Thursday, 17 July 2008

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

What are you doing this Monday Night? (21st July 2008 at 7pm)

Perhaps you'd be interested in this wildlife walk organised by the Preston Birdwatching and Natural History Society?

Heres the message they sent to 'Broadgate is Great':

Would your readers be interested in a wildlife walk from the Tram Bridge, probably through the trees to Vernon's Lodge area, presumably part of the area that will constitute the new Country Park?

It's just one of our series of Monday evening ambles, but we'd be glad to see anyone who would like to come along with us - It's free. We'd be back by the river by 9.15pm at the latest, but anybody who needed an earlier finish could make their own way.

We leave promptly at 7pm, but we probably wouldn't take a lot of finding - we don't walk fast.

Hope to see you soon.

Steve Halliwell - Preston Bird Watching & Natural History Society.

Why not give it a go - what else is there to do on a Monday night?

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Broadgate News Production Team: New Members Wanted

Have you ever wondered how the 'Broadgate and District News' gets to land on your doormat?

Why not come along when our production team is in full swing?

At the moment BRAG is looking for new people to join it's highly skilled team of newsletter folders.

This dedicated group meets in St Stephen's Church, Bird St to fold, staple and sort that month's edition of 'The Broadgate and District News'.

Now we're announcing a unique opportunity to join this elite band of community-spirited individuals.

People who come along will be subjected to a rigorous selection procedure, and then given intensive training in the art of folding. Truly promising candidates may even, in exceptional circumstances, get to use the stapler.

Once the newsletter has been printed, folded, stapled and sorted it is delivered across Broadgate by volunteers.

The whole process is fueled by free cakes and brews, courtesy of KM Grocers (on Taylor St).

It's also a unique chance to catch up on local gossip - for instance, tonight I learned that the Ribbleside on the corner of Broadgate and Taylor St may soon re-open - as an Indian Restaurant.

Future folding sessions happen at 7pm on August 20th, September 17th, October 1st and November 5th (we're going to have fun that bonfire night!)

If you prefer listening to the latest news and views on Broadgate and District issues to folding and stapling, come along to the BRAG/PACT meetings, every first wednesday of the month at 6.30pm.

Forthcoming meetings are on:
August 6th, at BAC Club, South Meadow Lane
September 3rd, Empire Club, Hartington Road and
October 1st, BAC Club, South Meadow Lane

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Robert Service

On Christian Road you can find a blue plaque marking the birthplace of Robert Service. Service was born on January 16th 1874, his father a bank cashier and his mother the daughter of a rich distillery family. At the age of five his parents sent him to live with his Scottish grandfather. He composed his first poem at the age of six and subsequently went on to become the highest earning poet of all time and it is often claimed that he was the most widely read poet of the twentieth century.

After being educated in Scotland he decided to move to Canada where he spent the next few years drifting from place to place and job to job until he eventually went into banking with the Canadian Bank of Commerce in Victoria in 1903. The following year he was transferred to the Yukon Territory. It was there that he started writing poems about the Klondike gold rush, inspired by the places he saw, the people he met and the tales he heard. In 1907 his first book of poems “Songs of a Sourdough” began life as a 100 book print run to be given to friends and relatives. Such was its success it was reprinted fifteen times before the end of the year and by 1940 had sold over three million copies and earned half a million dollars in royalties. He has been called the Bard of the Yukon and the Canadian Kipling.
One of the best-known poems in the book is “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” which captures the atmosphere of the gold rush and the characters involved in it. This is the opening verse:

The Shooting of Dan McGrew

A bunch of the boys were whooping it up in the Malamute saloon;The kid that handles the music-box was hitting a jag-time tune;Back of the bar, in a solo game, sat Dangerous Dan McGrew,And watching his luck was his light-o'-love, the lady that's known as Lou.When out of the night, which was fifty below, and into the din and glare,There stumbled a miner fresh from the creeks, dog-dirty, and loaded for bear.He looked like a man with a foot in the grave and scarcely the strength of a louse,Yet he tilted a poke of dust on the bar, and he called for drinks for the house.There was none could place the stranger's face, though we searched ourselves for a clue;But we drank his health, and the last to drink was Dangerous Dan McGrew.

There are many who will decry this poetry and dispute its value, but there is no doubt that it has been read and enjoyed by many who would not give T S Eliot or John Milton a second glance.

In 1909 Service was rich enough to resign from the bank and write full time. He departed for Europe as a war correspondent in the Balkans before settling in Paris in 1913 and marrying a French girl. During WW1 he was a war correspondent, ambulance driver and finally attached to the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He lived in France for the rest of his life apart from a spell in Hollywood in the 1920’s when some of his poems and novels were made into films and also during WW2 when he made his acting debut in 1942 in “The Spoilers” with John Wayne and Randolph Scott. In a scene with Marlene Dietrich he played himself 40 years younger.
Returning to France after the war this native of Broadgate lived in Brittany and on the Riviera until his extraordinary life ended on September 11th 1958.

