Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Demand a Refund!

One of the big problems in Reading is the lack of parking which is often compounded by inconsiderate parking. A great deal of my time has recently been taken up with problems over missed bin collections. In some part this has been caused by people parking on pavements whilst in other parts of Katesgrove grass verges have been turned to mud as cars off-road to avoid blocking the road itself. In some cases though it just has to be put down to inconsiderate drivers.

A clampdown on inappropriate pavement parking is welcomed by many. Missed bin collections cost the council tax payer because we have to send the crew on a repeat visit; parked cars force children's buggies into the road; they block access for the blind and disabled and cause access problems for emergency vehicles. Many people have said about this initiative "about time too".

Something needs to be done as at the moment the council is unable to act becuase only the police have any powers. The "solution" is to give agents acting on behalf of the council the ability to act. And this means issuing fines when necessary.

However, unlike the previous Labour administration, it is recognised that a blanket ban across town is not the answer. There are some streets where custom and practicality means that it is not necessarily dangerous to do so and in fact if it were to be imposed, it would actually make things worse. It's why the coalition asked ward councillors as community advocates to identify streets in their wards where pavement or grass verge parking needed to be regularised, or excepted from the orders.

Labour councillors have decided that they are going to refuse to take part at all in the process of consulting over parking on verges and payments and are letting their residents down in an act of political petulance.

I think it's more than that. I believe that they are in breach of the council constitution which states:

2.3 Roles and functions of all Councillors
(a) Key roles
All Councillors will:
  • (ii) act as community advocates and leaders by:
    • promoting and representing the Borough and the local communities and bringing their views into the decision-making processes of the Council and partner agencies;
    • being the advocate of and for their ward and local people and communities living within it, including responding to petitions;
    • providing information to, and promoting local democracy, participation and engagement by, sections of the local community
  • (iv) balance different interests identified within the ward and represent the ward as a whole;
  • (v) be involved in decision-making as provided by the Constitution, including:
    • executive decisions by Lead Councillors through Cabinet

At the very minimum, residents with a Labour councillor should be demanding that they pay back the £8,224 that they are collecting in allowances whilst refusing to do the role for which they are being paid the money and failing to fulfil their job description.

It should also be noted that this is not a principled stand. Whilst they are whining like stuck pigs over the £75,000 "income" that they trumpet as being a cash-cow generator, the Labour administration budgeted and spent £600,000 by fining the poor if they were late paying their council tax. In one case Labour's policy of squeezing the poor until the pips squeaked made a family with four children homeless which then had to be picked up by the housing department at huge cost to the council tax payer.

Again, I won't be lectured by a bunch of Labour charlatans who have never had the interests of the residents of the Borough at heart. Simply their own warped and narrow political self-interest.


Jonathan said...

Can we also demand a refund from whoever was supposed to send the consultation documents out, as I haven't received one, and I don't know anyone else who has.

Where I live it is not a problem either way because it is physically impossible to park on the pavement.

Tacticus said...

Well at least you have an interest in the subject & I do agree with your comments on the Labour group, they have a duty to participate in the political process and a failure so to do is a gross abdication of their responsibility to the electorate.

What does concern me however, is the current administrations record to date on transport. The handling of the Shinfield Road traffic situation was a disaster & the blanket deployment of pay & display machines at parking bays in the centre of town is draconian.

You rightly extol the virtues of a consultative approach in the community before taking action, which if adhered to in the foregoing cases would have most likely resulted in more sensible outcomes that had the buy in of the people that vote for you.

Perhaps those so called Lead Councillors should engage their ears & brains before opening their mouths in future.

Was said...

It costs >£20,000 to write to each household a public consultation. Your ward councillors should do what they are elected for - represent their community.

Re: Shinfield Road...

This is my blog and I think Cllr Willis has posted his responses on his own.

However, the Shinfield lights fiasco was one of those aircraft carrier situations where it was practically impossible to get out of it without incurring huge costs.

Whilst the Whitley councillors now are busy campaigning against a decision they backed when in administration, you can see by the continuing defense of the failed scheme by Cllr. Page who was actually to blame for it.