Wednesday, July 29, 2015

 
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Welcome to the website for Kingsmead Parish Council 

The next Parish Council Meeting will be held on Monday 15th June 2015 from 7.30pm at Kingsmead Primary School.  Members of the public are very welcome to attend.  The public open forum takes place from 7.30pm


 

 


Created in April 2011, Kingsmead Parish Council represents those living in Royal Gardens, areas of London Road and Kingsmead village. 

A majority of homes within the Parish reside in Kingsmead village, which was originally developed by Redrow Homes and Alfred McAlpine.  We also live next to one of the country’s best sixth form colleges, Sir John Deane’s. Kingsmead Parish is a varied community; young and old, all family situations.  We hope, as Kingsmead Parish Council, to make this area a great place to live.


UPDATE 18/06/15

  • Kingsmead School open day

It was a pleasant surprise to see that the bad weather held off for the open day at Kingsmead Primary School.  Thanks to everyone that came along to support the event and also to those who visited our stand to complete our feedback forms and use the climbing wall.  We had some really interesting conversations and are in the process of collating your thoughts.  We will let you all know the full outcome in due course; but a few of favourites are the suggestions for a best kept garden and a children’s flowerbed design competition!  Thanks to the participants in our art competition and our local judge Phil Galloway.

  • Vandalism

Unfortunately a number of our parks are still experiencing acts of vandalism including graffiti and malicious damage to play equipment and gates.  In particular a spring, which keeps a gate shut on the spine road park, appears to have been intentionally snapped and the gate wedged open.  This is particularly dangerous as the gate helps to keep our children safe from the traffic passing on the 40 mph spine road.  We will aim to repair this as soon as possible but if you see this gate open please could we ask that you close it.   

A rope bridge in the park on Dukes Way also appears to have been intentionally cut leaving sharp wires dangerously protruding.  This was reported to the Clerk and we were able to make it safe before anyone was injured. We are now looking into replacing the damaged bridge so please bear with us whilst we organised the necessary work.

            SHOULD YOU SEE ANY ACTS OF VANDALISM PLEASE REPORT TO CHESHIRE POLICE ON 101

  • Ponds

It has been noted that the bridge/jetty at the Dukes Way pond is looking tired and prone to be slippery when wet; we have started the process looking into repairing or potentially replacing the structure.  Bickerton Way pond will soon be undergoing a tidy up, as too will the pond on Dukes Way. 

  • New councillor

This month Cllr Mike Channon was unanimously co-opted to council with immediate effect!

  • 20 is Plenty

You may have noticed the 20 mph monitoring boxes on Monarch Drive, these are to help us collect data on the speed/time on passing motorists to further help implement the scheme.  Moor Park Way has also qualified for a reduced speed limit of 20 mph, the next stage is to apply for funding.

  • Christmas

Christmas is fast approaching, as too are our plans!  This year you will see the first four lamppost Festoons around the Kingfisher roundabout. The Christmas working group are drawing up plans for A Christmas market and a full update will be issued in the next quarterly newsletter.

  • New Website

We’re all very excited to say that we will soon be ready to launch our new website, watch this space           

  • Pink Poo

 

We’re always on the look out for new and positive methods to help tackle the issue of dDog fouling in and around Kingsmead, with ‘Pink Poo’ being the latest initiative to be discussed.  KPC have agreed to monitor similar schemes in local areas to judge their effectiveness. 

 

Many thanks and we look forward to your feed-back.  Please come to our meeting on the 3rd Monday of every month at Kingsmead Primary school, you are most welcome.

Regards

Cllr Gareth Broome



UPDATE 20/05/15


The Parish Council held its first meeting after an uncontested election.  We welcomed a new Councillor, Gareth Broome, We have two vacancies so if you are interested please contact the Clerk.

We held the Annual Meeting which saw the re-election of the Chairman Laura Hoey, who read out her annual report and we  re-elected David Boylan as Vice chairman. Councillors also signed forms such as their Register of Interests, Declarations of Interest and they looked at the Standing Orders, membership of committees and working groups and agreed the Power of Competence.

During the monthly meeting also held on the same evening, the pond on Regency Way/Coronet Avenue was discussed, all agreed it looked a lot better and fish are doing well. The new signs, designed by the Kingsmead Primary school children have been installed.  The pond just needs the crazy paving weeding and tidying.

The new play equipment for the Kensington Way Park and the gate have been vandalised with graffiti, if you see any antisocial behaviour, please contact the PCSO, Clerk or Police.  A funding application has gone in for a trim trail on Kensington Way park and also new signs will be put up.

Members of the Parish Council will be attending the school summer fete on 13th June, come and talk to us and see what we do.  We have sponsored an art competition for all children who live on the estate and a climbing wall. We are also looking to recruit residents to help with the speedwatch community action group. We look forward to chatting to people on the day.

