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Tuesday, 26 February 2019

A46 Link Road

Updated 18th February 2019

Regrettably, the route options for the proposed new road are still being kept secret by local authorities and our elected councillors are colluding with that secrecy. Councillors have the authority to mandate full publication, overriding council officers.

None the less, it is intended to proceed with phase one of this proposal i.e  the creation of another bridge over the A46 at Stoneleigh to create a roundabout junction. Some preliminary work clearing woodland has already been undertaken.

Going ahead with “phase 1” when there is no clarification of “phase 2” and “phase 3” of the road, is at best premature. And in fact, even the phase one proposal does not have the full planning permission approval required from the Department for Transport.  A previous application to the DfT for that permission by Warwickshire County Council triggered a number of objections sent to the DfT. This triggered the announcement of a public enquiry. But, in response,  that application was withdrawn by the council and the whole process has been started again. Previous objections have not been carried over.  So there is only until midnight Monday 18th February to get new objections in to the Department for Transport.

Reasons for objecting to the proposal can be summarised as:

  • The A46 Link Road is not a proposal of any Local Plan now in force in the areas it would run through. It is not shown on any public Proposals Map or Policies Map. 
  • The A46 Link Road would be highly damaging to the countryside south and west of Coventry, which is in the Green Belt. It would enable release of land for development which is currently agricultural land, woodland or available for recreation. The established pattern of urban areas surrounded by Green Belt would be undermined and eventually lost. 
  • The need for the A46 Link Road has not been shown; it appears to be promoted for development purposes rather than to meet any problem on the present road system. The existing main roads, A46, A45, and A452 have provided sufficient access and linkage for the present level of development and there is no current public pressure or demand for further road capacity. They have congestion at peak hours inevitably, but operate freely off-peak and at weekends; peak hour delays are not grounds for new road-building when tested against national transport policy to encourage use of other modes of transport. 
  • There has been no public consultation on the A46 Link Road, and no date for such consultation has been announced. Phase 1 has now been promoted by Highways Act Orders ahead of consultation on the proposed road as a whole. These Orders are the first opportunity those affected by or concerned about the A46 Link Road have to give their views on it or to lodge objections. While a planning permission for the Stoneleigh Junction enlargement has been granted by Warwickshire County Council to itself under deemed-permission regulations, that did not involve any independent appraisal or right to an independent hearing and does not restrict scope for objections to these Orders. 
  • Warwickshire County Council should be asked to either bring forward the overall A46 Link Road proposal, or if they cannot do this to assent to these Orders been held in suspension until the full A46 Link Road is published and a public inquiry into the full proposal can be held. If not, a public inquiry into these Orders is requested. 


Originally Posted 18th January 2019

The following map has been produced by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and shows a proposed route for an A46 link road (dashed line in red). You can enlarge this plan to full screen size by clicking the image...


The source for that map is the Solihull Local Plan Review, 17th January 2019. A copy of that document, which includes that map, can be found on the Cheswick Green Residents' Association website, here:
http://www.cgra.org.uk/2019/01/15/local-development-plan-review/

The following map has been produced by a local resident and shows possible speculative routes for the link road beyond the boundaries of the plan above...



This is part of a secret map, obtained from SMBC under a Freedom of Information request in October 2018...



Previous Posts on This Subject

October 2018 - the secret collusion scandal
https://burtongreen.blogspot.com/2018/08/a46-relief-road.html

June 2017
https://burtongreen.blogspot.com/2017/05/a46-link-road.html

December 2016
https://burtongreen.blogspot.com/2016/11/major-new-link-road.html

Monday, 25 February 2019

Balsall Common (Solihull) Housing Plans Consultation




New housing numbers increase from 1215 to 1755 

Solihull Council have published a 2nd version of the housing plan for the borough for the period 2020 to 2035. Far from reducing planned housing numbers for Balsall Common, the new plan takes homes planned for elsewhere and puts them in Balsall Common. The new plan proposes huge areas being taken out of greenbelt all the way south to Everson Fuels. It also gives some commitments on local infrastructure

Spare 30 minutes of your time to see what is planned

Berkswell PC needs residents’ input to help frame its response to the plan. Not only the number of homes but infrastructure, greenbelt boundaries and town planning. You can also find out how to respond as individuals to the consultation.

