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  • Article: Aug 3, 2020
    By Andrew Cooley

    Are Gloucestershire school playing fields in danger of being sold off to make up for the Tory cuts of the past few years?

    Since 2015, 110 school sports fields across the country have been sold as cash-strapped schools try to raise enough money to keep going. Official figures show that 13 school playing fields have been sold off this year - 8 in the last 3 months.

  • Vilnis on a bike
    Article: Jul 28, 2020
    By Cllr Vilnis Vesma

    The Government has announced support for cycling as a way of boosting health and wellbeing - a move which I welcome. Cautiously.

    The difficulty, certainly in Newent, is the near-impossibility of constructing the completely segregated cycle lanes that seem to be the focus of the new announcement, or of banning through traffic from residential streets. It won't be long before there are over 1,100 houses fed from the single access point at Foley Road, for example (so no "through traffic" there anyway) and Culver Street, which is barely wide enough for a single line of traffic, carries unrestricted heavy agricultural and goods vehicles. As with much of the Forest administrative district, the road system (if you could call it that) comprises windy, hilly lanes and B roads that are quite hazardous and hard work for the cyclist. If the Government's aim is to reduce the load on the NHS, they wouldn't promote on-road cycling around here.

  • Contact numbers for Covid-19 support services
    Article: Jul 25, 2020
    By Cllr Vilnis Vesma

    This is taken from the new website published by Forest Voluntary Action Forum to signpost people to help and support during the Covid-19 pandemic. Congratulations to their indefatigable CEO Chris Brown and his team for pulling this together.

  • Refuse collection vehicle
    Article: Jul 25, 2020
    By Cllr Vilnis Vesma

    The District Council has voted to install solar panels on its headquarters in Coleford. Cllr Gill Moseley and I abstained when the measure was voted through, as did our Independent fellow ward councillor Julia Gooch. We were the only dissenting voices and I would like to explain why. Julia, who was in the Chair, told me afterwards she felt she could not support something that would only repay the investment in eight and a half years. I agree.

  • Parking barriers
    Article: Jul 25, 2020
    By Cllr Vilnis Vesma

    Newent's bizarre experiment with reducing on-street parking as a way of boosting post-lockdown trade has come to an end, largely thanks to the efforts of our Independent fellow-councillor Julia Gooch. The idea had actually been to widen the footway to allow pedestrians space because some people think that even passing someone in the open air is risky. In fact footfall in the town is relatively light, and the shopkeepers were not consulted about what would help them: impeding short-term parking was not on their list.