Sunday, April 27, 2008

Monkey Updates

Well that was a nice couple of weeks away. Without going in to too much detail I went somewhere that might very well be considered border line third world. It's somewhere that's not able to guarantee a constant supply of electricity, however even they manage to collect all the rubbish every week which really does put Greenwich Council to shame.

So let's get down to business.

While I was away I finally heard from Councillor Allan MacCarthy. The letter was dated about three weeks after I had written to him. He explains the delay on the letter arriving while he was ill.

He does say something interesting though, he says that Coucillor Gillman told him that she would be keeping me informed as to what was going on. Other than her initial reply, which though quick weighed in at a hefty 50 words, I've not heard anything from her.

So what is the current situation?

Well once again there are bins overspilling with the wrong type of rubbish.

In his reply Jim Wintour, the Director of Neighbourhood Services, said "We are also writing special letters to people who consistently get it wrong." Well either those letters haven't gone out or the people doing this are ignoring them. Let's just make perfectly clear that this seems to be the same households doing this week after week after week. They are easily identifiable and should therefore be easily tackle-able. 4 months into the new bin collection scheme and the Council are still failing to deal with the side effects of their cunning plan. And that failing is despite me having written to all of my Councillors and the Council Director in charge of rubbish collection.

I'll reiterate the Charlton Cleansweep Challenge once again
1) Get the Rubbish off of the streets
2) Keep the Rubbish off of the streets

We're still being failed on Point 2.

I'm going to be away again for another week now so I wonder how it will all be when I return...

Anyway here's the Monkey Chart, there's been some changes but despite promises of action the root cause has still not been tackled so no one gets above a Dwarf Marmoset.

The Updated Charlton Average Monkey Chart!

Individual ContactedResponse TimeMonkey's Uncle

Councillor Gary Parker
After 2 weeks he emails saying that he never got the letter along with some information and promises of action. Appears to prod Jim Wintour into action.
Roosmalens' Dwarf Marmoset
Jim Wintour, Director of Neighbourhood ServicesResponded after three weeks, no reason given for the delay. Claims that letters are being written to those who put the wrong rubbish into their bins.
Roosmalens' Dwarf Marmoset

Councillor Janet Gillman
50 word letter after 2 Working Days, no long term solution.

Councillor Allan MacCarthy
Responded after three weeks due to illness. Claims that Councillor Gillman is dealing with the issue and that she will keep me up to date.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Quick Rubbish Update

Well Jim Wintour, Director of Neighbourhood Services, was true to his word and the overflowing "contaminated" (bins with the wrong sort of rubbish in them) were cleared up yesterday.

So thank you very much for that and a thank you to Councillor Gary Parker for seemingly giving him, or someone within the Council, a poke over the issue.

So Part 1 of the Charlton Cleansweep Challenge is complete, the rubbish is off of the street.

Now what about Part 2, keeping the rubbish off of the streets? Will the bins once again be filled with the wrong rubbish and left overflowing for weeks. Will the residents leaving black sacks out for weeks at a time be tackled?

Well that's the real challenge.

Remember, as a commentor below pointed out, that our streets are in the state that they are in because of the new rubbish collection scheme that the Council introduced seemingly without thought of what to do when people ignored it. Although certain locals are to blame ultimate fault must lie with the Council both for causing it and for failing to tackle it.

I seem to have attracted the Council's attention so let's see what they can do.

As for me I'm taking a couple of weeks off now, hence the brief update. When I return I'll see how the area is and finally update the Monkey Chart. At the moment both Jim Wintour and Councillor Parker deserve a Monkey upgrade, let's hope the area is kept clean and on my return I can let them have it (ooo, I bet they're honoured).

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

More monkey's from the Council!

Believe me I'm shocked!

This evening I find a further two emails from Councillor Gary Parker.

In the first he says that he has "raised this matter with senior officers of the council" and in the second he says that I will hear from Neighbourhood Services soon.

Then after that I get an email from Jim Wintour himself.

This is what he had to say, as with Councillor Parker's initial email I'm publishing it in full as I think he deserves the chance to explain himself in his own words.

Thank you for your letter of 18 March. Your three ward councillors also sent me copies of your letter and asked me to reply. I apologise for the delay in replying and for any failures in the high standard of service that you expect and deserve.

I am delighted that you support the theory behind Greenwich’s new recycling scheme. You will therefore be pleased to hear that recycling and composting has risen from 24% in 2006/7 to 37% since the new scheme came into effect.

