Saturday, 31 January 2009

Information Screen - Updated

Work continues on updating the content of the Tenbury Information Screen, but already it looks much improved.

Any one wishing to place an advert or contribute community information on the screen should in the first instance contact the Town Clerk.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

There maybe trouble ahead.

The formal planning application for the Market Street toilets is now available and will be discussed by Tenbury Town Council at their meeting on Monday night.

The winning design emerged as clear favourite during the public consultation exercise held earlier this year.

Following meetings with the Planners, the Malvern Conservation Officer and other Council Officials it was agreed that the popular design was suitable and could be built, and was supported by the two Tenbury District Councillors.

Originally it was thought that the plans were to be approved unopposed but now that the final Planning Application have been submitted, it looks like a number of people are going to raise technical and esthetic objections.

Freeze on Car Park Charges

Today's Tenbury Advertiser carries an article about the Freezing of the Tenbury Car Parking charges for the next year. (Originally anounced here on Tuesday, 2 December 2008.)

It also claims that Malvern Hills District Council raises £200,000 from Car Parking Charges. What is doesn't say is that the Car Park at Tenbury only raises £18,000 per year, and much of the money raised goes in administration and maintenance costs running the ticketing and cash collection service.

Sunday, 25 January 2009


I occasionally get abusive comments, saying that I shouldn't be writing this blog, and shouldn't comment on Town Council business. I try to support the Town Council in decisions that are arrived at democratically, and communicated effectively. I do occasionally divert from this principle when I just don't understand how or why a decision has been arrived at.

I believe that the Town Council is a very poor communicator. Unless you attend their meetings, it is very difficult to follow what they are doing and why. They do publish their minutes, but over a month after the event, and by necessity this is a very brief and bland summary.

The contents of this blog are an eclectic collection of my own random thoughts, and subjects brought to my attention by other residents who feel this blog is a good conduit for communication. I am not elected or nominated as a spokesman by any organisation. I do not pretend to talk on behalf of the community. There are people who share some of my views, and others that do not. I do not write all the articles, but usually act as Editor. If you do not like what you read here, find another blog to read, or better still write your own.

I used to write to the Town Council if I had any concerns, but rarely got any kind of reply, and I found that talking to individual Councillors, had little effect, so I started to write my blog, as a pressure valve.

My audience is very small. Tracking software shows that most of the people who read this blog are a small number of repeat visitors, and some others that may stumble upon a link, click and leave the site within seconds. I do not publish my name on the blog, as this blog is not about self-publicity, but locally most people know I am. Certainly the Town, District and County Councillors do, as does the local prospective parliamentary candidates for each party.

Thankfully we still have freedom of speech in this country and most people are either tolerant of what I write, or complimentary. To the few that I upset, I apologise. Feel free to comment and unless the comment is too abusive, or likely to be illegal I will continue to publish them. Most people take advantage of the 'anonymous' option, but I especially welcome 'named' comment.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Support for a minority sport?

Why do the Town Council spend so much money each year on maintaining a facility used by so few.

I have nothing against Bowling and I will be the first to admit that I do not know all the details, but the basic information and sums just do not seem to add-up, and the amounts being spent seem to be a 'hot topic' around Town.

The purpose of a Town Council is to raise a precept and provide services and facilities for the public. Perhaps we cannot expect these services and facilities to be run on a commercial basis to make a profit or to break even, but at what point does the cost of a facility used by a small minority become unacceptable?

A Bowling Green specialist surveyor was summoned (at great expense) from Yorkshire, to tell the TC that the problem with the green was root invasion from nearby Poplar Trees, the wrong sort of grass and too much rolling.

Each year, thousands of pounds are lavished on the facility, whilst the income it generates is marginal.

Now we hear that many hundreds of pounds are to be spent felling the poplar trees, and that new edging is required, again costing over a thousand pounds.

Felling the trees, is likely to make matters worse in the short term, as the roots which run close to the surface shrink and cause yet more disruption to the playing surface. Next we will hear that the surface is to be dug up and relaid with new soil and turf!

