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29/Apr/2013 – County Council elections – important local issues

posted 29 Apr 2013, 06:06 by Unknown user   [ updated 1 May 2013, 05:20 ]

Pretend ballot box
On 18/Apr/2013 the Lichfield Alliance, which BSARA is a member of, wrote an open letter to all County Council election candidates standing in Lichfield District. The letter is attached at the foot of this web page. Have a look at the Lichfield Alliance web page for a list of the issues and the responses from Councillors.

Issues raised:

(a) Darwin Park – local roads have not been adopted 10+ years after construction.
(b) Local trunk roads (A38 & A5) – The accident rate on the A38 near Lichfield is five times the national average for this type of road.
(c) Bus station improvements are in limbo because of Friarsgate.
(d) Lichfield City & Trent Valley Stations – Michael Fabricant MP said "Disabled access at Lichfield Trent Valley railway station is a disgrace".
(f) Cycle lanes, public rights of way & hedgerows.

Responses from election candidates standing on 'our patch'

Lichfield City North Lichfield City South
Colin Greatorex (CONS)  SEE REPLY BELOW
John Maunder (UKIP) NO REPLY

Lichfield City South: Eileen Cope : e.pookie@ymail.com Received 22/Apr/2012

Thank you for your informative newsletter, I have thoroughly read it and would hope on being elected that I would be able to help with the situations, as follows:

Darwin Park – Check why the roads are unadopted and resolve the problem and in most new builds there is never enough parking or car spaces allowed for.

City Centre congestion – The city centre needs more parking facilities or free transport electric style runaround vehicle that will move the public around the town centre avoiding the parking problem, picking up and dropping of in the available car parks, the congestion is caused by the haulage deliveries and private vehicle's stationary.

Local trunk roads (A38 and A5) – A38 / A5 more speed restrictions or clearer speed limit signs also the mobile speed camera's more often.

Bus station improvements – I don't use the bus service - so I would need information on the present problem, why the delay or funding.

Lichfield Trent Valley Station – I know the T.V. Station is a problem as it's been mentioned to me before, not having a lift or easy access; I did write to British rail at the time but had no response, the above issues I can and would deal with depending on election results.

Cycle lanes, public rights of way & hedgerows – Another issue needing attention, when I can do something with authority believe I will

Lichfield City North: Colin Greatorex : colin.greatorex@btinternet.com Received 29/Apr/2012

You have invited me to comment on 6 County Council responsibilities related to the above heading as a prospective County Councillor.  Some of the issues have a bearing more on Lichfield District Councillor, where I am already a District Councillor.  I will try to wear the appropriate ‘hat’ in order to answer the questions and refer to the responsible Councils where relevant:

Darwin Park – local roads that have not been adopted should be a matter taken up initially with the District Councillors for the Ward, i.e. Cllrs. Awty, Eadie and Smith. They can, of course, liaise with the newly elected County Councillor for Lichfield City South. As I am standing for Lichfield City North, I would not interfere with their endeavours but would want to be supportive in getting this resolved through work on both Councils.

City Centre congestion – the District Council is at consultation stage with the Local Plan and has the legal jurisdiction to determine it. The County Council highway authority can “reserve judgment” up to the point where the District Council will make its determination (or else it will be determined without the highway authority registering comment). As I am only a prospective County Councillor at present, and subject to the rules of ‘purdah’, I cannot speak on the behalf County Council’s stance but would be keen to encourage comment, if elected.

Local trunk roads (A38 and A5) – I support the use of speed cameras as the most effective means of controlling traffic on these major roads. They work very effectively on the section of A38 to the South of Lichfield. If elected to the County Council, I would want to support discussions with the appropriate authorities.

Bus station improvements – It is correct to say we are in limbo because of Friarsgate. The District Council has given the developers a date this year by which a Friarsgate must be fully agreed and commissionable. If this is not forthcoming, the District Council will probably undertake a re-think on what is delivered in its place. I recognise the need for urgency in relation to transport improvements but the District Council has a legal process to follow with the developers, which it is following currently.

Lichfield Trent Valley Station – You may see in my election literature I have identified disabled access at Lichfield Trent Valley as a priority for attention, if elected. I agree with Michael Fabricant MP in your quotation “Disabled access at Lichfield Trent Valley railway station is a disgrace”. Although it is just outside the Lichfield City North Division, a lot of my residents are users and I would want the County Council to play a role in securing the improvements needed.

