Local Chells Liberal Democrats have received a very positive response from local residents to the three Residents’ Meetings that they have organized recently. All residents at the meetings said that they thought the meetings were worthwhile and that they wanted the meetings to continue. Issues raised with local county councillor and borough councillor Robin Parker and local borough councillor Graham Snell included the following:

[Note answers are in red italics and are the ones given by Robin Parker at the meetings or are the result of Robin Parker’s research after the meetings.]

  • Do Stevenage Borough Council (SBC) suspend parking tickets in snow and ice?

No – but if yellow lines are covered in snow/ice they cannot reasonably be enforced.

  • Will Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) grit the steep top end of the side roads to The White Way, so residents can drive out in snow/ice?

No, but gritting routes are reviewed approximately every 2 years by HCC in the summer. When they were last reviewed in summer 2011, Robin Parker requested some extensions to the routes, but only a few very short stretches of roads were allowed by HCC. Robin will try again at the next review, expected in summer 2013.

  • A grit bin was removed by HCC some years ago from Marlborough Road. Why was it not replaced?

No-one at HCC (whom we have so far asked) knows, but HCC have refused to fit any new bins now for 2 years, even if paid for by councillors’ local budgets. This was an existing bin and should have been replaced and Robin Parker is pursuing this issue.

  • Who chose the colour of the new Nobel School buildings, because they look awful?

Robin Parker took up this matter with HCC Development Control. The developer (Mansells) chose the colour in consultation with the school, and they were chosen from a range of colours approved by HCC Development Control officials (RAL range). HCC Development Control agreed the colour because they were within the specified RAL range. The Ombudsman has found no fault in the methodology used by HCC. Complaints should now go to the school.

  • Lights at the Nobel School site at night are too bright for local residents, especially those in Wheatlands.

Robin Parker took up this matter with HCC Development Control and consequently HCC Development Control have taken up the matter with Mace, who are the project managers for HCC. The lights go off at 10pm. Houses are about 70m away. The school controls when the lights are on and how bright they are. The issue should be raised by residents with the school.  

  • Planting is needed on the boundary of Nobel School between the grounds and Wheatlands to screen car headlights from the car park affecting houses in Wheatlands.

Robin Parker took up this matter with HCC Development Control and consequently HCC Development Control have taken up the matter with Mace. Mace will not agree extra planting because it might not take under the tree canopy there, but they have now been asked by HCC Development Control to place a section of fencing to achieve the same effect.

  • Signs are needed in the Nobel car park asking visitors to leave quietly because it is in a residential area.

Robin Parker took up this matter with HCC Development Control and consequently HCC Development Control have taken the matter up with Mace and Nobel. This is essentially a matter for Nobel. The resident concerned will be contacted by HCC Development Control.

  • Can there be a blitz on parking in the bus lay-by at Emperor’s Gate? It is dangerous, illegal and unnecessary with the large car park at the rear of the shops.

This was taken up by Robin Parker with SBC Parking Enforcement and it has been agreed – especially during rush hours when it is a particular danger.

  • A 20 mph advisory speed limit sign is the wrong way round on Chells Way, near Camps Hill School. It should be for traffic going up the hill, not down.

Robin Parker has inspected this and it is actually a double sided sign, one side of which is unnecessary. This issue has been put by Robin in the hands of the HCC engineers.

  • The disabled parking bay next to the Day Centre just down from The Glebe in Chells Way is often used by a commercial business.

Robin Parker investigated this and the disabled parking sign is unenforceable. Disabled parking bay signs are of two types: advisory and enforceable. Most in Stevenage, including this one, are advisory only. However, Robin Parker has asked for a full review of these signs in Chells and Manor, with a view to making them all enforceable, but SBC say they have not yet got the officer time available to carry out this lengthy task. We will pursue it.

  • The new Vehicle Management Sign (VMS) on Six Hills Way near the junction with Marlboorugh Road, is an eyesore and a danger as it distracts drivers approaching a crossing point.

Robin Parker attended a site meeting on 8.3.2013 with local residents and HCC engineers and the sign is to be removed as soon as there is works capacity to do the job. Instead, HCC will place two smaller electronic signs integrated into directional signs, which together will be smaller than current direction signs, and these will be at (a) the left side of Chells Way approaching the Six Hills Way/Chells Way roundabout and (b) the left side of Six Hills Way between the roundabout of Gresley Way/Six Hills Way and the roundabout of Six Hills Way/Chells Way. This is exactly what Robin Parker asked HCC to do a month ago when the sign first appeared.

  • What can we do about the proposed Newhaven development on Drakes Drive, which will have balconies and will overlook properties in Frobisher Drive?

Residents should definitely write in to object to the planning officers at SBC. It can be al done on line on the SBC web site. The application reference number is: 13/00077/FPM.

