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Stabilisation Of Embankment - Amersham Railway


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#31 Rayhoop

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 12:52 PM

Below is a chain of emails (I hope the authors do not mind me sharing) that have been sent recently regarding the embankment works.

email addresses and contact numbers have been removed

From: Jean Cross
Sent: 30 July 2010 11:54
To: gillanc

Cc: Dale, Reghbinder
Subject: RE: Amersham Embankment Stabilisation

Dear Mrs Gillan

Thank you for all the support re the tree felling by London Underground.

I'm afraid that I found last night's meeting very frustrating. It is probably too late now to affect the engineering decisions and 85-90% of the trees will come down. London Underground's adjustments to the plans since April have been welcome but in reality they are very small.

What concerns me most is London Underground's attitude regarding re-planting. We simply could not get them to commit to re-planting trees and filling in the gaps with trees wherever possible at the foot of the embankment. It is an attitude that does not encourage confidence and trust.

The use of words like 're-planting' means grass and wild flowers - Mark Hart and his engineering colleague endlessly fudged this issue last night even when pressed hard by Cllr Appleby and Cllr Sheppard. It all sounded helpful but actually meant nothing - it's what they have planned to do all along. They would not commit to producing a plan which actively sought to plant new trees wherever possible. That is what we are looking for - a screen between us and the railway.

Also of concern is that, given that the top-soil levels they will be using on the embankments will be approx 4 inches in depth, they will be hard pushed to grow grass. At the end of the meeting I asked Mark Hart what had changed between 5.30 pm and 8pm - the only thing he could say was that there had been a good dialogue!!

Additionally they already have similar work scheduled for this financial year on the northern side of thr track. As far as I know thay have not communicated this to any residents. People need to be consulted now and not a week before work starts.

They also did nothing to advertise the meeting last night - I did it all because they took no action. Consultation is a meaningless word if you don't let the local community know what is going on.

Bottom line - we will continue to fight hard. If we don't Amersham will have the 'green corridor' transformed into the 'concrete corridor' and the scar will damage the landscape. We want Cllr Appleby and Cllr Sheppard's request to be met - a full, detailed and proper plan agreed now to re-plant trees.

If you can offer any advice or help it would be really appreciated.

Many thanks

Jean Cross


From: GILLANC
To: CC: jeancross; delia meehan jryman
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2010 11:07:40 +0100
Subject: RE: Amersham Embankment Stabilisation

.ExternalClass DIV { }

Dear Mr Cooke

Thank you for copying me on your e mail to Pam Appleby. I am so glad the meeting went better than the original as I had spent half an hour on the phone to Mark Hart the day before the meeting explaining the strong feelings of neighbours to the railway. Sadly I was not able to attend to listen for myself due to a prior engagement.

In my conversation with Mr Hart he had said that there were planting options that would be available that would not render the embankments unsafe - I understand that is the reason for the work being carried out as the trees have caused a safety issue with the sides of the railway. I will see if there is anything further that can be done on the re planting and let you and the others that have contacted me know if anything changes.

Once again thankyou for your copy to me

Yours

sincerely

Rt Hon Cheryl Gillan MP

Chesham and Amersham

From: COLIN COOKE
Sent: 30 July 2010 10:04
To: pappleby

Cc: GILLAN, Cheryl; jean cross, delia meehan; jryman
Subject: Re: Amersham Embankment Stabilisation

Dear Councillor Appleby,
Thank you once again for facilitating last night's meeting in the Amersham Council offices. Your continued determination and fairness in representing the residents of Amersham is excellent. Last night's meeting was better than the first, in so far as London Underground and their contractors made a more coherent presentation of themselves and their intention. However, I feel none of the residents leaving that meeting felt any satisfaction from what they heard. Indeed I sense increased anger as the reality of what this significant engineering project (12 months of major disruption in a high profile area bordering the White Lion Road, leaving a legacy of urban degradation, for all to see and experience) is about to deliver to our environment.
The very people who help make Metroland the pleasant living area it is today are about to destroy years of pleasing landscape with the wholesale removal of hundreds of trees and associated vegetation, to be replaced with tons of concrete, 'grass seed and a few shrubs' and not the replanting of one single tree. This is the policy of the 1960's ! not what we have come to expect in recent years, where the environment and green issues are never off the political agenda.
Tom Cross summarised his observations at the end of last nights meeting so correctly..........London Underground have a responsibility to the environment and the effects it has on people's well being. Where is the evidence of 'care in the community' from this public funded organisation ? The representative of whom said to me last night, 'well this is it, and what ever your judgement, this project will start in September'.
The LU engineers have had their say, and exhausted their ability to hide the fact they will leave a major scar on Amersham's landscape for everyone to see. We have to escalate this to the most senior level in LU and local politicians to ensure we have a written/funded and agreed replanting/screening policy, with full accountability and transparency to be executed during and after this project is completed.
The thousands of visitors who see Amersham as a wonderful example of the Chilterns landscape, will be horrified to see the industrial decay that has been imposed upon us, and ask themselves 'why did they let that happen ?'.
Kind regards

