Thursday, 10 December 2009

Audit Commission Red Flags Tenbury

The Audit Commission has launched a website called oneplace where all their reports and findings are reported on line.

Tenbury has received one of their red flags due to the flooding and lack of Government reposponse.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Tenbury Wells Cattle Market Site

There seems to be something happening at the old Cattle Market site.

Surveyors were working in Tenbury this week surveying the Cattle Market site and the surrounding area.

It was not clear exactly who they worked for but one report was Land Securities, but this is unconfimed.

The site is believed to still be owned by Will Chase,(a potato farmer from Herefordshire, who pocketed about £30m from selling a 67% stake in Tyrrells, the premium crispmaker he founded 7 years ago, to Langholm Capital, the private equity investment vehicle backed by Unilever and Rabobank, which in 2009 donated an impressive £150 to charity!)) but now might be the time to sell, Commercial property.

Land Securities is looking to spend £1 billion on investments in the next 12 months, including acquisitions, and is said to be currently bidding for some £500 million worth of deals.

British Land is also on the lookout for bargains and has £2.5 billion to spend.

Development of this site was never going to be an easy option, but if players the size of Land Security and British Land move in, then planning obstacles erected by MHDC & EA may be quickly be dismantled.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Teme Street Bridge Destroyed.

This is not a headline anyone wants to write, but as the Mayor & other Cllrs have expressed this week, it is a real concern. It is years since engineers identified that the bridge required repairs, yet there is still no firm date, or funding available to carryout those repairs.
With alternate routes either via very long diversions or very minor roads, the prospect of loosing the main access route out of town is very unwelcome.

It will be bad enough having to close the bridge for weeks when repairs are carried out, but the prospect of loosing the bridge for several years is something out of a nightmare. (If it takes 3 years to replace the toilets, think how long a bridge might take!)

Friday, 20 November 2009

Disappointment over Xmas Light Ceremony

A good crowd gathered tonight in Tenbury for the switching on of the Christmas lights.

For some reason the ceremony was running early, and many people who had seen the article in the local paper or looked at the Chamber of Trade website were disappointed to have arrived too late and had missed the ceremony. The advertised Carol Singing also didn't take place. I am told the juggler did perform, but had finished before the advertised start time.

One person I spoke to who had travelled in from another town was disappointed that it was all over in less than 15 seconds.

The Chamber have raised a lot of money for new lights and have this year extended the display down Market Street. It is a shame that poor organisation marred the occasion for a significant number of people.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Red Hot Bills for the Regal

The new 36kw electric furnace heating system has now been installed in the Tenbury Regal, and is reported to be running 24 hours a day.

I wonder if anyone has done the maths?

The Council are currently paying about 19p per kwh. So flat out the heating costs £6.84 per hour, £164.16 per day or £4,924.80 per month.

Off course, it won't be running at capacity all the time, but sobering figures none the less.

Further precept increases predicted

Whilst many Council's are looking to freeze or reduce their precept, Tenbury Town Council are currently planning on another increase.

Although the Mayor promised

A rigerous examination of all the budgets will be carried out during 2009, with discussions to find the balance of "Service to the Town" with "Individual Costs"

The discussions will include deciding which if any of the services provided, especially if used by only a small minority should be run on a more commercial basis.

It seems that little thought is being given to budget planning process. In most instances a simple percentage increase is being proposed.

Again one area stands out and disproportionately expensive to the Town's tax payers.

The income from the Tennis & Bowling Club stands at less than £1500 per year, yet running costs exceed that by a considerable margin.

In addition to the 'usual' expenses the Council are considering paying upwards of £1,000 to clean and repair the Tennis Courts, £1,200 for addition work on the Bowling Green, £2,000 for rewiring the Pavilion.

Due to the way the Council prepares and presents their accounts it is impossible to directly calculate the playing subsidy but a 'back of the envelope calculation' is that a £2 game of Tennis next year could cost the Council £15 in subsidies.

Whilst it would be unacceptable to charge the users £17 a game, I believe that this subject needs to be given more consideration than just up increasing the budgets by 2%.

Complaints about the Civic Garden

Regular readers to this blog may remember my opposition to the creation of the Civic Garden.

Whilst I accept that it was well executed and is a pleasant venue to sit and relax, the cost of maintenance was not considered in the planning process. I predicted in May 2008 and Jan 2009 that this garden would become yet another drain on the Town's resources.

