A329 Good News

I have heard from the County Council that the collapsed road between Waterloo Bridge and the petrol station at Halfpenny Lane will be repaired during the summer holidays.

The reason for the hold up is that to do such a large job any sooner will cause even greater inconvenience as the road will need to be shut. The longest tail backs and greatest volume of traffic are during school term time, hence the delay ’til the summer.

I have also heard that the A329 from waterloo bridge to the winterbrook roundabout will be re-surfaced soon. Apparently the surface of the road is in a very poor state and will not withstand another severe winter.


CAGE Encourages Inspector to Press On With His Examination

You will remember that in order for the County Council to develop a gravel pit in Cholsey they will have to persuade a Government Inspector that their plan (or Core Strategy) for minerals extraction in the county is sound, or in legal parlance “safe”.

As I mentioned earlier in the year, the Inspector and the County Council have been in correspondence in which the inspector has outlined a number of deficiencies in the OCC plan’s compliance with the National Planning Policy Framework. As a result the process to has been suspended.

CAGE is concerned that rejection of the Mineral and Waste Core Strategy on procedural grounds would mean that the Cholsey Gravel Pit could remain “on the cards” while the Mineral Plans are sent back for a full rework, thereby continuing the blight on Cholsey and Wallingford.

To this end, CAGE has written to the Inspector and has included its legal councel’s opinion seeking to persuade the Inspector to proceed to the EIP (Examination in Public). This would allow CAGE to argue its case that Cholsey is an inappropriate site selection, thereby foreshortening the blight.

Our letter to the Inspector and our legal advice are below:



Bridge Works Completion Date

I spoke to the engineers on the bridge today to find out when the works will be complete.

Apparently Tuesday just gone was when it was supposed to have been finished, but now due to delays, they are looking at the middle of next week.

The new scheme will just “go live” with no ceremony, so watch out for warning signs.


An Alliance, Not A Takeover…

As you may have read, heard or seen in the local media the Independent Group at the County Council has agreed to support the Conservatives to form a stable administration. This does not mean we are in coallition with them, just that we will enable them to form a Cabinet. We will also support the budget, but expect to be fully consulted about its contents.

In return we have secured “revolving” chairs of the Council – one year a Tory, the next a member of the opposition. As far as I am aware this has never before happened on OCC.

We have also ensured a majority of non Conservative councillors on the Scrutiny Committee. This means that the Tories will not have carte blanche to do as they will. As an example the ill conceived attempt to withdrew bus passes from Cholsey and Benson children last summer would never have happened under this arrangement, as it would have been thrown out by the Scrutiny Committee.

I will continue to be an independent councillor for our area, but have offered the Conservatives limited support to enable them to form an administration. I believe this is particularly important given the economic strictures we live under and will continue to experience.

Roads News inc. Waterloo Bridge

I have just heard that the Waterloo Bridge to Halfpenny Lane stretch of the A329 is likely to be repaired during the summer holidays. The thinking behind this is that to minimise delays the repairs need to be done when the traffic is lightest and removing the school traffic at peak hours will make a significant difference.

The A329 from Waterloo Bridge to the Winterbrook roundabout will also be re-surfaced in early July. The road is becoming excessively cracked apparently and in parts the surface has deteriorated to such an extent that if remedial work is not undertaken the grip will be affected.

The re-surfacing of the 329 is quite a quick job – probably no more than a day or two -and will be undertaken with rolling roadblocks.

Winning here…!

I am really happy to announce that I have won the Benson and Cholsey seat on the County Council.

The result was as follows:

Mark Gray (Independent)  1194

Conservative                       545

Ukip                                     513

Green                                  166

Labour                                 154

The County Council is now “hung” with 31 Conservatives to 32 from other parties/ groups. Seemingly we shall be living in interesting times.

Many thanks to everyone who supported me with particular thanks to the many people who delivered for me.