Friday, 29 June 2012

Sustainability Report Consultation Response

Telford & Wrekin Council have been asking for comments on their draft sustainability report.

It's a fairly weighty 329 pages long but I've ploughed through the whole thing and made extensive comments which I'm pretty confident will be summarily dismissed by the review, if not rejected by the censors first.

The council has an obligation to commission this report on a regular basis under EU regulations. They don't have the skills to produce the report in-house so they have to spend large sums of our taxes employing consultants to produce it for them.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Pot Your Own Day pictures

Despite the inclement weather the Pot Your Own Day event went really well today.  A large number of people came to pot plants and vegetables, get their faces painted and take part in the crafting activities and over £90 was raised for Help for Heroes.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Pot Your Own Day - Saturday, 10am

BIG AGM 10th July

Brookside Improvement Group's AGM is on Tuesday 10th July at 7pm at Brookside Community Centre.

At the AGM, all the officers for the group are elected - Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.  If you want to stand for election to one of these posts, you can fill in an election nomination form or make your nomination in person at the AGM.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

A new year at the council

Last night was the first meeting of the Planning and Environment committee and the Community and Leisure committee.

Neither committees existed before the AGM last month when we agreed to swap around the existing committees and add an extra one to help deliver all the things we want to deliver over the next year or two.

I was asked to go on both the Planning and Environment committee and Community and Leisure committee at last month's full council meeting and at one of last night's meetings I was asked to sit on the allotments sub-committee.

I'm sure many people think being a parish councillor is nothing more than spending a couple of hours a month drinking tea and complaining about litter but it's really not.  You can do nothing but spend a couple of hours a month drinking tea and complaining about litter if you want but you're not going to achieve much and you'll soon get on everyone's nerves.

Being on three committees I'm now committed to around 5 hours of council meetings a month before I do anything else.  This Saturday I will be at the Pot Your Own Day outside Progress House to try and find some Stirchley residents who might be interested in setting up a Stirchley Improvement Group to mirror the fantastic work Brookside Improvement Group (BIG) do in Brookside.  I haven't been able to make it to the last couple of BIG meetings but I would normally attend at least one BIG meeting every month.  I haven't been able to make the last couple of regeneration meetings either but I would normally attend those meetings when they are held.  I wander around the estate from time to time to see if I can spot anything that needs attention - fly tipping, damaged road furniture, overgrown trees and bushes, etc.  I also deal with requests for information or help from residents.

As well as doing my job as a councillor, I have a full time job, a wife and four children.  Apparently there is such a thing as "spare time" but I've yet to figure out what it is!  Being a councillor - even a parish councillor - can be demanding at times but I personally find it very rewarding and would certainly recommend it to anyone community minded.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Telford & Wrekin fined £90k for data protection breach

Telford & Wrekin Council has been fined £90,000 for breaching the Data Protection Act by the Information Commissioner's Office.

The fine has been for serious breaches of privacy surrounding vulnerable children that resulted in details of foster families being given to two mothers of children in care has been reduced to £72,000 for prompt payment.

The idea of a quango fining a local authority is galling - it's our council tax that will pay the fine for the ineptitude of one or more council officers. The ICO should be pursuing and prosecuting the accountable officer, not the council. If council officers were directly accountable for their actions, we might see a bit more sensible decision making and a lot less "bending" of rules and creative interpretation of guidelines to suit personal agendas.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Ice Rink to be closed throughout summer holidays

Unbelievably, Telford & Wrekin Council has chosen to close the ice rink for refurbishment today and it will stay closed until October.

This means that the ice rink will be closed during the school holidays, not only depriving local families of a popular venue during the six looooonnnnnng weeks of holidays but depriving the council (and ultimately the Telford taxpayers their money comes from) of a valuable source of income at what must be the ice rink's busiest time of the year.

Serious questions need to be asked about why the decision was made to carry out refurbishments to the ice rink at one of its busiest times of the year.