It seems that less than four months after the opening ceremony the Council are already receiving complaints about poor maintenance, with stinging nettles and other weeds appearing amongst the shrubs.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Tenbury Remembers

Late winter sunshine and warmer than average weather saw this years Remembrance Parade particularly well supported, with an increased number of participants and larger than usual crowd of onlookers.

Whether this is because of the increasing death toll amongst the armed services in Afghanistan and Iraq, or some other reason I'm not sure.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Top Marks for Tenbury

The shops in Tenbury Wells have been cited as amongst the best in any Market Town in England.

Out of over a hundred towns already 'mystery shopped' Tenbury Wells came in the top 15.

A score of 80% is seen as the bench mark and the Tenbury average was 86%, with most shops scoring in the Good, Very Good or Excellent range.

The highest score was Books, Books, Books with 96.1% and second was the Embroidery Shop with 95.1%, the Little Sweet Shop came in a very close 3rd.

Due to a mix up with the invitations only 4 shops were represented at the award ceremony, but the other 26 shops surveyed were due to be handed their confidential reports in the following days.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Applefest Discussion

This years Tenbury Applefest has been welcomed as a success by most local commentators, but there are undoubtedly a few lessons to be learnt.

The Tenbury Events Committee have requested feed-back by this coming Thursday so that all matters can be discussed and fed into next years plan.

Comments can be emailed to the event organisers via the website or by using the feedback form on the same site.

Mail exchange in the slow lane

Sharp eyed residents of Tenbury Wells may have noticed that two of the Teme Bridge's arches are partially blocked by debris.

This was highlighted to the Environment agency many weeks ago by Malvern Hills District Council. It would appear to be a simple job to clear the offending mess and release the full capacity of the arch to water flow.

But No. Letters have crawled between all the various agencies. Malvern Hills Town Council, Tenbury Town Council, The Environment Agency and English Heritage.

In this day and age when communication can be sent across the world and replied to in seconds, months have past, and still letters are slowly exchanged and still no work can be done.

During the last few weeks water in the river has been very low, but now the window of opportunity would appear to be closing with heavy rain fall recorded and forecast.

It would appear that no matter how simple the solution or urgent the request, the multiple layers of government agencies that 'protect' this country are unable to rise to the occasion. Let's hope that rising water, does not beat them to a decision.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Skate Park Opened

Representatives from all levels of local government were on hand today to witness the reopening on the renovated Tenbury skate park.

The money for the park was awarded to Tenbury following the design, presentation, and application by a group of local youngsters. In fact they (and the adult helpers) have done such a good job in managing the project they have now received a small amount of additional funding to do even more work.
No not a prop' from Star Wars but one of the new ramps.

There has been some opposition to the amount of money being spent on the skate park, but as with so many grants these days they are target specific and the money can only be spent on what it has been allocated for.

As this area will be a magnet for youth, additional waste bins have been ordered to try to help keep the Palmer's litter free. The existing small bins have not been emptied recently due to an employment dispute.

Medals at the Library

Tenbury's young readers were presented with their reading medals today by Town Mayor Richard Jones.

Each summer holiday the library encourages the local children to read and record a number of books, and work towards an award.

Temperature rises at the Regal

A week of good news for the Tenbury Regal.

The new electric boiler has been installed and is being tested. So far the outside temperature has been warm, so it will be a little longer before we know how well it is working.

Also, the new Heritage Access Officer has started work (no name has been released yet) but hopefully full details will be disclosed at the next Town Council Meeting on Monday.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Town Council - No change on accounting method.

Last year during the budget planning, the Town Council initially announced a zero percent increase in the precept, but later increased this to 1.8% on discovering calculation errors.

After the announcement the Mayor promised:

A rigerous examination of all the budgets will be carried out during 2009, with discussions to find the balance of "Service to the Town" with "Individual Costs"

The discussions will include deciding which if any of the services provided, especially if used by only a small minority should be run on a more commercial basis.

So far, this review has not started, and the Council have decided not to change the way they record and publish their accounts. The lack of accounting data will make the review very difficult to achieve.

At a recent finance meeting the Town Clerk told the Cllrs that the "object of the annual budget is to match income to expenditure, it (the Town Council) is not a business"

Micawber's Principle
, may be based upon his observation:

"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."
but surely a Town Council should have a higher objective than "happiness & misery"

Tenbury Town Council do provide a number of worthwhile facilities for the people of Tenbury, but now that the they are rapidly reaching the same cost as the District Council, all expenditure and income strands need to be closely examined.