The Christmas working group are looking at expanding the Christmas celebrations, using our traditional celebrations of the light switch on and singing by our local school children, but also looking at increasing the Christmas lights and holding a Christmas market.

Finally the Parish Council awaits the outcome of the 4 day appeal hearing into the Hill Top Farm planning application, the outcome will hopefully be know in one or two months.

Cllr Helen Weltman


UPDATE 20/04/15


Please find the latest news from your Parish Council meeting on 20th April.

Spring is here!

After a long hard winter spring is finally here and the hard work done over the autumn and winter is starting to show. The whole village is really starting to bloom with spring flowers and blossom signaling it is time to get out and about and enjoy the open spaces we are all so lucky to have on our doorstep.

Kensington Way Park

The children’s play area on Kensington Way is the latest of the parks to be over hauled and updated. We are now very close to having the park re fitted with a very exciting new set of equipment for a slight larger age group to enjoy. Previously the park catered only for toddlers and we are aiming to expand the age group so children from 5 to 12 years old can enjoy the facilities.

Councillor Emma Bannister has been working very hard to ensure that we have the very best play equipment for this site. The council has now agreed the quote for the equipment and we are awaiting final dates for the fitting and finishing of the park. Emma is also in negotiations for a community grant to pay for a Trim Trail which would be targeted at the younger children specifically.

We will be sure to keep you up to date on the progress over the coming weeks and months.

Bamboo, a natural habitat for Panda Bears

Kingsmead is a welcoming place with a diverse population that live in perfect harmony. However, it has been noted by one of our contractors that we may soon be welcoming Panda Bears into the area. We have started to be invaded by Bamboo plants that are spreading from inside the confines of our more exotic gardens and are now taking root in the Kingsmead landscape.

This may seem trivial but we are now being quoted thousands of pounds to remove small areas of Bamboo, these are invasive and voracious spreading plants that can be incredibly destructive once they take hold. Please be careful what and where you plant, if in doubt take advice from your garden center. There are clumping and running Bamboo, clumping grows in clumps, running spreads rapidly, please do not plant running Bamboo.

Community Speed Watch

It has been agreed that we can become a community speed watch area. So far we have five volunteers from outside of the council to be trained in using the speed guns and to participate in the speed watch scheme. If you feel that there is a speeding issue in your area of the village then please get in contact with your Parish Council and become a volunteer. This is an issue for all of us, not just the 20 mph zones. We need your help to make Kingsmead a safer place for us all and especially our children.

Parish Council retirements   

As the end of the current term comes to a close and new elections loom large on May 7th some of our Councilors are stepping down. It is with great sadness that Tim Moore has decided to step down from the council due to work and family commitments. He has worked tirelessly in order to contribute the community we all live in. The Parish Council would like to thank him for his hard work and commitment.

Also leaving the council is Andrew Murison who is now retiring. Andrew has been a corner stone of the KPC for the past four years and has been instrumental in a lot of the work and changes that have taken place within the village. I know that a few trees will be sighing with relieve as he has been tireless in ensuring that all of our trees had regular haircuts and were kept neat and tidy. It was a sad sight to see his famous Kingsmead Maps left on the table at his last meeting. Enjoy your retirement Andrew!!

Parish Council Open Day

It has been agreed with Kingsmead Junior School that we will be holding our open day in conjunction with the school summer fair. This will involve KPC having a stall at the fair to answer questions and give information on what we do for the Kingsmead residents. We are also providing some exciting activities at the fair for the children to enjoy. Watch this space all will be revealed…. but between me and you there is a rumor of a climbing wall with instructors and an art competition for the budding young LS Lowry’s out there.

Merry Christmas!

A small but impressive group of councilors have formed a work group to plan Christmas activities for the festive season. This may seem a little early but we are determined to improve the community festivities we are all able to enjoy. There are many exciting ideas being discussed and we will keep you up to date with plans as they are confirmed.

Remember you are welcome to come to the council meetings held on the third Monday of each month.

Best regards

Cllr Paul J Salmon


UPDATE 17/03/15


News from your Parish Council March 2015

Below find the 3rd edition of the new, online, monthly newsletter from your Parish Council.  

Grit Bins

We have recently invested in some additional grit bins to ensure areas of the village that are particularly slippery to pedestrians and road users alike can be treated during the winter months.  It’s great that a number of our community close to the “icy black spots” have volunteered to house the bins for the benefit of all.

20 mph limits

Now that the 20mph limits in areas of Kingsmead (such as Monarch Drive) have been in place for a few months, both feedback from residents and some speed assessment data collected by a local PCSO have been reviewed.  It’s clear that we still see a surprisingly high level of speeding in these areas.  Tackling this issue is something that needs to be community-led as many of the offenders are either local to Kingsmead or residents themselves.  A “Community Speedwatch” project will be set up whereby volunteering residents can be trained to assess road users’ speeds and pass the data collected onto the police who will issue warnings and road safety advice to those drivers who need it.  Let’s work together to make these roads safe!

