Thursday, November 27, 2008


Are bridge work delays the main cause of traffic queues

I don’t think anyone was surprised to hear the news that the replacement bridge at Doxey was at least two weeks behind schedule. Over the weeks while work has been going on I’ve been making regular visits to the site and it was clear from the start that the deadline for completion was never going to be meet!

Unfortunately this delay means not only will the residents of Seighford be forced to make the long detour through Bridgeford or Derrington for sometime to come but also the residents living in those villages will have to put up with the increase in traffic while this detour is in force.

Another knock on effect of this bridge closure is that during the morning rush hour traffic is backed up along the Newport Road from the Westway traffic lights to at least the Castle. On some days the queue even starts at the motorway bridge on the Gnosall side of Western Downs. I’ve certainly had a number of complaints about this problem and as I told the callers that while the problem was partly being caused by the extra traffic I thought the real reason was the County Council’s Highway Department was using the Westway lights to hold back vehicles so the centre of town did not become gridlocked.

Having raised the problem with one of the leading County Councillors I see from time to time my thoughts were confirmed. He said he had already asked for something to be done about the problem after he had got caught up in the jam and some slight changes to the light phasing had taken place. However having tried the route myself a couple of days ago nothing had really changed. Ok the queue had been reduced by a few hundred yards, but I was still caught up for nearly twenty minutes.

I only hope the bridge in Doxey is opened soon and no further delays to the works programme takes place as this will allow some drivers to find an alternative route into town. However the County Council must think seriously about the way it uses the traffic lights on Westway to hold back traffic as this is certainly an inconveniencing many residents who live to the west of Stafford town.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Poor work on Haughton pavements

As residents of Haughton will know over the past few as a gang of County Council Highway Department workers have been resurfacing the footpaths in part of the Village. However to say that the quality of work is variable is an understatement.

To give the County Council their due they have delivered a leaflet to each household that was effected by the work warning residents that they should take care not to walk the tar into their homes and to not drive vehicles across the new surface for at least a couple of hours.

Well that is where the problem started. I had a telephone call from a resident of Church Close who asked me to go and have a look at the pavement outside her home. As son as O got there I could see there was a problem! Taking the Council’s advice she had left her car on the road overnight but even so the car a left quite a deep track across the new surface, and looking along the road it was clear this was the same at nearly every house.

To make matters worse the way the surface had been laid did seem rather poor. Along the back of the pavement where it joined hers and her neighbour’s gardens there were quite big gaps some of which even had small weeds growing in them. We both wondered what would happen in a few months time when the new seasons weeds began to grow?

I have to say that I’m at a loss to know why this work was left until the middle of November when the weather was cold and damp and the pavements were covered in dead leaves. Surely it would have made more sense to do this resurfacing in the summer when there was more chance of the pavements being dry. I’m certainly not aware of how much this work has cost, but I do worry it has been a waste of Council Taxpayers money and that even more will need to be spent to put the problems right.

Friday, November 7, 2008


County Council's Community Gang confusion

Staffordshire County Council’s Highways Department have recently introduced “Community Gangs” – a group of workmen that would spend a few days in a Parish working on small highway tasks. At Tuesdays Church Eaton Parish Council meeting Mark Winnington - the County Councillor for the area - proudly announced that the gang would be Church Eaton Parish for the week beginning 10th November.

Unfortunately the Parish Council has not received any notification of the proposed start date before this announcement was made, so you can imagine the disquiet that rippled around the room. All the Councillors agreed that 6 days notice was not enough as they need to discuss and prioritise which jobs needed to be done. Somewhat deflated Mark agreed to go back to the Highways Department bosses to see if the gangs visit to Church Eaton Ward could not be put off to a later date.

This fiasco once again shows that the County Council are completely out of touch with the real world. OK they might be excited about the scheme, or they might need to get the money spent as soon as possible, but they have to realise that Parish Councils and local communities cannot be bounced into taking part and they deserve to have proper time to consider the scheme and plan what needs to be done. This is especially important given the fact that Mark pointed out that if the Parish Council could not identify what they wanted doing the workmen would soon find jobs that they felt needed their attention!

However Mark obviously took the message back to Highways House as the Parish Council has now received an e-mail to say that they should have received a letter a couple of weeks ago, but not to worry as the scheme had slipped and the gang would now not be in Church Eaton until 24th of the month!
One has to wonder how a scheme, which has only been running for a few weeks and also operates on a set timetable, can slip behind schedule? Does that mean an area that should have had the gang for five days might have got six days of work instead, or does it mean the County Council are incapable of organising even this simple task?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008



Congratulation must go to Giles and Mel Cottrill as they have now opened the new replacement post office in Derrington. As I said in an early entry in this diary (25th May 2008) the previous village post master decided to retire, which prompted the Post Office to look for someone else to run the office. Giles and Mel who already run the successful office in Haughton immediately stepped into the breach. Since that announcement they have both worked hard with the Post Office to get the new office up and running in the Village Hall. Hopefully their hard work will now pay off as local people and businesses use the facility.

However there has to be a word of warning! As I discovered when I visited Village Hall, the WI have arranged to run a coffee shop to coincide with the post office opening hours. I have to say the cakes and coffee are exceptional good and if I continue to use the post office on a regular basis I am worried my diet will suffer badly. Where else can you get a cup of fresh made coffee or tea and a slice of home made cake for just £1! Hopefully the coffee shop will bring customers to the post office and the post office will bring trade to the coffee shop!

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