Report from I.W. Councillor John Nicholson

Posted by Admin on Thursday, 25th February 2016, 21:59

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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 – FEBRUARY 2016

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Water Main Work
The new water main being laid along Newport Road is a major civil engineering project being undertaken by Southern Water for the benefit and security of our water supply, as the current trans-Solent feed is now brittle and subject to breakages. The works have been carefully considered, and will continue to be so, under scrutiny and involvement of Local Authority and Community, to ensure that they will be carried out in such a way to minimise disruption, inconvenience and maximise progress within the bounds of safety in such a large project.
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The new main will continue up the destined connection point in the field next to the driveway to no 401 Newport Road, opposite 410 Newport Road. So that the pipe is in the best position to make that turn, it will be laid on East side of the carriageway under lights, from Northwood Garage.
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The works will reach Northwood Garage junction at Easter, when the school traffic is at a minimum, and a window to minimise disruptive effect exists. The ingress lane to Nodes Road will be put under lights and used for egress as well. There will be a day’s period when crossing Medham Lane, and residents will be advised. Access bridge plates will be kept to hand, for emergencies.
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Advised diversions may be set up as far away as the St Marys roundabout, as, we all know, it takes very little to bring the Cowes – Newport artery to a standstill. Imagine would it would have been like if the Asphalt Plant was in Cowes – totally unworkable!
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Utility Concerns
Whilst the new water main through Northwood is welcome, it seems that coordination and control of Utility Services is somewhat wanting on the Isle of Wight, as there are far too many incidents of disruption to the Highways that appear to be through lack of planning or proactive maintenance. The infrastructure on the Isle of Wight, for the Utilities, is suffering from decades of poor investment, and now we are having all our roads renewed, the poor condition of water, gas and electricity means that failures seem to accompany the renewals – but, in many cases, afterward, not before! As I understand it, we lose a scandalous 2,000,000 m3 water a day (which is why we should be glad for the new main in Northwood), whilst there is a new drive to put people on meters; a paltry gesture compared with one that would bring the Water Company’s own house in order!
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The same, or similar situation exists, I believe, with gas, electric, and even BT, although BT are on a major infrastructure renewal programme. The extent of neglect and care for a good infrastructure raises potentially serious safety issues for the roadworks programme. One example that I heard was where a road was being planed off for resurfacing, a gas pipe had been laid so that it suddenly rose to just below the surface, against all regulation, reasonable expectation and safe practice. It was only luck that the pipe was skimmed and not sliced!
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It is said that the British do not complain enough, and I think that we should complain when unnecessary damage is being caused to our new road network, so Cowes and Northwood Councils are maintaining a register and forwarding complaints any time this happens.
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Supporting Business is Supporting the Island’s Future
Recognition in the concern over the affect and potential loss on valuable business and employment in the proposed Cowes and East Cowes harbour developments, seems to be gathering status. In this context, I have joined the Isle of Wight Technology Group, which supports local technology firms, many of which are completely unknown to the general public and, astonishingly, to our education system. Many of these small Companies are leaders in their fields and have significant international business. One, for example, is trying to recruit a Spanish speaking sales representative, with an engineering background, for their expanding Latin American market.
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I cannot understand how our education system is so disjointed with local industry needs, particularly in the technology field. It does not seem that difficult, to me, to be able to understand that support of our unique and peculiar British ability in high-tech innovation, often placing us in world leadership, equals good employment and can lead to a high wage, even affluent economy and society. I am staggered that, knowing that the PFI contract, a major civil engineering project, here for a 25-year period, is struggling to find local candidates for engineering placements because our education system has still not realised or addressed the opportunities that exist here on the Island, with the development and career prospects that would put any employee on an international standing.

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John Nicholson
Ward Member for Northwood & Cowes South.

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