Saturday, 24 December 2016

It's getting late on Christmas Eve and it's time for a few days off.

Here's hoping you have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukkah, Cool Yule, Special Solstice and Crazy Kwanzaa.

I'll be back in a few days.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Fly tipping, loose steps and a broken road

More fly tipping has appeared behind the mobile phone mast on Brookside Avenue between Briarwood and Stirchley Road. This is the second time in the last couple of weeks that rubbish has been dumped here.

I also reported loose steps by Reynolds House earlier today. These are the steps that lead up to the footbridge that goes over the town centre ring road to where Asda used to be. The top set of steps were blocked off some time ago because they came loose and filled in with soil to make a lovely planter full of weeds.

After stepping on one step that tipped up when I stepped on it I check some others to find that a lot of them were loose. An officer was being sent to inspect them this afternoon.

Finally, I have had a response (after complaining to the Chief Executive of the council) to my numerous reports of possible subsidence on Holyhead Road at Snedshill. They have now inspected the road and decided that a utility trench is failing but because the area of road that needs fixing is more than 100m² they have to apply for capital funding in next year's budget. I have passed this on to my colleague +Thomas Hoof who sits on St George's & Priorslee Parish Council so that they can apply some pressure on the council to ensure the work is funded next year.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Brookside Central Christmas Closing

Brookside Central will be closed from 4pm tomorrow (23rd December) until Tuesday 3rd January.

In the new year there will be plenty of volunteering opportunities at Brookside Central with Take 5 Café, staffing the community centre and the other community groups who are based at Brookside Central.

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Petition calling for an independent inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation

This week a petition I submitted calling for an independent inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Telford was finally approved by the government's petition police after several chasing emails and agreeing to some minor changes of wording at their behest.

Telford & Wrekin has more reports of Child Sexual Exploitation per capita than anywhere else in the UK. There are 15 reports per 10,000 people in Telford & Wrekin compared to 6.4 in Rotherham. An independent inquiry would establish (as it did in Rotherham) the facts behind this disturbing statistic.

Telford has been described as the "child sex capital of Britain". There could be as many as 2,300 victims in Telford & Wrekin - 40% more than Rotherham's 1,400 - based on being 2 and a half times more likely to be a victim in Telford & Wrekin which has 60% of the population of Rotherham.

I would urge anyone concerned about this child abuse scandal to sign the petition and share it with friends and family. We won't get the facts by sweeping it under the carpet, we need someone who doesn't a vested interest in keeping the problem out of the public eye to find them as they did in Rotherham.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Sajid Javid's oath of Britishness could prevent me being a councillor

Sajid Javid MP, the Communities Secretary, has proposed that all public office holders should have to swear an oath of allegiance to British values.

Local government and civil service is devolved so Javid is the Communities Secretary for England, not Britain. That means that if his proposals become law it will only apply in England and only people in England will have to pledge an oath of Britishness.

I consider myself English, not British and was a director and patron of the Campaign for an English Parliament until a few years ago. I would never make any pledge of Britishness but in the future that might find me and others banned from being a councillor. Is it really reasonable to expect people who don't have a British identity - SNP and Plaid councillors and MPs, people who identify as English, for example - to pledge allegiance to something they don't believe in?

If Javid really wants to promote community cohesion then he should stop trying to impose a one-size-fits-all Britishness on an unwilling population and end the divisive doctrine of multiculturalism. Acceptance isn't something that people can be forced into with laws.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Stirchley & Brookside Parish Council now owns the Sambrook Centre

When Telford & Wrekin Council told us they were going to demolish the Sambrook Centre they said we could have space in the new school. That space rapidly shrunk from barely big enough to meet the community's needs to barely big enough to be used as a broom cupboard. Our excellent clerk and her staff successfully negotiated the sale of the Sambrook Centre to the parish council and contracts were exchanged last week.

When Telford & Wrekin Council announced the imminent closure of Stirchley Library it was a no-brainer: we voted to take over the running of the library as well. When Telford & Wrekin Council announced the closure of Brookside Central we stepped in again and have taken on the lease of the building so that Brookside Big Local can run the community centre.

I would like to thank Gillian and the team for the hard work they have put in to saving these valuable community assets and services. It has been a stressful process for everyone involved and I know there have been many sleepless nights trying to balance the books and secure funding to make all this a reality.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Fly tipping, abandoned trolleys, street lights, child safety and inconsiderate parking

Over the last couple of days I've reported a number of fly tips on Beaconsfield, Briarwood and Brookside Avenue. They've all been cleared except for the couple of fly tips behind the flats in Beaconsfield.

I've also reported the street light that's out in Beaconsfield between the bungalows and the garages and the abandoned shopping trolleys on Brookside Avenue by the underpass between Bridgwood and Bembridge.

In addition to this I've been in touch with Holmer Lake School, the police and the council to ask for a meeting with some concerned parents about road safety outside the school. The school were quick to get back to me but the council and police still haven't responded which is disappointing when parents are raising concerns about the safety of their children.

Outside of Brookside and Stirchley I have had the foothpath cleaned between the entrance to Madeley Court Hotel and Madeley Academy. I am also trying to get the layby cleaned as it's thick with mud and leaves which discourages parents from safely dropping off their children. The council say the layby is reserved for a speed camera van and not for parents wanting to drop off their children at school without stopping in the road or obstructing the entrance to the hotel, I say it is more important that there is somewhere safe to drop off children.

I have also invited officers to meet me at Castlefields Roundabout in a morning so they can see the mayhem they have caused by building the school entrance opposite Woodside Avenue and allowing the new housing developments in Lightmoor without increasing the capacity of the island.

Finally, I have asked for bollards to be erected to prevent the footpath between Briarwood and Birchmore being blocked by parked cars and vans. This is a persistent problem with the footpath between the houses sometimes blocked completely and not just for wheelchair users and people with prams and pushchairs.