It is worth coming even if you went to the library event. Our exhibits will be much larger so they can be viewed easily and we have information SMBC have not shown on the extent of greenbelt changes and the risk of even more housing.

Come see the plans and give us your views

Saturday 2nd March 2019 1.30 pm to 5 pm– Jubilee Centre, in the Library Car Park, Station Road, Balsall Common

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Village Hall Race Night

BURTON GREEN VILLAGE HALL

Invite you to an evening of HORSE RACING

Saturday 13th April 2019

Paddock opens at 7.30

Fish & Chip Supper - Tickets £12.50

Please come and join us for an evening of fun, riding your own horse or just watch if you prefer

Bring your own drinks

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Kenilworth Community Forum - Policing Priority Vote

The Kenilworth Community Forum policing priorities vote is now live.

Suggested priorities are:

  • ASB / Reassurance Patrols – Kenilworth Parks & Open Spaces
  • Crime Reduction Patrols – Kenilworth Town Centre
  • Speed Checks / Monitoring – Cromwell Lane, Burton Green
  • Burglary Prevention Patrols - Kenilworth
  • Vehicle Crime Prevention Patrols – Kenilworth

You can cast your vote here:
https://www.warwickshire.police.uk/article/57365 

Voting closes 4th March 2019.

Don’t forget to vote!

Thursday, 7 February 2019

HS2 Community Visits, Ground Surveys and News

The HS2 Community Engagement Team will next be visiting Burton Green Village Hall on the following dates to answer any questions you may have.
  • Monday 11th Feb, 3pm - 5pm. 
  • Monday 8th April, 6pm - 8pm.

HS2 will be undertaking ground surveys in Burton Green from 11th February for a period of 5 weeks.


The ground surveys are critical for determining the stability of the ground, which will determine the cost of track construction, and the ultimate speed of trains.


Other HS2 News

This is an article in The Spectator (9th February)...



Extracts:

The controversy has so far focused on the shabby treatment of those with homes on the HS2 route, subject to compulsory purchase... But with demolition work underway in London and Birmingham, and construction soon starting in earnest, the rationale of the project itself is being questioned at the heart of government. The UK’s new super-train could soon be called to a halt...

An unglamorous truth is dawning — that the UK needs to solve its national rail issues by investing not in trophy assets but in existing infrastructure, channelling cash into the humdrum local services that get commuters to work. ‘The case for HS2 is and always was nonsense,’ says one cabinet minister...

‘In the next Tory leadership contest,’ a cabinet colleague adds, ‘the winning candidate will need to have “Scrap HS2” in his or her leadership manifesto — as in: call the whole thing off.’

Complete article:
https://www.spectator.co.uk/2019/02/is-the-financial-logic-behind-hs2-collapsing/


Channel 4 Documentary Monday 11th February







The program can be viewed on demand here:
https://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/on-demand/69215-001

A summary of the program, from the Channel 4 Press Office, is here:
https://www.channel4.com/press/news/hs2-great-train-robbery-channel-4-dispatches


Fewer and Slower Trains Raise Doubts About The Business Case

The most recent news from Westminster is that David Lidington, the deputy Prime Minister, has asked HS2 to review the business case for the project. 

This review comes in the light of revelations that the number of trains running on the line may be need to be fewer than originally planned, and that speeds may need to be slower than originally planned. These constraints are in part due to ground conditions.



"Theresa May's deputy has warned that a proposed reduction in the number of trains running along High Speed 2 will "seriously undermine" the case for continuing with the project. David Lidington has asked HS2 Ltd, the government-owned firm behind the scheme to set out the "current business case" for the £56 billion project..."

