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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.

Neglected Crash Barriers Put Residents at Risk

Councillor Kyle Robinson inspects damaged and broken crash barriers on Congleton Road, Butt Lane.

Councillor Kyle Robinson inspects damaged and broken crash barriers on Congleton Road, Butt Lane.

Councillor Kyle Robinson is calling on Staffordshire County Council Highways department to fix damaged crash barriers in the Butt Lane ward located on Congleton Road and Fourth Avenue.  Some of the damaged barriers were reported months ago and have yet to be fixed.  Highways officers also highlighted in an email that repairing the barriers were not a priority in certain locations, even at a school entrance.  There have been several accidents at both locations in recent months and residents are furious that the Council is failing to take their concerns seriously.  The crash barriers were put in place to protect pedestrians walking past busy junctions which are also known to be crash hot spots.

Kyle said: “I reported the damaged barriers outside of the school entrance on Fourth Avenue nearly 12 months ago and the County Council has still done nothing to repair them.  I am particularly concerned that damaged barriers at a school entrance are not seen as a priority.  Well over 400 school children use Fourth Avenue each morning to access The Kings School.  I think the safety of our kids should always be a top priority and I call on Staffordshire County Council to get their act together and fix these barriers as a matter of urgency.  The regularly damaged barriers on the Congleton Road Junction with Cedar Avenue is further evidence that this particular stretch of road is dangerous and a thorough traffic survey is required.”

Local resident, Helen Chadwick said: “The barriers were installed to protect people walking past busy junctions.  The barriers on Fourth Avenue are near to a school entrance and I dread to think what could happen should a car hit the already damaged and weakened barriers.  The County Council should fix the problem without question or further delay.”

Crash barriers at both sites have been re-reported and reference numbers have been obtained.  Any updates received regarding future repairs will be published here for information.

Labour Group wins Citizens Advice Service Reprieve

cablogo-11The Staffordshire Labour Group’s call in of the Conservative Cabinet decision to cut funding to Staffordshire CABs by £439,000 has resulted in a rethink. Cabinet member Councillor Alan White agreed at yesterday’s Corporate Review Committee to reconsider his decision.

The proposed cuts in funding would have resulted in many smaller bureaux closing and a much reduced service in other bureaux which provide free, confidential and quality marked advice on a wide range of issues including debt, benefits and consumer information.

Leading the call in on behalf of the Labour Group, Councillor Shree Peaple said:

“The CABs provide real value for money. In the first six months of the year, for an investment of less than 59 pence per resident per year the financial return was £14.7 million, on average £17 per resident. That is in addition to helping residents deal with over £11 million worth of debt. That benefits not only local families but also local shops and businesses.  I am delighted that we have won a reprieve for Staffordshire CABs but they are not out of the woods yet as there are still hard decisions to be made”

Kyle Robinson , Labour County Council Candidate for Talke and Red Street said:

“The CAB offers expert advice to help people tackle their debt problems.  Many residents, young and old in Butt Lane, Talke Pits and Chesterton Red Street access CAB services in a time of need.  People are really struggling to make ends meet and to take away this vital service would be another blow for the local community.  People assume that only people on benefits use CAB services, but this is simply not true.  A large proportion of people who use the service are in work.  I am also aware that many disabled people turn to the CAB for support, especially when seeking work.  The County Council must think again and ensure that the most vulnerable people in our community get the support they need and deserve.  You never know when you might need to access this service yourself.”

Councillor Sue Woodward, Leader of the Labour Group said,

“With the petition in favour of saving our CABs already running at over 11,500, this reflects the real value Staffordshire residents put on these services. We must now find a fairer and more positive solution. I am pleased that our call in was so successful.”

Please sign the petition if you haven’t already: https://www.change.org/p/staffordshire-county-council-help-protect-local-citizens-advice-services-across-staffordshire