Sunday, May 17, 2009

Councillor Parker speaks...

Well I seem to be doing well this week, having annoyed Councillor Nigel Fletcher I now seem to have needled Councillor Gary Parker too.

Well at least I'm an equal opportunity annoyance.

Anyway I do give my Councillors a fair amount of stick on this web site so I think that it's only fair that I share his response. It might well be that you agree with him and you think that they are doing a good job, please read and make your own mind up.

I have read your blog today with interest, you say in it that Floyd Road - your road has been cleaner than it has been for some time (your blog dated 16/5/09)- this is due to action by ward councillors and officers to address this issue. Then you claim later in the blog that the council is indifferent to this and is happy to have rotting food in the streets etc- is this not somewhat contradictory?. You also claim the council is wasting tax payers money on these issues, yet as I have explained to you previously, due to our recycling facility in Thamesmead the council recycles over 40% of its waste- the highest in London, saving money on expensive landfill. We provide more collections than many other local authorities and are still saving council tax payers money too, some local authorities only provide bi-weekly collections for some items of waste.

The fact is, ward and other councillors including myself have taken action on this issue, and when it has been brought to our attention we have acted quickly and so have officers- none of us have been indifferent to it as you claim. It is people who dump rubbish, not the council and we need to educate and inform people on these issues- which we also do through the council website, leaflets etc.

Officers are working on these issues and the enforcement team has been out in the area and officers have met with you and corresponded with you personally, have they not? As I have intimated to you before, the council is constantly reviewing this issue and looking at other areas/ councils more models of best practise- in Tory Bexley for example they fined people £12 for non compliance on these issues, this was then replaced with a policy of non- collection. Neither of these has worked particularly well and the latter could be counter productive – if you have any suggestions I would be interested to hear them.

In the meantime myself and my co- councillors have been working to support local community groups working to address a number of issues which will involve community action day on local environmental (not just waste issues) issues in July. We have also dealt with a wide range of other issues and casework regarding other issues too and will continue to do so.

As far as I am concerned I reject your assertions that ward councillors are indifferent on these issues and as you are aware, I have responded personally to you on several occasions this year alone and will continue to address these issues not only in Floyd Road but other parts of Charlton as and if they arise.

And here's my response:

Thank you for your email. I am grateful for the level of contact you have had with me and I hope that I've been open about how you do keep in touch on the blog.

Yes my road is cleaner than it has been in some time. However that is the result of the Council doing daily collections, and we seem to only be getting those because I've been pushing and complaining for over a year. Those daily collections are not the solution to the problem and will, in my opinion, make the problem worse as people continue to see that they can throw what they want into the street and it will be taken away.

That it's taken a year of letters, emails, chats to the staff at waste services, silly tables of monkeys and blog entries to reach a situation when the same problems are still being reacted to rather than fixed does, in my opinion, make is reasonable to question the Council's level of concern and commitment over the issue.

Yes the problem is ultimately with the people who are ignoring the new scheme. However we didn't have these problems with the old system so they are directly connected with the arrival of the new scheme. You're right to say you do need to educate and inform people about the issues, and that's just what's not happened until quite possibly the last few weeks.

And as for the comment about other Councils "only" offering bi-weekly collection of some waste I would remind you that that was Greenwich Councils' original intention too. However that intention evaporated in Floyd Road some time ago as extra collections were introduced to keep a lid on the problems and finally vanished borough wide relatively recently. I see nothing wrong in bi-weekly collections for some waste, I believe that the original version of the new bin scheme could have worked. However when problems appeared rather than resolve them the Council just seems to have backed away and implemented the easiest "fix" rather than stand by their plans.

Sometimes my emails and blog entries can be somewhat bitter however I would remind you that I've spent a year just trying to get my street back to the level of cleanliness that we used to have. I've had to also spend that year weaving along a pavement blocked with overspilling uncollected bins or sacks of torn apart waste with their rotting contents scattered all around. I've also had to frequently read in sources such as Greenwich time about how well the new scheme is going and how there were only a few teething problems, which just rubs salt into the wounds.

It's not been a good year.

We've still got the the same problems that I wrote to the Council about back in March 2008.

I defy anyone to call the current situation a success or say that we got to it quickly.

