonald – District Engineer for Barrow & District, United Utilities
Carl Milner – Senior Environmental Adviser, GlaxoSmithKline
Inspector Paul Latham – Police, Ulverston

Also Present :

Ulverston Town Councillors
County Cllr Peter Hornby – CCC
District Cllr Mark Wilson – SLDC
District Cllr Jamie Samson – SLDC
Bruce Evans – Assistant Street Care Operations Manager for Ulverston, SLDC
Terry McSorley – Office Manager for John Hutton MP
Members of the Public – 200+

Media Representatives :

Television North West
NW Evening Mail
Westmorland Gazette
Radio Cumbria

1. Welcome :

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.

2. Introductions :

Top Table representatives were then invited to introduce themselves in terms of who they were representing, their title and main area of responsibility.

3. Aims & Purpose of the Meeting :

The Chairman read out a statement as follows:

“This meeting has been called following the recent floods in South Ulverston on 1st November and again on 19/20 November, but also because of frequent flooding that has occurred in the past.

There are concerns about a number of issues which Ulverston Town Council and the public have raised on many occasions and which were raised again during public participation at the Town Council Meeting on 23 November. Concerns included blocked gullies and drains which had not been cleared and were full of sand and debris, the frequency of clearing drains and gullies which appear to have been reduced, the channel maintenance of various streams, becks and water courses and Carter Pool, which it is understood is full of silt and rubbish.

It is recognised that we are far more fortunate than the people of Workington and Cockermouth and other parts of South Lakeland that have been recently affected. Nevertheless, it is felt that unless urgent and effective action is carried out, it will be Ulverston’s turn before long to experience a major disaster on this scale.

It is also recognised that the amount of rainfall on 19 November was unprecedented. With regards to the outcome of this meeting, after listening to the concerns of residents and the council and various responses from the panel and discussions, it would seem vital that joint agency meetings are held to agree a list of problem locations, causes where known and an investigation process into what actions should be carried out and by whom, with an agreed timescale. Ulverston Town Council asks that the results of these subsequent meetings be made known as soon as possible.

I also want this meeting to be constructive and not become a slanging match. There is a need to be positive and find a way forward. The aim is to finish this meeting by 9.00 p.m. at the latest”.

4. Public Participation, Responses from the Panel and Discussion :

The Operations Manager at the Back Barrow Hotel asked if the sluice gates had been left open at the upper reaches of the river. Mr. Fell, Environment Agency said they would have only been opened when the river reached a certain level to reduce the risk of flooding and would not have exacerbated the problem.

Mr. I. Lancaster, Kennedy Street, said that North Lonsdale Road and Steel Street became flooded on 19 November and over the weekend, following very heavy rain. Mr. Lancaster added that he had counted 75 drains in the area and at least 16 of these were blocked with silt and rubbish. It took many telephone calls before a gully cleaning vehicle and road sweeper arrived on task. Debris and rubbish were left lying around after the vehicle left the area at 2.30 pm. A number of blocked drains were not cleared. He was told that the sandbags provided would be disposed of as they were contaminated.

Mr. Lancaster asked who was responsible for the water coming into the houses, the failed sewerage system and issues with insurance. With regards to sandbags, Mr. Conway, SLDC said that because of the forecast of heavy rain the previous week, an initial supply of sandbags were provided which was then supplemented by a further 1,200 amounting to over 2,000 overall. They went very quickly. Mr. McDonald, United Utilities was not aware that the sewerage system had failed. Mr. Fell, Environment Agency said that a flood watch had been issued for the area.

Mr. Meyers said that a significant number of drains were not working and could only find one that was. He said that 13 out of 14 drains were blocked solid, the sumps were full of grit in most of them. He added that he then managed to unblock some drains and this reduced the water level considerably. He said that there were blocked drains all over the town and wanted to know who pays the highways agency for clearing the drains. Mr. Masser, Area Engineer said that ultimately it was the Council Tax payer who pays, but Cumbria County Council was responsible. He said that they were trying to clean the drains twice a year, but at present it was only once a year due to reducing budgets. He was looking at additional resources for gully emptying. Mr. Meyers said that the County Council were not providing a service which the Council Tax payers were being charged for.