Kensington Way Park

The restoration of Kensington Way Park continues with the hope of grant assisted funding to replace and refurbish the children’s play area.  Whilst the chill in the air would have you believe otherwise, summer is only just around the corner and we hope to complete the installation of new equipment in time for the warm sunny day(s) ahead!

Coronet Pond

The pond on Coronet Avenue is filling nicely following the extensive work to rejuvenate it.  The final landscaping work will be completed soon, ensuring that the bank areas are repaired with the sowing of wildflower and grass seed.  The Children of Kingsmead Primary School also created a fantastic sign containing information about the pond life which will be installed once this work is complete.

Elections May 2015

Parish Council Elections will be held on 7th May 2015.  Should anyone be interested in joining and contributing to the valuable Parish Council work, please contact the Clerk for more information. 

Councillor Retirement

After many years of hard work and commitment to Kingsmead, Councillor Andrew Murison will be retiring.  Have a well-earned rest Andrew, you deserve it!

Many thanks and we look forward to your feed-back.  Please come to our meeting on the 3rd Monday of every month at Kingsmead Primary school, you are most welcome.

Cllr Tim Moore


UPDATE 28/02/15


News from your Parish Council February 2015

Below find the 2nd edition of the new, online, monthly newsletter from your Parish Council.  Each councillor will be taking it in turns to provide you with a brief  update on news and issues in Kingsmead.

PCSO 

PCSO Angela Richardson attended the February meeting and delivered a detailed reportAt the meeting the PCSO confirmed that once official location codes were allocated speed enforcement with penalties, where needed, could begin. Subsequently the PC met with the Inspector Loughlin (check spelling) and it was agreed that a Community Speed Check should be set up for Kingsmead and that this will be manned by police trained volunteers - so watch the website and this newsletter for details.

PC Finance Meeting

The next Finance Committee Meeting will be held on Tuesday 7th April at 7pm in the meeting room at Hartford Village Hall, 244 Chester Road, Hartford, CW8 1RW. This is a public meeting and all are welcome.

Litter Picking

The next community litter pick will take place on Saturday 14th March.  Please meet in Kingsmead Square at 10.30am ready for litter-picking fun!

Parish council elections May 2015

Please note that there is a Parish Council Election May 2015.  Jo, our PC Clerk has reported that concerns had been raised regarding the short nomination period and that the Returning Officer has agreed to bring forward the publication of Notice of Election to 20th March 2015 (originally 30th March 2015).  This means that nominations may be received from 23rd March through to 9th April.  All nomination papers must be returned to Wyvern House by hand. We would encourage everyone to consider becoming a Parish Councillor.  Please contact Jo O’Donoghe clerk to the Parish.

Bridges

The Parish council has received recent complaints about the bridges’ slippery surfaces.  We take the safety of residents seriously and are obtaining quotes to replace the surfaces with non-slip replacement.  The Clerk confirmed that Kingsmead Parish Council are responsible for the 3 bridges which form part of the cycle way and pubic footpath.  A full structural survey has been carried out by Cheshire West and Chester Council and it has been recommended that the Council re-coat the bridge surfaces with an anti-slip product.  CWAC provided details of a recommended contractor and quotes are being obtained.

Broken fencing

Some broken fencing has been repaired by a resident on Stretton Walk. Thank you. There appears to be an established path through the wooded area which is being used as a shortcut and congregation point by local youths. Unfortunately, the wooded area is accessible due to the broken mesh fencing on land belonging to Cheshire Fire Service. We unanimously agreed to seek quotations for replacement planting within the wooded area and request Cheshire Fire Service to repair/replace the damaged mesh fencing

Kensington Way drainage

A quotation has been received to clear out the drainage ditch which runs along Regency Way by cutting down and removing bushes growing on the line of the ditch and excavate in order to remove winter debris and silt, all material to be transported off site.  It was agreed to obtain a further quotation to be considered at the next Council meeting.

Christmas 2015

The Christmas working group is considering plans to extend the Christmas lighting ceremony to include a small Christmas market in the circular paved area in Kingsmead Square.  The Clerk agreed to contact Legat Owen to find out whether permission for a market would be granted.  The working group will continue to look at other ideas.  Please contact Councillor Helen Weltman if you have any further ideas or would like to help.

Many thanks and we look forward to your feed-back.  Please come to our meeting on the 3rd Monday of every month at Kingsmead Primary school, you are most welcome.

