Thursday, 30 August 2007

Tenbury Biomass Project - 'duff' incinerator consultants

"Incinerators emit PM2.5 particulates, which usually contain heavy metals. These pass through abatement systems and are totally unregulated and not measured in the UK. "

"These PM2.5s are breathed in and the soluble parts pass through the body causing widespread health damage"

Read the full details about this scary stuff.

Tenbury Biomass Project

This power station is only sustainable thanks to the payment of ROCs. In the news today, many of the wind generators have been found to be uneconomical, even with the payment of ROCs. ROCs cannot be guaranteed long term, as they are unsustainable, and have only been designed to enable to government to meet their current commitments. Yes of course we need electricity generation, but this site is ill conceived and has only been chosen because of who owns it, and not its suitability or convenience.

See Shropshire Star. for other views.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Tenbury Wells is open for business.


The above statement has been added to the Tenbury Town Council Web Site.

Whilst I agree that we should all support our local shops and businesses, we must forget that only 50% of the shops are 'Open for Business'.

If we don't acknowledge this, people with unusual names and silly job titles in that way off Town on the Hill will decree that we don't need assistance, we don't need an extension of free parking and closing down the high street to lay a cable from the Biomass Power Station will not matter.

More Traffic Chaos in the planning.

If you think that the chaos of Market Street reconstruction, the building of replacement toilets, the resurfacing of Teme Street, the repairs to the sewers, the repairs to the storm drains and the laying of the power cable for the Biomass Power Station is the end of traffic problems for Tenbury, think again.

Some of these are necessary and others are not!

Extract from Worcester County Councils bridge report.

A4112 Teme Bridge, Tenbury
Teme Bridge carries the A4112 over the River Teme in Tenbury Wells, linking the town itself to the A456, which provides the strategic route to Worcester and Kidderminster to the East, and Ludlow and Leominster via the A49 to the West. The alternatives routes in Tenbury from this directions involve narrow and hilly roads that are particularly unsuitable for the Heavy Goods Vehicles bringing goods to the town centre businesses.

The original bridge dates back to the Fourteenth Century, although the southern three arches were re-built in the Eighteenth Century. In 1815 the northern three spans were widened to a design by Thomas Telford, and further widening was undertaken in 1868. In 1908 reinforced concrete extensions were constructed on both elevations of the bridge to a design by L.G. Mouchel and Partners.

The structure therefore comprises of six sandstone arches, with spans varying between 7.2 metres and 8.4 metres, with widening having been undertaken using reinforced concrete beam and slab construction. In 1952 the soffit of the concrete extensions were treated with sprayed concrete and most recently in 1995 additional transverse beams were installed to strengthen the southern three spans. This last piece of work followed an assessment that identified the need for a weight restriction if strengthening work was not carried out.

Such a restriction would have a significant impact upon local businesses within Tenbury. A Principal Inspection (PI) in October 2005 identified further problems with the bridge, notably erosion of masonry, cracking and displacements of stonework, water penetration of the reinforced concrete extensions, and spalling of the concrete.

Additionally, the south-east wingwall is showing signs of movement, probably due to settlement of the fill behind the abutment. Given the above it is likely that major repairs will be required to Teme Bridge, and these will form a high priority due to the need to maintain a reasonable level of access to Tenbury itself. Further site investigations are underway to establish the interface between the original arch structure and the concrete extension and to allow a full assessment of the bridge to be completed.

Given the historic nature of this structure, there will be extensive consultation with English Heritage, whilst the timing of any works will need to be the subject of extensive local consultation to minimise the disruption that will inevitably occur locally.

The proposed programme and associated costs for Teme Bridge is as follows:
Year Action Cost
2006/07 Investigation and reassessment of concrete extensions £15,000
2007/08 Detailed mapping of defects to support ancient monument consent £30,000
2007/08 Feasibility and English Heritage liason £15,000
2007/08 Design of strengthening £30,000
2008/09 Masonry repairs (provisional) £450,000
2008/09 Strengthening of concrete extensions (provisional) £600,000
Total £1,140,000

Traffic Lights back in Town

Oh my. Chaos!

Traffic queued back to the High School and it's still the holidays.

How are we going to put up with months of this later in the year.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Tenbury Wells Market Street Toilets

As I thought the Council had planned to demolish the toilets even before they had subsided.

