Todwick Parish Council
The A57 - Update from the Action Group
It has been an eventful and busy winter for the Action Group. On 21 December 2004 Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council's application to re-align, dual-carriageway and improve the A57 was subject to "non-interference" from the Government Office for Yorkshire & The Humber, and as such was approved. The Group asked themselves if this was the end of the road and the start of the dual-carriageway and came back as one with a resounding "No!"
The "non-interference" concerned itself with purely planning requirements and since RMBC's plan was in line with the brief held by the Highways Agency when they had responsibility for the road, i.e. any development/improvement should concern itself ONLY with the benefits to motorists travelling from the Aston M1 roundabout to Todwick Bar - the Red Lion - the decision came as no surprise. RMBC had given an incorrect brief to their chosen design consultants insomuch as no consideration was to be taken into account on the impact of such a scheme to the residents of Todwick.
It is useful to re-state the objectives of the A57 Action Group:
- The construction of a safer A57 designed for traffic flows for the next 60 years at least.
- The minimum disruption to Todwick and maximum benefit of such a construction to all road users and residents.
- Full commitment to the improvement of the local economy of South Rotherham through such initiatives as the regeneration of the former coalfield sites at Dinnington and Kiveton and any other initiatives to promote the economic and environmental well-being of this region.
- The complete rejection that the current approved plan can achieve any of the above.
- Full consultation - "meaningful discussions" - by and with Todwick residents and RMBC to facilitate and enable a plan which will accommodate all parties.
All our letters of objection, petitions and evidence presented to RMBC's Planning Board and Government Office "Come around to our way of thinking over Todwick" have been disdainfully rejected.
Therefore the Group decided that if the scheme could receive planning permission on purely planning grounds it could also be halted and be made to come back to the table because RMBC did not consult properly and in accordance with Government guidelines and policies. This is our strategy now. Our complaint "that we are unhappy with the service provided by RMBC" is at stage 2 with the complaints procedure.
There are 3 stages at local level and the ultimate appeal to the Ombudsman for the region in York. The judgement at stage 2 will be delivered by an independent officer of RMBC - Diane Douglas, manager of the Business Unit at Economic & Development Services. If we disagree with her decision we can take the complaint to stage 3 - heard by a panel of 3 RMBC councillors and an adviser to them from Legal & Democratic Services. If we are still "unhappy" with their decision we can appeal to the Ombudsman.
Our hope, of course, is that at the end of this process RMBC can sit down with Todwick residents and design a road improvement scheme which does not direct an extra 2000 vehicles a day past our school on Kiveton Lane, maintains access to and from the village via Goosecarr Lane, and gives a 50 mph speed limit along this stretch of the A57, with proper exit and entrance facilities for Hardwick and the residents of The Grange - pedestrian, vehicular, country pursuit groups and farmers. If in the end this complaint does go to the Ombudsman we cherish the thought that:
Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son of York.
The Parish Council is grateful to the Action Group, and in particular John Castledine who has written this report, for all their hard work on behalf of the people of Todwick. If you want to contact the Group, John is available on 0114-277-4091.
THE 2005/06 PRECEPT - This is the amount which will be collected by Rotherham Borough Council on behalf of the Parish Council to cover expenditure during the year. Once again the Parish Council has decided not to increase this - i.e. it is a standstill precept for the 10th year! It will remain at £18,650, including £5000 to be allocated to Village Hall improvements when these eventually take place.
THE BUDGET - The Budget for the coming year will include some items which were in the 2004/5 Budget but which have not been completed. The amounts set aside are: Fencing the Children's Playground, including new gates - £5000; Provision of hanging baskets on The Pastures and Kiveton Lane - £2000; Tarmacing of roadway between football and bowling pavilions - £5000; Maintenance of Sports Pavilions £5000; Survey/design of football field drainage - £1000; Notice Boards (including one at the top of Goosecarr Lane) - £1000.
THE ANNUAL PARISH ASSEMBLY - will be held on Tuesday 26 April at 7.30 pm in the Village Hall. This is your opportunity to hear the Annual reports of the Chairman and the Clerk on the year's work of the Council, as well as the financial report and accounts - i.e. how your money has been spent as well as the work Councillors have undertaken on your behalf. You will be able to comment on the reports and accounts and to ask questions.
PARISH COUNCIL MEETINGS - are normally held on the last Tuesday of each month (except August) in the Village Hall commencing at 7.30 pm. There is always an Open Session at 8.30 pm at which members of the public may ask questions or raise any matters of concern. The meeting on 26 April, however will commence at 7.00 pm and if necessary reconvene immediately after the Annual Meeting. Other forthcoming dates are 29 March, 31 May, 28 June and 26 July.
ALLOTMENTS - Rents for the forthcoming year will be collected at the Village Hall on Sunday 20 March between 11.00 am and 12.00 noon. If you are unable to attend at this time please contact Councillor L. Waller at 13 The Pastures as soon as possible. The charge for the year for a full allotment remains at £8.00. There are still 2 or 3 vacant plots, so if you would like to grow your own in 2005 contact Councillor Waller (tel: 770819) or as above.
WALKS - Doorstep and otherwise. For some time now Rotherham
Borough Council has been publishing a series of "Doorstep Walk"
leaflets. Local ones have included two around Ulley and one on Laughton
and Roche Abbey. Now, as a result of a meeting arranged under the auspices
of the Parish Council between Rotherham's Rights of Way Officer, Richard
Pett, and two Todwick residents, Pat Wilson who leads our monthly
Footpaths Walks and Jim Tompkins, Rotherham will publish one based on
Todwick later this year. Richard expressed a desire to involve the
children of Todwick School in its production and the suggestion has been
welcomed by the School's Head, Robert Lincoln. We look forward to its
In the meantime if you are inspired to find out about local walks, remember that there are regular Footpath Walks on the second Sunday of each month, leaving the Village Hall at 10.00 am under the leadership of Pat Wilson (tel: 771319 for further information). Stout shoes/boots are recommended at any time of the year, and well-behaved dogs (and/or children!) are welcome.
