Saughall and Shotwick Park Parish Council
Report from Cllr Simon Eardley
09 May 2022
Highways matters – speed surveys / average speed trial
I have been in correspondence with Kay Parry of CWaC Highways over the last week and expect to receive the survey report in respect of the work we commissioned for Fiddlers Lane later this week. I will share as soon as possible with Cllr Kerr and others on the PC Highways Group.
In respect of the proposed Police and Crime Commissioner ‘average speed trial’, I have been in exchange with the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner in the last couple of weeks on the matter. He informs me that no announcement has yet been made as a procurement process is still being undertaken but this should be completed soon. That will enable the trial to take place in four designated locations across the Cheshire Constabulary area. If Saughall is not successful in this first round then it is envisaged that a second one with the approved supplier will start very soon after so there may well be multiple 'bites of the cherry' so to speak.
Maintenance issues – grass cutting
Colleagues will know of my relatively relaxed view about grass cutting regimes generally and the proven biodiversity/environmental advantages that exist in respect of longer / less frequently cut grass. However, it has become apparent in recent weeks that some parts of Saughall have been severely neglected in the first part of the ‘cutting season.’ This was perhaps most acute in the Darlington Crescent / Smithy Close / Chapel Close area (but thanks are also due to Cllr Mike Johnson passing on concerns from residents in the Vernon Close area). The matter was raised with the Head of Environment at CWaC and I’m pleased to report that action has now been taken. Regrettably the areas affected are rather like ‘hay making fields’ in terms of their current state but I have impressed upon officers the need for a better quality service for the parish over the remainder of the summer.
Pear Tree Farm development – parking matters
Issues relating to inappropriate parking on the verge outside some of the new houses at this site have been raised previously and as a result road cones were placed along the route. These have been ignored by either a resident or a contractor visiting the area. I raised the matter with the business listed on the vehicle and they have indicated a willingness to take action which I expect to be forthcoming.
Wildflower planting – Greenway / Long Lane
Following recent discussions, and ongoing negative feedback, which was outside of the consultation exercise that I undertook with residents of Greenway, I took the decision in early April to withdraw the proposed wildflower planting in this area from the CWaC programme of planned works. I was disappointed to do this because of the obvious benefits of it in my view but had no wish to irritate residents. I must say that I was further disappointed that, despite a request for information following the last meeting of the parish council, a parish councillor who indicated they had received much correspondence on the matter failed to respond to a direct request for clarification. At this stage, owing to the controversy this seems to have caused, I will most likely look to support other projects of a similar nature elsewhere in the Saughall and Mollington Ward where the prospect has been more favourably received. That said, I am prepared to progress the proposed scheme along Long Lane. Several attempts have been made to hold a site visit with CWaC staff to progress this but a date hasn’t yet been finalised. I will continue to press this in order that the village might benefit from this important work.
PROW matters – FP10 (Saughall/Mollington) – off Kingswood Lane / Green Lane
I have raised a number of concerns with CWaC (PROW team and Environmental Services) regarding issues that have been identified on this PROW route (see images attached for location and the issues). The points raised are:
- Removal of any existing bridges on the PROW route which means it is now impassable (see images 6 and 7 attached)
- Widespread ‘hedge removal’ on the field that runs alongside the PROW (marked in purple on one of the images attached). This may be ditch maintenance but it has had a very drastic impact on a very large stretch of hedgerow in respect of several sides of this field. If this is ditch maintenance then it doesn’t make much sense in that the hedge line is on the opposite side of where the works have happened. Given the lengths involved, I have asked whether this is potentially in breach of the following legislation: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/countryside-hedgerows-regulation-and-management
I will report back to the parish council with any updates received.
Proposals by CWaC to introduce charges for depositing DIY / rubble at Household Waste and Recycling Centres
I am Deputy Chairman of the CWaC Places Scrutiny Committee and have recently been successful in delaying (effectively meaning they won’t happen at all) plans to charge residents to deposit DIY / rubble waste at HWRCs in the borough (£3.70 per bag). A scrutiny meeting took place on Monday 11 April 2022 where the matter was thoroughly discussed and agreed that no charges would come into effect until a new contract to run the HWRCs was awarded. On the day of the meeting, the Government announced that it was consulting on making such charges impossible to levy in any case which means the policy of the ruling administration is almost certain not to be implemented.
- Cllr Johnson and I exchanged correspondence recently regarding a persistent lack of attention to a reported blocked drain/gully at the junction of Hermitage Road/Church Road (on the side of the Vernon Institute). Within the last week this has now been cleaned by CWaC contractors.
- Shotton Mill development (Deeside Industrial Park). Although this is a little distance from Saughall parish (and it certainly falls within the remit of Flintshire Council to deal with), I have recently been given a detailed briefing relating to plans submitted and underway to redevelop substantial areas of this site by the new owners, Eren Holding (a Turkish company) which are part of ‘Modern Karton.’ Their plans will see a repurposing and expansion of the site which are likely to result in an additional new jobs for local people and a £600 million investment in the facilities. I raised concerns relating to disruption from piling activity (which may be heard in the Saughall area) and also likely increases in vehicle movements. From what I can tell, the company are keen to minimise disruption in the area as far as possible.
- Shotwick Park Estate. I have little to report in this regard other than to say that I am aware that negotiations are ongoing between the respective legal teams involved in the sale/disposal of this land and am being kept in the loop in broad terms around progress.
- School transport matters. This is noted elsewhere on the agenda for the meeting and I will be pleased to offer any verbal report / update required. Needless to say, the failure of CWaC to secure monies from Government for bus service improvements is both frustrating and disappointing given the potential impact it was to have on the issues that are longstanding in the parish regarding school transport.
- VAS sign, Hermitage Road (Little Saughall). I have been in correspondence with CWaC highways regarding this sign which has been removed for repair and have kept Cllr Kerr updated. No date has yet been confirmed for the reinstallation.