Tram Train pilot during Spring bank holiday


The pioneering Tram Train project in South Yorkshire will take a significant step towards completion in the coming weeks as construction work continues.

Engineers from Network Rail will replace College Road bridge in Rotherham. The old road bridge needs to be demolished and a new, higher one installed so that the overhead lines which will power the Tram Trains can be safely installed underneath. To allow the bridge to be replaced, College Road will be closed for 18 weeks from Friday 14 April to Friday 18 August 2017.

South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) was awarded £51 million from the Department for Transport to undertake the two-year pilot, with project partners Network Rail, Northern Rail and Stagecoach Supertram. Learning gained from the pilot will help determine whether Tram Trains can run in other parts of the country.

Work to prepare for the Tram Train service includes:
– Electrification of the rail line from Meadowhall South to Rotherham Central Station and Rotherham Parkgate tramway to the train tracks
– Construction of a 400 metre rail line (called the Tinsley Chord) to link the tramway to the train tracks
– New tram stop at Rotherham Parkgate
– Extended rail platforms at Rotherham Central Station
– Rail replacement engineering work to the Stagecoach Supertram network
– Modifications to the Stagecoach Supertram depot to accommodate Tram Trains
– The manufacture of seven Tram Train vehicles by Vossloh in Spain.

Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy Cllr. Denise Lelliott added that better transport connections would help to reinvigorate the local economy.

All very good you might think but this grand scheme does not offer a single advantage to people who live in Anston. It’s all very well being able to whizz between Sheffield and Rotherham but what and where are the proposals to help us get there? There is the 19B bus service from Anston to Rotherham Interchange which takes 52 minutes. Alternatively there are the 216/X5 and X55 buses between Dinnington Interchange/Ryton Rd. which have journey times of 1 hour.      Seriously?

How many people want the Tram/Train running through Anston and Dinnington?

Let’s recap on this: £51 Million for The Tram Train pilot which will run for two years with a view to permanent operation and it is a sure bet that if  Stagecoach end up operating this scheme they won’t have to repay £51 million.

Would it have been better if RMBC had asked for money to repair and improve our roads instead? The A57 between Anston crossroads and Todwick is still a bottleneck. Woodsetts Rd and Swinston Hill Rd are still in urgent need of repairs.

Modern transport links are vital if Rotherham is to prosper but towns and cities need people to work in them, how is it proposed these same people get to work without snarling up the roads networks?

 

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Armed forces National Insurance contributions


This affects Service Personnel and Civil Servants.

Please read it as it might affect you or a member of your family.

If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, here’s the deal . xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

The original article was forwarded to me in good faith by a local man-whom I know and trust-whose son served his country in the RAF. Since then I’ve done a bit more research- as this is a subject I know nothing about- and it would appear that the contents of the post was based on an erroneous assumption.

I apologise if this article has caused anyone distress or led to any ill feelings.                                                                              This is what the Forces Pension Society says:

The petition suggests that the National Insurance rules (which affect the size of your state pension) were changed by sleight of hand in April last year and that “opting out” or more properly  “contracting out” was something that happened retrospectively at the same time.  This is not true. As anyone who has served and is already drawing their state pension will know, contracting out has affected the level of state pension for those contracted out for at least 40 years and has applied to millions of pensioners across the whole public service and beyond. The petition also states that  the level of NI that Armed Forces personnel or other contracted out personnel paid was “allegedly” smaller. There is no allegedly about it. It was demonstrably smaller.  Given the length of time the rule has been in place and the breadth of its application we do not think this is a credible Armed Forces Campaign issue.  The Royal British Legion takes a similar view. It is however important that everyone understands what their entitlement to a pension will be, so  go online and apply for a State Pension Statement. You can then decide whether to top up your pension if you are eligible to do so and if you are a spouse who is missing NI payments because you were serving abroad apply to have the missing years reinstated.

