Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Regal Cinema celebrates Christmas with huge Heritage Lottery Fund win

The Regal Cinema in Tenbury is celebrating Christmas early this week thanks to confirmation of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of over £680,000 to repair and conserve the building and run a two year programme of community activities, it was announced today.

The news will be warmly welcomed by Tenbury Town Council and the cinema volunteers, who have campaigned passionately to see the Grade II listed Art Deco building restored and conserved.

Unlike many cinema’s of the period which have fallen into disrepair and dereliction, the construction of a community centre at the rear of the building in the 1980’s has seen the Regal Cinema act as a focal point for local groups and activities ever since.

Built to replace the New Picture House, which was on the site since 1917, the Regal Cinema was acquired by the Council in 1972. Located on Teme Street in Tenbury town centre it has been cited an excellent example of a 1930s ‘super cinema’ constructed on miniature scale. 

Designed by specialist cinema architect Ernest Robert, it is nationally recognised by the Cinema Theatre Association as having ‘one of the most astonishing auditorium decorations of 1930s cinemas in Britain’ in the form of a painted mural by George Legge - a ‘trompe l’oeil’ Italian scene around three sides of the interior. 

Currently in poor condition and suffering from water ingress through its roof and walls, the grant money will ensure that this precious 20th century artwork is conserved and saved for future generations.

Anne Jenkins, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for the West Midlands, explained the importance of the award:

“The Regal Cinema is a real local community hub and widely used by a variety of groups from amateur dramatics to brass band playing, arts societies and local charity functions among many other uses. The HLF grant will ensure that as well as being able to preserve the interior, the Council can now develop further educational activities and interpretation for people of all ages so they can learn about the past of this beautiful building while using it today.”

Community activities to be run in conjunction with the project include the recruitment and training of volunteers to carry out research for a booklet, oral histories to be recorded and made into a CD, cinema tours, a teacher/student resource pack called ‘Producing the Regal’, and a young people’s annual film project.

Neville Topping, Project Manager and Grant Administrator said:

"This is a tremendous collective success. The Town Council, local enthusiasts, building users, design consultants, professional advisers and the Heritage Lottery Fund have worked together to ensure the future of the Regal and everyone involved should be proud of their contribution."

The Mayor of Tenbury Wells, Councillor Elizabeth Weston, said:

“News of the award has been greeted with absolute delight by Councillors and townsfolk. It is a wonderful Christmas gift for Tenbury Wells to know that part of its heritage will be preserved for future generations.”
Shropshire Star - Delight
Worcester News - Future Secure
Tenbury Advertiser

Regal Renovation - Good News (Definitely)

The HLF have finally announced that they have awarded Tenbury Town Council £681,300 towards the renovation of the Regal Cinema.
This appears to be 90% of the required funding so some additional money will have to be raised, or taken from Town Council reserves.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Regal Renovation - Good News (Probably)

The Heritage Lottery Fund have decided yet again to delay the press release about the outcome of the grant application for the renovation to the Tenbury Regal until the new year.

There has been an indication that no news, is good news, but why the news release has been postponed twice is unknown.

Strangely the HLF website seems to be indicating that Tenbury Town Council have been awarded  £739,500, but this could be the announcement of the "first round pass".  All very confusing.  Anyone would think they were a quango.

Get Home Safely This Christmas

Some advice from West Midlands Police.
  • Order a Taxi and make sure it's licensed
  • Never leave with people you don't know
  • Don't leave any of your mates behind
  • Text the registration number of the taxi to someone you trust
  • Share a taxi with a friend or someone you know
  • Always sit in the back seat of the taxi

Tescos Planning Meeting POSTPONED

Due to the heavy snowfall over the weekend and the freezing weather conditions expected this evening, the meeting to discuss the resubmitted planning application to build a Tescos foodstore on the Cattle Market site in Tenbury Wells has been postponed until the 5th of January.
The new meeting date will take place at the Tenbury High School from 6pm

Friday, 17 December 2010

Malvern Hills District Council - Financial Crisis

Malvern Hills District Council faces a 26.85% reduction in funding over the next two years.

This means that they have to find savings of £1.3 million pounds.

As MHDC is already extremely efficient in financial terms, the only place left to cut is front line services, such as rubbish collections, road sweeping or toilet cleaning.

As they are unable to increase the Council Tax, they will also have to look at other ways of raising funds such as increasing Car Parking charges.

Leader of the Council, Phil Grove, has set up an urgent meeting in London next week with Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, to explain that it would be almost impossible to achieve these savings without affecting  front line services.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Tenbury Town Council re-consider Tesco application.

The Tenbury Town Council met tonight in special session to re-consider their support for Tesco.  Usually the Town Council cannot return to a subject (after a vote) for several months but on this occasion decided that enough additional information had come to light to vote again.