Mrs. H. Franklin, 112 North Lonsdale Road, drew attention to a letter dated 4 November 2009 from Mr. J. Hutton MP to Mr. P. Ridgway, Chief Executive, SLDC and copied to the Chief Executive of United Utilities, regarding flooding problems at her property in early November. There had been flooding before. She said that there had been no response to this letter. Mr. Conway, SLDC said that he was surprised at this but would check. Mr. Parratt, Town Clerk provided Mr. Conway with a copy of this letter at the meeting. Mr. McSorley, Office Manager for Mr. J. Hutton MP said there had been no response. SLDC and United Utilities would respond within 48 hours.

Mr. McDonald, United Utilities said that the amount of flood water was swamping the drainage system. Mr. Fell, Environment Agency said that they had been clearing all the becks and streams following the flooding. One particular area was related to Dragley Beck near Fitz bridge. A considerable amount of material, stones, and debris had accumulated there and needed to be removed. He added that the Environment Agency did not have exclusive powers to do what it wants and often needed the permission of the land owner. Mr. Masser, Area Engineer said that he understood that the gullies had been emptied during the summer and that the drains were designed to take a one year storm. He said that excessive water beyond this could not be contained, but clearly admitted that there was an issue with blocked drains which needed to be addressed.

A number of questions were then asked about building development on a flood plain area such as the land surrounding North Lonsdale Road. Mr. Conway, SLDC said that this needed to be looked at over a number of years and an assessment of what was going to be done in the future. Mr. Fell, Environment Agency said that planning permission on a flood plain would normally be opposed. The Chairman said that there had been several items of correspondence on this issue and that the area does flood on a regular basis. Mr. Fell said that the Environment Agency was only a statutory consultee and did not have the final say on the matter. Mr. A. Butcher, North Lonsdale Road queried whether all the drains go to the sewer and perhaps the more that is built, particular in a flood plain area, the bigger the problem.

Mr. McDonald said that under normal conditions, there was capacity in the system unless the sewers become overloaded. United Utilities, as for the Environment Agency were also a consultee and can make recommendations but cannot refuse an application. Mr. Conway, SLDC said that when a Planning Application arrives, a number of stakeholders are involved. Mr. Fell, Environment Agency said that they had been looking at protecting properties in Steel Street and since the recent flooding, had met with the SLDC and United Utilities engineers. The river spills over the area by the Rope Walk and there was a need to reduce the water coming across Steel Street and open the drainage channels. There was a need for agencies to work together on these issues.

Mr. Rowley, SLDC, said they were looking at the drainage structure in North Lonsdale Road. There were a number of old culverts and drains running in all kinds of directions. There was a need to build flood resilience in this area and were working as hard as possible with other agencies. Mr. Fell, Environment Agency said they were part way through a comprehensive study of flooding in South Ulverston to reduce future risks. There was a water course passing through a sewer. The water course had collapsed and all the water had been going through the sewer.

Cllr. Mrs. A. Rigg, Ulverston Town Council said that she lived on North Lonsdale Road and was very concerned about the intention to build further development on the flood plain. Cllr. Vincent, SLDC said that the site will offer facilities for different types of business and that there needed to be major reasons for not going ahead. However, he said that residents fears will be addressed and that it was subject to planning permission. One resident pointed out that there was 10 metres of solid clay below the surface which had been drilled out. Cllr. Airey, Ulverston Town Council then asked for a commitment from Cllr. Vincent that the plans be withdrawn as the subsequent effect would result in further flooding of resident’s homes in the area. There was a need for a sustainable answer on flooding. The Local Development Framework was not at a finished stage and the parcel of land could be taken off the market. Cllr. Vincent said that this was not the view of the officers of SLDC. The developer needed the views of the Environment Agency and United Utilities. Cllr. Woof, SLDC said that cabinet cannot change policy and that this would need to be a decision by Council members. Cllr. Wilson, SLDC asked what was the decision making process for employment land and the public petitions that had been handed in.

Cllr. Vincent repeated that the decision is made at Cabinet but that the Environment Agency and other stakeholders would have full input before any planning permission is given. Mr. Vaughn, Environment Agency said that a lot more was known about the effects of flooding in South Ulverston than was known before. They would continue to look at what is needed to reduce the flood risk. Cllr. Jenkinson, UTC referred to Barn Beck which flows into Dragley Beck from a higher level and needed assurance that the condition and affects of the upper water courses were being addressed and the minor becks needed to be looked at. Mr. Fell, Environment Agency said that they didn’t have jurisdiction over the upper water courses, but Mr. Rowley, SLDC said that they would be looked at.