  • There are too many potholes on local roads!

This is the responsibility of HCC. Under investment by HCC in our local roads for many years is partly to blame but there is always an increase in problems following a winter with ice/snow because of the damage done by water expanding when freezing. You should report all highways faults to the HCC Highway Fault Reporting web site (when it works). Robin Parker has reported a large number which he has spotted.

  • The recycling banks at The Glebe are a mess with over flowing items. It looks like a rubbish dump.

We agree. Robin Parker has asked the SBC Environmental officers to monitor this and act appropriately.

  • The only light in the cul-de-sac (15 – 41) Warwick Road is out.

Robin Parker has now reported this to HCC. Their standard for such repairs has now been increased to 20 working days, much as we disagree with this.

  • Can a sign be placed at the grasscrete parking area outside the church (St. Hugh and St. John) on Mobbsbury Way, to prevent casual parking?

Robin Parker has now requested this of SBC Parking Manager.

  • A tenant in Warwick Road reported that an SBC housing inspector failed to go up into her loft to look for a water leak and that she was supposed to do this.

This issue has now been taken up with Stevenage Homes by Robin Parker.

  • Complaints were raised about the proposed expansion to Luton Airport, since flights come straight over Chells, and the question was asked if they are flying more at night?

Complainants were advised that, whilst all other councillors at SBC had voted in favour of the expansion of Luton Airport at a SBC meeting on 10.10.2012, Robin Parker and Graham Snell had spoken and voted against it. It was noted that SBC has no powers at all in the matter, but Luton Borough Council do. People wishing to campaign against the proposed expansion were given contact details fro HALE (Hertfordshire Against Luton Expansion).

  • An issue was raised about beer and drinks cans being deliberately scattered by a resident in Camps Hill Park.

Robin Parker has taken this up with Environmental Enforcement officers at SBC.

  • The one way system in Pankhurst Crescent is often disobeyed by vehicles. Can we fit road flaps or make the whole road one way?

Robin Parker has taken this up with HCC traffic engineers.

  • Residents backing onto Chells Lane were told that the ancient hedge there would be trimmed, following extensive residents’ consultation. It was to be done from 4.2.2013, It was not done and subsequent enquiries revealed it will not be done. Why?

This is being taken up by Robin Parker.

  •  Despite earlier complaints, there is still a lot of overgrown hedge along the side of Valerian Way, especially near the junctions with Augustus Gate, Minerva Close and Gordian Way.

Residents who are responsible for the hedge are sent a letter asking them to trim it. If they do not do so, then SBC can do the work and recharge it to the owner. Robin Parker will take up what stage we are at with this issue.

  •  A number of residents from Raleigh Crescent expressed yet again the great difficulties that residents have in parking in Raleigh Crescent since SBC introduced yellow lines and the verge and footway prohibition order from 8.10.2012.

Robin Parker said that he and Graham have received dozens of complaints about this, but it was a council policy and they did not fully support it. He said that he and Graham had used their local budgets to help by providing 6 extra parking spaces between 16 – 34 Raleigh Crescent, at a cost of £9,134. These are now in use. Also there will soon be one more parking space near 45 -55 Raleigh Crescent, again paid for from his and Graham’s local budgets, at a cost of £1,650. These are the only spaces in Raleigh Crescent that could possibly be used for extra residential parking. Also, they had given the go ahead for provision of lighting in the compound off nearby Livingstone Link, in the hope that this large space might then be used by residents for parking. They had allocated £10,571 for this from their local budgets. In addition, they would investigate a resident’s claim that the residents were promised extra parking by an SBC officer near houses 69 – 73 Raleigh Crescent. Also, they would ask if there was any scope for removing some yellow lines, particularly on the straight sections of Raleigh Crescent. Also, they would ask if some of the yellow lines could be made applicable only at certain times. Robin agreed that this is a long running and difficult issue and that Raleigh Crescent had been the road affected worst by the parking restrictions – which is why he and Graham had allocated vast sums from their local budgets to help.

Note

SBC stopped the former regular Public Forums from April 2011. These Residents’ Meetings are an attempt by Robin Parker and Graham Snell to continue to provide a means of allowing residents to raise and discuss local issues. Some are held at the Church Hall, St. Hugh and St. John Church. Mobbsbury Way, and some at the Main Hall, Chells Manor Community Centre, Emperor’s Gate. A company is paid to deliver a leaflet advertising the meeting to each door in the whole area prior to each meeting. The costs of the room hire and delivery are met from the local budgets of Robin Parker and Graham Snell, amounting to about £250 per meeting. There is no official agenda or papers or secretarial support (this is done by Robin Parker and Graham Snell). Residents can raise any local relevant issue. The Chair is Robin Parker.