Thursday, 29 November 2012

Labour trying to remove UKIP from polling stations in Rotherham

UKIP's candidate in the Rotherham by-election, Jane Collins, is reporting that Labour activists are trying to forcibly remove UKIP polling agents from polling stations.

Labour think they own Rotherham and it appears they're prepared to risk breaking the law to give themselves an advantage in the face of the very real threat from UKIP.

People in Rotherham have the opportunity to send the arrogant Labour mafia a message today - no political party owns Rotherham and Labour don't have a monopoly on democracy in the town - by voting for UKIP's Jane Collins.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Response to Boundary Commission consultation

We had an extraordinary meeting of the parish council tonight to formulate a response to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England's (LGBCE) consultation on the number of borough councillors Telford & Wrekin Council needs.

All of this was kicked off when the Conservative group won a vote in 2011 to ask the LGBCE to review electoral arrangements in Telford.  The Conservative group are proposing a reduction in the number of councillors from 54 to 44.  The Labour group are in favour of the status quo and the borough council has made a submission to that effect.

I asked for a Conservative councillor to be invited to the meeting to put forward the case for reducing the number of councillors as the three Labour borough councillors on the parish council had already told us in last week's full council meeting that they had returned their own submissions in favour of maintaining the status quo and we would only hear one point of view.  The chair wouldn't allow it so I got a copy of both submissions myself to make sure I had the facts.

After reading both submissions I came to the conclusion that 54 councillors is probably the right number because a lot more work is coming their way.  However, the council is getting less money that it needs and there is an expectation that the gap between the cost of new obligations and the funding to pay for them will get bigger as time goes by.  Clearly something needs to be done to get costs down and the £79k saving from getting rid of 10 councillors is a drop in the ocean.

The answer, in my opinion, is to keep the number of councillors at 54, reduce their salaries by half and abolish the role of Chief Executive/Managing Director which will save almost half million pounds a year.  That saving can either all be used to offset some of the funding shortfall the council is expecting or some of it could be used to employ some support workers to help the councillors with the extra work they're being expected to take on.  Half the money saved could employ a team of four full time support workers and still save the council nearly a quarter of a million a year.  We don't need career politicians in local government, we don't need two captains steering the same ship and we need to find some real cost savings.  This compromise ticks all three of those boxes and has been submitted as UKIP Telford & Wrekin's official response to the LGBCE consultation.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Last night's Planning & Environment Committee

Last night's meeting of the Planning & Environment committee was fraught with a controversial application for a hand car wash at the Rose & Crown pub in Stirchley to be considered.

The application had been before the parish council before and was rejected because of concerns about noise and pollution from the waste water entering the lake adjacent to the site.  Telford & Wrekin plans board approved the application (as they do) with conditions stating that drainage works had to be carried out to prevent pollution of the lake and restrictions on the number of cars and operating hours.  The previous applicant failed to complete the planning process for personal reasons and the consent was withdrawn but the owner of the pub had the drainage work completed anyway and has now applied for the permission himself.

Because Telford & Wrekin plans board routinely ignore parish councils on planning matter, believing that they know best on all occasions the parish council's planning committee is more of a damage limitation exercise than a safety valve.  With that in mind I questioned the landlord of the pub extensively after listening to the objections and proposed agreeing to the application with two conditions: that Telford & Wrekin Council inspect the drainage works carried out to ensure that they are adequate and that Telford & Wrekin Council undertake to address the parking problems on Northwood Terrace.  This motion was agreed by the committee.

The objections, in a nutshell, were that there was a danger of waste water leaking into the lake and polluting the water, the noise nuisance and the pre-existing parking problems in Northwood Terrace.  The applicant said that drainage works had been carried out by professionals and on their advice a sediment trap had been fitted and the drains connected to a foul sewer.  I was personally satisfied that the hours of operation (9-6 Mon-Sat and 10-4 Sun & bank holidays) were reasonable for a moderately noisy operation and that the amount of noise created by 15 cars on a weekday and 25 cars on a weekend was unlikely to create much in the way of a nuisance - there is an alleyway running down the side of my house used all hours of the day, you quickly become used to any noise!

I did observe inappropriate parking on Northwood Terrace myself on Sunday but the car park was closed for a bonfire and fireworks so it wasn't a normal day.  The landlord of the pub told us that the pub car park would lose 6 spaces for the hand car wash and that the car park comes within 6 spaces of being full maybe once a month so there is theoretically no reason why cars should be parking on Northwood Terrace.  He also said that he regularly confronts patrons parking on Northwood Terrace.  The official status of Northwood Terrace is an adopted, unmade bridleway with vehicle access for residents so it is Telford & Wrekin Council's responsibility to deal with parking and access problems.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Roadworks chaos comes to Brookside

The roadworks chaos blighting the borough has come to Brookside and it's already going wrong!

The three way traffic lights at the junction of Brookside Avenue and Bridgnorth Road (the Tweedale road) are causing traffic to queue up back to the Cuckoo Oak island thanks to the 5 second green light window. Because the lights aren't set properly people are just ignoring them which is making the situation worse but there is no option other than to go through one car at a time. I've informed Telford & Wrekin Highways Department and hopefully they'll get the lights sorted quickly.

The lane closures on the A442 between the Town Centre and stitchery Interchange are also causing long tailbacks. There was a fatal accident there the other day so take care on that stretch of the road.