With thanks to Mike Cracknell

Monday, 7 July 2008

Broadgate PACT Meeting July 08 - The Minutes

PACT/BRAG minutes 2nd July 2008

Held at Empire Services Club, Hartington Road, Preston


PC3908 Wayne Marsden
PCSO 7283 Suzie Waite
PCSO 7745 Faye Kellett
Kash Kamal
Terry Quinn – Secretary
Doreen Sanders – Eavesbrook Housing Association

Councillor Bhikhu Patel
Councillor Jack Davenport


PC360 Carl Ingram

Members of the public were in attendance.


The meeting was opened by Kash, acting as chairman. He introduced a representative from St Matthews who gave a talk about a young person’s group called Jigsaw, which run activities for children and young people. Their objectives are to promote participation in youth activities. This summer they are setting up a three week pilot play scheme, which will take place three days a week for 7-11 year olds. The activities will be held in the area, whilst the youthclub is based in Fishwick. From September onwards they are hoping to offer activities, including training for young people up to the age of 21. Packs were left for people to take away.

Policing Report:

PC Wayne Marsden and Faye Kellett went through the police report. For the period 4 June to 2 July there have been 33 crimes, which is considered good for this time of year.

Car safety packs were also made available for people to take.

Update on last month’s PACT priorities:

Parking on the footpath on South Meadow Lane, near the Continental Pub

During the month the police did several patrols in the area and 30 cars were noted, with five being given penalty tickets. Near the Continental Pub was noted as the worst area. There is supposed to be restricted waiting in the area but this is a Council matter. Parks maintenance has been asked to cut back the bushes/hedges in order for more room to be available for pedestrians on the pavement.

PC Carl Ingram also did a couple of days down Kingswood Street, focussing on parking. He issued 12 letters of warning during this period. Most of the cars were non-residents, with the majority being County Hall Staff. PC Ingram has asked County Hall to issue an email to staff asking them not to park there.

Letters of warning on Broadgate will be issued explaining about parking restrictions.

General behaviour – people hanging round drinking openly on the streets with cans.

Anti-social behaviour is less of a problem now at the top of Fishergate Hill. A drugs warrant was issued for a flat at 98 Fishergate Hill, where four people were caught with drugs and drugs paraphernalia. The police were accompanied by a housing manager and the residents were evicted and the flat has been locked and secured.

Stone throwing during the month accounted for 5 out of the 6 criminal damage incidents mentioned in the police report. The police think they know who it is and it was mentioned as a possible PACT priority for the coming month.

At the recent Polish PACT meeting a resident mentioned concerns about the anti-social behaviour at the top of Fishergate Hill. PC Marsden thinks this is historic but they will keep monitoring the situation.


A couple of operations were held during the month with PC Marsden and Jack conducting operations. The highest recorded speed was 38 mph. People were given verbal advice. The speeding devices appear to be working in slowing traffic down. Councillor Bikhu Patel has additional funds for a further device and this will be available in the next couple of weeks. There are currently devices on Broadgate, Hartington Road and they are hoping to erect several more posts, including one on Bow Lane and two on Fishergate Hill.

Community Issues:

Grafton Street has now been cleaned up. PCSO Faye Kellett and PCSO Suzie Waite assisted with moving cars in order for the road sweeper to clean the Road. Linda Compton helped organise the sweeper.

The Continental Pub: the new owners of the pub were in attendance, Ruth and Jeremy. They explained that the pub was currently being refurbished and that they wanted the pub to be an integral part of the community. They want people to voice any concerns/suggestions they may have and are going to put questionnaires through people’s doors in order to get some feedback. They are hoping to open at the beginning of August. The refurbishment involves both internal and external areas. They are hoping to make the pub more upmarket, with a focus on good food and cask ales and continental larger, with coffee and tea available during the day. There won’t be a pool table or bandit machines and they are hoping the absence of these will deter the wrong sort of people. They are aiming to be a family friendly pub and will be redeveloping the play area and having children’s theatre. They want to open up the pub to events and have function space and invite community and touring groups, which will include performing arts and possibly some exhibition space. They are also hoping to have bands in and comedy nights. If you want to find out anything further or organise anything, feel free to ring them on 07708 615 877. Their current licence is 11 am -1 am at weekends and 11 am -12 am during the week.

Councillor Bhiku Patel welcomed the owners of the Continental Pub to the community.

Crime and Punishment: PC Wayne Marsden asked if anybody would be interested in listening to a presentation on ‘Crime and Punishment’. It is a joint venture by magistrates and probation officers. It lasts about one hour and has already been given to a range of community groups around the county. The majority of people at the meeting were in favour and so PC Marsden will try to arrange it for the next meeting.

Issues Raised by the public

Parking at the bus-stop on the junction of Broadgate and Fishergate Hill: People are currently parking there all day. PC Marsden explained that letters have gone out to people, although it is an ongoing problem but he is hoping the word will get round that people shouldn’t park there. Unfortunately the main problem is that people are usually parked there by 8 am and the police normally have a briefing at this time. However they will continue to monitor the situation.

Westcliff: It was hoped that more could be done to encourage Westcliff residents to come to the meetings and get more involved in the community. PCSOs Faye Kellett and Suzie Waite explained that they had tried to get residents more involved but without much success, however, they will keep trying. Councillor Bhiku Patel suggested an open van, from the Council, manned by the police in order to get the residents more involved. Currently there are new housing association flats, around 24/25, and people are gradually moving in, the police will make themselves known to the residents.