Cllr Laura Hoey (Chair)


UPDATE 28/01/15


News from your Parish Council January 2015

Below find the 1st edition the new, online, monthly newsletter from your Parish Council.  Each councillor will be taking it in turns to provide you with a brief update on news and issues in Kingsmead.  Minutes from council meetings along with financial documents are still available online on our website.  Please click on the following link if you wish to see more http://www.kingsmeadpc.org.uk/Council_Documents.php

  • HILLTOP FARM
     An appeal has been made to the Secretary of State against the decision of Cheshire West and Chester Borough Council to refuse to grant planning permission for the Residential development of 113 dwellings with associated public open space, landscaping, highways and parking on Hill Top Farm in Kingsmead. 
    • If you wish to comment on this appeal against the refusal of this planning application (i.e. support the original refusal of planning application) you may do so as follows. All representations must be received by 27 January 2015
    • Dog attacks in Kingsmead
      It has come to our attention that there have recently been a few dog-on-dog attacks in Kinsgmead and down by the river Weaver.  Whilst most dog owners are completely responsible and keep their dogs fully under control, we would urge every dog-owner to be extra vigilant and keep their dog under control at all times. We are currently exploring the option of talking to Cheshire’s Police Commissioner to see what measure we can take to prevent this from happening. Please contact the clerk for further information.

    • Grit bins
      The Parish Council to give away 10 grit bins for communal use. They will be empty, so if you would like one, you will need to agree with your neighbours to buy some grit (approximately £6 a bag). We do similar in Holkam Close but without a bin. If you would like a grit bin, you need a grit bin guardian, an appropriate location (no highways hazards) and a bit of community spirit/neighbourly conversation to organise yourselves. The first two bins will go to Headworth Close and Monarch Drive near the bridges. Please contact Cllr Emma Bannister if you would like to apply for one.

    • Tree Works
      The last phase of the winter tree works will be completed over the next few weeks.  We follow DEFRA guidelines and tree works are usually completed in the autumn/winter months to lessen the impact to nesting birds.  Exceptions are made for health and safety reasons for dangerous trees and where public paths are obstructed. Please contact Cllr Reed to report dangerous trees.

    • Pond works
      After cleaning out Coronet pond, the pond is filling naturally and will recover nicely by sping/summer.  Works were completed in winter to ensure that most pond life had flown away, died, be in hibernation at the bottom.  The banks will be sown with appropriate wild flower seed and a buffer wildlife strip of 1.5 M will be left around the unpaved edge for plants and insect life. The crazy paving will be tidied up and an information board designed by the children of Year 6 at Kingsmead Primary school will be erected in spring.
      We hope you like the information board by Duke’s way pond.  We think the children have done a wonderful job for us.  This year we intend to tidy up a few of the other ponds but no major de-silting work is planned until 2016. Please contact Cllrs Hoey or Moore for further information.
    • PCSO
      Unfortunately our PCSO Robbie has left and we are currently waiting for a replacement.  We have contacted Cheshire Constabulary to enquire when a replacement is being provided.  We will let you know when a replacement is put in place. Please contact the clerk for further information.
    • Monarch Drive 20 mile/hour speed limit
      Recent traffic monitoring of Monarch Drive found 50% of cars going over 20 miles/hour; with some travelling at speed at over 35 miles/hour.  We have approached Cheshire Constabulary and the Police Commissioner to enforce this speed limit and prosecute those drivers breaking the law. Please contact Cllr Reed for further information.
      It is worth noting that:
      • 21% of people hit by a car doing 35 miles/hour are killed
      • 6 people a day are killed in the UK from a car accidents
      • 22,000 people a year in the UK are seriously injured in a car accident in such a way that it changes their lives 
      • Also, 84% of car accidents occur in urban areas and are caused by cars going between 30-40 miles/hour
      • Parish council elections May 2015
        Please note that there is a Parish Council Election May 2015.  We would encourage everyone to consider becoming a Parish Councillor.  Please contact Jo O’Donoghe clerk to the Parish, if you would like to apply.Tel: 01606 41862 E-mail: clerk@kingsmeadpc.org.uk
      • Bridges
        we have had recent complaints about the slippery surfaces.  We take the safety of resident seriously and are obtaining quotes to replace the surfaces with non-slip replacement.  We are also trying to identify the ownership of the bridges as they form part of CWAC cycle paths. Please contact the clerk for further information.
      • Kensington Way Park
        The old play equipment finally gave up the ghost thanks to vandals.  We are currently looking into its replacement which is very costly and pursuing some external funding to help with the cost. Please contact Cllrs Bannister and Dawson if you are interested in helping.
      • Our PC website
        Our website has served its purpose for the past few years but is looking out-dated.  We are looking to upgrade it.  So any budding website designer, please contact Cllr Boylan if you have any ideas.

    • ONLINE:  on the Planning Portal at www.planningportal.gov.uk/pcs using the reference APP/A0665/W/14/3000528
    • EMAIL: robert.cook@pins.gsi.gov.uk.
    • POST: If you do not have access to the internet, you can send three copies to: Mr Robert Cook, The Planning Inspectorate, Room 3/26, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Bristol, BS1 6PN

We look forward to your feed-back.  Please come to our meeting on the 3rd Monday of every month at Kingmead Primary school, you are most welcome.

