Monday, July 27, 2009

The banned old Duke of Pork . . .

Best headline award? Burton Mail's story on Andrew Duke of York's cancelled visit to JCB over Swine Flu fears....

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Development in Stone Road

Watch out folks - looks like this one is boiling up - add your cooments below!

Action now please

Mr Morrison comments (in the Post & Times 12/06/2009) on the state of Trinity Square and its 'trip hazards' and 'tawdry state'. That's a bit rich! What about the trip hazards and tawdry appearance of the rest of the town, in particular around the High Street and Market place following all that expensive cobblestone work that he was so keen about? And where are the promised cigarette butt bins?

And how about a decent town 'notice board' that was promised some 5 years ago, but put onto the back burner pending the developement behind the town hall? Incidently, are we likely to see any progress with that development within the next 5 years, or are we to be left with a desolate scrubland for the foreseeable future? After all, our Town Council, on which Morrison claims to be such an influence, has sold off (at a stupidly low price) both the land at the rear of the town hall - and indeed a part of the town hall itself - apparently with no undertaking as to the timing of any future development!

As to the rest of the town hall's redevelopment - well, our local council continues to bicker and argue while we wait for some positive progress.

And then we have the continuing saga of traffic congestion in the High Street between the library and the old Heath post office; Morrison has, repeatedly, assured us that the County Council will be dealing with this by putting roadside parking restraints (double yellow lines) in place - but we still wait!

A further point - take a look at the union flag that flies above our town hall. Better to fly no flag than the sad and sorry duster like rag that is currently used - time to buy a new flag!

So, a message for you Mr Morrison - assidious as you are in seeking self publicity at every opportunity, anxious as you are to seek to justify your position on town, borough and county councils, it's time to actually fulfil your roles by securing some positive action on the many outstanding issues. Time to actually fulfil your often expressed, but so far sadly lacking, promises to represent Uttoxeter by more than seeking every 'photo-opportunity' and making empty gestures. Let's see some positive action!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Uttoxeter Town Council - doesn't provide any information online at all

There are 591 town Councils in England - the vast majority have a web page (you can find them here - Index of English Parish Council Pages. I can find out about Tockwith with Wilstrop, Uffculme in Devon and Uffington in Lincolnshire. But Uttoxeter remains without a web presence for its 14,000 citizens.

Some of these councillors (predominantly one) perform, preen and posture, bully and cajole usually in private, with few observers - and even then any information has to be wrung out of them by the likes of the Audit Commitee or the interested few.

It's quite shocking and shameful - there is nowhere in cyberspace where I can find out who my town councillor is, what my council are up to, who turns up to council meetings, the minutes of the full council or any sub commitees, the decisions taken by the council - which impact us all. Why is there no effort to do this? Why do they not consider it of vital importance in a democracy - why are they there at all?

After all its not expensive - in fact it's free. I can find out what dozens of parish councils are doing across the country and across the world but as for Uttoxeter nothing, zilch de nada.

Perhaps for our councillors and clerk that tribute to scrutiny, openess and the apex of the democratic voice which is the glass panel of the left hand side door to the town hall is enough - it is our guardian and watchdog - every citizen can sleep safely knowing that an A5 slip of paper once a month taped to that special place - 'the glass panel of the left hand side door to the town hall' is our window, our forum, our democracy in action.

Here is some information about the responsibilities of councils -

Parish Councils have a variety of responsibilities, powers and duties. All these are laid down in different Acts of Parliament. There are few things that a Parish Council must do, but there are many that a Parish Council may do. However Parish Councils do not have a power of general competence and can only do what they ave been given a specific power to do by statute.

A list of powers and duties is shown below. In addition, in certain situations not covered by one of the specific powers described a council may spend money on any purpose which in its opinion is of direct benefit to its area or to the inhabitants provided that the benefit derived is commensurate with the expenditure involved. The total expenditure by the council under this general power must not in any financial year exceed an amount set by the Local Government Act 2003. It was set to £5 per local government elector in the parish with effect from 1 April 2003, indexed annually inline with the RPI.

The following tables indicates the general powers and responsibilities of a Town or Parish Council in England. This is not an exhaustive list. If you wish to read the Act itself many of them are available to be read on the Internet from Her Majesty’s Stationery Office just perform a search using the name of the Act, e.g.. “Small Holding & Allotments Act 1908″. Acts of Parliament are being repealed and amended all the time so be aware that if you read something in one Act that it has not been added to or deleted since the date of publication.

Town and Parish Councils

Function Powers and Duties Statutory Provisions


Duty to provide allotments.