The post below, extracted from the Forces Pension Society Newsletter from October 2015 explains the changes to the state pension which were about to occur when it was written:

“The new state pension goes live on 6 April 2016, so with some six months to go, time to find out how it will affect you. The changes offer opportunities for both those staying on the old state pension and those who will be on the new, so read on. Basic rule is that those MEN born ON or AFTER 6 April 1951 and those WOMEN born ON or AFTER 6 April 1953 will be eligible for the new state pension. The basic state pension is currently £115.95 a week or just over £6,000 a year. It is currently topped up by additional state pension entitlements – either the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (SERPS) in place from 1978 to 2002 or the State Second Pension, which replaced it. This two-tier system will change from April 2016 and be entirely replaced for those retiring after April 2021 by a ‘flat rate’ pension. The official guidance says that it will be no less than £151.25 a week, which would amount to more than £7,800 a year. However, not everybody eligible for the new scheme will receive the full amount, a fact that has been the cause of some confusion. Currently, workers need to have 30 years of qualifying National Insurance contributions to get the current full state pension, but will need 35 years of contributions to get the full flat rate state pension in future. However, people who have contracted out of S2P and Serps over the years may get less than this. It comes as a surprise to some of our members to be told that they were “contracted out” when members of the Armed Forces and that their state pension entitlement is therefore less than they had anticipated. There is also a perception amongst some that this “special treatment” has been reserved for former members of the Armed Forces alone. This is not so. Contracting out was normal practice across the whole public sector and indeed amongst many independent Final Salary schemes. If you remain unsure about what your pension entitlement is likely to be you can apply for a State Pension Statement to give you an estimate of how much you are likely to get when you reach state pension age. The statement will be based on your National Insurance contribution record as it stands on the date the statement was produced. Worth applying so that you know where you stand. “

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

 

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Making Decisions?


Why does it take APC forever to make decisions?

How long should it take to make a decision?

Skatepark-Discussed for at least 6/7 years.

Crowgate-Discussed for the last 4 years.

The Green-Ongoing for the last 2 years.

Repair and reinstate the football pitch on the Recreation ground. Discussed for the last 4 years.

Repairs to the Annexe-Known about for at least 4 years and the structural report was discussed by councillors 4 weeks ago.

Seek external funding for major projects-Discussed for the past 18 months.

New restroom and storage area for the groundstaff-Voted for last year.

Lots of discussions, very little action. What a shambles.

In March 2016 we published this:

https://anstonparishcouncilwatch.wordpress.com/2016/03/20/how-hard-can-it-be/

APC councillors still find it very difficult to work together for the benefit of Anston. Even more galling is that the same 6/8 councillors diligently attend Charity and Finance meetings and it is rare for all councillors to attend full council meetings. What happened to ‘We want to do the best for Anston’?

Numerous agenda items are deferred because either the sponsor of the item does not attend a council meeting or the council meetings run out of time. What on earth is going on? No single councillor is at fault but collectively APC is  disorganised, disunited and fails to make sure resolutions agreed by the council are carried out.

We need better decision making and more visible evidence that APC is actually doing something. Instead of just talking.

 

 

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Cost of Years of Neglect.


News reaches me that part of Anston Parish Hall is suffering from structural defects. It seems the annexe part of the hall, including the toilets, which is used by the Pre School and other users is falling away from the main hall. Closer inspection revealed the annexe was built without being tied into the main structure and the current problem is suspected to be a broken drain which has soaked the ground and caused the annexe to tilt away from the hall.

Other problems include the roof of the annexe which during the last 12/15 years has suffered from ‘repair’ work by Billy the Bodger and is leaking. I understand a structural survey of the annexe has been carried out by a professionally qualified local surveyor and his report is being considered urgently by APC councillors.

This problem has not arisen overnight. The previous administration knew the annexe was not securely fixed to the main building and as long ago as 2010/2011 a gap appeared at the top of the annexe wall where it joins the hall and has since got progressively worse. From about 2011 amateurs were given the go ahead to supposedly repair the annexe roof and it seems all they did was to put patch upon patch. How much of our money was wasted employing these cowboys?

Plans were drawn up some years ago-at great expense-for a new Parish/Community hall and then shelved. Why is anyone’s guess.

Anston Parish Councillors have the unenviable job of funding and rectifying years of neglect. Not all of the parish council reserves can be used to pay for the new hall.

