Monthly Archives: May, 2018

Phab Disco

Phab Disco

I enjoyed spending Tuesday night with the local PHAB club, where I was providing the disco that found the centre of the festivities.

It was a lovely evening and it was great fun to see everybody enjoying themselves to much.

A particular shout out to Tammy – in all my years of charity DJing I have never had somebody hand me a letter during the disco detailing not only their song requests, but solid reasons why those are their song requests!  I was charmed and, as you might imagine, the requests were certainly played!

 

Work Continues At The Castle

Work Continues At The Castle

Work continues apace yesterday and today.

The Gardening team have planted all sorts and the gardens are now generally looking lovely.

Some volunteers have been working on getting the fountain back in order. Looks like it will need a new pump installed, but otherwise still seems to function well.

The Pump House is being painted and repaired. This is broadly just a job to make it functional again, as it will need a larger and more extensive refurb in two or three seasons time, but It’s coming on great and looking much better. The crumbling rotten wood panels are being replaced and made safe.

In the house the tradesmen working on the top floor are close to finishing the refurb. All it should then need is some new carpet and it will be ready to use.

Other volunteers have been beginning to catalogue and sort the many things in the Medworth Room.

On the Ground Floor, a brilliant volunteer has been hard at work painting one of the small rooms which is destined to become the freezer room for wedding catering.

A volunteer who is a professional plumber is securing and installing a new industrial sink for our workshop area and an external tap for help the gardening team connect their houses. A volunteer who is a professional electrician has already installed external electric points for attaching tools and is working on emergency lighting in key areas and lighting for the front of the house.

We expect to have some portions of Wisbech Castle open for Rose Fair. There’s still a long way to go, but we should be proud of the fantastic amount of work our many volunteers have already achieved.

(The reason I don’t name any volunteers is because so many people are now helping and I don’t want to accidentally forget anybody. We will, however, be cheering and thanking our volunteers in an official way later in the year – more news on that later.)

– Steve Tierney

Stinging Nettle Alley Volunteer Fly Tip Clearance

Stinging Nettle Alley Volunteer Fly Tip Clearance
Yesterday on Wisbech Discussion Forum (Facebook)  somebody reported a fly tip on the alleyway between Lynn Road and Clarence Road on this forum yesterday.
 
I reported it to FDC who said that they couldn’t clear it because it was on private land.  (Not precisely sure it actually was/is on private land, but I digress.)
 
So a few of us thought: “what the hell, let’s just go and clear it ourselves.” How long could it take?
 
Well, that was a lot of rubbish. We’d filled forty bin liners and had barely touched it. As we got down the pile there was a lot of rotten food that was squirming with maggots and worms. There were old nappies, old filthy flea-infested clothes that smells of urine. And it got worse.
 
One of the volunteers vomited several times during the cleanup. We sort of felt like we needed one of those special teams they bring in to clean up crimes. Extreme cleaning.
 
Anyway. We got through the majority of it, filling nearly fifty bags of stuff. We then piled all the bulky waste which FDC agreed the Rapid Response team would come and take away – this is the stuff we couldn’t fit in my car; sofa, mattress, a couple fo TV husks. Everything except the kitchen sink. Except there was also a kitchen sink.
 
Thanks to the volunteers; David Gutteridge. Ben Prest. Jamie Edwards David Topgood all of whom saw the report on Facebook yesterday and agreed to help.
 
It was a couple of hours of truly disgusting work. Disgusting in the real sense. My car was used to transport the waste to the dump, who agreed to take it helpfully. My car stinks and will be in need of a deep clean all its own later today.
 
Yuck.

Classic opposition tactic

Classic opposition tactic:

If you do a thing:
Attack you for doing it. Say you should not have done it, or don’t have the experience to do it, or can’t afford to do it, or are doing it for the wrong reasons.

If you don’t do a thing:
Attack you for not doing it. Say you should have done it, or you were scared to do it, or you are too worried about money and not about value, or decided not to do it for the wrong reasons.

Silly, really.

New Secondary School For Wisbech

New Secondary School For Wisbech

Today I spoke before a Committee at County Council as a local member, in support of a new senior school in Wisbech.

The committee unanimously voted to proceed with the plans at the end of the item.

Such good news. Huge investment in Wisbech education now secure. Includes a new Junior school and lots more as well.

New Purge on Potholes!

New Purge on Potholes!

County Council has new money, new resources and is ready to fix the potholes.

Please help me identify and locate them all, so we can get them resolved.

Please register a pothole at https://highwaysreporting.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/

There will be an incident number and inspection in 10 working days.

