Report from I.W. Councillor Roger Mazillius

Posted by IWC Admin on Thursday, 23rd April 2009, 00:00

COUNCILLOR ROGER MAZILLIUS
I.W. COUNCILLOR FOR NORTHWOOD
21 OXFORD STREET, NORTHWOOD
ISLE OF WIGHT PO31 8PT
Tel: 01983 295556
Email:
roger.mazillius@iow.gov.uk

REPORT – MAY 2009

MILLION BLOOMS GARDENS

As promised in last month’s Northwood News, the new public gardens have been built. My thanks to John Pullen and Colin and Eileen Palmerton for joining me in the hard work necessary to finish what I hope residents will agree is a most worthwhile project and which adds to Northwood’s reputation as one of the most floral parts of the Island. I am particularly grateful to John for his consistent input.

May I also mention the large number of residents who personally thanked us outside the Post Office during our labours there. This thoughtfulness was much appreciated.

ALLOTMENTS

All 18 allotment holders are now well and truly hard at work on their plots and much produce has been planted and sowed. John and myself, with help from Len Measures of Pallance Road, have completely fenced in the site with rabbit wire which we hope will enable all this produce to reach the dining table!

It is also hoped that such will be the quality of the vegetables grown on our new village allotments, that our Annual Village Produce Show (at the W.I. Hall on Saturday 15th August) will have many prize-winning entries from allotment holders!

The last two plots are available and it is not too late to get digging to harvest in the autumn. Parish Clerk Barbara Herbert on 01983 290086 has all the details and anyone wishing to have a look round before committing themselves is most welcome to pay a visit during “opening hours” (more or less every day up to dusk) or interested parties can ring me for a conducted tour.

ROADS RESURFACING PROGRAMME

Winter weather impact on Island roads

The combination of this winter’s high rainfall, snow and freezing temperatures has caused a huge amount of damage to the Island’s highway network. This problem is not unique to the Island and the severe weather conditions have damaged roads throughout the country. Whilst the Council has staff who regularly inspect our roads, it is helpful if any specific problems are reported by members of the public. This can be done by telephoning direct to 01983 821000 or to myself on 01983 295556.

Large numbers of potholes are being infilled daily and to speed up the process the Council’s contractors have been instructed to attend all potholes in a road, not just those marked out by the Highway Superintendents and Inspectors. The location and nature of some of the potholes means that the Council has to undertake temporary repairs whilst the permanent repairs are planned and actioned. Particular problems are being experienced where potholes are full of water and sometimes these have to be left for a return visit during a dry period, since the bituminous macadam will not stay in place.

Highway Private Finance Initiative

As has been mentioned in the press in recent months, the Council has been chosen as one of three authorities to receive Government grant for a  Pathfinder Highway Maintenance project. This will not be a charge on the Council Tax.  This will result in the Island’s roads and pavements being brought up to standard over a seven year period and maintained in that condition for a further 18 years. The total value of the contract to be let is expected to be in the region of £900m.

Road Maintenance and Surfacing

In the meantime the first part of the 2009/10 highway maintenance programme provides for the delivery of a major resurfacing contract worth £3m. The tenders for that contract have now been received and evaluated. I will let residents know when Northwood’s re-surfacing will be carried out, particularly the A3020 link with Cowes and Newport which I have asked to be done as soon as possible.

FIRE SERVICE REORGANISATION

I support the Council’s plans to improve and modernise the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service in an £8million reorganisation.

This will involve the launch of a major public consultation exercise – backed by the Fire Brigades Union – that would see the service employ a greater number of whole-time fire-fighters, reducing its reliance on part-time retained staff.

Reorganisation is necessary largely to address this reliance on retained staff which has at times given rise to problems in ensuring adequate sustainable coverage across all Island Fire Stations.

Whilst there are proposals to build a new Fire Station in Newport, I am pleased to also be able to tell Northwood residents that it is proposed that Cowes Fire Station will remain open to serve Cowes and the surrounding area.

SCHOOL REORGANISATION UPDATE – SCHOOL COMPETITIONS

Last month the Office of Public Management staged a seminar at Cowes Yacht Haven, the purpose of which was to explain the process of schools competitions and what is entailed in preparing and submitting a bid to open a school. This was well attended with approximately 100 delegates. In addition there were a number of roadshows that took place across the Island.

Official notices have been published seeking applications from groups or organisations interested in running seven schools that will be created when the Island moves from a three-tier to a two-tier education system.

Bidders have four months to submit their proposals and two of the more local schools to Northwood are Cowes High and Medina High. I understand much interest has been shown in the future running of these two schools.

Further information about the process can be found at the links below –

www.teachernet.gov.uk/management/tools/schoolhandbooks/competitions/

www.iwight.com/education/news/2009/business_education/

COWES ONE SCHOOL PATHFINDER

The Council held four seminars to outline its plans for the One School Pathfinder project in Cowes. The project will see a state-of-the art, purpose-built secondary school built on the existing Cowes High site.

The aim is that this new building will offer genuine community learning opportunities so the Council is therefore keen that the community is involved in shaping the design and ethos of the Pathfinder project.

Members, parents, businesses and the general public all attended the event at Cowes Yacht Haven last month and further information can be found at the link below –

http://eduwight.iow.gov.uk/schools/reorganisation/cowesone.asp

Both myself and Wyatts Lane resident Jon Ely are Governors of Cowes High School and will be more than pleased to deal with any queries residents may have about the future of this school.

EVENTS UPDATE

The Council support continues for a number of events this year; namely, Isle of Wight Walking Festival, Cowes Week, Isle of Wight Music Festival, Isle of Wight Cycling Festival and the Big Day Out.

Work to promote the eleventh annual Walking Festival in May is well underway and the events team has secured sponsorship from a number of organisations as well as adding new walks to bring the total to over 300 walks. Pre-registrations have so far exceeded other years so the event promises to be another record breaker. The launch kicks off on Saturday 9th May with a Fire Walk on Newport Quay, lantern parade and live music.

For more details visit www.isleofwightwalkingfestival.co.uk.

JUNE COUNCIL ELECTIONS

Due to the IW Council elections, which are taking place alongside the European Elections on 4th June, and to the complexities of electoral law and procedures, I will not be writing a Roger’s Report for the next two issues of Northwood News, even to report on non-political matters. In the meantime I am permitted to say how proud I have been to have represented the people of Northwood for the past eleven years and I take this opportunity to thank you all for allowing me that privilege. Both Jill and myself send our very best of wishes – in the meantime we look forward to seeing you out and about in the village as usual!

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