The Earlsdon Ward stretches across the city from Broad Lane in the west to nearly reach Leaf Lane in the east, and so, to reflect these extremes, the quarterly meeting of the Earlsdon Ward Forum moves location. Last quarter it was held in the east, and 2 residents attended; this quarter it was held in the west at the Village Hotel and around 50 attended. Although Forums at the Village are generally well supported, this attendance was abnormal, reflecting the abnormal weather that Broad Lane has been subjected to over the last quarter.
The residents of Broad Lane have suffered from a chronic drainage blockage between Glendower and Guphill Avenues, which manifests itself at times of high rainfall. Over the years they have complained in the normal manner and some remedial action has been taken, but this time they wanted it properly investigated and fixed. Prior to the meeting, houses in the area had been leafleted, and residents had not failed the muster call. In the face of such numbers the meeting was largely taken up by this issue, and related complaints about Broad Lane.
However, thanks to the astute chairmanship of Councillor Hammond, the rest of the agenda was considered. The Forum agenda was:
Fostering and Adoption within Coventry
Resident parking schemes
Earlsdon Clock, Earlsdon Festival and Earlsdon Drinking Fountain (the relevant details on these 3 items are dealt with elsewhere in this issue)
Flooding in Broad Lane
Inspector Susanne Baker, deputising for her Sergeant Chis Harris, reported on parking issues, burglaries and vehicle crime in the ward. There had been 14 burglaries since the last meeting with insecure student households being the most popular target. There had been 2 arrests. Vehicle crime had decreased, with the major offence being the theft of number plates. She reminded the meeting that tamper-proof screws to secure the plates could be freely obtained from the police – contact them and they would deliver. She appealed for Neighbourhood Watch volunteers to contact their local force. As most crimes tend to be opportunistic, the police emphasise prevention – to this end, in the winter, early morning patrols are sent out to warn drivers of the danger of leaving their car engine running and the vehicle unoccupied. Also parking at schools can be monitored. She reminded the meeting of the police local surgeries they run at the Library and in the Memorial Park (see Diary). Questions from the audience followed regarding: vehicles speeding in Broad Lane (school run); the inability of cycling Chinese students at Warwick University to understand road positioning – Inspector Baker stated that much cycle guidance and training was being given to foreign students at the University; and the suggestion of the provision of road calming measures in Broad Lane.
Fostering and Adoption
Coventry does not manage to provide fostering care for around a quarter of its children who need such care, and they are sent outside the city. Cheryl Powell from the city council had come along to make the case for more local fostering. The council have set up a pop up shop in Market Way (10.00am – 2.00pm), where you can pop in to get information and guidance about fostering and adoption. Foster parents receive a maintenance payment for each child they foster, eg. £131.30pw for up to 4 years old, and on top of that the carer would receive extra for themselves, depending upon their experience and training. Fostering can be viewed as a career. Cllr Ken Taylor OBE spoke passionately in support of Ms Powell, stressing that Coventry should be looking after its own.
Resident Parking Scheme
Colin Knight, Assistant Director of Planning, Transport and Highways is a frequent attender at the Forum, and instills confidence in the audience because of his quick grasp of issues and the direct answers he gives. The council have accepted that resident parking schemes need to be set up in some areas, and particularly in Cheylesmore and Earlsdon near to the railway station. This has been made more imperative because of the impending Friargate development. Consultants are about to be hired to investigate and report. It is hoped that the resident charge for a permit would just cover the administration costs, estimated at £20pa for each vehicle.
Colin then went on to outline current roadworks in the area – most of which ECHO readers will be aware of from the last issue. He highlighted that Spencer Road/Avenue will be closed from the middle of February for 7 weeks as Western Power is installing a 132kV link between the Hearsall sub-station and the Whitley sub-station. After Spencer Road, Western Power will take the cable down Davenport Road. The Friargate development will occasion another closure from 8.00pm 22 March, when traffic entering the Ring Road from Warwick Road will only be able to turn left. Prior to the junction there will be a right turn to allow access to the station. In answer to a query regarding the break up of the new road surface on Broad Lane, Colin said that several roads have experienced the same fault and that Balfour-Beatty would be returning to redo the work, at no cost, in the summer.
Flooding in Broad Lane
A photo montage was displayed at the Forum to show the extent of road flooding in the area. Neil Thomas, Head of Drainage at the city council, and James Arnold of Severn Trent dealt jointly with this issue, and were given a prolonged grilling by the meeting, as the catalogue of previous events was related. The conclusion was that Severn-Trent would conduct a CCTV examination of the sewer, and report back at the next meeting. Talk of flooding jarred the memories of some non-Broad Lane attenders, who reported drainage failures outside the City Arms, by the roundabout, and at the corner where Gordon Street meets The Butts.
Any Other Business
Not surprisingly Broad Lane had another few issues here, of which the most significant was the condition of the paths across Hearsall Common. Again there was a photo gallery. The paths are difficult to use in any wet weather as they are generally covered in mud. They attract little maintenance, and could be of more use if lighting was installed. Given the lack of a bus service down Broad Lane, these paths were an essential link to get to bus stops at the Village Hotel.