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CALL FOR MORE ATTENTION TO SCHOOL FIRE PRECAUTIONS

In the light of two recent fires in schools, the latest in Verulam School in
St Albans, Liberal Democrat councillors have called upon schools and the
county council to work closely on fire safety.

Liberal Democrat Leader Chris White said: ‘There are some disturbing reports
from around the county. In more than one school fire alarms have not been
audible in all parts of the building.

‘The governors have a responsibility to ensure that the school is safe and
should seek advice from the county council’s fire and rescue department. The
county council also needs to step up its health and safety audits so that
there are no more serious incidents.’

ENDS

Station noise complaints are back – but FCC say it’s cured

I have had renewed noise about excessively noisy announcements from the station. FCC have got back to me and say:

– the problem is now cured
– the local staff now have access to the box (this was previously a problem for some reason – only staff up the line could deal with it)
– there is anyway a new system on its way which will be sensitive to ambient noise.

Let me know what you think: do you believe things have improved?

Fix 1: Liberal Democrats propose package of green measures

Liberal Democrats yesterday proposed a package of green measures as
amendments to the Conservative budget debated at county hall.

Measures include a 35% increase in subsidies for buses, a 25% increase in
spending on repairing footpaths and a significant roll out of 20 mph zones.

Liberal Democrat Group Leader Chris White said: ‘People have been very clear
with us on the doorstep: they want more accessible transport, pavements
which aren’t turning to gravel and safer residential streets.

‘Other parts of the country manage 20 mph speed limits with ease. Our
proposal to spend a million pounds on this project would mean that most
towns in Hertfordshire would see 20 mph limits in residential streets within
the year. Sadly the Tories refused to back this.’

Malcolm Cowan added: ‘I am shocked that we only spend £4 million on
repairing footways. The fact that so little is spent and our proposal to
increase was turned down show that the Tories have no interest in
pedestrians.’

ENDS

The Liberal Democrat proposals would be funded by reductions in overstaffing
at county hall.

Liberal Democrat Manifesto Fix 1

http://herts.libdems.org/pages/Fix1.html

Fix our roads and pavements

Hertfordshire’s roads and pavements are among some of the worst in the
country. Anyone crossing our county boundaries can see at a glance just how
bad things are.

You tell us constantly this is your main priority. On every survey response,
on every newsletter reply slip and face to face on the door step, you tell
us how disappointed you are with the state of our roads and pavements.

What we will do to change this:

– Repair and maintain the roads before they deteriorate and need to be
completely replaced
– Get rid of Herts Highways and give residents more of a say to get real
results
– Introduce ‘Pothole Moles’: a pro-active team to blitz potholes properly
so they don’t need to be filled in again two days later
– Strictly enforce the new legislation on utility repairs to ensure roads
are only dug up once and are then repaired to a high standard

Road surface problems in Woodstock Road South and Laurel Road

These two roads have recently come to my attention from my own observations. I have had the following response from Herts Highways.

‘Cat 2’ works are permanent patching (not a simple pothole repair).

Woodstock Road South is currently scheduled for the 2010/2011 financial
year. I will pass your comments onto our asset managers who are currently
shaping the 09/10 programme to see the feasibility of moving these works
forward.

Laurel Road does not currently feature on the five year IWP at all. I will
investigate the road to establish what low CAT 2 type works are necessary
for the road.

District council to continue to work towards pavement parking ban

I have received the following note from the District Council. Comments gratefully received.

Members may recall the proposals to create a District Wide footway and
verge parking prohibition.

The impact would have been to ban parking on the footway or verge.
Drivers would be advised by zone entry signs as they entered the
District.

It was recognised that in a number of locations e.g., Folly Lane in St
Albans & Cowper Street, Harpenden that parking on the footway would be
necessary. At these locations signs would advise that footway parking
was authorised by placing signs adjacent to the parking place.

Unfortunately guidance from the Department of Transport advises that
unless repeater signs of the ban are in place every 30m a District wide
ban would not be authorised.

The Secretary of State’s view is that motorists cannot be reasonably be
expected to read, understand and remember the parking restrictions at
the entrance to a Controlled Parking Zone that covers an area of more
than a dozen streets.

In the circumstance the alternative is to introduce a ban on a location
by location basis.

We will shortly be advertising for consultation a footway and verge
parking ban in three places across the District.

1. Watsons Walk, St Albans – The entire length

2. Harpenden Road – Texaco Garage to Sandridgebury Lane

3. Colney Heath – The central area

Once these have been advertised we will be in a position to commence a
rolling programme of such bans.

As it is sometime since members were consulted on suitable locations now
is an opportune time to identify those areas where a footway and verge
ban is both necessary and feasible.

Your recommendations are therefore sought.

The key aspects to consider when recommending locations are:

1. Footway and/or verge parking is causing damage.

2. Footway obstructions are being caused. The rule of thumb being
insufficient space is available for a double buggy to pass.

3. There is an alternative parking location for residents.

Priority will be given to those locations that fulfil all three of the
above.

The London Road houses and Tesco

Update from Chris Brazier, portfolioholder for planning

‘I had a meeting with Tesco in November, they cleaned up London Road and asked that we did not pursue repossession. The reason they gave me was that they would do the houses up to Town Houses standard and then either sell them or rent them out. Under the Housing Act I have to let them carry out their promise and I have given them until the end of this month to submit a planning application for the houses in London Road. Robert [Donald] is arranging for a further meeting with Tesco in March:
a) To discuss the planning application of the houses
b) To discuss why no application has been submitted and our response.