After a rather confused meeting, where it became clear that there were still many questions to which the Council didn't have the answers to, they voted on a proposition to support the planning application.

4 For the motion, 4 Against, 2 Abstentions
The Mayor then used her casting vote to reject the proposition.

This means that whilst their support is documented in the Recommend to Refuse document, they will be speaking against the development at the Planning Meeting.

Worcester News

Tenbury Pump Rooms - Tourism Plan

Pump Rooms
Since the Tenbury Pump rooms were renovated using various grants, they were designated as a tourist attraction.  The problem was, that they were only opened infrequently, and when they were, there was very little to see.

Now following a request from the Tenbury Museum society, plans are being drawn up for Pump Room artifacts to be returned and one of the former bathrooms to be recreated.

The Pump Rooms will then be staffed on occasions by museum volunteers to show tourists around.  At other times, when not in use for functions, the Town Clerk will facilitate access.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Tenbury Twitchers sight Bittern

(This Bittern - Not photographed in Tenbury)

A Bittern is said to have been spotted on the River Teme in Tenbury and has caused some excitement amongst the twitching fraternity.

Once thought extinct, the Bittern remains one of England's rarest birds, with number continuing to fall.

It is thought that the UK population may be as low as 50 birds, who are rarely found this far north.

The boom of the male bittern is the lowest-pitched and the most far-carrying song produced by any European bird. It can be heard up to 5 km away in the right weather conditions.

Additional pictures and information from
Teme Valley Wildlife.
BBC Hereford & Worcester
Bittern's Fishing Success

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Tenbury Town Council & Tesco

A few weeks ago Tenbury Town Council voted in favour of the new Tesco development on the Old Cattle Market site, but they have now decided in light of new evidence that they wish to discuss the matter again and re-vote.

A meeting has been scheduled for next Monday, but if the format is the same as the last meeting there will be no opportunity for members of the public to speak.

The Town Council have received a number of letters about the development, including one from a couple who live on the Isle of Man.  They wrote to say that in their opinion Tesco shouldn't be allowed to open a store in Tenbury as their local high street had been ruined by competition from Tesco.  What they, and many Tesco objectors still don't take into consideration is the proposed store isn't a Superstore (which on average is twice the size of the proposed store) and will therefore carry fewer lines that will compete with local shops.  All of the criticism I have seen published refer to Superstores or Larger (most or all of which aren't located directly in the High Street).

I think that there are still defects with the application, but decisions shouldn't be swayed by incorrect comparisons.  Many shops have opened and closed in Tenbury through the years and will continue to do so with or without Tesco.

Far better to concentrate on the defects in the application such as their complete misunderstanding of the available public transport which they feel could be used by staff and shoppers alike.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Art was never like that.....

.....when I was at School.
School Art, and learning through creative real life experiences are new concepts to many of us that suffered through the very poor 1960s-70s educational system, but now schools are creating artworks that in some cases are difficult to differentiate from professional work
If you have a few minutes over the next couple of week, take a look at the exhibition "upstairs" (or by lift) in the Tenbury Wells library.

There is a comprehensive display of artwork created by local schools with the help of Nancy Evans, the Teme Valley Artist in Residence.
Other photo's

Santa & Lantern Parade

Tenbury Wells traditional Santa & Lantern Parade 2010.

Trace & Place - Money well spent.

Over the years I have seen many many school productions.  Some that verge on professional, others well, probably best forgotten.

Most have been either scripted plays or popular musicals.  Trace & Place performed at the Tenbury Regal was neither.
Firstly it was highly ambitious, not so much in it's content, but by virtue of the fact it was performed by children from five schools, working together.  Now it's difficult enough to create a production at one school, but five geographically remote schools is bordering on madness, but project Co-ordinator & Creator Caroline Palethorpe did just that, and very well.

It also appeared to me (and I might be wrong) but the performers were not all the "usual suspects".

The drumming was brilliant, if you like that sort of thing (and usually I don't).

Some of the meaning behind the drama, I have to admit I didn't understand, but the performances on the whole were good.

There was some good use of technology, but I found that the projected text was both too small and too quick for my poor eyes not helped by me sitting right at the back of a full house, but given the lack of time available, shortened even further by the power cut on Friday quite understandable.

The other thing worth remembering is that the performance was only a small part of the project, and whilst many may scorn grant funded art projects, this one does seem to have delivered.

Other photo's
Tenbury Advertiser

Sunday, 5 December 2010

New Mistletoe Queen is Crowned

Yesterday saw the Crowning of the 2010 Mistletoe Queen by Tenbury Mayor, Liz Weston.