The Town Council is not a business, but they really should know what they are subsidising and by how much. Calls upon their limited resources will continue to increase at a time when many of their funders, local Council Tax payers, find their income static or reduced.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Town Council Accounting Method

Tenbury Town Council is to discuss (again) next week whether to improve their account reporting.

At the moment is it virtually impossible to identify how much each service and facility is costing the Council Tax payer.

Due to grouping various cost centres and income strands it is not possible to say (for instance) how much the Tennis Courts cost to run, or the Bowling Greens, or even the Pump Rooms.

The Council is there to raise a precept and to provide public facilities, but as they do not know themselves what each facility and service costs to provide, how can they make rational and democratic decisions about where to spend our money, or what to charge the users in hire charges.

Council to hold more Secret meetings.

Following the announcement that Tenbury Town Council had been awarded an initial £58,200 to fund the post of Regal Heritage Development Officer, the successful candidate is to be announced next week (in a private meeting to which the press & public are to be excluded).

Hopefully, whoever is appointed will embrace public inclusion which is often lacking from their employer.

The Regal Cinema: HG-08-15553 CWM 2009 (2) 13

Tenbury Town Council sought a first round pass with development funding to restore and conserve the Regal Cinema in Tenbury. This Grade II listed Super Cinema, opened in 1937, was designed by specialist cinema architect Ernest Robert working for Clifton Cinemas. Three sides of the auditorium were decorated with a ‘trompe l’oeil’ by George Legge. The Cinema had been extensively used by the local community since the 1980s when a dedicated community centre was built to the rear of the building. The primary aim of the project was to keep the Cinema and community centre in use and secure their long term future.

The Committee awarded a first round pass of £675,100 including a development grant of £58,200
(84% of eligible costs).

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Dismay over Tenbury Advertiser Pictures

Town Centres all over England are facing a tough time in the current economic climate, but Tenbury is actually doing better than most. I was dismayed to see the Tenbury Advertiser had printed two pictures of empty shops on their front page to illustrate the 'problems facing the Town'.

One shop has been empty for longer than I can remember and the other was only recently vacated when the business moved to better premises a few metres away.

It will be interesting the hear the results of the Mystery Shopper survey as the service in most of the shops is excellent, but in a few visitors are treated at best as an inconvenience, and at worst as a bloody nuisance. (Or maybe that's just me!)


Why have we been subjected to days of Traffic chaos when nothing is happening. Whether due to laziness or just incompetence, the Temporary traffic lights in Cross Street have remained after the Water Company completed their work. The signs, cones and generator could have easily been accommodated in the parking bays leaving the carriageway clear. I'm sure this wouldn't have been allowed in Worcester or Malvern so why do we have to put up with it in Tenbury. The slightest interruption to traffic flow in town has such an adverse effect causing long jams. If this happens next weekend with the addition of Applefest traffic it will be total gridlock!

These lights do not appear to have been licenced as no reference to them appears on the WCC Temporary Traffic light schedule or the Carriage way closure schedule.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009


It seem's that Tenbury is running short of Volunteers.

Tenbury in Bloom is the latest casualty of the dearth of available people. They no longer have enough capacity to mount a challenge for Gold.

The Town Council (although they made no reference to it at their meeting) seem only to have been able to field one new Councillor in place of the two Councillors who left.

A proposed Flood Action group will also need a considerable number of willing participants.

Redevelopment of the Burgage

The exciting plans for the redevelopment of the Burgage were shown at a Public session of Tenbury Town Council last night. Although expensive, the Council's decision to commission Landscape Architects to produce a design for the Landscaping of the new children's play area and the wider Burgage proved that asking for help and where necessary paying for professional services is the correct way to move the Town forward to an exciting new era.

The plans will be seen as controversial by some and will no doubt require public consultation, but will move the public space in Tenbury from the same as seen in most small towns to an exciting and welcoming space.

If Tenbury is to take full advantage of the Tourist Pound, then it must have more to offer. It has many features which are poorly utilised, such as the River Teme and Kyre Brook.