Cllr Laura Hoey (Chair)


UPDATE 7/01/15

Town and Country Planning Act 1990

Appeal under Section 78

Site Address:

Land At Hill Top Farm, Chester Road, Kingsmead, Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 8JU,

Description of development:

Residential development of 113 dwellings with associated public open space, landscaping, highways and parking.

Application reference:

13/05006/FUL

Appellant’s name:

Russel Homes Limited, Mr Robert Matthews, Mr And Mrs Igoe

Planning Inspector ref:

APP/A0665/W/14/3000528

Appeal reference:

14/00118/REF

Appeal start date:

16 December 2014

An appeal has been made to the Secretary of State against the decision of Cheshire West and Chester Borough Council to refuse to grant planning permission for the above proposal.

The appeal will be determined on the basis of an inquiry. The procedure to be followed is set out in the Town and Country Planning Appeals (Determination by Inspectors) (Inquiries Procedure) (England) Rules 2000. 

CWAC has forwarded all the representations made to them on the application to the Planning Inspectorate and the appellant. These will be considered by the Inspector when determining the appeal.

If you wish to make comments, or modify/withdraw your previous representation, you can do so:

  • ONLINE:  on the Planning Portal at www.planningportal.gov.uk/pcs using the reference APP/A0665/W/14/3000528
  • EMAIL: robert.cook@pins.gsi.gov.uk.
  • POST: If you do not have access to the internet, you can send three copies to: Mr Robert Cook, The Planning Inspectorate, Room 3/26, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Bristol, BS1 6PN

 All representations must be received by 27 January 2015. Any representations submitted after the deadline will not usually be considered and will be returned. The Planning Inspectorate does not acknowledge representations. All representations must quote the reference APP/A0665/W/14/3000528.

 Please note that any representations you submit to the Planning Inspectorate will be copied to the appellant and this local planning authority and will be considered by the Inspector when determining the appeal.

 The appeal documents can be inspected on the Planning Portal at www.planningportal.gov.uk/pcs, on the Council’s website www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk or at the area planning office. Should you wish to view the documents at the area office, please contact the Council, using the contact details overleaf, to arrange a suitable date and time.

 You can get a copy of one of the Planning Inspectorate’s “Guide to taking part in planning appeals” booklets free of charge from the Planning Portal at www.planningportal.gov.uk/pcs or from us.

 When made, the decision will be published on the Planning Portal.


Winter Gritting 28/12/14

Kingsmead Parish Council has provided 2 grit bins and salt located on St Georges Way and Registry Close.  The bins are kept topped up with salt by volunteers.

Cheshire West and Chester Council are responsible for winter gritting of roads/footpaths/cycleways.

Gritting by Cheshire West and Chester Council will commence at 2pm today 28th December 2014.  A further treatment is scheduled for 2am on 29th December 2014.  Click on the following link to see the area covered by the schedule:  http://www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/residents/transport_and_roads/roads_and_road_wo/winter_gritting.aspx

Priority roads

Salt is spread to prevent ice from forming on roads when frost or icy conditions are forecast, using a fleet of 16 gritters. Salting is normally completed within four hours and usually before 7am.

Roads which are salted are dealt with in the following priority order:

Priority one routes - are all ‘A’ Class carriageways and designated routes to A & E Hospitals. 

Priority two routes - are other major commuter roads (‘B’ class), major commuter/distributor roads carrying four service buses or more per hour between 6am and 10am, roads serving emergency services, public transport, centres, comprehensive and secondary schools, higher education establishments, roads with gradients greater than 10% and carrying more than 1000v/day and main access roads to rural communities and villages. 

Other carriageways - Only after all the Priority one and two routes are treated and open to traffic and when snow or ice is likely to persist for a continuous period of 24 hours. 

Cycleways and footpaths - Cycleways are salted where they form part of the 950 kilometres of salted roads. Footpaths alongside carriageways and other cycleways are not treated except where frosty or icy conditions last for several days. Footpaths and cycleways may then be treated when there is the capacity to do it.

Salt bins - Salt bins provided in residential areas adjacent to shopping areas, part way up on hills steeper than 1 in 10 and in other areas off the main salting route where both need and usage can be demonstrated.

 

Coronet pond update 19/12/14

At the Parish Council meeting held on 15th December 2014 it was resolved to approve the invoice for the de-silting works to the Coronet pond.  This included labour cost of £820, disposal of 60.5 tonnes of controlled waste (due to presence of Crassulla, parrots feather and typha) as follows: Disposal costs as per quotation provided = 4 loads @ £148.50 per load.  Total 60.5 tonnes carried to tip with a rate of £35/tonne for disposal and £90/tonne for landfill tax therefore £125/tonne for disposal = £7562.50 plus £594 for haulage.  Total invoice, including VAT = £10,771.80.

