Monday, 30 September 2013

A brief look at my Ward work and Shadow Executive Member for Highways & Transport work.

Letter sent to parents asking them not to park on residents garage forecourt when taking their children to Whitelands Park Primary School.  
From time to time, I take a look around the ward of Thatcham West, to see what has been done and what needs my attention! Taking photos is a handy reminder and when I get back to the office I can simply download the photographs from my mobile and email them to the relevant department for the appropriate action to be taken. Here is a selection of photographs showing what local residents have asked me to do for them.

Drains cleaned in Bowling Green Road.
Replaced old road name plates with modern ones.

I arranged for this new lamppost to be moved to the left because the resident couldn't get her car into the drive very easily, and neither could I.
The wires are showing, so the pole needs replacing.
Just checking on the condition of the footpath network near Humber Close. The footpath was converted from a dirt track to tarmac to make it safer and cleaner for pedestrians to use.
Filled hole left by contractors with soil and grass seed for elderly resident.

Cutting back branches overhanging a house.
Planteda tree in Elmhurst Road.
A staggered junction sign that is actually staggered in BGR!
Cleared branches to get some light in.
Cut back the hedge along Bowling Green Road pavement..
Installed new concrete corners to stop vehicles damaging the grass.

Whitelands Park Primary School gets 20 mph speed limit

The resident's petition presented to West Berkshire Council in 2011, has resulted in the installation of parking restrictions outside the school, and just introduced is the 
20 mph speed limit which is operational when the school patrol flashing lights are on.

Will anyone come forward to take up the job of 'Lollipop Person'? You are desperately needed!
Looking south toward the school on Sagecroft Road. Note the flashing lights and sign saying 20 mph when lights show!
Looking east on Sagecroft Road with the new 20 mph sign

Who Dunnit?

The hedgerow bordering the east side of Tull Way, was planted at the same time as the road was constructed. Certainly the idea behind planting the hedge was to give the residents living in Bowling Green Road, protection from the noise and the visual impact of passing traffic.

Looking east from Tull Way across the field to Bowling Green Road
Having returned from holiday, I was quite shocked to see the hedgerow cut to shreds, opening up the whole vista across the field. The Countryside & Environment Department at West Berkshire Council was inundated with complaints, and letters appeared in the local paper. 
I immediately called in to see the department and established that the council was not responsible for cutting the hedge. The hedge in fact is located on highway land belonging to the council.

 I spoke to the owner of the field, Mrs Caroline Graham and she confirmed that she had cut the hedgerow. Having cut the overhang into her field, she thought that it made the rest of the hedgerow look untidy and continued cutting back the remainder.The remains of 9 dead cats were discovered in the hedge after the cutting took place. I have given Mrs Graham my mobile number to contact me first, before cutting any more hedgerow belonging to the council.The hedge will grow about one foot a year depending on the weather. Let's hope the weather is kind to the hedge!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Rush job!

This new highways rush job to improve the flow of traffic at the Thatcham level crossing by introducing a right turn lane into the Sorting Office, has in the view of local observers created a more dangerous road layout.

The bus lay-by is not wide enough to fully accommodate the bus, forcing passing vehicles into the path of traffic using the right hand turn lane into the sorting office. This in turn creates a queue of traffic back over the level crossing northbound. 

If of course you are in a hurry and cannot wait for the barriers to come up, then you can take an alternative route!

Heading toward the barriers southbound to beat the queue!

Or you could wait for the barriers to go up and then be on your way again!!

As a reminder, the study cost £13,300 and was paid 50% from a members bid and 50% from S106, a developers contribution. The cost of implementing the right hand turn lane is approximately £70,000, which would be paid from existing S106 contributions. Whilst undertaking improvements the condition of the carriageway on the approach to the level crossing would also be looked at with a view to possible resurfacing.

Is this scheme value for money? Have the highway improvements made any difference to the flow of traffic in the area, or as some have suggested, has this new highway scheme made crossing the level crossing northbound more dangerous because of the bus holding up the traffic?