Whilst all this is happening on the Bowling Green, the Regal continues it's downwards slide. If you are unlucky enough to be sitting in the wrong place at the wrong time during a performance you are likely to get wet due to a hole in the roof. Lottery funding is being sought, (but not guaranteed) and the Town Council will need to make a certain contribution by way of match funding, which can be work already undertaken.

Tenbury Information Screen

The Tenbury Town Council community information screen was finally moved from the library to the Tourist Information Office and information started appearing a few weeks ago.

Curiously, only a small fraction of the screen is being used to display events, whilst 1/4 of the screen shows what appears to be the manufacturers trade mark.

Almost half the screen is being used to show a few photo's of Tenbury (which have been deleted here for copyright reasons). Whilst these photo's are of some interest, after a few weeks they become less so.

If the Town Council are holding out for advertisers, then in the current environment, they will have a long wait.

Why not use the whole screen to advertise, local events, such as the Cinema, the Panto etc. At least this will generate some income for local organisations, which pay rent to the Council.

Meanwhile, which is Tenbury's official Tourist Information website, paid for by MHDC still shows pictures and information about shops that closed or have been modified years ago.

Fatal House Fire in Tenbury

Rescue Pump, Callsign - 532, Model - Dennis Sabre,

Ninety-eight-year-old Pauline Jones died in a bungalow fire in Tenbury Wells this morning.

Tenbury Fire and Rescue crews, were amongst the 6 appliances called to attend the blaze.
531 P1, 532 RP, 521 P1, 522 RP (MP4), 466 ALP, (541 P1 Relief)

Firefighters from Tenbury Fire & Rescue Service entered the building wearing breathing apparatus and used a hose reel and thermal imaging camera to search the smoke-filled house.

Firefighters recovered Mrs Jones from the house but paramedics were unable to revive her.

Full report in
The Advertiser
BBC News
Worcester News
Press Association
Worcester News 2
Tenbury Fire & Rescue

Friday, 23 January 2009

Teme Valley Times

The latest issue of Teme Valley Times is now available.

Collect from local stores (eg; Tenbury News) or view online at

Many stories of interest, some of which have been covered here, but with more detail.

Read and enjoy!

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Splash Point still not fixed.

Tenbury Town Cllr Margaret Austin, campaigned for over 4 years to get this notorious splash point (in Kyrewood Road) problem resolved, but kept getting the reply from the current WCC County Councillor that it was a low priority and there was insufficient funding available.

At the Town Council meeting in October 2008 Mr J Wallace – WCC Highways Liaison Engineer, promised to get the problem fixed but now it not only persists but has got worse.

The problem has developed into a pot hole, so close to the kerb it is just waiting for an unsuspecting cyclist to come along.

Prospective Liberal County Councillor candidate Cliff Slade (seen here today) has written to Worcestershire County Council urging action to get the problems sorted before an accident occurs.

Original Blog Entry

Monday, 19 January 2009

Tenbury Link to Easy Virtue

Easy Virtue, a screenplay by Stephan Elliot based on the play by Noel Coward opens at the Tenbury Regal on Saturday 24th January 2009.

The costumes for this film were designed by Tenbury based costume designed Charlotte Walter.

One critic wrote: "The movie captures a real sensation of being back in England in the 1920s. It's a light comedy and easy to watch."

Historic First for Town Council

Tenbury Town Council are planning to set a zero percent increase in this years precept.

At the Finance and Staffing Group meeting tonight, final figures were entered into the various Town Council budgets that make up the precept, and subject to full Council approval, no overall increase will be requested.

Exactly how this has been achieved is unclear, as substantial additional costs have been budgeted for, such as £640 for a licence to continue to hold weddings at the Pump Rooms, and £1200 for edging of the Bowling Green. It was also unclear whether a further £900 would be required to licence the website for a further year.

CCTV is to be discussed by full Council, but no budget has been set as the Mayor is proposing to vote against the purchase.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Film draws crowd despite heavy rain.

A small, but select audience watched the latest DiCaprio/Crowe all action movie, Body of Lies last night, whilst the Regal Cinema was battered by winds gusting to 55mph and rain fell (at one point) at 2.9mm per minute.

The rate of rainfall was too heavy for the roof which is in need of renovation and water was seem running down one of the interior walls of the cinema.

