No Crash – one year on

Residents and councillors who formed an action group to campaign for lower traffic speed are celebrating their first anniversary by issuing a report on progress.

The action group, the North Cotswolds Rural area Against Speeding Harm (No Crash), was set up to combat the excessive speeds of some motorists on the A436 and surrounding villages. The road is one of the busiest in Gloucestershire and runs between the Air Balloon and Bourton on the Water.

Paul Hodgkinson (right) with residents and councillors from along the A436

Paul Hodgkinson (right) with residents and councillors from along the A436

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (GCC, Bourton & Northleach) is chairman of the group, “Last August we launched this campaign in the face of ongoing concerns from Cotswolds residents over road safety in rural areas. Since then we’ve met with the authorities regularly and have lobbied them to take action. Gloucestershire Highways have been very helpful although there is still a desire for lower speed limits along part of the road. The police have committed to speed checks following their survey last November which recorded a staggering 92,000 vehicles speeding in just one week.”

Information was collected by the police from ‘speed data recorders’ in October and November 2012 along the road and showed the number and speed of vehicles. The highest speed recorded was 136mph at the old restaurant near Andoversford. In total, just over a quarter of a million vehicles were recorded, of which 92,000 had broken the speed limit.

Peter Hellyar, who lives on the busy road near Shipton is group secretary: “Speeding is now referred to by some as anti-social. Those of us who live along the A436 are literally in the firing line of traffic. The initial response from the police was reassuring. The tests they carried out backed up our view that there is a real speeding problem. However, we do feel frustrated and what we now need is a very visible and high profile speed check campaign by the police which will remind drivers of the speed limit.”

Hugh Piggott works at the Star College and lives near to the Air Balloon roundabout: “I’ve received a renewed request from members of our golf club to push for a 40mph limit on this stretch of the A436. That is what I want to see in place.”

The group has listed the road safety improvements achieved to date:

  • Hamlet signs have been put up to flag to drivers that they’re approaching some houses
  • Andoversford – ’20 is plenty’ temporary signs have been put up in the area around the school to alert drivers to the hazards there and to protect children. Highways have now confirmed that a ‘school safety zone’ will be out in place in the next 6 months (this would include yellow flashing lights at key school times and roadmarkings near to the school)
  • Lorry companies have been contacted by the group to alert them to some of their drivers exceeding the 40mph limit on the A436.
  • Shipton has launched a Community Speed Watch group in the village to check vehicles speeds.

Cllr Hodgkinson thanked Highways and police for the actions they’ve taken so far but added a word of caution, “We can see some real progress over the last year as a result of our campaign but more needs to be done. This is clearly a long term campaign!”

Now, the group is calling a public meeting for October to allow residents to see the progress made and let the authorities know what they would like to be tackled. Full details will be released next month.

See the press coverage here: http://www.cotswoldjournal.co.uk/news/10639291.Work_to_be_done_say_campaigners/

Consultation starts for safer road crossing in Bourton

After an 1100 name petition and support from Bourton’s parish council and new County Councillor, a controlled pedestrian crossing in Bourton is set to be in place this year.

Ginie Moss and Paul Hodgkinson at the Station Road location.

Ginie Moss and Paul Hodgkinson at Station Road.

The crossing – in Station Road, Bourton-on-the-Water – was the brainchild of local teacher and resident Ginie Moss. She campaigned along with Cllr Paul Hodgkinson to call for a safer way for pedestrians to cross the busy road. They went to Shire Hall last May to present a petition to the County Council.

Now, Gloucestershire County Council is writing to consult residents on the proposed provision of the controlled crossing.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (GCC, Bourton and Northleach) said, “The proposal is to provide a puffin crossing on Station Road between Bridge House and 160 Roman Way. The proposal is supported by The Cotswold School and Parish Council. The crossing is intended to help people cross Station Road. This location is busy with pedestrians, particularly at the end of the school day.”

“It’s important that people feedback on this proposal so that it can be located in the best place to promote road safety.”

The crossing location is close to The Avenue footpath that links Station Road to High Street. This is a busy path along which are The Cotswold School, Leisure Centre and Bourton-on-the-Water Primary School.