‘A new application for the retail store is due soon but I have no idea what the new proposals are.’

Waste and recycling FAQs

This was issued last Tuesday but still holds good. Further updates will be made available as published.

Refuse and Recycling FAQ’s (for waste website)

Q What is happening with refuse and recycling collections this week?
A All scheduled collections are taking place this week where it is safe to do so. We do however have to be mindful of the safety of our crews and residents both when moving large and extremely heavy collection vehicles around in slippery conditions and when moving containers off and on the footways.

Q My road is still icy. Will my refuse and recycling be collected?
A We will attempt to access as many roads as possible. Any roads that are not accessible will be listed here and regularly updated. We will return to these roads during the course of the week as conditions improve, so please leave your waste/recyclables accessible for collection.

Q Will you be collecting missed refuse or recycling from last week?
A Unfortunately, there is not sufficient vehicle capacity or resources to collect all the refuse and recycling from the missed areas last week. Also the crews are in different parts of the district. However on your next scheduled collection day during the week commencing Monday 16th February, we will collect all excess refuse and recycling as follows:
a) Flat packed cardboard placed next to your green wheeled bin/bag
b) Excess newspapers, magazines, cans and plastic bottles placed in carrier bags next to the boxes – but glass bottles must be in the recycling boxes, NOT in bags
c) Excess refuse in refuse sacks next to the black wheeled bin

Q When will collections be fully back to normal?
A We are now running to the normal schedule. Weather permitting, we expect all missed collections to have been picked up by the end of the week commencing 16 February.

Q By next week I will have had uncollected food waste for well over two weeks. Are there health concerns?
A No.The low temperatures and the containment of the waste in the secure wheeled bins/kitchen caddies will ensure that there are no possible health concerns. Food waste can also be disposed of in either green or black bins. Any bagged refuse prone to attack by animals can be double bagged .

Q What happens if my refuse bin is overflowing?
A Please put any refuse which cannot be stored in the bin in black bags and place next to the black bin on the scheduled collection day. Please tie all bags securely.

Q How do I find out the latest information?
A We will be updating our website regularly with the latest information and answers to residents questions. This information will also be held by our contact centre staff (01727 866100) and we will be issuing information to the local press and radio, and to local councillors.

Holywell Hill crossing set to improve

Residents have been concerned about this crossing for some time. Herts Highways have agreed to improve it but time has been passing by with seemingly no action. I have now received this message.

Message from Herts Highways:

I intend to carry out the antiskid improvement to the crossing point once
weather conditions improve. An order has been raised and will be carried
out as soon as we have warm enough temperatures for the improved surface to
last.

I would like to assure you that the money has been committed and the work
will be carried out. As soon as this latest cold snap has improved I will
establish a work date and report back to you

Travel chaos: Chris calls for investigation

Chris White has called for an investigation into the travel chaos for traffic on the east of St Albans as a result of this morning’s travel chaos.

Chris says: ‘The whole area was at a standstill. Reports are that the problem is a lane closure on the A414 because of barrier repairs. I am trying to find out whether this is the main cause, why, if so, the closure took place during the rush hour and why no account was taken of the rising floodwaters on those side routes which would be used as alternatives by displaced traffic.’

Snow update from St Albans District Council

Refuse and recycling
The refuse and recycling service will be operating a near normal service
this week (w/b 9 February). Collections will be as per original
schedule. If you are unsure which collection is due in your road this
week, please check your calendar or look at www.recyclingforapremier.com
If you have uncollected refuse or recycling from last week, this will
now be collected next week (w/b 16 February) when the crews return to
these roads on their fortnightly schedule. Full details are at
www.recyclingforapremier.com
There may still be some roads which are unsafe to access this week. We
will update the website and the Contact Centre during the week with
details of any roads where collections have not been possible and any
alternative arrangements we are putting in place.
We are sorry for the disruption to refuse and recycling services during
this extended period of extreme weather.
As at 11.00am we are experiencing access problems with the following
roads –

Road access problems (Refuse):

Annables Lane
Bower Heath
Bower Heath Lane
Breadcroft Lane
Chamberlains
Coles Lane
Cooters End Lane
Cooters Hill Barns
Dewent Road
Farm Close
Hanover Grange
Holly Lane
Kennel Lane (inc Beech Ridge)
Kinsbourne Close
Kinsbourne Grn Lane
Lower Luton Road (road closed)
Luton Road – Common Lane
Mackerye End
Mackerye End Lane
Plummers Lane
Porters End Lane
Roundwood Lane
Sauncey Wd
Sauncey Wd Ln
Spring Road
Sun Lane
The Common
Watery Lane
Wells Close (top end)

Road access problems (Green Waste (GW) Recycling (R)):

Glensford Drive (GW)
Granby Avenue (GW)
Holly Walk (GW)
Lea Road (GW+R)
Lea Close (GW+R)
Lidhurst Close (GW)
West Way (R)
Weyborn CLose (GW)

Planning Committee
Planning Committee South will take place as scheduled at 7pm this
evening.

Other District council services
We expect all other services to operate as normal, with the exception of
Batchwood Golf Centre and Westminster Lodge Outdoor (the athletics track
and outdoor sports facilities) which will remain closed due to lying
snow.

Schools and roads
For information about schools and roads, please see the Hertfordshire
County Council website: www.hertsdirect.org. Hertfordshire Highways are
not currently asking us for help with pavement gritting as they
prioritising salt stocks for treating roads.