Our next free public talk will be given by Chief Inspector Pete Owen on the subject of “Policing in the Borough of Newcastle under Lyme”. See below for details………
Our President, Jim Worgan, in his capacity as a resident of the Borough, has been offered and accepted the position of Macebearer at Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, during the term of office of the present Mayor, until May 2017.
There are two Macebearers whose principal duties are :
1) To proceed the Mayor from the Civic Offices on formal occasions including the Mayor’s Civic Church Service and the annual Remembrance Day Parade and Church Service and
2) From the Mayor’s Parlour to the Council Chamber for 6 full meetings of the Borough Council.
The mace is the symbol of the Sovereign. It is always carried before the Mayor with the crown uppermost except if the Sovereign is present, then the crown is reversed. It is the symbol of Royal Authority delegated to the Mayor and is thus redundant in the presence of the Sovereign.
(died December 1980)
Margaret was the eldest daughter of Mr. & Mrs. F. H. Clews. She was educated at Newcastle Grammar School and qualified to become a primary school teacher, subsequently teaching on the Westlands, where she lived.
Her strong affection for Newcastle led her to become an active founder member of the Civic Society, as were her parents.
Together with them, she was a member of the Unitarian Meeting House, being the Secretary from the mid 70’s until her death.
Members, friends and local organisations contributed to a memorial fund that financed the commissioning of the plaque from the Royal Label Factory, now part of Leander Architectural, and its installation in Merrial Street by the Borough Council in 1986.
The Local Register is the ‘new’ name for the Local List which was initiated last year. The first round of buildings to be ‘listed’ now form the basis for this new Register. At the time ‘foul’ was called when it appeared that some areas were over-represented on the list to the exclusion of others in terms of items to be listed and accepted.
If you sent in any items for inclusion and they were not selected, do not despair since the Newcastle Borough Council is calling for more items to be included this year – deadline August 2011. Hopefully this time a more equitable way of judging items will have been drawn up and implemented.
The idea of a Local Register is a good one, since not all buildings, features and monuments etc., close to a community’s heart can be listed or protected by English Heritage, neither are they covered if they are not in a Conservation Area. It was thus understood that being ‘registered’ would give such buildings / monuments / features etc. within a neighbourhood some protection, particularly against developers who appear to be
less than sentimental when it comes to removing anything that gets in the way of their development.
Unfortunately, we are told that this is not the case and being Registered does not necessarily protect an item. It means, only, that when a planning application is made note will be taken of any item which has been Registered and which may be endangered by the plan. In essence this means that it will be up to the NBC Officer in charge of the proposal to judge the importance of the item to be removed by the developer. This could be a stumbling block since not all Officers are au fait with some of the landmarks that residents hold dear within their neighbourhoods.
Residents in Thistleberry are still fighting the decision by Officers, both paid and elected, to remove the historic bridge parapet wall on the A525 which was replaced by a metal crash barrier by the developer, and people of Newcastle borough still smart when the demolition of the Municipal Hall is mentioned (which was replaced by a 1960s concrete block with little or no architectural merit and even less aesthetic value!).
At the moment we wait to see how this Register will pan out in practice. The only recourse for residents is to keep a close eye on planning issues and to lobby really hard for the preservation of those buildings that deserve to be kept for posterity – and there aren’t many of those left in Newcastle.
The Civic Society exists to protect the best of the built environment that the Borough has to offer.
Use it or lose it!
The list to date can be seen on the NBC web site.
To include a new item an application form has to be completed and photographs and a history of the items have to be included if it is to be considered by the ‘judges’.
Don’t delay – do it now !
This issue sees the beginning of the third year of the Newcastle-under-Lyme Civic Society magazine. During this time we have tried to keep our readers informed about our various activities trying to make Newcastle Borough a better place in which to live and work. We have printed articles covering a wide variety of subjects, but sadly there has been little response from members of the public.
Newcastle, its town centre and rural area, is your own. We would like to know what you think about it and what you would like to see improved.
The Citizenship Competition we have set for school children for some years seems to have run its course, at any rate for the time being, so we are now looking at new ways to stimulate interest in the area. More on this at a later date.
The Civic Awards Competition is due to be held again in the summer of 2011.
By Griff Rhys Jones,
by permission of Civic Voice and the National Trust
A few years ago, standing on a bridge, overlooking a motorway that enabled people to roar across Glasgow at ninety miles an hour (at enormous cost to architecture and quietude) I was proudly told by a charming Civil Engineer that the desecration I was witnessing had been achieved by just seven planners.
