Monday, 22 August 2011

Grace Dieu Rosary Rally

Since I was a young boy every August I have been making the annual pilgrimage to the Rosary Rally held at Grace Dieu School and organised by the Association of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

This years Rosary Rally, held earlier today, marks the 25th staging of the event and I have been to every one (admittedly I was dragged there in my teenage years).

It is a great testament to the dedication of a small group of hard-working and dedicated people that such a wonderful event, which attracts pilgrims from all over the midlands, continues to thrive.

May there be many more.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Talbot Lane - An update

You may recall that back in February I, along with the then District Councillors for Thringstone Dave Everitt and Ray Woodward, expressed our views on the hazards that are faced daily on Talbot Lane by both residents and motorists.

For those that do not know Talbot Lane it is a relatively minor, but busy, road which skirts Thringstone. It is also a fast road - particularly where it spurs off Talbot Street as on the face of it you are going downhill and have a seemingly clear view.

The only problem is that oncoming traffic also have the same driving conditions.

The result: the potential for traffic picking up speed and meeting at the hollow in the middle with dangerous consequences.

Now, Leicestershire County Council have tried to address the problem by building traffic calming measures. The have installed priority filtering and road narrowing as well as an illuminated sign.

Look closely on the lower photo and you can see the sign, which perfectly illustrates the problem.

You see, for at least 50% of the time (I was called out by a resident and we stood watching traffic for an hour) motorists don't slow down for the filter - they race to beat each other through it!

Of course the traffic calming doesn't make the situation safer in these cases, it makes it worse. The resident I spoke to informed me that on a least 5 occasions he has witnessed kerbs mounted at high speed or bollards knocked down.

I believe that traffic calming is needed on this spot (as it is working for around 50% of the time) but what we have currently is not sufficient. I would suggest that the County Council consider installing a table in addition to current measures to further slow traffic down.

I am conscious, however, that I am not an expert in traffic calming and so would not profess to know exactly what measures should be used, mine is simply a suggestion.

What I do know without doubt however is that the current measures are not sufficient.

Highways are a County Council issue and I would therefore call on our County Councillor, Tony Gillard, to take this regularly reported matter forward to County Hall.

I noticed in a recent edition of The Coalville Times that Cllr Gillard had been successful in dealing with a similar matter in Whitwick, I call on him to do the same for Talbot Lane.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Publicly owned banks - funding of illegal cluster-bomb munitions

Amnesty International have recently highlighted that publicly (part) owned banks, RBS and Lloyds, are investing in arms manufacturers which make illegal cluster bombs.

The reason that cluster bombs are outlawed is due to the indiscriminate damage they do to civilians wherever they are used.

Please take the time to take a look at the video below:

If you are as outraged as me then please visit Amensty's website to take action:

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Rose and Crown, The Green, Thringstone

The Rose and Crown has been a fixture of Thringstone life since the 1840's, but as we all know in an ever changing society which has witnessed the widespread closing of pubs the Rose and Crown shut its doors for the last time two years ago.

There have been rumours circulating around the village for many months as to what will happen with the Rose and Crown next and one potential answer is now on the table.

A planning application has recently been made to North West Leicestershire District Council to demolish the pub and replace it with a 'A1 retail unit, associated access and car parking' (in other words a convenience store operating 7 days a week).

Full details of the application can be found at the link below:

I have already asked that this application be 'called in' for consideration by planning committee as I believe that whether it is approved or not will have a significant effect on the life of our village in the coming years. I also believe that local people have a right to voice their opinions about the application.

It is my intention to speak, as ward member, to planning committee when the application is heard to represent the aspirations of the residents of Thringstone.

However, at the present time I am open-minded about the application.

I am sure local people will have views and I would love to hear them in order that I can represent my constituents to the best of my ability.

Please feel free to leave a comment on my blog or e-mail me at

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Cheap Shot Mr Bridgen - You should look to your own party

I was completely astonished when reading this mornings Coalville Times and the story 'MP Bridgen criticises Labours planning rules'.

The article explains our MP is condemning Labour planning rules which meant that three Ashby Councillors (2 Conservatives and 1 Labour) could not take part in two controversial planning committee decision to approve around 400 houses in Ashby.

Mr Bridgen says 'It was the previous Labour government who institued rules which mean councillors who represent a ward are unable to voice opinions on planning applications in their area, as was the case with the Ashby councillors this week.'

All I can say is what misinformed and misleading tosh.

There is absolutely nothing to stop a ward councillor taking part in a decision in their ward unless they have either a prejudicial interest or have predetermined their decision.

We regularly see councillors take part in applications concerning their ward, I am aware of several in recent months alone.

The reason that the three councillors concerned did not take part in the decision was that they acted properly, after taking legal advice, in declaring prejudicial interests.

Certainly in the case of Councillor Sheahan as Chair of Governors at Ashby Ivanhoe School, who would benefit financially from approval of the applications, I believe he acted entirely correctly in withdrawing.

The simple fact is that Planning Committee acts in a quasi-judicial function and what reasonable outside observer would be satisfied that someone who represents an organisation which would benefit significantly from a positive decision could reasonably be expected to be impartial on it.

I would respectfully suggest that if Mr Bridgen wants to make cheap political points on the issue he should look to his own Conservative Councillors.

What our MP doesn't mention is that the plans were approved overwhelmingly by Tories. Labour overwhelmingly voted against them!

Why are we all experts in rioting?

Over the past few days every one of us has been disturbed and angered by the riots and civil disturbances that have been taking place throughout our country.

The actions of a mindless minority are abhorrent to every right thinking person and of course tough police action is required to bring any incidents under control.

But, why all of a sudden has everyone turned into an expert on rioting?

If you read any social media, particularly at the riots seeming nadir on Monday night, everyone was espousing the use of water canon, rubber bullets and armed forces.

I must confess I know absolutely nothing about police tactics.

That is what senior police officers are for and I would support them completely in knowing what is best for dealing with a mob.

For example, I didn't see any reports of them using kettling techniques which suggested to me at least that they determined such methods were not suitable in these circumstances.

What we have seen over the past days and nights are very concerned people desperate for the problems to be resolved swiftly and a heavy police presence over the past two nights has rightfully been used to achieve this.

Hopefully, after two relatively quieter nights, we are now over the worst of the incidences and parliament is recalled today to debate the matter.

Now is the time to be rational.

Tough policing is a fundamental part of ensuring we do not see these incidents recur.

But we must not forget that these events are part of a wider problem of an ever increasing underclass who are completely disenfranchised from normal society.

The individuals carrying out these riots see criminality as normal.

Of course a considerable reason for this is about upbringing and living conditions otherwise why didn't we see riots in the likes of Epsom or Alderley Edge or Coalville for that matter?

We must now reflect on what can be done to address this? What can be done to educate? What can be done to ensure these people in the future can participate in a civilised society?

Our society works only through consensus in the power of law, after all can we really afford to have 16,000 police officers on the streets of London every night? How do we ensure that those outside of that consensus are embraced into the norm?

I don't know the answers but my suspicion is that tough law and order isn't the only answer.