Returning to the proposed development in North Lonsdale Road, Mrs. H. Franklin said that the development should be stopped and Mr. Lancaster said that the field could only be used for 6 weeks of this year due to flooding or saturated ground. Cllr. Hodgson, UTC said that with regard to this planning issue, this had been a cabinet decision and asked that at lease a moratorium be called for the time being until the factors had been addressed.

Cllr. Lister, UTC also asked if the plans would be suspended for the time being. Cllr. Vincent said that all the issues will be investigated but that there was a need to move forward. Mr. Dellow believed that all the factors involved were highly complex. He also considered that SLDC and C.C.C. needed to secure appropriate funds to buy houses from residents who wished to sell them in North Lonsdale Road.

The Chairman then read out a letter that had been received from Mr. J. Kelly, Ulverston, who had been an engineer at Glaxo. He said he had been a resident for forty years on the Ulverston Flood Plains. Historically, traditional industries were based in the area due to a supply of water which had been continuously extracted from large wells. He believed that the end of these industries must have had an effect on the water table. He also considered that as Glaxo no longer had a fermentation process and had closed down other units, that their continuous ground water usage would be much reduced. He also wondered about the condition of the Ulverston Canal, the redundant vacant areas on the Glaxo site and the effects on drainage, tighter control of unauthorised dumping on the floodplain and Carter Pool.

Mr. C. Milner, Senior Environmental Adviser to Glaxo then responded to these questions. He said that with regard to the Canal, it was a clay lined structure. There is an overflow to maintain a constant level but it is regularly inspected. The amount of water extracted by Glaxo had reduced by 60%, but there was no impact on the area. With regard to redundant sites, drainage systems would be left intact. Carter Pool is a site of Special Scientific Interest and is a natural water course. He said that it was not the responsibility of Glaxo and came under the Crown Agents. The Chairman said that concerns had been raised about silting in Carter Pool and the effects on becks that fed into it. The Crown Agents would be contacted.

The Chairman asked Inspector P. Latham for any comments. Inspector Latham said that residents in the North Lonsdale Road area had been very resilient under the circumstances and there was good community spirit. There had been no reports of any looting.

5. Conclusions and Follow Up Actions :

Mr. Vaughn, Environment Agency said that there were many factors involved with flooding problems and that the issues were often not straight forward. He referred to a new piece of legislation, following the recent Queens Speech, the Flood and Water Management Bill. The Bill gave the authority to implement the recommendations of the Pitt report on flooding. The Bill was also likely to have a high priority within the parliamentary timetable and attract cross party support during the remaining months of the present Government.

The Bill seeks to :

(i) define the roles and responsibilities of everyone in flood risk management and give the lead to local authorities for managing the risk of all local causes of floods;

(ii) place a duty on all relevant bodies to share information in support of flood risk management;

(iii) require developers to include sustainable drainage wherever practicable in new housing and business developments.

This will involve a review of plans and strategies put in place by district, county and unitary councils and various agencies.

The Chairman agreed that joint agency co-operation and actions were needed at an early stage to reduce flooding problems. Ulverston Town Council would be keeping a close watch on proceedings and ask that they be informed of progress on these very important matters that have had such a significant affect on the community.


(The meeting closed at 9.10 p.m.)

A fat lot of good will that do!

The Ulverston Town Council agree to do practically nothing. They don't even agree to review the situation in six months as proposed by the Environment Agency.

With this amount of commitment from the politicians we can wait for the next Flooding of South Ulverston in a few years' time when there will be more hand ringing and empty words.

To get more posts that are here on this subject click on "flooding" on the label below.

South Ulverston -the drains need cleaning

The meeting at the Coro regarding the Flooding focussed largely on the issue of blocked drains.

Here is footage of what happened a year ago - September 2008 - when residents were left to attempt to clean the drains themselves.

In the first case they couldn't manage it but in the second they did.

At the time the water was lapping dangerously close to several of the houses on North Lonsdale Road who were protecting themselves with sand bags.

So the claim that the drains on North Lonsdale Road are not being cleared properly rings true.