A "success" would be easy to measure, clean streets with no extra or special collections. We're not there 16 months into the "new" scheme, and I think that's really quite depressing.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

OfBlog's back again

In my apparent role as OfBlog I'm pleased to announce that we've seen a flurry of online local Conservative action.

No seriously I am, really.

I've not got the highest faith in the local "opposition" however regardless of my feelings it's great to see some activity and some information.

With a turnout in my ward of less than 40% the current shambles that we call a Council is genuinely vulnerable to being ousted, or at least so threatened with being ousted that they actually converse with us (which is different from talk to, on an occasional basis) and work for us.

So local political debate is great, hopefully we might get a Council that cares. However to do that we've got to wake up the 60% of the people who don't vote, connect with and inform them.

Anyway we have a new blog by one of the Conservatives standing as a Councillor for Charlton here:

And Councillor Nigel Fletcher has struck back at my claims that he's more interested in getting himself an expenses account in Westminster than in Greenwich with some interesting posts about what the Council is getting up to.

Thinking about all of this it's actually rather telling of the depths of my despair with my local Councillors and the Council as a whole that I, a Labour supporter, am telling people to go and look at what the Conservatives have to say. Well we've got about a year to question them and see what they have to say before we have to decide who's really interested in running this borough.

One thing that I learned from Councillor Fletcher was that one of my local Councillors, Alan MacCarthy, has been elected to be Mayor.

Now I've initiated contact with my Councillors twice over the past year. Both of those times Councillor MacCarthy has taken a while to respond and then when he basically just passed the buck onto his colleagues.

And now he's got another post he's going to be even less involved in his ward than he is already, if such a thing is possible.

And people wonder why I'm sceptical about my Councillors and their level of commitment?

Perhaps the title of Mayor should go to the Councillor who's worked hardest for his constituents? We certainly wouldn't see Councillor MacCarthy get it then...

Bin Bag Blog

Once upon a time this blog was labelled Bin Blog due to my recording of my struggles with the Council over the filthy state they left my street in and the lack of concern or interest that they showed over it. I think was meant to be a criticism but I quite liked the sound of it.

Anyway since they've taken away my bins I guess I should relabel myself as Bin Bag Blog as rather than having rubbish bins dumped out and overspilling on the pavement we now just get the bin bags, which act like some kind of rotting food cluster bomb once the local wildlife gets at them.

Well certain people are still dumping rubbish out in plastic carrier or bin bags on pretty much any day of the week, some muppet even did it on Tuesday just one day after our normal collection.

However the Council's promised daily collection does now finally appear to be in swing and they have been cleared up.

But what are the Council actually doing to avoid them having to do those extra collections, which surely can't be cheap. I've been told that the enforcement team are also monitoring the road, but it seems to be the same people throwing the bags out every time.

So is there actually any effort being made to talk to those people?

Or is the Council just going for the sticking plaster tactic of covering up the problem without tackling it?

On the one hand my street is cleaner than it has been in a long time, which is good.

On the other my Council tax is being wasted and people are being actively encouraged to throw out what they want when they want by having it taken away on a daily basis.

Greenwich Council.
Indifferent to rotting food in your streets.
Indifferent to the causes of rotting food in your streets.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Conservatives in Action (and in avoidance)

As I posted the other day Councillor Nigel Fletcher made a blog posting defending his focus on national rather than local political issues. That happened hot on the heels of me posting an entry about local Conservatives seem to have their eyes on Westminster and not on Greenwich.

Well I responded to that in detail here but I also left a comment on Nigel's block basically taking the same angle.

Now comments on Nigel's block require approval, which is good common sense, I do the same thing.

My comment has not yet appeared, however Nigel has been back on his blog and made two new entries. They're both on the same subject, but I guess breaking it into two can help him improve his 50:50 local:national split.

So he's logged on, so surely he saw my comment, yet it's not been published.

I wonder why......

Councillor Spencer Drury has also popped up again commenting that for what it is worth, quite a lot of my ward work is shown at It isn't relevant to the Greenwich and Woolwich constituency, but does show what I spend my time doing in my ward.

So I checked it out.

There are 7 postings for this year. That's not even 2 per month.

If that does show "quite a lot" of the work he does in his ward then I couldn't help but think, "well that's still not very much is it".

I'm being really tugged around time wise at the moment with many things demanding my attention, however even I've managed to maintain a better post rate than that. It's hardly something that I'd use to defend myself against allegations that I'm really not that interested in something.

