Steppingstone Bridge Spalding – update

25 May 2012 – Despite several online complaints, a full council motion by SHDC and a number of letters, with the last one being special delivery to the chief executive, nothing has changed since 16 March. A phone call from them today has now promised that the work will take place on Thursday of next week.
I have also now written to Grantham Magistrates’ Court, asking for advice on how to obtain a Litter Abatement Order against Network Rail.

I will be giving further updates via Twitter at:

East Midlands chasing trust status again – why?

Somebody needs to correct me if I’m wrong, but I could swear that the East Midlands Ambulance Service were touting the idea of trust status around the bazaars sometime ago. I said it was a flawed proposal then and I’ll say the same again now. The job of an ambulance service is pretty well understood, even by me. Answer the phone, then go quickly and safely to wherever somebody needs help. Once there, give immediate medical assistance and if needed, take the sick person to a hospital. So even if the EMAS is a poorly performing service, how will becoming a trust improve things?

When the suits came and made their presentation to the district council, I was particularly concerned to read that they intended to elbow their way into the first aid training market, using ambulance service paramedics. I’ve no problem with the principle, everybody should know first aid, but currently it’s a limited market and one that gives organisations such The St John’s Ambulance Brigade a valuable source of income. Putting the East Midlands Ambulance Service (Trust?) in to direct competition with such charities, doesn’t seem like a particularly worthy goal to me and I told them so.

Also, reversing the turkeys not voting for Christmas analogy, the chief executive is bound to support this proposal, as it’s a racing certainty that trust status will bring a significant pay rise. if not immediately, almost certainly within 12 months.

The glossy brochure they handout the first time around, didn’t really give any clues as to how the award of trust status would increase the number of ambulances, or improve response times and I doubt anything has changed.

Supermarkets everywhere, all of the time – the future?

Following on from the previous entry about Justin King of Sainsbury and his, ‘don’t blame us’ statement, let’s not forget that he and his cohort are working tirelessly behind the scenes, lobbying government ministers, to gain even wider opening hours for all large retail outlets. Not only are they demanding the scrapping of our Sunday trading laws, they also want to see the last two non-shopping days of the year, Easter Sunday and Christmas Day, become business as usual.

Just as with all the other boundaries that have been broken down by the heavyweights in the supermarket world, the reason they give for pushing for these changes, is not because they want to screw the last penny out of the buying public, but because we, the British public, want them.

Of course we, the British public, probably don’t yet know we want them, that explanation will come when people realise what has happened and start protesting about yet another step towards a 24/7 society. The supermarkets will then leap on to their high horses, telling us that it’s what we want and that they are just responding to public demand!

Not enough parking leads to aggro

Here’s an interesting article that I lifted from an online feed. – thanks go to, and Nick Appleyard. It makes the point local councillors have been making ever since the days when Labour’s John Prescott and his Office (ODPM) interfered with the planning system.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Prescott (now both long gone, thankfully) decided you could reduce use of the private car simply by reducing the space people had to park them outside their homes. Playing straight into the hands of those developers who never miss a chance to squeeze more and more into less and less, we now now have whole swathes of housing development with inadequate parking provision, leading to exactly the problems highlighted in this article. 09 May 2012

Parking ‘can keep neighbourhood peace’

By Nick Appleyard

Poor council parking policies can lead to an increase in crime, dangers to pedestrians and poor public health, experts claimed today.
The stark warning came in a report from the Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE) and the chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation (CIHT).

The Government removed national limits on residential parking as part of its ‘end to the war ing son the motorist’ in January 2011. But local authorities are still required to set their own parking standards and the two organisations have issued fresh guidance to ensure the right decisions are made which will benefit communities.

The guidance said allocating parking to individual homes increases the amount of space needed and suggested more flexible approaches increase overall use of space.

It also claimed car parks ‘tucked away’ behind developments are prone to vandalism and crime and are therefore underused leading to ‘serious’ on-street parking problems.

The guidance said strict enforcement of on-street parking makes garage parking more likely, but stressed garage doors need to be high and wide enough for modern vehicles.

‘Parking problems manifest themselves in pavement parking, blocked driveways, difficult access for delivery vehicles and refuse collectors, damage to verges, trees and footpaths, and cluttered, unsightly streets,’ the organisations said. ‘The Government has concluded that national constraint policies have led to ‘significant levels of on-street parking causing congestion and danger to pedestrians’. In preparing new policies, local authorities are being urged to make the right decisions for the benefit of their communities.

A no to elected mayors brings cold comfort

This paragraph, lifted from one of Andrew Leighton’s latests blog entries, should be required reading for all of us who are privileged to hold the title, ‘councillor’.

‘Councillors and Council leaders should not take this as a vote of confidence. This was a profoundly anti-politics vote with many anti-politicians sitting at home. If the referendum had been to exile all local cllrs to Siberia a resounding yes vote would have been likely.’