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Question to council: William Marshal

Richard Stainthorp to ask the Lead Councillor for Culture Heritage and Recreation: William Marshal As I am sure the Lead Councillor is awar...

30 Mar 2011

Green bin deadline moved but what about slashed disabled travel?

So the Council have realised that asking people to respond to the letter about green bin collection charges in just 5 days is unreasonable - good!

But what about the thousands of disabled bus pass holders who, on Friday, will be losing free travel before 9.30?  Those letters hadn't even been sent as of Monday this week.  We have known for a while the OAP's free travel will revert to the national standard - free after 9.30 am and before 11pm weekdays but not so the disabled bus users and their travel companions.

Last night Labour group put forward a motion asking for consultaion on these changes before they are passed - this was rejected by the Tory-led Council. This means people will have just a day or so's notice before changes are made to their travel arrangements without being consulted.

I believe this first letter should have gone out months ago welcoming comment/complaint, warning of potential changes and giving people enough time to make other arrangements.

Not fair in the slightest.

28 Mar 2011

UPDATED: Green bin & bag charge? I'll do it myself thanks.

UPDATED 12 July 2011 - Great news - the Labour administration have indentified savings within the Council are are scrapping this stealth green tax.  I am going to be filling my green bags as I don't seem to be very good at making compost.......

It's safe to assume that those of you who have bought green bins and bags on the past have had your letters asking you to pay for their collection.  When I bought my green bag I got it because I thought free green waste collection was an excellent idea and so good for the environment.  I was never patient enough to make my own compost so it was an ideal solution.

Well, I have just spent the afternoon making a compost bin. £22.50 for bin collection and £7.50 for bag collection just seemed a bit of a waste of money to me when I could buy a compost bin for about £20-£25 pounds, save the collection fee and keep the compost. I have bought compost accelerator though because, although I have bought a compost bin, I still don't have that much patience.

If you don't want to pay for green bin/bag collection don't forget to ring 0800 834 035 to cancel your collection otherwise you will shortly be receiving an invoice.  I know there are other people out there not happy with this new charge and also not happy with the short notice given to avoid an invoice.  The call only takes a minute or so so you still have time.

UPDATE:  The Council have extended the deadline to refuse to pay for green bin/bag collection until 12 April which, considering letters only started dropping onto doormats at the end of last week, is a welcome move.  Read about it here.

26 Mar 2011

Back from the march

Goodness that was tiring but completely worth it.  We marched from the Embankment to Hyde Park and I didn't see a single act of vandalism or violence.  It was lovely to see so many different people on the march ranging in age from a few months to pensioners. We were all there to show the government that we believe their policy of drastic cuts to reduce the deficit is damaging our country and communities.

It's a shame that a few violent people, not connected to the march, choose it as a cover for vandalism and aggression.

25 Mar 2011

I'm Marching for the Alternative

Just back from a short seaside break and batteries recharged for the March for the Alternative tomorrow.

I believe the the Government is moving too quickly to reduce the deficit.  Last year we had an economy that was starting to recover and now we have an economy that didn't grow, but shrank last quarter.

The cuts being made are damaging and putting people in fear for their and their childrens futures.  I am marching against these cuts - there is an alternative.

19 Mar 2011

UPDATED: It's a sunny day so the fluff's on the line!

You must be thinking - eh?

Fluff is cloth nappy users speak for cloth nappies because they are cute, pretty and, sometimes, fluffy.  I have used cloth nappies for both my boys.  We decided to use cloth because we would save money, landfill space and help the environment.  This is what www.goreal.org.uk say about real nappies and the environment:

'Real nappies can be up to 40% better for the environment than disposables.  This was the finding from the 2008 update to the Environment Agency’s Life Cycle Analysis Report on nappies.  Unlike disposables, Real Nappies put parents in control of the impact they have on the environment, with the carbon savings directly related to how you choose to wash your Real Nappies.'

Reading Borough Council currently offer a £30 cashback scheme that you can read about here.  You can claim it once per child against the purchase of cloth nappies.

Real Nappy Week  is running from 16 - 22 May and I have asked the council if they intend to do anything to promote cloth nappies during this week and also to check if the cashback incentive will continue.

UPDATE:  Reading Borough Council have finally confirmed the cashback scheme will continue which is great news.  That, combined with real nappy week bargains, makes for  inexpensive cloth nappies!

16 Mar 2011

Lovely new paint job

I reported not long ago about the state of double yellow lines in Gordon Place and the illegal parking taking place there.

