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Bleadon A370 Pavement Clean-up Begins

Posted on 20th November, 2014

 

BOB has been alerted to some sterling work by Bleadon Volunteers along the A370 pavement from Bleadon Road to UnderCliff House (Facum Lane/Bridgwater Road). Apparently these likely lads have seized the initiative before the pavement gets as overgrown as the one on the opposite side of the road (to Toll Road and beyond).

 

Suitably shamed, North Somerset Highway Authority Contractors should please take note this is what our pavements should all be like.....

 

Pat White, ably assisted by his Neighbour 75 year old Brian Noble, spent Thursday morning (19/11/2014) cleaning up a section of the A370 pavement between Bleadon Road & Facum Lane/Bridgwater Road junctions.

The work is estimated to take 2-3 days (weather permitting)

Pat & Brian getting started Complete with Hi-Visibility Vests
Before After

 

Perhaps Bleadon Parish Council can also take this opportunity to lobby North Somerset to do likewise along the whole length of the A370 from Accomodation Road to the Parish Boundary at Toll Road, thus encouraging greater 'Go 4 Life' use by pedestrians and cyclists alike?

 

BOB has already been asking for this work to be done since August 2013 and is grateful that our local MP John Penrose has also asked North Somerset for action. However, thus far only flailing and cutting back of the hedgerow and the grass/vegetation growing on the pavement has been forthcoming.

 

Pat & Brian are showing what is really needed and should already have been done through existing contracts.

 

More What's New 

 

STOP PRESS

Poles held up by rope

 

Another benefit of this maintenance is that potentially dangerous telephone/power poles have been spotted being held up/together by nylon rope! North Somerset have been informed.

 

 

STOP STOP PRESS

 

North Somerset have since made arrangements and this pole has now been removed.............Now if we could only get that shared use path cleared........

 

 

STOP STOP STOP PRESS

 

February has now seen a further triumph of perserverance,After after 17 months of BOB asking and waiting for NS to restore this path to it's former glory, an attendance by BOB at a meeting of the North Somerset Cycle Forum on 20th January 2015 at The Town Hall WSM prompted some remedial action. BOB is now proud to report the completion of the green cutback works and ground encroachment improvements alongside the A370 Bridgewater Road, between Bleadon Bridge and Accommodation Road. Many thanks to Kate Hood, Kevin Speakman and other members of NSCF and the contract maintenance team within Streets and BeforeOpen Spaces This shared use path is now over twice as wide as prior to clearance! More pics to follow but here is one giving a 'flavour'

 

 

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Comments (10)

At last, a reply from North Somerset (Thank you Elfan Ap Rees) albeit I originally asked North Somerset in August 2013 (see link on main article above) why this key commuter foot/cyclepath had not been maintained (and yet Sedgemoor's had). But no response until this one!

However, looking after our elderly and children clearly does not extend to providing footpaths that they can safely use (at least one mobility scooter has been seen riding head on into A370 traffic because the path is so overgrown) and I would also encourage Cllr Ap Rees to cycle with children along this stretch and then consider it's suitability for priority renovation (a reduction of the speed limit would also help).

At least our MP John Penrose is trying to assist and below is content of my recent reply to him following a response from Cllr Ap Rees to him on this topic.

"Many thanks for your reply regarding the above and including the comments from NS Cllr Ap Rees. My observations on those comments are that NS (and Council Tax payers) have already paid for this maintenance work to be done either directly by NS or by their appointed contractors to the contract specifications.

In your letter you quote Cllr Ap Rees replying "Otherwise roads like this will only get a visit twice a year..." To help clarify public understanding of what is expected of NS can you/Cllr Ap Rees please confirm what the contractors are specifically expected to do, and how frequently?

If it is to cut the grass verge to ensure that the path remains its correct width then it would appear that the contract has not been carried out, or managed correctly, and should be rectified by the contractors.

If it is only to cut the grass verge, regardless of encroachment, then the footpath is already half way covered with grass and will indeed disappear completely if not addressed by the District and/or Parish councillors now.

To encourage community volunteering is laudable but not as an excuse due to lack of money or under performance of statutory duty, particularly if it has been previously budgeted but not done. It is in fact encouraging a 'stealth tax' growth where un-governed non-rate capped Town & Parish Councils will increase precepts to pay for these passed down responsibilities and liabilities.

I would be interested to know how much the NS Community Resilience Programme scheme has cost to setup and administer and how much it will actually save especially when you factor in public/volunteer Health & Safety training/compliance, additional liability insurance, equipment, materials, clothing, etc., etc.. Perhaps only time will tell."

