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yetion1
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« Reply #340 on: December 27, 2010, 01:27:42 pm »

Dear Andy
 
Thanks for your reply dated 22nd December.
You confirm that all of the regeneration committee including the three local district Cllrs, many other officials, qualified voices and the Featherstone public can see a disaster being created. You also confirm you are satisfied this wide felt concern is un-founded. Surely the weight of opposition has to raise a bigger question mark over the whole junction?
The regeneration meeting you talk about was highly un-usual. An emergency meeting of the regeneration committee had been called before the last planning amendment hearing date to discuss the problems. This was cancelled. The meeting that Ian Thompson attended was a meeting where the minutes provided prior to the meeting did not include Mr Thompson until the start of the meeting. No opportunity was given to take the relevant facts and listen to a reply face to face.
I have to disagree with your comments about schools and safety. During the period of road works so far the schools have been put in more danger because of the rat runs and queues created. As these are to become a lasting feature of the alterations the schools I am sure will not be very happy. St Thomas School governors who attended the last regeneration meeting expressed this concern. Who knows better about the schools than them?
I could go on and on as every day something is altered to confuse motorists and pedestrians. This week the right turn up Station Lane from Pontefract road is missing a complete traffic light column. There is no indication of when to right.
There needs to be more discussion and quickly by who ever is responsible along with those concerned.

Regards
 Grin
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yetion1
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« Reply #341 on: December 27, 2010, 01:29:12 pm »

Thank you for your email and letter to the Highways Agency.
 
Firstly may I apologise for any delay in responding to you. Due to the adverse weather conditions, the level of demand on the Agency's Information Line has increased significantly and this has made it difficult for us to respond as quickly as we would like to.

The Highways Agency is responsible for the maintenance and stewardship of motorways and trunk roads in England. A trunk road is defined as a strategic link road between two centres of significant economic importance: such as cities, ports and airports. All other roads fall under the jurisdiction of the local authority. I attach a link of our network here: http://www.highways.gov.uk/aboutus/139.aspx

In response to your enquiry and to the best of my knowledge from the details given, I do not believe that we are the appropriate authority to handle this enquiry as we have no jurisdiction over local authority networks. I can see you have contacted Wakefield Council about this matter. Should you feel unhappy about the conduct of any local authority, may I recommend viewing the Local Government Ombudsman website for advice here: http://www.lgo.org.uk/making-a-complaint/
 
I am sorry I am unable to assist you further.
 
Kind regards,
Claire Coniff, HAIL Advisor
Highways Agency Information Line

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yetion1
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« Reply #342 on: January 04, 2011, 08:13:47 pm »

Dear Andrew

Happy New Year.

I appreciate there has been no response to my previous letter as it is the Christmas holidays. Due to further incidents and information received I believe you should be updated in between.

Christmas Eve got very spicy at the junction with large queues in all directions. At about 3.30pm a vehicle traveling from Purston attempted to turn right up Station lane. They later admitted they miss read the traffic lights because the traffic light that has been there for 10s of years was simply missing. The result was the vehicle attempting to turn right met another vehicle coming down from Station Lane. By good luck both cars swerved out of each others way. One vehicle ended up across the road and almost took out the new traffic island (that the expert’s state is in a safer place). Luckily no one was hurt.

A Featherstone tradition is the Boxing Day pub crawl. By late afternoon the hundreds of party goers were merry and taking ever more direct routes. One of these was crossing Pontefract Road to Girnhill Lane opposite the news agent. It is a miracle no one was killed. Lots of people crossing a road whilst drivers take a chance on what the missing traffic light column should say. The days drinking ended predictably with traffic cones and crash barrier blocks built up in to a sculpture that took up a full carriageway. This was put right the following day but would have been stopped immediately if the CCTV camera was still working that has been disconnected for months.

Further information and concern comes from a response by Ian Thompson to Brian Clayton that I have been passed a copy of. I have provided a copy below.

