Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Goole and Howdenshire Local Action Team to facilitate meeting over Gilberdyke tip

The issue of the tip between Gilberdyke and Newport was brought up at the Goole and Howdenshire Local Action Team (LAT) meeting held in Goole last week.

One of the LAT partners, Neighbourhood Police Inspector Mike Bower drew attention to the police concern about the apparent growing tensions between residents and the tip operator. These allegedly due to the poor management of the site, rubbish blowing off site, smell, high number and speed of HGVs using the site.

It was decided that the best way forward to reduce the tensions and was for the LAT to organise a meeting between the tip operator, a representative group of residents and other interested parties.

According to Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, another partner on the LAT, some of the litter/fire risk hazards have been dealt with e.g. the tip coated with soil and the lorries are being netted reducing the amount of litter in the road, lay-bys and fields.

However, the LAT is concerned that something is done about the situation as soon as possible and that tensions are reduced.

Just a small point of clarification, many will know that I chair the Local Action Team, but due to protocols in the run-up to the local elections that prevent elected Ward members calling a meeting with Council Officers and the public, it was agreed that the LAT officer call a meeting between residents, the tip operator, Council and Environment Agency, to start a dialogue with the aim of resolving some of the issues in the short term, before the future of the tip is determined by the ERYC Planning Committee.

Hopefully the meeting will be held within the next week.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Gilberdyke Parish Council says No to extending the life of local tip

At last week’s meeting of Gilberdyke Parish Council the members decided to oppose the planning application to extend the life of the Gilberdyke Landfill Site on Leatherdog Lane.*

Eleven Newport residents attended and were given the opportunity to put their concerns to the members. It was accepted that over the long years of operation of this particular landfill site there had been many complaints to the Parish Council, and it was believed complaints had also been to the Environment Agency.

The Parish Council agreed that the site should be allowed to run until November 2011, then for operations to cease for good, but raised concerns that the amount of traffic, the size of the lorries, and the fact that long hours during the 6½ days the tip is open is affecting the day to day living experiences of the residents on Thimblehall Lane and through the village of Newport. Concerns were also raised that HGVs were also using other routes to the tip including Newport’s Mill Lane.

The Council also raised concerns regarding health and safety in respect of litter from the tip being allowed to blow over the surrounding land and nearby properties.

It was demanded by the Parish Council (not requested) that a classified vehicle count be conducted at the entrance to the site, to indicate the size, type and number of vehicles using the site and at what times, and this should be done immediately.

In conclusion Gilberdyke Parish Council requests that both parts of the planning application be refused and use of the site ceased for good in November 2011.

(*As an ERYC Councillor who presently sits on the Planning Committee that will ultimately decide the future of the site, I took no part in the debate or the decision making – so as not to pre-determine my position which could prevent me from voting on the application as a Planning Committee Member)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Why I will be voting NO to AV

Many people are angry about the way some politicians abused the way they were able to claim expenses – but for me this doesn’t mean the system for electing them is at fault. We have good politicians locally, but this may not be the same in other areas, therefore we may need better politicians - but to get these we certainly don’t need to change the way they are elected.

The current system is called ‘first past the post’ where the winner is the one that comes first, and has stood our Country, and many others around the world, in good stead for hundreds of years. In election after election, it has given our country the kind of government it was seeking – the occasional coalition mixed in with plenty of strong governments that reflected the type of leadership, we wanted at the time.

There are lots of genuine reforms which would go some way to restoring people’s trust in politics, many of these that will enable local people to have more say in the decisions that affect them. I am all for reform of many of our present systems of government, but the way we elect our politicians is not one of them.

The current system creates strong governments, it’s simple to understand, it’s the most widely used system in the world, it’s quick and easy to count, but importantly it’s cheap to administer, and above all else its fair – giving one person, one vote, rather than some people’s vote being counted more than once.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Newport Tip - the situation getting worse for residents

I have a great deal of sympathy for the residents of Newport who are affected by the smell, litter and Vehicle movements associated with the tip located at the side of the M62 between Gilberdyke and Newport. The tip has been on the site for many years and for the most part has been a reasonable neighbour to residents.

But all this seems to have changed over recent months and we now see the amount of waste being delivered to the site increasing significantly. This is having a negative impact on the quality of live for a great many Newport and Gilberdyke residents as they are subject to, increased HGV movements past their homes from very early in the morning till late at night, plastic bags and other rubbish being blown across the fields and littering the hedgerows, and obnoxious smells coming from the site.

Early on Tuesday morning some residents of Newport’s Thimble Hall Lane parked their cars at each side of the road to prevent the passing of HGVs onto the site for a short period of time, as a gesture against the HGV movements. I am told that two representatives (thought to be from one of the companies using the tip) stopped in a Range Rover, and rather than engaging with residents to listen to their concerns, informed them they’d called the police. Ironically I have today received complaints from the residents of Newport’s Mill Lane about a Range Rover travelling along Mill Lane at high speeds thought to be above the speed limit.

At last night's Newport Parish Council meeting an unheard of 35 members of the public attended, and proceeded to describe the situation. I was certainly surprised to hear that yesterday they had witnessed over 150 HGV movements along Thimblehall Lane to and from the tip, and the day before the last lorry passed at ten past ten in the evening. But it was surprising to hear from residents living alongside the other routes to the tip along both Mill Lane and Landing lane that were also complaining about the increased HGV movements. It was also stressed that a number of the vehicles were from the North East of the Country.