This design makes good use of the proposed earth bunds that some hope will help to protect the town in times of flood. These could easily be an eyesore but with creative design could instead be a feature.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

The Stoke Bliss Agricultural Improvement Society Ploughing Match

Just the title of this organisation and event conjures up a bygone age. A visit to this event does so much more. In these days of 'fast' living it is somehow comforting to stand and watch men (I think it was exclusively men) of a certain age taking time and trouble to carefully plough a marked area of soil.
Their tools of choice ranged from heavy horses to two wheel tractors and small tracked vehicles to vintage tractors of all types and sizes from the last century.
It is good to know that an event such as this is so well supported by the public but also by a very large number of participants who between them have hundreds if not thousands of years of knowledge and experience.

In addition to the Ploughing match, there was also (what was referred to verbally although not in signage) as the Women's section, where various arts, crafts, and culinary exhibits were on display, including a very well supported selection of children's exhibits.

There was also a full catering service, but not just the hot dogs and burgers (although these were available) but a full sit down carvery dinner.

This annual event (weather permitting) is one to look out for.

More photo's

Monday, 7 September 2009

£45K is not enough

Tenbury Town Council are in the process of upgrading the children's play area on the Burgage. Initially they had hoped that the £45,000 that they had been awarded would be sufficient to create a really good play area.

After asking a number of equipment suppliers to put forward their ideas it became clear that to create the type of play area required they would need additional professional help.

The Town Council have now appointed a firm of architects from Worcester to create a visionary plan.

It is hoped that the initial budget of £45,000 will enable phase one of the redevelopment to be completed which may initially reuse some of the existing equipment. They are already in the process of applying for additional grants to complete the redevelopment.

Rather than accept second best, the Town Council have progressed this project in a professional way, and involved outside professional help. Hopefully the outcome will be a play area that will serve the community for many years to come and be the envy of many other towns.

New Landlord at the Kings Head

Martin Checketts is new Landlord at the Kings Head in Cross Street, Tenbury Wells.

In recent times the Kings Head has gained somewhat of a bad image, with a number of complaints, and has been the subject of a licencing review. Although the new landlord has only been there for 2 weeks, he has already been able to deal with some of the problems.

He has issued an open invitation to local residents to come and view the upstairs function room at the back of the pub, and would welcome discussions with local charitable organisations who would like to use the function room (free of charge).

Silver Gilt for Tenbury

Tenbury Wells, Tenbury in Bloom 2009 have been awarded a Silver Gilt medal for the floral and general presentation of the Town. Judging which took place earlier this year, concluded that Tenbury was only a few points short of the necessary points required to win Gold.

The judges were disappointed that so few retailers (6) in the Town had made an effort to dress their windows for the occasion. It was also noted that very few retailers had taken up the offer of having their shops decorated with the specially designed blue and white bunting produced by the high school even though this was offered to them free of charge.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

We need to break the logjam on funding for Tenbury

Tenbury’s Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate, Richard Burt has called on Severn Trent bosses to ‘kick-start’ funding for Tenbury’s flood defences by re-directing up to £0.5m currently earmarked for another scheme.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Monday, 3 August 2009

Regal Heating - Update

It seems that the main problem is that the heating oil must now be stored outside, but no suitable storage facility is available. Although the rules on the storage of the oil changed some years ago, the system at the Regal was reinstalled after the flood.

At last some Councillors are asking, who had the duty of care, and how did this get missed.

The Council is now likely to face a £16K+ bill to provide a temporary solution to get heat back into the Regal and hope that a more permanent solution can be found when (if) the Regal is redeveloped.

Welcome to Tenbury - a walled town.

The flood alleviation scheme for Tenbury has been re-costed at £4M. This would see 80% of the Town's boundary enclosed by Walls and Embankments. The other 20% being already protected by the natural topography.

The officer from Malvern Hills District Council who gave an update to the Town Council tonight, also pointed out that although the scheme would be "fit for purpose" it was unlikely to be esthetically pleasing.

MHDC are making bids for various sums of money to help fund this project including a bid to Europe.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Are 'shop-local' schemes enough

BBC Radio 4, Charlotte Smith visits Tenbury Wells in Worcestershire to look at what impact the downturn is having and how areas are fighting back. Are 'shop-local' schemes enough or do the NIMBYs have to accept that new housing may be the key to their town's survival?

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud

Despite problems with mud, that saw many of the traders having to be towed in and out of the show ground, many people braved the inclement weather to visit, the ever successful Tenbury Agricultural show.
Visitor were wowed by the Cossack Riders, with a wonderful display of horsemanship and acrobatics. Strangely the Cossack's Russian accents in the arena, turned to Brummy accents outside?

