Pavement fixed in Bourton

A broken pavement which was causing problems for pedestrians has been fixed.

The footway, along Victoria Street and heading toward Letch Hill Drive, is well used but was a challenge for elderly people in particular.

David Hind, who lives along the road, got in touch with Cllr Paul Hodgkinson earlier this year. He had spoken to Gloucestershire Highways about the damaged pavement but nothing had been done.

Now, after Paul got involved the offending surface has been sorted out.

Paul said: “I have a small pot of money each year for local highways projects so I used a bit of that to get some action for Bourton on this issue. The pavement was resurfaced last month and residents are delighted. It means it’s safe and will now last for years.”

 

Another pedestrian crossing for Bourton?

The pedestrian crossing on Station Road by the School is almost 5 years old. Many children cross the road each day and residents have felt safer going across this busy road out of school hours. Now, another crossing is being planned after lobbying from local residents.

Station Road has been a dangerous spot in the village. Back in 2012, as she was on maternity leave with her third child, local resident Ginie Moss decided to start petitioning for a crossing. Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, a passionate campaigner for road safety, contacted Ginie and offered his expertise and support. With the help of the local postmaster, both schools and the Parish Council, the petition gathered momentum with 1,100 signatures. Ginie and Paul then presented the petition to the County Council.

In 2013, after a year and a half of strong campaigning, the 24/7 feature on one of the village’s busiest roads was installed. Cllr Paul Hodgkinson said, “This all started with Ginie’s enthusiasm and her determination to get something done to make the road safer for pedestrians”.

Five years on, Ginie Moss feels a peace of mind when her children walk to and back from school on their own. She said: “I’m delighted to hear that residents in the Furrows estate may soon get another crossing near to them. It’s very difficult crossing the road there and people have raised this issue repeatedly. The County Council are in the early stages of planning the new crossing.”

‘Cut your speed’ say Bourton residents

Residents in Bourton are hoping a new road feature will help slow down speeding drivers.

A speed gate now greets motorists as they enter the village along the Rissington Road following ongoing concerns for residents who live along that stretch of highway.

There have been regular speed checks by the ‘Community Speedwatch’ team which show a large but persistent number of drivers exceeding the 30mph limit.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson first discussed these issues with residents a year ago at an on site meeting and agreed to fund a set of gates at the end of the village. These are a feature of some other villages in the Cotswolds and the aim is to alert drivers to the fact they’re entering a village environment and a lower speed limit.

The gates have been funded by Paul with the small pot of money he gets each year to fund highways projects:

“This is really good news. Since we all met last year, a really good Speedwatch team has been set up in the village and a 20mph zone has been installed in the central village area. Of course, these individual measures help promote road safety but I know a lot of villagers feel strongly about this and want to feel safer as they cross the roads, walk on pavements with children and cycle.”

Why is new crossing already closed?

A new zebra crossing in Bourton on the Water has already been closed – and people are asking why.

The crossing, which was opened at the same time as the new Co-Op store in the village, helps residents get across Station Road safely from the shop to homes.

Now, just a month after it was opened, ‘crossing not in use’ signs have gone up and the belisha beacons have been shrouded in orange hoods.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (Bourton and Northleach) was surprised and dismayed when he heard the news:

“It is crazy to shut it after it has been open since the new Co-Op was opened weeks ago! I gather it is because the developer who built the new shop didn’t alert the County Council who in turn couldn’t get the proper legal process and consultation in place in order to install it.

“This really is bureaucracy gone mad and people aren’t happy. The crossing is on Station Road and is very well used by residents and students from the Cotswold School. In fact people are still using the crossing and cars are still stopping. Everyone is confused!

“I’ve now contacted highways bosses and have asked them to sort out the situation as quickly as possible.”

New facilities for Bourton-on-the-Water Primary Academy

There’s been a £0.754 million cash injection into improving a Cotswold school. 

Paul Hodgkinson with children at Bourton Primary School’s Trim Trail

Bourton-on-the-Water Primary Academy will use this much needed funding to expand its core facilities. The school will build a brand new purpose built professional kitchen and extend the existing school hall to provide for more children.

This work will allow the school to create space for a new classroom and create additional places for children in the area as new homes are being built.

John Jones, head teacher of Bourton-on-the-Water Primary Academy, said: “With the expansion of the village and the expectation for the school to increase its intake, it is vital that changes to facilities are made to make sure high quality educational provision.