Colin Cooke
PS. Examples of this engineering can be seen in the Moor Park lineside area, which is now an industrial landscape with no trees or screening etc.




: COLIN COOKE To: mark hart (metronet)
Cc: gillanc; pappleby; jeancross; delia meehan
Sent: Wednesday, 21 July, 2010 22:39:45
Subject: Amersham Embankment Stabilisation

Dear Mark Hart,
Attached is a photograph (White Lion Road looking towards Blackhorse bridge) taken recently showing a section of the trees and vegetation London Underground are proposing to remove and replace with a grass embankment. I am told that some trees at street level and on level ground may be saved ?
We are now all trying to understand exactly which trees will remain after ' the chain saw' . In preparation for the meeting on the 29th July, can I make a suggestion which would be of great help in trying to fully understand what will remain. Prior to the meeting, one of the contractors engineers physically marks the trees that will not be sawn down. This will ultimately have to be done before any clearance is carried out to assist the workforce in what they can and can not clear. The area shown in the photograph during our last meeting was highlighted as a site access point, which may lead to additional tree clearance over and above your 5m rule ? hence our desire to have some understanding of what will really remain.
The other question which needs to be fully answered, is why the North side embankment is immune from the need of stabilisation unlike the south side?
Many thanks

Colin Cooke

#32 147

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 01:53 PM

As I've said previously if the residends of Moor Park in their multi-million pound houses could do nothing, what hope have we. And the contractor was right, with my limited knowledge I would say that there only two properties beside the track in the affected area that were there before the railway.

#33 Reghy

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 03:34 PM

I'm not sure this is the right attitude to take - it does not matter if the residents in Moor Park live in multi million pound houses - the issue is how much of a protest can be put up and how much involvement can we get from councillors, MPs, thje press and local people in the community.....i think everyone needs to pull together and show a bit of community spirit.....

#34 Rayhoop

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 04:11 PM

147 - Your right, when the railway was built, there were only a couple of houses in the area (going by info from my neighbors).

However, whilst it is mainly the residents around the track that are raising the issue (and yes, I live opposite the track) - there is a greater issue of the impact on the visuals of Amersham. Anyone driving up Stanley Hill, or along White Lion road will have the pleasure of seeing the industrial nature of a railway line clearly visible... not the green back drop we are all used to.

Every time we let developers get away with making changes that detract from the character of our area, we loose a part of it for ever.

I don’t care if the owners of the million pound houses of Moore Park didn’t get their way. I don’t know whether they put the effort in or not. If they did kick up a fuss - then credit too them, I’m sorry it didn’t work out in their favor.

Regardless of what the likely outcome is going to be - we need to make an effort, and a damn good one. Else we may as well just give every developer a passport to get away with in-fill, developing on green belt land etc and changing the face of Amersham and the Chilterns.

Where is the Amersham community spirit?




and in addition..


'we' have a hope, if 'we' work together.

'we' need to pull our efforts together and act as a single body - the Amersham Community, rather than everyone seperately firing off in different directions (or the same direction). If we all put our heads together, Im sure we'll have a stronger arguement than if we all did our own thing.



#35 hyposmurf

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Posted 31 July 2010 - 04:44 PM

Wonder if any of the trees have preservation orders and whether they have applied for consent to taken any of them down.Probably not an issue but theres a slight chance.

#36 Eaton

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Posted 31 July 2010 - 05:26 PM

Wonder if any of the trees have preservation orders and whether they have applied for consent to taken any of them down.Probably not an issue but theres a slight chance.

That's a good point but in my experience the council need to have had access to the site previously to decide whether or not there are any trees worthy of a preservation order and even if they do have a preservation order if it's an elf and safety issue then the order is worth nothing and me thinks that they will say that it's for the safety of their passengers.
Mel and Co

#37 primrose

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Posted 31 July 2010 - 09:10 PM

I'm not really sure TFL care much. I attended the meeting on Thursday and discovered that the boundary fence is to replaced, fine i knew this was going to happen at some point. So, hubby checked our side of the fence to make sure any plants/ shrubs were all in order and discovered the same yellow paint that has been sprayed on trees over the embankment had also been sprayed on a tree that is well within our own boundary. I can only hope that the trees with the paint on are staying, although what their excuse is for spraying our tree is still to be heard.

