Monday, October 30, 2006

Lighting up Foxhill

Lights have recently been installed at the Park in Meare Road Foxhill. This will allow young people to use the very popular football and basketball area during the long winter evenings.

The request came from the youngsters themselves when Sam West, formerly the youth service outreach youth worker on Foxhill, persuaded some of the young people in Foxhill to make video diaries about what they wanted in their area. This was after a troubled few weeks with disturbances around the Bradford Road shops, a couple of years ago. They really took to this task and one of the requests that came up a lot was for lighting in this part of the Park.

Sam managed to get the some finance from the Council's Community Safety budget, but it was very expensive to get the lights linked to the electricity supply and there was a £4,000 shortfall.
It was at this time that the Medlock Trust stepped in to make up the balance and the supply has now been connected just in time for the winter. (Photo by kind permission of the Bath Chronicle)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Dangerous Pothole?

For sometime when riding or driving down Ralph Allen Drive I have had to remember to avoid the pothole in the carriageway at the National Trust Garden entrance.

Last week I remembered to do something about it. It had been ringed in white which means the council had it noted for repair, so we measured it and found it was 2.5 inches deep. The photo shows Cherry and me taking our lives in our hands seeing how deep it was!
The council's response was that the 2.5 inches is "below our dangerous intervention level and the base of the pothole is in good order and will last the period of response". The period of response is within 28 days.

For those of us on two wheels and who drive cars without modern suspension (my 1989 mini reponds to every bump in the road) a pothole of this depth is a death trap. Thankfully no unsuspecting two wheeled vehicle rider came to grief.

The council has a priority list of road users with pedestrians at the top followed by cyclists, motor cyclists and people who are disabled. It would surprise me if this priority list is used in the judgement of which potholes are dangerous and which are not. I fully accept that modern day car suspension and 4x4s would have no problem with this depth, but not two wheeled vehicles.

I have now asked the Council what depth they consider so dangerous that an immediate response is required? Watch this space.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Combe Down Traffic Update

There's always something happening in Combe Down, if its not road closures or collapses underground its changing weight limits!
  • The pinch points in Ralph Allen Drive and in North Road to the west, have been removed
  • The Firs will be one way out of the village by 30th October
  • Signs will be placed along North Road, at the Combe Road/North Road junction and at the top of The Avenue to advise traffic that access to the village is via The Avenue
  • The barrier in Combe Road has been moved up to the Westerleigh Road junction - photo shows Roger and Cherry at this smaller closed area - residents can now park their cars closer
  • An area of poor ground condition has been found to the east of the Ralph Allen Drive/North Road junction. In order to allow workers into this area and for it to be stabilised a weight limit needs to be placed on a small section of road which will run from the horse trough at the top of Ralph Allen Drive for about 150 metres to the other side of Tyning Road.
  • There will also be a ‘road ahead closed’ sign at The Avenue/Church Road junction to prevent people getting to Combe Road only to find it is closed. A sign will also be put at this junction to advise that turning left into Church Road towards Tyning Road is unsuitable for HGVs.
  • In addition to these signs there will be signage on North Road to direct site vehicles to the worksite on Firs Field, preventing them from entering the village.

Please email any comments or suggestions.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Business as Usual

Since the closure, businesses in Combe Road have found that people do not know that they are still acessible. There is no problem getting to them. I contacted the Highways Department to ask for signs, but there are no 'off the shelf' signs to tell people that businesses are still functioning as normal, so they had to be made specially. Business as usual signs are now in place at the top and bottom of the Avenue and in Summer Lane.

The latest timetable for the opening of Combe Road is after Christmas and probably around February or March. The removal of the 'pinch point' on North Road is imminent, but we are still waiting for the Firs to be made one way out of the village and for the barriers in Combe Road near the King William to be moved up to the old telephone exchange.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Leaning Light

I reported this leaning lamp post and crossing beacon on North Road this morning. There's never a dull moment on Combe Down. I hope the highways department will quickly put this pole back into its normal position

We are waiting for the Highways Dept to make the Firs one way out of the village and to improve the signage, so that no one has any doubt that Combe Down is still open for business.

