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Councillor Sharron Edwards - Press Coverage January to February 2005

Express & Star

Campaigning pays off as Highways Agency tackles blackspot Killer A449 to finally get safety measures

January 24 2005

By Andrew Rea

Safety measures are being introduced at two accident blackspots on a notorious stretch of the A449 road near Wolverhampton after years of campaigning.

The Highways Agency is to introduce a ban on turning right on the dual carriageway at Beggars Bush Lane and Gilbert Lane in Wombourne in an attempt to improve safety on the busy road. Drivers will be forced to turn left only to join northbound traffic at the junctions, with work expected to start on the first scheme at Beggars Bush Lane in March.

There have been objections to the ban at the Gilbert Lane junction which are still being assessed but the agency expects the ban to go ahead later in the year.

Hundreds of people backed a petition last year calling for the right-turn probibitions now being introduced by the agency

Councillor Sharron Edwards, who represents the village on South Staffordshire Council, hailed the news as a great reward for the efforts of everyone who supported the changes and hoped it would remove the chance of drivers "dicing with death".

"All the villagers are pleased that their efforts have been worthwhile," she said.

Xhead

"These things do take time, statutory undertakings have to be completed but nonetheless the outcome has been successful and we can look forward to a safer A449."

A Highways Agency spokesman said: "It looks like the Beggars Bush Lane scheme will go ahead in the current financial year, possibly at the end of March".

"We are still not sure of a date for the Gilbert Lane scheme."

"There have been a couple of objections so these need to be resolved and we are still in negotiations to do that."

Highways Agency officials carried out a study on ways to improve safety on the A449, which claimed eight lives in nine months to March last year.

Councillor Peter Timms has been campaigning for changes for years and claimed the agency waited for a number of deaths on the dangerous route before taking action.

Wolverhampton Chronicle

Making use of neighbour watch group

27 January 2005

CONCERNED villagers wishing to raise matters with police are being advised to co-ordinate with the neighbourhood watch scheme as an alternative point of contact.

Parish councillor Sharron Edwards said the scheme often provided advice and help for minor issues quicker than going to the police.

She said: "We have a good neighbourhood watch scheme which helps to filter things through and get a more prompt response through its computer links to the police. People should co-ordinate with the scheme where they can and help increase confidence in the community".

Wolverhampton Chronicle

Stepping up campaign to get bus service back

January 27 2005

AN OUTRAGED parish councillor has stepped up an ongoing campaign to get a vital bus service to a major Black Country hospital reinstated.

The axeing of the 261 direct route from Wombourne to Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley sparked an outcry when announced in October.

Residents reacted furiously saying the move had doubled fares by having to take two separate buses as well as forcing them out into the cold winter weather when changing buses halfway.

People also said driving was out of the question due to limited parking at the hospital.

However, Councillor Sharron Edwards believes she now has just the ticket to encourage Travel West Midlands bosses to think again.

She has been involved in discussions with the company in a bid to get the much-needed route back on even if it means running it less frequently than the previous half-hourly service.

She said: "Elderly patients and hospital visitors on fixed incomes are being particularly hard hit with excessive fares and connection times are horrendous.

"Even if the elderly used their travel tokens for a taxi service it's not going to get them many visits.

"They have to find the money from somewhere and it doesn't grow on trees.

"Centro have been asked for any recommendations they could make for a bus service on this route. I am awaiting their reply and, in the meantime, have been assured by Travel West Midlands that this issue will be discussed during their next meeting and, if there is enough public demand, the route will be reinstated.

"Should Travel West Midlands fail to deliver I am in contact with Choice Travel and Pete's Travel whom I hope will consider taking over, providing more business for them.

I also feel a little competition may be what is needed to maintain a very necessary public service."

Phil Bateman of Travel West Midlands, said: "The service is not commercially viable for the company.

"There is always an opportunity for Staffordshire County Council to pick up and operate a socially necessary arrangement which would need a tender to be set by the authority under the 1986 Transport Act."

News Letters

February 3 2005

Sir,

The issue of providing local villagers with a Wombourne Burial Ground is nearly a quarter of a century old. For years, this much needed public amenity has been banded about without any real progress.

