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.