From: Thomson, Ian <ithomson@wakefield.gov.uk>
Date: 13 December 2010 14:40
Subject: RE: Planning Application 08/02751/SUB01
To: brian clayton <clayton.brian@googlemail.com>

Dear Mr Clayton

Further to your email of the 1 December 2010 regarding the above application I can confirm that your comments were made known to the Planning and Highways Committee when they considered the application to vary a condition regarding the footpath width at the corner of Station Lane/Wakefield Road/Pontefract Road, Featherstone.  The condition had originally imposed as a result of the permission granted in 2 April 2009 for the new Lidl Food Store in Featherstone.  At the time of the original application Members were aware of your comments regarding highway matters but nevertheless were of the opinion that the regeneration benefits of the proposed supermarket (now being developed) outweighed the highways concerns for Featherstone.
Ian Thomson

Service Director, Planning, Transportation and Highways

Wakefield Council

I and others have asked several times who is responsible to be questioned when a serious accident occurs. Ian Thompson appears to have been nominated as this individual within the local authority. You should find Mr. Thompsons remarks disturbing especially his final comments outlined in red. It appears that WMDC planning and highways do not care about the safety of Featherstone’s public. It also appears that if a business is big enough it will be allowed to do as it pleases. Many small businesses in Featherstone weekly receive visits from WMDC enforcement officers. It is fair to ask how big a business do you have to be in Featherstone to be allowed to get away with what you like. It appears that WMDC are in league with Lidle in some kind of plot to kill its opposition/ competition.

I have notice a huge sign board now erected on the Lidle site facing the road. I am not aware of any planning application? Many businesss in Featherstone have tried for years to advertise themselves better only to be IMMEDIATELY met by removal or threat of prosecution. Surely every business in Featherstone should be given the same chances.

Finally I have attached the letter that received this inadequate response. The letter shows what you expert should have shown. There are two ways of looking at this,

WMDC has made a huge mistake (as employed contractors) that they are prepared to nothing about. Featherstone casualties are stated as acceptable like the loss of infantry at the start of a battle. As this is not a battle the casualties will rack up for years.
Sensible and adequate plans have been provided free of charge by an expert. What are the qualifications of the WMDC experts who paid together cannot come up with a safe plan.
 
Hope to speak to you very

Regards Wink

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yetion1
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« Reply #343 on: January 04, 2011, 08:15:06 pm »

Happy New Year to you too.

I thank you for your further correspondence of 27 December and 3 January which I have passed on to my transportation colleagues so that they are aware of ongoing issues. I particularly note your comments with regards to the right hand turn up Station Lane and the lack of a traffic light column. I am not clear if and when one is to be erected, but will update on this when I receive further information.

With regards to the general layout of the junction, I can only refer you to my previous correspondence to you dated 22 December in which I did explain that my engineers are satisfied that the design layout meets the relevant criteria and that at the present time we do not consider that further alterations are necessary or feasible.

Kind regards,

Andy Wallhead

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yetion1
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« Reply #344 on: January 04, 2011, 08:17:49 pm »

Hi Andy
Thanks for the reply. I have to reply again quickly to make some comments and add further very important issues that have arisen.
The missing light column should be outside the travel agents at no 1 Station Lane and have a right turn filter.
Responding for a third time to your reply of 22 December as your definitive answer concluded after consulting your experts I again have to disagree 100%. To stop the game of letter tennis where do I go from here with my disagreement? Not feasible should be feasible.
Will you be commenting on the other issues especially Ian Thompson and planning’s total disregard for public safety in return for more council tax in another reply? Will there also be a Featherstone wide commercial rates reduction as given in other towns as each supermarket opens?
Finally and most importantly is the gas supply on Pontefract road. On New Years Eve the gas main on Pontefract road gave up after its 10s of years use. The gas leaked into 2 properties whose gas was cut of for safety. On New years day a trench was dug outside the properties to the main so a pipe could be swapped. No pipe ever arrived and the properties are still without gas today. They have no heating or hot water and one family has a child that is 7 months old. The national guideline is any home with an under 12 year old should have gas replaced in 24hours. After many hours on the phone today hearing various excuses I have a final answer for reconnection. There are 20,000 gas pipes down nationally and no time scale can be given. The gas people cannot cope. Repair could take weeks.
I am bringing this to your attention because the reason for this burst is due to the same trench being dug and filled 3 times just in the last 2 months. This was work carried out by WMDC. Yes we could argue the toss who is to blame but at the end of the day there are 2 families freezing. It would be a great token to these residents if WMDC workmen coupled the pipe in the hole that is all ready dug. The residents would appreciate any help.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Regards
 Wink
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Kim685
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« Reply #345 on: January 04, 2011, 09:47:41 pm »