Distribution of the Newsletter: Although there are 2000 addresses in the Broadgate area, the newsletter currently reaches around 800 houses. In order to deliver to everybody, more people are required to deliver the newsletters and approximately £3,000 per year would be required to fund the printing costs. Councillor Bhiku Patel said that the Council had £1,000 available if the committee put a proposal together. Jack and Joanne will email Councillor Patel with the proposal.

Flood Risk Action Plan: Matthew Marsh, who has produced a report on flood risk in the area, gave a brief talk about flood risk in the area. The areas from Grafton Street to Broadgate and Hartington Road down to the river are all at a high risk of flooding. People still need to be aware that Broadgate has always been a high flood risk area. It is within the top 25 areas of risk in the North West. Preston County Council has just issued their flood risk management programme. Matthew proposed that a group be formed to look at the document, which needs community involvement. He is hoping the first group will meet at the end of July/beginning of August. Councillor Jack Davenport has offered his services in this respect. If anybody else is interested in becoming part of the group, please contact Matthew on

The Blog: Max gave a brief talk about the blog, explaining that it is now up and running, with many interesting articles already online. The aim of the blog is to be a positive force in the area, showing how good Broadgate actually is. The address is and people are welcome to contribute with articles about the area and any pictures that they feel show a positive side to the area.

PACT Priorities

Stone throwing.

The next meeting will be on 6th August 2008 at BAC Club, South Meadow Lane

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Broadgate Flood Wall Repairs

One of the most contentious issues at the Central Area Forum meeting at the Gujurati Temple on the 19th June was the discussion on the repairs to the 80 year old flood wall running between Broadgate and the River Ribble.

Local residents have been raising concerns about this wall for some time, and now the Environment Agency have commissioned a survey by Arup Consultants Limited, and will be taking action this Autumn to prolong the life of the wall (at least cosmetically), basically by touching up areas of 'spalling', renewing the filler in the movement joints, and repainting the wall.

A local resident raised his concerns with Matthew Connor, from the Environment Agency's Asset Systems Management Division.

He told 'Broadgate is Great':

"I raised my concerns at the meeting on a feedback card about the tree roots that can be seen by anyone walking alongside the wall that are coming from the river side of the wall and poking up through the pavement on the road side of the wall."

"I received a very prompt reply through the post, which was full of details and photographs. It answered not only my question, but the other questions and concerns raised by residents at the meeting, I have to say I was impressed by this level of clarity and accountability, which is not my usual experience of contacting official bodies!".

In the letter Matthew Connor says:

As I stated at the meeting, the structural assessment of the wall carried out by Arup Consultants Ltd, concluded that the wall was structurally stable and could withstand the load put on it if the river reached the level of the top of the wall. However Arup did recommend the following measures to prolong the life of the wall:

- All areas of 'spalled' concrete are to be repaired
- The movement joints are repaired and re-filled with a compressible joint filler
- The wall is painted to prevent further chloride attack/carbonation

These recommendations have now received financial approval for implementation and will be carried out by contractors working for the Environment Agency in Autumn 2008.

At the meeting, concerns were raised regarding tree roots affecting the structural stability of the wall. Due to the wall being supported by piled concrete foundations with reinforcement bars, tree roots were not deemed to be a threat to the wall's stability by Arup.

In addition, it was suggested that a 'hole' in the flood defences protecting Broadgate existed at the location of the pipebridge, just upstream of the Penwortham Old Bridge Footbridge that crosses the River Ribble... While it appears lower than the Broadgate wall, it offers the same standard of flood protection, given that the natural elevation of the land is slightly higher on that side of the bridge.

Moving further upstream, (there is) a section of low wall which again is built to the same standard of protection as Broadgate Wall. This is the point at which the 'new' wall protecting the southern end of Broadgate commences...

This new wall is around twenty to thirty years old and was built to a higher standard of protection than the older downstream wall. This was due to the natural elevation of the river bed being higher as you move upstream, meaning that a flood event of a given magnitude would be at a higher level in this location than at the areas downstream protected by the older wall. It is also likely that the observed river levels would have been higher when the new wall was built than when Preston Borough Council constructed the older wall some eighty years ago, due to the effects of climate change and increased development starting to become noticeable. This would have prompted the engineers involved to construct the wall to a higher standard of protection, explaining why it appears that the area around the pipebridge has a lower standard of protection than the area immediately upstream. However, this area has the same standard of protection as the area downstream protected by the Broadgate flood wall.

Whan the Environment Agency replaces the older Broadgate flood wall, we will take into account the latest climate change guidance from Defra relating to sea level rise and river levels. This will ensure that a wall is built to a level sufficient to take into account predicted river level rises in the future.

The letter itself does not say when the older flood wall will be replaced rather than merely repainted, though at the meeting Matthew suggested a timescale of the next 5 - 10 years.

In the meantime do we have any choice other than to accept the reassurances of the Environment Agency and Arup Consultants about the soundness of our flood defences?