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.