20 Sep 2008

Local news: brook, sewage, footpaths, Alec Alder and more

Here's some bits of local stuff from this week:

Ruscombe Schoolboy walks for charity - another SNJ feature was about Luka Chadwick, aged 10, who goes to Whiteshill Primary and walked the whole of the 21-mile Five Valleys Walk to raise funds for the Meningitis Trust. In 2001 he became ill on the day of the Five Valleys Walk and arrived in hospital unconscious - it was diagnosed as having viral meningitis - he came home after 2 weeks where he made a full recovery. See photo with his mum Anneke De Winter.

Alec Alder featured - was featured in the SNJ this week - aged 90 - he lives in Westrip, owned a coal merchants and A and A taxis - and used to be the minister for the old Pentecostal church in Ruscombe for 40 years - he talks to the SNJ this week about how he has cheated death 14 times - one of those cycling to Paganhill from Randwick down a lane where a car hit him anyone travelling down Puckshole today will know it is possibly even more dangerous - which leads me onto the next item as a tributary of the brook is flooding that road...

Ruscombe Brook Action Group meets - we met for the first time since our AGM in July - 15 of us in a home in Ruscombe on Tuesday night - there was much to catch up on - we started with an update from Adam on Ilaria's report and its implications for Ruscombe Brook (see more here). This is very exciting as Illaria's report instead of recommending one pond and dam to stop water flooding the Slad Road (it would need to be a one kilometre long pond!!) recommends a series of small ponds all the way up the valley - just like the old days - if this can take place it will be ground-breaking - the only scheme in the country. So to allay fears a smaller scheme is being considered first in Stonehouse - if these work then we will be looking at Ruscombe - the reality is that in those other two areas the priority is greater as homes are flooded - having said that we will also be looking at measures in Ruscombe with the landowners. We then had a presentation from Alastair and Erfan on their ecological
survey of biodiversity in Ruscombe Brook. this was fascinating and I hope to put it on the planned new website we are seeking funds for at the moment. Much else was covered and much apple cake eater - also looking at a direct action group to clear out the ditch at Puckshole - RBAG members are in touch with the landowner - more of that soon - in fact have had lots of phone calls so will do a separate blog on that v soon.

Update on local sewage works - Just to recap slightly, the flow survey was completed a while ago and the hydraulic model has also now been verified. This indicated that there is a
capacity issue within the main Ruscombe Brook sewer. Further survey work has been undertaken by Severn Trent within some of the subcatchments which feed into the main Ruscombe Brook sewer to help us all identify possible solutions. These subcatchments contain significant areas of private drainage systems for which there were no records available. This has meant tracing sewer routes and undertaking manhole surveys where necessary. Severn Trent are also in the process of undertaking some initial impermeable area surveys to identify which areas drain to the foul system and what drains to surface water sewers. Once they have undertaken these surveys they are hoping then to be able to start formulating outline solutions. This is all good news - and a very different picture from 3 years ago when we started the brook group and the water company was saying there wasn't a problem - now they are working with us on this.

Sewage incident - sewage incidents used to be many and often - however we now get them rarely - there was the first one for a while reported to us about 2 weeks ago - a manhole cover opened with the heavy rains near homes before Hamwell Leaze. Hopefully once problems are identified these incidents will be further reduced.

Conmen in Whiteshill - Police have checked on homes in Whiteshill after conmen stole from a home there - however it appears they seemed to have targeted one home specifically.

Wheelers Walk footpath update - Some will remember I have complained about the state of this path that was impassable at points this summer - see here - I wrote several times as got no answer - yesterday I did - here it is: The Public Rights of Way Team carried out a condition survey of all paths in the County last year. This path was inspected on 21 December 2007. There was no evidence of a drainage problem although it was muddy. The path was again inspected yesterday. I again found no evidence of a drainage problem. I consider this path to be in a condition I would expect at this location and at this time of year, especially taking into account recent weather conditions. The path follows a hill with a steep gradient. The amount of rain over the last few weeks which has poured down the hill has caused the ground to become muddy at the point where the access from Wheelers Walk meets the field. Apart from walkers exercising their dogs, this is obviously, due to the amount of graffiti and litter, an area where kids congregate. I have now inspected this path in the middle of winter and after a period of sustained rain. I do not consider that a bridge or boardwalk is necessary at this location. I will arrange to inspect the path again however after a period of relatively dry weather to ascertain whether the surface has indeed improved. It does seem the path has improved - the litter (eg polystyrene, cardboard etc) was mostly put down so that folk could cross the site - and the sewage smell is currently not present but I am not confident the problem has gone away.