The Mistletoe Queen and Holly Prince are crowned each year as part of National Mistletoe Day, during the Tenbury Mistletoe Festival.
Left to Right - The attendants Evie Grove (Deputy Head Girl) & George Dicken (Deputy Head Boy) The Mistletoe Queen Alice Williams, the Holly Price Oliver Palethorpe.
Left to Right - The attendants Evie Grove (Deputy Head Girl) & George Dicken (Deputy Head Boy) The Mistletoe Queen Alice Williams, the Holly Price Oliver Palethorpe.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Window Competition - Winner

Little Dress Shop - Winner
Tenbury Mayor, Liz Weston presents the award to the winner of this years Mistletoe themed window dressing competition Sue Todd-Wood of the Little Dress Shop.

Mistletoe Sacrifice

Mistletoe Festival 2010, originally uploaded by @WR15.
About 40 people gathered on the Burgage, Tenbury Wells to participate in the Mistletoe Foundation Druidic Ceremony, witnessed by a BBC Film Crew, program makers from BBC Radio 4 and numerous photographers from various publications.

The ceremony which lasted about an hour thanked the natural word for all its gifts, such as the Sun, Wind & Rain and for the Harvests such as Hops and Apples.

At the culmination of the ceremony the Mistletoe harvested this morning is thrown into the River Teme as an offering.

More photo's

Ceremonial Mistletoe Harvest

Members of the Mistletoe Foundation met this morning in Tenbury to carry out the Druidic Mistletoe Harvesting ceremony (whilst being recorded by Radio 4).  The Mistletoe is cut with a Golden Sickle and caught in a white sheet so that the Mistletoe doesn't touch the ground.
The Mistletoe will be paraded through Tenbury at about 2pm this afternoon, (starting at he Rose & Crown, Burford) and a further ceremony will be held on the Burgage before the Mistletoe will thrown into the River Teme as an offering.

Radio 4 will be in attendance along with a number of photographers from various publication.
Radio 4 Open Country

Friday, 3 December 2010

Tesco Planning Meeting Arranged

Malvern Hills District Council have booked Tenbury High School as the location for the Northern Area Planning meeting on December 20th at 6pm.

Although some documents and reports are still incomplete, Council Leader Phil Grove said tonight  "At this stage we have no plans to postpone the meeting"
From my (and other peoples) investigations, a number of questions have been raised.

  • 1. Who now owns the land and have they been served with the appropriate notice/certificate/documentation that a planning application is in progress.

    It appears that the former owners, Chase Tenbury LLP have been struck off for failing to complete statutory returns, and in theory all their assets have passed to the Crown.

  • 2. Tesco's have not put in a Conservation Area application to demolish the Old Infirmary.

    As far as can be ascertained, they originally planned to make an application that would be considered at the same time as the planning application.  It is understood that they have now decided/been advised that they needn't make the application until after the planning application has been decided as the need for the demolition is intrinsic to the scheme.  Therefore if the scheme is passed, that automatically grants them permission to demolish.

  • 3. Tesco's have not put in a Listed Building Consent Application to demolish the buildings behind the Old Fire Station and to remove some of the railings.

    Once again they appear to be relying on the "intrinsic to the scheme" theory.

  • 4. The Environment Agency has raised concerns that not enough information has been supplied and therefore at this stage they are objecting to the scheme.
If Tesco's are correct and they can reply on the "intrinsic to" how do MHDC allow agencies such as English Heritage to comment on the demolition as they would not be consulted about the planning application.

I have asked Cllr Grove that "IF" there is a need to defer the decision, this is publicised prior to the meeting (which will need to go ahead as it is considering other planning applications at the same time) and not once everyone has braved the December night and turned up at the school.

Market Street Toilets - CLOSED

The new "Iconic" public toilets in Market Street, Tenbury Wells, have had to be closed.  It appears that insufficient (or perhaps no) lagging has been installed to protect the water pipes during cold weather.

It is not yet confirmed whether the work was incorrectly specified or incorrectly installed, but whatever the outcome it is a further embarrassment for Malvern Hills District Council.  The new toilets took an incredible 3 years to design and build and have only been open less than six months.

Tomorrow is the Mistletoe Festival, one of the days that attract visitors to town and yet again, there is a strong possibility that the toilets will not be available.

The Town Council have already raised their disappointment at the state of the toilets during Applefest and had asked that additional cleaning be scheduled on festival dates.

On a brighter note, WCC have actually managed to grit the Town Centre pavements this year.

Major Power Outage - Tenbury

IMG_1337Roughly one third of the shops and other businesses in Teme Street, the Crossing Lights and Christmas Decorations lost their power this afternoon.

The fault has been traced to a single cable and EON are currently excavating in search of the problem.

The duty "jointer" is on his way to Tenbury to splice in a new section of cable.  Early indications point at "old" infrastructure rather than overload or other reason for the fault developing.