The Council is required, under statue, to maintain adequate financial reserves in order to meet the needs of the organisation. Section 50 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 requires that billing and precepting authorities in England and Wales have regard to the level of reserves needed to meet estimated future expenditure when calculating the budget requirement.
The Council’s policy on the establishment, maintenance and adequacy of reserves and balances will be considered annually.
The Council will hold reserves for these three main purposes:  A working balance to help cushion the impact of uneven cash flows and avoid unnecessary temporary borrowing – this forms part of the general reserves;  A contingency to cushion the impact of unexpected events or emergencies – this also forms parts of general reserves;  A means of building up funds, often referred to as earmarked reserves, to meet known or predicted requirements; earmarked reserves are accounted for separately but remain legally part of the general fund.
2. General Fund balance
The general fund balance, commonly termed the ‘working balance’, is a balance on the council’s revenue account which is not held for any specific purpose other than to cushion the council’s finances against any unexpected short term problems in the councils cash flow.
The general fund balance is to be maintained at a level based upon a risk assessment carried out annually by the Responsible Finance Officer (RFO) when setting the budget for the forthcoming year. Any surplus on the reserve above the required balance may be used to fund capital expenditure, be appropriated to earmarked reserves or used to limit any increase in the precept.

The impact of unexpected events or emergencies‘. Nobody expected the parish council to have to find the money to repair the annexe at the time when plans are being considered and debated to secure extra external funding to build a bigger and better parish/community hall for everyone’s benefit.

 

 

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Rotherham’s 3 Labour MP’s each awarded £54,000


Rotherham’s three Labour MPs have each won £54,000 High Court libel damages from UKIP MEP Jane Collins over remarks she made about the town’s child abuse scandal.

She has been ordered to pay £162,000 in damages to Rotherham’s three MP’s after her comments were adjudged to be libellous. She claimed in a 2014 conference speech that the MP’s knew about child exploitation in the town but did nothing to intervene and failed in a court bid to prove she was entitled to MEPs’ immunity.

Ms Collins, MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, also faces a £196,000 costs bill after the long-running litigation came to an end at London’s High Court.

An interim payment of £120,000 costs plus the damages are to be paid within 21 days, said Mr Justice Warby on Monday.

 

Barry Sheerman, who chaired the Commons Children, Schools and Families Committee – now the Education Select Committee – between 2007 and 2010, said he felt “guilty” about the Rotherham abuse scandal.
The Labour MP for Huddersfield said MP’s were aware vulnerable children were being sexually exploited “up and down the country”. He said: “We knew about that, we didn’t do enough about it. Members of this House, many of us, knew what was going on.”

The Times reported disgraced former Rotherham MP Denis McShane as having said: “I, like so many MPs, preferred to keep silent on some of the dirty secrets about bad practices in the Kashmiri Muslim community”, a community that supplies “vast resevoirs” of votes at election time. He admitted his political leanings stopped him from addressing the problem.

 

A constituent asked whether John Healey, MP for the area since 1997 (also believed to be the year the abuses of the 1,400 girls in Rotherham began), would “call for an investigation of all parties at fault”, meaning local child protection agencies and police as well as the perpetrators. Healey replied” “I am not sure an inquiry would help the girls and their families, especially if it focuses solely on Rotherham and on Asian men grooming white girls”.

Sir Kevin Barron said at the time the scandal broke “The scale of this brutality and violence acted out on our young people in the Rotherham borough has shocked me.
“In the past 16 years I have only been approached by one family and their daughter who was an abused victim and asked for help. “I acted promptly and had meetings with the Rotherham police about the family’s concerns in relation to the apparent lack of investigation and conviction”.
http://www.rotherhamadvertiser.co.uk/news/view,sir-kevin-barron-criticises-police-over-child-grooming_8900.htm

(Only one case reported to him which is different to how many cases was he aware of?)

Sir Kevin added: “It now appears that this case was not a relatively rare one as I had thought and that the abuse by her attackers and subsequent failure of response by the very agencies whose role it was to protect her was a widespread situation and just the tip of the iceberg in terms of child sexual exploitation.”

“The issue of child sex abuse in Rotherham first came to light in November 2010 when five men from the town’s Asian community were jailed for sexual offences against underage girls.
But suspicions were already growing that the scale of the town’s problem was far more widespread”.

 

It has been suggested the 3 MP’s should donate their monetary awards to charities otherwise it will appear unethical they are profiting from the vile abuse of young children.

Which they claim they know nothing about.

 

Further reading:
Judgement in full: https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/barron-v-collins-2017-ewhc-162-qb.pdf

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-38884762
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Council Tax to Increase by 4.99%


Finance bosses will raise council tax by nearly five per cent – and borrow £10 million from reserves – to balance next year’s budget.

Rotherham Borough Council is set to increase the levy by 4.99 per cent – just below the five per cent threshold for a local referendum. The increase includes three per cent which is ring-fenced for adult social care and follows a 3.95 per cent total hike last year.