“This funding has allowed us to develop areas that we could not have done without it.”

Gloucestershire County Council is managing the project alongside the school and developer Speller Metcalfe. The improvements are due to be completed by the summer of 2018.

The money comes from s106 funding from developers as part of planning permission. This can be used in the local area for things like school expansions, community facilities or road improvements.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, local member for Bourton-on-the-Water, said: “ There is a need for extra places at Bourton Primary Academy with the village expanding quickly, so this is excellent news for the local community.

“This section 106 funding will help them to get started on their expansion plans, which is something the school has been wanting to do for a while.”

Cricket club on front foot with new pavilion

Bourton Vale Cricket Club will benefit from a £1,000 investment in facilities after it received funding from the County Council’s children’s activity fund.

The cricket club has received support from the English Cricket Board (ECB) to build a new pavilion on the site of the existing building which has been there for 90 years.

The children’s activity fund has £5,000 available for each county councillor. Cllr Paul Hodgkinson backed the bid and says that the club is busy fundraising as it looks to improve facilities to help play carry on as a vital part in the local community:

“The improvements will allow Bourton Vale CC to accommodate other sports clubs in the area, particularly in the winter, as well as provide a base for the club’s thriving youth sections to train.

“Helping this fantastic cricket club was an easy decision. A host of young people and children use the facilities and are helping to make the club a vibrant and active place for Bourton and nearby villages.

“I’ve been impressed at the fundraising that the club is doing to have a brand new club house in place for next year’s season. The county council’s contribution is a start and is aimed at getting more young people active in their community.”

Residents come out in force to talk about crime in Bourton

 

Over the last 6 months Cllr Paul Hodgkinson has been approached by a lot of residents about the problem of anti-social behaviour in Bourton on the Water.

These issues range from a group of children and young adults threatening other people, swearing, drinking and taking drugs as well as littering around the village.

As a result of this he first invited the Police & Crime Commissioner Martin Surl to come to Bourton in February to hear for himself the challenges the village faces. Surl heard from residents first hand and recognised the need to take action to sort this out. Now, we’ve had a follow up to this meeting in May.

Paul chaired the recent meeting at the Community Centre and 70 residents turned out to voice their continued worries over crime. In particular, the police were told that more had to be done to show that anti social behaviour is unacceptable and can’t be tolerated. There were heartfelt examples from people whose lives are being negatively impacted.

The police inspector for the area, Karen Ellis, has committed to working with local people to get to grips with the situation. Key members of the community will be working with the police in the next few months to help bring the issues under control. Individuals who have been causing problems are being identified and further action will be taken. But the police do need people to come forward with specific examples otherwise they can’t act. The number to ring is 101.

CCTV in the village could be one way of collecting evidence and the Parish Council explained that it was expensive but that they were still considering this – an option here is to look for grants to pay for this.

On a plus point, the Parish Council and others have successfully launched a new youth club. Numbers have been increasing and Around 30 young people came along to the first sessions and this is a really positive way of heading off any future issues with anti-social behaviour.

There were also commitments by the police to keep monitoring and sorting out littering, drug use and vandalism at specific locations.

On a different note, the issue of speeding traffic came up despite the cut to a 20mph limit recently. The Community Speedwatch team have been active after re-forming and will continue to do what they can to alert drivers including activity in different parts of the village. Better signage will also be introduced by Highways.

Finally, good news that an ATM will be installed at the existing Co-op store from 9 June following the ram raid on Lloyds Bank in April. The bravery of Tony Hughes who single handedly stopped the cash being stolen was acknowledged at the meeting with the biggest round of applause of the night.

There’ll be a follow up meeting with the police and Deputy PCC in October to make sure that we keep the momentum going on addressing these issues. Details of that meeting will be publicised nearer the time.

Fight to keep popular newsagent

Residents in Bourton on the Water have expressed anger at moves to oust the village’s remaining newsagent shop.

Newsagent protest

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson is campaigning to save the ‘community hub’ in the iconic tourist centre, encouraging residents to file objections to an application by the shop’s landlord.

The Cotswold District Council planning website has received 100 responses from local people who oppose the proposed conversion of the store into a fast food take away.