It is hoped that the power will be restored in the next four hours, or at the very worst by very early morning.

New Photo Magazine in Town

At the moment it's something of a best kept secret, but there is a new online magazine in town, with the most amazing photographs.

I would recommend you all to visit it's fantastic and puts my efforts to shame.

Also it's time to collect the latest issue of the Teme Valley Times from Tenbury News, the Post Office and other local suppliers.

Coldest Night So Far : 2

In Tenbury last night the temperatures fell to a low of -12.2 c. 

The lowest recorded temperature yesterday was -20.9 c at Altnaharra.

Hard to believe now:
Global temperature has warmed to near record levels in 2010 say climate scientists from the Met Office and the University of East Anglia. Provisional figures for the three main global temperature datasets put 2010 on track to become first or second warmest in the instrumental record.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

First Holly & Mistletoe Sale 2010

Blessing of the Holy & Mistletoe

Mistletoe Foundation Blessing, originally uploaded by @WR15.
This morning saw the first Mistletoe Auction of 2010. An overnight fall of snow made the scene feel a little more seasonal.

There were a good number of lots laid out at the new (for 2010) auction site on spare ground at the Tenbury Wells, Bromyard Road Business Park. As usual Nick Champion and his team had worked hard to lay out everything in a neat and professional manor.

Photographers, journalists and film crews from various local & national publications swelled the numbers of onlookers as members of the Mistletoe Foundation carried out the traditional blessing of the holly & mistletoe with water from a sacred well.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Coldest Night So Far

In Tenbury last night the temperatures fell to a low of -10.4 c.

(The record overnight low was recorded 60 miles to the South West in Stennybridge at -15.2 c.)
*Corrected* The record overnight low was recorded 50 miles to the West in Llysdinam at -18 c.

The coldest temperature ever recorded in the UK was -23.3 c in Braemar in November 1919.

The coldest temperature ever recorded was -89.6 c in Antarctica in July 1983.

BBC News
Met Office

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Snow Clearance - Government Advice

Clearing snow and ice from pavements yourself.

There's no law stopping you from clearing snow and ice on the pavement outside your home or from public spaces. It's unlikely you'll be sued or held legally responsible for any injuries on the path if you have cleared it carefully. Follow the snow code when clearing snow and ice safely.

The snow code - tips on clearing snow and ice from pavements or public spaces

Prevent slips

Pay extra attention to clear snow and ice from steps and steep pathways - you might need to use more salt on these areas.

If you clear snow and ice yourself, be careful - don’t make the pathways more dangerous by causing them to refreeze. But don’t be put off clearing paths because you’re afraid someone will get injured.

Remember, people walking on snow and ice have responsibility to be careful themselves. Follow the advice below to make sure you clear the pathway safely and effectively.

Clear the snow or ice early in the day

It’s easier to move fresh, loose snow rather than hard snow that has packed together from people walking on it. So if possible, start removing the snow and ice in the morning. If you remove the top layer of snow in the morning, any sunshine during the day will help melt any ice beneath. You can then cover the path with salt before nightfall to stop it refreezing overnight.

Use salt or sand - not water

If you use water to melt the snow, it may refreeze and turn to black ice. Black ice increases the risk of injuries as it is invisible and very slippery. You can prevent black ice by spreading some salt on the area you have cleared. You can use ordinary table or dishwasher salt - a tablespoon for each square metre you clear should work. Don’t use the salt found in salting bins - this will be needed to keep the roads clear.

Be careful not to spread salt on plants or grass as it may cause them damage.

If you don’t have enough salt, you can also use sand or ash. These won’t stop the path icing over as well as salt, but will provide good grip under foot.

Take care where you move the snow

When you’re shovelling snow, take care where you put it so it doesn’t block people’s paths or drains. Make sure you make a path down the middle of the area to be cleared firs, so you have a clear surface to walk on. Then shovel the snow from the centre of the path to the sides.

Offer to clear your neighbours’ paths

If your neighbour will have difficulty getting in and out of their home, offer to clear snow and ice around their property as well. Check that any elderly or disabled neighbours are alright in the cold weather. If you’re worried about them, contact your local council.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Tenbury Gets New Tourist Attraction

Chinook Tenbury WellsA Boeing Chinook Heavy lift helicopter sits gathering frost in the field adjacent to the A456 in Burford, Tenbury.

The Army helicopter which had been on exercise in the Lake District all day, experienced hydraulics problems on the flight back to base. The problems became critical at about 4.30pm yesterday as they passed over Tenbury and were ordered to land by their control.

An MOD spokesman said the landing was a routine precautionary landing rather than an emergency landing.

A second helicopter arrived from Hampshire at about 9.30 last night to collect the crew and deliver some technicians. Other technicians arrived during the night by road and worked in sub-zero temperatures to try to rectify the faults.