The spokesman for the Council excused their service saying that they had thousands of drains to clear but surely with South Ulverston being a flooding blackspot their drains should be given priority, ahead of all others in the area.

Have the drains been thoroughly clean now?

Perhaps the residents need to devise a test for really clear drains themselves?
Emptying ten buckets of water into each drain in one go would show up deficient ones.
Then they could play hell to have them cleaned.

Call round the top officials and Councillors to watch the test on those that fail and see what they are going to do about it.

This has the makings of a fun ritual so that never again would they have a blocked drain.

Having said all this isn't it of equal importance to get a clear explanation of exactly what was the cause of the flooding of houses this time round.

The people who will give the most honest answers are the Environment Agency who have offered to have a review in six months time.

The next people to be questioned are United Utilities as to how effectively the main surface water drains in the town are working when under severe pressure. Is what is happening that water from the town is being dumped in South Ulverston because the old drain can't get the water to the sea fast enough.

The report from one resident that water was coming up out of her loo into her house is very worrying. Exactly what happened.

For the most part, the fact that water came up through cracks in the concrete floor into some houses, which I've seen, suggests that the pressure from the lake the other side of the Steel Street wall was able to push water up into the houses. No amount of sand bags can stop this. The only sensible solution to this seems to me is to raise the floor level by a foot leaving the houses still livable in but requiring considerable work done now for a total reorganisation of the ground floor.

What are your thoughts about what should be done?

Where you happy with the way the Flood summit was conducted?

I was bitterly disappointed as expressed by my letter to the Evening Mail sent in last Sunday.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

A fresh approach for Ulverston Tourist Information Centre

Watch out!

A fresh proposal - but how far will £300,000 in bits and pieces go for the whole of SLDC.

That's only about fifteen jobs for the whole of South Lakeland in an industry that must bring thousands of millions to the area.

That would be less than .01 % based on 3 thousand million.

Do SLDC have any business sense at all?

Coming up

Old people - meaning those that are retired - a bleak future - for the tax payer - shouldn't oldies be doing more for the community? What's the role of the Furness U3A that has some 250 members?

Housing - How do we cope with Ulverston being a town that attracts people to want to come and live here?

Charitable organisations in the town - does the benefit of the National Lottery and other sources of funds mean that they become out of touch with local people.

Hope are our new county councillors performing since being elected last June

Exactly how do our rivers, surface water and sewage operate in the town

Continuing - the state of our pavements and roads

Who are the councillors doing a 'good' job?

Which are the local government departments doing a 'good' job.

Another poll . . on?

St Mary's Hospice

I'm visiting St Mary's Hospice, Ulverston regularly at the moment after visiting at Furness General.

The two are worlds apart.

I come away from the former thanking all those that have and are now working hard in this very worthwhile venture. It is truly a wonderful place.

As you will know, they have a lot of support already but this kind of thing needs to spread as widely as possible.

There are several fundraising projects taking place.

One that caught my eye was :

Collect your points for St Mary's at Texaco

I am now a firm convert.

So what is special compared with Furness General.

Having had my hip operation there a few years back, I have some knowledge of the place. Then I was impressed but several different reports I've received are causing concern:
  • Some one was waiting in Emergency for hours in considerate pain with no doctor appearing. What made it worse was that the nurses that were there were larking about and not showing concern for the patient in agony.
  • Whilst a patient was close to the entrance on a ward on level 6 the people were making a lot of noise at the central reception so that he couldn't sleep
  • In desperation with the delays in anyone responding to a call, my friend took himself to the toilet only to make the mistake of going into one with no handles to pull yourself up. The result was he was stuck there for an hour and 15 minutes until someone realised that he wasn't in his bed. He remarked that it was strange to be coming out of hospital worse than when he went in. His bum was extremely sore. No apologises were fothcoming - they made out that he was the one at fault.
  • When I arrived I asked whether there was a procedure for cleansing my hands - I was told that there was no need - I thought this was standard superbug procedure.
The overall impression was that:
  • Staff were overloaded with work
  • They weren't as caring and attentive as in the past
  • They weren't being shown much appreciation by the public so there was an absence of goodwill in the relationship between staff and the public
  • Discipline has deteriorated since the days of the fierce matron who kept people up to scratch
Under these circumstances do we need leaders on each ward like football managers who sustain morale?

