April ‘In the blue corner’, BS Flyer

It may surprise some to realise the sheer scale of the County of Hertfordshire and the challenges ahead faced by the County Council. Did you know that we have the fifth largest economy outside London and are the second most densely populated county with over 1.1 million people, making us the 6th largest population in England? That’s a population larger than 8 US states and DC or, to put it another way larger than Cyprus, Malta, Luxembourg and with a Gross Domestic Product greater than 6 US states or, 5 EU states including Luxembourg. Though on the face of it a densely populated County we are still 70% covered by green belt with good access to open spaces. Our roads are the among the busiest for both local and transit traffic which, coupled with the inevitable attritions of winter, puts into context the exaggerated claims of the Opposition in last month’s Flyer. Indeed the County Council is spending record sums on maintenance and prevention and works to higher than national standards on intervention in road repairs. It is also important that the public help by continuing to report faults by web, phone or, email as there is no ‘eye in the sky’ magically picking up highway issues though a certain amount of ‘scouting’ is done on major routes. Read the rest of this entry »

HCC NEWS RELEASE: Hundreds of Hertfordshire roads get a makeover

PR 21462 26 April 2017

Hertfordshire County Council is giving hundreds of the county’s most weather-worn residential roads a new lease of life. Nearly 300 residential roads countywide will get a makeover using a method known as micro surfacing. It involves spreading a thin layer of new road surface to seal the road from the elements, even out bumps and dips and restore grip. By sealing any cracks, it can prevent the formation of widespread potholes. The treatment is quick to apply and adds years to the life of the road. Watch our video to see how micro surfacing is done: https://youtu.be/nPG72tDnFPY Rob Smith, Deputy Director of Environment, said: “This programme will help improve many of our local roads, particularly those that carry low or moderate levels of traffic. “We know improving road condition is very important to local residents and road users and this work will improve the surface of these roads and help head off potholes before they form. The new surface will last for years and, because it can be applied quickly, we’re able to improve the condition of more roads countywide. Read the rest of this entry »

Hertfordshire helps parents back into work

Hertfordshire County Council was successful in trialling the Government’s 30 hours free childcare scheme in four small areas of the county and has already supported over 480 parents to obtain a place for their child.
As part of the trial Youth Connexions Hertfordshire has also been supporting parents who would like to return to work, which in turn would enable them to access the 30 hours free childcare for their three and four year old when it launches nationally in September 2017.
Since 1 September 2016, Hertfordshire County Council’s Youth Connexions has supported over 60 parents on their journey back into employment, with over 21 parents having a work experience placement and 10 parents successfully gaining work.
Richard Roberts, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “These placements have been a great way of supporting parent’s back in to work. They can then benefit from the 30 hours free childcare which helps them give their child a great start in life.
“Early education has a number of benefits for children and provides a great foundation for learning, and it can have a positive effect on academic achievement later in a child’s school life.”
Samantha, a parent from Hertfordshire, said: “I heard about the support offered by Hertfordshire County Council from Holly Blue Children’s Centre in Baldock. The work experience placement was a good match, links to my qualifications and fits around school hours. I am really surprised that the work experience placement resulted in a job; I didn’t expect to find such a perfect fit.
“It is important to be open to opportunities and I have realised that there are companies out there that recognise the value of part-time employees. I am now working part-time for 25 hours a week. I absolutely would encourage others to use this support and I have spoken to other parents and recommended they go along to the children’s centre for this support.”
More information on the 30 hours free childcare can be found on the website at:
www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/parents

Read the rest of this entry »

Air Quality – pollution at Hockerill

Pleased to have got air quality/Hockerill on the agenda for EHC’s Health & Wellbeing Scrutiny 14 March: http://democracy.eastherts.gov.uk/documents/s38639/Air%20quality%20report.pdf. But I note that the map differs from earlier versions and the EHC claimed decline in pollution is because they only show up to 2015 and not the excessive levels reported by the media in 2016 (70+ microns)! Also EHC acknowledge impact of diesel in their car parks but have no plans for differential charging. All seems to rely on big change to electric vehicle ownership by a few more charging points in BS despite impact of through traffic that would not be switched and more walking (through a polluted junction!!). School education packs have been developed but when I checked on Hockerill, close to the AQMA, they had no knowledge of it so I’ve had to ask EHC to check their issuing and resend. Notably the Hockerill AQMA boundary excludes the Hockerill College and H&E even though we know traffic queues extend well beyond both at times.

Energy savings update from officers at County Hall


In 2013/14 members set us a new 5 year Carbon Reduction target of 15%. Thanks to a lot of work and your support, we have met and exceeded this by a further 3% – a whole two years early!

The Carbon Reduction target is set to ensure we address the environmental impact of how we operate. It is also to reduce our energy costs and carbon tax payments.The savings made are due to Energy Management work in our office and service site properties where we have saved 25%. Improvements in Highways have also saved a further 8%.

Initiatives include:

• LED lighting upgrades across the main office and service sites portfolio.

• Introduction of LED lighting for all lighting columns on A-roads.

• Better regulation and use of our Building Management Systems (heating and cooling plant, equipment and controls) at the main office and service sites

• An energy champions network supporting our work and policies.

• Invest to Save Energy projects including temperature control of main sites IT server room air conditioning systems

• Introduction of highways part night lighting and additional dimming during winter 2015.