The original quotation for controlled waste disposal was estimated to be £200/tonne and the quotation made it quite clear that the labour cost of £820 did not cover the cost of disposal.   The Council was always aware that the cost of disposal would not be quantifiable as it was impossible to estimate the amount of waste to be removed until works commenced.

It must be noted that no mainentance works have been carried out in the last 15 years.

Coronet Pond de-silting beginning 9/12/14

Ponds naturally silt up over time with a very gradual progression from open water to water with vegetation, through to a blanket of vegetation on which trees can become established.  At this point, the pond as an open water habitat is lost and needs restoration work on it to set back the clock of succession.  This is generally done using a large excavator to remove the silt and vegetation.  This is a lined pond so extreme care will be taken to ensure that the liner is not disturbed by the excavator. The presence of invasive species means that the waste generated will be treated as controlled waste and subject to Environment Agency regulations.  Where the excavator tracks around the edge of the pond it is likely to cause some damage to the grass which may need to be replaced.  Some of the branches on the silver birch trees will be pruned to allow the excavator to gain access.  At the end of the works all machinery and equipment will be decontaminated in accordance with biosecurity best practise guidelines.

For further information please contact Jo O'Donoghue on 01606-41862 or email clerk@kingsmeadpc.org.uk 



UU Update 5/09/14 -  response from CCWater regarding former Kingsmead residents

United Utilities has no way of knowing whether forwarding addresses are still valid if the customer is outside of United Utilities’ catchment region. The forwarding address may be a temporary address or a short term stay, and residents may have moved out several years ago. As such, it is a data protection issue for United Utilities to send out letters with no guarantee that the resident still occupies the address on file.

UU Update 4/09/14 - response from CCWater following query regarding contact with former residents

United Utilities has made reasonable efforts to contact former residents who have moved away from Kingsmead but who still live in the Northwest region (United Utilities’ catchment area):

  • Where a customer has moved out and taken their account number with them, United Utilities has located these customers via an address search.
  • Where a customer has moved out and didn’t take their account number with them, United Utilities has checked their records for a forwarding address.
  • If the forwarding address is in the United Utilities’ region, United Utilities can check their records and ensure that the name on the Kingsmead account matches the name at that address.

 

However, if the forwarding address is outside of United Utilities’ catchment area, United Utilities cannot verify whether the address is still valid. As such, United Utilities is relying on these consumers coming forward. For data protection reasons United Utilities cannot send letters to customers outside of the catchment area, as it has way of knowing whether the customers still live at the forwarding addresses provided.

 

Likewise, if a customer has moved out of Kingsmead but remains in the Northwest region but have not taken their account number with them, and have also not provided a forwarding address, United Utilities have no way of tracing these customers unless they come forward.

UU UPDATE 28/07/14

Kingsmead Parish Council asked for confirmation as to the calucation for surface water drainage charges refund and has received the following response from the Community Council for Water:

CCWater contacted United Utilities for clarification – United Utilities has provided a table showing the surface water charges for each billing year – please see below:

From

01/04/1996

To

24/10/2013

Period from - to

Price

Days

Cost

01/04/2013

31/03/2014

£39.00

207

£22.12

01/04/2012

31/03/2013

£37.00

365

£37.00

01/04/2011

31/03/2012

£34.00

366

£34.00

01/04/2010

31/03/2011

£33.00

365

£33.00

01/04/2009

31/03/2010

£36.00

365

£36.00

01/04/2008

31/03/2009

£34.00

365

£34.00

01/04/2007

31/03/2008

£32.00

366

£32.00

01/04/2006

31/03/2007

£31.00

365

£31.00

01/04/2005

31/03/2006

£27.00

365

£27.00

01/04/2004

31/03/2005

£25.00

365

£25.00

01/04/2003

31/03/2004

£22.00

366

£22.00

01/04/2002

31/03/2003

£22.00

365

£22.00

01/04/2001

31/03/2002

£22.00

365

£22.00

01/04/2000

31/03/2001

£25.00

365

£25.00

01/04/1999

31/03/2000

£34.00

366

£34.00

01/04/1998

31/03/1999

£31.00

365

£31.00

01/04/1997

31/03/1998

£28.00

365

£28.00

 

United Utilities has advised that all the Kingsmead properties have a water meter, as such the above charges reflect the surface water charges for metered customers.

United Utilities had some issues with the Kingsmead telephone line over the weekend, but this should be resolved now.

UU UPDATE 25/07/14

EXCELLENT RESULT FOR ALL RESIDENTS PAST AND PRESENT FROM 1997

SEE BELOW

Ms Jo O'Donoghue

Clerk

Kingsmead Parish Council

231 Hartford Road

Davenham

Northwich

CW9 8JT

Dear Ms O'Donoghue

Thank you for your patience whilst we discussed the concerns you raised with United Utilities.

