Present: Sheila Weightman (Chair), John Redford (Vice Chair), Sue Brookes (Secretary), Annette  Greenwood, Elaine Hughes, David Grice, Rebecca Morris (Committee Members), Cllrs Dan  Jellyman and Rachel Kelsall, PCSO Matt Onions and Sean Woodward, Michelle Shaker  (Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership) Kevin Hawkins (Stoke CC Local Matters Co-ordinator)  and 28 local residents 

Apologies: Joan Shore, Arthur Emanuel, Lesley Gerhardt, Peter Cash, Carole Bradley, Paul  Capewell (Stoke CC Community Development Officer) and Chris Norman (Senior Civil Engineer  in charge of BOR upgrading at Stoke CC) 

SW welcomed everyone to our first AGM since May 2019. Since there had been a break of almost  eighteen months because of the pandemic, the minutes of the last AGM were not considered. 

Chairman’s Report 

SW began with a report on the Oldacres Road defibrillator, financed by local residents and local  councillors and installed after the tragic death of a young resident. TSRA has adopted the project  and is responsible for the management with AE as project leader. SW said that the pads for this  

would be replaced in December 2021 at an inclusive cost of £48 and the battery would be replaced  in June 2023. AE continued to do regular maintenance checks. TSRA had adopted the stretch of  canal from Longton Road to Barlaston locks in the last two years and subsequently dog litter bins  had been installed and signage repainted. Overhanging branches were due to be cut and banks  restored. New signage was on display at the AGM for residents’ approval, particularly signs  advising cyclists that pedestrians had the right of way on the towpaths. JR was responsible for  working with the Canal River Trust and asked for volunteers for a working party to help with the  upkeep of our local stretch and said that CRT’s Beth Dawid had been a great help by providing  bulbs (the previous supply having been eaten by squirrels or taken by vandals) but that we still  needed someone to donate four or five bags of peat. Volunteers should contact JR after the meeting. SW then asked for a report on the Trentham Womblers’ litter-picking group. RM said that  information could be found on the Facebook page and Instagram. There were litter picks every two  months with up to 183 volunteers. Refuse bags could be found at Taylors Butchers, Trentham  Bakehouse, Trentham Parish Church and the BOD. The next litter pick would be on Saturday 27th November and contact could be made via [email protected] 

At this point SW introduced KH, the Local Matters Co-ordinator, to ask him to undertake the  election of a new committee. Although the present committee members had all agreed to stand  again, they did hope that new members would join them. SW was re-elected as Chair with JR as  Vice Chair, SB as Secretary, JS as Treasurer, EH, AG, RM and DG as Committee Members. RM  also agreed to become the new Social Media Co-Ordinator. KH thanked the past and present  committee members and said that anyone could join the committee at any point in the year. SW continued by saying that it had been suggested that residents contribute to the Queen’s Canopy  for Jubilee in 2022 by planting a tree, although it has yet to be decided where this should be. Cllr  RK said an application for funding needed to be submitted by 31st October 2021. SW finished by  saying JS our Treasurer was ill but had sent a report saying that our accounts had been verified by  our Community Development Officer and these contained the £229 for the defibrillator fund, £336  for the Neighbourhood Plan plus £277 for TSRA.  

Police Report 

PSCO Matt Onions asked everyone to contact 101 whenever they had a complaint as all calls to this number were filed, so that patterns of criminality might be shown. Contact could also be made via  the Staffordshire/Stoke Police Facebook pages. There had been problems with youngsters smoking cannabis on the towpath, burning fires and drinking alcohol in Hem Heath Woods and taking 1 vehicle in the Hanford area. One resident had witnessed two incidents in the last three weeks;  ducks had been killed with catapults or bottles thrown at them. As he had photos of the miscreants  as evidence, PCSO MO suggested sending these to the police. Generally, it was felt that there  needed to be more physical police presence on the Burrington Road estate and the towpath,  although it was appreciated that on occasions policemen in plain clothes had made an appearance.

Speeding on BOR 

SW said that prior to the onset of the pandemic in March 2020 some TSRA members had had a  meeting with David Stubbs, the Council’s Strategic Manager for Highways Infrastructure and  Transport (!) to discuss the erection of a digital monitoring system. At a subsequent meeting in  September 2021 DS said that speed signs didn’t seem to deter speeding drivers according to the  data. DS said that he would arrange for larger and more frequent “30mph” road signs. TSRA asked for more frequent visits by the speed monitoring unit and suggested that this be located at less  obvious sites on BOR. Michelle Shaker of Speedwatch then demonstrated a hand-held radar device and said that speed watchers should work in groups of three so that they were able together to  decipher a registration number plate and to present a united front to aggressive drivers. It was often  better to work away from one’s “home patch”. Within Staffordshire there were 62 active groups  with 470 volunteers. Any driver caught twice within Staffordshire would receive a visit from a  police officer but this had happened on only ten occasions previously.There would be a three hour  training session for volunteers plus the provision of all equipment including hi-viz jackets. Two  residents volunteered to join the Speedwatch Group.  