Their consulting engineers seem to have taken one look and said that as the back wall was unsupported (and never mind the concrete float foundation) they must come down.

It seem that no other options were considered.

The house in Alveley that had its foundations washed away to a far greater extent and had its wall collapse was saved.

I have to wonder what brief the consulting engineers were working to.

Malvern Hills District Council have wanted rid of the toilets for ages. It seems that the flood was a very convenient excuse and never mind public opinion.

I guess they will now also ignore public opinion about the Biomass Plant, much as they have about the Car Parking charges!

Bird Flu comes to Tenbury?

At last, sun warm enough to go sunbathing.

When will we learn, just because the Hen looks like road-kill, it may just be soaking up the rays.

We used to own a cat who would lay in the road gutter on warm days, looking just as if it had been hit by a car. It would jump up and run off if some poor motorist stopped to check it was OK.

Now we have Hens that prostrate themselves in to most alarming ways, and look like they have been attacked or are really sick. They too jump up and run off as soon as you investigate.

Do I hear the sound of Chicken laughter?

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Tenbury Biomass Project

Is the opposition to the Power Station just NIBYism or do over 2500 local people have a valid point of view.

See some comments on

and add your own.

Tenbury Wells Car Park - End of free parking.

Sometimes I feel that I am shouting into the void that is cyber space, other times I know I'm not alone.


Katie Johnson BBC Hereford & Worcester. Newsy wise, we keep pushing for free parking in Tenbury Wells and Upton on Severn as it officially comes to an end this weekend. Tried Malvern Hills District Council but couldn't get them on the programme, but lets hope they were listening as that many shops still shut or empty they need time to get back on their feet, lets have it free until the New Year please.

Jonathan from Tenbury You're quite right about free parking Katie. In Tenbury alone, it's said that in Teme Street, 28 businesses are open, 20 are closed and 4 are vacant. Round the corner in Market Street 6 are open, 13 closed and 2 vacant. As a business myself, we have had the loss adjuster visit and they are being very supportive, but the builder reckons it will take five to six weeks to tear up the floors and walls and rebuild our little shop on Teme Street, so if this applies to all businesses, it will take until late October before things are opening again. So the parking ought to be free until October and then should stay free to encourage a boost for Christmas, so December would be better. Thank you for your support with this.

Chris from Tenbury Wells Hi Katie. Thanks for taking up the Tenbury parking issue in your Tuesday programme. MHDC's fortnightly approach isn't really working. If MHDC announced free parking until Dec 31, this could be well-publicised, which would encourage people to come to Tenbury, which is what the shops need. On another issue, loads of drains are still blocked in Tenbury.

Tenbury Wells Car Park - End of free parking.

Well done Malvern Hills District Council. (Not)

With less than 50% of the shops in Tenbury open for trade, and many of the on street parking spaces still locked up all day with the necessary contractors vehicles trying to get the shops back trading again, isn't good to see that MHDC have decided that it is more important to raise a few pounds from those people who are supporting their local shops, than to help encourage that trade by continuing to offer free parking.

I guess the next thing they will do is install Temporary Traffic signals and dig up the road for months to try to bankrupt the remaining shops!

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Tenbury Wells Market Street Toilets

Malvern District Council do have some funny ideas.

Their web site states:-

Public Conveniences

The following public convenience are the responsibility of Malvern Hills District Council and are cleaned frequently.

Market Street (currently closed due to long term flood damage)– Tenbury Wells.

I think that they are a little more than Closed. Have they already forgotten that they destroyed them.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Unoccupied Business Park

The Tenbury Biomass Plant Project continues to throw up anomalies.

In a recent briefing document the Project Managers claim (correctly) that the Business Park "has been undeveloped for the last 17 years"

They also state that "Having a fully occupied business park is also seen as a key factor in encouraging economic regeneration"

The strange thing is, I keep hearing about Businesses that have either been turned away, or had unacceptable terms imposed upon them as if to keep them away from the business park.

When I asked about renting a unit there a few years ago, I was told that I would have to fund all the development myself to their specification and then pay rent for the ground the building occupied. As I was a start up company who wanted a small storage unit to rent, this rather put me off!

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Town Council - Planning Committee

From the minutes of the PLANNING COMMITTEE held on Monday 30th July 2007 at 7.00 pm in the Council Chamber, Teme Street, Tenbury Wells.

