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 The Tax Payers Alliance survey is out of date, Richard Thompson left the employment of the authority in early 2007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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi C.A,

The power of a good blog - superb!

I am pretty sure every reader will agree, THE ONLY REASON HE EMAILED YOU WAS BECAUSE YOU ARE A WELL-KNOWN (and much respected) BLOGGER!

These politically correct muppets only take action when they are being scrutinised.

Before they knew you were a blog author, they ignored you.

They are pathetic!

Well done mate,