Also for your diary, Rotherham are organising a Walking Festival between the 2nd and 17th July.
And finally, following requests for information about Todwick footpaths, the Parish Council is to provide a Noticeboard showing their locations which will in due course be erected somewhere in the centre of the village.
THE VILLAGE HALL - The Christmas Fair held at the end of
November 2004 raised the record amount of £1523.76 - rightly described as
a "wonderful success".
And, another wonderful success, is that after many "WANTED" pleas in The Informer, a new Secretary to the Committee has been appointed - Mrs Jean Leah, of 91 The Meadows (tel: 771082) has volunteered her services and we wish her well in this important job. All correspondence should now be addressed to her, but bookings must still be made with Mrs Ann Rusling on 770081.
PEDESTRIAN CROSSING - It seems a long time since Rotherham Borough Council informed us that a second zebra crossing on Kiveton Lane had been agreed. A recent enquiry elicited the information that the scheme "is currently awaiting programming by our Scheme Delivery Team who will be undertaking the works on site." No date could be provided as to when the works would be undertaken, but it is expected to be "in the near future when resources become available" - whatever that may mean!
ADVICE ON YOUR DOORSTEP! Unfortunately the timing of this issue of The Informer has not enabled us to give adequate notice of Kiveton Independent Advice Centre's intention to arrange a "pilot" session in Todwick, but we hope that notices displayed around the village will have alerted you to it. It will take place on Tuesday 15th March between 2.00 and 4.00 pm in the Village Hall. Advice will be available on a very wide range of problems - and it will all be FREE! If this session is well supported it may well lead to regular sessions in Todwick in future.
TEAG - Thanks to the hard work of Todwick Environment Action Group the village is once again looking colourful after their spring planting. More planting for the summer is planned and residents are again asked to put any spare plants at their driveway entrances or along their front gardens to help brighten up the village. More and more people seem to do this every year and their efforts are much appreciated. If you want to know more about TEAG and would like to help in any way, please contact Sheila Pantry (Co-ordinator) on 771024 - she will be pleased to hear from you.
DIRTY DOG OWNERS - Unfortunately dog fouling is still a problem despite the Parish Council having provided 3 dog waste bins in the village - on Kiveton Lane just after the last house going towards Kiveton, on Goosecarr Lane again just after the last house on The Pastures, and at the bottom of Manor Drive. If you do not already use them please do so in future or take your dog waste home!
A NEW CHARTER? In January the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the
Parish Council, Clive Pantry and John Mosley, attended a Conference
organised by Rotherham Borough Council entitled Working with Parish
Councils. Rotherham is committed to improving joint working with
Parish Councils and setting arrangements in place to improve
communications and support, and the purpose of the Conference was to
examine in depth the way in which the Borough and Parish Councils could
work together. The Community leadership role of Parish Councillors, who
must always be prepared to "meet people on the street" and react to the
needs of their community was emphasised.
The Conference agreed that a Charter setting out the commitment for all parties to work together would be beneficial, but it would need to be a practical document, devoid of rhetoric. In due course a draft Charter will be sent out to all Parish Councils for discussion with a view to it being in place by 31st March 2005.
This is yet another step in the development of the work of Parish Councils in recent years. We have had to sign up to a Code of Conduct, to adopt the legal requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and a section of the Crime & Disorder Act, to prepare an Emergency Plan, to think about aspiring to Quality Council status, and to consider Health & Safety and Risk Assessment among other things. Councillors regularly attend meetings outside the Parish - in Rotherham and further afield - apart from representation on Area Assemblies, etc. The work of the Council and its members has become far more complex and challenging in recent years, and correspondingly more rewarding.
This has been reflected in The Informer. Until the year 2000 a double-sided sheet of A4 had been sufficient to include the amount of news and information in each issue but since it was increased to its present size to give news of local Millennium activities there has never been any difficulty in filling all four pages.
The present Parish Council was elected in May 2003 so it is nearly at the halfway stage of its existence. Perhaps it is not too soon to suggest local residents start thinking about putting themselves up for election to the next Council in 2007. It is likely that there will be a need for some new Councillors as at least some of the present ones are nearing their "sell-by" dates, and it is important that they are replaced by some of the very able "local talent" of the village. How about you? Apart from attending the Annual Assembly next month any resident is welcome to attend a normal Parish Council meeting as an observer with the opportunity to speak during the Open Session.
POLICE CONTACT NUMBERS - Emergency - 999. To report an incident/for prompt attention - ring the Central Switchboard - 0114 220 20 20. Crimestoppers - 0800 555111. Our local community police officers, Howard Saul and Tina Jones, can be contacted at Kiveton Police Station - 01709 832681 - but do not leave a message on their answering machine if your call is urgent - call the Central Switchboard.
STREETPRIDE - Don't forget if you wish to report potholes in the road, faulty streetlights, graffiti, overgrown footpaths, etc. the number to ring is 01709 336003.
TODWICK WEBSITE - www.todwick.org.uk continues to go from strength to strength, and contains a wide range of information about the village, including its history, forthcoming events and news of the various organisations. If you have any news or other items for inclusion send them to Sheila Pantry at 85 The Meadows firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Informer is published three times a year by Todwick Parish Council from 10 High Street, South Anston, Sheffield S25 5AY. The next issue will appear in July 2005.