Sunday, April 19, 2009

What Would Roberts Do?

Not a lot, or so it would appear....

Over a week ago I emailed my three local Councillors, Jim Wintour and Chris Roberts the Council Leader an electronic copy of a letter that I also posted to them (which given the holiday they should have got on Tuesday).

Overall I have had no proper responses to my questions. I still haven't been told why the bins were taken away, why there was no consultation or why the Call Centre have after nearly 4 weeks still not called me back.

Here's a summary of what each person has done, and I'll tell you now it's not long...

Councillor Allan MacCarthy
He emailed me on Monday to say:
My colleagues are dealing with the matters you have raised. Nevertheless I want to assure you of my concern with these issues. I shall look out for your letter and help as best I can.

Passing the buck onto his colleagues was his response the first time that I tried to contact him. Given as how nothing has happened I have to presume that the best he can do is, to be frank, nothing.

Councillor Gary Parker
Councillor Parker actually had a preview of a draft form of my letter on the 4th of April. He replied on the 11th saying:
I have just come back from holiday and will get onto this as soon as possible.

Well "as soon as possible" doesn't appear to be within a week, I've not heard anything from him since.

Councillor Janet Gillman
She emailed me on the 13th of April saying:
Thank you for the email and photographic evidence of the rubbish in Floyd Rd about which I am pleased to say as the Leader of the Council was in the vicinity of Floyd Rd over the weekend, he was able to take immediate action. I am not in receipt of your letter yet, but as you and my co-Councillors are aware there is a history of problematic rubbish collection in Floyd Road. I will therefore ascertain what has happened to the Floyd Rd wheely bins and why it has taken so long to let residents know of the situation resulting in rubbish on the pavement over the weekend.

Since then? Nothing.

Council Leader Chris Roberts
Unfortunately despite his early rising to the challenge and responding within the day to my email he's now sunk back down to the standard level of Greenwich Council's commitment to it's residents, that is to say that I've heard no more from him.

Jim Wintour, Director of Neighbourhood Services
Absolutely nothing...

Is this lack of action and concern a surprise? Well no, not really, though I had hoped for a change when Councillor Roberts swung the arrogant silence seems to be pretty much par for the course.

I'm also aware that now I've mentioned this on here we'll never know if any response that I do get is because I've publicly shown how little they care or because they genuinely were working on the issue.

For completeness here is the letter that I sent to all of the above over a week ago:

On Wednesday the 25th of March all the wheely bins from my side of Floyd Road vanished. A neighbour managed to find out that it was apparently due to complaints received about the bins blocking the pavement.

I would like your responses to the following issues and questions.

1) On Wednesday the 25th of March I called your service centre to ask what had happened to my bins (call reference 378658). The person on the end of the phone didn’t know and I was told that a supervisor would call me back with an answer. Over two weeks have passed and I still await a response. Is this an appropriate level of service? If not what is going to done about it?

2) There was no communication about there being a problem with the bins before they were taken away. Do you believe that it is appropriate for such actions to be taken with no consultation before the event and, to date, none after?

3) Storage of the bins is a problem along my part of the street with the only off street area being accessible via a steep flight of stairs. Despite this many residents may have preferred to have tried to keep one bin back, balancing their physical capabilities and the expected weight of rubbish. Why were we not given this choice?

4) Many residents will now probably give up on the idea of separating their rubbish, keeping three bins running inside a small flat being somewhat difficult. Are you happy with the effect that this will have on Greenwich Council’s land fill statistics? Again consider that this could have largely been avoided had you talked with residents first.

5) One of the reasons that Floyd Road had so many bins is that we were issued them in an attempt to deal with the problems of contaminated bins and black sacks put out in the wrong week. The issuing of bins seems to have been the chosen solution rather than talking to residents and trying to resolve the problems with the implementation of the “new” bin scheme.

6) How many complaints were received about bins blocking Floyd Road and when did they occur? Consider that it took one resident of Victoria Road four weeks and emails to his Councillors and Council executives to get a few bins removed ( Did the complaints occur before the new black bins were issued? If before then why were the black bins sent out? If after then why did the Council act so quickly and with no word to residents?

7)Residents are now dumping sacks of rubbish out in the street from the day after the rubbish collections. Rather than wheely bins blocking the pavement we now have plastic sacks full of rotting food doing the same. They are damaged by wildlife and pedestrians and rubbish is now scattered across the pavement on a daily basis. Do you believe that this is an improvement? Will you now talk to the residents who are having problems or will some other “out of the blue” solution be foisted upon us all?

8) Looking through the above points Greenwich Council’s failure to communicate with residents comes through time and time again. Sending out leaflets or publishing articles in Greenwich time trying to assure us that all is well with the new scheme is not communication. Why has the Council repeatedly avoided talking to residents? Over the past year due to a number of residents having difficulties we have been given extra bins, extra collections and now a complete removal of all of our bins. Do you not feel that all of this could have been avoided had someone actually talked to those people who were having problems.

I await your responses with interest.

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