Residents have been asked to comment on the proposals by Monday 17th June 2013.

Bourton/Northleach falls to Lib Dems in dramatic election result

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (CDC, Churn Valley) was elected to Gloucestershire County Council last night in a nail biting result.

Bourton's Victoria Hall polling station yesterday.

Bourton’s Victoria Hall polling station yesterday.

The newly created Bourton and Northleach division comprises areas which have been represented by Conservatives for as long as anyone can remember. Now, Paul has become the first Liberal Democrat to represent the area at county level.

The full result was:

Paul Hodgkinson (LD) 1275
David Thorpe (Con) 1216
Chris Cooke (Ukip) 591
Merilyn Hill (Lab) 170.

Majority 59.

After the result was announced at 3am this morning, Cllr Hodgkinson said, “I am ecstatic to be representing such a beautiful area. My priorities will be sorting out the dreadful state of the roads, making sure our green fields are protected from developers and promoting road safety around our villages.”

 

County Council election this Thursday May 2!

A councillor from the Cotswolds has made election history by producing a video for his campaign to be elected to Gloucestershire County Council.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (Churn Valley) is standing for the Northleach & Bourton area this Thursday May 2. The ward also includes the Chedworth, Withington, Andoversford, Shipton and Brockhampton areas.

The video – filmed in Bourton, Northleach and along the A436 – is a personal account of Paul’s record of action. He talks about the campaign to reduce speeds along the A435, A436 and through our villages as well as the problems of over development and the need to bring empty properties back into use.

Paul says, “No other council candidate in Gloucestershire has made a video of this kind. It’s a different way of getting a message across and it just brings to life the issues I’ve been campaigning on already and which I feel strongly about.”

 

County Council Elections – May 2nd

On Thursday May 2 I’m putting myself forward to be the next county councillor for our area.

DSCN1336

I’m already an experienced Cotswold District Councillor for the last 6 years and am standing for the Northleach & Bourton area. This also includes the Churn Valley, Chedworth and Withington, Andoversford and Shipton areas.

I have a record of action. I led the campaign to stop the crazy Air Balloon roundabout proposals,  fought to bring in kerbside plastics recycling and have campaigned to reduce speeds along the A435, A436 and through our villages.

My priorities are:

  • Mending our roads properly – the County Council has failed spectacularly to do this
  • Keeping our greenfields intact whilst bringing empty properties back into use for affordable housing
  • Lowering the car parking charges across the Cotswolds
  • Supporting our village schools
  • Connecting with residents to make sure their concerns are listened to rather than neglected by the Council.

I’ve lived in the Cotswolds for 25 years. Now, I would be honoured to have your support on May 2.

Take a look at my campaign video here: http://vimeo.com/62418274

Thank you,

Paul Hodgkinson

 

Easter gift for Cotswold schools

A Cotswolds councillor has welcomed a scheme promoted by the coalition government that will pump nearly £1,000,000 of extra funding into schools in the district.

pupil premium

The extra cash – amounting to £900 per child under the Pupil Premium initiative – will be used to help children from less privileged backgrounds reach their full educational potential. All children registered for free school meals in the last six years qualify and the money will be given to their school heads who can decide how to spend it on their behalf.

The extra money comes into effect from 1 April. Many schools across the district stand to benefit from the scheme. Bourton primary school is receiving an extra £39,600 whilst Chipping Campden School is receiving £78,300. Andoversford Primary School gets  £7,200, the Cotswold Academy £101,700 and Northleach Primary School £10,800.

The Pupil Premium was a major manifesto commitment by the Liberal Democrats at the 2010 general election, playing a key role in the negotiations that led to the coalition agreement.

Original plans for an extra £430 per pupil have now been boosted, pushing the amount paid per qualifying child to £900.

News of the extra money for the Cotswolds comes after Schools Minister, David Laws, recently announced that the total Pupil Premium funding from next week will rise to £1.65bn, more than double the amount in 2011-12. It will rise again each year until 2014-15 when it will be worth £2.5bn.

Now, councillors are encouraging all schools to ensure that every child who qualifies is registered for the scheme so that they receive the maximum funding.

Cotswold District Council Lib Dem Leader, Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (Churn Valley), said he was encouraged by the extra cash for local schools.

