Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Tenbury Biomass Project

The Worcester County Council flagship Biomass Pilot Project continues to run into problems.

The planning permission, which the project's own website still maintains will be applied for in May, has still to be submitted.

All the documents are now with MHDC, but no-one from the Project Team can find the cheque book, so until the Planning Fee has been paid, no further progress is possible.

The future of this project must be in doubt.

Even WCC Energy Manager said "there are valid concerns of project from objective groups"

The cost of fueling this plant, which is only viable with Government Subsidies, has also taken another blow, with the EU allowing existing 'set aside' land to be bought back into cultivation for cereal crops to tackle the current world shortage. How many farmers will want to plant 'long term' crops such as Willow, when they can plant 'short term' premium crops such as Potatoes and Wheat.

Far better to concentrate the Council resources on energy reduction and schemes such as solar panels for council properties, that to invest in a plant that is untried, not wanted and a 'white elephant' waiting to happen.

Pity the Tourist

Picture the tourist who decides to come to Tenbury for the day.

They visit the MHDC Official Tourist Information Centre website, and print off the town map.

So far so good.

They arrive in the Town, park the car and go in search of the TIC to stock up on leaflets, but alas the TIC is not where it is shown on the map. They wander down Teme Street and round the corner into Market Street. They are looking for the toilets shown on the map that they printed that very morning, but the toilets are missing, instead they pass shop after shop that are dark, have notices promising to open soon, some with boarded up windows, others with no floors.

They turn and head for the Council Offices to make a complaint about being misled, but find that the Council Offices shown on the map are those of the Town Council, and not the District Council. They also find that the Cattle Market is no more, just a dusty/muddy car park.

Never mind. The pavements are clean.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Applefest 2007

Congratulations to the organisers of Applefest 2007.

A good time was had by all.

A fantastic display of apple varieties, displays from the Bee Keepers Association, a pole laithing demonstration, and street entertainment, plus the Tenbury staples of Sausage Tasting, Hot Pork Rolls, Car Boot Fair, and much more besides.

Previous short comings like the lack of toilets had been addressed, and the events were well signposted.

See the link opposide for more photographs.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Tenbury Renamed by Welsh Water

Tenbury - A Stronghold by the River Teme.

We should by all probability be called Tembury.

Bury is a Saxon name meaning a stronghold, and Ten is likely to have been a variation of the spelling of the River Teme.

Welsh Water working in Bromyard have decided on their sign that is should be spelt Tenbry. Bry is usually a variation of By, so we are now By Teme.

So no longer a stronghold.

Local Fatal Accident

Today we hear the sad news of a motorist being killed on a local road after a collision with a tractor. The full story is as yet unclear, but I have become increasingly concerned about the way very large tractors are being used on local roads.

I have no issue with local farmers moving their machinery from farm to field, but the large scale activity of the Potato Gangs are bringing the existing rules into disrepute.

These gangs use very large agricultural tractor and trailer units to circumvent the road haulage rules when moving (mainly) the potato harvest from field to processing centre.

By using Tractors, rather than lorries, the drivers need no special training, only a car licence, they can run on Red Diesel (tax reduced), they run without tachographs and can work long hours, with no rest days.

We do not yet know what caused the recent accident, but it would quite possible that the tractor driver had been working 12 or more hours since dawn, driving back a forth from field to processing centre, and not just short distances but up to 50 miles each way.

It is also possible, from what I have seen in the last few weeks, that the tractor was travelling at excessive (for that type of vehicle) speeds and with the driver using a mobile phone!

Only this afternoon a tractor came around the bend by the Pembroke Pub travelling at about 40 mph, and this was at school pick up time. If there had been a queue of traffic held back by the crossing patrol, I cannot see how the tractor would have stopped.

I think it is time for a review and clarification of how these units are being used.

Update: This accident appears to have been caused by the motorist loosing control rather than any fault by the tractor driver.

Traffic Chaos returns to Tenbury

Once again traffic chaos returned to Tenbury Wells. This time to facilitate the steam cleaning of the pavements.

