Snow bulletin from Herts CC last night

HCC staff have been working hard to respond to the level of snow that Hertfordshire is currently experiencing and there have been meetings held during the day to monitor the situation, review services and determine any action that needs to be taken to ensure that we are maintaining the highest possible levels of service to residents.

The snow has had a severe impact on the road networks, and I understand you have been receiving update emails during the day on the actions being undertaken in respect of gritting the roads.  A further run took place at 7 pm and there will be another at 4 am.

More snow is expected until around 2 am with temperatures dropping below zero and then sleet and rain expected at around 9 am.

Herts Fire and Rescue Service have been responding to incidents, and are coordinating the volunteer network of 4×4 drivers as part of our adverse weather plans. These incredible volunteers have been busy all day transporting patients being discharged from hospitals, rescue stranded cars (when considered safe to do so) and supporting social care colleagues if transport is required urgently.

Adult Care Services have been able to maintain their 7 day service today with all staff travelling to their hospital workbase.  Service providers have triggered their own snow plans and, as at 5.00 pm, were not reporting any major issues.  If there are any issues regarding service delivery tomorrow, providers will be prioritising time critical calls and requesting that family and friends support non-critical calls wherever possible.  Managers are preparing for tomorrow to look to ensure patient discharges are being managed effectively.

Over 350 schools have advised that they are going to be closed on Monday, and further notifications are likely to come in during the night and early morning. (more…)

Lib Dems condemn local NHS over Nascot Lawn

At yesterdays meeting of Hertfordshire County Council parents from the NHS Nascot Lawn Respite Care home presented a petition with over 14,100 signatures seeking the commitment of the Country Council to do all in its power to ensure the continuing support and care even though the Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group had announced withdrawing the £600k funding from October 31st which will force the centre to close.

The motion drafted by Councillor Mark Watkin and the Liberal Democrats and presented jointly with the Labour Group is attached as is Mark’s speech supporting the motion.

Mark condemned the Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group for its heartless approach, and in particular its total failure to consult with parents or the County Council before making its decision. Mark was appalled that without carrying out fresh assessment the CCG had announced that only two of the over sixty children had medical needs. In fact at this moment no fresh assessments have been carried out.

Mark commented “This decision defies understanding. These children and their families face some of the greatest challenges that life can present. The fact that they can function and support their children through all adversity is very largely due to the respite they receive from the dedicated medical staff at Nascot Lawn. To suggest that they only have social issues is an insult. These families can not function without the support of Nascot Lawn.”

Following debate, the motion was amended by the Conservative majority to remove the the attack on the underfunding of the NHS, but then was passed unanimously.

Sandpit Lane closure

Message from the County Council:

I am writing to notify you of the forthcoming Highways Maintenance works due to take place on Sandpit Lane, St Albans.

The works are due to commence on Monday 6th March and are programmed to take approximately 10 Nights to complete.  Given the likelihood of danger to the public whilst the works are being undertaken, it will be necessary to close Sandpit Lane between the junctions of B651 Sandridge Road and  Lemsford Road.

The Road closure will be set up between the hours of 7pm – 5am, the highway will be clear  at all other  times.  The final phase of the scheme will be completed using off peak Lane Closures / Stop Go Boards.

Update on Clarence Park steps and ramp

A routine safety inspection was conducted on the ramp and steps structure on 03 February. During the inspection it was noted that the current deterioration of the timber sections is such that structure is now deemed unsafe. The deterioration has accelerated since the last inspection in December. Owing to the extent of the deterioration observed it was recommended that the structure should be closed immediately on the grounds of health and safety until remedial measures are put in place

This morning officers met with Cllr Alun Davies and Clarence Ward Councillors Chris White and Ellie Hudspith at the site. As a result officers are currently obtaining price quotations to carry out repairs to sections of the steps to enable its reopening at the earliest possible convenience.

With a design for the construction of a replacement structure in steel now in place officers will also investigate the option of replacing the existing steps only (in steel) in the short term whilst options are considered for permanent solution.

A quotation will be communicated back to councillors by the end of next week so that a way forward can be agreed.

District Council statement on Clarence park steps

We have been trying (so far without success) to replace the ramp and steps at Clarence Park. Sadly we have been very badly let down by our contractor and our agent and this will impact on our future choices of expert. We are still trying to resolve the issue but it is proving very difficult.

The structure has for some years now been in a state of decay and has been declining. You may recall that we spent thousands of pounds stabilising it 3-4 years ago. We have recently been undertaking regular inspections in an attempt to keep open the ramp and steps for as long as possible. Paul Gallagher carried out an inspection this morning and found significant areas of concern. As a result we had to close the structure immediately. It was not therefore possible to give any advance warning.

Although we have been carrying out spot repairs we have now reached the stage where economic repair is no longer viable. Paul has estimated that between £3K and £5K will need to be spent to deal with the current problem but that will not guarantee the safety of the structure. It is also possible that these costs will increase if we uncover further areas of rot. For your information, yesterday we had a report that someone had put her foot through the bottom platform of the ramp & steps. We don’t believe she was hurt but we haven’t heard directly from her so we don’t have all the details.

As the senior officer responsible for health and safety I cannot knowingly allow an unsafe situation to exist. Therefore it will be necessary for the structure to remain closed until we find a solution, either in the short or long term.

Liberal Democrats Party Political Broadcast – ‘Groundhog Day’

The Liberal Democrats new party political broadcast airs tonight on BBC 1 and ITV1.

The broadcast is inspired by the classic Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day and features a couple waking up to a radio news bulletin on the morning after the European referendum. As the days pass the morning routine stays the same but the couple are greeted with different news – from the election of Donald Trump in the US and the rise in racist incidents following the referendum to warnings over the NHS winter crisis and reports of Labour backing Brexit – and worry about what is happening around the country and the world.

Tim Farron addresses the audience with a clear, unapologetic pitch to the millions of people who do not support what this government is doing, and look at Labour and don’t see an effective opposition.

And for those watching closely there’s a David Cameron gag in there too.

A Liberal Democrat spokesperson said: 

“There are millions of people across the UK who are being let down by this Conservative Brexit Government and their plans for a hard, divisive Brexit. They are people who voted Leave and Remain, Labour and Conservative, and do not feel they are being represented.

“If you wake up every day with a sinking feeling about the way our country and our world is going, then we are the only party standing up for you.

“The Liberal Democrats are fighting for an open, tolerant and united Britain. We are holding this government to account on Brexit and the under-funding of the NHS. The Liberal Democrats are the real voice of opposition this country needs now Labour are left fighting amongst themselves.“


Notes to Editors

The PPB can be viewed here