Thursday, 28 February 2013

When a scheme comes together!

Park & Stride from the Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre car park. This car park was set up so that parents can park and walk their children to Parsons Down Schools.

Unfortunately, when it snows or rains, the car park surface becomes rather muddy. Your shoes and anything else near to the ground gets covered in a yellow slush. Is this why parents have decided not to use the car park? 

One view of the car park with potholes and the surface is rather muddy. 
Would you want to walk your child to school in this mud and then go onto work with your shoes covered in a yellow substance?

Parking on zig zags at the entrance to Parsons Down School, on Derwent Road.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Do you like West Berkshire as a 'hole'?

Well obviously someone does! This hole reveals the traffic impact sensor wires, eastbound on the A4, just before the traffic light junction at the A4/ Hambridge Road .

                                                                                      This could be costly....
                            ......and so could this one at the KFC mini roundabout.

Approaching the table top crossing point outside the Kennet Centre entrance.

I have suggested to the Council that inspectors could fill potholes as they drive around the district rather than report them and then wait for a contractor to fill them. This should save time and money and reduce the number of vehicles getting damaged. 

If you see a pothole you can report it to Streetcare on 01635 519080 or go online to

We no longer have to grit our teeth!

Because here it is, a grit bin with grit in it! After the heavy snow in January, I got to work clearing the snow and ice from the junction of Mersey Way & Bowling Green Road. Vehicles were getting stuck on the ice trying to get out onto Bowling Green Road.   

Grit bin!
This situation was potentially very dangerous and could have left cars stranded in the path of vehicles moving along Bowling Green Road. There is a telephone number on the bin to get it refilled, but the grit is only to be used on the road, not for personal use!

Thank you Thatcham Town Council for supplying the bin and West Berkshire Council for filling the bin with grit. The local residents really appreciate it.

Monday, 25 February 2013

"No to Newbury On Street Parking Charges!"

The Council wants to introduce on street parking charges around Newbury, on the following roads.

Faraday Road, Ampere Road, Bartholomew Street, the Broadway, Catherine Road, Cheap Street, Fleming Road, Kelvin Road, Kings Road West, Link Road, Marconi Road, Newtown Road, parts of Northbrook Street, Old Bath Road, Pelican Lane and West Mills!

I have stated in the press, that in the current fragile economy, the last thing that should be introduced is on street parking charges. We are all used to popping in to pick up a sandwich or fish and chips, a newspaper, a part for a bike, household tools art materials or a takeaway. All these varied and wonderful services are provided by independent traders who are located in the very streets the Council wants to introduce parking charges on. There is a very high risk that shoppers who are forced to use their mobile phones to buy a parking ticket will go out of town where the parking is free. Do we really want to see more empty shop fronts in Newbury, or are we going to support the independent traders who contribute to the economic vitality and stability of the town?

Businesses close to the town centre also rely on street parking for their employees and customers coming to see them. If the scheme goes ahead then office workers could be forced to park in residential areas. Other towns that rely on independent retailers for their success, like Thatcham, could be next.

Paul's Breakfast Bar owner is taking part in a petition to stop the Council from introducing on street parking in Faraday Road. Over two hundred signatures have been collected from employees working at Faraday Road businesses in two days. Many more signatures have been collected from independent retailers in Newbury town centre. The petition will be presented to West Berkshire Council on Tuesday 5 March 2013.  


Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Thatcham West Councillors on tour!

There are two district and three town councillors representing Thatcham West! We are from very different backgrounds but have one common aim. To do our best to improve the quality of life for everyone living not only in our Ward but right across West Berkshire.

Town Councillor Lynne Pettyfer checking out one of the new children's swings at the Henwick play park.

Town Councillor Gary Johnson tries out one of the adult gym's 'leg warmers'.


Pound Lane play park where you can find the new children's play equipment and adult gym.

There has been a big push to get new children's play equipment and adult gym apparatus into our playing fields and I am pleased to say that we have had a very positive response from parents, children and users of the gym equipment.

                         From left to right standing beside the lake at the Discovery Centre.
             Town Councillor's Gary Johnson and Brian Barnes & District Councillor Jeff Brooks.

The Thatcham West councillors took a tour of the Ward,ending up at the picturesque Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre, off Lower Way. Judging by the large number of families and children enjoying the play equipment, walking their dogs and feeding the wild fowl on the lake, the centre has grown into a major success story!

Thursday, 14 February 2013

CCTV - 'It's life Captain, but not as we know it.'

Looking up at the CCTV camera at the Bear Lane roundabout Newbury, on a cold winters day in February. You may have noticed that for the last year, this camera has not moved. Perhaps some WD40 is required!

CCTV at the Robinhood gyratory Newbury.


CCTV camera at the the junction of the A4 with Hambridge Road Newbury.
I cant remember when I last saw this camera move either!

Just imagine if these three cameras were linked to monitor traffic flow across Newbury. Someone 'up there' could simply alter the traffic lights to reduce traffic congestion. We might then be able to get to work on time and the local economy would get a boost! 

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Bodge It & Scarper!

'It's not what you do, it's the way that you do it!'  Just how many times does a pothole inspector or a road repair contractor drive over a pothole without getting out to repair it?

The biggest bugbear for residents is that they see tar being dropped into a hole and within a day or so, it comes out again. Is that value for money?

Dorset Council have adopted a new stance.

They say 'Allow our inspectors to fix the repairs they find'

'Rather than mark up a pothole for repair later-on by a works gang, we are changing our work practices to allow our inspectors to make repairs on the spot. This may not be possible in every case, but will speed up the time taken to fix many potholes and reduce the amount of administration.'

This proactive approach was one of my initiatives which was rejected by the Conservative administration!


Monday, 4 February 2013

Pouring oil on troubled waters!

                                         Photo by kind permission of NWN

Sunday morning 20 January, I received a call from Town Councillor Brian Barnes, alerting me to oil tankers sliding on ice over the weekend, on Pound Lane Thatcham. An articulated tanker carrying in excess of 30,000 ltrs of oil was expected to arrive at the oil depot in Pound Lane at 07.00 the next morning.

Having contacted the out of hours emergency service based in Bromley Kent, twice during the day, the reply from the highways duty officer via the Bromley based contact centre was on the lines of " All councillors are consulted on the plan for proposed gritting for the coming winter, in the autumn. That's the opportunity for local councillors to ask for the road to be included on the primary route, before the plan is put in place."

Needless to say I have referred the matter to the Chief Executive of West Berkshire Council, and action is being taken to ensure that in future the highways duty officer speaks directly with a councillor and responds positively.     

There's no magic in this roundabout!

Eight shocking months to construct a roundabout at Hambridge Road on a main link road to Newbury.
I think the contractors are going round in circles!

Rumours abound that mistakes have been made during the construction of the roundabout, taking the completion date from November 2012 to February 2013, but no public announcement has been made by the contractor explaining what has gone wrong!

I asked the Conservative administration at West Berkshire Council, if financial penalties would be imposed on the racecourse developer who employed the contractors.(council let contracts can be subject to financial penalties if the work is not completed on time) but the reply was NO!  I have asked the Highways Dept to review the situation urgently. 

Stop Press! News just in - the works have been extended yet again, to March!