Cycle lanes, public rights of way & hedgerows – You cite a lack of coordinated action in these areas by the County Highways dept. If I am elected, I would use my authority to address these matters as I believe I have the reputation to take issues on and seek resolution.

Lichfield City South: Ian Jackson : jackson.mccormack@talktalk.net Received 29/Apr/2012

Thank you for your letter detailing the concerns of the Lichfield Alliance. I believe that residents associations have an important part to play in local government and look forward to working with you if elected. I was instrumental in the creation of LARA and have maintained excellent relations both with them, and BSARA, within my own ward.

Darwin Park – Both the District and County Councils have dragged their heels in a disgraceful fashion with regard to the adoption of the highways and public open spaces on Darwin Park. In particular the highways need to be adopted so that proper traffic controlling measures can be taken to resolve issues of speeding and inconsiderate parking.

City Centre congestion – For as long as I can remember, County Highways have just wrung their hands about traffic congestion in the City Centre. They have consistently failed to accept the effect that continued development, both retail (Tesco’s; Friarsgate) and residential, is having on traffic levels and without their support, District Planners and Councilors have been unable to prevent them happening.

Local trunk roads (A38 and A5) – The A5 and A38 as trunk roads are of course the responsibility of the Highways Agency, not the County Council. In this context however I am appalled at the cavalier manner in which the District Council has dismissed the proposed Brookhay Villages/ Twin Rivers development. These proposals would cater for any foreseeable housing demand within the District for the next twenty years without the need for further peripheral development in existing settlements. They also would bring forward major infrastructure benefits including:

  • improvements on the A38 at both the Fradley Junctions and Alrewas
  • introduction of a traffic management scheme similar to the M42 between Lichfield and Burton.
  • Extension of the cross city line to Wichnor Junction (that’s how the railways spell it!) with a major park and ride station there with a dedicated access to the National Memorial Arboretum

Bus station improvements – I agree that Friarsgate is a non starter and that alternative funding is needed to update the existing Bus Station. I would prefer to see the development of the Bird Street site bought forward. This would help rebalance the City centre and revitalise Market Street.

Lichfield Trent Valley Station – I agree that provision for access and car parking at this station is a disgrace. Whilst the County Council can push for improved facilities at this station, it is up to London Midland and Network Rail to resolve the problems. As secretary of the Lichfield Rail Promotion Group this is something that I have been very active in for some months.

The car parking provision should virtually double this summer from 116 spaces to 228 when the additional spaces in the “triangle” off Old Burton Road are made available. This will also provide easier access to the up (London bound) platform although London Midland are still talking to Network Rail about making this access step free. This will improve the parking provision, but I suspect that further suppressed demand will mean that more will very soon be needed. There is a proposal to provide parking across the road on the old freight depot as part of the Streethay development, but this is in my view in the wrong place and the Streethay development itself has been thrown into question by HS2. The old GKN site would be far more appropriate, but the land owners seem to have an overly optimistic view of its value, despite that fact that the site has been empty for years.

As far as access is concerned at Lichfield Trent Valley, I have had discussions in the last few months with Network Rail, London Midland, The Department of Transport, Staffs County Council and even Norman Baker, the Minister at the Dft responsible for accessibility. There is new funding (£100m) being made available next year as part of the Access for All scheme, and we are all trying to ensure that some of this cash comes to Lichfield. The increased footfall at Trent Valley, as well as it’s growing importance as an interchange station and the fact that it is the nearest access point for the NMA, all give some hope that we will succeed, although £100m does not go very far on railway infrastructure and the competion for these funds is fierce.

Cycle lanes, public rights of way & hedgerows – Public rights of way and Hedgerows. It is inevitable that these areas will suffer when the County Council cannot even afford to maintain the roads properly. My answer would be to use the provisions and principles of the Localism Act to devolve these responsibilities to Parish councils. Lichfield City already carries out the maintenance of most of the footpaths in the City and this principle could be extended.

The Local Plan process at the moment is a complete shambles. I agree that it needed major reform but this should be a carefully considered process. Eric Pickles has scrapped the existing systems without giving any, let alone adequate, thought to what would be put in its place.

