Report from I.W. Councillor John Nicholson

Posted by Admin on Sunday, 24th January 2016, 19:06

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COUNCILLOR JOHN NICHOLSON

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WARD MEMBER FOR COWES SOUTH & NORTHWOOD

MEMBER OF IW PLANNING COMMITTEE

MEMBER OF HEALTH AND COMMUNITY WELLBEING SCRUTINY PANEL

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SUNNYSIDE

PALLANCE LANE

NORTHWOOD

PO31 8LT
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Tel: 01983 209642 (evenings best)
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Email: cllr.john.nicholson@btconnect.com

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See the I.W.Councillor’s section

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WARD REPORT – JANUARY 2016

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The Rain Test
The excessive rainfall has put our infrastructure to test; in some instances it has failed, but in many others it has passed. Pallance Road, leaving aside the cracks and the couple of dips and bumps, has largely been a success, certainly from what it used to be like on the lower end where it would run like a river, literally. Now, you could walk up there in your slippers and not get wet. Pallance Lane is not so good, and the puddling is as bad as it has ever been along the middle section in the bottom stretch. It could, actually, be worse as, in the resurfacing, the camber was changed, and it now flows to the West side, flooding and spoiling the livery in that stretch. I know that section will have to be done again, because of the way the road is breaking up, and I am talking to Island Roads about learning by the errors in the first attempt. This was always going to be a tricky road, if the foundations were not going to be renewed, but the sooner it is put right, the sooner these problems will be put to bed.
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Amongst the successes is Northwood Recreation Ground, where, on the last excessive winter rains, the North East and North West corners flooded, threatening property. We took a gamble and sunk some bore holes into the gravel substrate, then filled them with stones, the hunch being that this would allow floodwater to drain. Well, it seems to have worked.
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And Now We Have an Alcohol Scare
Before Christmas we had the sausage and bacon scare which, in my humble opinion was directing misinformation where it wasn’t justified, as my understanding was that it is the chemical additives, not the meat, that causes the problem, and it was quite wrong to label proper butchers’ bacon and sausages, with no additives, as dangerous. Anyway, that all seems to have subsided now, and we have another controversial scare, claiming that any amount of alcohol will do you harm. That is certainly not my understanding, nor that, it seems, of many health officials and researchers. If this message is supposed to be directed at binge drinking, and the severe harm and problems that can generate, why not say so, and not try to demonise those sensible drinkers (and I count myself as one), who enjoy social and perceive health benefits from a small, if not regular, tipple. The issue that we have in society, as far as I can see, is that, unlike much of the rest of Europe, we ban our children from places where alcohol is enjoyed. The message and the focus, then, for them, is on the alcohol, not the social or simple pleasure of responsible drinking, and that, I believe, has given rise to the preloading culture and the reported modern perverse practices of absorbing alcohol through other bodily orifices, unnaturally. In this respect, it arguably equates to plain drug abuse.
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There is Perception and There is Reality
It has been a very interesting exercise, meeting with the Police in the new area reviews. Especially when the figures are presented. The Police, nowadays, have to report everything and count everything. For example, if four people have a bit of a tussle and each makes a complaint on the others, then each complaint is counted as separate incidents, even though, common sense would tell you, that it was only one incident with a string of occurrences. The effect of this is to exaggerate crime figures in a way that distorts and may raise undue alarm. Also, a bruise or prolonged pain can now be classed as ABH, and a bloody nose as GBH. However, when you know this (and many people don’t), then you can apply some corrective proportionality. It is interesting, as I say, because, there are other distortions in perception. For example, it seems that people in our area are most concerned about criminal damage, burglary and public order issues, when, the reality is, bearing in mind how crimes are recorded and reported (as I have set out above), these are indeed very rare occurrences in this area. In fact, reported and recorded crime in our area is very low, full stop. This, it seems, applies to speeding too, where community speed watch events show that, quite different to perception, the number of people speeding is very low, and sometimes none at all. Of course, this doesn’t mean to say that we should not be vigilant and careful, but all in sensible proportion.

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John Nicholson
Ward Member for Northwood & Cowes South.

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