Depending on severity, you will now see some potholes marked in yellow which means a repair within 21 days, and if white within 12 weeks.

If not marked, this may not have been registered or is in too dangerous a position to mark.

I will be monitoring progress and if County Council does not fix the pothole within the stated deadlines I will be straight onto highways as soon as you let me know, and give them merry hell!

Thank you for your help! Let’s bust those potholes.

Wisbech Castle Project – 14th May

Wisbech Castle Project – 14th May

An interesting day today with some eventful happenings.
 
We had volunteers in cleaning, organising and painting. Managed to do all the painting prep work on the “Boffey” – the area we are using as our workplace and tool shed then got a decent coat of paint on most of the areas inside. Looking so much better in there!
 
Elsewhere, we had workmen quoting for the front room that we hope to use as the Castle Office, workmen quoting on the complete refurb of the Pump House including decorating inside and out and the construction of a disabled toilet and seating area. We began considering how we will repair the current main floor toilets – which are the most damaged part of the building – and turn them into high quality WC for visitors.
 
General cleaning and upkeep was done in the areas we have already worked on.
 
An architect who has offered to do a free new plan of the entire building was shown around to do some preliminary work.
 
Work was halted briefly when volunteers went to assist with an accident on the crescent, where an elderly gentleman had fallen in the road. Cllr. Billy Rackley managed traffic while the man was carefully helped to the side of the road and emergency help called. A gentleman from the Fixings & Plastics Centre in Tinkers Drove, i’m sorry I didn’t catch his name, was quick to offer valuable assistance and first aid, as were several other local people. It was a real case of the community pulling together to help somebody who was in need of assistance and was lovely to see.
 
In a few hours we really got a lot done. We also find people see us in the Castle and they wander up to the gate and ask questions about the Project and how it is progressing. There is a real excitement about it and we are looking forward to getting parts of the Castle open for public access as soon as we can. Almost certainly there will be some activity during Rose Fair.
 
– Steve Tierney

Wisbech Castle Project – 12th May

Wisbech Castle Project – 12th May

I was at the Castle this morning for 8AM to let the guys bring the trailer/skip into the rear gate. The thing was huge and it took some care to get it through even that wide entrance. There was about half inch clearance either side and the tractor driver who brought it was an amazing driver to make it work

After that I got a sausage sandwich and a cuppa and sat on the balcony in the peace and quiet. What a beautiful mornng..

Volunteers arrived for 9AM and we all pitched in to the next batch of work. Some folk worked at the front entrance, jet washing, weeding and cleaning. Others were on the Ground Floor clearing out cupboards, and doing more cleaning and scrubbing. Yet more volunteers were putting the rubbish we’ve already accumulated into the trailer at the rear of the garden.

We have had a local plumber offer to installing some of the bits we need for free, which was very generous and welcome.

We have got to the point now where we’re ready to begin some light decorating and painting. We also need to start clearing out the vaults. So next week that’s where we’ll be at – preparing wood, painting and clearing out the vault.

Tomorrow the gardening team are back, working their magic on the grounds.

It’s all coming on!

Some random pictures of interesting stuff in the Castle:

Public consultation helps shape Wisbech transport schemes

Public consultation helps shape Wisbech transport schemes

Proposals for a new Wisbech access road have been amended following feedback from the public to ensure the scheme does not jeopardise prospects to re-open Wisbech Rail.

The Southern Access Road scheme, which would link New Bridge Lane and Boleness Road, is one of a number of transport improvement projects in the Wisbech Access Strategy, which was developed to address congestion and accident blackspots, while increasing road capacity and supporting much-needed housing and job growth.

A series of public consultation events last November showed support for the overall programme of schemes, but there was concern the Southern Access Road would negatively impact the railway project. Objectors and local representatives said the road would cut through the March to Wisbech railway line and prevent the re-opening of a railway station in Wisbech town centre.

Now Fenland District Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and Wisbech Town Council are proposing a phased approach to the road, to take the railway line into account and ensure any decisions taken now will not prevent any future delivery of rail.

The phased approach involves designing a new roundabout on the A47 to provide access into south Wisbech so that if railway studies conclude that the preferred location for the station is north of New Bridge Lane there will still be access into the South Wisbech Development area. If the preferred station location is determined to be south of New Bridge Lane, New Bridge Lane could be reconnected.

The amended approach would allow the Wisbech Rail study to conclude the station location without any impact from the Wisbech Access Strategy, and enable the plan to proceed within government-specified funding timescales.

