Thursday, December 04, 2008

Land West of Gilberdyke's Railway Hotel to be released for development

The land West of the Railway Hotel under water after normal rainfall
(Please note levels of houses in background)

There has been a rumour circulating for a few months that the land west of Gilberdyke's old Railway Hotel site has received planning permission and is being marketed as such. Needless to say this rumour is untrue…. for the moment that is.

Yesterday’s East Riding Mail carried a front-page story indicating that Greenfield land already allocated for building East of Sandholme Road and North of the railway station is to be released for development.

Unfortunately this is not quite true either, and I can confirm that all land East of Sandholme Road that was allocated in the Local Plan has already been developed.

BUT there is a small parcel of land North of the railway station that is to be released AND in addition land..... 'West of the Railway Hotel, Station Road' only now to be released - if the proposals are approved.

Therefore Gilberdyke can probably expect a planning application for the Railway Hotel site and land to the West to be forthcoming.

All this as a result of Central Government imposing centralist targets on local councils for Greenfield development.

My thoughts on building on Greenfield sites and Greenbelt protection is broadly in line with Conservative Party policy - particularly in the area of strengthening local democracy and giving greater incentives to local authorities to build new homes with supporting infrastructure. Which in Gilberdyke's case would mean the community's voice being listened to, and improving the village infrastructure prior to/or at the same time as any further housing development.

Conservative Party Policy in this area is as follows:

Conservatives have pledged to scrap regional planning and the unelected regional assemblies.

• A Conservative Government will abolish the undemocratic and unwieldy tier of regional planning across England. This will include changing the law to scrap the Regional Spatial Strategies (RSSs) and Regional Planning Bodies (currently the regional assemblies, soon to be RDAs).

Conservatives will return their powers to elected local councils.

• As a logical consequence of scrapping the regional plans, if the RSSs have already been implemented, we will allow councils to revise their local plans (‘Local Development Frameworks’) to undo the changes that the Regional Spatial Strategy forced on them. This will allow local communities to protect their local environment, and decide themselves the most appropriate level of development for their area.

National planning guidance will remain to provide a framework for local authorities – although such guidance will be amended in some ways. For example, we want to see greater powers for communities to protect neighbourhoods against ‘garden grabbing’

The Conservatives will be announcing in due course further proposals to strengthen local democracy and to give greater incentives to local authorities to build new homes with supporting infrastructure.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Successful Golden Generation event for over-55s in Bubwith

The Local Action Team (LAT) for Goole and Howdenshire recently held an event at Bubwith Leisure Centre for the over-55s and those who care for older people.

More than 50 people from Bubwith and nearby villages came to the event and transport was provided for less mobile residents.

Information was available on topics ranging from staying in your own home to transport, and from consumer advice to healthy eating. Advice on crime prevention and home fire safety awareness was also available.

Organisations at the event were able to work together in providing information which raises awareness of the services available to people living in rural areas of the East Riding.

Some 25 stalls were open to the public at the event, representing organisations including NHS East Riding of Yorkshire, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Humber and Wolds Rural Community Council, Age Concern, Humberside Fire and Rescue, Humberside Police, City of Hull and Humber Environment Forum, Hull and East Yorkshire Mind and Holme and Bubwith Medical Group.

Bubwith Parish Council and local businesses supported and promoted the event.

The LAT was also asking people their views on different priorities that service providers such as Police, Fire, Health and the voluntary sector are looking to address through the East Riding Local Strategic Partnership. "It was heartening to see the number of people who where genuinely interested in putting their priorities forward".

Tania Pells, Carolyn Burgess (the LAT Community Champion), two Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and I, also took this consultation exercise to the Goole Farmer's Market on Sunday where again the response was excellent. "Thank you to all those residents of both the Bubwith and Goole areas who took the time to contribute their views".

Sunday, November 30, 2008

He doesn't sleep, he waits

I found this on which seems very apt today.........

Over the last few days there has been one backbencher who has excelled even his Shadow Cabinet seniors in articulating the outrage felt in the Conservatives, the Commons and the wider world at the shameful arrest and detention of a Member of Parliament.

This man had dominated the television news coverage all weekend, expressing his support for his successor. The going is getting tough now for the Tories. Not only are they fighting a political party, but now they are fighting the entire might of a corrupt regime. A regime that uses the police to stamp out opposition.

When the going gets tough there is only one man who the Conservatives need back at the centre of their team.

He's a man that could strangle you with a cordless phone...

A man who doesn't read books, merely staring at them until he gets all the information he needs...

A man who can slam a revolving door...

A man who doesn't wear a watch because he decides what time it is...

The reason Wally is hiding...

The person the bogey man checks under his bed for...

It's time to bring him back..........
....... David Davis

Friday, November 28, 2008

Newport 'NAG's search for Allotments Land

A number of Newport residents have come together to form an allotments group (NAGs) to initially identify a site for allotments within the community, highlighting the growing enthusiasm for allotments as people increasingly seek to grow and develop their own food. Unfortunately, despite numerous efforts by the Parish Council and others no land has been found. Although there is hope of land available in neighbouring Gilberdyke. The subject of allotments was also raised at a planning presentation I attended this week.

Just as common land was being "enclosed" in the 18th and 19th centuries, the allotment sprung up as a link to a happier, more rural past. The Small Holdings and Allotment Act of 1908 required local authorities to provide land for cultivation, and the restrictions on development were stricter than now.

Some residents may be able to recall that during the Second World War some 1.4m allotments were dug for victory, and today there are still around 300,000. A typical allotment can return an annual yield of £300 of produce, and charges range from about £25 to £120 per year. Most charmingly, an allotment plot is officially 10 poles, a "pole" being the length from the back of the plough to the nose of the ox. (In today's money, I'm told by a reliable source that one gets 4 allotments to the acre)

The high cost of food and the modern enthusiasm for all things organic has heightened desire for allotments, and as we see in Newport there is a demand and in other areas waiting lists stretch to many years for some plots. And, of course, the allotment boasts its own cultural institution – the shed, where a man or woman may enjoy the solitary pleasures of the seed catalogue. Long may the allotment flourish.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mr Gordon Brown, are you totally Mad?

I don't normally get all that much involved with national politics on my blog, but today I'm totally sickened by the actions of our prime minister Gordon Brown and his subservient sidekick Mr Darling.

This Labour Government plan to mortgage all of our futures for the hope of a few cheap headlines in the run up to the next general election.

This is the most cynical, deceitful piece of political spin than what we have seen from this totally discredited Government.

A tax con dressed up as a tax cut that will actually raise fuel duty, beer duty, national insurance rates and even income tax. Borrowing levels will rise to a level never seen in the long long history of Great Britain. These are the tax rises Labour MPs have just cheered -

£20 billion on National Insurance
£10 billion on income tax
£5 billion on alcohol and cigarettes
£2 billion on pensions

These increases amount to nearly £1,500 for every family over the next Parliament - and by 2012/13, anyone earning more than £20,000 will be paying more tax.

