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Freshford Mill Bridge Damage

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Freshford Mill bridge damaged in early September 2008 still a potential killer!

It is now january 2009. Although complaints have been made by our parish council about the damage to Freshford Mill bridge caused by a lorry trying to get to the A36 via the bridge and Rosemary lane that damage has still not been dealt with. Hazard tape was used to identify the loss of the bridge railings. I surmised that this hazard tape was an emergency measure to warn passers by of the danger. But there has been no attempt to restore the bridge railings to protect the public.  Furthermore this tape is now missing and there has been further damage to the railings supports, possibly caused by a reversing lorry that had realised a mistake had been made and had attempted a three point turn.

The photographs below are of the current state of the bridge. Apart from when the river Frome is in flood anyone falling off the bridge will most likely die as the river is rarely deep enough to cushion a fall. If the river is high then only a very powerful swimmer could survive falling in.

Freshford Mill Killer Bridge Damage

The missing railings also do not provide any protection for a vehicle which could also fall ten feet or more. I would not have thought that the occupants of any vehicle that went off the bridge into the river would also survive very long.

There is also the danger to anyone on horseback. This an area of the countryside where we have visitors, even in mid-Winter taking a short break and why not? Even at this time of year our countryside is beautiful. It is a shame that they are exposed to such a risk that could turn a pleasant country walk into a tragedy.

How long must we wait till this bridge is made safe? what acceptable explanation is there for not making this bridge safe within a few days? Let alone over three months?  Are the people who are responsible for public safety so ignorant and uncaring as to risk the lives of young children? what stranger would realise, even an adult that there is such a danger? I had to warn a couple with a pushchair and two youngsters who were about to cross over the bridge of the danger. By their reaction I realised that it was not obvious to them that there was such a danger.

What department of Bath and North East Somerset is responsible for this irresponsible lapse in duty of care? And perhaps more important who is being paid to do absolutely nothing?

Freshford High St Cars Illegally Parked

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Some more photos of cars that are parked illegally. There is this particular law because it is needed to protect people from this type of selfish activity.

An article on this problem  The law from the Highway Code:

244

You MUST NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement in London, and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it. Parking on the pavement can obstruct and seriously inconvenience pedestrians, people in wheelchairs or with visual impairments and people with prams or pushchairs.

[Law GL(GP)A sect 15] Refer to 

Van Illegally Parked

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Does the driver of this van believe that he is parking sensibly? Nice that he has moved his vehicle off the road to some extent? Nice for other motorists.  Shared spaces? Or just ignorance. Just down the road was an elderly women with two dogs who would have to move into the road to pass this van. Are there elderly people who are unwilling to have a walk in the centre of the village because it is dangerous? what if you were losing your eyesight, or were unsteady on your feet, or were accompanying little children how safe would you feel. The pavements are dangerous anyway.

What a motorist does is manoeuvre his or her vehicle which on average weighs at least three quarters of a ton using his feet and hands. If he makes a mistake someone will get injured, and the person most likely to get injured is a pedestrian. I suppose if we had shared spaces this type of parking would not be illegal as the pavement would not exist?

Inconsiderate Parking

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I fail to understand why some people believe that given the freedom to use the maximum road space as in the shared spaces philosophy that some people will NOT act in an inconsiderate manner; example below.

Pavements with their kurbs provide a measure of protection from vehicles. The kerbside also provide drainage and what used to be a place where the dog could do its business -although this is illegal now. The photograph below shows someone's car parked on the pavement in the High street Freshford.

Car parked on the pavement in Freshford

Perhaps, the motorist believes that he or she is acting in the best interests of other motorists in that there is more width available to passing vehicles if their car is parked on the pavement. Or, perhaps the driver thinks that their car is a little safer from being damaged by a passing vehicle. However, the law is the law and has been made for a good reason.

The kerb not only protects pedestrians it is also a strong deterrent to motorists to keep away from the pavements, as to hit a kerbstone in good condition, will usually ruin a tyre.