At the Hospice one felt a complete mind shift:
  • Everyone wanted to be both unobtrusive and helpful when needed.
  • A call for the loo was responded to within ten seconds
  • The whole environment was attractive with 'art' which raises the spirits given a high priority.
  • The whole building was well designed and used a lot of natural wood and individual bedrooms had a lovely outlook - in the case I witnessed a waterfall cascaded down within five yards of the window which my friend found was very soothing when awake at night
  • I glimpsed a cat strolling outside one of the rooms, down a corridor which had restricting glass doors - some patients enjoyed the animal contact
  • The rooms were designed so that a stroll round a 'quadrangle' and then outinto the garden was possible. This provided an alternative interest for those suffering from pain.
One can argue that hospital and hospice are not comparable. The first is to administer a 'health service' the latter to provide a service for those in pain. However what glimpses I've had of a French 'national health service ' hospital showed it to be a place where art and design of and in the building figured highly. The emphasis was on both the body and the mind or spirit.

Isn't the latter as important as the first? Aren't we partially cured by our minds so that if we are feeling as good as possible, don't we fight disease much better. If we are spending our time in depressing surroundings with what appear to be uncaring people (possibly because they are working too hard) don't we take longer to get well and tie up the beds for longer.

A question I'm asking myself more and more - isn't there a place for retired people - often with time and sometimes cash on there hands - to get more involved with both the health and education service to relieve the pressure on the 'professionals'.

All civilised comments welcome. Those wishing to score negative hits need not apply!

Monday, 14 December 2009

Lightburn Park

Things are definitely looking up here.

A new climbing piece of equipment for the older adventurous children is now in place.

The drainage problem which lead to large puddles may have been solved and funds have obviously been found to put in a good path to the Skate 'Park' - work in progress.

New picnic tables are in place.

A group of people are planning to put some flowers in the beds.

There could be an increased presence of adults in the park in the future.

Someone who lives on the lower part of Croftlands was also enthusing about the MUGA and other games facilities on Croftlands playing field.

A lot of this is all thanks to Phil Lister's work while he was a District Councillor if I not mistaken.

Smoky Misty Ulverston

Sunday, 13 December 2009

James King gives the Roxy a plug!

To quote his blog:

Laurel & Hardy Museum, Ulverston, Cumbria

Probably the best film-watching experience of my life was at the Laurel & Hardy Museum in Ulverston, Cumbria. It's Stan's hometown and they're rightly proud. Next to the museum is a 14-seater cinema, where I spent an afternoon, watching The Music Box on a projector screen. The eccentricity of the place is a flawless match for Stan and Ollie's unique slant on life.

The museum has its own web site

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Is this acceptable?

We are pleased to welcome new management of a pub in the town. They seem to be making a go of it and I've received several good reports about it. Some of my friends use it regularly.

However they have chosen to park their commercial rubbish bin on the pavement at a place that is generally regarded as dangerous for pedestrians because the road is so narrow and there is considerable traffic..

The previous owners of the pub parked their bin in a recess on their own land without blocking the public footpath though I suspect this wouldn't have been popular with the fire service as it blocked an exit.

The present owners say they will have difficulty finding an alternative but surely that is their problem.

Yesterday when I found this bin crammed full to overflowing, I called in to talk to Sarah the manager - I talked to her previously by phone. I got the message that she was there but too busy to see me.

I agreed not to kick up a stink about this issue until the New Year but the present reaction is not promising.

What do people think?

Should we make a fuss about this?

If not - where do we draw the line of businesses encroaching on our safety and the appearance of the town?

Since posting the above, the bin has been full to overflowing several times; this suggests that they may be needing two large red bins soon. I gather they are picked up daily by Wicks who promise 100% recycling which is good.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Flood meeting at the Coro last night

The problem, a year ago in early September.The threatened houses of Steel Street can be seen in the distance.

The state of Low Mill Bridge one month later.

North Londsdale Road a week ago.

Ulverston Town Council should be complimented for the potential that this meeting had. The number of people on the panel was impressive, however the way the meeting was run, was very disappointing to say the least (the word "pathetic" comes to mind).

A carefully posed picture from the Evening Mail of Norman Bishop-Rowe looking "presidential". Something he is good at!