Power to improve and adapt land for allotments, and to let grazing rights

Small Holding & Allotments Act 1908, ss. 23, 26, and 42

Baths and washhouses

Power to provide public baths and washhouses

Public Health Act 1936, ss. 221, 222, 223 and 227

Burial grounds, cemeteries and crematoria

Power to acquire and maintain

Power to provide

Power to agree to maintain monuments and memorials

Power to contribute towards expenses of cemeteries

Open Spaces Act 1906, Ss 9 and 10; Local Government Act 1972, s. 214; Parish Councils and Burial Authorities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1970, s. 1

Local Government Act 1972, s. 214(6)

Bus shelters

Power to provide and maintain shelters

Local Government (Miscellaneous Provision) Act 1953, s. 4


Power to make bye-laws in regard to pleasure grounds

Cycle parks

Baths and washhouses

Open spaces and burial grounds

Mortuaries and post-mortem rooms

Public Health Act 1875, s. 164

Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, s.57(7)

Public Health Act 1936, s.223

Open Spaces Act 1906, s.15

Public Health Act 1936, s.198


Power to provide public clocks

Parish Councils Act 1957, s.2

Closed churchyards

Powers as to maintenance

Local Government Act 1972, s.215

Common pastures

Powers in relation to providing common pasture

Smallholdings and Allotments Act 1908, s.34

Conference facilities

Power to provide and encourage the use of facilities

Local Government Act 1972, s.144

Community centres

Power to provide and equip buildings for use of clubs having athletic, social or recreational objectives

Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 s.19

Crime prevention

Powers to install and maintain equipment and establish and maintain a scheme for detection or prevention of crime

Local Government and Rating Act 1997, s.31


Power to deal with ponds and ditches

Public Health Act 1936, s.260

Entertainment and the arts

Provision of entertainment and support of the arts

Local Government Act 1972, s.145


Power to accept

Local Government Act 1972, s.139


Power to maintain footpaths and bridle-ways

Power to light roads and public places

Provision of litter bins

Powers to provide parking places for bicycles and motor-cycles, and other vehicles

Power to enter into agreement as to dedication and widening

Power to provide roadside seats and shelters

Consent of parish council required for ending maintenance of highway at public expense, or for stopping up or diversion of highway

Power to complain to highway authority as to unlawful stopping up or obstruction of highway or unlawful encroachment on roadside wastes

Power to provide traffic signs and other objects or devices warning of danger

Power to plant trees and lay out grass verges etc. and to maintain them

Highways Act 1980, ss.43,50

Parish Councils Act 1957, s.3;

Highways Act 1980, s.301

Litter Act 1983, ss.5,6

Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, ss.57,63

Highways Act 1980, ss.30,72

Parish Councils Act 1957, s.1

Highways Act 1980, ss.47,116

Highways Act 1980, s.130

Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, s.72

Highways Act 1980, s.96


Power to participate in schemes of collective investment

Trustee Investments Act 1961, s.11


Power to acquire by agreement, to appropriate, to dispose of

Power to accept gifts of land

Local Government Act 1972, ss.124, 126, 127

Local Government Act 1972, s.139


Provision of receptacles

Litter Act 1983, ss.5,6


Powers to promote

Lotteries and Amusements Act 1976, s.7

Mortuaries and post mortem rooms

Powers to provide mortuaries and post mortem rooms

Public Health Act 1936, s.198

Open spaces

Power to acquire land and maintain

Public Health Act 1875, s.164 Open Spaces Act 1906, ss.9 and 10

Parish documents

Powers to direct as to their custody

Local Government Act 1972, s.226

Telecommunications facilities

Power to pay public telecommunications operators any loss sustained providing telecommunication facilities

Telecommunications Act 1984, s.97

Public buildings and village hall

Power to provide buildings for public meetings and assemblies

Local Government Act 1972, s.133

Public conveniences

Power to provide

Public Health Act 1936, s.87

Town and country planning

Right to be notified of planning applications

Town and Country Planning Act 1990, Sched.1, para. 8


Power to encourage visitors and provide conference and other facilities

Local Government Act 1972, s.144

Traffic calming

Powers to contribute financially to traffic calming schemes

Highways Act 1980, s.274A


Powers in relation to car-sharing schemes, taxi fare concessions and information about transport

Powers to make grants for bus services

Local Government and Rating Act 1997, s.26, 28 and 29

Transport Act 1985, s.106A

War memorials

Power to maintain, repair, protect and alter war memorials

War Memorials (Local Authorities’ Powers) Act 1923, s.1; as extended by Local Government Act 1948, s.133

Water supply

Power to utilise well, spring or stream and to provide facilities for obtaining water from them

Public Health Act 1936, s.125

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Some fantastic images from the McDowell Benedetti Architects masterplan for the redevelopment of the JCB 9ha industrial site

to include a new 'town green' public park, a health complex, a 5,000sq m engineering innovation centre, 5,000sq m of retail, and 257 homes.

