Sunday, 24 February 2008

Pump Rooms - Management

The transfer of the Historic Grade ii * listed Pump Rooms at Tenbury Wells is still in progress.

Malvern Hills District Council have decided that to avoid any future financial liability for the building it should be transferred to the control of Tenbury Town Council.

All the arrangements have been discussed behind closed doors using the much overworked Section 100(1) of the Local Government Act 1972.

It is therefore impossible at this stage to know what plans the Town Council have to make the building self-sufficient and not add additional costs to the precept.

With vision and proper management, this building could be a real asset to Tenbury Wells and become a tourist destination, but does the Town Council have the necessary skill set and business acumen at their disposal to full-fill this?

Nocturnal Realignment

It seems that various Tenbury Wells landmarks mysteriously move in the night, if the new Town signage is to be believed.

The recently installed finger posts appear to be aimed at pedestrians, but do not have the usual walking man symbol, hence the confusion. The directions to the Coach Park are down the walkway beside the library, although any coach driver coming into town may think that they are directing the coaches down the access road to the Pay & Display car park.

There also seems to be a design fault in that the direction boards can be spun around to point in any direction but the towns young people under cover of darkness.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Biomass Plans Withdrawn

The Tenbury Wells Biomass Plan has been withdrawn by the Developer CJ Day Associates, but only temporarily, pending further Government legislation.

Although local opposition remains strong, Worcester County Council in partnership with Malvern Hills District Council and Advantage West Midlands are still pursuing the building of this Power Station in a totally unsuitable site.

The main reason for this policy is not because of it's green credentials, but as a box ticking exercise. Worcester County want to appear to be carbon neutral and by placing a Biomass Power Station on this site they can go a long way towards this claim, and because unlike almost any other site in the county they can do it virtually cost free due to grant aid.

Although financially this makes sense to the Council and helps Malvern Hills District Council diverse themselves of yet another Tenbury Wells asset, the final cost may be a political one. The Tenbury area has in recent times voted for Conservative representatives on both the District and County Councils and returned a Conservative MP. With the majority of the towns population against the Biomass Plan, then the likely benefactors will be the Liberal Democrats.

Harriett Baldwin & George Lord at the proposed Biomass Power Station site, Tenbury Wells. Both potential losers in the political fallout if the project goes ahead.

For full details see Shropshire Star

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

A Better Welcome for Market Towns

Tenbury Wells scored very well in a survey of visitors carried out during last year. Although some of the answers were slightly less reliable as the town was recovering from severe flooding, most visitor found that a visit to Tenbury Wells was a worthwhile and enjoyable experience.

Tenbury attracts a high number of adult couples from professional backgrounds, who are over 55. They tend to be visiting for the day, either from home or from holiday accommodation outside the area. The downside is although they enjoy their visit, they don't stay very long, because there is not enough to do and see.

Tenbury Wells now has an opportunity to rectify this shortcoming with a grant for capital developments.

Suggestions for improving the visitor experience include:-
  • A riverside walk with additional seating
  • Improved visitor information boards
  • Improved/additional interpretation panels
  • Improved facilities on the Burgage
  • New feature entrance to the Burgage

Any one wishing the participate in the project should contact Malcolm Salisbury at the Tourist Information Centre.

Market Street Update

Two more very popular Teme Street businesses reopened this week, The Fish and Chip takeaway and the Vaults.
3 Shops are still undergoing refurbishment in Market Street.
Only one business remains closed in Teme Street, Kus Kus Restaurant which is expected to open by Easter.
A couple of other shops are being refurbished but they were either empty before the floods or the businesses have already relocated.
(Updated 02/03/08)
Name Business Trading Refurbished Comments
Marilyn Ladies Fashions
26, Market St,
01584 811662
Clothes Shops - Ladies
Yes Yes Reopened late October
The Barn Shop Fruit, Veg & Plants Yes Yes Reopened early August
The Little Fish Shop Wet Fish Sales Yes Yes Opened Feb 08
Pet Shop

