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Local Councillors Secure £45K Footpath Upgrade

Butt Lane Councillors inspect footpath 216 before upgrade works begin.

Butt Lane Councillors inspect footpath 216 before upgrade works begin.

Local Labour councillors hail success after securing £45,000 to upgrade public footpath 216 in Butt Lane.  The footpath is accessed from West Avenue and runs behind the houses of Church Street, finally exiting onto Congleton Road adjacent to St. Saviours Primary School. The improvement works will be funded by a Public Right of Way contribution from Taylor Wimpey. Taylor Wimpey’s contribution was secured through a section 106 agreement with Newcastle Borough Council.

It is understood that the works will be completed by contractors appointed by Staffordshire County Council and not housing developer, Taylor Wimpey. The contractor will begin work on the surfacing of the footpath on Monday 16th January.  The path will be temporarily closed for the duration of the works. Residents are politely asked to use other routes until the works are completed.

Councillor Kyle Robinson said: “I welcome the news that this footpath will finally be brought up to a decent standard.  Back in 2013, Sylvia and I raised the alarm about the state the public footpath had been left in following the development of Bluebell Croft.  The footpath in question has been used for many years by local residents as a safer route to school and for recreational purposes.  I am pleased we have been listened to on this matter and finally this 106 agreement will deliver for local people.  It’s about time our local area gets the investment it deserves and we will fight for more.”

Councillor Sylvia Dymond added: “Many residents have been calling for an improvement to the footpath, including those that have moved onto the new estate.  Local people have endured two years of problems with fencing, building work and a muddy overgrown footpath so this news is well received.  At last we have a safer route for everyone to reach the local school, shops and to just enjoy a walk.”

Footpath 216 begins on West Avenue and leads all the way up to Congleton Road.

Footpath 216 begins on West Avenue and leads all the way up to Congleton Road.

Save Butt Lane’s Lollipop Man

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Crossing near St Saviour’s Primary School, Butt Lane.

On Monday 20th June, Staffordshire County Council issued a letter to community leaders to state that the School Crossing Patrol on the A34 Congleton Road, Butt Lane (outside St. Saviours School) will be scrapped by September 2016.  The letter also states that sites across the county have been assessed and categorised and the A34 Congleton Road has been deemed as a low priority due to a traffic signal controlled crossing point already in place.  The school may be asked to find £3,500 if the service is to continue.

On speaking with parents and families in the local area, it has become clear that we need this School Crossing Patrol.  Staffordshire County Council has a duty to keep our children safe and this decision is very worrying indeed.  For many years, Congleton Road has been considered a dangerous road with increasing accidents and even fatalities.  It is completely unacceptable for the Council to categorise this road as a lower priority.  The school crossing is situated near a dangerous junction to St Saviours School and St. Saviour’s Street and our local lollipop man plays a crucial role carrying out a potentially life-saving task.  Congestion on Congleton Road has increased in recent times and becomes strangled if there is an accident on the M6. This adds further safety concerns for local residents and the leadership at Staffordshire County Council cannot go on ignoring this problem.

Our local schools should be spending their ever shrinking budgets on children’s education, not be forced to foot the bill for highways services, which are the responsibility of Staffordshire County Council.

Please click the link and sign the petition to save our lollipop man for the safety of our children and families:

https://www.change.org/p/councillor-mark-deaville-save-st-saviours-primary-school-s-lollipop-man?recruiter=62857735&utm_source=petitions_show_components_action_panel_wrapper&utm_medium=copylink

Kidsgrove Station Funding at Risk?

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Kidsgrove Railway Station Bridge

Kidsgrove Railway Station funding may be at risk due to a Government report known as the Hendy Review.  Sir Peter Hendy (Chair of Network Rail) has been asked by the Secretary of State for Transport to conduct a thorough review of Networks Rail’s funding programmes.  You can find the link here: Hendy Review Consultation

Kidsgrove Station is due to benefit from ‘Access for All’ funding and also the ‘National Stations Programme’.  These funding grants will fund a new bridge and lifts with disability access and also a new station to replace the current dilapidated facility.  However, the Hendy Review may potentially put the whole scheme at risk.  Kidsgrove Railway Station is due to receive funding in Control Period 5 (2014-2019), but the review is looking to push back schemes to Funding Control Period 6 (2019-2024).  Further delays to funding may result in the Kidsgrove scheme becoming unviable in the future and third party funding may also be lost in the process.  Residents and local stakeholders have now raised their concerns that any further delays to funding could put the entire Kidsgrove Integrated Transport plan in jeopardy.

Kidsrove Railway Station continues to see an increase in footfall as direct services offer convenience for passengers.  The station has continued to win national awards thanks to the ‘Friends of Kidsgrove Station’ and other local volunteers contributing to the improvements.  There is also a café based in the main entrance of the station and the business is doing well thanks to the increase in passengers.  It is important to remember that Kidsgrove Railway Station is the only operating station in the Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme so this service is vital to residents across the local area.  More and more people are opting to commute to work from Kidsgrove and this should be seen as an opportunity to promote the green agenda (less cars on the roads).

Access for All funding was originally sought to ensure everybody can access platforms 2, 3 and 4.  Currently, wheelchair users can only access platform 1.  This is no good if you are travelling to Manchester or Crewe.  Disabled people, the elderly and frail and also parents with pushchairs find it extremely difficult to navigate the old Victorian bridge at Kidsgrove Station due to the many flights of steps.  People are clearly discriminated against with the current set up and everyone should be able to access all parts of the station.  Following a huge local campaign led by Jon Honeysett MBE, the MP, Councillors, passengers, volunteers and residents, the Department of Transport announced that Kidsgrove would receive Access for All funding to give everyone the opportunity to use the station.  Following this announcement, more news came that Kidsgrove would be considered for the National Stations Programme and this would mean Kidsgrove would receive a new station with a whole host of modern facilities.

Stakeholders and residents have until Friday 18th March 2016 to submit their views to the Hendy Review Consultation.  As there may not be much time to share your views and a letter may not reach the office before the deadline, I would like to advise everyone to send an email (if available) to: hendyconsultation@dft.gsi.gov.uk

Below is a list of points that you could make to the Hendy Consultation.  It is important that you put this in your own words and have your say.

  • The Hendy Report refers to Access for All funding and the Station Improvement Programme, potentially at risk of being pushed back another five years to Control Period 6 (2019-2024). It is imperative that Kidsgrove Station receives access for all funding in Control Period 5 (Present-2019) to ensure the viability of the scheme.
  • Share your own personal story about your involvement with the station and why it is so important to you and others.
  • A significant amount of work has already been done to consult the public, submit plans and any changes or delays could now harm the whole scheme.
  • State how important it is that disabled people have access to all platforms. This is a basic right for passengers.  Wheelchair users simply cannot use Kidsgrove Station if they need to access platforms 2,3 and 4.
  • Footfall at Kidsgrove Station continues to increase due to the improvement of services.
  • A HS2 hub is destined for Crewe. Kidsgrove will play a vital connection role so that passengers may access HS2 services as quickly and as easily as possible.
  • The current dilapidated station needs improvement for the growing demand. Station facilities need to be updated.
  • Investment in the Town of Kidsgrove is greatly needed and the station development is entwined with the Town’s plans for an integrated transport system.
  • Anything that you think is important.

As stated, residents have until this Friday to contribute to the Hendy Review Consultation and it is very important that as many people as possible have their say.  Your views could help tip the scales in favour of Kidsgrove to ensure the whole development and scheme goes ahead in Control Period 5.

Please do your bit!