#38 Reghy

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Posted 31 July 2010 - 09:36 PM

I have been looking into the issue of tree preservation orders and unfortunately they hold no weight if TfL need to use the land because of the fact it is "operational land" - whilst many of the trees are on the flat land beyond the embankment Tfl are likely to argue that it is still operational as they need it for access etc. We need to find another route (no pun intended!) to put pressure on them.

#39 roob_the_doob

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 01:05 AM

I found this interesting snippet on this site:

New or upgraded railway infrastructures must be subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment ([EU] Directive 85/337/EC), which must include noise levels perceived by neighbours along the infrastructure are within nationally defined levels.

A quick google found the relevant directive here. Briefly:

"...Whereas development consent for public and private projects which are likely to have significant effects on the environment should be granted only after prior assessment of the likely significant environmental effects of these projects has been carried out; whereas this assessment must be conducted on the basis of the appropriate information supplied by the developer, which may be supplemented by the authorities and by the people who may be concerned by the project in question;

...

Whereas the effects of a project on the environment must be assessed in order to take account of concerns to protect human health, to contribute by means of a better environment to the quality of life, to ensure maintenance of the diversity of species and to maintain the reproductive capacity of the ecosystem as a basic resource for life;..."

Article 1[1] - This Directive shall apply to the assessment of the environmental effects of those public and private projects which are likely to have significant effects on the environment.

Article 2[1] - Member States shall adopt all measures necessary to ensure that, before consent is given, projects likely to have significant effects on the environment by virtue inter alia, of their nature, size or location are made subject to an assessment with regard to their effects. These projects are defined in Article 4.

Article 4[2] - Projects of the classes listed in Annex II shall be made subject to an assessment, in accordance with Articles 5 to 10, where Member States consider that their characteristics so require. To this end Member States may inter alia specify certain types of projects as being subject to an assessment or may establish the criteria and/or thresholds necessary to determine which of the projects of the classes listed in Annex II are to be subject to an assessment in accordance with Articles 5 to 10.

Annex II.10 Infrastructure projects:
... (g) Tramways, elevated and underground railways, suspended lines or similar lines of a particular type, used exclusively or mainly for passenger transport.

It might be worth asking them for a copy of the Environmental Impact Assessment they have carried out to comply with government regulations implemented in accordance with EU directive 85/337/EC. I've no idea if they actually are required to carry out such an assessment, it depends on how the relevant legislation was drawn up. But worth a try?

#40 primrose

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 09:18 AM

I know for certain that the site entrance is going in front of my property, and all the machinery and materials are going at the side of my house. I only found this out at the meeting, even then it didn't seem to be of importance to be discussed. I have not been informed officially by the council or TFL that an access will be made so close to our house. I also know that legally site facilities have to be supplied, so that will probably mean porta cabins, toilets, etc .

#41 Rayhoop

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 08:29 AM

Roob - good effort. Reghy is going to look into it further.

Speaking to a few people. A lot of locals seem to mis-understand our intentions.

The fight is to preserve the visuals of the area, i.e. protect as many of the mature trees as possible and encourage the planting of new trees in the areas where it is safe too. And.. to try and get TfL to conduct their restabilisation in such a way that there is space for trees to be planted.

Speaking to Tom Cross yesterday (who has been in communication with professionals in the field), it is apparent TfL can do the restabilisation to industry standards and still preserve the Amersham greenery. However TfL have opted for the 'value range' of engineering solutions, and their design guidelines are extended way beyond the industry standard. In otherwords, TfL saves a few bob at the expense of the environment and local community.

Anyway - back to trying to find a way to force TfL into preserving more trees and planting new ones where possible.

Does anyone know what protection there is for bats that may be nesting in the area?

On a few occasions I have seen bats flying around in the area at night. Although I cannot be sure where they are living - in our neighbours roofs, or in the trees beside the track.

#42 primrose

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 03:19 PM

By chance I happened to see two ladies walking the embankment today, one was from TFL and the other I'm sure said she was from Active. The lady from Active was doing a check on the wildlife to see if there were signs of badger setts, and general impact to the environment . I also mentioned about the EIA assessment to the TFL worker and she said that they were currently in talks with the council regarding the affects of noise pollution to the neighbours, so that was in hand. Shame when I pointed out to her where the site compound was going to be, she looked startled and said that no one had told her.