I'm pleased to report that the double yellow lines have already been repainted - the first part of Gordon Place and the corners with Sherwood Street.
Unfortunately the illegal parking continues and you will often see one or two cars parked on this stretch of Gordon Place.  Not only is this illegal but also dangerous as people turn from the Oxford Road to be confronted by cars on the wrong side of the road trying to get past.

I reported this to the Council several weeks ago and they have assured me they have increased the number of visits by the traffic wardens.  Doesn't seem to be working!

14 Mar 2011

Dirty George Street

I have been contacted by concerned users of George Street about rubbish and dog waste causing problems for pedestrians and the parents and children attending Oxford Road Community School.  I have reported this to the council and asked that the area be tidied up.

9 Mar 2011

UPDATED: Coming to a street near you - a cabinet and an old bed.

On my travels around Battle ward I have yet again discovered fly-tipped items.  This time it was an entire living room cabinet and broken sink or toilet in Little Johns Lane:

I have reported these items and asked that they be removed.

UPDATE 17 March 2011:  The site has now been visited and the items will be removed shortly.

With the collection of bulky waste items going up 40% in a months time I can only see dumped waste being even more of a problem.  Added to that increase, all OAPs, and those receiving benefits, will have their two free collections a year removed.  Will they have £32.90 available to pay for their waste to be collected?  There are also new charges for the collection of boilers (£98.11), bathroom suites (£122.65) and radiators (£33.10).

Some of these things can be put in a car and taken to the household waste recycling centre but what can you do with the large items apart from pay up?  If they are in good condition you could offer them to charity, some of which will collect large items, or free via a site like Freegle.  Nows the time to consider the mantra 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle'.

8 Mar 2011

International Womens Day: What Can We Do?

The first International Womens Day was celebrated 100 years ago.  Society has changed a lot in that time.  Women have the vote and the right to equal pay but there is still a long way to go until we are truly equal.  We are moving towards equal pay but it has yet to be achieved.  Women working full-time in the UK are still paid on average 15.5% less per hour than men.   Women have the vote but are under-represented in local and national Government. 

Maybe it's the under-representation of women in Government which has led to us being badly effected by the recent emergency budget.  Only four of the 29 ministers allowed to attend Cabinet meetings are women. We have seen cuts to Child Benefit, Health in Pregnancy Grant and Surestart Maternity Grant to name a few. Support for children is being cut by £2.4bn. A further £560m cut from the Child Trust Fund.

What is clear is that women should not accept these cuts.  We should make our voices heard and stand up for our, and our childrens, rights and future.  Today you could pledge to attend the March for the Alternative in a few weeks time, you could contact your local MP or councillor about an issue that concerns you or you could sign a petition asking that services vital to you are protected. Do something on International Womens day because you can make a difference.

6 Mar 2011

UPDATED: Join The Dots - Well, Double Yellow Lines

UPDATE  9 March 2011:  I have just been contacted by the council to confirm these lines will be repainted in the near future - excellent news.

I noticed this on one of my journeys with the pram and 3 year old.  The road in Gordon Place has been repaired but the double yellow lines have not been replaced.

There is a problem with people parking on the double yellow lines on this side of the road.  You can often see one or two cars parked here, sometimes more and this causes a problem when cars turn off the Oxford Road. They often have to stop as a car is approaching from the opposite direction and is in the middle of the road going past illegally parked cars.  This sometimes causes cars to be backed up onto the roundabout on the Oxford Road.  A more definite line may help and this problem has been reported.

3 Mar 2011

Dog pooh problem?

There's nothing worse than getting into your house to find you have brought dog pooh in on your shoes/childs shoes/pram wheels/wheelchair.  You then have to clean this horrible mess and ensure your floors are safe for you and your family.

I was recently contacted by a concerned resident about the dog waste on the pavements leading up to Kensington Park.  There are dog waste bins in that area but clearly not enough to encourage the more irresponsible dog owners to clear up.  It also musn't be forgotten that allowing your dog to foul the pavement, and not clear up, is an offence.

A new dog waste bin has since been installed on Wilton Road near to Elm Lodge Avenue and the 'Beat Sweepers' clear up dog mess on a weekly basis.  If this is a problem where you live, please let me know.

You will be relieved to see I have not included a picture ;-)

1 Mar 2011

Battle councillors surgery this Saturday (March 5th)

If you've not been before, please just pop into Battle Library between 10.30 and 12 with any comments or concerns you have.  It's open to all Battle Ward residents.  If you're not sure which ward you are in please visit the Reading Borough Council website here.

Anything you say is confidential.