So please North Somerset how are budgets and contracts monitored so that our limited resources are not wasted as would appear to have been in this case?
Delighted to see this volunteer action to keep Bleadon safe and tidy and would like to encourage more residents to look after their nearby pavements and drainage gullies. I am more than happy to give support and help with any training required if someone would like to come forward to lead a village wide initiative.With North Somerset having to cut £100 million from its budgets by 2018, we all have to find new ways of carrying out local tasks like this.
The council priority has to be looking after our elderly and vulnerable residents and children , which inevitably puts pressure elsewhere. Local communities can do a lot to ease the load.....as used to happen in the past.Remember seeing residents clearing the snow from the frontage of your house,sweeping the pavement ,clearing weeds? I do !
Dear Mr Poole

In answer to your last e mail below and my comments to the Parish Council at the meeting last night, I write to confirm the following

As a resident of Bleadon Village, I feel I have a perfect right to state “Bleadon Village Volunteer” on the back my high visibility vest. I am also a private citizen and as such I am not affected by any Health & Safety legislation, other than to exercise common sense in the way I go about my business and be mindful of the fact that I have a duty of care under common law. As far as I am aware, I broken no rules or regulations, so unless I hear from you to the contrary within the next 7 days I will finish the job I have started.

In respect of the comment “your style of volunteering” does that mean that any further voluntary work by me or others will need the permission of the Parish Council?

I know of several people in the village who, like me, are avid walkers. They pick up litter, remove obstacles from footpaths and roads, one person even carries a pair of secateurs with her to remove brambles and small overhanging branches. It would be foolish to think that these individuals need a PC endorsement before doing what most would consider their civic duty.

On a more positive note, I was heartened by the support I received last night from both Parish and District Councillors on my and my neighbours efforts in respect of the cleaning (some of it from the most unexpected quarters) It even more convinces me that this issue would have been better dealt with at the time by the individual who reported it to you or left to last nights meeting.

Finally Mr Poole, I am sorry you found my statement about the number of Parish and District councils you represent as “patronising”, but if the figures that I have worked out are correct, you must be working in excess of 80+ hours a week, which in itself must be a Health & Safety issue (these figures based on the assumption that you do the same hours for other councils as for Bleadon)

I have no idea how old you are sir, but I guess we are roughly the same age. When I retired in July of this year, it was with a mixture of sadness and relief. Sadness because I missed the “cut and thrust” of being productive and busy, on the other hand relief because the stresses and strains of the hours I was working and the sheer volume of paperwork I was dealing with were taking their toll.

Stress is the hidden killer for so many people in this modern world. It doesn’t appear in any H & S statistics but none the less it is there. Please be mindful of this
I know of no person on their deathbed who said “Damn, I wish I had spent more time at the office” .

Patrick White
Dear Mr White

I am in receipt of your e-mail the contents of which I have noted and now respond to some of the points that you have raised.

During any one day I receive somewhere in excess of 100 e-mails all of which where appropriate I respond too irrespective of where the stem from. I am not sure that your somewhat patronising statement was necessary as I treat each of those Councils that I represent in the same manner without fear or favour. You mention your e-mail of the 11th of the November which I note that I responded too and apologise I did not readily recall that I had your personal e-mail address.

Clearly you do not need the permission of the Parish Council to carry out any work you wish to undertake voluntarily neither should you give however the perception that you are operating under the auspices of the Parish Council which I suggest you are doing by having the word “Bleadon” blazoned on your back. More importantly I wish to stress until the Parish Council formally approves of your voluntary work and is fully aware of what work you intend to carry out you are not covered by the Parish Councils Insurance Policy.

Whether you wish to accept the Parish Council’s position or not I wish to ensure that the Parish Council is kept protected within current legislation. I also wish to stress that I have not in any way questioned your abilities or past professional life and neither would I as I have no reason to do so especially I have only recently become aware of you as a village resident. What I was actually stressing was the need for the Parish Council to ensure that any one who formally operates and or works for the Parish Council has the right protocols in place something that I am sure you will readily endorse from your past stated background.

For your information those volunteers who assist in the village plant up or agree to look after a particular flower tub are currently covered within the terms of Parish Councils insurance because I advise the insurers accordingly. You may of course ask as to why this differs from your style of volunteering. I am made aware in advance of such actions and can take the appropriate action but clearly this would not be the case with your style of volunteering that is likely to be undertaken without such prior knowledge.

I didn’t consult the Parish Council members before I wrote the e-mail to you as I consider it is an integral part of my job to protect the Parish Council and of course its members.

So that you are fully aware of what is happening with the future cleansing of the Public Toilets I can advise the present contractor will cease on the 31st December 2014 and the Village Ranger is intended to start on the 1st January 2015

Lastly I do not consider any of my actions to date are or have been foolish and I am sorry that you come to that conclusion that they were.

