Sunday, November 29, 2009

GILBERDYKE Flooding Update

It is now two and a half years since the devastating floods which saw over 50 properties in Gilberdyke affected. During this time Gilberdyke Parish Council has undertaken a considerable amount of work, in the immediate aftermath setting up the Flood Action Group as an informal working group, which allowed members of the community and Parish Councillors to work together towards a solution.

I would like to thank the Gilberdyke residents who supported and worked with the Parish Council as part of the Flood Action Group, in applying pressure on the Lower Ouse Internal Drainage Board, the East Riding of Yorkshire Council and Network Rail to carry out long overdue maintenance work. The organisations cooperated and have undertaken a considerable amount of work to dykes and drains, both inside and outside the village, for the first time in many, many years. These works continue, but those already completed provide significant improvement.

The Parish Council then obtained some £7,800 of Government funding through the East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC), which was used to commission an investigation and produce an independent report into the flooding, identifying particular problem areas, and providing recommendations.

This report was used by the ERYC to identify the most important works required in Gilberdyke, and subsequently the funding of up to £85k has been made available to fund 3 notional schemes in the village. These schemes are at present being designed and include; approximately £20k to facilitate de-silting and investigation of the drainage on Westbrook Crescent, £25k to be used to improve the critical riparian watercourse between Scalby Lane and Far Drain, and £40k to re-cut and pipe other ditches at various locations in the village. This will improve the drainage and help prevent a repetition of the 2007 floods.

The East Riding of Yorkshire Council has been working with the Lower Ouse Internal Drainage Board (LOIDB) to survey the existing dykes within Gilberdyke and this work is now almost complete. The next step is for drawings to be produced detailing the options, which will then be put to the Flood Action Group before the end of December 2009. Further public consultation will then be carried out in the very early part of the New Year before the work starts. This work is envisaged to be substantially completed before the beginning of March 2010 when Habitat Regulations 1994 prevent further major work being carried out until September.

The ERYC and its partners have undertaken other similar schemes to Gilberdyke elsewhere in the East Riding since 2007. Some of these schemes have only recently been completed, due mainly to the complexity of the issues involved. The Council will continue to work with its partners to reduce the risk of flooding in the future.

The ERYC will out of courtesy contact the riparian owners of the watercourses to obtain consent prior to work commencing, it is hoped that no objections will be forthcoming, and the householders who have piped dykes running behind their properties allow the work to be carried out without delay.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Offenders on the Community Payback Scheme work with the East Riding of Yorkshire Council to repair Goole road

The lack of maintenance of the unadopted road behind the shops at Goole’s Colonels Walk has been a contentious issue for a considerable time. Goole North Ward Councillor Keith Moore brought the issue to the Goole and Howdenshire Local Action Team (LAT) as an issue that was difficult to solve, and was having an adverse affect on local residents and businesses.

Cllr Keith Moore, LAT Officer Tania Pells and myself, in my role as LAT Chairman, came up with an innovative solution by bringing on board the Humberside Probation Service and the East Riding of Yorkshire Council to get the work done.
Six offenders on the Community Payback scheme, who live in Goole and were carrying out their punishment in the town, provided the labour, while the Probation Service and the Council carried out the supervision and provided the tools to do the job. Within 4 hours the potholes had been filled in and the road rolled and compacted.
The positive comments afterwards from the local businesses and residents, was all that was needed to demonstrate a job well done!
Having offenders carrying out their punishment through the Community Payback scheme in the area in which they live is positive, having them working on community projects is beneficial, but having them work with other organisations like the Council to deliver solutions to identified problems is a way of maximising impact for a given amount of money.
This joining up of activity and thinking is a way of making public funds go further, possibly something we need to see more of in the future as money becomes tighter?
(Pictured with Cllr Keith Moore, residents, local business people and the ERYC staff - needless to say, and understandably, the offenders on the Community Payback didn't want to be photographed)

Broadband difficulties in Howdenshire Villages

On a number of occasions I have been approached regarding the broadband speeds in and around Howdenshire Villages, particularly Bubwith, Newport and Home On Spalding Moor (HOSM). There are instances where broadband speeds and mobile phone signal strength are so low it makes both working from home or running a business that requires a high speed internet connection almost impossible.