Complete report:



Extracts:

HS2 could be forced to slash the number of trains it runs on the line in a desperate bid to keep control over its £56 billion budget... The move would cut the capacity of the line by the equivalent of 8,800 passengers per hour during peak times....  

The option of reducing the number of trains able to run on the line was revealed to MPs at a briefing on November 20 by Mark Thurston, HS2's chief executive... These changes included possibly lowering the speed that trains will operate at on the line by around 50 km/h, reducing the number of trains from 18 per hour to 14, and changing from a slab track to a ballast track...

In her letter to Mr Thurston, Mrs Leadsom, who campaigned against HS2 as a backbencher, said: "Given the business case for HS2 was first predicated upon speed, then on capacity then finally on improving connectivity with the north, can I ask how these changes - separately and cumulatively - would impact on the viability of the project? ... My constituents are naturally concerned that changes to the project could undermine the business case, negatively affect the benefit-cost ratio, and reduce the value for taxpayers' money."

Complete report:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/01/12/hs2-could-built-carry-thousands-fewer-passengers-part-attempts/

Andrea Leadsom's complete letter is here:
Andrea Leadsom Letter (PDF document)


White Elephant Projects Will Be Axed

As an independent development, on January 5th, Liz Truss, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said that the Government will examine all major investment projects across Government as part of a review later this year.



Extracts:

Ministers must be prepared to scrap expensive "white elephant" projects... "we must be prepared to junk the white elephants, the programmes that haven’t worked" ... 

The announcement is likely to be welcomed by Tory MPs opposed to controversial projects such as the £56 billion HS2 rail line.

Complete report:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/01/05/scrap-white-elephant-projects-says-liz-truss/



Previous Post on this Subject, 'Pull the Plug on HS2'

https://burtongreen.blogspot.com/2019/01/pull-plug-on-hs2.html

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Neighbourhood Crime

There was a serious burglary in Westwood Heath on Monday 28th January.

Three males entered a house, in daylight, attacked the female occupant, and stole jewellery. These images were taken by CCTV...



There seems to have been an increase in neighbourhood crime recently.

Examples...
  • 7 February - beehive and garden bench stolen from Red Lane; incident 143
  • 25 January - shed ransacked in Cromwell Lane; mower, strimmer, leaf blower and hedge cutter were stolen; incident 191
  • 23 January - shed theft Cromwell Lane; garden vacuum and hedge trimmer stolen; incident 427
  • 22 January - shed theft Cromwell Lane; peteol hedge cutter stolen; incident 254
  • 22 January - attempted shed theft in Cromwell Lane; incident 133
  • 3 January - report of attempted break-in in Westwood Heath
  • 29 December - house break-in in Westwood Heath
  • 15 December  - car stolen from Cromwell Lane; incident 363
  • 11 December  - attempted burglary in Red Lane
  • 10 December - report of two attempted break-ins in Westwood Heath
There may have been other incidents.

This issue was raised at the January 23rd meeting of the Burton Green Residents' Association...
"A resident had made contact with concerns about break-ins to sheds in which the police showed no interest.  Various measures were discussed including the employment by Westwood Heath residents of a security firm and the use of Street Watch community patrols."

Action by Westwood Heath Residents' Association

Westwood Heath Residents' Association have been investigating both a voluntary Street Watch scheme, and the possibility of employing a private security firm. Proposals are described on the Westwood Heath Facebook page (requires privileged access to view):
https://www.facebook.com/groups/Westwoodheath/permalink/2233181786732073/


Street Watch

Street Watch is a national scheme in which local volunteers patrol the street. There is a webpage for the Street Watch scheme, here:
http://www.street-watch.org/

That page has no contact details and does not appear to be funded by any official agency.