Monday, 27 July 2009

Tenbury Show Special

The latest edition of the Teme Valley Times is now available from your local stockist. (Tenbury News, Library, Spar etc)

All the local news and information about the Tenbury Agricultural Show.

Online version at

Saturday, 25 July 2009

New Civic Garden Open

The new Civic Garden at Tenbury Wells was opened today by Tenbury Mayor, Richard Jones and the Chair of Malvern Hills District Council, Reg Farmer.

The garden was created using money from an AWM Better Welcome Grant and additional money from Malvern Hills District Council.

Tenbury Advertiser

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Tenbury dresses for Gold

A number of shops were dressed today with specially commissioned bunting designed and made by Pupils at Tenbury High School. The blue and white theme was chosen by Tenbury in Bloom to commentate the 100th anniversary of Guiding in the UK. Book bunting for Books Books Books and Candy for the Little Sweet Shop.

Mean while the Tenbury in Bloom group held a coffee morning in the pavilion whilst the judges toured Tenbury.
Planters and hanging baskets have been installed all around Town by the Tenbury in Bloom group and various borders, such as those outside the swimming pool in the Palmers Car Park have been renovated and replanted.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Biomass Blight Lifted?

Harriett Baldwin, the Conservative prosective parliamentry candidate for West Worcestershire has issued a press release tonight welcoming the news that state subsidy of Tenbury biomass project at the business park has been dropped.

It appears that one of the main sponsors of the project, Advantage West Midlands, have reveiwed all their funding commitments and have said that they will no longer support the project.

Advantage West Midlands have said
"Advantage West Midlands has completed a detailed update of its Corporate Plan for the Government and confirmed £1.1 billion worth of funding for projects that will balance support for businesses and communities during the recession with longer term plans to ensure the region is prepared for the economic upturn"
Although there is no detail on their website about which projects have been dropped, this is likely to be in the full text of their updated Corporate Plan which is not yet available online.

Hopefully this news when confirmed will allow Worcester County Council to go ahead with their delayed plan to resurface Teme Street. I would also hope that Malvern Hills District Council can now find a suitable partner to develop the Tenbury Business Park, now that the blight of the threatened Biomass Plant has been lifted.

Full text of Harriett Baldwin's Press Release

Harriett Baldwin welcomes news that state subsidy of Tenbury biomass project at the business park has been dropped

Harriett Baldwin, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for West Worcestershire today welcomed news that Advantage West Midlands has withdrawn funding from the plan to build a biomass project at Tenbury Business Park.

Advantage West Midlands had previously indicated that they would subsidise a biomass application from CJDay Associates with a subsidy of £965,000

Harriett Baldwin said, “I am delighted to learn that the current economic climate has led to a review of this project by the government's regional development agency. I have always maintained that the Tenbury Business Park was the wrong site for this facility.

I am supportive of small scale biomass projects like the 700 kilowatt wood fuel burner at Worcestershire County Hall, but I have always argued that the Tenbury business park location was ill-advised, as it is far from the grid and requires additional lorry movements through Tenbury.

Finally, Advantage West Midlands should give a higher priority to flood defences for Tenbury, as the economic heart of this wonderful market town lies on the flood plain.”

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Tourists visit Pump Rooms

The Pump Rooms - Tenbury's Main Attraction
At the last few meetings of the Town Council, the Mayor has commented on the number of tourists that appear in town nearly every day and ask if they can look inside the Pump Rooms. He has also been receiving letters from several coach parties each month with the same request. Although the Town Clerk is now located at the Pump Rooms, it is not always convenient for her to open the Main Hall and Pump Tower.

This Tourist interest should not come as a surprise. Not so long ago (OK four years) Tenbury Town Council was lobbying Malvern Hills District Council (the then owners of the building) to open up the Pump Rooms on a regular basis for Tourists. (Newspaper article from 2005)

Five years ago Lee Robson, the then District's Head of Community and Economic Development said: "We want to create as many tourist attractions as possible in our area and the Pump Rooms is a main attraction in the north of the district. We are keen to work with anyone who can help us establish regular openings. (Newspaper article from 2004)

It has been estimated that with some publicity and sympathetic opening hours 10,000 people a year could come through the doors. Whilst it would be difficult to charge an entrance fee, there would be the opportunity to recoup some of the costs with associated sales.