HCC Energy Manager, James Heslam commented, ‘It’s great to see the progress we have made in reaching and exceeding our target. We have appreciated the support of every building user in helping us to achieve this, especially when we have been working through some of the more challenging aspects of the programme delivery. Making sure we maintain a managed working environment for everyone is our prime concern and we will continue to work towards this moving forward.’

Having reached the target early Strategic Management Board (SMB) and Members have agreed to add a further 3 per cent to the target to bring the total saving to 24 per cent for the current target period of 2013/14 – 2017/18.

HCC NEWS RELEASE – Council to create more school places

PR 21433

For Immediate Release

23 February 2017

Hertfordshire County Council is consulting on creating more primary school places to ensure that every child in Hertfordshire has a place at one of our great schools.

The places are to be created in response to anticipated growth in demand and would be available from September 2018. The schools being consulted on are St. Josephs Roman Catholic in Bishop’s Stortford, Millfield First in Buntingford, and St. Catherine’s Church of England, Hoddesdon. Cabinet also approved funding for additional accommodation at Walkern Primary School and Pirton Primary School.

The latest proposals come on top of the over £200m already approved over the last six years to provide more than 18,600 additional permanent and temporary primary and secondary school places. Read the rest of this entry »

Road Surfacing in BS West from April 2017

Name / Location Activity Delivery Team
Apsley Close, Bishop’s Stortford Carriageway Resurfacing Carriageway Microsurfacing Framework Contractor
Kent Crescent, Bishop’s Stortford Carriageway Resurfacing Carriageway Microsurfacing Framework Contractor
Chestnut Close, Bishop’s Stortford Carriageway Resurfacing Carriageway Microsurfacing Framework Contractor
Dane Acres, Bishop’s Stortford Carriageway Resurfacing Carriageway Microsurfacing Framework Contractor
Dane Park, Bishop’s Stortford Carriageway Resurfacing (o/s no 10 to o/s no 28, including cul-de-sac) Carriageway Microsurfacing Framework Contractor
Carters Leys, Bishop’s Stortford Carriageway Resurfacing Carriageway Microsurfacing Framework Contractor
Grailands, Bishop’s Stortford Carriageway Resurfacing Carriageway Microsurfacing Framework Contractor

Parking Machine Problems

I have heard that a number of people have had trouble with the Check-in/Check- out new car park machines at Grange Paddocks and now at Elm Rd. Not my remit or areas but, as I’m a meddling so and so when issue cross my path, I have discussed this with the EHC parking team and a fix is being implemented this week. Apparently the issue is with the green ‘renewable energy’ solar power source. It seems 13 out of 70 machines have been prone to not coping with our damp climate (despite them being Swedish) and the tickets have been getting clammy overnight. So, now the manufacturers, at their own expense, are connecting the problem machines to the old fashioned mains so that the tickets can be kept warm and cosy overnight and hopefully, – problem solved!

Children bring local subways back to life

For Immediate Release
31 January 2017

Children bring local subways back to life

Time: 1.30 pm
Date: Tuesday 7 February, 2017

Murals at three subways in the Thorley area of Bishop’s Stortford, which were inspired by pupils from local schools, are set to be unveiled next Tuesday (7 February). This will be followed by a tour of the subways led by county councillor Colin Woodward and accompanied by local children who took part.

Schools closest to the subways were invited by Hertfordshire County Council to submit their chosen entries with the theme ‘all around me’ as inspiration for primary schools. The secondary schools submitted examples from students’ course work.

The work was facilitated by Hertfordshire County Council and its highway contractor, Ringway, who chose Community Clean, experts in restoration, painting and protection of community areas, to create a series of murals.

Councillor Woodward (Bishop’s Stortford West) said: “This is an excellent initiative and a great example of helping young people to play a part and take pride in their area. The designs have been very impressive. The children should be very proud of their achievements and their creations will be admired for many years to come.”

Terry Douris, Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “This initiative is part of Hertfordshire County Council’s Road Safety Team to make our county a safer and more attractive place to live and work. This transformation will definitely make the route to school a brighter and more cheerful one as well as regenerating a dull uninspiring under-path.”

Pupils from Windhill 21, St Michael’s C of E, Thorley Hill, St Joseph’s Catholic and Manor Fields primary schools took part as well as St Mary’s Catholic and The Bishop’s Stortford High School.

Read the rest of this entry »

PCSO school patrols

Thought I’d share this for those not on OWL (On-line Watch Link):
Dear Watch Member,
Hello,
I have been out and about at our local schools carrying out patrols speaking with residents, parents and students about parking, speeding and the use of mobile phones whilst driving.
We take our children to school to keep them safe, so please do not endanger others by careless parking and speeding.
If you need to reply regarding this message, click on this email address: stephen.siggers@herts.pnn.police.uk
Regards,
Stephen Siggers
Police Community Support Officer
Neighbourhood Watch
Email: stephen.siggers@herts.pnn.police.uk
Tel: 01707 354192
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Colin Woodward


Postal address
The Old Monastery,
Windhill
Bishop's Stortford
Herts
CM23 2ND

colin.woodward@hertfordshire.gov.uk or colin.woodward5@btinternet.com

Mob: 07919 520034

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The views expressed on this website are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Conservative Councillors' Association or the Conservative Party.