Saturday 29 June 2013

Broadband Demand? It's super fast!

In the next week or so copies of NE43 news should be dropping onto Stocksfield door mats. In it you will find a leaflet about superfast fibreoptic broadband which will be coming to Stocksfield as part of the major upgrade of Northumberland's broadband infrastructure. Because it is probable that a significant number of properties in our area (up to 25%) will not be covered by the upgrade it is vital that we get a sense of the likely demand for superfast broadband. This is because if we can demonstrate high demand then iNorthumberland will be in a strong position to secure funding for alternative broadband solutions.

Therefore, when you get the information leaflet PLEASE register your interest in having faster broadband. The more people who indicate interest, the more leverage we will have in ensuring that everybody in the Stocksfield area has access to the next generation of broadband technology. The leaflet outlines some of the benefits of superfast broadband compared with what we have now. 

If you're concerned that faster broadband means more scope for online danger for you or your children, then fear not as I am working with iNorthumberland to find ways to raise awareness for residents of how to stay safe online.

The information leaflet has a tear off slip which you can drop in the collection box in Boots at Branch End (just on the right as you go in), or at the Parish Office at SICA. If you do not want to wait for the leaflet or prefer to register your interest online then you can do so on iNorthumberland's Stocksfield web page.

Be assured that registering interest in superfast broadband does not commit you in any way to purchasing a contract when it becomes available or to signing up with a particular supplier. This exercise is about gauging likely demand.

Thursday 20 June 2013

New Ridley: Site Visit to Take Place

The New Ridley development was put on the agenda of last night's West Area planning committee for members to agree a site visit which will take place some time in July. I note from the accompanying papers that the Environment Agency has now withdrawn its objection following the submission of a Flood Risk Assessment.

Wednesday 19 June 2013

Broadband by Balloon

As the reality of superfast broadband for Northumberland gets ever closer (see a new technology is being tested. We know that the majority of the county will be getting their broadband through the new fibre optic network that will be laid over the next two-to-three years. For those communities that will not be covered by fibre, two alternatives currently exist: wireless and satellite. However, Google has recently announced a new way of getting Internet connectivity to those hard-to-reach places: it's by balloon. See this story on the BBC News web site for details. It looks fascinating!

Friday 14 June 2013

Cakes and Tombolas

Tomorrow (15 June) sees this year's summer fair at Broomley First School. Two of our children have attended the school and we have been extremely pleased with the experience. Our youngest, Zachary, is just coming to the end of Year 4 so, for us, we're coming to the end of a ten-year era (our middle child, Carys, started at the pre-school in 2003).

Shameless plug: Zachary will be manning the Hook a Duck stall for the first hour and I'm sure he will be delighted to relieve us of some of our small change!

The summer fair runs from 11am to 1pm, so if you're free, please pop down and hook a duck and take your chances on the other games. Also buy a cake and a cup of tea, a raffle or tombola ticket, or something from one of the many other stalls and support this excellent local school. Ideally, buy something at every stall!!

Monday 10 June 2013

New Ridley Again

I know my previous post on this subject was subtitled 'Final Thoughts' but, just as many movie franchises manage to find another sequel just when you thought the series was finished, so too there remains more to say about the proposed development in New Ridley.

We are still awaiting the outcome of the planning application, though this could be imminent if the committee date of 19 June indicated on the NCC web site is correct. EDIT 12 JUNE: it seems that the application will NOT be going to the planning committee on 19 June.

I was very interested to see that the Environment Agency have recommended the application be rejected on the basis that the flood risk assessment (FRA) does not comply with the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). There were several deficiencies in the FRA highlighted by the Environment Agency and you can read their full representation on the Consultee Comments section of the application.

Also on the Consultee Comments section is the response from Northumbria Water. Unfortunately, there seems to be no way to read the representations made by the Broomley and Stocksfield Parish Council or the individual letters sent in by members of the public. There is one public comment that has been submitted via the web site (see here), so it is important that all the representations made by letter are also taken into account by the planning committee. I have asked NCC to clarify the position of these representations and I'll post any replies here.