By 11.00am this morning the Helicopter was still in situ and the verges of the A456 were lined by onlookers and media reporters.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Shop Local - Value for money.

A reader of this blog has very kindly done a small mystery shop at Bowkett's and Tesco's with interesting results.

He bought 11 (mostly) branded items.

Tesco £16.76 Bowketts £15.46 (7.75% saving)
(Although if you spend another 2p at Tesco you could have had 2 tins of Tomatoes instead of 1)

This was only a small shop but shows that for the middle range shopper it can still make sense to shop local.

If you were able to compromise on brand and select the value items (they were only available for 6 out of the 11 items) your Tesco bill would drop to £12.61* (18.43% saving vs Bowketts)
(Lower branded items might also be available at Bowketts)

As is often said, "You can prove anything with statistics" or as Homer (Simpson) said "Facts are meaningless they can be used to prove anything"

(* The branded items often came in larger sizes so I have adjusted the figure to compare. e.g. Heinz Ketchup Squeezy 342g vs Tesco Ketchup Squeezy 1kg)

Monday, 22 November 2010

Will Chase negotiating to buy Malvern Water Chase the local multi millionaire entrepreneur, and majority partner in Chase Tenbury LLP the owners of the Tenbury Cattle Market site is in negotiation with Coca-Cola with a view to buying the Malvern Water brand.

It would appear that whilst the iconic brand may be salvaged, the 108 year old Colwall plant will still be closed and production moved to his Chase Vodka distillery site.

Malvern Water has been popular for hundreds of years, and a favourite with the reigning monarch.

In recent times the water at most (or all) of the public pumps are said to have become contaminated and unsafe to drink unless treated. This fact has not been widely publicised and several people in Tenbury recently became very ill after collecting and drinking water from one of the wells.

Other articles about this story.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Large Crowds Watch Lights

A large crowd, gathered in Teme Street, Tenbury Wells tonight to watch Ray the Sunshine Radio Cat switch on the 2010 Christmas Lights. The crowds were entertained by the Sunshine Radio road crew, with music and competitions until they switched live to the studio in Ludlow for the switch on.

After the lights were switched on, the crowds were further entertained by members the Teme Valley Band playing a selection of Christmas songs.

Mistletoe Articles 2010

Every year during Mistletoe Season the national press turn their attention to Tenbury Wells. This year the first appears to be the Daily Mail.

I'll publish more links as they appear.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Tenbury Mistletoe Season Starts Tomorrow

"When love is in the air"

Tenbury Mistletoe Season kicks off tomorrow with the turning on of the Christmas Lights. This event has been a bit of a disappointment in the last few years, with promised attractions failing to happen and incorrect timings advertised.

Hopefully this year, with the help of Sunshine Radio it will be an altogether bigger and brighter affair. The weather will hopefully be dry and the temperature not too cold.

Everyone is welcome to the event which will take place outside the Regal at 5.30pm (Friday 19th November 2010).

Later the same evening there is a special showing of the Christmas Classic "It's a wonderful life".

Monday, 8 November 2010

Free Flood Protection Advice this Thursday

Members of Whitehouse Company Flood Mitigation Team will be on hand at the Community Centre this Thursday to discuss and demonstrate Flood Protection devices. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Airband comes to Tenbury.

If you have a voracious appetite for data, but your existing Broadband supplier isn't delivering, then Airband might be for you.

Airband are building a wireless data network in the Tenbury, Leominster, Ludlow area. Initially funded by Advantage West Midlands, they will need to become self sufficient in the long term.

Using a combination of wireless transmitters and receivers, Airband can link up almost anyone in the Tenbury area with their transmitters on Clee Hill or Broadheath. Speeds of up to 1.25Gb/s can in theory be achieved, but at a price. They can also link multiple offices together.

If you need to use Broadband commercially then the prices are much cheaper than other suppliers, but for the domestic user they are not so competitive.

A 4Mb/s connection (1Mb/s upload) with a contention of 1:20 will cost you £25 a month. Great if your existing connection is unreliable or slow, but speeds of 8Mb/s are achievable in Town for less money. (but probably with a higher contention rate, not a problem during the day, but not so good when the facebook generation come home from school)

Airband only provide the "pipe" so any potential customers, business or domestic that are not very computer literate will probably need to also employ additional services from other companies to install the necessary infrastructure.

For the domestic user in areas that are poorly served by fixed line broadband you may find Reebex a cheaper option. Unlike Airband, Reebex will deliver the complete system and offer support.

More information:

Monday, 1 November 2010

Burgage Plan will allow for Events

A revised master plan for the Tenbury Burgage was shown to Tenbury Town Council tonight.

Numerous revisions have been made, but most importantly for many people the plan now allows space for Boot Fairs, Festivals and the traditional November bonfire.