The pavements in Freshford have become lower with periodic road surfacing and should be restored to the level required to protect pedestrians. It should be remembered that the kerb at its proper height will help to divert a vehicle away from the pavement. Or is B&NES council seeking to save money by removing pavements altogether?

 

Dogs (fouling of Land) Act 1996 Example

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Another example of dog poo. Sorry dog, its not your fault! on someone's drive.

Maybe a DNA test could be used to identify the dog (or rather its owner) Incidentally, paternity DNA tests for dogs are cheaper than that for humans -probably because they are more common!

I wonder whether we need to put a notice up on our land: No dog poo allowed! Cat poo is another issue but not well documented. But whatever the animal they know that one does not s**t in one's own backyard!

In praise of cats, apart from being a lot more cuddly than dogs they do catch a lot of vermin, your big fluffy cat can quite easily kill a large rat. I once had a cat who used to actually use the toilet, although he couldn't pull the chain! and the same cat did a poo over the plug hole of the bath! I then decided it was time to cut a cat flap into my garden door. Much to the relief of my cat when he was chased by a fox (I was living in London at the time)

Parking on the Pavement

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Today I note, and photograph this vehicle parked entirely on the pavement in Freshford Somerset and West Wiltshire.

This inconsiderate behaviour is illegal. How does this evidence support the case for Shared Spaces?  What is the driver thinking? That they are helping other motorists to have more space to pass them? Or is it that they are thinking that by parking thus their is less chance of their vehicle being damaged by another motorist? Pedestrians?

 

Shared Spaces Initial Impressions

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As I have mentioned before I missed the lecture on Shared Spaces. But this does not preclude my right to add my observations on what I consider to be a very dangerous philosophy. Whilst pedestrians may share spaces with other pedestrians without the necessity to have regulation of their movements, there are situations where such regulation is necessary. For example, keeping to the left (in the UK) on stairs both in buildings and in particular in underground railway stations helps people to help each other to keep out of the way, in what are often extremely busy environments. But to share spaces on an equal basis with motorists is almost completely nonsense. One does not argue with the mass of a car, which is on average at least three-quarters of a ton.

Perhaps many years ago when motoring was restricted to well to do people there was little necessity for regulation. After all to be well to do one had to have money and usually having money was associated with a decent upbringing and a good education. Factors which tended to endow such people with an understanding and sympathy for others that is often missing in contemporary British society. However one doesn't have to have a decent upbringing and a good education these days to own a motor car.

And, we all feel that we are quite capable of behaving sensibly in our cars without such regulation, after all it is the others who need such regulation. Scrap the drink drive regulations as well, after all the more I drink the slower and more carefully I drive, up to the point where I am so drunk as to fall asleep in my vehicle (an offence!) Joking aside this Shared spaces concept is a little more complicated than scrapping speed limits etc but it is dangerous. I will add further comments on another post but for the time being if you feel you would like to refresh your understanding of the concept or if like me you missed it then why not refer to the Wikipedia article Shared Space

Dogs (fouling of Land) Act 1996

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Its unfortunate that some people are unwilling to collect and dispose of their dog's excrement. part of the pleasure of living in the countryside is to use footpaths rather than roads. However, I won't use my local bridleway at night because I don't want to tread in dog poo. I understand that unless a footpath or bridleway is maintained by the local authority there is nothing preventing dog owners from allowing the dog to foul the ground on which people including children may walk.

During the day, if I do notice dog poo I pick up a stick and use it to move the poo off away from the pathway. for footpath, pavements and other ground that is either owned of maintained by the local authority it is now (since 1996) an offensive for the person in charge of the dog to not take steps to remove that dog's excrement. For B&NES council's information visit:

www.bathnes.gov.uk/BathNES/environmentandplanning/animalwelfare/Dogs/DogFouling.htm

Within Freshford village there are footpaths that are regularly fouled by dogs. What could be a safer option for parents taking their children to school is thus denied to them by the selfish attitude of the dog owner. Under the circumstances, anyone seeing a dog fouling the footpaths, pavements and council owned land should tactfully remind the person in charge of the dog that they should remove the offending excrement. It is not sufficient under the law to just move the poo off to one side, it has to be removed. (However, if you are not in charge of the dog, then why not follow my example and use a stick to move the poo off  the pathway)

"Bath and North East Somerset Council adopted the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996 in September 1998.  The whole of Bath and North East Somerset was designated, which means that any person in charge of a dog must clean up after it forthwith, on any land which is open to the air and to which the public are entitled or permitted to have access.  A copy of the Designation Order can be viewed at the Council Offices, Riverside, Keynsham.