Later that week, surveying the bosky splendour of Prince’s Street Gardens, I found out that the same fate had been narrowly avoided for Edinburgh, by the work of just seven concerned and determined activists.
Thank God for those people.
Nimbyism is good. Nimbyism is hugely valuable. If you do not look after your own back yard, who do you expect to do it for you? The State? The non-governmental authorities? Your neighbour?
There may be martyrdom required, particularly if the interests involved are driven by big nobs with lots of ambition, but go for it. Here in Bloomsbury, the local Camden Civic Society and the Bloomsbury Group have been roundly abused for questioning the grandiose empire-building of the British Museum authorities. In newspapers and letters they were told they ought to know what’s good for them. The scheme will go ahead. But at least the locals modified what was a badly conceived plan.
The museum is still going to knock holes in the north wall of the Great Court. It’s OK, apparently, because its only a hundred or so years old. They would not countenance a similar cavalier approach to even the humblest shard of its precious artefacts, but will forever disfigure the historically important monument that houses them. Beats me.
Now I admit I am conflicted here. I long to see the Museum expand and extend. I want it to have extra exhibition space. But I also feel for the local groups. They have been defeated. Perhaps they will take it to heart. However, if they have lost a big battle, let us not forget what they do as a matter of routine. These are people who will prevent ugly air-conditioning units being plonked on the front of Georgian terraces, or alert us when developers try to stick too many flats into a limited site. Or stand up against rampant new advertising hoardings. They repulse the every day degradations that can quickly ruin any area.
I also fervently support the people of Mistley, who are justifiably outraged that a property man has stuck a long, ugly nine foot high chain link fence across their ancient quay. (I have seldom encountered such a dreadful abuse of the law.) I support the Hadleigh Council and the local folk who want to stop a Tesco dragging traffic into this peaceful Essex town by building a superstore on the water meadows that back onto their river. I want to be out leading a protest against the National Grid’s plans to run a second swathe of pylons across the beautiful countryside to the west of Ipswich. I salute local action. Let voices be heard. Join up. Stand up. Take part. Speak out.
New legislation is en route to allow governments to drive though more grand projects under the guise of emergency and to avoid local complainants like me. But most of the “urgent need” to put in new infrastructure has been caused by the long term dithering of those tasked with planning for it. The politicians had to decide decades ago, and they did not. Now they tell us that we must stand aside because it is “vital”. Hasty, “emergency” action to build indiscriminately sited wind farms and quick fix power stations lessens the value of life for all of us now and for generations to come. The appearance and quality of our countryside and urban environment is a matter of our future happiness. Those who stand up for their own backyard are reminding us that we live in a small country. This back yard belongs to all of us.
After all, it was urgently necessary to build those great sweeping motorways into the heart of towns fifty years ago because of a doomed theory of commercially driven “centralism”. Now we are beginning to see that the green, effective cities of the twenty-first century should be a series of sectioned villages, where we work and live and play, with shops and workplaces intermingling in attractive medieval street plans. The immediate future wants the motorcar banned. It is cities that avoided those earlier emergencies that will thrive. The wheel turns. It always does. The best laid plans of mice and men often become unsightly leftovers. Be proud to be a Nimby.
Contributed by Ron Redgewell
Civic Voice was launched on Saturday 17th April. This registered charity has been formed in part to replace the ‘folding’ last year, of the ‘Civic Trust. This was set up in 1957, by the Conservative Minister Duncan Sandys, to protect the country’s built heritage following the wholesale demolitions that were sanctioned after the end of WW2. More than 150 Civic Societies from across the country have joined the CV, including our Society, and between us we have over 30,000 members. The following are the Mission and Vision statements of Civic Voice:-
“Civic Voice works to make the places where everyone lives more attractive, enjoyable and distinctive. We speak up for Civic Societies and local communities across England. We promote civic pride. We are the national charity for the civic movement and have a strong local presence. We know how people feel about places because we feel the same way. Civic Voice believes everyone has the right to live in some place of which they can be proud.”
“Our vision for 2015 is for a civic movement with a strong local presence and an influential national voice. We shall be active on the national, city and local stage, working in partnership across the UK. Civic Societies will perform at their best and the civic movement will reach more places and benefit more people from all walks of life. Our reputation and authority will make us the first port of call for anyone seeking to develop, conserve or interpret the quality, beauty and character of our towns, cities and villages or to engage people in shaping their future. We will be a source of civic pride and people will know us for our independence of thought, challenging perspective and positive outlook. We shall listen, advise, support and act on behalf of communities everywhere. Communities everywhere will know they have a voice and a champion for the place where they live.”