Fenland District Council along with the County Council and the former Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (GCGP LEP), now The Business Board, successfully bid for funds from the Government’s Growth Fund to develop the transport schemes and £10.5 million to implement them – and the funding has to be spent implementing the first package of schemes by 2021.

The two councils are also proposing to amend the original short-term package of schemes, which, if approved by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, could secure an additional £10.5 million of funding from the Combined Authority.

A scheme to relocate the A47/Elm High Road roundabout further east has been brought forward from the medium-term package of schemes (being delivered by 2026) to the short-term package (to be delivered by 2021).

Although this part of the project will require more development and further public consultation with the affected communities of Cambridgeshire and Norfolk, bringing it forward means the smaller improvement scheme at Elm High Road/A47 will no longer be required, resulting in money being saved. Completing the project sooner will also mean inflation savings and transport benefits will be felt more quickly.

 

The revised preferred package of short-term schemes now consists of (refer to attached map):

  • New Bridge Lane/Cromwell Road signals
  • Southern Access Road Phased Approach – development of new A47 roundabout
  • Elm High Road/Weasenham Lane roundabout
  • A47 / Broadend Road Roundabout
  • Relocation of A47/Elm High Road roundabout, with further development and delivery towards the end of the short term package (subject to funding approval)

The phased Southern Access Road approach, and the new package of short-term schemes, will now be taken to the County Council’s Economy and Environment Committee, Fenland District Council’s Cabinet and Wisbech Town Council later this month to seek approval to recommend these schemes to the CPCA and The Business Board.

These important transport enhancements are a partnership approach which has not only support from the Wisbech, Fenland and Cambridgeshire councils but also the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk along with Norfolk County Council due to the location of the town’s infrastructure and communities straddling the county border.

A Wisbech Access Strategy spokesperson said: “The local community feedback has helped shape the future of transport in Wisbech to ensure both road and rail proposals support each other and that the important government funding for the Wisbech Access Strategy is not jeopardised.

“These essential improvements to the infrastructure of Wisbech will enable the much needed housing and economic growth for this area of North Cambridgeshire. It also demonstrates the effective partnership approach across all tiers of Local Government and the important role the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority have played with funding support.”

The spokesperson added: “The Wisbech Access Strategy has been tested to make sure it offers the best solution to address existing transport problems in and around the town of Wisbech.  Local people were very clear about the need to protect the Wisbech Rail project, as a result the plans were amended after listening to the consultation responses.  The improvement schemes will encourage growth and regeneration, improve accessibility, and help support the delivery of more than 3,500 new homes and 2,500 new jobs for the Capital of the Fens.”

The outline scheme design drawings along with detailed reports for each location, and the process followed can be found on Fenland District Council website at: http://fenland.gov.uk/wisbechaccess

Wisbech Castle Project – 10th May 2018

Wisbech Castle Project – 10th May 2018

A team of Working Party and other volunteers spent several hours at Wisbech Castle today.  We had determined to work on the ground floor and since we had a good turnout we were able to work on several rooms at once.

The Old Kitchen, which was absolutely full to the brim of furniture and stored stuff was the focus of much activity.  Everything was removed from the room so that it could be given a very thorough clean.  Items of value and interest were put in safe storage and other stuff removed to the waste area.   The fireplace was also cleared and all the antique implements cleaned and displayed.  Piles of chairs and other things that had been just dumped in there for storage were organised and stored in an accessible and tidy way in a more suitable location.

The Utility / Room was also completely emptied and deep cleaned – which is really, really needed.  Cupboards and drawers were cleared of rubbish and made ready for new use.

Furniture that needed repair or refurbishment was identified and kept separate for the work to take place at a later date.

The downstairs storage room, which was so full of junk that you couldn’t even open the door, was completely emptied and the contents evaluated and stored / reused / removed depending on its nature.  We were pleased to find a jet washer buried under the pile of fold-up tables in there, which is great as it was one of the things we had thought we would need to buy.

While the team were working we had visits from the Fire Safety Officer (to check the building was safe and to make any recommendations).  We also had a plumber who has offered the Castle Project a discount service, to quote on some of the things we would like to see done.  And a local electrician who had offered to check the electrics for us for safety (and whose report is broadly that all is well!) and who kindly fixed some broken electrics while he was there.

All in all a really good few hours work.  There’s a lot to do, but focusing on the building a room at a time, and with a large team of volunteers, means that things get done quickly.  It is really useful that our volunteers have a range of skills and knowledge.

I’d like to thank the many volunteers who came today.  The Wisbech Castle Project is coming on really well and it can only happen because you are giving your time and talent to help it.

Photos (c) Roger Rawson