The images are reproduced from BD the Architects Website at originally from the great submission by the Architects

Monday, April 13, 2009

Audit Commission draft report on Uttoxeter Town Council

So at last this long awaited report has arrived, albeit in draft form as yet. The full report will follow when our Town Council pulls it's finger out and answers many outstanding questions.
Despite our jittery council hoping to keep the initial findings to themselves within hours of the report arriving at the town hall it was in the hands of the press!

Among many questions the AC ask is why the accounts for 2007/2008 have still not been submiyyed for audit, more than a year after the end of that fiscal year - "despite many requests"! The AC points out that the balance in the council's coffers has fallen from £133,044 at the end of March 2007 to just £13,000 a year later. And in the past year overdrafts had to be hastily arranged to meet ongoing expenses! Both last year's and this year's budgets appear to take no account of known expenses and the AC comments that the current budget "appears to have been produced by Councillors rather than the Responsible Financial Officer!

The Audit Commission is a body that is there to look after the interests of the taxpayer and electorate; their draft report raises issues about the way our town council has behaved that should concern everyone in Uttoxeter. But what is the response so far? Well Councillor Brookes, 'a senior member of the controlling group on the council' dismisses the report by saying: "What a waste of time and effort - while we will look at the advice, we are not obliged to follow it". What arrogance! What contempt for the electorate!

If and when our council condescends to respond to the concerns raised by the AC then the final report will make interesting reading - but don't hold your breath! One cannot but think that our council hopes that they can keep this under wraps until after the June County Council elections when the ubiquitous Geoff Morrison will be desperate to hang onto his seat: perhaps he would like to comment, before then, on the miserable performance of our town council.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Campaign to Keep the Heritage Centre Open- once its gone its gone for good

Once its gone its gone for good.....

Councillor David Brookes - the democratically elected nemesis of culture and history in Uttoxeter is proposing to sell off the Heritage Centre to fill the financial void left by his own daft Tory plans and the alleged maladministration of his incumbent council (awaiting further news about this). This might get Brookes out of his self made hole, but it sacrifices two gems - (1) it destroys the rich heritage of the centre itself, which then goes to pay for retail outlets covering the whole of the ground floor of the 'public space' of (2) the Town Hall, which can then proudly boast its closed shops and to-let signs. You see- the only way they can afford to refurb the Town Hall - is by selling off the Heritage Centre.

How do we hold our councillors to account? Where is the online presence of the council, for scrutiny and debate? Just try searching for council minutes or even a full list of your councillors. Local democracy isn't a mystery - why do these people hide or has the internet not collided with their world yet? Come on people we can do better than this.
Here is the article from the Post & Times where our star councillor and Dairy Farmer talks about the Black Hole of Calcutta!!?
Does he know his history at all? His approach is - as you'll see insensitive, and just a little bit ignorant...Over to you Councillor..the rope is yours...

Councillor David Brookes, chairman of the town hall committee, said: "Having the shops at the back of the building would have been the equivalent of the black hole of Calcutta.

Click here!

"The current plans do not maximise the potential of the building and we are exploring an alternative scheme with retail entering on to the High Street. We need to bring life and footfall back to the town centre.

"It is a listed building but that shouldn't necessarily be a problem if the architect draws up sympathetic plans."

And town clerk Barry Holland revealed there had already been interest from independent retailers for the two proposed units.

Nigel Senior, economic development manager on Staffordshire County Council, added his support, saying: "The inclusion of further additional retail space at the front of the town hall building will help to give the project a greater high street presence, and therefore be a more attractive proposition to tenants."

The changes would involve extending the windows on the front of the building to create new doorways while retaining the arched entrance.

The first retail unit, on the right hand side as people approach the building from the High Street, will extend from the front to the back, covering 1,500sq ft with 500sq ft storage.

A second unit, on the left side, will have a floor space of 650sq ft.

The combined yearly rent for the two shops is expected to bring cash-strapped Uttoxeter Town Council around £65,000 – £35,000 more than if they remain at the rear of the building.

Plans to divide the main hall remain in place with the upstairs being available for hire and the ground floor housing a customer service centre and the relocated heritage centre.

A new tenant for the Carter Street premises, a restored 17th century timber framed building, will then be sought.