Our national debt will reach £1 trillion and families will be hit by the tax time bomb for years to come. This announcement was more about the survival of this worn out Government than it was about our country's economic fortunes.

So Mr Brown, are you totally mad? It is surely time for you and your cohorts to go......

Gilberdyke and Howden Underage Drinking Project

Last Friday evening (the coldest of the year so far I’m told) I spent out in Gilberdyke with the Howden and Howdenshire Police Community Support Officers (PCSO’s), Sgt Jo Mathews, and Safer Communities East Riding Officer Paul Green, as part of a campaign aimed at reducing the number of adults buying alcohol for underage drinkers. This was the second evening, with the first being in Howden a couple of weeks ago.

The shops and garages selling alcohol in Gilberdyke and Howden are very much aware of underage drinking and I believe that all outlets are very vigilant when it comes to sales of alcohol to people under 18. Unfortunately there are a number of adults (people over 18) who are legally buying alcohol - and then illegally either passing to or selling to underage drinkers, and it is those adults the campaign is aimed at.

If you know of shops in your area that sell alcohol to young people, or if you know of adults who buy it on their behalf please call CRIMESTOPPERS on 0800 555 111

For more information on Safer Communities East Riding please click on the following link:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Golden Generation Event - Bubwith


Bubwith Leisure Centre 10:00am to 12 noon
Tuesday 25th November 2008

The Goole and Howdenshire Local Action Team is holding A “Golden Generation” event at Bubwith Leisure Centre on 25th November 2008. It is aimed for those aged over 55, or care for someone over this age, who wish to find out more about the local services in their area including the Police, Fire, the Local Authority, Health and Voluntary sectors. Details are still being finalised but should include the following:

• Enjoying your retirement
• Advice on crime prevention at home
• Dental advice
• Dietary information
• Antisocial behaviour
• Supporting people 45+ back to work
• Transport
• Coping on your own
• Free home fire safety checks
• Staying in your own home
• Grants
• Advice from doctors’ general practice
• Benefits advice
• Carer support
• Staying warm
• Adult education courses
• Blood pressure and other monitoring by community matrons
• Healthy Eating
• Falls Prevention
• Chiropody advice
• Fair priced and good quality tradesmen
• Aids and adaptations for the home

Staff from the various agencies will be present together with advice leaflets and
information. Feel free to drop in anytime between 10 and 12 noon and enjoy a
cup of tea or coffee with a slice of cake.

For any further information please don't hesitate to contact me.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Spaldington Composter's Planning Appeal Dismissed

Spaldington residents have found victory at the end of a hard fought campaign to protect themselves from the obnoxious stink and bio-security risks associated with the composting of animal bi-products (see posts passim). The appeal against the planning refusal made by a composter located in Spaldington, being dismissed by the Planning Inspector.

• The appeal was made under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 against a refusal to grant planning permission under section 73 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 for the development of land without complying with conditions subject to which a previous planning permission was granted.

• The appeal was made against the decision of East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

• The application Ref DC/06/08259/STVAR/STRAT, dated 8 September 2006, was refused by notice dated 7 May 2008.

• The application sought the variation of conditions attached to a planning permission Ref DC/05/03826/PLF/WESTWW, dated 20 January 2006 for the change of use of a building for composting purposes.

• The conditions in dispute were Nos 2 and 9 which state respectively that: “All compost on this site shall be produced from the following materials only: wood chip, biodegradable green waste, salad waste, feathers, eggshells, pig hair. There shall be no use of fish by-products and no more than 1000 cubic metres of compost produced at any one time with the buildings hereby approved unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.” and “Spreading of waste shall be restricted to a maximum of 10 days per year and shall not take place outside the following times: Monday – Thursday (9.00am – 4.00pm); there shall be no spreading of composting on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays or on Bank Holidays.”.

• The reasons given for both conditions were: “In order to protect the amenities of nearby residents”.

Decision - The appeal is dismissed.

For full details of the decision please click link below:

Sunday, November 09, 2008

On the 'Picket Line' as part of the 11 MILLION National Takeover Day

On 7th November I was invited by members of the East Riding Youth Assembly to take part in the 11 MILLION national takeover day, a day of action where young people could have their voices and opinions heard, and have the opportunity to influence the decision makers at the East Riding of Yorkshire Council. This was a national initiative and young people in the East Riding participated by asking for petition signatures, in order to challenge the council in continuing to find ways of allowing young people to have their voices heard within the workings of the authority.

This included being part of a mock ‘picket’ outside County Hall in Beverley, waving placards and obtaining signatures on the petitions. Needless to say there was noise, laughter and a real sense of fun - not only from the young people but also from those ERYC officers and members of the public offering their genuine support in signing the petitions.

There was some interesting reactions from some when they realised a Conservative councillor was involved on a ‘Picket Line’ including one of my first signatories - UNISON’s Syd Cunliffe, whom I know shares my desire for younger people to be more involved in the decision making processes that affect them, be it as young peoples representatives on council committees or as young members of a union. (picured with UNISON's Syd Cunliffe)

11 MILLION is the organisation led by the children's commissioner for England which makes sure that adults listen to the views of young people. For more information please click on the link below.

For more information on the East Riding Youth Assembly please click the link below:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Action to support local pubs

I fully support my local MP David Davis in demanding action to protect local pubs, which are presently closing at a rate of 36 per week across the country. My own local (yes I do have one!) has been hit with the double whammy of the smoking ban and the unfair competition from supermarkets, garages and shops selling cheap beer as a loss leader.

David Davis has signed an Early Day Motion in Parliament which calls for an end to supermarkets selling beer at a price even cheaper than bottled water..

David Davis MP said:

“Everybody likes a bargain, but I believe that the supermarkets are behaving irresponsibly in selling beer cheaper than water. By engaging in these sorts of practices, the supermarkets are hastening the rate of closure of our local pubs. We presently have 36 pubs per week closing across the country, much higher than in previous years. The current rate of closure means that more and more villages in the coming months and years face a pub-less future.

Pubs are often the backbone of our local communities, particularly in villages where, thanks to Labour’s Post Office closures, residents have precious few facilities or services left to enjoy. Government rises in beer duty have compounded this problem further and that is why I have signed this Early Day Motion in Parliament demanding that the Government looks at the pricing policy of beer in supermarkets as more needs to be done to support our local pubs.”

The Early Day Motion is as follows

That this House notes with concern that Asda supermarkets are selling Skol lager at a price of £0.90 pence for 4x440ml cans which is the equivalent of 5.11 pence per 100ml; further notes that Asda supermarkets are selling Evian still water at 5.55 pence per 100ml; is appalled that any supermarket is selling beer cheaper than water; questions whether this is an example of loss leading sales; encourages all supermarkets to cease this practice immediately; recognises the negative effect that this has on the brewing and pub industries, with 36 pub closures a week; and calls on the Government to look at the pricing policy of beers in supermarkets as opposed to public houses.