Due to the need to shut the pavements during the operation, the parking spaces were shut off from vehicles to allow them to be used by pedestrians.

The result, chaos! Traffic queued back to the Aspire Centre and beyond as the fleet of contractors vehicles which still occupy the majority of on-street parking whilst building restoration continues struggled to find alternate accommodation.

I guess the council wanted to make the pavements look clean for applefest, but with so much building work still ongoing surely it is too early?

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Royal Visit

I think it speaks volumes about the way MHDC handled the Market Street toilet fiasco when the Duke of Gloucester, who is a trained architect, said "I do think it's a shame you weren't able to lift it (the toilet building) out as a historic monument"

Shame in deed!

Friday, 5 October 2007

Environment Agency Work in Tenbury

It seems the Toilet Block is really still there and only the wall is missing!

(Environment Agency Press Release - 2/10/2007)
An Environment Agency workforce is clearing a two mile stretch of clogged waterway on the Kyre Brook at Tenbury Wells. They have been tasked with removing a tangle of trees, bushes and general debris, as well as securing parts of the embankment from sliding into the water. All of it is the legacy of a rain-soaked summer.

The brook runs through the top end of Tenbury and joins the River Teme downstream of the town.

Tenbury Wells suffered severe flooding on three occasions, bringing misery and disruption to large parts of the town. Now, work is underway to fully restore Kyre Brook, a tributary of the River Teme, to its former self.

But the summer deluge proved too much on three separate occasions, with torrential downpours bringing down trees along the bank of the stream, which had swollen into a fast moving torrent. It was this debris which quickly choked the stream, making it the first to flood parts of the town.

As well as tons of debris, whole trees have had to be removed and others felled along its banks to prevent the danger of some stretches sliding into the water under their weight.

The team is now into it’s fifth week and it will probably take another two week’s work to finish the job.

They will not be clearing the area by the wall adjacent to the Market Street toilet block, where the remains of the collapsed wall still support the footpath. We are working on plans to replace the wall, in conjunction with local authorities, and debris will be removed as part of the construction process.

Area Flood Risk Manager, Anthony Perry, says “This is all part of our work to get things back to normal after what was one of the worst flood events in modern history. Trees and debris swept down by the floodwater cause blockages and increase the risk of future flooding if they are not removed. With winter on its way, we have a team working hard to reduce the risks of flooding in Tenbury should another flood event occur."

The work at Tenbury is part of an ongoing county-wide programme to clear and prepare flood-hit watercourses for the winter

Monday, 1 October 2007

Tenbury Wells Tourist Information Centre

With all the funding that has been made available to the TWTIC, why is the information on their web site so out of date.

Yes we know that the Tenbury Agricultural Show has been cancelled, but is it still relevant several month after the fact.

Much of the site content is out of date, and the "Events in Tenbury Wells" page seems to have become "Whats on @ Whites".

If Tenbury wants to hold its head up as a tourist 'destination', surely it needs to compete at all levels including it's web sites.

Tenbury Wells Town Council

Why have Tenbury Town Council stopped publishing their minutes on their web site.

Do they have something to hide, are they technophobic, is it a lack of funding or are they just badly organised?

If I was more organised I would ring the Town Clerk, but I never seem to remember at the right time, and unfortunately there is no email address.

Update: I finally got around to phoning, and it was a good old fashioned mistake. The Town Council are not very 'web-aware' but have formed a sub-committee to consider this subject.

Tenbury Wells Market Street Toilets

It's funny how a story 'matures' with age.

Worcester County Council now say that the toilets were demolished for 'health & safety' reasons, whilst the Tenbury Advertiser claim they were 'swept' into the brook.

What ever the truth, the site is a mess, and however much optimism some people portray, Tenbury is far from back on its feet, but it is getting there and some of the shops that have been refurbished are better than they were.

Also the Environment Agency are doing sterling work on the upper reaches of Kyre Brook, clearing away years of growth from along the banks. I guess they will also be clearing the bed in due course. My only question is, if the water can flow quicker and freer won't it just flood into town quicker?