I certainly find it very disturbing to see the operation of the tip expanding at such an alarming rate, especially when the documentation from the applicant received by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council on 8th March 2011, as part of the Planning Application to extend the life of the site states, “ Due to the much reduced input of waste, traffic volumes have consequently reduced. At the anticipated revised output, traffic levels will remain below those expected in 1999. On Average, 20 vehicle movements per day, including employees and visitors are expected”.

“To be blunt, on the evidence I’ve seen I really wonder just who the applicant is trying to kid here”.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Newport littered by plastic bags blowing from tip

I’ve had a number of calls recently regarding the amount of litter and in particular plastic bags blowing across the fields from the west towards Newport.

When I checked, I found this is coming from the tip alongside the M62 adjacent to Gilberdyke’s Leatherdog Lane, blowing across the fields and getting caught in the hedgerows and fences, particularly along the side of Newport’s Thimblehall Lane and the hedgerows between.

When I looked closer the amount of litter coming from the tip is quite widespread and clearly not acceptable. I have asked the Council’s public protection officers to look into this. I have also had a number of historic complaints from the farmer of the land south of the tip regarding surface water run-off and potential pollution.

The owners of the tip have recently made an application to the East Riding of Yorkshire Council to extend the life of the site. This follows a similar extension approved in 2006. Whilst the site is technically in Gilberdyke Parish the HGV movements to and from the site are almost all via Newport’s Thimblehall Lane. A number of people have raised issues around this application to vary the condition on the life of this site.

I hope that this application will be heard before the Council’s Strategic Planning Committee (which is made up of Councillors) rather than be determined by Council Officers under delegated powers. This would allow for a full and frank debate and for residents to be given the opportunity to put their points to the Committee.

I feel that Newport Parish Council should be fully consulted on this planning application because of the HGVs travelling to the site down Thimblehall Lane.

Details of the application can be found by clicking here

If you wish to comment on the application please write to: Pete Ashcroft, Head of Planning, ERYC, County Hall, Beverley, HU17 9BA – or by email at quoting reference. Application 11/00931/STVARE, Gilberdyke Landfill Site, Leatherdog Lane, Newport

Monday, April 04, 2011

Howden Secondary School Moving Forward

As both a parent of a year 7 pupil and Governor at Howden Secondary School, I attended last week’s parents meeting to discuss the progress the school is making on implementing our Post Ofsted Action Plan, and to discuss the findings of the Local Authority inspections.

As a Governor appointed after the school found itself in special measures I feel one of my key roles is to scrutinise the school leadership and the performance of the school, and whenever possible be the voice of the parents – asking the questions they would want to ask. But as Governors, our job is also to take an overview and to offer support to staff and, where possible, advice.

I have been impressed by the concept of ‘Team Howden,’ the team ethos that now runs through everything the school does. This has improved communication throughout the school, and brought together teachers, pupils, parents and Governors in one team to move the school forward and lift if out of Special Measures – a tag nobody connected with the School or any parent wants to see.

The progress since September has been excellent in my view. Attendance has improved, the number of children being removed from lessons has reduced, the number of exclusions has fallen, and most importantly very few of the lessons observed by the School’s Leadership Team and the independent Local Authority Inspectors have been graded as unsatisfactory, with most now being satisfactory to good.

The extra pressures of being in Special Measures have of course affected the staff. The changes in ways of working and the increased workload have contributed to the rise in the sickness rates, resulting in a bigger dependency on supply teachers, which is a concern. The resulting lack of continuity, being real or perceived, does raise questions as to whether the pupils are reaching their full potential. This is something the Governors and Leadership Team are aware of and are looking to address as soon as possible.

At the recent Governors meeting is was unanimously agreed to continue with the services of Dave McCready as Executive Head and Gary Garghan as Acting Head for a further year. I have been seriously impressed with what both have done for the school, they have in many ways renewed the school and by putting in place new policies and procedures have laid a strong foundation on which to rebuild. I stated at the meeting that Dave McCready and Gary Garghan were best qualified to rebuild on that foundation, and am pleased to see them continue their great work.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

HGVs mis-directed through Broomfleet

HGV movements through Broomfleet are a long standing issue that has been raised with me by a number of people.

The problem appears to be confusion with lorries following a Satnav when travelling to the Broomfleet Works of Sandtoft Tilleries, and confusion with a HU15 postcode directing them to the village. Both these factors result in heavy lorries destined for the tile works finding themselves in the village, and having to turn around or back up, especially when they get to the weak bridge and weight limit sign at the end of Main Street.

To have the software on Satnav systems changed is very difficult and can take a long time to be effective. But I have asked the ERYC to look at whether the signage can be improved and if additional signage directing HGVs to the tile works can be installed, particularly in Newport at the junction where vehicles turn off the B1230 onto Wallingfen Lane, but also at other routes to Broomfleet.

I have spoken to Sandtoft Tilleries and I’m reassured that they are doing their bit in directing delivery lorries via Gilberdyke’s Tongue Lane, including giving out the DN14 postcode for the road at Oxmardyke.