Buy or Barter Brunch - and event from Transition Stroud - Sunday 21st September 11.00 – 1.00 - Mills CafĂ©, High Street, Stroud - £2 entry - a challenging and fun way to get good local food and think about trading and a local currency Please bring (locally sourced if possible) food to share. On arrival your £2 will be exchanged for a local currency which you can then use to buy, sell, trade or barter the various wares on offer to make a tasty brunch. Arrival and coffee 11.00, then 11.30 buy or barter begins. Don't forget Sunday is also the day for flags outside Sub Rooms at 3pm - see more here.

Bus stop at Stratford Road - many will know we have been campaigning for years for this - we heard earlier in the year Tesco were set to build one but it is still not there - a resident has contacted me this week to see why not - in my emails to the County and Tesco I have learnt that approval from Tesco to release funds will be made this week. Hopefully that means it wont be too long.....especially with autumn coming - although I reckon we could have done with it this summer!!

Dangerous footpath made more dangerous - a footpath we have highlighted many times since a meeting with Highways - see here - has finally seen some action - exactly the action we said we didn't want = the Wardens path has been addressed with the installation of a low metal barrier across a short section at the top of the bank. However, as we had predicted the children/youths/adults treat it as a challenge and leap over it and as a result go down the bank even faster and with even less control than before. It more than annoys me that public money has been wasted on a totally ineffective scheme and that once again neither the Parish Council nor myself were consulted or even given the opportunity to comment - baaaaaaaaaaaaah! I will be writing to the County!

Basketball hoop for Whiteshill and Ruscombe Parish - the Parish Council have accepted the free hoop that I have managed to obtain from Stratford Park - more of that coming soon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This was in Citizen today:

THE luckiest man in Britain lives in Gloucest- ershire and has cheated death 14 times. Alec Alder, who has reached a milestone 90 years of age, has survived car crashes, war-time bombings and even remained unscathed after a fighter plane smashed through his window as he slept. Further miraculous escapes include a 15ft fall from a tree and a close shave when he avoided being sent to Dunkirk in 1939 – where, sadly, his whole squadron were killed. Now the grandfather-of-six from Stroud says he must be "the luckiest fella alive". The first of his near-death experiences came as a 10-year-old boy, when he was hit by a car as he cycled down a narrow country lane. Mr Alder said: "I went straight into the car, up into the air and landed spread-eagled on the bonnet". Amazingly, the driver turned out to be a doctor who treated him at the scene. A decade later and Mr Alder's life was saved once more, following the outbreak of the First World War. In October 1939, at age 21, he was drafted into the Gloucestershire Regiment of the Territorial Army (TA) and his squadron was called up to fight at Dunkirk. Mr Alder's wedding to his fiance Ada was brought forward by two months and he was given five days leave. When he returned to his barracks after his honeymoon, his former company marched out to Dunkirk but he was sent to Cheltenham. Less than six weeks later, his entire troop was killed. Mr Alder, a retired coal merchant, said: "All my friends got killed at Dunkirk and I should have been with them." In 1942, he was in Yorkshire, when a tank came within inches of hitting his chest and head, but rolled harmlessly over his foot instead. Mr Alder said: "Fortunately, the ground was muddy and it pushed my foot and leg into the mud." That year Mr Alder was posted to Devon, where he stayed with relatives. As he slept, a British fighter crashed into the house. He said: "The roof collapsed around me and the plane burst into flames and crashed back into the garden. If it had been two feet lower, it would have burst into flames in my room." Towards the end of the war, Mr Alder was sent to Burma where he broke his leg playing football. He ended up in hospital in India where a ward matron saved his life and he became a Christian. Mr Alder later worked as a church minister in the Stroud region and explains his survival by saying: "I think it was divine purpose". His wife, Ada, died last year. Their children Paul and Maureen, are 67 and 60 and have six children.