Even the press who had turned up were not allowed to film or record during the meeting at the whim of the chairman, Norman Bishop-Rowe (the people present weren't given the opportunity to give their approval). Here was an opportunity to put pressure on both the County and District Councils by clearly defining what had happened and by proposing and adopting a plan of action for the future.This did not happen. Instead the politicians played at party politics in front of their desperate audience. No wonder the people in South Ulverston get ignored.

Mayor Bishop-Rowe was clearly enjoying being centre stage and the meeting started straight off in a disorganised way with random questions from the floor. The experts were allowed to give vague answers so that clarity was avoided.

This enabled the people on the panel to duck and dive - it was impossible to ascertain exactly what had happened and who's responsibility the disaster was. Subsidiary issues were dragged in as red herrings that confused everyone. To secure the limelight hypocritical councillors (Colin Hodgson) criticised the SLDC cabinet who are both Kendal and Liberal Democrats over past planning decisions he himself and his Ulverston Conservative colleagues had previously recommended. They failed to focus on the important issues of how to deal with the future.

The focus of the meeting was diverted away from what exactly caused the flooding to the red herrings that swam around merrily : notably why the drains were blocked and why planning permission was being given to future development of land adjacent to Kennedy St.

Neither of these two issues could be described as the cause of the flooding though some would argue that the blocked drains aggravated the removal of flood water and further building could lead to greater surface rainwater to be disposed of.

What would have been helpful at the start was to clarify as clearly as possible what exactly had caused the flooding of people's houses. Because the experts were never asked to explain this in logical steps then confusion and buck-passing was rife.

Two sources of large quantities of water were obvious:

1. That flowing down Dragley Beck which then burst its banks in a similar way to that described in the video above of flooding in September 2008.

2. The large volume of water flowing down the town sewer from the town to the sewage works beyond Glaxo, which flows along North Lonsdale Road.

A lot of the focus was put on the drains whereas problems arising from the flooding from Dragley Beck, the performance of the sewer and the unfit drainage of surrounding land were only touched upon.

Some questioners from the floor were totally ignored until the last minute. One prominent member in the audience had his hand up for three quarters of an hour before being allowed to speak. By then there was only five minutes of the meeting left so that there wasn't enough time to raise anything but the most important question:

In view of global warming that leads to streams of air, heavily laden with moisture, travelling across the Atlantic and dumping rain on our West Coast. Is it not likely that whatever is done that houses in South Ulverston will get flooded again in 5 years time if nothing dramatic is done the counteract this effect?

Should not a scheme be set up that enabled South Ulverston Residents to be able to sell their houses to the local authority, should they want to, and assistance be given to the purchase of newly built housing being proposed for Ulverston in the future.

No answers were received other than the statement form the spokesman for the Environment Agency that yes this last question of how to deal with the long term effects of global warming was at the crux of the problem of flooding here.

The important issue of what action could be taken to minimise the effects of heavy rainfall where never dealt with.

Glyn Vaughan of the Environment Agency offered a potential way forward. He suggested two things:

One was the need for a review in six months of what had actually been done. There was helpful Government legislation awaiting the seal of approval which would make a big difference to ensuring that a solution is found.

The second was the need for people power that would be needed to drive a solution forward.

The people of South Ulverston will need a well organised and persistent approach if they are going to achieve answers. They also need to back anyone willing to support them: Mark Wilson, their district councillor and James Airey the new County Councillor for Ulverston West show promise. People need their politicians to make sure that something has been achieved in six months time.

There's a steep hill to climb.

People will have gone home dissatisfied feeling that they were given no explanations and that once again democracy had failed them : they were being swept out to sea with no rudder or driving force, not even a paddle, to help with a safe outcome.

Never-the-less the power of numbers can be effective. Finding effective representatives which they can all vote for with confidence at future elections will be important.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

What the police are up to

Worth a look

This is a way of communicating with the police - what do you think?

Police districts

Click on South at the bottom and then Ulverston

Town Ward
General anti social behavior relating to inappropriate use of motor vehicles

In line with our policing pledge, we are tackling the issues which you have said are the community priority. We have stopped drivers who use their vehicles inappropriately. We have served legal notices on repeat offenders. Ignoring these warnings will lead to a further sanction which is having their vehicle confiscated. A number of drivers have been stopped in and around the town and have been dealt with for speeding and noisy exhausts. Some drivers received warnings for bad driving.

