Uttoxeter Rural Division Annual Report May 2024

Philip Atkins OBE

Member of Staffordshire County Council for Uttoxeter Rural
Abbots Bromley, Admaston, Beamhurst, Blithfield, Bramshall, Combridge, Crakemarsh, Croxden,
Denstone, Dodsleigh, Ellastone, Gratwich, Kingstone, Leigh, Loxley, Mayfield, Newton, Okeover, Ramsor,

Rocester, Stanton, Stramshall, Withington, Wootton,

Much continues from my report last year with other issues sent to try us.
The effects both financial and health of the pandemic and ongoing Ukrainian war with
the resultant inflation are still here with the recent wet weather on top. As we approach
a General Election our minds will focus on how we tackle these issues, and with
straightened finances we will have to prioritise efforts to deliver essential services.
The County Council Election will be next May and Uttoxeter Rural Division is changing.
After representing Abbots Bromley for 37 years, it is a sad farewell. East Staffordshire
gains an extra County Councillor around Burton while Tamworth loses one, reflecting
house building and population changes. Uttoxeter Rural Division gains some of the new
houses to the west of Uttoxeter in place of Abbots Bromley. With effective lobbying
Blithfield has maintained its connections rather than be subsumed in Needwood which
Abbots Bromley joins with Barton under Needwood, Yoxall and Hoar Cross.
The constant wet weather since October has plagued us with flooded houses, roads and
road suffering from potholes and deteriorating faster than normal. Thankfully the
county council is in a far better position than most councils, with a balanced budget for
the next 5 years. This has meant we can invest £50 million more in our roads, with £2
million immediately to get on top of the damage caused by the weather. Please bear
with the highway teams as they go about their business. You can check on road works at
Causeway one.network one.network.org. Council tax has increased by 1.99% for the
council and 3% for social Services, which continues to take over 66% of the county
council’s budget. We are still one of the lowest county council taxes in England.
I still have a busy life farming at Abbey Fields in Rocester and a governor on South
Staffordshire College Board and Rocester Parish Councillor, as well as Health Scrutiny,
Pensions Committees and representing local government on the Rural Services Network
and National Growth Board. I am also an accredited LGA Member Peer who help other
councils with reviews, mentoring and coaching.
With the ongoing changes in agriculture and the end of Basic Payment Scheme there
has been a lot of work behind the scenes understanding the policy changes along with
prices fluctuating beyond many people’s experiences, particularly in commodity prices,
energy and supply costs along with fluctuating prices. Watch food prices after harvest.
Our thoughts have also been with King Charles III and the Princess of Wales with their
ongoing battles with cancer. This is a time to come together as a nation and celebrate
what makes our United Kingdom a great country.

Community Fund 2023
Across Staffordshire we continue to see incredible acts of generosity and courage along
with the volunteers, communities, neighbours, and businesses, stepping up and doing
their bit to keep people safe, fed, and healthy.
Each County Councillor has up to £2,500 to allocate. This can be spent in smaller
amounts and there is no set minimum. County Councillors are also able to jointly fund
projects which work across their local areas, or even to fund projects working
districtwide or countywide.
The focus of the Community Fund feels right, and there is no proposed change to the
focus for this year; it will again align with the principles of SCC’s #DoingOurBit
campaign. This means that it will support projects aimed at helping residents look after
themselves, the people around them, and the places where they live.
For people who want to find out more about the Fund, this page on SCC website has the
latest information for this year. The application form is on that page too.
2024 Community Fund – Staffordshire County Council
2024 Community Fund – guidance for applicants – Staffordshire County
‘We Love Uttoxeter’ Community Foundation
There is also funding available from the Staffordshire Community Foundation. You can
apply for £100 to £1000. Details available on their website.
We Love Uttoxeter – The Community Foundation for Staffordshire
Road Fatalities in 2023
We have had a spate of accidents that have sadly resulted in fatalities, and we await the
Coroner Reports. The first was on the B5030 with a head on crash, two motorcyclists
had a head on collision near the Marsh Tea Rooms on the B5013 followed by a collision
between a motorbike and a school bus nearby at the Rugeley Turn and B5013/4
junction. Finally, a van ended up in the Blythe at Burndhurst Mill after hitting a lorry.
The bridge is being repaired. I cannot foretell what the Coroner will say, however I am
pressing the County Council on drawing up potential and appropriate solutions at each
Watery Lane Crossroads, Kingstone
Plans are in place after the initial survey work funded by my Divisional Highways
Programme fund. Kingstone WI have gained £25,000 from ESBC with Cllr Colin
Whittaker’s help. Uttoxeter Rural and Kingstone Parish Councils along with the County
Council have agreed to fund alterations to this crossroad. The project will be delivered
in this financial year with the free dedication of the land by the landowners to facilitate
the project. Thanks to all of them and all involved for in delivering a unique project.