Friday, October 10, 2008

'On The Buses' to Howden School

It appears there have recently been several behaviour-related incidents and concerns about overcrowding on some school buses picking up pupils going to Howden School.

So on Wednesday of this week, following a number of calls from, Newport, Gilberdyke and Eastrington parents of Howden School pupils regarding problems with the school bus, I got up early and made my way to Elloughton bus depot, where I met with East Riding Motor Services (ERMS) and East Riding of Yorkshire Council staff (ERYC) staff for a morning briefing, before boarding the school bus destined for Howden School via Faxfleet, Blacktoft, Yokefleet and Eastrington.

It was reassuring to see both the transport operators and ERYC working closely with the school to address the situation, with none of the partners being prepared to tolerate any behaviour on buses which endangers the safety or well being of other passengers and all students are expected to conduct themselves in a respectful and sensible manner whilst journeying to and from school. This is the case for the vast majority of students whose general behaviour is excellent and it is not fair that they should suffer as a result of the actions of a few.

It is vital, from a safety perspective, that buses are not overloaded and that the partners know exactly which vehicle everyone is travelling on. For this reason pupils must carry their bus pass and travel on the right bus. This has not been happening in the Newport, Gilberdyke and Eastrington areas, and, coupled with the bad behaviour issues, which have occurred on two of the buses, has led to a number of measures being adopted to tackle concerns, including the following:

*Regular checks by bus drivers to ensure that children are eligible to travel on particular buses and that they have the correct pass. If students do not have their pass they may be asked to pay for travel. Lost passes will need to be replaced and parents can do this by contacting the East Riding Passenger Services Department.

*Students who misbehave or fail to live up to the expectations required may face a ban from the bus imposed by the bus company or the Council. If this happens, it then becomes the responsibility of parents to ensure that alternative transport arrangements are put in place. It is the Council who has jurisdiction in terms of deciding who travels on buses or implementing bans, but the school do support the Local Authority in their efforts to prevent poorly behaved students from accessing school transport.

*In serious cases, where the actions of a student breach Health and Safety regulations or bring the school into disrepute, the school may implement additional sanctions, including the possibility of exclusion.

The school, ERMS and ERYC will continue to monitor the conduct of students on buses to ensure that all users of school transport can do so without having to suffer unpleasantness or risk. I trust that the school can rely on the support of parents to tackle this issue head on and the head would value any feedback on the approach intended to be used. The school, working in partnership with parents, the ERYC and ERMS, hopefully can ensure that the poor behaviour of a few does not adversely affect the majority of students who are extremely well behaved and simply want a trouble-free journey to and from school.

If you have any concerns please contact Mr David Boden, Passenger Services Manager on 01482 395521.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Concerns Raised Over Changes to Dispensing Doctors

A number of Gilberdyke Health Centre patients have raised the issue of the Centre despensary's future.

It is very frustrating when yet again this Labour Government, with its majority of Urban MPs, tries to walk all over rural communities. On the back of it's savage post office closure programme we now see dispensaries as the next target.

Haltemprice and Howden MP David Davis has expressed concerns over proposals by the Government to change the way in which doctors can dispense medicines to their patients. Presently, any patient living more than 1 mile away from their doctor’s practice is able to have their medicines dispensed by the doctor, in future it would be the distance from the surgery to the nearest community pharmacy. This could result in the loss of many dispensing practices that provide a vital service in rural communities.

David Davis said:

“This is yet another example of the Government not understanding the needs of our rural communities. In 2006 the 1,170 dispensing practices administered just 7% of prescriptions in England. Many of these doctors used the profit generated from this activity to re-invest in services, for example providing additional healthcare services in remote or under-doctored areas. These changes could put many of those additional services offered by dispensing doctors at risk.

Our dispensing doctors do a great job in rural communities and their services help to strengthen the doctor-patient relationship and also ensure a continuity of care. If dispensing doctors are prohibited from dispensing if a pharmacy is close by, there is a risk that many patients from rural villages could lose access to the most convenient service for them, including arrangements in villages for local collection of prescriptions.

Whilst I welcome Government proposals to remove the anomaly that some medicines could be bought at newsagents but were not available from the GP surgery, I cannot support their proposals to change the distance rules governing dispensing doctors.

I have no problem with an extended community role for local pharmacists but this must not come at the expense of our dispensing doctors. Patients in rural areas need a choice, at the moment anyone receiving a prescription from a dispensing doctor can choose to either have it dispensed at the practice or at a nearby pharmacy. I want to see that choice continue for my constituents.”

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Funding Boost for Rural Areas of the East Riding of Yorkshire

One of my roles as an East Riding of Yorkshire Councillor is to be a 'critical friend' to the ERYC Rural Policy and Programmes department. This is something I really enjoy as it is a subject in which I have a real interest, as many who know me can testify.

So I am pleased that a major grant funding has been announced for the Coast, Wolds, Wetlands and Waterways (CWWW) region, which covers a large (880 square miles) rural area of the East Riding and North Yorkshire (but excluding Bridlington, Goole, Beverley and the surrounding rural areas).

The funding has been confirmed by Yorkshire Forward, the Government Office for the region, and is made under the Rural Development Programme for England LEADER programme, a grant funding initiative aimed at assisting rural communities to improve the quality of life and economic prosperity in their local area. The programme is administered by the Regional Development Agency in each of the English regions and, in this region, it is Yorkshire Forward. The East Riding of Yorkshire Council is the accountable body for the CWWW local action group.

Yorkshire Forward has agreed to fund the CWWW’s local development strategy and will shortly be finalising its decision and announce the amount of funding to be awarded.

The key themes of the local development strategy are:

To maximise business opportunities throughout the delivery of the programme that lead to the development of new and exciting local enterprises.

To build capacity and empower rural communities by drawing on the potential of the area’s natural and cultural heritage.

To stimulate growth of the cultural and creative sectors through the development of creative space and capacity.

Building on the potential of the area’s natural heritage opportunities, develop local ownership of and participation in environmental management, planning and interpretation.

To develop facilities and networks of activity that create a focus and enable understanding and connectivity to local heritage and landscape.

These themes will incorporate a range of initiatives to encourage innovation, enterprise and skills building so that community capacity is strengthened for the long term. They all contribute to the overall aim of the CWWW programme which is to utilise the unrealised potential of the area’s heritage and culture to stimulate local vibrancy, encourage enhanced pride in place, and thereby improve the area’s economic performance and social sustainability.

Helen Wright, the ERYC Rural Policy and Programmes Manager said, “The CWWW programme will build on and consolidate existing activity and disseminate best practice to the new area as well as identifying new programmes and projects.

“The LEADER programme is a vital lever in helping regenerate and renew rural communities which do not always attract the high profile and intervention strategies of the UK’s urban areas. Thanks must be given to all those who gave their time and expertise in putting together the Local Development Strategy. ”

I would like to congratulate and thank Helen Wright and her team for all the work that has gone into achiveing this funding. Well done!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dropped Kerbs update

After looking further into this issue I can confirm that it is the law of the land that dictates that residents must provide dropped kerbs in front of their driveways, and although some council houses have dropped kerbs, allegedly provided by previous authorities, some have not, ultimately a proper form of access over the footpath is required, and unfortunately it is the responsibility of the householder to provide that access.