Failure to clean up after your dog is an offence.  Anyone seen allowing their dog to foul and not clean up after it will be approached by the Dog Warden and will either be put forward for prosecution, or be issued a Fixed Penalty of £50.  The owner will have the opportunity to pay the Fixed Penalty and thereby avoid conviction.  The Penalty would have to be paid within 14 days.  If it is not paid, the owner may be prosecuted and, if found guilty of the offence, fined a maximum of £1,000.

Registered Blind persons with dogs are the only exemption.

The Act does not apply to: 

  • roads outside the 40mph limit and land running alongside them
  • agricultural land (other than footpaths that cross them)
  • commercial woodland
  • rural common land
  • land which is predominantly marshland, moor or heath"

B&NES

 

Letter in Support of Village Shop Planning Application

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I have published my comments on the planning application below:

Although a Wilsthire resident I live closer to Freshford village centre than to Westwood. To save fuel I would prefer to shop in Freshford as it is only a short walk away. The proposed application does provide parking for those who need to do more shopping and who are dropping off or collecting children from the school. This will reduce the congestion along Freshford Lane.  As the proposed shop is located adjoining the Freshford Memorial Hall and is close to a children's playground the shop will foster community relations and reduce the risk to children from traffic. I don't think that the location  of the shop would detract from the appearance of the neighbourhood.

Sustrans Lotto Bid and the Eden Project

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Whilst I felt that the Eden Project would, no doubt have been able to make use of the funds to further the development of the most  important centre in the World for the preservation of the environment (my opinion!) I also liked the  Sustrans Connect 2 project. Why not money for both folks, £50 million is only 83 pence each!

Tim Smits' Eden website has sent an email message to its supporters: Eden Message from Director Yes, we really do need a means to get from A to B without risking being mown down by traffic. Money well spent, provided Sustrans can manage it. Tim Smit is a financial genius and the money would not have been wasted. I hope that Sustrans will be able make efficient use of the money.

Freshford Church of England Primary School Do We Care?

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Sustainability is a new word. For its meaning why not read this article: http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainability At the root of any communities ability to survive and thrive there has to be a school. Freshford has a school, but to be honest, the way in which the school's needs are being ignored leads me to believe that maybe a significant number of residents do not care. The school is central to sustainable development as a community.

Lets take the space that's available for outside activities, it is quite restricted, certainly not conducive to running around. The school is using that space well, but it was denied the space that it needs because the adjoining field is owned by a group of residents who are not prepared to allow any of it to be used. That's what I understand anyway, perhaps that's not the case.

Similarly, it is patently obvious that many parents need to use their cars to deliver their children to school. One Factor being that the parents drop their children off enroute to going to work. Yet the possibility of having an off road parking area along Freshford Lane adjoining the school is again blocked by this group of owners of the field. Instead, parents have to park along Freshford lane causing traffic chaos at least twice a day.

There is a continuing and very real danger that someone's child is going to be injured. The necessity for children to have to walk in front of the school bus for example is absurd. The driver cannot even see whether there are any children in front of his vehicle and a child is invisible to passing cars. Even an adult has to take great care. The unacceptible facts are that some motorists who come down Freshford lane at these times, lose their patience and when the road is somewhat clear they drive too fast.

The situation is made worse by there being no pavement, no pedestrian way to negotiate the road junction in safety. This situation will now be described as an example of Shared Spaces! Whereas it is really an example of cocked up planning. Photographs of the junction may be scrutinised here: Road Junction Centre of Freshford

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