Cllr Jenner reported that she had spoken to a Planning officer from MHDC who had advised her that our recommendations should always comply with the information contained in the Local Plan and the reasons for refusal or approval should be more detailed. Cllr Jenner then gave some examples of previous applications and how they should have perhaps been worded. All Councillors were given a copy of a guidance leaflet published by MHDC.

Interesting timing in view of the imminent arrival of one of the most controversial planning applications for years.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Teme Street Resurfacing

At the Town Council Meeting held on 2nd July 2007, MHDC Cllr Penn reported:-

"Teme Street would be resurfaced in a few weeks time but it would take place a (sic) night time to ease traffic problems."

We now hear that the resurfacing has been delayed and will be done during the day, so that a pipe can also be laid to carry the 11KV cable for the Biomass Power Station.

I wonder if the resurfacing costs are now being 'subsidised' by the Biomass Power Station Project and that is why the question of 'easing' traffic congestion has been conveniently dropped.

Friday, 10 August 2007

Tenbury Biomass Project Update

Back in March I wrote a tongue in cheek briefing note about the proposed Power Station scheme, before the project was launched and before much information was available.

Now more facts are known I thought I would revisit my first thoughts.

"Having turned down the plans for the Market Square Veterinary surgery to move to the business park as it was the wrong sort of business,"

It now transpires that a number of businesses that have wanted to move to or buy plots on the business park over the years have been turned down, however the Project Developers say that the Business Park has lain mostly unused for many years.

"do the officers really think that a 40 ft tall power station with a 60 ft chimney is right for an edge of town location."

Well, yes they do. The heights are now shorter than originally indicated.

"So will this monster be viable?"

Yes, so long as the government supports ROCs.

"Will Tenbury become clogged with ever more large lorries?"

Yes, but not with Biomass lorries, they are to route through Bromyard or Kimbolton & Leysters.

"Once upon a time, electricity from biomass (wood burning) power stations was considered so inefficient that unless the heat could be usefully used they were a non-runner."

They still are, but by adding on a wood pellet drying plant and using the 'potential' to sell heat the project can be cost justified.

"Now, because of ‘Corporate Responsibility’ large multinationals such as Tesco, want to buy green but the traditional power generators cannot produce enough ‘green’ energy and are paying over the odds to inefficient power generators with the issue of ‘traded instruments’. The question is what happens when the market matures. This has already happened with Packaging Recovery Notes (another traded instrument) where the cost of issuing the note is now greater than its value. Companies using recycled materials to produce their products whose business model relied on this addition payment are going bust. If this happens in the power generation industry then Tenbury could have a very large White Elephant."

The government has comitted to support ROCs, so that's all right then!

"If the information released so far is correct, the design is already inefficient. If the power station cannot burn a mix of biomass and relies on wood pellets, it is questionable how much of the ‘energy’ produced will be needed to transport and pre-process the wood into pellets."

It seems the Power Station will run on wood chip and the unit next door with produce wood pellets for use elsewhere.

If the technology is now really so good that the Power Station will not be pumping out noxious fumes all over Tenbury and the Teme Valley, why not go to the next stage and build an incinerator that can also burn waste. Tenbury’s waste currently undertakes a long journey, to a processing centre 45 miles away, with many of the recyclable items going on to China. Surely any ‘new’ power station should be able to burn a mix of products from Bio Diesel, to methane from anabolic digesters, to household and trade waste, to biomass from miscanthus, to logs, to shredded pallets., to short crop rotation willow. Is the real reason that the council will jump at any offer, however poorly conceived just their usual unseemly haste at selling all the council owned assets and getting the money out of Tenbury.

The Technology isn't that good, so the plant will only be able to burn clean wood. The waste wood burning plant will probably be in Burford.

The text of the original Tenbury Biomass Project Document is available at

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Tenbury Biomass Project - Cable

If, as I suspect, there are no 'legal' grounds to oppose the Tenbury Biomass Power Project, I wonder if the cable could be run down Kyre Brook instead of Bromyard Road, Cross Street, Market Street & Teme Street.

If the brook could be cleared and dredged at the same time at least some good would come out of the construction.

Biomass Power Station DemonstrationBiomass Power Station Demonstration

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Council Press Briefing

Why is the meeting for Press Only?

Who pays the wages for the Council staff, and to who should they be accountable.