Originally it was the wording and aggressive tone of a letter from the East Riding of Yorkshire Council (as detailed previously)regarding the dropped kerb issue that had caused the anxiety amongst the residents who had received it. I have now had it confirmed that there will be no further letters sent out to residents until it has been redrafted.

It is a credit to the residents of Eastrington's Pinfold Street that they have been able to form their our community group, to work together in order to minimise the cost to install dropped kerbs at the front of their properties. The costs are reduced by only having to submit the one joint planning application and benefiting from the economies of scale gained by using one contractor to carry out all the work.

Residents who continue to use their drives should be mindful of their liability for any damage to underground services in the footpath caused by vehicular movements above, and although using unauthorised accesses across the footpath is still technically illegal, I would hope the council would not be rushing out to fine residents, particularly if they have already made contact with the council in reply to the original letter.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Eastrington & Howden Residents Hit With Demand To 'Drop Kerbs'

With Howden Councillor Mark Preston and Eastrington Residents

A number of East Riding residents have been receiving a somewhat threatening letter from the East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) regarding ‘Unauthorised Vehicular Access’ from public highways. The letter informs residents that they must stop using their drives until a satisfactory means of access to the ‘kerbed footway or verge’ has been constructed to the satisfaction of the council – or in layman’s terms: until the householder has paid a council approved contractor to install dropped kerbs in the footpath fronting their property at a cost estimated to be £800. Failure to do so and residents will be guilty of a criminal offence and liable to a fine not exceeding £1,000.

A dozen or so residents of Eastrington’s Pinfold Street received these letters, and after meeting with them I can confirm their attitude ranged from anger to worry, angry that the issue of the dropped kerbs had not been picked up during the process when they purchased their homes (in some instances buying the house from the council), and worried that they will be faced with a fine if they continue to use their drives as they have done for as many as 40 years. Some of the residents are pensioners; others are even council tenants – living in council houses!

I am led to believe that since receiving the letters some householders have parked their vehicles on Pinfold Street which had the effect of blocking the road for farm vehicles, particularly combine harvesters, who were trying to get to their fields after the crops had at last dried out sufficiently to harvest. If all the residents on Pinfold Street resort to parking their cars on the road, I'm sure the resulting traffic congestion in the area would be unacceptable. We have to remember that for an action there can sometimes be an equal or greater reaction that is not foreseen.

Residents on Howden's Derwent Estate who received similar letters have the same concerns and contacted my fellow ERY Councillor Mark Preston regarding the issue.

I share the feelings of the residents of Eastrington and Howden when they say the letters are badly written and somewhat intimidating. I don't have a problem as such with the concept of householders paying for their own 'dropped kerb access', if it is their responsibility.

It is unfortunate that residents were not given a notice period rather than the threat of a £1000 fine, and in the present climate many people may not be able to find the £800 at one time to pay for this work. Obviously this is an internal matter for the Council of which I am a member, BUT I hope the sending out of such ‘heavy handed’ letters will not be repeated and lessons will be learnt.

Friday, August 08, 2008

'Planning for Real' display at Old Goole Gala

The East Riding of Yorkshire Council has organised a ‘Planning For Real’ training day on 5 September.

Planning for Real uses simple models as a focus for people to put forward and prioritise ideas on how their area can be improved. It is a highly visible, hands-on community development and empowerment tool, which people of all abilities and backgrounds find easy and enjoyable to engage in.

A large 3-dimensional model of a neighbourhood is constructed, preferably by local people, using cardboard cut-outs for buildings pasted onto a base plan fixed to polystyrene or cardboard. The model is used at pre-advertised sessions held in various locations in the community.

Participants place suggestion cards on the model indicating what they want to see happen and where (eg playground, youth shelters, parking, standpipe, tree, shopping).

The cards are sorted and prioritised to establish an action plan which is followed up by working groups.

In the past training days were attended by a broad cross-section of people living and working in Goole, including representatives of Humberside Police, local councillors and representatives of the Waterways Museum, as well as council officers providing services directly to the people of Goole.

The aim of the training sessions is to equip volunteers from the local community with the skills that they need to help host a series of ‘Planning For Real’ community consultation events planned for the coming months, which will give residents of all ages a chance to have their say on issues affecting Goole. Planning For Real forms part of the wider Advance Goole project and is about improving the quality of life of local residents, as well as tackling the issues that concern them and involving them in planning for a brighter future.

Pupils in years four, five and six at Boothferry, Kingsway and Marshlands Primary Schools have already been busy constructing 3-D models that will be used as part of the ‘Planning For Real’ process. The finished models will be taken back into the three schools in September to encourage the children to discuss issues affecting their communities. Feedback received from them will be used as part of the consultation process.

(photo with ERYC's Helena Moss and Marshlands Primary School Head Teacher Mrs J Newby)

One of the models will also be on display as part of the Goole and Howdenshire Local Action Team (LAT) stand at Old Goole Gala on Sunday 17 August so that local residents can take a look for themselves and find out more about how they can get involved in ‘Planning For Real’.

Councillor Paul Robinson, Chairman of the Goole and Howden Local Area Action Team, said: "Planning For Real is a great way of getting residents of all ages to focus on the issues affecting their communities. The aim is to highlight issues of concern and trigger debate about how problems can be addressed to further improve the quality of life of local people. I hope that as many people as possible will take the opportunity to get involved and have their say.”

Anyone who would like to get involved in the Planning For Real workshop on 5 September should contact Michelle Oxtoby on 01482 391471.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

A New Joined Up Approach To Local Delivery of Services

Recently I accepted a new role as Chairman of the newly formed Goole and Howdenshire Local Action Team (LAT). The team is made up of senior representatives from each of the following organisations: Humberside Police, Humberside Fire and Rescue, the Primary Care Trust, the Voluntary Sector through Humber and Wolds Community Council, and ERVAS (which is the local development agency providing support to voluntary and community groups), plus a local Community Champion. I chair the team in my role as an East Riding of Yorkshire Councillor.

The role of the LAT is to adopt a partnership approach to local problem solving and engaging with the public on key issues with the aim to improve the quality of life of individuals and communities in their localities. It is envisaged that this new ‘joined up thinking and joined up activity’ approach that the LATs will provide will enhance the services delivered at the moment.

We have been tasked to implement new, inclusive and innovative ways of encouraging members of the community to become involved in looking at public service delivery in Howdenshire villages, through different forms of community engagement. The first of which was a LAT stand at the recent Howden Show. (pictured with Goole and Howdenshire LAT officer Tania Pells at Howden Show)

Examples where ‘joined up thinking and activity’ could really bring benefits are in both young and older peoples, projects where the Police, Fire and Rescue, Primary Health Care, Council, and voluntary sector are all presently working separately, to have a more united approach leading to less duplication, more targeted delivery and almost certainly more impact for the same given amount of money.