When a Royal Order was made on St Benedict's, one of our councillors made much of a compulsory purchase order being placed on the land in Sytch Lane, yet the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister advised that such a procedure would be frowned upon as councils are expected to delegate their decisions not force them through.

Mr Micawber "has waited long enough for something to turn up". I fully support our local conservationist Mr Gordon Fanthom in his campaign to obtain a change of use of the land from playing field to cemetery use. A provision recommended in the Draft Deposit Local Plan by Head of Development & Strategic Services at District Council.

Cllr Sharron Edwards South Staffordshire Council

Wolverhampton Chronicle

Graveyard support

Regarding the bogus letter supposedly sent by Councillor Sharron Edwards about much needed burial ground in Wombourne village.

Councillor Edwards has been a supporter of the Sytch Lane site for a new burial ground since she was elected to the council and is working on a plan to speed up adoption of the site before a developer finds a way to build houses on it.

Wombourne village conservation group started the campaign to use the land at Sytch Lane in 1998, though it was actually put forward in the local plan recently by Councillors Kelly and Cox.

In the six years we have campaigned to have the site changed from play area to burial site, I have only heard one objection to the plan.

If anyone has any concerns, could I suggest they look at the newly built Comber Ridge cemetery in Kinver village.

In my opinion that blends into the countryside excellently, with careful planting of trees and hedgerows etc around the Sytch Lane site, the new burial site could be a real asset to the community.

I hope the person who wrote the bogus letter will discuss their concerns with a village councillor and put concerns forward in a proper democratic manner.

GE FANTHOM Chairman Wombourne village conservation group

Ad News

Praise for councillor

Sir,

Along with previous comments in your letters thanking Sharron Edwards, Wombourne councillor, for her efforts and dedication being carried out on behalf of her constituents, I too would fully endorse those sentiments being shown.

Having presented Sharon with a very important safety problem, my wife and I were very impressed with the speed and efficiency with which the issue was resolved.

Our village is very fortunate to be blessed with a councillor such as Sharron Edwards.

D Duffy Pinewood Close Wombourne

Express & Star

Old folk will be hit as bus route is axed

January 13 2005

A parish councillor claims many patients at a Dudley hospital will be affected by the ending of a bus route through Wornbourne - especially elderly patients on their way to Russells Hall hospital.

Wombourne parish councillor Sharron Edwards claims the loss of the 261 Travel West Midlands service running through the village is a major blow for residents.

Mrs Edwards claims residents must now make two journeys to get to Russells Hall Hospital via a connection in Kingswinford which means paying twice the fare.

Travel West Midlands has confirmed it will not run its 261 service through the South Staffordshire village because of a lack of demand.

Councillor Edwards said: "Elderly outpatients are being particularly hard-hit with excessive fares and connection times are horrendous as are hospital visitors on fixed incomes.

"Even if the elderly used their travel tokens for a taxi service it is not going to get them many visits. They have to find the money from somewhere and it does not grow on trees.

"Travel West Midlands have assured me this issue will be discussed during their next meeting and if there is enough public demand the route will be reinstated.

"I am in contact with Choice Travel and Pete's Travel who 1 hope will consider taking. I also feel a little competition maybe is what is needed to maintain a very necessary public service.

Travel West Midlands spokesman said the service was withdrawn through lack of demand.

Wolverhampton Chronicle

Marina plan for this site?

14 January 2005

Further to recent reports regarding an application for development on the former SAS site, I am surprised that local councillors should comment on a non-existent application.

As and when an official proposal is placed with the District Council planning office and confirmed, I will be first to address the issue.

Living only yards from the Solios/Wombourne Enterprise Park, I am a virtual prisoner because of all the traffic.

I likened Ounsdale Road to Spaghetti Junction when the Bratch Development was built nearby.

I continue to be most concerned about the increasing burden on the local infrastructure due to over-development, and am committed to opposing it where quality of life is threatened.

Every day of every week villagers experience great inconvenience because of traffic congestion on the road as well as off the road driveways being blocked by cars with nowhere else to park.

I am led to believe that there are proposals to build a marina on the site, and I wait with interest to see what transpires.

COUNCIILLOR SHARRON EDWARDS Penleigh Gardens Wombourne



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