Totally unacceptable to leave a family with a baby without heat.  Angry
Will be interesting to hear the reply for the gas problem.
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yetion1
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« Reply #346 on: January 12, 2011, 08:02:49 pm »

Dear  Grin

Thank you for your email.  I agree it is not productive for either of us to continue the “letter tennis”.  The only course of action I can suggest is that I refer the matter to our complaints department and ask them to independently look at the issues you raise.  If you are still not satisfied after their investigation, you may refer the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman.  In any investigation they will be looking into the process followed by the officers involved in any decision. I have to say, with regards to your comments regarding Mr Thomson and The Planning Department, that I know that the highway issues were raised within the report and at committee.  Most planning applications of this scale have some impact on highway movements and all the highways officers can do is recommend how these impacts might be mitigated.  Ultimately it is for the committee to consider all the issues, the pluses and minuses and make a decision.  I do believe that they did this in this case, but I am happy to refer the matter on if you so wish.

With regards to the “missing light column” I have raised this with our transportation team for their comments. I’ll get back to you on this separately.

Finally, I note your comments with regards to the Gas main.  Unfortunately, our engineers are not allowed to reconnect the pipe.  Do you know if any contact has been made with British Gas etc?  If you have a contact, I am happy to speak to them directly to apply what pressure I can to remedy the situation.

Regards,

Andy

 


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yetion1
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« Reply #347 on: January 12, 2011, 08:03:32 pm »

Dear Andy
Thank you for your reply. My correspondence with yourself has resulted from my original concerns sent to the Chief Executive. There continues a number of my questions un-answered. I will compile this shortly in to a simple numbered list.
I believe it fair to pass this matter to the complaints department. However there is another avenue I have been made aware of. The three Featherstone District Cllrs if in full agreement could call for a public enquiry. At the last Regeneration meeting at least one point was highly agreed upon as being wrong by everyone in the room including the three District Cllrs. I have copied the Three district Cllrs in to this email and would appreciate thier response. If the tune has changed at all I would then like my concerns to be passed to there complaints team.
The right turn traffic light returned on Thursday. I say returned because it is in the wrong place and still leaving the junction without the original number of signals. Yes priorities can be changed as long as road signs inform you. Yes there are no road signs, but hey "the WMDC experts assure all they know what they are doing". Sorry for my whit but the improvement actions deserve it.
On Friday gas was finally restored. As I had all ready said everyone bar God was called for help. Thank you for your offer but action was required instantly after the leak caused by a pipe possibly damaged by repeated roadwork's.
I will confirm the response of the three district Cllrs as it arrives and take matter from there.
 
Regards
 
 Grin
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yetion1
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« Reply #348 on: January 19, 2011, 09:52:23 pm »

Joanne Roney OBE
Chief Executive
Wakefield Council
Town Hall
Wood Street
WAKEFIELD
WF1 2HQ
 