The overall plan could take a number of years to implement as funding becomes available, but it is hoped that the first phase will include additional play equipment aimed at younger children which couldn't be included in the first phase as it was specifically excluded by the grant provider.

The new fence is expected to be installed this month.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Tesco Tenbury : Make your mind up time

The closing date for commenting on the Tesco Tenbury plan is fast approaching.

I would encourage as many people as possible to read the submission documents before making their submission.

As many regular readers of this blog will know, I have stated all along that I have no objection to Tesco, which is why I don't actively support the TesNO group, but the more I read and understand the planning application, the more I feel there is still a long way to go.

Even individual submitted document such as the Car Park Management Strategy and the Transport Assessment contradict each other.

For instance one states

The right for non-patrons to park on the site will be removed.

whilst the other says

Tesco support and encourage linked trips between the store & the town centre.

Due to the lack of parking provision, apparently Worcester County Council have asked Tesco to limit parking to two hours. This seems to me to be a very short amount of time to do a linked shopping trip. (But perhaps I stop and talk to too many people)

There also seems to be a perhaps understandable but unforgivable misunderstanding of various local circumstances which invalidate their data.

For instance

Tuesday morning, Tenbury's traditional market day is when Tenbury is at its busiest. Yet no traffic survey was undertaken on this day. Instead a survey was carried out on a Saturday afternoon, which may be busy in most towns, but is when Tenbury is at it's quietest.

The report says Tesco will provide a new Bus Shelter on the South bound side of Teme Street. Very worthy, but if my analysis is correct, the majority of buses either terminate here or this is their last but one stop.

They have taken a very naive view of public transport, and have either completely misunderstood what is available or have deliberately misunderstood.

The report lists numerous bus services, but again the vast majority of these would be of no use to either shoppers coming in to Tenbury or potential staff.

There is talk of a freephone to a local Taxi firm. As far a I know there isn't one and the availability of private hire vehicles, especially at short notice is very scarce.

I'm sure that the documents are littered with other inconsistencies, so get reading and make sure you comment.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Mistletoe Auctions Return to Town

After a few years in the wilderness (OK, Little Hereford) the 2010 Commercial Mistletoe Auction are set to return to Tenbury. Not the old Auction Yard, but the Bromyard Road Business Park.

This year the Auctions will be held on 30th November and the 7th & 14th December.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Apple Fantastic

The new format Tenbury Applefest was a great success.

Luckily the sun shone all day and the ground was just dry enough to withstand the onslaught from the large crowds who descended on Tenbury Burgage to wander the stalls, sample the various ciders and other fruity drinks and watch the non-stop entertainment.

The Apple Marquee was laden with Apples and other Autumn fruits, and did a brisk trade of tree sales.

This is the first year the annual Applefest was held on the Burgage as it had outgrown it's usual car park location, and a small admission charge was made for the first time, as grant income is now much reduced, whilst staging expenses continue to rise.

Next up is Mistletoefest on Saturday 4th December.

Parking - Overload

On many days of the week, parking in Tenbury reaches saturation point. Last Tuesday, so many vehicles were parked in Cross, Market & Teme Street, the Pay & Display Car Park and Palmer Car Park, it wasn't possible to even park illegally.

On Saturday, with Applefest and a Rugby Match Palmer's Car Park was almost impassible. The pavements were covered in Cars and the Bus Bays full.

On some Saturdays this might not have mattered but a large Coach was scheduled to pick up a Tour Group who were visiting Applefest, and a shuttle bus was running between the Swimming Pool and the Aspire Centre for the Park & Ride. In the end the Coach had to pick up from Kyrewood Road, further adding to the chaos and leaving the elderly trippers to climb up the grass bank by the refuse area.

If Tenbury is serious about attracting more people and tourists to Town, a solution to this increasing problem needs to be sought!

Cross Street Pole Mystery Solved.

Patrol Cross Street
As one question is answered, others comes to mind.

The mystery of the pole appearing in the pavement in Cross Street, Tenbury Wells is as it now can clearly be seen to mount signs and warning lights for a School Patrol, but this leaves me some what confused (a constant state these days some would say). Cross Street no longer has a School Patrol as the "Lollypop Lady" who left wasn't replaced. By all means warn of a School, but why warn of a Patrol when there isn't one.

The second question is why mount flashing lights on the South bound approach which is straight with good vision, but only mount a sign with no lights on the North bound approach which is round a bend with very limited vision.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Teme Valley Times

The latest issue of the Teme Valley Times is now available from a number of local distributors including Tenbury News & Burford Nurseries.

There is information about the Tesco application and the TesNo opposition, plus information about this weekends Applefest, plus local news and views, wine, book and motoring reviews and lots more, and best of all, none of it is written by me! (& there are no photo's of me in this issue)

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Teme Bridge - What is the truth?