“Though the Cotswolds is seen as an affluent area full of wealthy weekenders, the truth is that there are pockets of deprivation in the district, particularly in some of the rural areas.

“With low average wages and sky-high house prices, it is no wonder that so many children qualify for free school meals. This additional help for hard-pressed schools is extremely welcome.”

“The Pupil Premium is extra support for the children who need it the most, whether it is catch-up classes, one-to-one tuition, extra IT support – whatever the school thinks best.”

“We now look forward to working with our schools to help overcome any barriers to achievement that some of the pupils in our community currently face.”

Note: The complete list of pupil premium figures is publicly available at the Department for Education website.

 

 

No Crash group making “good progress” in bid to reduce speeds on A436

A stop speeding campaign to cut the number of deaths and collisions on a notorious road near Cheltenham is making good progress, say leaders.

Paul Hodgkinson with residents and councillors who formed 'No Crash' last year.

Paul Hodgkinson with residents and councillors who formed ‘No Crash’ last year.

Members of action group North Cotswolds Rural area Against Speeding Harm (No Crash) say they have made some initial breakthroughs in calls for improved signage along the A436 and surrounding villages.

The group was formed last year after residents voiced concerns over speeding on the route between the Air Balloon roundabout and Bourton-on-the-Water. Alarming figures released in December showed that 37 per cent of motorists broke the speed limit along the stretch with some travelling at up to 130mph.

Councillor Paul Hodgkinson, (Churn Valley), who is chairman of No Crash, said following meetings with police and Gloucestershire Highways, several improvements were planned.

They include:

·         A school safety zone in Andoversford to make it safer for children crossing including flashing signs to alert drivers.

·         Clearer warnings of upcoming junctions for motorists travelling along the A436.

·        Two new signs for the Hampen village hamlet to alert drivers that people live along the road.

·         A survey in Andoversford to look at the flow and direction of traffic through the village with a view to establishing whether traffic for the A40 should be diverted away from the village.

·         Gateway features for Shipton village to reduce speed at the entrance and exits.

Mr Hodgkinson said the moves were a good start to tackling issues on the road, which has been the site of numerous collisions over the years. Only last month there was a nine-car pile-up with two vehicles flipping onto their roofs.

He said: “Given that we only set up the group last summer we feel we are making good progress, but there is still a lot to do.

“We are still concerned about speed along the eastern parts of the A436 – in particular on the way to Bourton.

“Police have confirmed they have carried our regular speed checks along parts of the road, focusing on the old restaurant site near Andoversford.

“Quarry lorries have been seen regularly going over the lorry speed limit by our group members so police and Gloucestershire Highways are now also aware.

“Overall it’s good news so far. Progress is being made and tangible steps are being taken to improve safety.”

The No Crash group’s next meeting will be in April.

Proposal to slash parking charges rejected

An alternative Cotswold District Council budget which proposed slashing car parking charges was rejected by the ruling Conservative administration.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (front) with residents and councillors outside CDC offices.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (front) with residents and councillors outside CDC offices.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson made the formal suggestion at the Council’s annual budget meeting, backed by 40 residents who turned out to hear the debate.

Paul said, “We have listened to the voices of Cotswolds residents and businesses to prepare budget proposals that reflect their needs and wishes. This is a forward-looking budget inspired by the people of the Cotswolds in tough times. We have identified areas where we can really help put money back in people’s pockets whilst stimulating the local economy.”

“We have responded to the issues that affect people everyday while also helping businesses who continue to face such a challenging situation. This Council has more money at its disposal than it anticipated so we must spend some of this – the rainy day is now here and we need to respond to that.”

“We have proposed a big change to car parking charges by making the first half hour free everywhere in the Cotswolds, cancelling the loathed 24/7 charges in Cirencester’s Brewery Car Park and slashing the price of parking for 1, 2 and 3 hour periods.”

“We believe this is a better way forward for the Cotswolds in contrast to the ruling group’s budget which has, yet again, included 24/7 parking charges at the district’s biggest car park, has kept parking charges the same in Bourton and Stow and fails to tackle the massive issue of affordable housing shortages.”

