In Touch, June 2016

Dear Neighbour,

Coming soon: 23 day closure of Bedford Road!

Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) has granted a request for the Larkswood Development to close Bedford Road (outside Larkswood) between 0900 Sunday 24th July and 1800 Monday 15th August to connect the development to the sewer. Congratulations to parents, the school & pre-school who protested about the original plan to shut the road in June, during term time.

The road will be closed at Husborne Crawley and Woburn Sands with access only permitted.

At Monday’s (6th June) Parish Council meeting, concerns were raised that the 23 day closure is a “minimum” given the developer does not know if the sewers require further work until the road is dug up. It was suggested to CBC Councillor Budge Wells that camera technology could be used to survey drains prior to work commencing, to get an idea of what the work would entail.

Cllr Wells declined to put this idea forward to CBC Officers and stated it was the Parish Council’s job to contact the developer. The Chair of the PC has since written to the developer outlining this idea, who stated it was CBC’s job.

It is worth noting that the Bedford Road closure, last year’s unplanned closure of Church Street and the endless amount of construction traffic parked in the village, are all as a direct result of the CBC “in-fill only” policy. This is designed to constrain development within Aspley Guise and make the village ever more dense, rather than allocating land outside of the village for the purpose of development.

At Monday’s PC meeting, Cllr Wells maintained he was “dead against” any development outside of the village.

Floods, damaged drains, CBC & Anglian chaos

The flooding on West Hill & Bedford Road was devastating for some residents, and whilst we can’t blame CBC for the weather, they do have a responsibility to clear drains and maintain the roads. Blocked drains & crumbling roads are reported to CBC (& our CBC Councillor Wells) by the Parish Council on a regular basis, yet little appears to get resolved. At the May meeting, the Chair of the Parish Council turned up with soggy trousers after unblocking drains en-route!

Within 24 hours of Cllr Wells dismissing the use of camera technology to survey the state of our sewers, it became apparent that they would benefit from upgrading. And had the drains been cleared and the roads maintained by CBC, the impact of the recent extreme weather would have been reduced.

After the storm, I met with residents on West Hill & Bedford Road, photographed the sunken drains (as evidence of poor maintenance) and met with CBC’s Emergency Officers. Resident Robert Brown (below) points at one of many drains that have not been cleaned in years.

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On Thursday afternoon, despite the danger to the main sewer on West Hill from HGVs, coaches (etc), Anglian Water (who own the drain) had no idea there was a problem. Yet CBC, responsible for the road, should have been managing the situation. CBC & Anglian promised action on Monday 13th June to repair and clean West Hill, although CBC eventually turned up on Wednesday 15th June.

Contact me for more updates, or if you think our elected representative should be doing more to persuade CBC to spend our Council Tax precept maintaining our village.

A421 update

Earlier this year, I was led to believe CBC had submitted a business case to the Department for Transport to apply for funding to duel their section of the A421. I can now report that CBC have not submitted the business case, and after a Freedom of Information request, I have discovered it is not finished and is due to be submitted in August.

Traffic calming update

CBC Officers presented an overview of their traffic calming plans to the Parish Council in March. But the 20mph speed limit for West Hill did not extend between The Square and Mount Pleasant. I have reminded them that this section of road contains a well used crossing for children going to/from school and school bus stops. Including two speed cameras, the scheme will cost approximately £250k. Discussions are ongoing between CBC & MK Council to agree how this is funded.

Finally, please email me for more regular updates and to share any news. This leaflet was delivered by myself and few volunteers, so if you fancy a leisurely walk delivering a few leaflets then please get in touch.

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