We recognise that some people are still confused about what rubbish should go in what bin, and what day they should put their black bags out. We have written to all residents in Greenwich about this three times, as well as publicising the new scheme in Greenwich Time. We are also writing special letters to people who consistently get it wrong. If you are talking to your neighbours you may wish to draw their attention to our website where you can look up what material goes in what bin, and what day your black bags are collected. The website is at:

You helpfully rang our contact centre to raise a number of specific complaints. You rang us twice on 18 March to ask for sweeping of Floyd Road (reference numbers 141077 and 141080) and our records show that these requests were actioned the next day. You rang us on 6 March to report a fly tip and our records show that this was closed as complete on 10 March. You rang us on 20 March to raise a street cleaning request and our records show that this was closed as complete on 25 March.

We have also observed some contaminated green bins in Floyd Road today and these should be collected tomorrow 9 April. I will check that this has been done when I attend the Charlton match on 12 April.

In conclusion, can I thank you for the hard work that you and your colleagues do. The reports from concerned citizens like yourself are essential to delivering a cleaner and a greener Greenwich.

Best wishes,

Yours sincerely,

Jim Wintour

Well we have a date for emptying of the contaminated bins along Floyd Road, tomorrow. I'll be curious to see if they're done when I get home.

He's also been the first to actually comment on what's going to be done about the residents who are persistently doing the wrong thing.

So here's the challenge:

1) Get the rubbish off the streetsand empty the unemptied bins.
2) Keep the rubbish off the streets and stop unemptied bins happening week after week.

It sounds like we'll get action on Point 1, please let us see Point 2 tackled too.

I'll hold off on a Monkey Chart update until we see what results tomorrow brings...

Monday, April 07, 2008

Councillor offers a monkey's uncle!

I was somewhat shocked to find an email from Councillor Gary Parker awaiting for me this evening.

About three weeks ago I wrote to my three local Councillors complaining about Floyd Road looking like a rubbish dump week in week out and asking what they were going to do about it.

So far only one of my Councillors had replied, albeit it with only 50 words but it was a reply never the less.

After giving it some thought I've decided to publish the email from the Councillor. I've given him a certain amount of stick on this web site so I think it's fair that you are all able to read what he had to say rather than attempt to surmise it.

Dear Charlton Average,

With regard to the above, I would like to clarify the position and give you some updated information:
  1. The reason I have not replied to your letter, is that I have never received such a letter- I found this article through a website search

  2. The Director of Neighbourhood Services is Jim Wintour who has been in post since late 2007- this is detailed on the council website

  3. Brenda Howlett is his P.A. so she replies to or forwards his correspondence depending on the issue

  4. The Tax Payers Alliance survey is out of date, Richard Thompson left the employment of the authority in early 2007

  5. All the Charlton ward councillors- two of whom you claim ‘do not give a monkeys’ have been out and about trying to resolve some of the issues related to waste disposal in the Charlton area, we did a street surgery in the Charlton Lane area recently and knocked on approximately 500 doors – our team included the local MP and our Greater London Authority representative, we dealt with and forwarded other casework too as a result of being in direct contact with our electors – a fact you can easily verify

  6. We have also dealt with the above related issues by correspondence and at our regular surgeries

  7. I recognise there have been problems with waste management and can only apologise to local residents if there have been issues over the new waste collection system, but once the system beds in properly we will have 2-3 waste collections per week and should be able to recycle over 40% of household waste- one of the highest in London

  8. Given that some local authorities have cut back to one collection every two weeks- once we get this right it will be a major achievement

If you have any other issues I will be only too happy to deal with them, but please provide direct contact details- you do not have to do it as Charlton Average !, I read your website quite regularly. I am currently monitoring the works being undertaken by Thames Water and your ward councillors are meeting with them on a regular basis. If you or any of your readers have any issues over these works, which will last until 2010 in the Charlton area, please write or better still email me,

Best Wishes

Cllr Gary Parker

In a later email he says

I have now further researched this and am now familiar with your complaint, which my colleague Janet Gillman had previously been dealing with. I will actively pursue this matter and get back to you in a few days.

I need to and I will respond in full when I can get some more time. However several points jump out immediately.

He says that he never received the letter, which is why he didn't respond. Now I accept that this is possible. However what about Councillor Allan MacCarthy? Did he not receive it either? Did 2 out of the 3 letters that I sent to my local Councillors get lost? Now it so happens that both Councillor MacCarthy and Councillor Parker give their contact address as being at the town hall where as Councillor Gillman gives a different one. Perhaps the council is no better at delivering internal mail than it is at removing rubbish from our streets.

He says that he and his fellow Councillors are aware of the problems to do with waste disposal and have been trying to resolve them.