If the press are to only hear one side of the story how can any reporting be balanced.

In a democracy political power should belong to the people. Administrative offices such as Councils are created merely for execution of legal rules.

Left uncontrolled, the bureaucracy will become increasingly self-serving and corrupt, rather than serving society.

The make up of this project is already highly suspect, with the Land being jointly owned by the Project Sponsor, the Project Promoter, and the Planning Authority.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

"only a blow in"

I have been asked, why am I so staunch in my support for Tenbury, after all, I am only a blow in.

The simple answer is that I live here through choice, not by accident of birth.

Tenbury may or may not be unique, but it is certainly different from the other places that I have lived and worked.

I like Tenbury because:

  1. The natives are (mostly) friendly.
  2. I can walk (easily) to the Bank, Post Office, Cinema, Dentist, Doctor, Swimming Pool, Primary School, Secondary School, a great range of shops, (the list could go on....)
  3. I can walk down the high street in overalls & boots and I don't look out of place.
  4. I have Owls, Buzzards and other wildlife in my garden, yet I live in the town centre.
  5. My daughter knows nearly everyone in her school, yet the school is of a reasonable size.
  6. I know most of the local councillors, I may not always agreed with them, but I know who they are and not just their names.
  7. Most of the shops are independents, yet their prices are (mostly) competitive.
  8. We have proper, oily rag garages that understand vehicles and are not just component changers.
  9. Our local press is just that, local.
  10. We have a great Postal Service.
  11. The weekly market maybe small but is well balanced.

The main key to this is the town centre and its traders. We must support them, and they must be allowed to survive and thrive.

BBC Hereford and Worcester

Just been listening to Katie Johnson on BBC Hereford & Worcester who was in a combative mood, jousting with the Deputy Leader of MHDC. It's great to have at least one section of the media, reflecting local opinion.

BBC Hereford & Worcester's FM signal is almost non-existant in Tenbury, but Katie emailed me to say we have a special AM signal 1584 (same as the phone prefix).

Monday, 6 August 2007

Never Give Up

WCC assure me that the traffic lights will be withdrawn very soon. They will need to go up again once work starts, but until then, traffic will be allowed to flow through Tenbury in it's usual 'hit & miss' way. (Unless the road subsides!)

Misplaced Optimism

Another day, another jam. I know it's not as bad as the traffic jams in London. That's why I no longer live there.

It's bad enough that we have to suffer the lights, but the fact that they are still not working correctly is unbelievable.

This morning I waited in a queue nearly 1/2 mile long, whilst the traffic lights still gave an equal green phases to empty roads coming the other way.

Meanwhile, the few shop keepers that are trading say that their turnover has plummeted as people are either avoiding Tenbury, or are unable to stop.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Not without hope

This morning I sat gently fuming, sitting at the now familiar red light in Market Street, contemplating what I would like to do to the person who set the phasing on the lights. No other cars passed me as I waited for the green phase in Teme Street and the one on Kryewood Road. The sensors are very obviously not working.

As I turned the corner there was a contractors truck, with a very natty hand written sign saying "on emergency call" Horaah they had come to sort out (or even perhaps to remove) the traffic lights.

Many hours later I returned to Tenbury with a renewed sence of optimismn. As I approached the Kyrewood Road lights they were green. (even though no other cars were in front of me, and cars were waiting in Teme Street) Just as I reached the lights they turned red. Could the sensors be working in reverse? I think my paranoia is showing.

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Not a sheep

"I am not a sheep, I have my own mind. I am fed up with being told what and how to think?Whilst we are still allowed the remnants of free speech, I will speak out."

I spotted the above on another blog, but I couldn't agree more.

Our thoughts go out this morning to all livestock farmers. Hopefully lessons have been learnt and a major catastrophe can be avoided. On top of the recent crop losses, farming and the country cannot aford to get this wrong.

Friday, 3 August 2007

A taste of the future in Tenbury Wells

With the marked increase in the levels of pollution and chaos in Market and Teme Street, are we seeing into the future.

If the proposed plans for the Biomass Power Station at Bromyard Road Business Park goes ahead then we can probably look forward to both.

Perhaps not if, but when.

With the project being sponsored and underwriten by Worcester County Council, with an estimated £1M grant from the EU via AWM, the land jointly owned by Malvern Hills District Council, who are also the planning authority, Worcester County Council, the sponsor and AWM, the grant holder and the Government backing "Green Power" what chance public opinion.