North Ward
Priorities for this area have been identified by residents as speeding vehicles and inappropriate parking in Soutergate, Ulverston

You said to us that inappropriate parking and speeding vehicles on Soutergate is the number one community priority.
We are making regular visits to the area, sometimes with the council traffic enforcement officers. We are checking the speed of cars in the community and giving advice to drivers.
In line with our policing pledge we will respond promptly to complaints in this area.
We will keep you updated at the Town Council meeting and through this newsletter.

Central ward
Youth Anti Social Behaviour
The main priority for the community has been identified as youth nuisance / disorder particularly in the area of Croftlands play area

In line with our policing pledge we are responding promptly to reports of young people drinking and behaving in an anti social manner around Croftlands Play area Central Drive. We are carrying out high visibility patrols in the area to speak to the residents and young people who are in the area. Particularly during and after construction of the new Multi Use Games Area.

South Ward

The wards of Central and South are low crime areas. During the month of October there was decrease in the number of anti social behaviour calls compared to the month of September. There was only one reported crime for the area which was damage to a vehicle on Lime Tree Road. In line with our policing pledge we are maintaining close contact with the victim. Anybody with information about this offence is asked to contact us.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the local youths for making Halloween and Bonfire night trouble free events and an enjoyable occasion for the community.

In association with Young Cumbria and Lakes Leisure, football sessions are being provided for local young people until March 2010.

East Ward
Anti Social Behaviour – We asked the residents who told us that groups of youths hanging about and playing football in the streets made them feel intimidated and worried especially in The Byron Street and Towers Street Area.

In line with our policing pledge we will respond promptly to any issue you identify as a number one community priority. We are also working with partners to find longer term solutions to the problems you have identified.
A Multi Use Games Area and a children’s centre has been built and is available for all residents to use in a Safe Comfortable and convenient location on the estate.

West Ward
Priorities for this area have been identified by residents as anti social behaviour around Meeting House lane/Swarthmoor Hall/Springfield Woods area.

In line with our policing pledge we are making regular visits and patrols in this area, and we will respond promptly to complaints which we receive.
We will keep you updated with our progress at the meetings which we attend and through this newsletter.
If you would like to discuss this issue, please contact Helen Madden on the above contact details.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Join us in this new project!

Our pottery group has now moved on to designing planters that can stand at the base of the railings at Gill Banks , below those objects already there.

These will be 24 in long, 9 in high and 8 in deep.

The idea is to make each side of the five sided box separately and glue them together once fired.

Here are the front panels for four of these.

If you would enjoy designing and making one of these in my workshop then please contact me at gd at (done to avoid SPAM). I'm aiming to have some made by the 18th December so that they can be in place with flowers/plants before Christmas.

You may remember that we've been given seeds for public use by Chiltern Seeds. These will be used here. If you'd like to grow some plants again let me know!

If you'd like to get involved, this can be before or after Christmas as there will still be a need for lots of planters after the initial few are made.

Here are our first attempts - the flowers are dead easy to do - well show you how!

Congratulations to the students UVHS

And of course to their trainers and teachers.

Absolutely brilliant.


Sunday, 6 December 2009

Flooding - at the Coro this Wednesday 7 - 9pm

I'm sure that you will be all aware of this meeting.

I've asked my County Council Representative, James Airey to be there to express the concerns of those that are lucky to have avoided this trauma. He has replied to say that both he and Peter Hornby will be at the meeting.

"Peter and myself have already toured the affected area with the new area engineer, he will be joining the both of us again on Thursday to look at other issues in Ulverston."

James Airey has the makings of an impressive County Councillor. Can he provide the leadership this town needs?

Mark Wilson the District Councillor is also doing excellent work. Mark is another "doer" . Can the two of them put aside party politics, cut out the waffle and instead achieve a result?

Could these two be an example to the motley crew of the "We like sitting in glory" Councillors that we are "blest" with.

I don't believe that the people of South Ulverston have so far received an honest answer from officials, Glaxo and politicians. They face a complex problem. Money needs to be spent on a detailed analysis of how the problem arises together with alternatives on how to deal with it.

The County and District Council need to accept that they have a responsibility in spending millions of our money in the long term to come up with a fair solution.