BOR Resurfacing Project 

Chris Norman had sent his apologies, explaining that the reason for his absence was because of the  delay with the project. He said that when trial holes were dug, it was found that some fibre optic  cables had not been set as deeply as they needed to have been for the resurfacing (!!) so there would have to be a new design implemented suitable for the level of traffic on BOR. He would be happy  to attend an extraordinary meeting to meet residents once this was in place. One resident, a cyclist,  said that the stretch from Jonathan Road towards Wedgwood Drive was very dangerous particularly  at night, when he was forced to ride in the middle of the road, since the verges and roadside were  pitted and uneven. JR said that the 400 metres of roadside from the end of the Golf Course to  Strongford were collapsing. Another resident said that there was frequent flooding by BOR Garage, also making the road dangerous. The overall view was that, if the BOR restructure were to be  delayed, these locations needed immediate improvement as an interim measure. Apparently, Chris  Norman is undertaking discussions with Staffs BC as the road improvement needs to be done as a  joint venture. 

Councillors’ Report 

DJ said that he would discuss the problem of poor drainage and kerbage with the City’s engineers  and would hope that the redesign issue could be solved quickly. He said that BOR should be built  to the same specifications as the A34 and would cost about £1million. (The annual resurfacing  budget for the whole city is £5 million). RS said that the cost of a road from Strongford to the A34  had been estimated at £1.2million but he felt that it could be done for even less. STW needed to be  forced to build this. DJ said that it was not possible to force a private company to take such actions  but residents argued that STW was also a utilities company. DJ said that councillors had objected to the last two developments at Strongford and that, should a further planning application be  submitted, this would be granted solely on the condition that the link road with the A34 were built  first by STW. There were complaints that councillors did little to prevent private companies from  frequently digging up local roads. SW said that she would start to put complaints about STW on the TSRA Facebook site as the firm was anxious to appear caring towards its local community. RR  said that the Council had given STW a licence fifteen years ago to bring in waste from the North  and Midlands, resulting in HGVs accessing BOR from 7 am to 8pm seven days a week.

GR said that lorries passed her house at 4am/5am on certain mornings, contravening the restrictions  placed on their licences. There were two large potholes by her gate and the movement of HGVs  crossing these caused enough vibrations to make the house shake. RR said that the plans for BOR  had no off-run gulleys on the residential side of the road, so the new road would effectively have no drainage. The gulleys passed under the road and thus flooded the ditches aligning the Golf Club.  DJ said that the work on BOR would take two weeks in total and would be divided into two halves,  requiring the use of traffic lights and part of the road being closed in each case. STW vehicles  would then have to access the Strongford site via Barlaston and the roadside vegetation would be  cut back on both sides. SW said that when two HGVs crossed each other, there was no option but  for them to travel on the grass verges as the road was too narrow. There were complaints that safety issues were not being addressed and there was no thought of introducing additional pathways. DJ  said that this would require some houses fronting BOR to lose part of their front gardens. One  resident asked why money was not available for a Strongford-A34 link road since the Ministry of  Transport seemed willing to fund many projects at the present time. DJ also said that the City  Council had applied to become a “permitting” authority within the next six months, whereby it  would be able to process applications for road works and manage the number and duration of these  on the city’s roads at any one time. At present it was only a “noticing” authority so just needed to be informed when and where roadworks were due to occur (!). The City was also implementing a  ratings system whereby operators could be graded from 1 to 5. DJ also said that BOR should not be  dug up again within two to five years except for work by utilities companies and such firms would  be told that all work would have to be done at the same time. 

DJ said that the Local Plan was to be introduced in Spring 2022 and would show the plans for the  forthcoming twenty years. This had been a government mandate in 2010 and due to last 30 years  from then. As the Meadow Lane and Hanford Fields developments had already been agreed,they  

would not form part of the new local plan. There would be public consultations next Spring  advertised on the city’s website and residents needed to identify the issues important for them. JR  mentioned that PH had obtained government money for our own Neighbourhood Plan (ie Trentham  and Hanford) although this had stalled at present but he said we needed to take action if we wanted to protect our community for the future. He was looking for volunteers to join a Neighbourhood  Planning Team and ask interested parties to see him after the meeting.  

ND explained that footpaths needed to be identified in order to be maintained, otherwise they were  open for development; this included ancient (lost) footpaths, more recent paths (used for about  twenty years) and those on private land which needed to be drawn on the latest maps in order to be  preserved but in some cases the landowners needed to be found. She said that Paul Pearce  ([email protected] ) should be informed of such footpaths. SW said that she would invite  him to the next TSRA meeting. 

There were complaints about overgrown vegetation owned by TGC on Longton Road but RR said  that this was due to be cut back the following week and was permitted to be done only once yearly.  Residents were also annoyed that the City Council was undertaking the cutting back of vegetation  (at a cost to ratepayers) on land owned by Persimmon Homes when money for this could not be  reclaimed as Persimmon had not asked for this to be done. DJ said that this should not happen in  the future as new housing estates had introduced annual management fees for residents to fund such works. SW said that the Woodland Trust had volunteered to manage many of the Persimmon  garden sites pre-Covid and should be approached again by the Council. DJ would pursue this. Residents complained about the lack of bus routes on the Burrington Road estate. There was a bus  (no. 100?) which travelled down BOR to Barlaston but bypassed the estates. It was maintained that  such buses were not well supported which was refuted. Cllr DJ suggested that residents draw up a  petition and lobby the relevant bus company.  

The meeting finished at 9.05pm.

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