Mr Brookes said: "In this economic climate it is not feasible to keep the heritage centre where it is now. It would be best if we sold the building but that decision is one the whole council would make."

The town clerk has already met ESBC planning officer, Joanne Roebuck, to discuss the alterations. Before a revised application is submitted, the full council would have to vote on the updated plans.

But Mr Holland is confident it won't be too long before work gets under way.

He said: "I would expect builders to move in by late summer."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

History of the town of Uttoxeter By Francis Redfern

Francis Redfern's History of the town of Uttoxeter . The Full Text of this fantastic book is available online having been digitised by Google as part of its Google Books programme - I've reproduced the contents here, but see and search the full text here,M1


Chapter I.

Introductory Remarks—Natural Scenery—Interesting Geologi-
cal Notice—Etymology of Uttoxeter.

Chapter II.

The Celtic, Romano-British, and Anglo-Saxon perie.1 ,

Chapter III.

Doomsday Survey of Uttoxeter—Its Feudal Tenure, &«.

Chapter IV.

Uttoxeter during the Civil War, and Rebellion—Dr. Samuel

Johnson's Penance—Peace of 1802—Royal Visits—BirtU

of W. J. Fox, Esq.—Peace Rejoicings.

Chapter V.

Lord Shrewsbury's Peerage—Trial for Alton Estates—Festiyi-

ties at Uttoxeter on Lord Shrewsbury taking possession

of Alton Towers.

Chapter VI.

History of Uttoxeter Church — Early period of a Church in

Uttoxeter—Instance of Martyrdom in Uttoxeter, &e.—

Altar-tombs—Church Inscriptions—Cemetery.

Chapter VII.

History of Dissent in Uttoxeter—Quakers—Catholics—Inde-

C dents—Wesleyan Methodists—Primitives—Plymouth

Chapter VIII.

Distinguished Persons :—Thomas Alleyn—Dr. Lightfoot—Sir
Syiuon Degge—Lord Gardner—Mary Howitt—Samuel
Bsntley—Captain Astle—Edward Rudyard, &c.

Chapter IX.

Extent of Uttoxeter—Its quaint appearance—Noted Buildings

of Antiquity—Court Leet—I' ires which have happened—

Population since 1662—Persons noted for their longevity.

Chapter X.

Ancient Families :—The Mynors—The Degges—Flayers—Nor-

mans—The Lightfoot Family—The Milwards.

Chapter XL

Ancient Customs—Sacred Wells—Omens and Superstitions—

Sports and Pastimes—Civil Usages.

Chapter XII.

Antiquity of Uttoxeter Markets—Curious particulars of butter

pots—Trial about tolls, &c.—Manufactures and trade—

Printers and Books—Tradesmen's tokens.

Chapter XIII.

Libraries—Mechanics' Institute—Town Hall.

Chapter XIV.

Public Schools—Alleyne's Grammar School—Alleyne's will,

&c.—National School—New Day School.

Chapter XV.

Uttoxeter Charities.

Chapter XVI.

Notices Of Places In The Neighbourhood Of


Loxley—Stramshall—Leigh—Feelde—Chartley Castle--Abbotts

Bromley— Ely thfield—Woodford—Woodlands—March-


— Faulde — Tutbury — Sudbury — Poveridge — West

Broughton — Marston — Somersall — Eaton—Norbury—

Alton—Tean—Croxden—Checkley—Toot Hill and Beam-

hurst—Rocester—Uenston—Crakemarsh—Blount's Hall

Kingston—Needwood Forest.


(The whole of the Illustrations are by Mr. Llewellyun Jewitt, I'.S. A.)

Plan Of Uttoxeter, From " Lightfoot's Survey."

Lord Gardner's House.

Birth-p'lace Op Maby Howitt.

Samuel Bentley's House.

Uttoxeter Church.

Uttoxeter Old Church, Now Taken Down.

Altar Tombs, Uttoxeter Church.

Remains Found At Sudbury.

Portrait Of Thomas Allen.

Norman Pitcher, With Arms Of Ferrars.

Seal Of Robert De Ferrars.

Ancient Butter-pots.

Traders' Token, William Cartwrigut.

, Eobekt Gilbert.

, William Lathrop.

, Jeffrey Power.

, William Wakelin.

The White Bear Inn.
Dr. Johnson And Captain Astlz.
Autograph Of Samuel Bentlky.
Celtic Cinerary Urn, Toot Hill.
Roman Urn, Toot Hill.

Vessel, High Wood .

Checkley, " Danish Monuments."
Checkley Font.
Kingston Old Church.
Roce8ter, Incised Slab.
Rocester " Frame Yard." , Spear Head.