Report from I.W. Councillor John Nicholson

Posted by Admin on Monday, 23rd January 2017, 16:11

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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)

Mobile: 07918 757843
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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 2017

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Planning Application – Off Harry Cheek Gardens
I think most people have been surprised at the application for 31 houses in the field below Harry Cheek Gardens, a field that is much used as a shortcut, and for dog walking, and was widely believed to be a Village Green. I can confirm that it is, actually, only the lower part of the field that holds Village Green status, and this is outside of the area allocated to the present application. There are legitimate concerns regarding the suitability of this application from highways accessibility, drainage and layout, to name a few, and these are being looked into. I know that there is strong feeling, amongst a lot of the community, against any development in this area, but, as we have learnt from such applications as Place Road/Tuttons Hill, Brighstone’s Blanchards, Arreton’s Hazley Combe, and Hillis Gate the will of the local community is not enough to prevail on its own; it must be supported by strong grounds founded in established Planning Policy.
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Having said that, there are some people that are in favour of such a development, as there was in the case of Place Road, provided it caters for local people. My stance is neutral and objective, at the moment, and I advise people, whatever their opinion, if they want to make representation, they should link it to IW Policy, which can be found at: https://www.iwight.com/azservices/documents/2782-D20-Adopted-Core-Strategy.pdf. If I do represent local opinion, one way or the other, I would want to make sure it has a chance; what I don’t want to do is lead people up the garden path in false hope. Unfortunately, for Northwood, with the delays in progressing the Medina Valley Area Action Plan, the protection that might have been afforded Northwood, being an area outside of the presumption in favour of development, as opposed to being in favour, reserved for the more urban areas, is not yet in place, even after all the years of talk.
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Roadworks Motion
Fed up with the scale and persistent poor standard of works carried out by the Utility Companies that seriously affect the quality of our roads, I have submitted a Motion to January’s Full Council, requesting that the Executive consider implementing whatever controls and penalty the law enables it in order to curb and control such incidence, taking example from best practice amongst other Authorities (like Hampshire and Southampton). Amongst local examples are the terrible standard of reinstatement following the new water main down Newport Road, the dreadful scarring of the new road surface on the corner in Nodes Road and the inexcusable neglect by BT in maintaining the dangerous condition of its inspection covers at the Wyatts Lane junction in Pallance Road, at Northwood traffic lights and outside the Showground, where the danger was so great that Island Roads had to take action to infill the void beneath the cover to stop its imminent collapse. These are only a fraction of complaints that could be legitimately levied at the Utilities’ standards and care.
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Scaffolding Motion
Likewise, fed up with the inaction in taking any meaningful or productive steps in implementing any policy or procedure to properly regulate scaffolding that is erected on the Public Highway, I have submitted a Motion to January’s Full Council that we adopt Hampshire’s tried and tested policy (or similar), which is overseen by the head of their H&S department, who is no less than an ex-Principal Inspector for the HSE. I have, for some time, upheld that the current situation does not adequately check for standards of safety or competence, and that we have a public duty to do this. Not only that, but better regulation would be welcomed by the bona-fide scaffolding companies, who see the current situation as a downward spiral, encouraging bad practice and poor safety standards, a concern that was raised about the Island when the boss of one scaffolding company was killed, in Ryde, in 2001, through totally avoidable, habitual unsafe practice.
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Community Wellbeing
Most people who read my reports will know that I am a campaigner for community wellbeing, but I am also a campaigner to ‘cut the crap’ and have been highly critical of meaningless and jargon-full reports presented to Committee at County Hall, from all quarters (except Healthwatch), and the failure to present valuable information pertaining to a building crisis before it reaches that crisis point and falls to the Press to announce. I feel that there is an absence of openness and honesty in this regard, which could be seen as attempts to cover up significantly important matters. I will continue in this vein and take whatever opportunity arises to further this campaign in the changing of the guard at County Hall.
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John Nicholson
Ward Member for Northwood & Cowes South.

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