CV has already started activities in conjunction with local Societies. The campaigns underway include:-
Love Local, Street Pride, High Speed Rail 2, and History of the Civic Movement. Details of these campaigns are available on the CV’s new website at http://www.civicvoice.org.uk/campaigns. Where, for example, everyone is being invited to become involved in the Love Local campaign by saying what they love about where they live and why. Come on and get involved and raise the profile of your Borough.
Has this renewed venture stuck a chord with you?
Then why not campaign rather than complain.
Contributed by Dave Adams
Executive Director, Operational Services, NBC
ost of us will recognise the slogan above from the national Keep Britain Tidy campaigns. But how many of us realise that the campaign, originally started by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes and endorsed by celebrities such as Abba and Morecombe and Wise, is now more than 50-years-old?
The harsh reality is that despite all the efforts of local councils to combat the problem of litter and the negative impact that it has on our communities and neighbourhoods, more than 30 million tonnes of litter is collected from the streets of England every year at a cost to Council Taxpayers of £780 million.
Quite apart from the cost of clearing up litter, the environmental damage caused to wildlife is as serious as the unsightly, untidy and uncared for impression that can be created when litter is dropped. Food waste in particular is becoming an issue in town centres as it can attract rodents and scavenging birds.
The responsibility for clearing and controlling litter rests with local councils and in some cases, such as within Newcastle-under-Lyme, support in controlling litter is also provided by the police.
With the exception of Christmas Day, the borough council’s Streetscene Team, a very dedicated band of early risers, are out on the streets of Newcastle by 6am with sweepers, brushes and blowers to clean away the litter left from the night before.
A typical working day for the Streetscene Team will involve street sweeping, litter bin emptying, fly-tipping removal, litter picking, fly-poster and graffiti removal, as well as a range of other ground maintenance tasks. Visitors to Newcastle town centre may be familiar with the dedicated litter picking operation that is ongoing throughout the day using the green electric powered “dandy cart”.
I often ask myself what it is within our society – not only locally but nationally – which allows people to think it is acceptable to drop litter with such regularity.
And this happens despite the high-profile campaigns mentioned earlier. Certainly there is some evidence that among some groups, it is deemed fashionable to
drop litter rather than dispose of it responsibly. This happens despite the admirable efforts made in local schools and campaigns run by the council and our partners to raise awareness of the problem from an early age, and warn of the potential consequences if caught.
The council believes in an “educate before litigate” approach to littering. In other words, we would rather work to influence people’s attitudes and encourage them to take a positive approach towards responsibility for our environment. We believe this is preferable to taking an automatic, and perhaps disproportionate, enforcement approach. Powers to issue Fixed Penalty Notices carrying a fine of £75 have been adopted in Newcastle-under-Lyme and many other areas and they have been used in more than 100 cases to date – mainly for littering offences in and around Newcastle town centre.
There can be little doubt that although the general standard of cleanliness on the borough’s streets, parks and public places has improved in recent years, there is still much to do as we continue to strive for cleaner public places.
This can only realistically be achieved through a joint and concerted effort on behalf of the authorities and local residents. Many people find littering unacceptable and want to do something about it.
To assist with this, we would ask residents to report litter problems on the dedicated Streetscene contact number 01782 742500 or online at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Organised litter picks are also carried out, often organised by Residents’ Associations or Friends of Parks Groups and additional volunteers are always welcome. Alternatively, residents could organise a litter pick in their area themselves. The council will be only too pleased to assist by providing bags, picking sticks and helping with disposal of the rubbish.
If we are all working together we can make a cleaner, greener borough and preserve the area for generations to come.
Contributed by John Sutton
The children of today are the citizens of tomorrow, and we believe that it is important to encourage them to take an interest in their town and its development. To this end we set up an annual competition in 2006 for year eight (12-13 year olds) in all the local schools. We have varied the topic each year but this time we returned to our original subject – to write an essay on how they would like to see Newcastle develop over the next ten years.
Initially we had very enthusiastic responses from most of the schools but the last two years entries have fallen seriously and we are having to consider whether perhaps this project has run its course, at least for the time being.
The essays we did receive this year all showed that considerable thought had been given to the subject and some interesting ideas were put forward.
The winner is a pupil at St. John Fisher Catholic College and we send our congratulations both to the winner and to the school.