According to that page, only 5 police forces in the country seem to provide any training or other support for the scheme (Bedfordshire, Havering, West Midlands, Northamptonshire, Redbridge). West Midlands Police (Coventry and Solihull) is one of them; Warwickshire is not.


Kenilworth Neighbourhood Watch

Details have also been circulated, around Burton Green, of the Kenilworth Neighbourhood Watch, which covers Burton Green. Notices from Kenilworth Watch can be viewed here:
https://kenilworthnwatch.wordpress.com/

Kenilworth Watch also have a Twitter account. This basically provides timely alerts to the information on the website:
https://twitter.com/kenilworthwatch/

The Kenilworth Watch webpage is run and updated by Fraser Pithie.

There are several important social and political factors which have a bearing on neighbourhood crime.

In 2012, Fraser Pithie was a vocal supporter of plans to reduce funding for the Police Force, including reducing the number of officers on the beat. See:
https://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/would-be-tory-warwickshire-police-commissioner-3022861

Fraser Pithie also supported the use of private firms to carry out the role of front-line policing:
https://www.leamingtoncourier.co.uk/news/fury-at-g4s-adverts-for-front-line-police-roles-in-warwickshire-1-4176310


The National Picture

There have also been two relevant articles in The Telegraph this week (25th and 26th January):


Extract:
Operational decisions are matters for the police but the Home Office could at least make it clear that the public expects to see a greater deployment of beat officers... The public does not want the police to waste their time investigating offensive online comments but to focus on what matters to most people. Everyone knows there are deeper causes of violent offending that cannot be resolved by policing alone but these take generations to turn around. They must not be an excuse for failing to do what can be done in the short term.
Complete article:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2019/01/25/public-expects-see-officers-beat-response-rising-crime/




This is an article written by Sergeant Richard Cooke, Chair of the West Midlands Police Federation.

Extract:
Soaring violent crime is not just due to cuts to the number of police officers, although let’s be clear, this is a massive part of the problem... 
I believe that while we do require urgent investment, we could achieve more with better organisation and focus. In order to do that, we must be clear about what actually constitutes a crime. Already incredulous that the Home Office is thinking of extending the categories of existing Hate Crime, to misogyny and ageism...
Complete article:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/01/26/crime-will-continue-rise-us-bobbies-released-shackles-pc-police/


Sunday, 3 February 2019

Kenilworth Community in Action


Comprehensive details of this event are here:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/kenilworth-community-in-action-2019-registration-54217797893




There are at least 40 community groups taking part in the afternoon showcase event:

  • Abbey Hill URC, Cancer Vaccines Charitable Trust
  • CELST (Lipreading)
  • Chinewrde Morris Dancers, Cycleways
  • Harry Sunley Memorial Project
  • Heartsafe Kenilworth
  • Warwickshire Heartsafe
  • Kenilworth All Together Greener, Kenilworth Chamber of Trade
  • Kenilworth Civic Society
  • Kenilworth Family History Society
  • Kenilworth Footpath Preservation Group
  • Kenilworth History & Archaeology Society, Kenilworth Lions
  • Kenilworth Methodist Church
  • Kenilworth Phab
  • Kenilworth Talking News Association
  • Kenilworth Twinning Association
  • Kenilworth U3A
  • Kenilworth Women’s Institute
  • Ladies Link
  • London North Western Railway Society
  • Royal British Legion Kenilworth Branch
  • Simply Social
  • Soroptomist International
  • St John’s Church
  • Sustrans & Kenilworth Greenway
  • The Kenilworth Centre & Radio Abbey
  • The Kenilworth National Women's Register
  • The Omega Course
  • The Spring Playgroup
  • Tools With A Mission (TWAM)
  • Warwick & Leamington Beekeepers
  • Warwick And Kenilworth Choral Society
  • Warwickshire CAVA
  • Warwickshire Vision Support
  • Warwickshire Wildlife Trust
  • Waverley Day Centre.