I'm really not sure which is worse, my local streets are in a terrible state and this iseither because (those photos span the last few months, how can anyone that looks at them deny that there have been issues):

a) My local Councillors are either not aware or not bothered by the state of our streets since the new bin scheme was introduced.


b) My local Councillors are aware of the problems and are doing their best to resolve them but are being apparently ineffectual.

I would also like to point out again that I fully support the theory behind the new scheme and I've argued that with other local friends who are sick to the back teeth of the "teething problems" and "issues" that we're experiencing. High recycling and low landfill are great achievements.

However let me also say again that this is a great idea done poorly.

Neither Councillors Gillman's or Parker's response tackle the thorny issue of what to do with the residents who simply don't care about the new scheme and continue to fill their bins with the wrong sorts of rubbish or just dump it out in the street. That is, I believe, probably the single biggest problem with the new scheme and it seems that it was neither foreseen nor is it being tackled.

Anyhow I can now update the Monkey Chart and leaping to the top is Councillor Parker who's managed to show that so far he has managed to give the largest Monkey's Uncle out of his colleagues and Neighbourhood Services. Though given the number of unemptied bins I've seen on my walkabouts today that's still not very much of a Monkey at all.

Having clean(ish) streets once again is the price that I'm happy to pay to be proved totally wrong over this.

It shouldn't be hard to get to the top of the Monkey Chart, just get the rubbish off of the streets and keep the bins empty. This should be a fairly normal task for a Council, nearly 3 months into the new scheme and they haven't managed it yet though.

The Updated Charlton Average Monkey Chart!

Individual ContactedResponse TimeMonkey's Uncle

Councillor Gary Parker
After 2 weeks he emails saying that he never got the letter along with some information and promises of action.
Roosmalens' Dwarf Marmoset

Councillor Janet Gillman
2 Working Days, no long term solution.

Councillor Allan MacCarthy
2 weeks and no ResponseCouldn't give a monkey's!
Jim Wintour, Director of Neighbourhood Services

No confirmation within their own 5 day target.

11 working days and no response

Couldn't give a monkey's!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Who is the Director of Neighbourhood Services?

It sounds like a simple question, who is the Director of Neighbourhood Services in Greenwich and is therefore responsible for my local streets looking like a rubbish dump?

According to Neighbourhood Services' Web Page it's Jim Wintour.

However if you click on the email like it goes to Brenda Howlett.

The Tax Payers' Alliance have published a report that gives the name Richard Thompson and helpfully points out that he was paid over £110,000 in 2006-2007 for the job.

So who is it really? Does Jim Wintour deserve his place on the Charlton Average Monkey Chart? For now he remains, but it's a good question...

And here is the latest update to the chart.

Two of my local Councillor's have now ignored my letter for two weeks.

Neighbourhood Services have sat on it for 9 working days. 4 working days past the date that they claim they will acknowledge letters in, 6 workings days shy of when I they claim I will get a proper written response.

The Updated Charlton Average Monkey Chart!

Individual ContactedResponse TimeMonkey's Uncle

Councillor Janet Gillman
2 Working Days, no long term solution.

Councillor Allan MacCarthy
2 weeks and no ResponseCouldn't give a monkey's!

Councillor Gary Parker
2 weeks and no ResponseCouldn't give a monkey's!
Jim Wintour, Director of Neighbourhood Services

No confirmation within their own 5 day target.

9 working days and no response

Couldn't give a monkey's!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Photos of the filming in Charlton

As I said earlier there was filming going on today up at Charlton House.

I've now got around to uploading some photos of the action...

The red sports car and the fake wall behind it. There was smoke coming out of it, note also the antiques scattered around.

The Antiques Roadshow signs, one on the wall has come down, no idea if that's deliberate or if it was the wind.

Looking across the set towards the cameras (which were quite serious things on tracks). Just after this was taken there was a take and someone jumped out of the car, ran towards the house and then dove onto a blue crash matt. I think I might have disrupted the shot by being where I was...

If you look carefully you can see the blue crash matt that the person jumped onto earlier.

Filming in Charlton

If you're around you might like to know that there's filming going on up at Charlton House.

A red sports car has been set up to look like it's smashed through a wall and into some tables. There are some Antiques Roadshow banners up and lots of antique looking things scattered around.

Either the Antiques Roadshow is a great deal more exciting than I would believe it to be or it's a part of something else.

Asylum SFX are involved and they appear to have done some impressive things in the past so it's not something amateur.

Beyond that I'm clueless, I'm not the sort to ask questions.

There will be some photos up later...