Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Howdenshire Neighbourhood Policing Team respond within 20 minutes of a call to their non-emergency number

Newport’s nature trail and play area along Canal Side West, and the neighbouring semi derelict property, have been a target for vandals and, according to some residents, a hideaway for drug use recently. I was innocently walking past the site (whilst delivering leaflets!) when I saw two suspicious characters walking out of the nature trail area dressed in black clothing, unshaven, quite thin and very pale, and there was also a car parked out of place alongside the road nearby. To compound my suspicions when I shouted ‘good morning’ they failed to respond and turned to walk back into the nature trail.

I thought something was not quite right, and did what any responsible citizen would do – called the Police Control Centre on the non-emergency number on 0845 60 60 222 . This was at 11.28am. At 11.46am I got a call from the Howdenshire Neighbourhood Police Team’s Inspector on a totally unrelated matter, as I sat on the canal bank wall to talk on the phone, a police car sped by and stopped directly in front of the suspicious vehicle - this was at 11.48am.

After about twenty minutes the vehicle with the two suspicious characters passed by, closely followed by the police car, which stopped when they saw me. The officers gave me a brief update of their findings and said they would continue to monitor the area.

I guess the moral of the story is that the Police non-emergency number really does work, and to get a response within 20mins from the Howdenshire Neighbourhood Policing Team is fantastic and a credit to Inspector Mike Bower and his team.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A great morning with the 12 new recruits to Humberside Police

Almost exactly a year ago I was invited to speak to the new Police Constables recruited by Humberside Police – Well I guess I must have done something right because today I was invited to spend the morning with the 12 recruits for this year - 6 weeks into their training and they get me talking about the role of Councillors, how we can have an input into Policing, Local Action Teams, and partnership working.

(I'm not sure why - but every time I park in a Police Station car park I always have the urge to check my vehicle tax disc and tyre tread depth!)

I cannot recall spending time with such a positive and enthusiastic group of people; all the recruits have either been PCSOs, Specials, or administrators within Humberside Police, so had a good grounding in Neighbourhood policing.

PC Chris Hughes (the Police Officer seconded to the East Riding Local Action Team project) and I managed approximately one and half hours without the recruits becoming bored or falling asleep, which must be some achievement particularly considering most of it was unscripted and spontaneous, but also interactive.

12 great recruits; who I’m sure will make great Police Officers in the weeks, months and years to come.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

New Fast Bus Service from Gilberdyke and Brough to Hull

Great News for Gilberdyke residents - A brand new express bus route between Gilberdyke, Elloughton, Brough and Hull is to be launched by East Yorkshire Motor Services on Monday 26 April, providing the quickest-ever bus journeys from the Brough area into the heart of Hull.

The route will also go through the city centre rather than going direct to the Interchange with all journeys passing Princes Quay and peak time journeys serving the Guildhall and Hull College. Scheduled time between Brough centre and the city centre will be under 35 minutes, cutting up to 13 minutes off the time taken by the long-established 155 route which serves other villages on the way.

Using brand new single deck buses in a special livery the ‘PETUARIA EXPRESS’ will initially provide ten return journeys on Mondays to Fridays but the company says that if successful it will certainly consider increasing the service.

The journeys are carefully timed to suit commuters working in Hull and journeys between the peaks should prove ideal for shoppers. The route also passes the door of HRI so should also be good for hospital staff and visitors.

EYMS claims that from the centre of Brough to the centre of Hull will be as quick if not quicker than the train allowing for walking times to Brough station and from Hull Paragon to the Old Town area. At just £5 return and £20.50 for a weekly ticket the fares also compare favourably with the train especially if station parking costs are added. Even a comparison with the car is good when rising fuel costs and city car park charges are taken into account.

The population of Brough in particular has expanded a great deal recently with more houses still being built and the new route is the first significant improvement in public transport provision in the area for many years and is designed to cater for the growing population, many of whom work or shop in Hull.

The route will be ‘branded’ on a Roman theme, reflecting the fact that Brough was a significant Roman settlement called Petuaria, and the new route coincides with the 1600th anniversary of the year the Romans finally left Britain in 410AD.

The single deck buses will have a very eye-catching livery incorporating the Roman theme but also based on the traditional EYMS colours of indigo and primrose which were used by the Lee and Beulah company which was based in Elloughton and was one of the companies from which EYMS was formed in 1926.

Timetable information can be found at:

Conclusion of the East Riding of Yorkshire Council's Car Parking Review

Back in January I predicted that the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Car Parking Review would be completed and the decision would be popular with the majority of residents.

I decided to speak on the issue when it came to full Council and voted to support the findings and recommendations of the Review as I did feel the Council had listened to people over the last few months and thought the report and its recommendations reflected what people have told us – it was about compromise and by and large I think overall the majority of East Riding residents will be happy, but there are a few who will not - and some who never will be.

The most common comments I’d heard was regarding the half an hour free parking, I acknowledge this would be long enough to go to the bank or chemist – but perhaps not for visiting the hairdressers, visiting more than one shop, or having a leisurely cup of coffee.

For me car parking should be localised as much as possible and decision-making should be made at the local level.

Prior to the Council meeting I, along with Goole North Cllr Jean Kitchen, Prospective Conservative MP for Brigg and Goole Andrew Percy, and ERYC Portfolio Holder for car parking Cllr Matthew Grove attended a meeting of business people in Goole to discuss car parking in the town. It was clear that the business people where giving out mixed messages; on one hand they thought that having charges on car parking would prevent customers coming into the town - and on the other complaining that there was nowhere to park as presently the carparks are full during the day, which deterred customers.

Herein lies the issue of how important footfall is to traders in places such as Goole. A carpark is of little use if it is full, no trader wants to see a would-be customer to driving around a carpark, not able find a space and so drives off. A customer needs to be able to park with relative ease, do their shopping have a cup of coffee or whatever, and then depart, leaving a car parking space for the next customer. One only has to observe what happens in a large supermarket carpark to see how this works.

This is why carparking needs to be managed – managed to achieve the maximum footfall through the doors of local businesses and this is how parking charges can really benefit the business community.

But this is not going to be achieved by a ‘one size fits all’ policy on carparking and the ERYC Car Parking Review report sought to recognise this - the sea front parking at Bridlington is different to Goole town centre, Beverley is different to Willerby, and Hedon is different to Hessle.

It was my opinion that the Council is providing a template that can be adapted or added to by Town or Parish Councils, or business groups if they wish. I would fully support any community that wished to increase the free parking from half an hour – BUT it is important that the decision for this should be made locally, by local people and businesses, it could and should, be then funded locally through the Town or Parish Council precept, a local levy, or voluntary contributions…

Finally this is not going to happen tommorrow as the recommendendations will not come into force for two years, a lot can happen in the next two years, and I hope the ERYC will use this time in helping local people come up with local solutions to car parking in their communities… Isn’t this what localism is all about?