18, Market St,

Pet Shop

Yes Yes Reopened Late November
Sue Ryder Charity Shop Yes Yes Reopened 19th September
The Hair Shop
16, Market St,
01584 819564
Yes Yes
Phil @ The Clockhouse Deli & Butchers Yes Yes Reopened Late November
Whites @ The Clockhouse Restaurant Yes Yes
Royal Oak Pub Yes Yes Reopened 12th November
Singapore Restaurant

6-8 Market St,
01584 811544

Chinese Restaurant

Yes Yes Reopened Feb 08
The Spotty Dog Tea Room Yes Yes
St Michaels Hospice

1-2 Market St,

01584 819898

Charity Shop

No Started No Floor open to cellar
New Floor layed Feb 08
Richard C Swift Ltd Bakers No Started No Floor open to cellar
New Floor layed Feb 08
Ruffles Curtain Shop Yes Yes Fully reopened Jan 08
Yuh Wah

17 Market St,

01584 810885
Chinese Takeaway

Yes No Not Flooded

15 Market St,

01584 810281

Funeral Directors

Yes Yes

15 Market St,

01584 810561

Builders Merchant

Yes Yes
Femina Hair Styles
9, Market St,
01584 810107
Yes Yes
The Embroidery Shop
7, Market St,
01584 810906
Needlecraft Retailers
No In Progress Due to reopen March 08
Mr Bens

Gents Barbers

5, Market St,

Yes Yes Opened as Gents Barbers Jan 08
Country Flowers

5, Market St,

01584 819446


Yes Yes Opened Feb 08

New Community Website

Tenbury Town Council have launched a new community website.

They will shortly be writing to local businesses and organisations inviting advertising, and event editorial.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Pump Rooms Sell Off

The long expected news that Malvern Hills District Council have disposed of yet another council owned asset in Tenbury Wells hit the press this week.

The Pump Rooms future has been in some doubt after the District Council moved their local office out of the Pump Rooms and into the hugely expensive extension to the library.

Although the District Council would have found it very difficult to sell the Historic Monument after they had been granted so much money from various public funds to restore it, their policy of disposing of assets (or as they see it, liabilities) meant that they wanted shot of the responsibility of ongoing maintenance.

It appears that Malvern Hills District Council have given the Pump Rooms to the Town Council (although they retain the right to 50% of the proceeds if the Town Council sell it).

The Town Council have not yet officially commented on the transfer as all matters relating to the Pump Rooms have been held in private session.

If the news is correct, then lets hope that the Town Council can run the Pump Rooms at a sufficient profit so that it doesn't become a mill stone around their financially bereft neck! Run with vision, then this building could really be the 'Jewell in the Crown' of Tenbury Wells, but do the Town Council possess the necessary skill and acumen to run a Tourist destination.

Worcester Evening News 14/02/08
Worcester Evening News 22/02/08

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Poor Turnout Shames Tenbury

Although a hot topic of conversation at every bar and dinner table, when the opportunity arose to address the question of 'How Malvern Hill District Council spends our Council Tax', the turnout was derisory.

Ralph Madden, Deputy Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Finance and Resources and Peter Gillett, Head of Finance & Resources, were in Tenbury tonight for a Public Consultation Meeting.

The meeting was attended by a total of 5 people, (including me).

One Town Councillor, in a private capacity.
One member of the press.
One Parish Councillor from a neighbouring parish.
One member of the public from a neighbouring parish.
One member of the public from Tenbury. (me)

Despite the low turn-out the meeting was very productive and these two very well informed gentlemen from MHDC took copious notes and promised to liaise at the highest levels to pass on the information gathered.

There was lots of interesting facts in their presentation, but the three things that I found the most surprising where:-
  • the government inspired bus passes cost MHDC £400,000 per year which is about 11.4% of the total amount raised by the Council Tax.
  • waste collection and bus passes alone cost MHDC more than the total amount of money raised by the Council Tax
  • of the average band D £1,337 Council Tax bill, only 9%, £120 actually goes to MHDC.