Mystery still surrounds the question; how structurally sound is the Teme Bridge in Tenbury Wells?

A statement given by WCC Cllr Pollock to the Tenbury Town Council at their February 2010 meeting, seemed to indicate that only remedial repairs are required but this seems at odds with WCCs own bridge report compiled after the last principal inspection in 2005 which read:-

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

This report, refers to further investigations, which were carried out by Fugro Aperio using Video and Ground Penatrating Radar. This revealed that the records that showed the concealed arches had been filled in were incorrect, so the cracks were not settlement cracks as previously thought but structural cracks.
Fugro Aperio's summary.

A local retired Bridge Engineer has also carried out a visual inspection of the Bridge and believes that it has significant problems.

WCC are said to have £1M per financial year to spend on Bridges. This is not much when you consider the vast number of bridges in the County. The repairs to Fleet Bridge is due to take about £4.5M!

Emergency repairs have also been carried out to Ham & Easton Bridge and are currently being undertaken at Knightwick Bridge so the budget must be well in the red.

Could WCC be playing fast and loose with Tenbury and just hoping nothing too drastic happens, or perhaps hoping that the Bridge collapses and they get central government aid.

I can see that all Councils are in an impossible position, with the massive reduction in Central Government Grants and the desire the keep Council Tax bills as low as possible, but on the other hand, the loss of the Teme Bridge (or the long term closure) will do significant damage to the Towns prosperity. I don't hold with the view that any planning application should be denied purely on the grounds that it will increase the HGV traffic flow across the bridge, because the increase in percentage terms is insignificant, but the Truth about the state of the bridge does need to be revealed and appropriate action undertaken, even if this is one way working or a temporary weight restriction, which will be a major inconvenience, but nothing compared with the loss of the bridge.

Recent photographs published by the TesNo group seem to support the findings of the Bridge Report, rather than the recent statement.

Click on picture to enlarge. (Use your back button to return to blog)

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Tesco unveil their new plan for Tenbury.

Tesco are due to unveil their revised plan for a store to be sited on the Old Cattle Market in Tenbury Wells at a public exhibition at the Pump Rooms tomorrow, (but you can have a sneak preview on the Tenbury Blog)

Click on picture to enlarge. (Use your back button to return to blog)

You can see from this view that the store has been moved back slightly to allow disabled parking spaces at the front of the store. The entrance hall has also been redesigned to provide a visual feature that can been seen from Teme Street.
The car park levels have been altered to allow the storage of flood waters in the event of a flood whilst still protecting the store.
You can also see the full exhibition display by clicking here, or you can visit the exhibition in the Pump Room tomorrow between 11am & 6.30pm.

Malvern Hills District Council were due to validate the planning application today and hopefully the full planning documentation should be available online from tomorrow.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010


Press Release

Tesco has reiterated its commitment to the former cattle market site in Tenbury Wells and intends to resubmit its application to develop a store on the site this week.

Following ongoing consultation between Tesco and planning officials, local residents and key stakeholders, a number of design and landscaping changes have been made to the original scheme. The application, which was withdrawn in July, is expected to be resubmitted to Malvern Hills District Council on September 30th.

The new scheme includes additional landscaping along the River Teme side of the site to alleviate flood risk and changes have also been made to the store approach, store design and site levels to improve the view from Teme Street. Plans to renovate the former fire station building remain in place.

The new store design proposes a circular entrance lobby to reflect the architectural character of the market building in Market Square and to enhance views of the store from the site entrance from Teme Street, a smaller service yard and improved landscaping at the rear of the site.

The delivery area at the back of Spar and the pedestrian link to Teme Street will also see improvements under the new proposals to improve the visual appearance of the proposed development.

Tesco is now inviting local people to view the new plans at an Information Day to be held at the Pump Rooms in Tenbury Wells from 11am to 6.30pm on Friday October 8th.

Sophie Akokhia, Corporate Affairs Manager for Tesco, said: “Since we withdrew our original application, we have continued the discussions that we were already under way and we have revised the scheme in line with feedback we have received.

“We have listened to local people and groups including the Chamber of Trade and Civic Society, and we’ve incorporated feedback to our plans where possible. We have also continued ongoing discussions with key organisations involved in this complex scheme, including the council, Environment Agency and Highways Agency. “As a result we feel we now have the best possible scheme for local people.

The proposed store is about two thirds of the size of our store in Ludlow and has been designed to be sympathetic to the local environment. It will offer choice and value, create new jobs for local people and keep trade within the town by eradicating the need for Tenbury residents to travel outside of the town to do their weekly grocery shop.

“We have already had some positive support from local shoppers and traders in the town but we would encourage people to come and see our new proposals and talk with members of the project team at the Pump Rooms on October 8th.”

