Friday, 31 October 2014

Halloween Fun in Frodsham

A great big thank you to everyone who has been helping out in Frodsham to make sure our youngsters have a spooky and fun Halloween.

This morning Lynn and I went to our fantastic Frodsham Library where our Librarian Jen Evans was leading story time.  Its quite a while since anyone has read to me.  As you can see the children were in fancy dress.

I'm always impressed by Jen and her team - and we've some more good news about our Library which will be announced next week.

This afternoon I was joined by Cllr Fran Sutton (Deputy Mayor of Frodsham) to judge a pumpkin carving competition at Frodsham Youth Association.   A big thank you to all the volunteers who make the Youth Association such a fantastic place for our children to hang out together.  I'm sure many parents are grateful that there is a safe place for our youngsters to go to - especially evenings during the holidays.

As you can see from the photographs the standard of workmanship in the pumpkin carving competition was excellent.  We raided the CWaC 'goody bag reservoir' and made sure that all our junior carvers left with something.  

A big thank you to Andy and Sarah from CWaC who also helped make this such a memorable day.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Are these footpaths just footpaths... or a bridleways... what's your view?

Have a look at this map - it highlights three footpaths FP8 in Frodsham and FP33 and FP19 in Kingsley.

Footpath FP8 starts, as you can see on the map, at Ellis Lane.  It runs almost parallel to the River Weaver and then the Weaver Navigation - approximately a fields width from the water before joining the road that runs to Catton Hall.   Here the route is designated FP33 Kingsley.  At Catton Hall the path, now designated FP19 Kingsley turns sharply south and runs ultimately to Pike Lane.

In 1999 and in 2004 the old County Council received applications suggesting that this route should either be a Bridleway - in other words a route that can be used by horse riders and cyclists, or a byway open to all traffic (otherwise known somewhat confusingly as a BOAT).  A BOAT can be used by walkers, riders (horse and cyclists) as well as by motorised or non motorised vehicles.

Seemingly these applications were not determined - and so CWaC now has to consider them and determine them.  This is a formal legal process - and one that requires the assessment of evidence.  The council will have to determine whether there are public rights to use these footpaths as bridleways or BOATs.

Keep your eyes peeled for formal rounds of consultation.  This is one of those issues where many people will have lots of opinions....

Opinions are interesting - but the council will be looking for evidence - how have these paths been used and for how long.  If this is something you know about or if it that interests you - make sure you have your say.

Peel's plans for Ince Resource Recovery Park - aka waste incineration

I've just received the attached press release from Peel Holdings.  
These are their words not mine!  At this stage I am making no comment on these proposals.

Press Release                29 October 2014

Peel Environmental to work with BWV to deliver Ince Park

Peel Environmental has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Babcock & Wilcox Volund (BWV) to progress the consented Ince Resource Recovery Park in Cheshire.

The deal will see Peel and BVW work together to pursue the development, construction and operation of the consented Energy from Waste plant which will service local needs and industry.

Jane Gaston, Development Manager, Peel Environmental said:

“We are delighted to be working with BWV to take Ince Park forward. The site is already consented and with a delivery partner onboard, we are targeting having an operational facility by 2019.

“Ince Park could deliver a new renewable energy source for the region, reducing the reliance on landfill and exportation of waste overseas. We are now looking to get contracts in place with local waste producers.”

Simon Allin, Business Development Director, B&W Volund said:

“Ince Park is in a great location to service the North West region, with the potential to provide low carbon and renewable heat and electricity to businesses in the local area. We are looking forward to working with Peel Environmental to deliver a state-of-the-art facility.”

Located near Ellesmere Port, the plant would take household and commercial & industrial residual waste from the region. Construction is planned to start in 2016 with the first line operational by 2019. For further information on commercial opportunities contact:

Jane Gaston, Peel Environmental Limited
Simon Allin, B&W Volund



-          Peel Environmental owns, manages and develops properties in the waste, mineral and environmental technology sectors.  We are at the forefront of developing new infrastructure and are now developing Resource Recovery Parks - modern, clean and sustainable industrial parks that are focused on the reprocessing and remanufacturing of waste materials for efficient energy use. 

-          Peel Environmental is a division of The Peel Group, one of the leading infrastructure, real estate and investment enterprises in the UK. Our diverse network of businesses ranges from ports to airports; land to leisure; media to hotels; wind farms to shopping centres, and a portfolio of investments in major public companies.

-          The Ince Park development has full outline consent and part detailed consent. It will comprise an Energy from Waste (EfW) facility and Environmental Technologies Complex – a cluster of waste management and environmental technology facilities. For further details visit

-          When built, Ince Park will:
·         Create up to 3,264 jobs in total
·         Represent a £500million investment into the site
·         Produce a total economic benefit of between £78 and £134 million of direct and indirect Gross Value Added to the economy each year
·         Divert waste from landfill, using it to generate  renewable and low carbon heat and electricity

-          BWV is one of the world’s leading suppliers of renewable energy plants, with more than 50 reference facilities built in the last 15 years, and more than 500 lines in total installed in 30 countries world wide. These facilities have been developed to process a range of fuels, for example, household and commercial and industrial residual waste, refuse derived fuel, and waste wood.