We might as well agree for the developers to give all the shop keepers six months paid holiday, the householders one years Council Tax rebate and run a shuttle bus service to Bromyard, Leominster and Ludlow whilst the work is done. Dream on.

Alternatively, they will probably agree not to proceed, then early one morning after a power cut move contractors in and start anyway, saying only one person objected, but they didn't understand the history. Whilst all the parking in the town centre is suspended and the shop keepers already weakened by the floods close down one by one.

If the timetable on the official website is to be believed then the road works associated with running the cables to Burford should start even before the current "road-works" in Market Street are finished.

There could also be the nightmare situation of having suffered all the inconveniences, the plant built, the council tax papers money spent, the farmers crops planted and the Power Station sitting unused.

Market Street - Tenbury Wells

The wonderful people at Malvern Hub help desk tell me that our multi-layered leaders (my words not theirs) are "working very hard to solve the problem".

In their obscene haste to demolish the toilets, the powers that be, have weakened the embankment and the road so putting at risk the underground pipes and cables that run under it.

Worcester County Council (the road) cannot act until Malvern District Council (the wall) cannot act until Central Networks (the cable) cannot act until Severn Trent (the water pipe) cannot act until National Grid Gas? (the gas pipe) cannot act until...........

Looks like we will be decorating the traffic lights for Christmas.

It would help if anyone knew who the land known locally as "Snail Park" belonged to. MHDC will be very reluctant to spend money cleaning it up, even if they did make the mess demolishing the toilets.

Temporary Traffic Lights - Market Street

Well it's only lunchtime and I've already spent an hour today waiting in line at the temporary traffic lights in Teme/Market Street.

As the traffic lights are run by Worcester County Council, I thought I would give them a call.

It transpires that all traffic lights, must by law be fitted with a sensor to monitor if traffic is approaching/or waiting.

This surprised me as I had seen a green light at the Kyre Bridge crossing stay alight for an entire phases with no cars waiting (or approaching).

A little further investigating and I found that it may be law for the lights to have these sensors fitted, but there is no law that they have to be used. How very British!

It seems that the lights can simply be set on timer and left!

Hopefully my carefully chosen words have galvanised the official into action and at this very moment he is hot footing it to Tenbury to set the lights properly.

Will the jams dissolve if the lights are set correctly?

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Mixing with the wrong people

Do you ever get the feeling that you must be mixing with the wrong people.

Mr Mayor in his response to my article about the demise of the Victorian Toilets said

"There was no public protest at the scene, just one gentleman who would not listen to the history of how we reached a decision."

Well I have now met, I think it is six people who think that they were that "one gentleman" whereas I had thought that it was me.

I also continue to meet people who are not convinced about the course of action taken.

It just goes to show if you take a straw pole amongst the people you mix with you get the answer you expect.

Tenbury Mayor Bob Martin, mixing with Environment Secretary Hilary Benn and local MP Bill Wiggin. Picture Credit : Tenbury Advertiser

Air Pollution in Tenbury Wells

Many residents of Tenbury Wells are currently fighting a proposed Biomass Power Station which our illustrious leaders think would be a suitable addition for our small business park.

One of the points of protest is what the emissions from this plant will do to local air quality.

So, now we have a poorly functioning set of temporary traffic lights in town, that are causing long queues of traffic, the air quality has plummeted. So if the Council take a measurement now, they can say our air quality is already so bad, what difference will a Power Station make.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Tenbury Wells - A rising sea of suits

Tenbury Wells, (a small market town situated on the north west tip of Worcestershire recently known for its rising flood waters) became a sea of suits this morning.

Usually dressing up in Tenbury involves putting on clean overalls and boots, but today many besuited gentlemen were in evidence up and down the towns main streets. There was also an influx of yellow waist coated representatives from the Council and the Environment Agency.

The reason for this mass donning of weaved cloth was a visit by Government Minister, Hilary Benn who was recently appointed Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and local MP Bill Wiggin ,

I have to admit that with the recent events locally I still thought he was Secretary of State for International Development, and whilst realising that Tenbury is a European development area due to the very low per capita income, I was still rather surprised by his visit.

I guess rather like the Queen who probably thinks the world smells of new paint, government ministers must think that even everyday country folk, must wear suits on a daily basis just like them Londoners do.