The original restoration was funded on the condition that the building was open as a Tourist attraction with a Tourist Information Point.

A promotion/publicity campaign, with a proper leaflet, and
professionally staffed openings and tours/talks, would cost about £2,500 a year, possibly less if some volunteer labour was utilised.

Whilst any expenditure would put a strain on the Town Council's budget, grants of £20,000+ were found for an Arts Trail in Tenbury,


Art Sculpture part of the £20,000 Art Trail

and £30,000 for a Civic garden, neither of which are a major attraction, but do contribute to the Tourist offer.

Civic Garden

£30,000 Civic Garden Under Construction

Even in these difficult financial times there is money to be made from tourism, and what Tenbury seems to lack is a co-ordinated approach to making the best use of its architectural heritage.

Tenbury is a fantastic town, with varied and interesting architecture, and with nearly 100% independant shops, is a virtually unique tourist attraction. There are problems, as with any town, and in places the public domain is in need of regeneration, but on the whole, it should be a mecca for Tourists to while away an hour or three.

Festivals and special events are great at bringing people to Tenbury, but everyday facilities are always going to be far better at helping long term economic prosperity.

The Town Council has received offers to help staff the opening, and the Lottery grant will help to smarten up and open up the Regal, another of Tenbury's unique architectural gems.

The Regal, Entertainments and Pump Rooms Committee of the Town Council will be discussing this matter on Monday July 13th. (7pm in the Pump Rooms)

No Wheelie Bins for Tenbury

Tenbury Wells will not be getting Wheelie Bins for the foreseeable future.

Malvern Hills Council have recently undertaken a consultation exercise regarding waste collection and 87% of respondents want to maintain the status quo.

Recycling rates need to be improved, and it is hoped that by next April and once the new MRF at junction 7 starts operation, all recyclables can be put into a single sack and collected each week.

Rather than relying on prosecuting households that don't recycle, MHDC will target education at households that put out multiple black sacks on a regular basis.

Sorry saga of Market Street toilets continued.

Toilet site (click) the story so far.

The reconstruction of the 'unlucky' Market Street toilets has run into more problems.

It seems that a mistake by Quantity Surveyors early on in the project, meant that when the commercial tenders to construct the replacement toilets were opened, they were all at least 100% over budget. It seems that the original estimate obtained by MHDC was incorrect, and the project was too ambitious for the funds available.

Rather than reduce the quality of the build in this prominant position, it has now been decided to upgrade the Gents and Ladies toilets to accomodate additional equipment and do away with the Disabled toilet.

Quite how this decision will be met by Disabled campaigners remains to be seen. The following from a recent Mencap campaign.
Across the country, over 230,000 people need Changing Places toilets - with a changing bench, hoist, and space for a wheelchair and two carers. Without them, carers are often forced to change their family members on dirty toilet floors. This is unhygienic, degrading and undignified.

It would seem to ask Disabled visitors to share facilities with the general public is a step in the wrong direction as Public toilets are nearly always in a less clean state than Disabled toilets.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Double Act for Tenbury

Tenbury resident, and recently ex-County Councillor, Reg Farmer has been re-elected as Chairman of Malvern Hills District Council, and Phil Grove has been elected as Leader.

Phil takes over from the interim Leader Ralph Madden, who stepped in after Reg Farmer's Daughter Serena Croad stepped down in May.

Now if Malvern Hills negelect Tenbury, the problem is very close to home!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Paul Daniels recommends Tenbury.

Extract from his blog.

we went up to Tenbury to do the old Regal Theatre there. If ever you find yourself with time to spare, take a drive along the M5 and turn off for Tenbury. That has got to be the prettiest countryside you will ever see in the UK. Amazing. Pop into the theatre too, and slip back in time.
Read more

Monday, 22 June 2009

New Chair calls for review

Tenbury Town Council have appointed the Reverend Cllr, Ian Williams, to chair the Finance and Staffing Group committee.

Following his appointment he has called for a complete root and branch revue of all the Town Council's income and expenditure. and for proper Business Plans to be drawn up for the Councils major assets such as the Pump Rooms and the Regal.

Under the current accounting system, it is virtually impossible to identify which of the Council's services make money and which loose money. It is also unclear what services are supplied at commercial rates and which are heavily subsidised. Whilst it is the job of a Council to raise a precept and provide services, there needs to be a balance, and at the moment this cannot be proved one way or another.

