Councillor report

Hello,I would like to provide you with the below updates on some key issues that I am dealing with at the moment and any associated media coverage for your awareness also.

  MORE ROAD REPAIRS COMING IN 2016...I NEED YOUR FEEDACK

 A scheme whereby County Councillors can select local roads and footpaths for priority repair was agreed at the County Council’s Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, November 10 - the Labour Opposition at County Hall supported the plan and I was pleased to speak on the issue in the chamber.

Families in my division and across the town rely on good quality roads and footpaths daily to get to work, to take children to schools and access leisure & shopping facilities. We know there is a growing number of poorly maintained roads across Northampton. They are plagued with potholes, which cause damage to people’s vehicles, and are a real nightmare. I am pleased that the county council will be allowing local councillors to select which road or footpath is repaired, to a maximum value of £50,000...I wish of course it was a lot more! Road repairs has been a very passionate focus of mine and I have had led several campaigns on behalf of residents with much success.  This new pot of funding gives me the chance to get further road repairs done, some of which are in desperate need.  I have sought feedback from Residents Groups and have my own 'hit list', but I would welcome anyone who lives in my Division (Dallington, Spencer, Kings Heath, Ryehill or St James) to get in touch with me and give any suggestions of what they feel are urgent repairs that are needed. I will then have an informed discussion with Northamptonshire Highways and pull together a plan of action, which will be implemented next year.

A meeting is scheduled with Highways to discuss potential repairs soon...so please email me any views ASAP.

 A parking review of St James has been undertook by the Northamptonshire Highways to create more resident parking. This scheme covers the half of St James I represent on the County Council and will see a number of outdated & unnecessary double yellow lines removed to create additional on-street parking.  Greenwood Rd, Wimbledon St, Althorp Rd, Stanley Rd, St. James Park Rd, Marlborough Rd and Byfield Rd are the streets to benefit from the near one hundred new parking spaces proposed. Some time restricted parking is also to be considered in some streets, in a bid to prevent rail commuters from occupying a big proportion of available spaces each weekday.

 These plans have been drawn up in draft form and were subject to initial resident consultation at the St James Residents Association (SJRA) meeting on 1st October.  Following that meeting, its now going out to full consultation, any feedback received will be considered and the scheme will be implemented early in the New Year. The review was requested in conjunction with St James Residents Association and Highways Officers.  Parking is a massive issue in the area and this scheme once implemented will see huge benefits for residents.

 URGENT REPRESENTATIONS MADE ON TRAFFIC / PARKING ACTION AROUND EARL SPENCER PRIMARY

 Residents in Spencer earlier in the year organised a petition calling for local authority action to alleviate traffic & parking concerns around Earl Spencer Primary, Streatfield Rd, Spencer. The petition signed by nearly 150 concerned residents & parents was given to me and I presented it to the full County Council meeting in June - as a result, meetings with Senior County Councillors, Highways Officers, residents and representatives of Earl Spencer took place and some measures are currently being considered for implementation.  

 To explain the problems, Earl Spencer Primary gets vast levels of traffic congestion each morning & afternoon, which causes chaos. However, it is also a school that is expanding and with over hundred additional pupils to be added in the next couple of years, the congestion problems will grow and risk to pedestrians growing with it.  There is also deemed to be insufficient staff parking provision on the horizon, adding to the problem and limiting nearby resident parking and creating yet more congestion.  

 However, on Monday 9th November a parent and toddler were struck by a vehicle outside the school and hospitalised. This recent event only highlights the need for action..  Whilst discussions between myself and the County Council have been productive to date, I have now intensified my representations to the point of urgency and further meetings took place with officers and NCC cabinet members at the school within 24hrs of the incident.  I have some ideas and will be consulting in the coming weeks with residents & parents about some further proposed changes that could be made to make the area safer...any help with door knocking would be most welcome.

 CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED TO RESOLVE LONG STANDING ASB PROBLEMS

I am launching a campaign to resolve some long-standing anti-social behavior problems in the Dallington / Spencer area.  For years the alleyways running adjacent to Baring Rd, Newcombe Rd & Symington Street have been hot-spots for fly-tipping and criminal behaviour such as drug use, as is the one in-between Raymond Road & Spencer Bridge Rd.