As the only candidate for this Division who actually lives in it, I look forward to the opportunity to represent my neighbours in Stafford.

Lichfield City North: Caroline Wood : c.wood52@btinternet.com Received 30/Apr/2012

Thank you for your letter with regard to the above. I’m sorry I have not replied to you sooner but I have been spending all my time on the election and what for me is the most important thing, getting out to meet the people and hearing what their concerns and grievances are. As you will know I can do nothing if not elected.

If I am the Councillor for Lichfield North on Friday evening then I will look into all the matters you raise in your letter.

Local trunk roads (A38 and A5) – I agree the accident rate on the local trunk roads (A38 & A5) is not acceptable and should be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Bus station improvements –Bus transport is certainly an issue. Passengers now have to change buses at Sutton if going to Birmingham and, as I understand it pay twice for a service which has been reduced from hourly to two hourly. Hardly an incentive to get people out of their cars!

Lichfield Trent Valley Station – I agree it is a disgrace that in 2013 we have a main line station or any station that is not accessible to all.

Cycle lanes, public rights of way & hedgerows – As a keen walker I have been instrumental is getting stiles and bridges repaired, footpaths opened where farmers have obstructed paths within the county. I also take a great interest in cycle lanes and the opportunity for safe cycling. I will continue to do so whatever the outcome of Thursday’s election but I do believe the council should continue to take responsibility and manage the repairs accordingly.

Whilst out meeting residents in Lichfield North I have come across many issues with regard to housing and transport, all of which I take seriously and will work to address if elected..

Lichfield City South: Terry Finn : terence.finn@staffordshire.gov.uk Received 30/Apr/2012

My apologies for a late reply , I now have the latest update on

Darwin Park –The adoption process is coming to a conclusion ( at long last ) The lighting inspections and remedials are to be speeded up by the contractor and EON. County lighting engineers closely monitoring the situation.

City Centre congestion –I will support Lichfield District Council with what ever their proposals are to be

Local trunk roads (A38 and A5) – A38 As this is under the control of the Highways Authority . My concerns as a Fire Authority Member have been studying the stats on Road Traffic Crashes. When one sees the main cases of deaths and injuries are from:

A Speeding
B Human error
C Mechanical failure
D Adverse weather conditions

I am very much in favour of the new Digital speed cameras now coming on stream

A5 I am aware of a study to improve the A38 and Toll road junction And will support any improvements

Lichfield Trent Valley Station – I have always supported our MP Michael Fabricant make the access to all platforms available for people with any disability . I am in support of the proposed new car park on the northern side of the station.

Cycle lanes, public rights of way & hedgerows – Further monies to support these important means of travel are needed . Having in the past served on this county committee I am fully aware how difficult it is to get the farming community to cooperate even when placed under pressure to comply with legislation .

I am aware of the future county plans to improve on the last four years work which was spent on 28 years of near neglect.

Lichfield City North: Paul Ray : pandbray@btopenworld.com Received 30/Apr/2012

I agree with most of the points you raise and as part of our review of the draft Local Plan last autumn I highlighted the following points in my response on behalf of the Liberal Democrats which are relevant and which I would actively promote if elected:

  • The proposed improvements to the roads including completion of the Lichfield Southern Bypass and improved parking at Lichfield Trent Valley station are most necessary.
  • The proposed Friarsgate retail development should be revisited and potentially halted. How viable is a large new retail / leisure development in the current climate - especially with so much vacant retail space in Lichfield. Also the latest plans for this development no longer include the proposed hotel and as a result space for more shops!
  • We need new ideas and thinking about how to invigorate our town centres due to the downturn in retail spending. So in particular we need to encourage more residential and office use to make use of vacant space and to keep our centres alive and vibrant
  • There is a real need to increase employment in the Lichfield area and so reduce the amount of commuting out of Lichfield.
  • Affordable housing must be a key priority. Many people find housing very expensive to afford in Lichfield and its surrounding area and we must ensure that sufficient affordable homes are built as part of new developments.
  • With regards to housing development in the Lichfield area, I support the need for further housing but not any building onto the green belt. I also feel strongly that any development needs to be planned so as to not adversely affect the impact on roads and other infrastructure in the relevant area. aware of the future county plans to improve on the last four years work which was spent on 28 years of near neglect

Unknown user,
29 Apr 2013, 08:40