#43 hyposmurf

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 07:56 PM

Does anyone know what protection there is for bats that may be nesting in the area?

On a few occasions I have seen bats flying around in the area at night. Although I cannot be sure where they are living - in our neighbours roofs, or in the trees beside the track.



Bat protection

#44 PeterC

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 08:31 PM

Does anybody think that TfL are bothered? We don't get to vote for the mayor and assembley that control them.
PeterC aka Chilternbirder

#45 Rayhoop

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 11:14 AM

re: Bats
I believe Jean Cross has arranged for the Bat Society (not sure which one) to drive by with equipment that detects the presence of bats (guessing it listens out for the sonar sounds the bats use to navigate and 'see'). I'll get confirmation on whether this is taking place.

Are TfL bothered? They are trying not to be... but with continued pressure Im sure they will be. They are hoping the community cannot be bothered or will just back down without a fight so they have a clear run to do what they like and just impose their will on us. Hence why it is so important to be persistant. Eventually they will reconsider to make life easier or we will find legal grounds to force them to reconsider.



I just received confirmation that the CDC met last night and discussed the issue. The CDC are going to apply pressure on TfL to provide further detail (something they are refusing to do), and have expressed their disappointment in the stance taken by TfL with regards to the matter.


On Monday I was informed by Pamela Appleby that the environmental officer was aware of the situation, and stated that TfL are required to submit a formal notice to them before any major/disruptive work can begin. This notice must be served 28 days in advance, and on Monday there was no record of the notice having been received.



#46 Rayhoop

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 02:48 PM

http://www.bucksfree...building_works/

#47 hyposmurf

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 07:46 PM

I guess TFL see it as their land that they are working on,to reduce a health and safety risk.Surely if they cut out this many trees and put down a mass of concrete they could create a possible drainage problem for neighbouring gardens.I find it hard to visualise exactly what vegetation will be removed.

#48 Rayhoop

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Posted 05 August 2010 - 09:11 AM

I agree the h&s work needs to be done.
Its the engineering method and 'TfL internal standards' being used that require the culling of the trees and no replanting in key areas.

There are other engineering solutions available, as Tom Cross has found through talking to experts in the field of Railway Embankment Engineering.

TfL left the plans/drawings of the work with Pamela Appleby. Reghy will pop over to hers today to pick these up and we'll get them scanned in tomorrow.

A friend of mine is throwing a basic website together to host the plans, and publish the facts we have collected to date.. and highlight the issues etc.

I've been in contact with the group Amersham In Action, who used to be involved in running the Amersham-today and Chilterns-today website. They are also aware of the issue and are applying pressure where possible. I need to speak to Brian (chairman) again before I register a URL, as I understand they are also looking at possibly registering another URL, and I dont want to step on their toes.

Hopefully this will not take long, and all the info will be available shortly.

Me personally - I didnt know the extent of the works, and hence almost just let it pass. But when attending the council meeting last thursday and seeing the plans, I was horrified. It really made my blood boil seeing the complete disregard to the environment/community.

Hopfully publishing the plans will help the community to understand the extent of the works.

#49 Rayhoop

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Posted 05 August 2010 - 09:57 AM

another article.
once again, it doesnt give the whole picture and does not comment on the attitude TfL showed towards the environment and community.

http://www.buckingha...14018-26986426/

#50 Rayhoop

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 08:11 AM

Quick update
We've been told that until we have permission from TfL, we are not allowed to publish the plans on line.

Pamela Appleby does have paper copies of the plans, so if anyone wishes to view the extent of the works, Pamela said she would be happy to show people the plans.

We are still waiting on TfL to respond to our request for the plans to be made publicly available.
Until then - there is little point of putting a website together.

Or I guess we could just host the plans here?



#51 Matthew (Admin/MPJ)

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 08:50 AM

Quick update
We've been told that until we have permission from TfL, we are not allowed to publish the plans on line.

Pamela Appleby does have paper copies of the plans, so if anyone wishes to view the extent of the works, Pamela said she would be happy to show people the plans.

We are still waiting on TfL to respond to our request for the plans to be made publicly available.
Until then - there is little point of putting a website together.

Or I guess we could just host the plans here?