19.01.2011
 
Ref: Previous concerns forwarded to you
 
Dear Mrs Roney OBE

From my original letters to you in November and December 2010 you put Mr Andrew Wallhead in charge of replying. We have corresponded numerous times mainly due to my questions remaining unanswered. These are now being formulated as a list that will as a final effort be then sent to Mr Wallhead.
My reason for again contacting you is to make you aware of developments in the last week that leave serious questions regards those responsible.
Mr Wallheads last correspondence informed me of two possible options I could take. The fact is that there was a third option. I could ask the three local district Cllrs to ask WMDC for a public enquiry. I am informed that if the three district Cllrs agree that there is a problem then they can request this measure. At a meeting in December 2011 all three Featherstone district Cllrs did just that and all agreed in a recorded meeting(unless the records have been changed). Apparently a public enquiry can not be called for if an officially recorded complaint has been sent to the correct department regards the same matter. On Friday I informed Mr Wallhead that I did not wish to make an official complaint at least until I had heard back from the Featherstone district Cllrs who I had all ready made a request to. Not surprisingly by Monday a twist appeared. On Monday morning I bumped in to Cllr Binnersley. I asked if she had received my request that was also sent to the other two district Cllrs. Cllr Binnersley informed me that she had but was unable to act on my request as she had been informed that I had lodged an official complaint with the correct department at WMDC. I informed Cllr Binnersley that I had not. That was as far as the conversation could go.
My first search to find out what was going on was by making a call to Mr Wallhead. After an odd conversation I was informed that he had miss understood my last reply and had made a complaint on my behalf. Hard to believe especially when I clearly stated “I do not wish to complain”. The options offered for complaint are a waste of time and would have no chance and would waste public money.  A public enquiry would give an honest chance for Featherstone people to try and improve and would be public money well spent.
Mr Wallhead further informed me he would contact the three District Cllrs and inform them that they had been miss informed and could in fact call a public inquiry regards the road issues they all agree on.
This was Monday and I have not heard back from anyone as yet. After checking further I was sad to discover that politics may have intervened for the worse yet again in Featherstone. After inquiring today I discovered something called the whip. It appears that the Labour controlled WMDC will probably “whip” its Cllrs in to submission to turn a blind eye to road safety in Featherstone and make them change their minds regards their original views on the highways concerns. As two of these Cllrs are Labour Featherstone looks doomed yet again.
I must comment that the terms of “whips” I find very concerning. I believed I lived in a democracy where people elected Cllrs so that their area will improve. As I understand the world when a country determines public opinion by “whipping” the people it is usually considered a “communist state”. For me the term “whip” appears to be a legal get out.
I regret having to voice my opinion to you but this will not be the first time false reports have been made or documents have been altered over politics and against Featherstone.
I would be grateful if you could make sure that my concerns are not dismissed any further. The Featherstone junction Highways alterations are a disaster. Please stop wasting anymore public money and correct the mistakes made by WMDC as contractors and planning approvers.


Regards
 Wink
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yetion1
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« Reply #349 on: January 20, 2011, 07:51:39 pm »

Thank you for your email.

I have asked my independent complaints team to investigate this matter.  You will be contact by them direct.

I have also asked the Council’s Solicitor to confirm to Elected Members there are no powers currently in law or the Council’s Constitution to require a public enquiry, so I am unclear as to the advice you have received.

A Customer Relations Officer who has had no involvement with your complaint will review your case.

Joanne Roney OBE

Chief Executive

Wakefield Council


Dear  Wink
I refer to your previous correspondence to me, our conversation and your Email to Joanne Roney yesterday regarding the same subject.. Firstly, I now have confirmation from our legal department that there is no process by which this matter can be referred to public enquiry. As a consequence, I have now referred the matter to our complaints department for them to look into the matters you raise regarding the junction alterations. You will shortly hear from a member of our complaints team who will deal with future correspondence on this matter.

Regards,

Andy Wallhead




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yetion1
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« Reply #350 on: January 28, 2011, 09:18:03 pm »

Joanne Roney OBE
Chief Executive
Wakefield Council
Town Hall
Wood Street
WAKEFIELD
WF1 2HQ
22.01.2011

Ref: Another accident at the junction in Featherstone

Dear Mrs Roney OBE

I thank you for your reply. I am sorry for having to contact you again but yet another accident has occurred at the Featherstone cross roads that you should be aware of that again disagrees with the WMDC experts.

On Friday morning the fifth accident in three months occurred (what I know of). You do not have to be an expert to see the problem.

A disabled lady with her 80 year old parents as passengers was traveling from Pontefract and wished to turn right up Station Lane. Correctly she was stationary and indicating to make the right turn whilst trying to work out which set of lights to look at as the original lights that have been in place for 30 years plus had vanished.

Before the lady could complete her turn a bus came along her passenger side with the intention of making a left hand turn up Girnhill Lane. This was again a perfectly correct highway maneuver that travelers have made for over 30 years.

As the bus turned around the non compliant angle of curve that is now in place the buses rear end as would be expected swung out. As the highway is none compliant also in width the buses rear end scraped down the side of the stationary ladies vehicle. The lady was left with two upset elderly and disabled passengers and herself unable to move because of shock. The lady pulled herself together and made the decision to continue her right turn. The lady really wished to change her mind and follow the bus to get details but this could have resulted in even more carnage.