Crux of complaint

You originally came to us to advise that residents had been paying surface water drainage charges for surface water that ran through an unadopted sewer and into a watercourse.  You were concerned that United Utilities had advised you that they intended to refund residents and arrange a public meeting but this had not yet happened. 

Following your initial contact with us, United Utilities wrote to customers advising of the refund and to offer the residents the opportunity to meet with them on 1st or 2nd July 2014. You then contacted us again with further concerns from residents these being:

  • Why is the refund only for 6 years?
  • How has the figure been calculated?
  • Why are former residents and residents who have moved within Kingsmead not being offered the same refund terms?
  • Is compound interest being added to the refunded amounts?
  • In addition to contact from yourself, CCWater also received contact from 36 residents of Kingsmead who told us:
  • They felt the refund should be backdated to their date of occupancy
  • They felt all residents (current and former) should be entitled to the same refund terms

CCWater’s view

CCWater considered there were grounds to press the company to reconsider its policy from a customer service perspective.

Outcome

I am pleased to inform you that United Utilities has listened to the residents’ views and accepted CCWater’s recommendations.  It has now agreed to provide all residents who resided in Kingsmead during 1 April 1997 to 24 October 2013 a refund of the surface water drainage charges they paid during their period of occupancy. The rationale for going back to 1 April 1997 is that surface water drainage charges only became a separate charge from that date and therefore CCWater considers this to be a fair outcome

United Utilities will not be paying interest on the refunds. The reason for this is that United Utilities do not charge interest to domestic customers for late payment.  As such, United Utilities applies a symmetrical approach with refunds.

Next Steps

United Utilities will be contacting all Kingsmead residents and known former residents individually by 1 August 2014 (via a phased approach) to advise of their additional refunds.

I sincerely hope you have found CCWater’s involvement to be of assistance in terms of helping to secure this outcome.  As United Utilities will now be contacting residents directly to make arrangements for the refund your case with our office will be closed.  If you require our services again in the future please do not hesitate to contact us.

We value feedback on how our customers feel about the service we provide and as such you may be asked by our market research agency (SPA Future Thinking) to complete a short telephone survey regarding your complaint. They select a random sample of customers to survey from a list of all cases we have closed each month.  If you would rather not be asked to provide your views on how you feel we have helped you with your complaint, please contact me using the contact details below and I will remove your details from the list.

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

Email: northwest@ccwater.org.uk

Address: Consumer Council for Water North West, Second Floor, 3 Piccadilly Place, Manchester, M1 3BN

Please read our complaints leaflet here:  http://www.ccwater.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Your-right-to-complain-about-your-water-or-sewerage-company.pdf

UU Update 21/07/14

Kingsmead Parish Council has questioned the way in which surface water charges are calculated.  The following has been received from CCWater:

Most if not all of the properties in the Kingsmead area will have water meters - properties built after 1990 should have a water meter fitted to comply with the Water Industry Act.

 (Note: if a water meter cannot be fitted at a property for practical reasons (shared pipework, etc.) the water company apply a fixed rate.)

 Please see the following link to United Utilities’ 2014/15 charges (1 April 2014 to 31 March 2014):

http://www.unitedutilities.com/Our-charges-2014-2015.aspx

Section 2 of the charges summary in the above link refers to metered charges. You can see that metered customers are billed for surface water and highway drainage as a fixed rate. It is only the surface water element of the charge that is being refunded by United Utilities. All sewerage customers (who receive foul drainage and/or surface water drainage) are liable for highway drainage charges.

Surface water charges cover the costs of removing rainwater runoff from customers’ individual properties. Highway drainage charges cover the regional cost of draining roads and highways and is billed to all customers receiving a sewerage service (foul and/or surface water drainage).

In 2014/15, the total surface water and highway drainage charge for metered customers is £79. Of this, £41 is the surface water charge, and £38 is the highway drainage charge. Customers on an Assessed Charge are also billed £41 for surface water drainage (see section 3 of the charges summary in the link), and customers on rateable value (RV) are charged on a different sewerage rate where there is no surface water connection (see section 1).

UU Update 17/07/14

The following has been received from CCWater:

In our last update, CCWater advised that we were waiting for a timeline from United Utilities.

CCWater received that this week, following which we asked United Utilities further questions, and set out some further challenges.

United Utilities is considering how these affect its present position on the refund.

We anticipate that this may take a further 10 working days.

I hope this is of assistance and we thank you for your patience.

UU Update 8/07/14

UU has confirmed to the Clerk today at 15:30 by phone that they have decided that only residents living in a Kingsmead property on 25th June 2013 are entitled to a refund.  Residents who have occupied more than one property will only be entitled to a refund for the property they occupied on 25th June 2013.  Residents who have moved from Kingsmead prior to 25th June 2013 are not entitled to a refund.  Kingsmead Parish Council continues to work with UU and the Consumer Council for Water to achieve an acceptable resolution on behalf of affected residents.