This is a very exciting challenge, something very new, and hopefully a mechanism where more decision-making can be brought down to the local level, enabling Howdenshire residents to have more say in those issues that affect them directly.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Goole Fire Station Provision Cut

Members of Humberside Fire Authority today voted to reduce the fire cover at Goole Fire Station to just a single full time pump. This was on the casting vote of the Chairman of the Fire Authority Cllr Doreen Engall.

This decision will have a detrimental effect on Fire and Rescue provision for Goole, Howden and Howdenshire residents who despite many signing petitions, writing letters and campaigning, are now faced with the likelihood of having to suffer from longer response times in the event of a fire or accident. (please see posts passim). I can only assume Cllr Engall who along with myself represents Howdenshire, in using her casting vote to reduce the fire cover in Goole has been listening to a whole different set of people. I can neither support nor condone her decision, and I firmly disassociate myself from it. I can only hope she is not left to regret her stance on this issue.

Understandably, the authority also voted unanimously to close the retained Station at Sledmere near Driffield.

But there is some good news, because at the same time the Authority voted against plans to close Hull's Central Fire Station, but in favour of an amendment to keep the station open until a new facility is ready in the city center.

Other proposals for stations in North Lincs and North East Lincs were rejected with Authority members calling instead for efficiency savings to be made from non-frontline services.

So North Lincs, North East Lincs, and Hull get away relatively unscathed, BUT the East Riding suffers from the cuts........... Hopefully someone will be able to explain?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Africa Remembered

with Nkey in 1989

Some of you who know me well may remember the time I spent working as a development worker in West Africa from 1988 to 1992 (see blog posts passim).

One of those things I did back in '89 was in persuading the owner of the compound on which I first lived to allow his daughter, a little girl called Nkey, to go to school, the first girl in the family to do so. She was six years old and I recall buying her first uniforms. Today I had the pleasure of being the guest of Nkey and her husband Yahya who received his BSc degree from the University of Hull.

It is hard to imagine such a small gesture at that time, meant in a little girl attending school and getting an education many of us take for granted, would result in me being in the company of such a charming couple on their special day. A little girl whose future then was working in the fields - now has a job in London, a successful husband and two delightful children.

Commission Report Points To Worsening Rural Poverty

More people in rural areas such as Howdenshire are living in poverty, according to the Commission for Rural Communities in its ‘State of the countryside 2008’ report, which is published today. The report, the tenth in a series giving a definitive picture of rural England, also points to concerns over the decline in services and the challenge of meeting the need for affordable homes.

The reports says that rural economies continue to show inherent strengths, such as a higher rate of business start-ups than in urban areas and an overall growth in the number of businesses compared to a net decline in towns and cities. But it says wages in the countryside are still low for many people so that being in work is not a secure route out of poverty.

Figures show poverty is increasing at a faster rate in the countryside – three per cent - than elsewhere and that about a fifth of households now live below the poverty line. There are also signs of growing inequalities within rural areas themselves. In the poorest fifth of homes half the weekly income goes on food, housing, energy, transport and other essentials compared with 39 per cent in the highest income rural households and 47 per cent in the poorest urban households.

The report confirms what I here from many residents in different communities regarding declining services and says that in each of the last ten years the Commission has found fewer outlets for many services and increasing problems of access to services for people without cars. There has been a marked rise in internet use but the availability of high-speed broadband remains low in sparsely populated areas.

Housing affordability continues to be worse in rural areas, the report says. Last year the average price of a home in the countryside was £257,600, more than £50,000 above the cost of an average urban home. The cost of a house is 6.8 times the annual rural household income, compared to 5.8 times in urban areas and in some sparsely populated districts the price of a home can be almost ten times the annual income.

This is were we as the East Riding of Yorkshire Council, representing one of the largest geographical areas in Britain, need to look at ways of addressing these identified concerns, and find ways of putting pressure on this Government to deal more positively with rural issues.

To read the full report please click the following link

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Gilberdyke - One Year On From The Floods

One year on from the June 25th 2007 flooding much has been done and most flooded Gilberdyke residents are back in their houses, but unfortunately some are not. For many flood victims it has been a difficult year, and I share their concerns particularly when the rain starts to fall. Residents have told me they worry when they see the weather forecast or if the rain starts during the night.

In the aftermath of the flooding a Gilberdyke Flood Action Group was set up by the Parish Council and has been successful in accessing £7,800 of Government funding through the East Riding of Yorkshire Council. This money is being spent on commissioning consulting engineers to: Investigate and determine exactly what the drainage problems are in Gilberdyke before coming up with an action plan and recommendations to prevent future flooding in the village. Some works and essential maintenance have been carried out on the various watercourses and drainage dykes around the village since the flooding, although a lot more remains to be done. Relevant agencies have been encouraged to adopt regular timetables for continued maintenance and improvements.

The Consulting Engineers have already received a lot of valuable information from residents regarding the extent of the floods and the layout of the drainage systems in and around the village. It is intended that this information will be used as a basis for improving the existing drainage and to reduce the risk of flooding in the future. The group has already received a lot of valuable information from residents regarding the extent of the floods and the layout of the drainage systems in and around the village. It is intended that this information will be used as a basis for improving the existing drainage and to reduce the risk of flooding in the future.

It is anticipated that the recommendations for future action will include the reopening of filled in dykes and watercourses particularly in Scalby Lane, Station Road, Westbrook Road/Crescent and surrounds. The contentious issue of Riparian Ownership of dykes and watercourses will have to be addressed.Questions continue to be raised with the Lower Ouse Internal Drainage Board (LOIDB) regarding the “ring fenced” monies being held for the maintenance of the pumps for pumping excess water from the dyke which takes some of the water from the M62 to the River Ouse.

I felt disappointed that the £1.4million application to Central Government was turned down leaving Gilberdyke in pretty much the same situation as before the floods. I also share the communities frustrations that the LOIDB are not able to use the ring fenced money for pumping the M62 water which flows through and contributes to the flooding in Gilberdyke, rather than just that water running down the one dyke to the west of the village.

Yorkshire Water must address the issue of surface water entering the foul water system, as even as late as January of this year the foul water sewers could not cope with the rainfall. “I was absolutely amazed by the consultation comments from Yorkshire Water on a recent planning application for 17 houses in the village. The company appeared to be unaware that 56 houses were flooded in Gilberdyke during last June’s flooding with some residents still not back in their houses, or that the sewers flooded again in January. I could not believe that Yorkshire Water’s planners did not know about these specific incidents or that their sewers flood on a regular basis, or that the school was closed for a week a year ago, not because of the building being flooded but because the school toilets could not be flushed as the sewers were full.

Some work has been done by the various agencies but much more is required to satisfy the concerns of Gilberdyke residents.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

David Davis' Principled Stand On Civil Liberties

Many people have asked about my thoughts on David Davis’ resignation from the Shadow Cabinet and the calling of the by-election here in Haltemprice and Howden.