The 1930s Art Deco Cinema is owned by Tenbury Town Council who have applied for Lottery Grant funding to carryout a major program of renovations, which will include a new roof.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

High Drama at Poster Sale

A total in excess of £300 was raised during a very well attended coffee morning and poster sale and auction at the Tenbury Regal Community Centre this morning.

Fierce bidding saw the top price of £60 paid for the Mama Mia poster, which was then donated back to the supporters group for resale.

Other popular posters included Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix which sold for £11.50, and Quantum of Solace which sold for £5.

Poster Sale & Supporters Meeting

The Tenbury Regal Film Group are holding a poster sale and coffee morning in the Community Centre (behind the Regal Cinema) this morning. Come along and pick up a bargain and let them know what films you would like to see in the future.

See for full details, or the display in the Library window.

Tenbury Town Council Precept Meeting

This coming Monday, Tenbury Town Council will discuss the precept charge for the next financial year. (See for full details)

At the moment, Tenbury Wells is the second most expensive (in Council Tax terms) place to live in the Malvern Hills District Council area.

Last year Tenbury's increase was in the region of 7% (against a very low rate of inflation). This year the increase is likely to be in the 4% to 7% range.

The Pump Rooms are now owned and maintained by the Town Council and additional funds will need to be raised for the regular and ongoing costs of maintaining this facility.

(Also see letters page of this weeks Tenbury Advertiser - Seems that I am not alone in my concerns)

In common with their other facilities such as the Community Centre, The Regal, the Tennis and Bowling Facilities, these assets are increasingly expensive to run, whilst usage and therefore income appears to be diminishing.

Excerpt from a previous blog on Council expenditure below.

The purpose of a Town Council is to raise a precept and provide services and facilities for the public. Perhaps we cannot expect these services and facilities to be run on a commercial basis to make a profit or to break even, but at what point does the cost of a facility used by a small minority become unacceptable. For instance when does the public subsidy of a game of Tennis become too much? 50p? £5? £50?

Due to the way public records are kept and published it is almost impossible to say how much the Town Council subsidise each game of Tennis or each Game of Bowls, but we can see that the income from all the Sports and Recreation facilities (plus the Cemetery) is in the region of £6,000, where as the expenditure is nearing £22,000. The income from the Bowling appears to be in the region of £1,000, but the cost of the Green Maintenance alone is in excess of £3,000.

In the last year that figures were available, 50% of the money raised through the precept was spent on wages.

The Town Council are our elected representatives, but we should all take an interest in what they do. After all we pay for it.

Read the original blog entry : Ask not what your Council does for you.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Second thoughts about CCTV

The Town Council considered the subject of CCTV again tonight.

Provisional plans to install CCTV in the Burgage Area, have now been costed, and the question from the Police is "will they be fit for purpose".

The likely cost divided by the amount of crime just does not add up.

One possible alternate solution is to buy a demountable kit, that could be moved around the town depending on the risk profile of any given event, or trouble hot spot.

Its a Blue Summer for Tenbury

After the cold blue Christmas lights in Teme Street this Winter, Tenbury will also be going Blue this summer, with all the Planting in the Planters and Hanging Baskets being themed to celebrate the Centenary of the Girl Guide Movement.

Regal Heritage Grant Application Submitted

It was confirmed tonight that the Heritage Lottery Grant Application for the renovation, to the fabric of the building, has now been submitted.

In addition, funding for a Heritage Access Officer was also applied for.

It is hoped that a decision will be reached before the summer, and that urgent roofing work can be carried out this year.

Money will also be made available to research and record the history of the building.

It is hoped that the Heritage Access Officer can also increase the number of visitors coming to the building for both Cultural Events and to learn about the building and history of the site.

If the grant is successful then the Town Council will be required to raise an estimated match fund of £25,000, although some of this can be off-set against work already carried out.

Flood Meeting : No further forward

Left to right: Philip Bradbourn - Member of the European Parliament; Harriett Baldwin - Conservative Parliamentary Candidate, West Worcs; Adrian Hardman - Cabinet Member for finance WCC; Paul Tullett - Area Manager, Environment Agency; Anthony Perry - Environment Agency's Area Flood Risk Manager
Also on panel (not in pictured): Phil Grove and Tony Penn

Present in audience:
Richard Burt - LibDem Parliamentary Candidate
Cliff Slade - LibDem County Council Candidate
Bob Martin - Ex-Mayor

About 100 people attended this well run and good natured meeting. Noticeable absences were the retail community which found it impossible to attend due to the late notice and timing of the meeting.
The news is still that there is no news. The two staff from the Environment Agency stressed that if it was up to them Tenbury would have its scheme, but at this time no money is available.