UU Update 2/07/14

CCWater has had the conference call with United Utilities today as planned. In order for CCWater to review this matter,  United Utilities has been asked to provide CCWater with an evidential timeline of events. United Utilities has asked for 10 working days (2 weeks) in which to provide CCWater with this information.

This website will be updated once CWWater has had the opportunity to review United Utilities’ substantive reply, which is due by 16 July 2014.

UNITED UTILITIES UPDATE 25/06/14 AT 15:53

Kingsmead Parish Council has raised a complaint with The Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) regarding surface water drainage charges on behalf of residents. This the statutory body that represents the interests of customers of the water industry. They are independent of water companies, and of Ofwat, the industry regulator. Their role is to try to make sure customers receive a good level of service from their water company, to offer advice and where possible assistance, as well as to investigate complaints if necessary. Further details of their role are on the website:  :  http://www.ccwater.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Your-right-to-complain-about-your-water-or-sewerage-company.pdf.  CCWater is having a conference call with United Utilities on 2 July 2014 at which the matter will be discussed in detail and the Parish Council will then be updated.  Further updates will be posted on this website.

UNITED UTILITIES UPDATE 23/06/14 AT 16:30

It was brought to the Kingsmead Parish Council’s attention in June 2013 that many residents in Kingsmead have been paying for surface water drainage and should not have been doing so as the surface water system was not adopted by United Utilities until 24th October 2013.

Representatives of Kingsmead Parish Council have met twice with representatives of United Utilities to discuss the issue and in October 2013 United Utilities agreed to carry out an investigation into the matter.

United Utilities has now completed an extensive investigation and, at a meeting held in June 2014 agreed that it should not have been charging residents for the removal of surface water prior to 24th October 2013.  In some cases residents will have been paying charges for up to 16 years prior to this date.

United Utilities is writing to all affected residents this week with details of a refund and news of an information event where people can drop-in and talk to them about the matter.  The United Utilities bus will visit the area on 1st July and 2nd July between 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Sir John Deane’s College, Monarch Drive, Northwich, CW9 8AF. Staff will be on hand to talk to you about this issue and answer any questions you may have. From Tuesday June 24, you can also ring their dedicated helpline 0845 026 5147 for more information. Callers outside normal office hours can leave a message and someone will call them back.

For further information with regard to a reduction in surface waste water charges please visit  www.unitedutilities.com/surface-water-drainage.  

Please note that Kingsmead Parish Council is unable to provide information or advice on individual cases and that all enquiries should be directed to United Utilities.

LETTER TO BE SENT FROM UNITIED UTILITIES TO RESIDENTS WEEK BEGINNING 23 JUNE 2014

Dear Resident

I’m writing to let you know that you are entitled to a refund on part of your United Utilities bill. This letter explains why we are refunding this money and when you will receive the refund.

Why am I getting a refund?

You’re probably aware that you pay United Utilities for both your daily water needs and to take away all your wastewater. Part of your wastewater charge is to take away the rainwater that falls on your property and enters our sewers and this is shown on your bill as ‘surface water charges’.

However, it appears that properties from the Kingsmead estate have been draining to surface water sewers that had not been formally adopted by United Utilities. We have now resolved this technicality with the building developer and, after carrying out some essential maintenance and cleaning of the sewers; we formally adopted the surface water sewer system for the Kingsmead estate on 24th October 2013. This means we now own these sewers and are fully responsible for their upkeep and your surface water charges are now payable to us. Please be assured that your bill will not increase as a result of us adopting these sewers and you will see no change in the service you have been receiving.

How will I receive this refund?

We have a claim scheme in place for our household customers where customers whose properties are not connected to the public sewer for surface water drainage can claim a reduction in their sewerage charges.  You don’t need to complete any forms as we are going to remove this charge from your account from the date that you occupied up to a maximum of six years in accordance with our surface water claim scheme policy.

What happens next?

We will calculate your refund and send you a cheque for the full amount in the next 2 weeks. You can also drop in and meet our team on our United Utilities Bus when we visit the area on 1st July and 2nd July 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Sir John Deane’s College, Monarch Drive, Northwich, CW9 8AF, so that we can talk to you about this issue and answer any questions you may have. If you can’t see us then you can ring us on 0845 026 5147 and we will be happy to help.

Yours sincerely

Mrs F. Bailey

Head of Sales and Cash

United Utilities PLC

 

Our Objectives 2014-2015
To be a dynamic and involved Parish Council.
To represent Parish residents to the best of our ability.
T
o make safe and maintain Kingsmead village communal areas.
To forge links with local businesses which are influential within our Parish.

©Kingsmead Parish Council 2013