-          BWV’s solutions are based on providing its own proprietary technologies covering the complete technology solution, except for the turbine. Full turnkey EPC solutions are provided in conjunction with BWV’s UK construction partners.

-          BWV is owned by Babcock & Wilcox based in the US. The parent Company has more than 140 years of experience of developing boiler and energy solutions and designs, manufacture and construction of power generation facilities.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Speed limit reductions

New 50mph limit at the Netherton heading towards Helsby
I do hope you've all been noticing the changed speed limits along some of our main roads - such as along the A56 between Frodsham and Helsby, along Tarvin Road, and Commonside.

Following local consultations and lobbying where residents expressed clear views that they wanted the speed limits reducing Cllr Lynn Riley and I in Frodsham, along with Cllr Eleanor Johnson in Gowy Ward have contributed to the costs of the legal orders and the changed signage out of our members grants.

From a personal perspective I'm always anxious to make sure any changed speed limit strikes the right balance between road safety for all road users and allowing motorists to make sensible safe progress on their journeys.  I'll readily support a reduced speed limit down from say a de-restricted limit where travelling at 60mph on that road would be too fast to a limit that makes sense for the road conditions.

This afternoon I was asked to perform in the 'usual' photo shoots.  I'm not looking for sympathy but posing next to a road sign isn't an everyday activity for me!  And I ended up doing 3 photoshoots - one with Cllr Johnson and her Alvanley colleagues and two in Frodsham.  One near the Ridgeway and the other on the A56 near the Netherton.
On Tarvin Road by the Ridgeway heading towards Frodsham
At the Netherton heading into Frodsham

Now we had hoped that we would have been able to have consistent re-signing along Tarvin Road and up to Frodsham Road at Alvanley - however we weren't able to persuade Cllr Ford from Helsby.  So when you drive along that road and you come across a short de-restricted stretch you'll know you've crossed the border into Helsby and out again!

On the border with Helsby - please drive safely

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Budget setting at CWaC

Last Thursday we set the budget for 2015-16 at CWaC.

For those of you who know about public sector budget setting - you'll appreciate that normally council budgets are set in February or March and come into effect on 1st April.

This year CWaC was able to set its budget early because last year we set a 3 year budget.  This was year 2 of the 3 year budget, and everything remains on track.  We will formally set the council tax rate in February or March 2015 as expected, however on the basis of this budget it is already clear that the council tax does not have to increase.  We are on course for another year of 0% council tax rises.  The final decision on this will be taken in February 2015.

I know from the basis of checking this last year that this will mean that since CWaC came into existence in 2009 there has been a real terms reduction in the council tax charged in excess of 12%.  In other words, taking account of inflation, the council tax likely to be charged in 2015-16 will be more than 12% lower than it was in 2009-10.  I'll work out the figures in February 2015.

The Council meeting on Thursday night was one of the most political meetings we have had.  Whilst you'd never expect me as a Conservative Councillor to be particularly praiseworthy of Labour's efforts I have to say their performances were particularly poor.  And if you don't believe me - just watch the webcast.

What we did learn from Labour is that if they did, God-forbid, win any of the elections in May 2015 they will raise the Council Tax in CWaC.

I quoted, at the council meeting, a letter written by Hilary Benn MP Labour's Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.  He stated in his letter of 25 August 2014 that whilst in the first year of any Labour Government they would stick to the budget figures set by the present government they would move money around between councils to favour what they term the 'deprived councils.'  This, in my view, is code for saying they will take money away from CWaC and give it to inner city councils - which, even under this government, receive far more money per head than CWaC receives.  The only way a council loosing money in this way can make it up, is by increasing the council tax.

Labour's Cllr Powell indicated that Labour would do away with Special Expenses in CWaC.  That immediately means that Frodsham would be hit by this - as we benefit the most from the special expense regime.  We organise more through our parish council than virtually all of the other parish council in the Borough.  The special expense regime seeks to even out expenses over the Borough between parish councils and CWaC and seeks to ensure that local council tax payers are not charged twice for the same services.

Watch the webcast - you'll see Cllr Powell say this and me responding to the point, later on.

So with the elections looming into view the choices at a local level become clearer.

The Conservatives have taken £133m out of the cost of running CWaC since it was first created.  We have invested more than £40m additional monies in adult and children's social care, and the council tax looks set to have fallen more than 12% in real terms.  When the Care Act 2014 is implemented by April 2016 we will be putting around £6m of additional monies into adult social care.

The Conservatives have no plans to increase the council tax for 2015-16.
Labour on both a national and local level have already effectively said they will increase your council tax.   They've learnt nothing.