Both Mike in the Hairdessers and Graham in the King William have reported a drop in trade. I am told that the signs are being made, because there is not an 'off the peg' sign which will cover what needs to be said. As soon as they are ready they will be installed.

The yellow line at the bottom of the Firs has now been removed, as have some double yellows in Westerleigh Road.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Is the Council Connected?

We noticed that the bus shelter at the MoD on Combe Down had been vandalised last Wednesday 4th October, so I rang Council Connect, B&NES new call centre, to report the smashed bus shelter window. I was told that the cleansing department would be informed to come and sweep up the glass - today, Monday 5 days later, the broken glass had still not been cleared, so Cherry and I did the job.

To be fair the council's successor to Action Line is proving to be quite successful in dealing with a much wider range of calls, but surely something as simple as this should have been done much quicker.

Most calls to Council Connect come from the public and in my view should be given the highest priority for action. It is not good enough to put these calls to the back of the queue. I am though annoyed that I am unable to ring up over a weekend and leave a message for a job to be done on Monday, as there is no answerphone!

Let us know of your good and bad experiences with the Council's Call centre, Council Connect - the number for Council Connect is 01225394041.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Work Site Tours

The work site tours began this evening with seven groups numbering around 15 people in each group. Each person was issued with a fuorescent yellow jacket and hard hat.

Wet and windy weather buffeted people and umbrellas alike; hardly ideal conditions. Exhibitions by Friends of Firs Field (FoFFs), the Combe Down Stone Mines Community Association and the Combe Down Heritage Group gave some added interest for residents.

The work site itself is clean and tidy and what struck me was the protection afforded to the horse chestnut tree and the War Memorial. Both are well protected by fences and Phil Bishop was pleased to see that the council's parks department has done some planting and tidying up in preparation for Remembrance Day on 11th November.

At one time there was a proposal to drive a ramp from the surface to the mine floor, but Robbie Narbutt from Hydrock showed us how the company had decided on an alternative of a pulley system to get materials into the mine to construct the roadways. This has saved a considerable amount of space on the surface.

At present 1200 cub metres of foamed concrete per day is being pouredinto the mines. The plant has a top capacity of 1500 cub metres.

It is a really worthwhile exercise to allow local people into the work site to see at first hand the professional way that the project is being managed.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Save St Martins Garden School

Last night the Scrutiny panel voted 4 - 2 to send the decision to build a supermarket and demolish St Martins Garden School back to the Cabinet for a rethink.

Voting to refer back were in favour - Cllr Marie Brewer (Conservative) Cllrs Dave Dixon, Caroline Roberts, Ruth Griffiths (all Lib Dem), and against - Cllr David Hawkins (Conservative) and Cllr Chris Cray (Independent).

There was a vociferous gathering of parents, children and local residents outside the Guildhall before the meeting, demonstrating to 'Save our School'.

This is small victory, because the Cabinet can ignore the reference back. Cllr Colin Darracott, the only member of the cabinet to vote against the proposal to demolish the school will suggest taking the site out of the local plan, until a retail strategy and a green spaces strategy is produced. Local residents should then be involved in any discussion on the future of the site.

Now sign the petition at

Monday, October 02, 2006

Council Take Action on Residents' suggestions

Some of the suggestions that I passed on from residents at last Thursday's public meeting have been acted on by council Highways officers.

Following the closure of Combe Road and the possibility that the road may remain closed for a period of time it is proposed to undertake the following works:
1. Make The Firs one way for traffic heading out of the village
2. Erect additional signing on Bradford Road, North Road and Ralph Allen Drive, directing traffic to the village down the Avenue
3. Provide additional signage at Summer Lane to prevent drivers heading towards Combe
4. Remove most of the build outs and lines on Westerleigh Road (some will be kept)

Following further discussions with the Stone Mines Team it may be possible to reduce the length of road closed to traffic which would help parking but keep traffic away from the area where underground conditions are known to be poor.

Letters delivered to residents in the immediate area today state that "owing to the poor ground conditions it is unsafe to progress underground roadways. As a result engineers are looking at another way of getting concrete into this area without the use of a roadway. Once pouring is complete surface drilling will be done to ensure complete stabilisation of the area".

I am pleased that there seems to have been some real progress in trying to keep Combe Down functioning and to solve the underground problems, which have led to movement both above and below ground.