There's a tendency for those who live on higher ground to ignore the problems of those lower down. Much of the problem in the future will come from the effects of Global warming which leads to more rain laden clouds coming our way. The wider population have a responsibility to deal with this problem even though it may prove to be expensive.

It was not of these people's making but ours.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Is Art useless?


What's wrong with that?

Think of the 'Art' that's around us.

Hoad Monument - a giant useless sculpture.

East Enders a useless fictional set of stories.

The Dickensian Weekend - lots of stalls selling useless objects - of course some of them were selling essentials - like Mulled Wine.

Man U vs L'pool - a pointless 'battle'.

Yes they're all useless but could we live without them?

In fact would we want to live without them or something similar.

Art is ultimately what we live for. It feeds our emotions. It helps us feel good.

It leads us to choose how we decorate our rooms - the type of furniture, the wall paper, carpet bed cover, plates and cups. How we plan our garden, what car we choose.

So can we stop knocking it - different people like different art - but to say that its useless misses the point.

Without it, it would be pointless, which of course if you stop and think, it really is!

Monday, 30 November 2009

More Christmas trees !

This pottery gets everywhere!

Fancy making something for the tree?

I guess you know where to come!

New D I Y here in the centre of Ulverston

Though you'd never know it!

Across the road from the Roman Catholic Church. - Derian Energy - walk through the bathroom fittings display room.

A wide range of materials at good prices and very helpful.

They cut my plywood up to precise sizes so that I could make a purpose build storage unit that I had designed. They had all I needed to do the job.

Furthermore they helped me with advice on buying power tools - even though they don't sell them.

Will they survive as perhaps they could promote themselves more?

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Dickensian Festival - Great

This Sunday morning was a tough start.

It was cold and raining steadily.

However there was a great spirit about, with determined smiles and friendly banter everywhere.

Like yesterday, hundreds of people came from every direction to get 'the show on the road'.

Intense but quiet concentration ensured that everything was ready on time.

Today we ducked into Poppies for a warm and friendly breakfast after a quick tour of the stalls as they set up for a second day. People were looking forward to better weather later on and they were right.

The town remained in full swing right up to 6.00pm as stalls were packing up. Everyone was having a good time and I was glad to have left my camera at home to just join in as a participant rather than as an observer.

The mulled wine went down with a friend at their home even though they couldn't be out to enjoy the goings on.

An abomination is dumped on Ulverston

What clown imagined that when you came round this corner

in a traditional lake district town with Kirby Slate everywhere in the town, you would meet these monstrosities from China?

This smacks very much of a financial scam.

Who has ended up with money in their back pocket ?

Del Boy comes to Ulverston!

" Fancy some beautiful marble paving stones ( that fell off the back of a Lorry straight from Ying Tong Ying Tong Idli Po) "

"Suits you sir . Yes Suits you sir."

"A perfect match. Just what 'Up and Coming' Ulverston needs. Just like the County Square"

I conducted a poll and got a 100% result from one lady -

"Aren't they awful ! "

So what happens next. . . .

Someone's head needs to roll (?)

James Airey - the new guy in the hot County Council seat - what are you up to?

The issue of a consistent design policy for Ulverston was raised with him, months ago.

Nothing will happen unless Ulverstonians speak up.

So start with your comment here.

Do nothing and in the long term, the town is doomed.

Just see what inaction has done to South Ulverston.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Feeling useful

Had great fun this morning.

Ten o'clock. Came across a couple of oldies with saws merrily attacking the giant fallen branch that was blocking the parish church path.

"Come on Geoff there's a third saw, come and help"

Even though we were stumbling all over the place, we systematically set about clearing the branch.

Too heavy for us to shift in one go. But our joint life experience immediately told us how to solve this problem. It was good to be united in a plan of action. We had saws that cut through the wood with relatively little effort and we knew how to avoid our saws getting jammed - well most of the time.

Soon there was another geriatric joining us. "Here take over this saw, I'm puffed out"

It took us perhaps 15 minutes to have the whole path clear and the debris showed freshly cut branches in their dozens.

"Bye" we said "That was fun" - " and the council are on the way to clear the path are they?"

Wasn't it good to feel we didn't need them!

A bit of community pulling together was all that was needed.

It gave us a buzz!