Worcester Evening News

Shropshire Star

Tenbury Advertiser have printed an article in the 30th September 2010 edition under an "exclusive" banner. (Deluded!)

Online version not yet available.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Is the six year wait nearly over?

Margaret's SplashpointAfter more than sixt years of campaigning by Cllr Margaret Austin, it looks like Worcester County Council are finally fixing the fault in Kyrewood Road.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

River View - What River?

The burgage in Tenbury Wells is looking better than it has done for some time. There is a new childen's play area, better seating and more attention has been paid to the garden areas.

The only thing I would ask is could some attention be paid to the river walk. New seating has been installed so you can sit and enjoy the view but this is what you can see from the four benches. Perhaps, pruning can be arranged to co-inside with the bonfire, to cut down on the disposal costs?

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Tesco still on target in Tenbury

Tesco and their developers are still on target to resubmit their planning application for the Old Cattle Market in Tenbury by the end of the month.

The new plan will be on much the same footprint as the original. There will be alterations to site levels as prescribed by the Environment Agency, to allow the car park to be used for flood water storage when the river is in spate. The store will be protected behind a wall which will link up to the proposed bund in the Burgage. Also included will be an enhanced entrance pavilion, to add architectural interest when viewed from Teme Street.

The store will be moved back slightly to allow for a number of disabled parking spaces between the store and the Spar loading area.

The plan will still involve the demolition of the old infirmary building, the extension to the old fire station and the buildings directly behind the old fire station. The development will include renovating the old fire station and ideas are invited to find a new use for the building.

Work is underway to try to find solutions to alleviate the lack of parking provision, which may involve running a shoppers bus service, which could also be used by staff. Parking is likely to be limited to two or three hours, but it may be possible for longer term parking to be allowed in the evening to allow parking for the users of the Regal Cinema.

Tesco's say that the store will be serviced by just 9 large lorries a week, plus a number of deliveries by local suppliers, bakery & crisp suppliers.

Currently 2/3rds of all local grocery purchases are made out of town and Tesco hope that they can reduce this to 1/3. If the plan is approved, Tesco will hold a number of customer seminars to discuss which of their ranges should be stocked.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Curious way to Promote Tenbury

It seems curious that the Government funded are running a Google Ads campaign to promote Tenbury.

When you click on the advert you are taken to a page which gives a brief outline of Tenbury and offers links to accommodation, which if you select Hotel Accommodation it then tells you

Sorry, we do not have any establishments in this category.

Try changing the search criteria you have entered, and searching again.

The other categories do list something, but nothing local.

In otherwords, don't stay here try somewhere else instead!

It also lists attractions, but fails to mention any local attraction, such as the Pump Rooms, the Museum, the Art Trail, the Blue Plaque Trail etc, but instead takes you to Great Witley.

If you dig a little deeper it does tell you there is a Tourist Information Office in Tenbury, but links you to a general page on the MHDC website.

The local website might be woefully out of date, but does at least list local accommodation.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Air Ambulance Lands In Tenbury

The Air Ambulance landed in the field next to Teme Bridge just after lunchtime today. I'm not sure where the medical emergency was but hopefully the prognosis is good as the ambulance left without a patient on board.

Can anyone tell me why the Helicopter that landed today was the wrong colour?

Monday, 6 September 2010

No Sitting on the Fence

The first thing I did in January when the new playground plans were shown for the first time was to write to the Town Council.

I closed my letter with the following sentence.

I realise that you are being guided by experts, but would hate it if I didn't raise this matter now and you were retrospectively forced to install fencing

And so they were, and the 'experts' concluded that their should be no fence.

Since the playground was opened, opinions have been exchanged back and forth about the merits of a fence or otherwise.

In April the Town Council discussed the fence and it was proposed. by Cllrs Austin/Corfield that a fence should be erected around the play area, the sand pit emptied and litter bins installed, 7 for the motion and 2 abstentions.

It has then been discussed at nearly every meeting since. Tonight after much further discussion (and several votes) it was again resolved that a fence be installed. (Although there is nothing in the budget to pay for it)

It still doesn't look as if anyone will be sitting on the fence anytime soon.

Splashpoint Downgraded

Tenbury Town Cllr Margaret Austin has campaigned for over 6 years to get the notorious splash point (in Kyrewood Road) problem resolved.

At the Town Council meeting in October 2008 Mr J Wallace – WCC Highways Liaison Engineer, promised to get the problem fixed, and the work was scheduled to be completed in April this year.

The Town Council have now been told that it has once again been downgraded and described by the new WCC roads man as "Not a risk to Motorists" and therefore not a significant problem.

There are currently no plans to carry out the work. Shame we can't glue him to the spot next time it rains!

Original Blogs
3rd October 2008