After the lady had recovered from the shock she contacted the bus company. Luckily the bus was fitted with CCTV and had captured the incident. The lady obtained insurance details from the bus company. The lady also informed the bus company that she believes that the junction layout is incorrect. The bus company agreed. They informed the lady that they were now aware of the problem and were considering what actions to take. Interestingly actions mentioned were the possibility that all the bus company’s runs from now on will have to be made with alterations to driving techniques. This could be either by pulling over both lanes to gain the correct turning angle or by instructing drivers to block the carriageway and wait until all other traffic has passed.

This is totally unacceptable and will cause even more delays and bigger queues. No drivers should ever have to alter their driving outside of the Highway Code to accommodate a bad road design.

This is just one incident at one side of the four way junction. The bus services run every 10 minutes. This is how many accidents could be expected. The problem exists not just at this side of the junction but on all sides. A disaster waiting to happen!

Regards Wink

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Kim685
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« Reply #351 on: January 28, 2011, 11:45:45 pm »

And it will certainly get worse when Lidl opens
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« Reply #352 on: January 29, 2011, 01:07:02 pm »

Traffic at the junction is worse than ever now, saw a ambulance on an emergency call coming down wakefield road towards Pontefract just couldn’t get by the traffic as the right hand lane which they could normally use for overtaking has now gone. Not be long before we have a fatality, why not alter it now before someone gets hurt ? Stupid council  Angry
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« Reply #353 on: January 29, 2011, 05:52:58 pm »

Glad you as a normal person can see the mess. Saw an Anbulance myself today with the same problem.
Lidle apparently is opening on the 24th. Thats great. Apitty we will have to queue to get to it or anywhare.
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« Reply #354 on: January 30, 2011, 06:23:02 pm »

From: Taylor, Dick (Cllr)
To:  Wink, Roney, Joanne
Cc: Guy, Pauline (Cllr) ; Binnersley, Kay (Cllr)
Sent: Sunday, January 30, 2011 8:09 AM
Subject: RE: Previous concerns forwarded to you

Myself and my colleagues are working on this issue and are fully aware of the problems, political parties do not come into it neither does the party whip. We are doing everything that we possibly can, and do not need anyone to point out the current obvious problems. If at the conclusion of the works there is still a problem be assured we will be the first people to complain.

Regards

Dick Taylor

 

Dear Cllr Taylor
I thank you for your reply. However it appears that you have not read all of the correspondence that has been sent to you and copied to the two other district Cllrs, Andy Wallhead and the Chief Executive.
I would like to point out that,
1. all ready in writing the chief executive, Andy Wallhead and Ian Thompson have stated that there is no problem with the junction and nothing will be altered regardless that every other person on the planet disagrees.
2. you were informed along with the two other district Cllrs that a course of action to force alterations could be for all three district Cllrs to agree to calling for a public enquiry. This would cost thousands of pounds but for Featherstone would be worth every penny. WMDC could get out of this if an official complaint had all ready been registered. It appears that my last letter that stated "I do not wish to make an official complaint" has been used by the chief executive to do just that. Nothing political of course.
3. as you again agree then why not work with the two other district Cllrs and call for an enquiry? The only thing to put you and Cllr Binnersley as Labour Cllrs would be the party whip. As you confirm the whip will not be used why not go for it?
4. If no one had pointed out the "obvious" problems (that apparently do not exist) we would not be having this conversation. From where the rest of the world is sat WMDC need all the help they can get. As you do not need anyone to help should I not voice concern any further regards the accident rate at the junction rocketing, surrounding streets being rat runs, Featherstone gridlocked, fire, police and ambulance services being delayed and local businesses unable to get about their own town in a reasonable time?
5. you comment that "if at the conclusion of works there is still a problem" you will be the first to complain. This reads as you are not going to do anything until the works are finished and then take a look. I would be very upset as would many other tax payers if then more tax money was spent to correct problems (that don't exist).
6. WMDC are the highways contractors to Lidle. as an officer responsible to WMDC surely you should question bad spending of public funds.
7. You will remember the Featherstone regeneration meeting you attended when Ian Thompson (head of highways and planning) agreed there were issues. You will also not the meetings minutes don't quite say this. Ian Thompson is the person now singing a different song. If you say the whip has not been used fine. A little odd hearing two different opinions wouldn't you agree.
8. WMDC have spent thousands of pounds moving the CCTV camera 1 .5 metres back. I appreciate you do not need obvious problems pointed out. Please can you send me a copy of you complaint letter regards the Lidle advertising sign that has been built at the side of the camera that now blocks 90% of its view.
 