“Sadly, the Conservatives have rejected these proposals today claiming that their parking charges have been ‘a success’.  We wil not give up and will continue to push these reasonable ideas forward until the Council’s administration sees sense.”

The Lib Dem Budget Proposals in full:

  • To make the first half hour free in all CDC owned car parks in the Cotswolds.
  • To cancel the Cirencester Brewery car park pilot in which new 24/7 charges have been levied since the beginning of 2012.
  • To introduce a new car parking tariff across all Cotswold District Council owned car parks as follows:

1 hour – £0.70
2 hours – £1.50
3 hours – £2.20

This would have brought the tariffs in line with the car parking charges for Moreton and Tetbury.

New figures show thousands of speeding vehicles on Cotswold road

Residents and councilors who formed an action group to campaign for lower traffic speed along a Cotswold road have been astonished by a new set of police figures.

Paul Hodgkinson and the No Crash group

Data collected from six points along the A436 between the Air Balloon Roundabout and Bourton on the Water shows a large number of vehicles travelling at over the speed limit.

The action group, the North Cotswolds Rural area Against Speeding Harm (No Crash), held a public meeting in Andoversford in September at which 50 residents voiced their concerns over road safety. The group was set up to combat the excessive speeds of some motorists on the A436 and surrounding villages.

Information was collected by the police from ‘speed data recorders’ in October and November along the road and shows the number and speed of vehicles. The highest speed recorded was 136mph at the old restaurant near Andoversford. In total, just over a quarter of a million vehicles were recorded, of which 92,000 had broken the speed limit.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (CDC, Churn Valley) is chairman of the group, “These figures do underline the extent of the problem. Whilst some spots show that the average speeds recorded were within the limit they also show just how many people ignore it. We always knew that speeding was a real issue, not just perception. Now, we are asking for regular action over the long term to promote road safety.”

“Last night we met with Inspector Clifford and he has committed to targeting areas along the A436 where the data shows that there is a particular speeding problem. Some checking will also take place near to the school in Andoversford where safety of children is a concern. This is a real step forward, but it is just the start.”

The meeting with the police was also attended by Simon Redmond (Chair of Andoversford PC), Robin Finch (Chair of Shipton PC), Hugh Piggott of the Star College and other Parish Councillors.

Peter Hellyar spoke at the meeting and is a resident along the A436 who has been frustrated by speeding cars and bikes for many years, “The police carried out a high profile check on traffic last month along with other checks in our villages – we thank them for that. However, we would like this problem resolved. Only regular enforcement of the speed limit along various parts of the road will show drivers that it’s unacceptable to use the road as a race track.”

The group is also lobbying Highways for changes to speed limits and features to promote road safety and will meet with them in the New Year to assess progress.

Cllr Hodgkinson added, “So far, our campaign has led to a greater awareness of policing on the road and that can only be good. We’re in this for the long haul and have signaled on behalf of the local community that we are very serious about this issue and our aim is to prevent accidents and save lives.“

See more about this story at: http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/Drivers-speeding-100mph-thousands-breaking-limit/story-17532496-detail/story.html

and

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-20632238

Bourton road crossing gets moving!

A call for a safer road crossing in Bourton on the Water is now coming to fruition.

Paul Hodgkinson and Ginie Moss at Shire Hall

Two Bourton on the Water residents, Ginie and Patrick Moss, gathered 1100 names on a petition that called for the installation of a 24/7 crossing facility on Station Road in the village.

Ginie Moss, a teacher at the Cotswold School, delivered the petition to Gloucestershire County Council in May this year with Cllr Paul Hodgkinson.

Now, Gloucestershire County Council have told residents that they are currently working on some advance design work for a signalised crossing on Station Road as  it has ‘scored well in assessment for funding.’

The installation of the crossing cannot be confirmed until funding has been approved for the next financial year.  However, this is fantastic progress and the application for this much-needed crossing would not have got this far without the tenacity of Mr and Mrs Moss and without all those who signed the petition.

Paul thanked Ginie and Patrick for their hard work on the issue, “A huge congratulations should go to them for their persistence in pushing the Council to act.  I will continue to support this in whichever way I can – after all, this is about road safety for school children, elderly residents and parents.”