Blog Archives

Fireworks and the Law – Kidsgrove

Kidsgrove_FireworksIn recent weeks residents have contacted me to complain about people setting off fireworks far too early and also lighting them in a public place.  This problem occurs each year and has a huge impact on the health of people (especially small children and elderly people) in the community and also their pets.  It is important to know what the law is on this issue so that swift action can be taken against the law breakers.  Local shops and firework suppliers also have a duty of care when selling fireworks to anyone.

An individual can’t buy or use ‘adult’ fireworks if they’re under the age of 18, and it’s against the law for anyone to set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except on certain occasions.  ‘Adult’ fireworks are also known as category 2 and 3 fireworks; they don’t include things like ‘sparklers’ and ‘party poppers’.  The law states that you must not set off or throw fireworks (including ‘sparklers’) in the street or other public places.  If you see someone doing this you should contact the Police immediately on 101.

You must not set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am. The exceptions are:

  • On Bonfire Night, when the cut off is midnight
  • On New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, when the cut off is 1am

An individual can only buy fireworks (including sparklers) from registered sellers for private use on these dates:

  • 15th October to 10th November
  • 26th to 31st December
  • Three days before Diwali and Chinese New Year

At other times fireworks can only be purchased from licensed shops.  Fines of up to £5,000 and/or imprisonment for 3 months can apply for buying or using fireworks illegally.  “On-the-spot fines of £80” may also be imposed.  If you think a supplier or local shop is selling fireworks inappropriately or without the correct license, you can report them to Staffordshire County Council Public Protection/Trading Standards on 0300 111 8045.

Butt Lane Parking – RPZ Options

Councillor_Kyle_Robinson

Would you pay an annual fee for a parking space?

In recent years, residents in the Butt Lane area have continued to raise their concerns about parking. Terraced Streets like Church Street, Wright Street, Skellern Street, Chapel Street, Glebe Street, Banbury Street and half of Woodshutts Street continue to become overburdened with vehicles. The issue is becoming exacerbated for a number of reasons.

These days, many families have more than one car per household and the majority of these homes do not have a driveway. There are also a number of businesses that continue to thrive in the local area. Growth in business equals more jobs for people in our community and we welcome this. The big problem is that businesses around here have little or no parking space for their employees or customers. People do not see any other option but to park in one of the streets mentioned above. This is causing community tension and continued upset for the people residing in the places previously mentioned.

Residents have asked local Councillors to look at what options are available to solve the parking crisis. We have recently asked Staffordshire County Councils Highways Community Liaison Officer, David Greatbatch for advice on what can be done to solve the current problem at hand. David has advised that Resident Parking Zones (RPZ) could be a potential solution, but there are all sorts of pros and cons with this. These are as follows:

  • Some residents may not wish to pay the initial fee which funds the signing and lining costs of the scheme nor would they support annual payments for the parking permit(s).
  • To avoid displacement to nearby streets the RPZ would extend beyond Church Street and Wright Street and in some instances, because residents of these added streets do not have a problem with parking they would not support the RPZ. However it may not be considered appropriate to continue without these streets included since the displacement would no doubt result in a future request for the RPZ to be extended.
  • Displacement beyond the RPZ may still occur if those who work at the local businesses do not use alternative means of transport and therefore whatever the limits of the RPZ they will park beyond it.
  • The number of permits given to each property may not be sufficient where multiple car ownership is present – permits available are based on the available spaces which in many cases along terraced streets means that parking can only be permitted on one side since we are unable to condone parking partly on the footway, which may take place currently to enable parking on both sides. This possible reduced parking availability is another reason why residents may not support the RPZ. The reason why a zone is chosen, in addition to deal with displacement, is to try to increase the available space – if calculations indicate that there is simply not enough on street space to allow one space per property the RPZ may have to be shelved.
  • Another issue some residents have is that a permit for parking within an RPZ does not guarantee they can park outside their property – it merely allows parking within the zone.
  • Local businesses may be entitled to a number of permits, but these would be limited and should reduce the number of vehicles parked in the RPZ area.
  • The RPZ process requires appropriate levels of resident support throughout and if this is not present the scheme will be shelved. It is also one which will be added to many that have been requested throughout the borough area and there are at least two zones which have previously been prioritised which will need to be completed before any others can be considered for progressing.

For more information about RPZ schemes the following link will be of assistance:

http://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/transport/parking/zone-permits/Zonefaq/residentparkingscheme.aspx

So as you can see from the above information, there is no quick fix to the parking problems in the local area, but we must find a solution and together we will. We also need a strategy for Congleton Road. Staffordshire County Council has still failed to recognise the need for a full traffic survey in Butt Lane and refuses to recognise the severity of congestion on the A34. People living on Congleton Road also need to be able to park their cars safely, but without land, investment and commitment from the County Council – nothing will happen anytime soon.

If you’re a Butt Lane resident and you would like to discuss Resident Parking Zones with your Councillors, contact:

County Councillor John Taylor 01782 786227 – john.taylor@staffordshire.gov.uk

Kyle Robinson 07837905443 – kyle.robinson@newcastle-staffs.gov.uk

Sylvia Dymond 07904569665 – sylvia.dymond@newcastle-staffs.gov.uk

Silvia Burgess 07906337215 – silvia.burgess@newcastle-staffs.gov.uk

Butt Lane Post Office set for revamp

Butt_Lane_Post_Office

Councillors welcome Butt Lane Post Office revamp.

Butt Lane Post Office on Congleton Road is set to be updated to offer a new modern service that is convenient for it’s customers.  As part of this programme of investment and modernisation some services will change, but the Post Office will be open for longer hours.  If the changes go ahead the Butt Lane branch will be open Mon-Wed 9:00 – 18:30, Thu 09:00 – 17:30, Fri 09:00 – 18:30 & Sat 09:00 – 13:00 (Current opening times are : Mon – Fri 09:00 – 17:30 & Sat 09:00 – 12:30).

Customers will still have most of the products and services they’re used to, but some some services will no longer be available at this branch.  Some Insurance services will no longer be available in branch due to Insurance becoming more widely available over the phone or online.  Payment by cheque will also go now that the banks have agreed not to issue cheque guarantee cards.  The Butt Lane branch may close for up to seven days during August/September 2015 while a refurbishment of the building takes place.

Cllr Kyle Robinson said: “I welcome the news that our local Post Office will get a complete overhaul to make it more accessible to local people.  The Post Office is very well used in Butt Lane as the Pharmacy also helps to increase it’s footfall.  I think it’s great that these businesses work alongside each other to offer an exceptional service in our community.  The only concerns I have raised with Post Office Limited is the ending of payments by cheque.  There is still a generation that prefer to pay by cheque and I have raised this with the area manager. Unfortunately, the banks have stopped issuing cheque guarantee cards so this makes it difficult for companies to accept a payment by cheque for fear of it bouncing should there be insufficient funds in a customers account.”