Broadband is no longer considered a luxury - it has become an essential service delivering commercial, economic and social benefits. It may be a determining factor for an employee who wishes to work from home or an individual or company looking to set up or expand a business in the area. It may be students wanting to use the internet to help with their coursework, or people who simply want to communicate more easily with others through social networking sites such as facebook.

One resident, a consultant working as part of a London based team in the agricultural and food industry, has particular problems and is probably the worst case in the area (unless someone knows differently). The situation was barely adequate before the early part of the year when the BT cable was accidentally cut necessitating a repair, and since then achieving a landline broadband connection has been almost impossible. His situation is compounded by poor mobile phone coverage so mobile broadband is difficult too. To carry out the large part of his work requiring a broadband connection now means visiting someone else’s house.

Although broadband now covers 99% of the country, the Government acknowledge that speeds are variable and service is weak or non-existent in some areas. Generally in Newport, Bubwith and HOSM speeds are slower than in other similar communities, and the speeds differ with the distance from the exchange, so those living at the edges of the villages suffer more, as shown in the case of the resident above. You might be interested in taking a look at which will provide home users an instant free test of their actual broadband speed.

The East Riding of Yorkshire Council recognises the rural economy’s increasing dependence on technology such as broadband availability and has written to the Government Minister urging the Government to fulfil its promise of making internet connectivity available to all.

Rural Broadband accessibility was looked into by the Council’s Greater Prosperity Overview and Scrutiny Committee this last week and will look further into the problem during the coming year, if anyone would like to provide any evidence or information to this committee please let me know.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Gilberdyke, Newport and North Cave's 'Wallingfen Way' Project Moving Forward

On Gilberdyke's ageing footbridge with the Leeds Metropolitan University civil engineering students

The Parish Councils of Gilberdyke, Newport and North Cave have over the past six months worked closely with the Goole and Howdenshire Local Action Team (LAT) and Howdenshire Forward to move the 'Wallingfen Way' ( B1230) project forward.

This project concerns a stretch of road like no other. Newport and Gilberdyke village communities are effectively split in half by what was once the only East West route from Hull to the rest of the UK. As a result, significant problems remain including a wide carriageway (dual through and between Gilberdyke and Newport), relatively high speed limits and remnants of trunk road infrastructure that are obsolete and counter intuitive to all users. North Cave suffers slightly different problems including parking, HGV movements and a very difficult junction.

The local communities set the following overall aims:

  • Reclaim the B1230 for the benefit of our communities
  • Create community/village boundary delineation and focal points (possibly iconic, gateways)
  • Improve the aesthetic/visual appearance of the environs of the road (including footpaths and boundaries) both within and between the villages. Including the de-cluttering of both signage and paint. Encouraging residents and landowners to participate in the visual enhancement of their properties and boundaries in an environmentally friendly way e.g. tree planting
  • Create a ‘sense’ of Village community identity by enabling ‘Shared Spaces’
  • Create a ‘soft’ pathway for movement between villages; e.g. continuous footpaths, bridleways and cycleways.

Members of Gilberdyke, Newport and North Cave Parish Councils and other volunteers have undertaken their own walkability audit of their villages to identify issues with the road. This past week has seen 20 Civil Engineering students from Leeds Metropolitan University carrying out site visits for a project briefing and starting to work on viable solutions. Work with local schools on possible designs for village gateways and signs will commence soon, as well as exploring options for business sponsorships.

We will then see the Students submit design proposals, a draft design guide for key stakeholders will then be produced and a mounted exhibition of draft proposals will take place followed by revision of the draft before the final version is published and a launch event takes place.

The Yorkshire Post covered this story, many thanks to journalist Chris Berry who wrote the piece highlighting the issue. This can be found at: