I feel I should respond to your articles and correspondence with regard to Jubilee Bridge and other issues in Matlock Bath.
For the past two/three years I have been pressing for work to be carried out on Jubilee Bridge with officers at Derbyshire Dales District Council, and the leader of DDDC, Cllr Lewis Rose.
I expect fairly soon to be able to provide positive news on this issue, but it will need substantial preparatory work prior to painting and it will be necessary to provide scaffolding to carry out the work and to protect the workmen from the dangers of the river below.
The bridge has been, and is regularly inspected and found to be safe.
The fact is that the council, along with other authorities in the country, face enormous budget pressures following the previous Government’s policies and the comprehensive spending review by the new Coalition Government, and therefore, capital schemes such as this test our budgetary resources.
I am confident though that this work will be carried out, but timing is important due to the summer season and the fact that we have to work around the Illuminations event. I expect the work to be carried out next spring/summer.
If it can be achieved earlier then so much the better.
I would also like to see the railings by the side of the river painted, and I will be contacting highways officers at county council to see what can be achieved here.
Cllr David Barker states that he is concerned with certain issues as he drives along the A6. I have endeavoured to have Matlock Bath ‘cleaned up’ in a number of respects over the years, but there are certain issues beyond authority control.
Overgrown trees are a constant source of complaint, blocking views etc. However, both Derbyshire Dales District Council and Derbyshire County Council will only deal with a tree if it is a safety issue.
If the tree is blocking the river then this is a matter for Severn Trent, who we always contact immediately if there is such a problem.
I tried in 2008/9 with the parish council to deal with the issue of commercial waste bins blocking pavements and/or creating an unsightly scene.
All of the bins, with the exception of those on the bottom of Holme Road, are within the private curtilage of the property of the respective trader, and therefore, we found it impossible to deal with this unsightly issue.
If the bins are a health hazard, then we can deal with it and would do so immediately through the DDDC Environmental Department. The bins on Holme Road were considered by officers not to be blocking the highway, the argument being that sufficient room was still available to walk by and therefore again there was nothing more that could be done.
A-boards and other extraneous signs along the Parade are a mix of sitting within private curtilage of property, and others in the public domain on the highway (which includes the pavement).
This can and will be dealt with, so I would appeal to traders here and now, to remove those blocking the pavements. This can be an enforcement issue, but I would prefer a collaborative approach by traders on this one.
I have always argued for a Traders Chamber in Matlock Bath, but traders do not seem to want such a scheme.
If this could happen, I believe that it would benefit Matlock Bath and issues such as Christmas lights could be addressed, thus creating a seasonal shopping venture as enjoyed by other towns and villages in the Derbyshire Dales.
The district council has carried out a great deal of work in Matlock Bath, and we have won awards for the work carried out from Matlock to Matlock Bath, along Lovers Walk and into the Riverside Gardens. The authority is always prompt, early and diligent in cleaning the village up of litter following every weekend visit.
It is not the first time that views have been put forward that Matlock Bath is looking tired and neglected. Unfortunately we are in very difficult financial times and the constraints on our budget limit our aspirations.
However, I have to say that issues as important as this require a partnership approach as witnessed by the excellent work of the Save the Pavilion Group in trying to save Matlock Bath Pavilion.
Seating facilities along the Parade were examined by our planning dDepartment, and there was no objection, so long as health and safety issues were complied with. We seem to welcome such street scenes when we holiday abroad, so I personally do not see any harm here.
When the weather is fine I am sure we all wish to sit out.
If a village and/or Trader Partnership could be formed though, then I believe it would benefit the village enormously.
I will be taking this issue up once again with the parish council and would be happy to meet with anyone with respect to my views.
In 2008, I worked extremely hard by visiting all traders in Matlock Bath when the P&R Committee at Derbyshire Dales District Council threatened to close down the Illuminations due to the fact that contributions from traders had dropped off, and the authority was having to subsidise the event.
The authority has no statutory duty to carry out this event, but recognise its important to the village and to the wider benefit of the Derbyshire Dales.
Again, this is where we need a partnership approach and I would appeal to all traders once again, to contribute to the event, or risk losing it.
Cllr Garry Purdy
Elected Member – Wirksworth Division
District Councillor – Masson Ward