I am not in favour of the proposed detention of 'terrorist suspects' for 42 days or even 28 days for that matter, but I am in favour of detaining 'terrorists' for 42 days, 42 years or even 142 years. The issue being someone suspected of being a terrorist without charge is very much different to someone being convicted of terrorism.

To put a man in jail for 6 weeks without him knowing why he is being held or what he’s been accused of is difficult to comprehend. Then he is released without charge (exactly what has happened to half of those who have been held for 28 days) imagine what would have happened to his reputation, his job and his family. I would not want this to happen to me - or anyone I know because of say ‘mistaken identity’.

Many associate terrorism with Islam and Muslim communities, strange then that a retired non-Muslim was accused of an act of terrorism when heckling the Prime Minister at a Labour Party conference.

A good friend working within the Prison Service put this into perspective recently when he said,

“Consider a young Muslim man accused of a terrorist act and in jail without charge for six weeks, whose only crime was to have the same name as another suspect. For six weeks he is held alongside convicted terrorists, he is subjected constantly to the rantings of these extremists, his family on the outside are ‘looked after’ by sympathisers. You can imagine this man may not have been a terrorist when first incarcerated but there is a likelihood he may well be on his release”.

I am also uncomfortable with the snooping society in which we live, not the CCTV camera’s that have been proven to reduce and help solve crime and anti-social behaviour – but all those cameras that are used to monitor our privacy and store information about us as we go about our daily lives. It’s not the cameras; it’s the people who have access to the information that worries me. I don’t really want this ‘Big Brother’ Government or Local Authorities to know everything I do, whom I meet, and where I go.

This also goes for ID cards; I carry photo identification most of the time anyway so the card is not the issue, it’s the information behind the card the Government is planning to hold that is the problem. I don’t want the Government to hold all my medical records, my travel records, my phone records, my email address (so they can snoop on any website I visit or email I send or receive) or my tax and spending records. Also would anyone want to put all this information in the trust of the Government for safekeeping? With its recent record in this area - I wouldn’t!

I have known David Davis for many years and respect him as a man of conviction and principle. I can fully support his actions in raising these issues by resigning from the Shadow Cabinet and precipitating this by-election. This is about halting the erosion of our civil liberties precipitated by Governments over the years, but particularly so with this present Government, who after much dithering, don’t even have the courage to put up a Labour candidate in order to present their case.

For more information please click the link below

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Stink over Holme on Spalding Moor

Many of you will have noticed the foul smell that drifted over the village of Holme on Spalding Moor last Friday afternoon and evening (9th May), and many thanks to residents for the calls and emails. I spoke at length to both ERYC Public Protection and the Environment Agency and was reassured to find they were both ‘on the case’ visiting the site at approx 9pm that same evening. The source of the smell was identified and offending composter contacted, and told to remedy the situation. I spent some time with residents in HOSM on Saturday morning and whilst the smell was not as bad there was an intermittent stink drifting over from behind the hill. It is clearly not acceptable for a composter to subject residents to such a vile stench at anytime, let alone on a Friday evening, and rest assurred I will continue to work to improve the situation.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Planning Committee halts 17-house Gilberdyke development

The East Riding of Yorkshire Council Western Area Planning Committee has thrown out a recent proposal for the building of a 17-house estate on the field east of the Claytons Fold development in Gilberdyke.

There is an issue of whether this is a ‘Greenfield’ meadow or a previously used ‘Brownfield’ site…. But it did seem that the applicant was at odds with opinions of long-standing residents of Gilberdyke who contacted me and provided the photographs that contradicted the case put forward for designation of a ‘Brownfield’ site.

The committee agreed with me that the two important issues that should be considered were foul and surface water drainage, and whether the existing village infrastructure could cope with additional housing.

I was absolutely amazed by the consultation comments from Yorkshire Water. Who appeared to be unaware that 56 houses were flooded in Gilberdyke during last June’s flooding with some residents still not back in their houses, or that the sewers flooded again in January this year. I could not believe that Yorkshire Water’s planners did not know about these specific incidents or that their sewers flood on a regular basis, or that the school was closed for a week last June, not because of the building being flooded but because the school toilets could not be flushed as the sewers were full.

I asked the committee to consider the location and the proximity to Hansard Crescent, which was just spared the flooding experienced last year, as this green field was able to absorb the run off from Clayton’s Fold, and more importantly from Hansard. What would be the impact on Hansard Crescent if this field were concreted over with houses built with higher floor levels because of the flood risk?

The quantity of housing development that Gilberdyke has been forced to endure recently was also raised, it was pointed out there have been 111 houses completed in the last 4 years, 30 more started and 18 more still to commence. A total of 151 houses with no investment in village infrastructure or services.

It was also established that when the Parish Council consulted the community some 460 residents from over 350 households responded, saying they did not want to see any further significant housing or industrial development until there was investment in village infrastructure. Only 7 people had the opposing view.

The Committee’s decision was a victory for common sense and showed Gilberdyke residents concerns have been listened to.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Gilberdyke School judged 'OUTSTANDING' by Ofsted inspector

Gilberdyke Primary School has been judged as outstanding after a recent Ofsted inspection. I am immensely proud of Head teacher Martin Alger’s leadership of the school, and all the other teachers and staff, but particularly the pupils who made this possible.

Of the 27 categories inspected, 25 were judged to be ‘outstanding’ and 2 ‘good’.

The Lead inspector said: "I judge that Gilberdyke Primary School gives you an excellent education".

I am also proud to be the Chair of the School Governing Body; my role is made very much easy by having a great team in my fellow Governors, including those from within the community, the Head, members of staff and our ERYC clerking officer Roger Bohling. They can also pride themselves on their ‘outstanding’ judgement for the way in they discharge their responsibilities.

Thank you and well done!!

Spaldington Composter's Planning Application Thrown Out!

At the meeting yesterday (1st May 2008) of the East Riding of Yorkshire Council's Planning Committee the application by a Spaldington composter/farmer to increase the range of waste materials he could compost and also to increase the days he is allowed to spread compost on his fields was thrown out. This is a committee on which I sit, but because of my involvement in the campaign on behalf of Howdenshire residents I was allowed to speak but NOT to vote. Therefore I would like to thank my fellow members from all parties for their decision.

This is very good news for residents of Spaldington, Eastrington and other communities who have to put up with the stench from this site as it is, without having an already diabolical situation made worse.

I would just like to say that the applicant, through his agent refused to allow me as a member of the Planning Committee to attend the site visit to inspect his operation the day before, I decided not to push this issue, but I do wonder why I was singled out from the rest of the committee? Was it because I have a good basic knowledge of composting and may have asked a difficult question, seen something I shouldn’t have, or had the applicant got something to hide. If everything was in order and above board what had he to fear? I will leave it for you to decide…..

I am led to believe from members that the applicant had made a special effort to clean his facility as some ‘photographers’ were due on site. Residents confirmed this cleaning had been continuing the previous day. It is also alleged that compost had been recently been moved from the composting sheds to the maturation heaps in the fields.