It was raised that some of the flooding was caused by flash flooding, it appeared to be agreed that this was at least partly due to WCC's failure to fix the Bog Lane problem.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Retailers Concern

Some retailers have expressed concern that their voices will not be heard.

The Public flood defence meeting being held tomorrow morning is difficult if not impossible for most retailers to attend. Saturday morning is the busiest time of the week for the retailers and in most businesses there simply aren't enough staff to allow the owner/manager to take time out to attend the meeting.

One retailer said, "I only heard about the meeting yesterday and I simply cannot rearrange cover in time for me to attend. Why the meeting couldn't have been held later in the afternoon when the shops are quiet or at closing time I don't know."

Happy Days in Tenbury

This weeks Tenbury Advertiser has a bumper crop of Tenbury related articles, many of which mirror postings on this blog.

I was particularly taken with the letter from Ron Swann, who very clearly put over the reason why we should be proud of Tenbury.

I too heard Claire Blakeway on Radio 4, and she spoke very well about life in Tenbury. Although we do have a few "rotten apples" (especially when in drink) we should continue to fight to keep Tenbury special.

Only a blow in

Monday, 5 January 2009

Sensory Garden moves to next stage.

The ill conceived Sensory Garden that is to be build in Tenbury Wells has moved to the next stage.

Funds have been secured, and now the work has been put out to tender.

This project which attracted no public support, and is likely to be seen by only a few people each year as it is hidden away. It is also in danger of costing the residents substantial costs in maintenance in future years, although initially the maintenance work will be carried out the Tenbury in bloom volunteers.

Original Post

Wall's vital statistics called into question.

Confusion all round at tonight's Tenbury Town Council meeting as some Councillors claimed that the Market Street wall is 0.5 metres higher than agreed.

Questions were also raised about the missing drop kerb for the zebra crossing, the installation of a road sign with the support in the middle of the pathway, the quality and finish of the paving and various other questions.

One rumour that was squashed was that the missing coping stone hadn't been removed by New Year revellers, but had been sent away to be machine cut to fit the remaining gap.

Concessionary Bus Passes cripples Council

The National Concessionary Travel Scheme, is now costing Malvern Hills District Council in excess of £400,000 per year, of which only £100,000 is recoverable from Central Government.

Whilst the National Concessionary Travel Scheme has been an overwhelming success with journeys travelled in the Malvern Hills area up from 182,000 in 2006-07 to 440,000 in 2007-8, the cost of paying for this increase is crippling Council Finances.

Payment for the scheme has to be met either by increased Council Tax Charges or budget reductions in other areas.


If you see a pothole in Tenbury, then tell the WHUB (in Tenbury Library) or report online.

New Waste Site for Tenbury

Worcester County Council revealed tonight that Tenbury will get a new waste site.

The money is available, but they cannot say, where or when.

Under the contract agreed by Severn Waste Management signed in 1998, they are obliged to build and manage a new waste site for Tenbury Wells to replace the old fashioned and unsuitable site currently located on the Town Car Park.

Two sites in Burford, a site in Tenbury Town and the Tenbury Business Park have all previously been explored and rejected as unsuitable.

At tonight's Tenbury Town Council meeting, Paul Beard. the Waste Management Contract Manager of Worcester County Council was asked to think again about all the possible sites as the need to move and upgrade the waste and recycling facilities locally becomes ever more urgent.

The new site would include facilities for recycling metal, electric goods, plastics and batteries.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

125 Brave Sub Zero Weather

The latest Bond Blockbuster, Quantom of Solace opened tonight at the Tenbury Regal Cinema.

Despite freezing weather, an estimated 125 people came to watch the film and to support the volunteer run cinema.

Despite the weather the temperature in the Cinema was described as OK.

The film will also be shown on Monday and Tuesday next week.