This will generate a total of £95 million in council tax for RMBC for 2017/18 – equivalent to 46 per cent of the revenue budget. And it will mean band D properties paying £1,394 for the council’s services next year compared to £1277.42 for the previous year. An increase of £166.57 pa or   £2.24 per week.

Most homes in Anston are in Council Tax Band ‘B’ currently paying £1277.14 per year. The increase means these homeowners will pay an extra £63.73 per year-equivalent to £1.22 per week.

RMBC’s reserves stood at £99.7 million at the start of the current financial year last April. Before Christmas, bosses proposed taking £5.2 million to help with budget pressures over the next two years. Now they are suggesting taking a further £5.3 million – mostly to help with children’s services.

The Chief finance manager-Peter Hudson-said: “The council currently has a healthy balance of reserves to mitigate overall budget risk in the short term and to support the budget in the medium term. The proposals include replenishing reserves that are being used and hence support a sustainable financial plan. In essence, the strategy is to use some reserves earlier than was previously planned and to replenish them later.”

The plans also include a repayment back into the pot of £3 million a year from 2018/19.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said local authorities would be permitted to increase council tax by up to 6% over two years, ringfenced for social care, with a maximum of 3% each year. He added “We’ve also just announced an extra £900m for social care, meaning they will have a total of £7.6bn to spend over four years.

Council tax accounts for only about half of local authority income – the rest coming from central grants and business rates.

 

Further reading:  http://www.rotherham.gov.uk/homepage/148/find_a_council_tax_band?terms=S25&page_nr=16
https://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/8811
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Brainwashing Children.


Just what have we turned our children into?
We have a generation of children so confused that their mental health is affected. Some are so confused they don’t know what gender they are supposed to be?
Others are having mental health problems at a very early stages in their lives.

We have allowed the discipline, and control of our children to be taken over by so called “experts” .
The end result has been our children are totally confused with twisted, perverted propaganda from sources who should know better.
This is a problem that anybody with a brain cell could forsee many years ago.
Education of our young has been on par with the training the Hitler youth were subjected to; constant mind altering information. Left wing Liberal ideology is and has been used as a tool to distort children’s minds.

The media (mainly TV) has also been instrumental in twisting these young minds.
TV programmers push the boundaries of decency with some programmes that would not be out of place on adult channels.
I doubt the mentality and the morality of the scriptwriters agenda.
A scan of the type of gutter programmes can be seen every day, even before the “watershed” set up to protect our children shows just how far these scum are prepared to go.
These gutter programmes must be a Godsend to the perverts, and paedophiles in our midst?

Television programmes that seem obsessed with lesbianism and homosexual promiscuousness, never seeming to portray the risks associated with this practice.
Soaps are rife with homosexuals and lesbians. Emmerdale and Coronation Street seem to be obsessed with homosexuality with up to ten homosexuals in their storylines.
It leaves me wondering just how far they will push the boundaries of decency for “ratings”?
Will they (before the watershed) show two of the actors having sex and claim they are “showing real life” as an excuse for their perverted sense of ‘reality?

Woman and girls storylines involve multiple sexual partners.
The slightest reason and they jump into bed with no warnings of communicable diseases or the emotional backlash this type of behaviour brings.
All before the “so called” watershed!
Our failing education system has taken away religion in schools which in the past gave the young some guidelines and morals, to be replaced with “rights” of young people too early to be responsibly used.
With the onset of “Health and Safety” rules and the removal of firm discipline along with little or no training to prepare them for their future, schooling from an early age has been a disaster for them, and it could be argued this is why the numbers of confused children has risen substantially.

We have a generation that includes many who are rudderless, isolated and lonely, drifting without any moral anchor or structure to their lives. The values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, to ensure that children first grow up with a proper understanding of right and wrong through a study of morals and ethics.

As a qualified professional once stated “if a child want’s to be a dog, would you give it a bone”?
Parents and so called ‘Educationalists’ have the responsibility  to look further into the environment, lifestyles, and mental stability of these children, and not turn them into social experiments and parents and schools need to reign in what they are exposed to.

Children should be able to enjoy a childhood without those with a twisted, sick, perverted mentality inferring with their lives.
Children love dressing up and pretending, ask any responsible parent. If a child dresses up as a nurse you don’t give them scalpels, do you?

Let’s get some common sense back in our world.

Further reading:    http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/morality-prevents-crime
https://www.channel4.com/news/sex-education-schools-england-world

 

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