 Previously Northampton Borough Council began steps to potentially install gates in these areas to alleviate the issues, but the exercise was never completed...due to changes in council personnel and presumed budget constraints -  but residents and I have ran out of patience. Enough is enough!

I am regularly reporting fly-tipping to be removed and residents are fed up with rubbish and needles being dumped at the back of their homes and something must be done.  I intend to wholeheartedly pursue this and I am now commencing a campaign to get the council to do something.  I will be petitioning all the residents in the homes affected in Baring Rd, Newcombe Rd, Symington St, Raymond Rd & Spencer Bridge Rd in the coming weeks and will encourage as many residents as possible to join me in lobbying the Borough Council's administration to get them to listen, but most importantly to get them to act. 

 PROBLEMS WITH BUS SERVICE NUMBER 3 Earlier in the year Stagecoach kindly agreed to re-route Bus Service number 3 to go down Gladstone Road, allowing residents living near there to get easy access to the shops and amenities in St James. The removal of a previous bus service had a real detrimental effect on many of my constituents, especially the elderly and vulnerable. They told me that they felt cut off from the shops they have used for years.  So I was delighted with the re-introduction of this bus route. However, an issue has been highlighted about this bus now going down Warren Road, which is something I was not aware would happen, my recollection was that Mill Lane was to be the route to Gladstone Road.

I do share the concerns of residents, as Warren Road is very narrow and gets congested often, especially weekends and Saints match days...so had I been aware Warren Road was going to be considered as part of this route, prior consultations and safety assessments would have been insisted on by myself and I'm sure I would have opposed it.

In light of these matters, I have formally requested of Stagecoach that Warren Road no longer be used as part of this bus route and the originally proposed Mill Lane journey be used instead.  I am hopeful of a swift resolution to this, fingers crossed!  Go to: http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/local/campaigns-win-u-turn-over-scrapped-bus-service-to-street-in-northampton-1-6895129

 NEW SAFETY MEASURES FOR GLADSTONE ROAD JUNCTIONS Residents in Spencer recently collated a petition about an unsafe road junction calling for the County Council to act.  The junction of Newport Rd and Gladstone Rd has seen a number of accidents and many near misses since the 2011 multi-million pound improvements made to the area and residents are demanding action.  They also set-up a Facebook Group called, 'Make Newport Road Junction Safer' see the following link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Make-Newport-road-junction-safer-group/1588662264720073

 A few meetings with myself, residents, Highways took place and a number of safety measures are now to be implemented to make ALL junctions on Gladstone Road safer, such as introduction of fixed bollards and double yellow lines to prevent obstructive parking on the corners, which limits vision at the junctions.  This will happen early in 2016 I am advised.  I have consistently said that these junctions are dangerous. These more inexpensive measures being suggested and deployed by Highways I hope will work...however, if these steps do not see any benefit, then the campaign to get real changes made will be stepped up a gear, as you can't put a price on safety!

 LINKING OF ST JAMES MILL ROAD

I am at the request of St James Residents Association, assisting them with their campaign to join up of St. James Mill Road and the road end in St. James Retail Park.  I am doing so in my capacity as the County Councillor for the Dallington Spencer Division, of which St James Mill Road and half of St James resides.

Linking up these particular roads would ease congestion on St. Peters Way and the roads in St. James and Far Cotton, which would also mean less pollution.  It would increase the economic viability of the southwest district and particularly the Waterside Enterprise Zone and the Rail Station. Also the major problem of heavy traffic on Saints and Cobblers match days would be much improved.

There has been an existing council policy passed on 12th September 2011, so it is of concern that there has not as yet been any conclusion.I have therefore called a meeting with the Leader of Northampton Borough Council Cllr. Mary Markham, St James Residents Association will be represented at the meeting, as will Cllr Rufia Ashraf as the Borough Councillor for St James and Cllr. Michael Clarke, NCC Cabinet Member for Highways.

 IN CLOSING....  As you can see, there's a lot going on! The above is an overview of just some of the bigger issues I have been focusing on.  I am also regularly doing my walkabouts / tours of the area reporting fly-tipping and rubbish, which is hard to keep on top of and the council needs to do more to keen our streets clean.  I of course have regular individual casework on sensitive subjects, which I always try to resolve swiftly & effectively. If you have any matters of concern, please email me via my Council email: cllr.geales@northampton.gov.uk  And finally, Seasons Greetings to you all and have a Happy New Year!

 

 

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