Bruce
Dear Mr Poole

I have received a copy of your e mail via the Bleadon Bob website. In the first paragraph you say that you do not have an e mail address for me. Below I have cut and pasted details of an email sent to you on the 11th November 2014. I feel I have to give you the benefit of the doubt for forgetting this, as I am very aware that the number of parish and town councils you represent as clerk, obviously keeps you very busy.

xxx
11 November 2014 13:42
parishclerk@bleadonparishcouncil.gov.uk

Cleaning of Bleadon VillageToilets

Following on from the meeting of Bleadon Parish Council on Monday 10th November, I write to confirm my offer, made at the above meeting, to clean the village toilets (materials at my own expense) until such time as arrangements can be made for the village ranger to take over these duties.
I would be grateful if you could forward me details or a schedule of what is involved in the cleaning/maintenance and when you would like me to start.

Many thanks

Patrick White

In the second paragraph of your email you have asked that I remove the words “Bleadon Village” from my high vis jacket. It seems that you think I need the permission or the endorsement of the Parish Council for the work I have undertaken. As far as I am aware I have perfect right to print Bleadon Village Volunteer on my high vis jacket. I am a resident and I am a volunteer. At no stage was I working under the auspices of the Parish Council and as such I believe I need no endorsement or insurance guarantees. I take my lead from the Prime Minister David Cameron who in his “Big Society” speech, delivered on the 19th July 2010 said this, and I quote,

“The idea of communities taking more control, of more volunteerism, more charitable giving, of social enterprises taking on a bigger role, of people establishing public services themselves – all of these things are happening in our country. All of these things have happened in our country for years. My question is: should we try and do more of it? How do we encourage more of it? How do we replicate it across the country?”

With reference to your comments about Health & Safety protocols, I feel you were very foolish to raise this subject to re enforce your point. Firstly, you place doubts about me and/or my training in respect of H & S protocols. Until I retired, in July of this year (after 35 years) I was a self employed Construction Site Manager working for clients throughout the South West of England in that capacity. I have worked on tower blocks, warehouses, private and public housing with anything up to 100 workers for whom I had total H & S responsibility.

I held (until July2014) a recognised Construction Industry Accreditation in Site Safety. For a period of time in the late 1990’s, I also lectured on Health & Safety issues at Brunel College in Ashley Down, Bristol. Had you taken the trouble to ask me prior to this email it might well have saved you some embarrassment.

The reason I said you were foolish to raise this issue is that if the Parish Council has decided to make all volunteers undertake some form of safety training, whether they work to assist the Parish Council or otherwise, where is this going to leave them as far as future volunteering goes. They are going to need a trainer who holds some sort of certification to teach just the very basic skills. Perhaps that person could contact the lady shown planting a tub on the front of the current “Bleadon Village News” magazine, as she appears to be working on the edge of a very busy road with no high vis jacket. I would also be interested to see a current up to date training certificate.

As to the third paragraph and your comments about me volunteering to clean the toilets. I absolutely agree with your rational. The Parish Council (by the default of North Somerset Council) has taken the responsibility for the up keep of the said toilets and why I sought approval before starting the work.

Please can you tell me whether you consulted the Parish Councillors prior to sending this email to me?

Finally, I am sorry that you chose to deal with matter in this way. Surely it could have waited until next PC meeting this coming Monday. I also apologise for the tone of this letter but may I remind you that you started it and also chose the medium through which and to whom I replied.

PatrickWhite
Dear Chris

As you have announced on your web site a story about your neighbours carrying out volunteering work and as I do not have a e-mail address for them I winder if you would be kind enough to pass the following message on to them

Would they please remove the words “Bleadon Village” from the Hi-Vis Jackets. The reason why I am asking for this to happen is simply because they do not have the permission or indeed endorsement from the Parish Council at this moment in time to carry out the work they have undertaken. Currently they are not insured and I doubt if they have received and training in respect to Health & Safety protocols.

At the last Parish Council Meeting members were advised by Mr Pat White that he was intending to volunteer his services in cleansing the public toilets an action that I was happy to confirm and I advised the Council’s insurers accordingly. Whilst I do not wish to pour “cold water” on volunteers doing work it does have to be managed if it is being carried out under the auspices of the Parish Council. If there was an accident and the volunteers sought re-dress from the Parish Council and at the same time the parish council was not properly insured then any successful claims would then the burden of compensation would fall on the residents of Bleadon through a rise of the parish precept.

I would also appreciate that if you report this reponse on your web site you clearly state the reasons as to why I have written in this instance.

Bruce
Stirling work on the A370 Pat and Brian looks great fantastic to see villagers getting out there.

Hopefully will reunite the football with its owner tomorrow.

Big thanks to James Baines from Purn Way for the loan of the landing net that rescues said football
Wow. Absolutely fantastic and thank you.
What a difference! Thank you so much for keeping Bleadon tidy and safer.
Well done these two gentlemen, puts those in charge to shame. It looks like it hasn't been cleaned in years.