Many remember the foot and mouth epidemic in 2001, when it was later found the origins of the disease came from contaminated meat products in pigswill, a process which is now banned. So my question here was: Why was a farmer hoping to bring into our communities those self and same ingredients once used in this now banned process, from other parts of the country to be introduced into this composing process?

Let’s be clear here…. This application was a request by a composter to increase the ingredients he takes in to include; starch products, beef burgers, fleece trimmings, pet food by-products, bakery products including pizza, tannery scrapings, prawn shells and sewage sludge. This is from a farmer who raises livestock on the same site. I cannot comprehend the sense in even thinking about doing this - and neither could the Planning Committee.

Local MP David Davis adds:

“I am delighted at this result. It will be a relief to the people of the surrounding area. I hope it will be reflected in other planning decisions of this nature.”

Monday, April 21, 2008

Gilberdyke Flood Action Group obtains £7,800 funding

Gilberdyke Parish Council's Flood Action Group has been successful in accessing £7,800 of Government funding through the East Riding of Yorkshire Council. This money will be spent to commission consulting engineers to: Investigate and determine exactly what the drainage problems are in Gilberdyke before coming up with an action plan and recommendations to prevent future flooding in the village.

Since the flooding last June some works and essential maintenance have been carried out on the various watercourses and drainage dykes around the village, although a lot more remains to be done. Relevant agencies have been encouraged to adopt regular timetables for continued maintenance and improvements.

Questions continue to be raised with the Lower Ouse Internal Drainage Board (LOIDB) regarding the “ring fenced” monies being held for the maintenance of the pumps for pumping excess water from the dyke which takes some of the water from the M62 to the River Ouse. The group felt disappointed that the £1.4million application to Central Government was turned down leaving Gilberdyke in pretty much the same situation as before the floods. The group are also frustrated that the LOIDB are not able to use the ring fenced money for pumping the M62 water which flows through and contributes to the flooding in Gilberdyke, rather than just that water running down the one dyke to the west of the village.

It is anticipated that the recommendations for future action will include the reopening of filled in dykes and watercourses particularly in Scalby Lane, Station Road, Westbrook Road/Crescent and surrounds. The contentious issue of Riparian Ownership of dykes and watercourses will also be addressed.

The group has already received a lot of valuable information from residents regarding the extent of the floods and the layout of the drainage systems in and around the village. It is intended that this information will be used as a basis for improving the existing drainage and to reduce the risk of flooding in the future.

The group intends to hold a public meeting once the consultants report has been received.

The next meeting of the Gilberdyke Flood Action Group is to be held at the White Horse Pub on Monday 21st April at 7.30pm.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Radio 4 - 'You and Yours' composting item

On Wednesday 16th April 2008 the BBC Radio 4 program 'You and Yours' ran the story of the problems experienced with East Riding Composters, to listen again please go to the following link:

Many thanks to the BBC journalists, especially Shari Vahl for bringing this issue to the attention of the wider public.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

East Riding of Yorkshire Council Review of the Agricultural Composting Industry

Yesterday, (19th March 2008) the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s (ERYC's) Environment and Transport Overview and Scrutiny committee looked into the agricultural composting industry.

As mover of the original motion I introduced the issue by saying, “Over the past year or so I have met and listened to residents and composters alike, I have seen good practices and bad, and I am of the opinion that composting, if done correctly is a viable option in providing an alternative to conventional fertiliser, which can be environmentally unfriendly in it’s production and has become very expensive. The use of compost has other benefits to the land in breaking up and aerating heavy soils. It is also a positive step in reducing landfill, and as the government targets for recycling increase this is an ideal way of recycling waste. The other benefit is also in providing a source of income through farm diversification.

BUT, if composting is not done correctly, as per the regulations or corners are cut then the resultant smells, and bio-security fears have a detrimental effect on resident’s quality of life. A number of composters are operating under a waste management exemption licence, and this is where it gets even more complicated.

Serious concern has also been expressed over the Bio-security risks connected with the composting of animal by-products on livestock farms in apparent direct contravention of the Animal By-Product Regulations…. which were drawn up to prevent the risk of transmission of serious diseases such as Foot & Mouth, Bird Flu, Swine Fever and BSE.

Resident’s anger has been compounded by the perceived ineffectiveness of a very complicated regulatory process; after all…. despite attempts to improve the situation by the Council departments and two partner agencies there are still the same serious odour issues, and bio-security fears in Howdenshire villages that have been evident for a considerable time”.

The presentations by the ERYC’s officers from Planning, Public Protection and Animal Health, plus officers from the Environment Agency and DEFRA vet demonstrated just how complicated the issue has become. The presentations and subsequent questioning raised many issues and identified serious weaknesses in the regulations governing this industry, especially when a number of composters are operating under waste management exemption licences given by the Environment Agency. This is compounded by planning conditions that are well intended but difficult to enforce.

The committee were informed that at present the Environment Agency does not even have a legal definition of compost within present legislation. At attempt to introduce significant changes to the exemptions was due on 1st July 2005, but DEFRA cancelled the changes 2 days before on 29th June 2005. This would have introduced a list of specific types of wastes that could be composted, the ‘riskier’ the waste type greater the control measures required, lower and tighter quantity limits and fees payable. (I feel if the Government had decided to implement these changes instead of pulling them at the last minute, we would have seen the current bad practices of some Howdenshire composters significantly reduced if not totally eliminated).

The composting exemptions are now being reviewed as part of a wider exemption review, with consultation on the changes due soon which will include draft regulations indicating that composters will require full permits from the Environment Agency. Unfortunately this means the earliest implementation date would be April 2009.

Evidence was also provided showing the greatest number of complaints against composters where concerning composting of animal by-products rather than green waste by a 5:1 ratio.

“I feel during the next year the ERYC is rolling out the brown bin project to collect green garden waste, this waste will be composted down by our partners and made available to farmers to spread on their land. In this respect the council has an opportunity to set the benchmark in composting green waste for others to aspire to.

I felt the committee took the opportunity to look into the agricultural composting industry, if in the future the Council and partner agencies, with new Government legislation, can find a way of ensuring that composters get the processes right and a rigorous and fair regime of regulation is imposed and conformed to… then we could have an agricultural composting industry that is right for the East Riding and sets the benchmark for others to aspire to in this area too”.

The following four recommendations and actions were agreed by the committee:

(1) That the existing regulatory regime of exemptions from waste management licensing for composters, including those which compost animal by-products as a raw material, are a serious cause for concern.

(2) That removing the above exemption would improve the level of control imposed on composters by ensuring that they comply fully with waste management licensing requirements and by bringing them within the scope of the planning regime.

(3) To write to Joan Ruddock MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (State Climate Change, Biodiversity and Waste) requesting that she consider as a matter of urgency the exemptions for composters which include animal by-products as a raw material within the review of the waste management and Environmental Permitting regime.

