SINGLETON Parish Council is starting a campaign to get some decent broadband in the parish.
At the moment residents in The Village are lucky to get half to one megabit – if they can connect at all – and some have been without broadband for months. Cllr Mick Smith is a case in point – he had had no broadband for 27 weeks, and although he was eventually able to get a weak and very variable service, he lost even that between Christmas and the New Year, he told councillors at our meeting on Thursday, 26th January 2012.
Contributing to our list of complaints was local resident John Ashcroft, who said the poor and absent broadband had had a serious impact on his family, which would normally rely heavily on the Internet for banking, shopping, and email contact. His children had suffered, too, because they had been unable to do their university research without visiting relatives who had a usable connection.
We were luicky to have Singleton School governor and IT specialist Garry Rayner at the meeting, for it was he who helped our earlier complaints to be sent to BT via MP Mark Menzies, even if BT’s reply was misinformed as it quoted broadband figures for another Singleton in the UK!
Most of the problems were due to the length of cable from the Poulton exchange, he told councillors. BT expects Singleton to get broadband at a slow 1.5mbps, even if many residents – especially in The Village – don’t get anywhere near that. How ‘good’ your connection is depends on the provider, with Orange and TalkTalk being the worst. Better providers are BT (bt.com), Be (bethere.co.uk) and 02 (broadband.02.uk).
The poor level of broadband we’re getting it not acceptable, he added, but the Government’s target of a 2mbps minimum in rural areas for 90% of the population by 2015 would probably not apply to Singleton as BT had no plans to upgrade the Poulton exchange to its ‘Infinity’ service, based on the high broadband speeds available with optic fibre cabling.
The only thing we could do was to persuade BT to upgrade to optic fibre sooner rather than later, Garry said. As a result the council is to distribute flyers asking residents to make complaints which the parish council and Garry Rayner can collate and send to MP Mark Menzies, who has been so helpful on this issue because he is keen to see better broadband throughout rural Fylde.
We’re distributing flyers via the InFocus magazine, by hand around The Village and in other ways, as well as informing people by word-of-mouth. Please respond by telling us of your broadband experiences and complaints.
Tree “could have killed someone”
John Ashcroft told the council that the 75ft high beech tree which crashed down outside his drive in Miller Crescent during the mid-December gales could easily have killed someone – and there could be more old or diseased trees potentially putting people at risk, especially schoolchildren.
“It’s just bad woodland management,” he told councillors.
“What really concerns me,” he said in an email to Singleton Trust’s estates office and copied to Cllr Maxine Chew, “is that during the run-up to Christmas, Church Road was used by literally hundreds of children from the school as they made their way to St.Anne’s Church: should the tree have come down then I can only imagine the consequences.
“This road is also used as a commuter route twice a day as well as a drop-off point for parents bringing their children to the school.
“Looking at the wood (Puzzle Wood) during the gales I am even more fearful that the wet ground, poor drainage and the condition of the trees themselves may encourage even more trees to come down. Consequently, I would hope that you will be able to investigate the situation described above and reassure me and my neighbours that the woodland is being managed in a renewable and safe manner.”
We agreed to ask Fylde Borough Council’s tree preservation officer to visit Singleton to audit roadside trees which may be a risk.
Talking about Puzzle Wood… We’re sending a ‘thankyou’ letter to another Miller Crescent resident, Dave Kay, for all his work on upgrading the wood. Recently he finished the footpaths with the help of four prisoners from Kirkham Open Prison. Dave, too, is concerned about trees, especially as one in Puzzle Wood is about to fall down.
Motorists watch out!
OVER the next two months police are to target motorists driving while using mobile phones or not wearing seatbelts as well as those speeding through the parish. Speed traps will be more frequent than ever before, and will stay in the parish for full shifts, not just the odd few hours. Insp Keith Ogle is also helping us to progress calming measures, such as chicanes or a mini-roundabout.
We were saddened by the death of George Loftus, especially as he had been a parish councillor for eight years, and will be writing to his wife to express our sorrow.
Houses on the garage site
We have not been offically informed of the plans to build two five-bed detached homes on the site of Singleton Service Station and are hoping the plans are substantially the same as the original scheme, which we had approved. More details at our next meeting.
Thursday, 23rd February, at the church vestry, as usual, and starting at 7.30pm, as usual. All are welcome – and we have an Open Forum session when you can air your views and raise questions.