Ironbridge Business Consortium
This month I attended the Ironbridge Business Consortium (IBC) meeting. The IBC is a network of local businesses with the Gorge and a great opportunity for local businesses to meet and discuss ideas, events and issues in the local area.
Areas that were raised were signage to Station Yard car park and the P&R, which are areas I am already working on with the Council and will follow up on accordingly.
Let’s Go Quakers: Art Trail in the Ironbridge Gorge
I recently met with the organiser of a local event that will involve an accessible art trail of 12 giant ducks that will be exhibited around the Ironbridge Gorge later this year. We discussed the event, the opportunity of designing one of the giant ducks and sponsorship and agreed a plan of action of how I can support and further community and stakeholder engagement in the Gorge.
Meeting with the local community and raising issues on behalf of residents:
I regularly meet with local residents regarding issues and ideas in the Ward and this month it has been productive to meet with local residents on issues relating to planning, noise and speeding.
I have also been contacted by a local resident about improving one of our benches by the Museum of the Gorge and have raised this with the relevant officer to see how we can best refurbish.
Lincoln Hill, Ironbridge - Access only road
I have been liaising with the Police, the Council and the Coalbrookdale & Ironbridge C.E. Primary School regarding the contravention of traffic laws as Lincoln Hill as access only road. I have spoken with the primary school and they have kindly agreed to contact parents again regarding this to remind them that this is a no-through road, the Police are undergoing traffic surveys to monitor this and I am working with the Council to improve signage to reinforce the access only.
Work began to renovate the public toilets on the Museum of the Gorge car park on the 8th January. The work will falls into 2 distinct phases with one set of toilets being refurbished at a time with toilet facilities to be available for public use at each, during usual opening hours. The Museum of the Gorge toilets will begin first on 8th – 25th January with the toilets in the Market Square provisionally beginning on 29th January. I have also been working with the Council to ensure that the disabled toilets are stoma friendly having been approached by Telford Patient’s First Group as part of their campaign “Not all disabilities being visible”. I’m pleased to say that the planned works will incorporate the suggestions made to ensure that the disabled toilets are stoma friendly.
The existing public toilets at the Museum of the Gorge were due to remain open but the contractors did decided to close off the site. I spoke to our officer on the 9th January regarding this and requested that temporary toilets be installed as whilst it is one of our quieter periods, as the next available public facilities are too far. I am pleased to say that the temporary toilets were provided on the following Thursday and connected to services fully by the Friday.
The renovation of both toilets is something the Gorge Parish Council along with many residents, myself and businesses have been lobbying for so this real team effort has certainly paid off.
Following on from the snow we experienced, I have made contact with officers at Telford & Wrekin Council to see how we can look at the lessons learnt from the recent snow to ensure we take a proactive approach to how things could be improved to prepare for future snow events.
From speaking with officers on this, I proposed to collate a joint report with The Gorge Parish Council and proposed this at their last Full Council meeting. This would involve considering requests for frost routes, snow and ice routes or grit bin locations to see how we continue to make improvements. This will then be assessed in accordance with Council policies and feed into the Council’s overall action plan.
Having discussed this since with officers they look forward to receiving the collated report and have confirmed that they will review in accordance with the various policies. Requests for grit bins that meet the criteria can probably be actioned within this winter period. Any amendments to gritting routes that meet the policy criteria would be implemented in the following winter season.
I have also continued to report areas in the Gorge where tree damage is still apparent. Understandably the Council are still working through a large priority list due to the extensive damage we experienced and have logged the required jobs still outstanding.
The Coalbrookdale Foundry has been put on the market as Land and Buildings for sale. This is encouraging news that they are retaining the industrial units as part of the sale, which will hopefully encourage an industrial/commercial use. Sadly the site has attracted a number of intruders and from speaking with those on site this week, more intruders continue to visit with more particularly at the weekend. The site is being secured at present, sealing off all doors.
Regarding the remaining assets they still plan as before to sell most to UK companies.
I made contact with the agent and from the conversations I have had with JLL this is very much an open market process and they will consider the expressions of interest they receive. They have not gone out with a price for the site and each proposal will be evaluated on its individual merits and considered against planning considerations. JLL have carried out detailed analysis of the site to identify the opportunities and its constraints. However, at this moment in time the future is unknown and they are happy to enter into discussions with any interested parties and they very much have an open door to potential buyers.
What is encouraging is that from discussions, Aga appear to recognise their responsibility to find an appropriate use for the site and are keen to identify a deliverable scheme in planning terms and a use that considers the site’s historical significance.
Our Ironbridge Meadows & Pastures Group (IMAP) have been successful in securing over one £1,000 in funding for their creative workshops as part of the Telford’s 50th funding – many congratulations and I am sure we all look forward to seeing this project being delivered.
Lodge Field AGM
I attended the Lodge Field AGM on the 12th January and it lovely to enjoy a fascinating presentation by Ellie Colver from the British Dragonfly Society. The Lodge Fielders are a brilliant group of volunteers who in partnership with Telford & Wrekin maintain this stunning local nature reserve & continue to improve its biodiversity. It’s a vibrant group with an active work-party programme, annual picnic, surveys of species and the management of the field. Fielders are looking to get more people involved so do take a look at their Facebook page & their calendar of events is below:
I have been working on addressing street light issues in the word, particularly looking at streetlights that were not working on the steps to St Luke’s, The Square, Bath Road, Ironbridge and Merrythought having raised this directly with the Council.
Merrythought – This light is subject to a fault on the gear tray, however this is a Heritage style light and replacement units aren’t readily available. Prysmian have on order a new LED gear tray for this light. The delay is due to the fact that the tray has to be specifically made, and Prysmian are being quoted a delivery time and I hope that this will be replaced in February.
With regards to The Square, Prysmian have repaired the lights but had a few difficulties in terms of access with the MEWP vehicle as they had attended on numerous other occasions previously, but could not access due to parked cars.
The streetlights that were not working on Bath road have been repaired.
The light on the stairs to St Luke’s church has been repaired and I am working with St Luke’s Church and the Council to see if we can improve the lighting at the top of the stairs.
Crown Pub Hodge Bower
I continue to work closely with the Council on this and I am pleased to confirm that the developers finally submitted an application for the discharge of conditions attached to the Listed Building consent. These details have been approved and work is finally commencing on site. In terms of the condition of the site – the Council’s Planning Enforcement officers requested the removal of the heras fencing and the rubble/waste at the front of the site, and they have now erected proper solid timber site fencing.
St Luke’s Wall
The wall on St Luke’s has now been repaired using the recycled bricks from the original wall and a reclaimed brick to ensure the material is sympathetic to the local area. I am liaising with officers regarding future engineering work to see if additional works are required to safely stabilise this wall.