I don't have a problem hosting the plans, as long as they are allowed to be made public.
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#52 hyposmurf

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 07:11 PM

Might not be easy but some pictures of the trees that are proposed to be taken down would help.Maybe you could put them ona website.
Its not exactly the same, but imagine a neighbour has had tall trees in the garden for many years and they decide to take them down as they are worried that they are a health and safety risk.In this case it would be very hard as a neighbour to stop this.Perhaps in the case of TFL if enough people object and they get a bad enough press, TFL may change their plans for the better.

#53 roob_the_doob

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Posted 07 August 2010 - 12:34 AM

Its not exactly the same, but imagine a neighbour has had tall trees in the garden for many years and they decide to take them down as they are worried that they are a health and safety risk.In this case it would be very hard as a neighbour to stop this.Perhaps in the case of TFL if enough people object and they get a bad enough press, TFL may change their plans for the better.

It's very different. If TfL were to build a new railway along its current path, they would be required to put in place substantial works to limit noise nuisance and to avoid creating an eyesore. The same requirements should apply to any engineering works involved in maintaining the line.

#54 hyposmurf

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Posted 07 August 2010 - 08:17 PM

It's very different. If TfL were to build a new railway along its current path, they would be required to put in place substantial works to limit noise nuisance and to avoid creating an eyesore. The same requirements should apply to any engineering works involved in maintaining the line.

They should either be putting back the vegetation to how it was previously or imrpove on what was there before.On a side note isnt this just an indication of how rail companies can get away with providing very little natural screening and also how they disregard the obtrusive visual impact their services have on surounding residents.This makes me doubt whether the propsed HS2 will be provided with any/enough natural screening!

#55 Rayhoop

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 09:24 AM

Might not be easy but some pictures of the trees that are proposed to be taken down would help.Maybe you could put them ona website.
Its not exactly the same, but imagine a neighbour has had tall trees in the garden for many years and they decide to take them down as they are worried that they are a health and safety risk.In this case it would be very hard as a neighbour to stop this.Perhaps in the case of TFL if enough people object and they get a bad enough press, TFL may change their plans for the better.



Thats one of the issues - the plans did not detail every tree (understandable, as there are many trees of varying sizes), and it is difficult for us to physically identify the trees that will be taken down. TfL mentioned they would mark the ones up that are to stay, but I can only see two trees with red/white ribbon on them (no idea what that means) and our neighbours have seen trees with yellow paint on them (including one that is in their own garden!!), and again, no idea what the yellow paint represents.

The TfL website has a lot of splurge on how the company is environmentally and socially responsible, but as pointed out by Jean, much of it is 'strategy' and 'aims' rather than legally binding requirements to preserve.

The TfL site also has a report on the variety of wildlife that lives along the various stretches of the Metropolitan line - quite an interesting read. Im not sure whether TfL have read it themselves!


Plans wise - as we dont have explicit permission to publically display the plans, we are not being given them to publish. Although you could argue that TfL displayed them in the council chambers for a 'public consultation', and they didnt stop us taking the plans... but I guess that would never stand up in court!

Like Roob said. If it was a new line, they would have to adhere to all sorts of planning constraints, screening etc. But as it is maintenance, more so because of Health and Safety, they are not really required to submit any kind of plans.

We had a letter dropped through the post on Saturday saying the work will begin shortly. Starting with replacing the fence, then followed by the removal of vegetation.

We are awaiting feedback from a senior TfL member, as the issue was raised up the chain, fingers crossed but Im guessing little will come of it now. Still - worth trying, you never know!



#56 Matthew (Admin/MPJ)

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 10:25 AM

Has there been any progress on this project / issue?

I've not seen any work and thought it should have started, so has there been a re think?
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#57 primrose

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 02:26 PM

Has there been any progress on this project / issue?

I've not seen any work and thought it should have started, so has there been a re think?



Definitely no re think. Not many trees left on one stretch either. The concrete road is going in now, and the construction machinery is slowly moving in. It looks a sorry sight as you approach coming up Stanly Hill.

#58 147

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 02:42 PM

Definitely no re think. Not many trees left on one stretch either. The concrete road is going in now, and the construction machinery is slowly moving in. It looks a sorry sight as you approach coming up Stanly Hill.


Kimmy, I can see in your garden now.

#59 primrose

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 09:08 AM

Kimmy, I can see in your garden now.



Well, as you seem to have a good view of whats going on along there, it was put to me the other day about, dare I mention it, toilet facilities. Have you seen any?

#60 147

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 09:31 AM

Well, as you seem to have a good view of whats going on along there, it was put to me the other day about, dare I mention it, toilet facilities. Have you seen any?


Quite possibly that tree just inside your boundary.

No I havnt spotted any.