The day started with more chatter about Brexit red lines and about compromise – it went through a period of pretty deep frown lines – and ended with resolution over yellow lines – double ones at that – and some smiles.
This was the third Marlborough Town Council planning committee meeting (April 8) to tackle the problem of access by emergency services to the social housing at No 10 The Green. This arose because of a fire on the outside wall of one of the homes there – which ended with one or more people going to hospital suffering from ‘mild inhalation’ of smoke.
With the aim of ensuring emergency services could reach the No 10 homes, a one-way system around The Green had been suggested and then ruled out at the March meeting. But double yellow lines were still on the agenda – taking away seven or eight parking spaces.
This meeting again attracted a large number of local residents and was held in the Court Room. Lillian Leadbetter, who lives on the east side of The Green where double yellow lines had been proposed, said that from the outset residents had not been consulted: “It has been a considerable concern to many of us that these proposals relating to No 10 should be made and passed seemingly without justification, hard facts or evidence, or an official report of the fire incident under discussion.”
It turned out it was all much ado about very little. David Adamson, Wiltshire and Dorset Fire and Rescue Service’s Station Manager for Marlborough and District Commander for East Wiltshire, gave the meeting facts about the fire and his team’s response to it.
The call to the fire station was received at 03.47 – fire crews were mobilised at 03.54 and were on site and operational by 03.56. They used the access roadway up the side of The Green from Herd Street where cars were parked: “There was a three metre gap and although it was tight, they did get through. Both appliances got right to the front door.”
Even if they could not have driven up to the front door, the tenders carry 120 metres of hoses that could have reached the main road. David Adamson added: “There’s no evidence to suggest delay. Nothing would have changed the lady’s smoke inhalation.”
All this put the problem into completely different light. Councillor Price spoke of “crossed wires”. And Councillor Forbes professed to being ‘quite shocked’: “We were misled – completely. We were told there was a half-hour delay.” He alleged ‘bad faith’ in the original complaint that the safety of the 25-30 people in the No 10 homes – most over 70 and some quite infirm – was being put at risk due to parking round The Green.
Councillors agreed unanimously that the best option of the three suggested by Wiltshire Council Highways Department was to put double yellow lines on the bend opposite the entrance to No 10. Smiles all round.
The Fire and Rescue Service have a campaign about assured access for their vehicles under the slogan Are We Getting Through? – very applicable to Marlborough with its many narrow streets.
David Adamson and his team will be visiting homes around The Green with leaflets reminding people to park sensibly so as to ensure access for any emergency vehicle – and waste collection trucks as well.
A long debate over child safety along Frees Avenue as young players cross the road from the Rugby Club building to the pitch ended with a decision to support double yellow lines for ten metres each side of the crossing point.
New plans were approved for parking restrictions in Manton High Street by the village green. Manton Residents’ Association representative Lindsay Long thanked the Council for their work and complimented Town Clerk Shelley Parker for her help. A plan had already been agreed by Councillors for St Luke’s Court. These plans now go to consultation by Wiltshire Council.