(4) All unanswered questions the committee members had relating to the composting industry be forwarded to the three agencies for a report to be provided in response.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Councillors Paul Robinson and Caroline Fox Resign from Fire Service Review Panel

With David Davis MP outside Goole Fire Station

Cllrs Paul Robinson and Caroline Fox have resigned from the ERYC’s Review Panel, which is presently considering the Humberside Fire Brigade’s proposals to re-structure the Brigade locally, in order that they can publicly campaign against the cuts. The proposal is for Goole to replace one of the full-time pumps at Goole with a retained pump.

Paul, said, “After taking evidence on the first day of the panel hearings last Friday, it became apparent that Caroline and I could better represent our local residents by resigning from the panel so that we could publicly oppose the cuts”.

“We believe that members of the Humberside Fire Authority will be playing fast and loose with the safety of our local communities if they vote through the cuts as proposed. Goole Fire Station provides much of the cover for Howdenshire and I now want to campaign publicly with our local MP David Davis, Prospective Goole MP Andrew Percy, the Fire Brigades Union, and local councillors from ALL parties who are also working very hard to fight these cuts”.

Due to the distances involved in getting to rural communities such as Gilberdyke, Rawcliffe and Holme-on-Spalding Moor, our rural communities are even more at risk as a result of these proposals. The response time of the second pump would increase meaning that it could take much longer for that pump to respond.”

Caroline adds, “The evidence we heard on the first day of the panel was so convincingly against the cuts that I personally felt that as my own ward would be deeply affected by the proposals, it would be better if I removed myself from the panel to help assist the campaign to save the two pumps at Goole.

I find it bizarre in the extreme that in just a couple of years the Humberside Fire Brigade has gone from designating parts of rural East Yorkshire according to different risks to designating practically all of our rural communities as low risk. Given the new housing and development that is taking place in our communities I would have thought that the Fire Authority would be looking at improving the fire cover locally, not reducing it.”

Paul and Caroline add, “We feel so strongly about these proposals that we’ve decided we need to speak out on behalf of our local communities. We will now join with Councillors of ALL parties who have opposed these cuts and we hope that our opposition will act as a warning to Councillors on the Fire Authority that our communities will not take proposals to cut our local services lightly. We must all continue to work together to ensure that the Fire Authority sees sense and listen to the massive opposition to these cuts.”
David Davis MP added, "I welcome Paul and Caroline's principles in resigning from the panel, they will now have more time to oppose the ill thought out cuts that are a potential for disaster. These cuts will directly impact on Howden and Howdenshire in my constituency which rely on cover from Goole Fire Station. That is why I am happy to join the campaign against these proposals. I would urge as many local people as possible to make their voices heard on this important issue."

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Holme on Spalding Moor Community Composting Proposal - A Positive Step!

Composting, which, if done correctly is certainly a way forward and to compost green household waste is to be welcomed as a positive step in reducing landfill, and the work currently being done by some green waste composters and by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) in this area is to be applauded. The recent application submitted to the ERYC by the Community Group in HOSM to set up a small-scale village project to compost garden and green kitchen waste produced by the village has my wholehearted support. It is not only an environmentally friendly way of recycling green household waste but is income generating, providing ongoing funding for community projects within HOSM. This project fits very well with, and compliments the ERYC 'Brown Bin' pilot project to be rolled out in two areas of the East Riding in the near future.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council is very to keen to help set up community composting schemes. It is a preferred way of disposing of green waste.

This project, if approved, will not cost the community of HOSM a penny but instead money is contributed for each ton of compost produced, this can then be reinvested in projects within the community. It is hoped to compost up to 100 tons per year.

ERYC is offering “not for profit” groups or parish councils the chance to apply for a grant of up to £10,000 to start a community composting scheme within the East Riding of Yorkshire. In addition, a constituted community composting group which diverts household green waste from landfill will be given a payment per tonne of material collected, then an additional payment if they compost the material at their own site. This payment is known as a Community Composting Credit.

I've added below the details of the ERYC composting officer to this post as requested:

For further information please contact Stephen Hall the Community Composting Officer on 01482 391752 or email

Monday, January 21, 2008

Reduction of Anti-Social behaviour in Howdenshire

The problem of anti-social behaviour in the Howden area is reducing, a local forum heard last week. Meeting on Wednesday, the Howden and Howdenshire Police and Partners Community Forum heard that instances of anti-social behaviour had decreased. Figures for drink-fuelled assaults and criminal damage had increased slightly, but this was put down to the time of year. Reported crime in Eastrington and the surrounding areas had also fallen.

As the forum's chairman, I indicated that I was pleased with the findings of the ERYC Safer and Stronger Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee (of which I'm the Vice Chairman) . "It was felt by the committee that over the last twelve months the police had gained the increased respect from the public and this was felt to be due in part to the presence of more Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs). A lot of young people were showing more respect towards the PCSOs and this was in fact a two-way street, as the young people were receiving more respect from the PCSOs. This respect shown by the PCSOs towards the young people is to be applauded and bodes well for the future."

(It is worth adding that the PCSOs are funded locally and NOT by central government).

A debate about anti-social behaviour established that it was sometimes viewed subjectively. For example, a large gathering of young people outside a bus shelter or shop could be interpreted by some as anti-social, but it was not necessarily felt to be that by the people involved.

"Young people have a right to enjoy themselves as long as their behaviour is acceptable, and a balance has to be struck," said Inspector Michael Bower. 'It was not always a case of moving them on."

He said the youth shelters in Gilberdyke were a good example of tolerance of the community towards young people.

The issue of parking outside village schools was discussed, with Eastrington being given as an example of where it had been suggested that vehicles were sometimes parked illegally during school drop-off and pick-up times. It was confirmed that other villages faced similar problems. This issue is to be addressed in the village of Gilberdyke within the next few months through the development of a 'Travel to School Policy' by Gilberdyke school, and also through possible new parking restrictions within the village resulting from an on going consultation with the ERYC.

The police forum passed two issues to the Neighbourhood Action Team for their attention: travelling to school, including school travel plans; and youths gathering in villages and possibly being involved in anti-social behaviour.

The next meeting of the Howden and Howdenshire Police and Partners Community Forum will be held at Bubwith Leisure Centre on March 5 at 7pm.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Call for a review of composting business rates

The following is taken from the Composting Association website which makes very interesting reading

It has been found that many composting businesses are not paying rates because of confusion about the system. This comes from the fact that traditionally composting was done for personal use but now increasingly composting businesses are working with local authorities and catering companies to provide food waste and green waste recycling services and these are counted as "rateable activities".

A spokesman from the Valuations Office Agency (VOA) said "There is nothing new here - all non-domestic property is rateable (including composting sites) and always has been. As and when the VOA becomes aware of composting sites, these are added to the rating lists."

The VOA has said they will backdate any missed payments from composting companies to 2005, which could have a very negative impact on smaller companies. In response to this and the fact that rates are dependent upon the size of land, facilities and location, rather than the amount of revenue the company makes, the Composting Association believes that the rates system should be reviewed.