Vice-Chairman Jottings

Dr Martin Hoffman’s Jottings

from the Ashwell Parish Council Meeting held on Wednesday 3rd October 2018

(full minutes on

I normally troll through the minutes to pick out topical items that would be of interest to you rather than reporting verbatim from the minutes, but although this meeting was a long one, much of the Parish Management reports were routine and can be read online or the noticeboard.

Further to last month’s report on the Taxibus things are looking very worrying, and I copy the full extract from the meeting. “It was noted that the current provider, Landmark, had withdrawn from the contract and would cease operating on 16th November; accurate usage data had been requested. All expressed concerns re the impact of the loss of the service. A RUG (Rail User Group) representative presented recent usage data but also cited several reasons for lower than average numbers over the collation period. County Councillor Steve Jarvis gave an update, (i) the County Council was seeking another provider, (ii) there was a possibility that no one would bid or that Landmark would re-bid at a higher price, (iii) the County Council had a fixed pot for bus subsidy and allocated this with priority given to routes with higher usage figures, (iv) other sources of income support could be sought, (v) options for a x9 seater vehicle that could operate as a taxi not a bus and other alternative licensing schemes could be investigated. Some of these questions would be answered by 16th October, ie one month prior to the deadline. It was obviously important to avoid a break in the service if other options had to be progressed.”

A member of the public asked about the possibility of speed bumps to slow traffic in the village but it was pointed out that a village wide consultation had been carried out a few years ago and this option was rejected overwhelmingly at that time.

Parking at the corner of High Street and Gardiners Lane is making the turn from Gardiners Lane especially difficult if turning left at this location. This will be considered for inclusion with the yellow lines project.

The WW1 commemoration group would like to plant a tree on the green area in front of the Cooke Engineering site, and whereas the Parish Council (PC) have no objection in principle, the choice of a Holm Oak was thought to be inappropriate and the group been asked to suggest a more suitable alternative.

At a meeting with the Recreation Ground Users one of the agreed outcomes was to have a monitoring schedule to close the Pavilion and drain down the water system if required in the winter to avoid the problems of last year when the pipes burst.

There have been problems with sewage in Station Road, in one case causing a nasty flood in a house. Anglia Water have investigated this area on a number of occasions and the problem appears to be due to throwing wet wipes and other non-suitable items into the toilets. This causes a blockage and subsequent backup. Please remember this and dispose of them in the correct manner.

That leads me onto waste collection (or a number of cases “non-waste collection”) where the PC is constantly battling with NHDC regarding this service. It seems to be improving in most areas but only just and is still well short of an efficient service. NHDC are aware that the complaint line, where messages can be left, is frequently unable to be accessed. Please don’t give up on trying to report such incidents as the more we shout the more we will gain.

Speed and volume measurements for the proposed 20 mph speed limit in the village are taking place now and data is awaited. If it does result in this limit, enforcing it will be interesting!

A proposal for a new length of footway in Ashwell Street to link with the rear entrance to the school is being investigated, but costs will be an issue.

The yellow markings outside the school front entrance will be repainted when the new yellow lines are installed. (These topics reported by County Councillor Steve Jarvis).

An appeal was heard by an independent inspector at NHDC this week, regarding the land development Off Station Road. It was very thorough (I found interesting), and the outcome of this will be announced in due course.

With Best Wishes.

Dr Martin G Hoffman.


Sign up now for latest email updates

Add your email address here to receive the latest email updates