The Council needs to make some decisions on a Commercial basis. At tonight's meeting they discussed placing an advert for the Pump Rooms in a Civil Ceremony directory, but at no time did anyone question just how many additional weddings would have to be booked just to pay for the advert.
My suspicion is far too many!

(Update 6/7/09 : The Council voted against spending £325 on a wedding advert. The cost of hiring the Pump Rooms for a Civil Ceremony is approx. £20)

HSE Condem Heating System

Although there has been no official confirmation from Tenbury Town Council, it appears that following a snap inspection by Health & Safety Inspectors, the Heating system in the Regal Theatre has been condemned as unsafe.

This is a rather unexpected decision as the heating system and oil storage tanks were completely reinstalled after the flood and have passed both Fire Brigade and Insurance inspections.

Emergency meetings have been taking place as the cost of replacing the system again, would run into tens of thousands of pounds. If no resolution can be found, the theatre will be unusable for six months of the year, and is likely to suffer further structural damage if left unheated all winter.

New Leader of MHDC

It looks likely that Cllr Phillip Grove, Tenbury's Malvern Hills District Councillor will be confirmed as the new leader of Malvern Hills District Council tomorrow.

Friday, 19 June 2009

County Elections - Results

Tenbury Division: Election Results
Candidate Name Political Party Number
of Votes
of Votes
Ken POLLOCK Conservative 1771 43.92%
Clifford Michael SLADE Liberal Democrat 1413 35.04%
Brian MILLS UK Independence Party 461 11.43%
Matthew Adam WILLIAMS Green Party 211 5.23%
Jonathan Pryce MORGAN Independent 176 4.37%

Monday, 1 June 2009

Heated exchanges in high temperature chamber.

As expected there were some good quality debates at tonight's meeting of Tenbury Town Council.

Four Councillors had asked for a resolution on the restructuring of committees to be bought back before the Council for further debate and clarification.

A larger than usual number of members of the public watched, in an already hot Council chamber as all of the Councillors participated in discussing, whether to proceed with reducing the size of the committees to 5 or to maintain the status quo at around 7.

The argument for; was that smaller committees would lead to better quality debating and more clarity of decision.  It was also pointed out that smaller committees would be more likely to call upon expert assistance.  The full Council would then be in a position to challenge the resolution as the majority wouldn't have already voted.

The counter argument was that if the system isn't broke, why fix it and concerns that on occasion the committees would be too small to form a quorum.

The Town Clerk explained that smaller committees could slow down the process as at the moment she can process certain resolutions without having to wait for full Council as the majority of Councillors would have already voted.

There was also the  question of whether committees should be made up of Councillors with no "interests" or whether the reverse should be true.  The majority felt that it was best for the committees to contain the Councillors with the most appropriate knowledge and that was most likely to be those with an "interest", but this should be clearly stated at the beginning of the meeting as now.

The Councillors were split 50/50 on a resolution to maintain the status quo, but the Mayor's vote against meant that the original resolution to reform was confirmed.

The suggestion that the number of Councillors required to call a resolution back for further discussion should be increased from 3 to 7 was withdrawn as it was obvious it would not get full support.

Annual Achievement Award 2009

Tenbury Town Council have awarded their annual achievement award to Martin Crisp for services to swimming.  Mr Crisp who moved to Tenbury in the 1940's has taught hundreds of children and adults to swim over the last 32 years.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Watch out for squibs

So, once again I am a little confused.

Lets recap: This is how I think things happened from my memory/notes.  The offical minutes refer to a document distributed by the Mayor prior to the meeting, the content of which is not on the public record.
In order to make the Town Council "more dynamic" it was agreed that the committee structure should be re-organised.

If you have sat in on some committee meetings then you will have noticed that there is often little in-depth discussion, the first idea tabled is grabbed and adopted, and little thought is given to possible wider implications. Very rarely is anything referred for consultation to possible outside experts, or interested specialist groups. Everything seems to be handled "in-house" whether the expertise is available or not.  Due to the size of the Committees then anything decided cannot be subsequently overturned at full Council (unless the Committee members have changed their minds).