Cllr Hodgkinson, who represents Bourton and Northleach on the County Council, said: “The thought of losing the one remaining newsagent is really bad news.

“I’m very angry about this as Bourton has expanded hugely in recent years with more houses being built at the moment.

“We have 4,000 people in the village and there’s just one newsagent left to serve the community.”

Cllr Hodgkinson doesn’t feel Bourton needs another food outlet as there are already 35 in the village.

He added that neighbours meet each other on their daily visits to the newsagents and also buy a range of other goods:

“It has become a social hub and one which people do use and value. Let’s hope common sense prevails and that the newsagent can stay.”

A protest outside the newsagents attracted 50 local people who watched as Cllr Paul Hodgkinson and other councillors handed a letter of objection to the landlord at his home in the centre of Bourton.

Are you listening, O2?

A Cotswold village has today made a bank holiday protest after weeks of non existent phone coverage.

O2

Led by County Councillor Paul Hodgkinson (LD, Bourton & Northleach) residents and businesses today made their voices heard in Bourton on the Water.

With throngs of tourists looking on, Cllr Hodgkinson joined villagers in the iconic Cotswold location when they asked, ‘Are you listening, O2?’

Holding banners and phones a crowd of young and old – plus a worker and pony from the village’s equestrian centre – told the mobile company they were at their wits end.

For weeks, Bourton and nearby Cotswold villages have been seething at the lack of phone signal from phone operator O2. It comes on the back of intermittent coverage since the beginning of the year. Despite frequent complaints from residents nothing has changed.

Now, the local councillor and villagers have had enough.

Cllr Hodgkinson has raised the issue every day with O2 but is getting frustrated:

“The sun rises each morning and once again there’s no phone signal. So I message O2 daily asking for an update but they say the same thing – ‘we’ll get back to you when we have some news’. Well, this is totally unacceptable for all the customers paying for a service. It’s not only hitting residents but also the many local businesses who are now at the height of the tourist season.”

“Let’s not forget that O2 customers are paying the wages of O2 staff and helping them make a profit. We need action.”

Local mum Anouska Jones said she’d been with O2 ‘right from the start’ and always thought they were ‘fantastic’ until this year:

“It’s just got worse and worse. The past 3 weeks we’ve had no signal at all. I can’t keep in touch with my child’s school. I’ve been paying my bill for the last 15 years and it’s just an absolute nightmare.”

Poppy Fountain from Bourton Vale Equestrian Centre says it’s not only affecting businesses but for her is now an issue of safety:

“Our bosses at the Centre can’t get hold of us when we are out with ponies and horses and we can’t speak to them. If a horse’s shoe comes off the Centre would come out to sort the issue out, now they can’t.”

Broadcaster Sean Maffett has lived in Bourton for many years and is furious with the situation:

“O2 has utterly failed to provide anything resembling an acceptable service in this area for a considerable time. And it needs to do something about it – not in 48 hours or five days but NOW! It’s their responsibility to make sure the mast is working nearby.”

Cllr Hodgkinson has now written formally to the Ombudsman Services for Communications and says he’s expecting a quick resolution to the issue:

“There’s a compelling message from us all – we want urgent action. We are looking to O2 to get its act together and fast.”

Cotswold school helps community get physical

The Cotswold School, located in Bourton-on-the-Water, has unveiled new sports equipment which was part funded by Gloucestershire County Council’s ‘Active Together’ scheme.

Paul with staff and students from the school

‘Active Together’ is a grant scheme designed to increase sport and physical activity opportunities for people in the county. Each electoral division in the county has £40,000 available.

County Councillor Paul Hodgkinson (Bourton-on-the-Water and Northleach) provided the School with cash from his ‘Active Together’ funds towards their new gym. Money was also provided by the neighbouring county councillor.

Cotswold School, which was recently voted by the Times newspaper as the best comprehensive school in the country, made the application to the county council to further support its role as sports facility provider in the community.

The money helped to replace ageing gymnastics equipment, used by the school as well as local clubs, and to buy moveable dugouts for the school’s outdoor sports pitches. New sports equipment for the netball team, and an outdoor table tennis table were also included in the investment.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, said; “I’m delighted to be able to support the fantastic work that Cotswold School does in the local community.

“This additional funding will mean they can continue to provide high quality facilities for their pupils and local sports clubs, whilst promoting a healthy lifestyle in the county.”