Lidle opens on the 24th of this month. unless WMDC admit the mistakes and get on quickly to resolve them Featherstone highways are doomed. According to Ian Thompson that's ok for the sake of a supermarket.
 
Regards
 Wink
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« Reply #355 on: February 02, 2011, 10:02:33 pm »

Dear Andy and Cllrs

In the nicest way possible I hope that as you left your meeting tonight you may have run in to and just caught a glimpse of tonight’s problems at the cross roads.

As tonight’s gale force winds increased at 7pm the wind began to take hold of the red and white barriers used by WMDC highways on their roadworks. Eventually the road became blocked and HGVs and coaches were stopping on the junction and having to get out to clear a path.

A resident called in the problem to WMDC contact centre but was told it was a police matter and they should call the. The police were called and did attend. They cleared the road and put back the barriers. No extra weight was added to the barriers.

I have just received a call at 9.20pm informing me that the wind has picked up and the barriers are again on the move. I called the WMDC contact centre and reported the problem. WMDC accepted the report this time but would not at first offer a reference number. I explained that the usual procedure experienced on previous occasions if a log number was not obtained was that the recorded conversation would go missing and staff would suffer from amnesia when questioned.

A log number was finally obtained ref: 309843.

Sorry to bother you all with this but if the blocks are not weighted they will cause more problems. Not that this helps Featherstone but it might save a live.

 

Regards Wink

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« Reply #356 on: February 11, 2011, 04:00:16 pm »

I have noticed that Girnhill Lane is now a rat run for people wanting to avoid the circus at the bottom of Station Lane! Cars now go up Nunn's Lane, down Girnhill Lane to the fire station and vice versa! It's getting just as busy as the crossroads itself! I know there is nothing new I can add that people don't know about already, but...won't the new island that is being installed be an obstacle for HGV's turning left towards Pontefract from Station Lane? How will cars leave the Lidl Car Park when the exit is right next to a set of traffic lights where cars will be waiting? How many are going to use the Lidl car park as a short cut to avoid waiting at the traffic lights? The list is endless! Me thinks this is one hell of disaster!

P.S. I've noticed there has been a lot of bodge up jobs on the crossroads...(i.e. holes filled in with blobs of Tarmac etc) instead of a complete resurface!

P.P.S. (This isn't anything to do with the supermarket but...) GIVE FEATHERSTONE A BLOODY BY-PASS!
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« Reply #357 on: February 11, 2011, 06:55:30 pm »

Your spot on Mr T with the faults. Yes a big bodge.
“Regeneration” is the get out word. Lidle are paying WMDC to do the works. WMDC are ignoring a one off chance to improve the junction.
Quote of the week from a senior WMDC officer has to be this “if the junction continues to be a problem after Lidle opens then WMDC will have to put it right”.
Yes that will be at the tax payer’s costs. Estimates to put the junction in to correct order are about 4 people jobs who are now being sacked.
 Sad
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Mr T
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« Reply #358 on: February 14, 2011, 04:21:11 pm »

Well, it must have been a record this morning! The traffic was backed from the bottom of Station Lane, past the high school and all the way back to Houndhill Lane! This is getting way beyond a joke now!  Angry. I also love the signs that have now appeared in relation to the road being re-surfaced! It says "Expect Major Delays". What have we got now if we haven't got major delays and more to the point, what's it's going to be like when they start!
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« Reply #359 on: February 14, 2011, 05:38:59 pm »

Don’t worry about it mate, if you read the previous posts Dick Taylor and his colleagues are working on the issue and are fully aware of the problems. You do know the Labour party always do the best for Featherstone don’t you ? don’t you ?  Huh Wink Grin
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