The previously agreed changes:
  1. Councillors would only be allowed to sit on 2  committees. (Except CEST)
  2. They could apply to sit on a committee if they had relevant knowledge and experience.
  3. In the event that some committees were over-subscribed Councillors may not get their first or second choice.  The Mayor would make the final decision of who sat on each committee.
  4. The size of the committees would be reduced so that they did not hold a majority. (i.e. If the Council has 12 members each committee would have 5 or less)
These changes were to have come into force after the Annual Meeting of the Town Council, but after the motion had been carried, four or more Councillors wrote to the Town Clerk (I guess using standing order item 36a) asking for the motion to be put aside and re-discussed.

This was possibly because (and I'm only guessing) that, the Councillors most likely to be the most "appropriate" for a committee, given their relevant knowledge and understanding are those with "Interest", (As in declaration of interest) which could ultimately lead to a conflict of interest.  At least three of the Councillors who supported the letter to dismiss, have the least numbers of "declarations".

So next Monday the Council will re assess the structural changes and vote whether to change standing order 36a so that the majority of Councillors have to object before a motion can be struck down.

I guess the reason the bar was originally set so low was to allow Councillors who may have felt "railroaded" or have changed their mind because they were misled or additional information came to light after the vote.  Also frequently one or more Councillors are absent from the main meeting.

To set the bar too high could be a retrograde step,  as it would then be virtually impossible for any decision to be challenged.  

Posh Supermarket for Tenbury Wells

Excerpt from From 
May 30, 2009

Wild drinks: the hedgerow martini

He has plans to develop anti-ageing skin creams – made from, yes, you’ve guessed it, potatoes – in the spirit of the original Body Shop. He also wants to open a country-house hotel, and has already bought some land on which to build a posh supermarket in nearby Tenbury Wells.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Tourism for Tenbury

The Well Tower at the Tenbury Wells Pump RoomsRecent reports have highlighted how popular Tenbury Wells has become for Tourists.  Visitor numbers are up and with more people set to stay in England this year the upward trend should continue.

Tenbury doesn't feature too well in the official Worcestershire publications, maybe because is virtually straddles the Worcester, Hereford & Shropshire borders.  There is one publication dedicated to the Marches and the Teme Valley. This is not surprisingly called the Teme Valley and the Marches Tourism Guide.  Last years issue is still available online. (Click to access)

Anyone wishing to advertise in the 2009 issue should contact the editor very soon.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Regal Tenbury Wells - The Genuine Article

Some fans have expressed concern that the advertised shows at the Regal Tenbury Wells are either a prank, or look alike performers, but the promoter (and agent to the stars) Chris Davis, who has an office in Teme Street can confirm they are the genuine article.

Followers of Paul Daniels, who descibes himself as Professional magician, sex symbol and body builder on Twitter @thepauldaniels can also be reassured by looking at his tour dates listing or twittering with him direct.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

First Food Fair a Success

Tenbury Events first "Teme Valley Food Fair" was judged to be an outstanding success, by visitors and exhibitors alike.

Brilliant sunshine and a brisk trade, left a number of stallholders scrambling to restock their stalls as a steady stream of visitors took advantage of the excellent quality produce on show.
Ex BBC Hereford & Worcester, Katie Johnson kept everyone informed of what was available and assisted with the cooking demonstrations provided by the HEFF roadshow. Various local chefs demonstated their talents, including Carolyn Cheshire, and Judy Goodman.

Hourly draws for a box of fresh fish from the "Fish in a box" company and musical interludes from local musicians all added to the entertainment.

Many people took advantage of the brilliant weather to linger and enjoy lunch from the Rolling Roaster, or other snack stalls and an ice cream from Kelsmor.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Tenbury Events - Food Fair

Teme Valley Food Fair this Saturday.  

Should be a good day with lots of interesting foodie stalls, entertainment from "The Floor" St Michaels, commentary from Katie Johnson, ex-BBC Hereford & Worcester and much much more.

Great food will be available to snack from the Rolling Roaster, and others.

Park & Ride will be in operation througtout the day from Tenbury High School.

The Burgage gets a face lift

The planting areas around the MHDC car park are finally being replanted to help welcome visitors to the town. (Paid for by ?, Probably by MHDC from Council Tax funds)

The remaining stumps left after the felling of the large trees surrounding the Bowling Greens are being ground down. (Paid for by the Town Council from the annual precept)

Work has started on the Sensory/Civic garden at the front of the Pavilion. (Paid for by Grant Aid from MHDC & Better Welcome)