A50/A500 Growth Corridor update
While Project A as it is known is completed and is a major piece of engineering and a
huge success and delivering many economic benefits, while also improving road safety,
there is more to be done. With funding released from the cancellation of HS2, the
county council must work with the other local authorities involved to get to the next
stage of this project. The latest idea is a flyover at Uttoxeter with the roundabout
beneath allowing the A50 to flow freely over the junction with traffic joining from the
roundabout below. The Festival Park or Hanford junctions are good examples.
More work is ongoing on Digital Working and Superfast Staffordshire Website shows
when New Broadband will arrive. North Staffordshire has a project with Connect Fibre
and Mary Freeman is their liaison. You can find when and where the faster fibre
broadband will be available at the Superfast Staffordshire website
With the copper network disappearing and more people working from home because of
the pandemic, the need for 5G and faster broadband has become even more pressing. It
is a good job we have done what we have, but there is more needed.
MyStaffs App and the shift to digital
You can access all your council services on the move with the ‘My Staffs App’, free and
available on Apple devices, android and Google platforms from the Apple App store and
Google Play.
What is the MyStaffs app? It’s a much quicker and easier way in which customers can
talk to us with new technology using smart phones. If you need to report an issue, make
a transaction, or request information, with the free app you access key services
anytime, anywhere.
You can even specify your location so that you receive information about the services
which just apply in your area.
What’s more is that the app doesn’t just feature key county services but some at district
and borough level too, which means you can access everything all in one place, at the
touch of a button.
What's available on the app?
Services available through the app include:
•School Term Date Information
•School Closures
•Advice and information for parents of under 5s
•Local Venues and Attractions

•Waste Services
•School Meal Menus and Pricing
•Registration Services
•Council Tax Information
•Roads and Highways
So, if you’re always on the go – save time today and download the MyStaffs App for
Apple and Android devices.
Uttoxeter Quarry
We have been successful to have restrictions to journey travel and timings of
importation of scalping’s into Uttoxeter Quarry for washing. Thanks to the Parish
Councils involved for their lobbying efforts. There is a time limit on these activities
which needs to be monitored.
The next stage is the delivery of the Sports Hub with ongoing bids this year.
Blithfield Reservoir
After complaints from residents and Blithfield Parish Council a Section 53 notice has
been placed on the causeway allowing the Police to confiscate vehicles being used for
racing or cruising. The damaged sign has been replaced and drivers prosecuted.
This is a great example of partnership working by SCC, ESBC, Police and residents.
Fauld Mine
The operators at the Mine have restarted the liaison committee and it is worth noting
they have a community fund that has helped Renew Church in Uttoxeter. The material
they mine is now being added to the cement at Cauldon Low. This is some 200,000
tonnes a year. This is a hidden gem who are willing to work with our community.
Marchington Flooding
Kate Kniveton MP called a meeting involving the Environment Agency, Severn Trent and
SCC Highways to explain what they are doing. Marchington has a Section 19 Flood Plan
which they all should be delivering to. Some interesting facts came up at the meeting
which explained some of the problems. However, we can’t dodge the weather is
changing and causing issues not in plain sight such as carers not being able to make
visits when roads are impassable.
Looking to the future
Much more than this is happening in the Uttoxeter Rural area and there is always
something that needs my attention, particularly blocked gullies and collapsed drains.
Many of our rural roads were designed when modern traffic volumes were not even
dreamt of.

With electric vehicles a looming issue is the National Grid capacity to provide enough
capacity for electric cars and heat pumps. I attended a National Grid meeting last
November when they made stakeholders attending aware of their issues in changing
the grid and a EV meeting in London where we discussed the imminent changes. This is
on top of housing we need for our communities.
All these issues need a rural slant to them alongside the majority urban one.
As the Staffordshire representative on the Rural Services Network, I ensure our voice is
heard, as we are a peri urban area, a rural area on the edge of large urban areas and as
a result can be easily forgotten. And that is the reason most of us chose to live in
Uttoxeter Rural.
This is only a snapshot of the many things that I come across in a year and if anyone
wishes to know more on any subject do not hesitate to contact me.
Philip Atkins