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Closure of Trowbridge Driving Test Centre: MP Andrew Murrison Speaks Out

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I understand from my MP Andrew Murrison's recent activity in the House of Commons that the Trowbridge Driving test centre is to be closed and anyone wanting to take the driving test must travel to Chippenham. The full exchange can be accesssed by following the links below:

speaker:Andrew Murrison : 2 Commons debates ===========================================

Driving Standards Agency (13 May 2008)

Andrew Murrison: On Friday I made the journey from Warminster to Chippenham. The hon. Gentleman may be interested to know that his Conservative opponent made a similar journey from Frome to Chippenham.

Both journeys took well over an hour on a good day, and that does not allow for people who come from places outside the main towns in our area.

Driving Standards Agency (13 May 2008)

Andrew Murrison: As the hon. Gentleman will know, Chippenham is not exactly easy terrain for those who do not know the lie of the land. He is right to say that the driving test is taken on the basis that the person involved does not necessarily have any familiarity with the stretch of road used, but people who are familiar with Chippenham are clearly at a distinct advantage in comparison with my constituents...

speaker:Andrew Murrison : 2 Written Answers ===========================================

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It is many years ago that I failed my first driving test which was for a motorcycle licence. I took the test in St Albans whilst I was familar with Finchley. I had a lot of difficulty remembering where I had to go and probably seemed unsure of my driving, whereas the truth was that I didn't know the locality and got lost and had to retrace my route.

This present proposal means that motorists and instructors will have to spend more time and fuel driving an unnecessary distance at a greater financial cost.

Posted on 20 May 2008 by Geoff Edwards

Freshford Mill, Freshford Village and Wikipedia

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The following article is copied from a Google cache of the Wikipedia article for Freshford. Since the article used to read as below, it has been edited 'dumbed down' one might say (although I don't like the phrase). The alterations although on the whole good, do remove the fact that a lot of residents have spent many hours trying to deter Bath and North East Somerset and councillors from permitting the development. The argument is that what is written below is one sided and does not give the other side of recommending that the application should be permitted. I have not had any comment on why this development should have been permitted from any of those parties involved: B&NES Planning, Government Office of the South West, councillors. Ypres Rose Devlopments have also refrained from putting forth their argument for wanting to build at Freshford Mill. Of course I just may be too close to the issue and maybe many will accept the present article.

If anyone wants to edit the present Wikipedia article they are quite entitled to do so. On an earlier date the complete article section below was just removed in its entirety.

Freshford is the current development at Freshford Mill.[citation needed] For the whole of the 21st Century, Freshford and its parish council, have had to spend a great amount of time trying to stop a development at Freshford Mill that would increase the population of the village and put great stress on the local roads[citation needed]. There has been some disagreement as to whether the development now being undertaken by Ypres Rose is unwelcome[citation needed]. The facts are that 80 percent of the village objected to the development that was proposed by Southern and Counties and only 1 person was in favour (provided the transport problems could be overcome). These facts come from the Freshford Parish Council's Extraordinary Meeting of the 22nd July 2002. The document may be found with some difficulty on the BANES Planning website but is more easily found (reproduced under APPENDIX F : DEMOCRATIC CONSULTATION AND PARISH COUNCIL EXTRAORDINARY MEETING) at

The development which is in progress, is to convert a disused industrial site within a Zone 3 flood plain into a residential estate. Flood plain zones as defined by DEFRA state that Zone 3 is one of high probability of annual flooding

Posted on 03 Mar 2008 by Geoff Edwards

God Bless the Postman! God help Amtrak!

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Dear Computer Shop

Thanks for responding to my enquiry. I have followed the instructions in your email to access Amtrak's website tracking system.

I regret to say that Amtrak are unable to find this address. The local depot say that the house should be beside the roadside, but nearly every house in Freshford is not beside a road and furthermore, the majority of houses have house names. They suggest that we put up sign posts to help their drivers find the addresses! (I suppose these would need to be visible to the driver, say 3 inch high lettering all on a properly varnished sign and oak post to satisfy planning)

If the driver, cannot find my cottage on Staples Hill which is close to the GPO red phone box then he will find that there is a map showing each house on Staples Hill. Stapled to the telegraph pole beside the phone box.

If the driver has the wit to telephone me then he should realise that, if he can't get an answer, that I am not out. I may be in the bath room or in the garden, and should not give up, but should phone again, or at least leave a message with a contact number.

I would have thought that if the drivers don't have GPS navigation at least their office should be able to support them. They should have a post code tracking system e.g. Microsoft Autoroute. If they have a computer they could simply enter my post code in a Google map search.

The above is part of an email to an Internet based shop, which needed to be sent, as even though I have not been out for two days my new TV has not been delivered. Apparently the driver could not find my address. The Post Office never has this trouble even though they may use a driver who I don't know.

As we save fuel by using the Internet to buy goods the carrier that a company uses can try to ensure that customers continue to shop with them or they'll go elsewhere. When we had a post office, other than the temporary one we have at present , these drivers could at least stop and ask 'the professionals'

Just another reason to continue to seek to open a new post office-shop

Posted on 28 Feb 2008 by Geoff Edwards

Wood as a Fuel

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<P>Living on Staples Hill means that if I want to use gas as a fuel I will have to pay several thousand pounds for its supply. Instead I use electric powered night storage heaters. Only one is switched on at present. In addition, in the evening, I light a wood burning fire, unless I go out, an evening down the pub means that I share heat with others -its part of the price of a pint of beer or glass of wine.</P>
<P>I estimate that I need 40 kgs of wood a day for one third of the year for heating. Thats 122 days x 40 which equals 4880 kgs per year, or approximately 5 tons of wood. Possibly I could also cook but my Jet Master fire is not designed for cooking. </P>
<P>Instead of using my electric cooker I mainly use my electric wok using a little oil and a lid to partly steam my food. I also use a steamer on the electric hob -using hot water from my kettle to save energy. A lot of my food hardly needs cooking but is nicer hot!</P>
<P>Burning wood is carbon neutral but does release toxic fumes. Can our population currently 60 million or about 25 million households use wood from the UK? We need at least 25 million x 5 tons or 125 million tons of wood a year to rely on wood as fuel for heating.</P>
<P>The facts are that roughly we are using less than 11 million tons of wood from our forests and importing timber. We also use thousands of tons of timber for paper and for other purposes -don't ask! Ideally we should be using wood as fuel, not fossil or nuclear fuel. Now what we produce from the forestry commission <A href="$file/trprod07.pdf" target=_self>wood production annual</A> is only part of what we could produce and use, but can we with our present population, grow 125 million tons of wood a year? Because that's what we need (probably more) </P>
<P>At present I love my wood fire and believe that we should be using wood as a fuel, and live in a small space that we can keep warm easily.</P>
Posted on 11 Jan 2008 by Geoff Edwards

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.

Posted on 17 Dec 2007 by Geoff Edwards

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