Anyway check out the links and make your own mind up.

On the positive side he seems to be more engaged with his area than my three local Councillors, though that's not saying a great deal.

For those who are thinking that all of this is getting a bit political, well yes, it is, and rightly so.

Our Labour Councillors have sat back for the last year letting filth pile up in our streets. Either it's an incredibly hard problem to solve, though they had no problem before the "new scheme", or they simply don't care.

Meanwhile the so-called local "opposition" have seemingly sat back with their eyes glazed over dreaming dreams of Westminster and a nice little expense account.

In the last election the turn out for Charlton was 37%.

For every person that did vote nearly two people didn't.

We can change things, we can vote in people who care and will work for us.

However to do that we need to be informed and we need to demonstrate the willingness to get out there and vote. Someone who stays at home with the misguided belief that they won't vote until someone engages with them is someone that the main stream political parties can simply forget about. They only bother worrying about the people that will vote.

I'm gradually coming to the conclusion that the only hope for Greenwich is something outside of the main political system, perhaps even a residents party. However I remain passionately convinced that we can change things, and with just 37% of the people being bothered to vote there's a huge potential vote waiting to be tapped...

Edited to add: Aside from his comment below Councillor Fletcher has written a substantial rebuttal of my accusations of lack of interest in Greenwich poltitics. It's well worth a read, click here.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

What the Council Do Do....

Well the Council can't, or can't be bothered to, keep the streets clean so what do they do?

Well as I've said before Jim Wintour is the Director of Neighbourhood Services and is therefore responsible for the mess. However it seems to he's too busy investigating horse based sporting events to reply to emails or do his job.

So what of Maureen O'Mara who is, as it turns out, is the Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Services.

Well I was somewhat surprised to read her name when catching up with the news in an article about age verification for online shops. You can read the story here but the key part is this quote from her:

"Although a small sample, our findings from this operation seem to show the danger to which young people can be exposed on the internet".

OK kids being able to order knives online is a bit of a problem but what about the danger that local residents are exposed to from broken class and rotting food in the streets due to Councillor O'Mara's department not doing it's job?

Isn't that more within "Neighbourhood Services" remit and therefore worthy of more time than giving quotes to the BBC?

Or could it be that it's not just opposition Councillors who prefer to tackle the risk free low hanging juicy fruits of national issues rather than stick their neck out and try to tackle local problems where they can really make a difference?

It's nice to know that "Greenwich Council has written to all the web firms involved in the test" but they couldn't find the time to tell me they were taking all of our bins away or to reply to my recent emails...

Greenwich Conservative's Response

As I've commented upon Councillor Spencer Drury has become involved in what has now been a year long struggle to get the Council to keep my street clean.

Well it also appears that there's been a minor flurry of other local Conservative action, coincidence?

The first sign was a leaflet through my door from them. It all appears to be pretty generic and recent(ish), but undated, material. Most interestingly though they have said that there is a "Charlton action team". They are Richard Shackleton, James Garry and Louis McLean-Wait. Could this be a new dynamic trio to replace the current "couldn't give a monkey's" trio of Labour Councillors that we have?

Well if the street problems aren't sorted out maybe I'll give them a poke and see if they can get any kind of a resolution.

You can contact them at

I am somewhat suspicious of the local Conservatives and believe that too many of them view Greenwich as a stepping stone to a nice expense account in Westminster rather than as something that actually want to passionately serve. I said as much in a recent post.

Well one of the examples I used in that post, Councillor Nigel Fletcher, has recently published what appears to be somewhat of a retort. It's his only posting in May and given how many, if not most, of his postings don't have anything to do with the borough it does look a bit coincidental...

He says: "I have often been criticised on this blog for focusing too much on national politics, but I make no apology for doing so again. The truth is that what happens in Westminster has a real effect on people across the country, and the people I represent in Eltham North, and people across the Borough of Greenwich, can see this Government is failing them. We need change at the top, and a new Government is the only way we will get that."

It's a well written response but one that I just don't agree with. So to Nigel in particular and his ilk in general I say....

Yes what is happening in Westminster does have an enormous effect on the people of Greenwich, however questioning and working on those issues is the job of the opposition MPs and the national Conservative party.

Those national focussing Conservatives are therefore too busy dealing with those "bigger" issues to deal with the smaller ones that affect the day to day lives of people within Greenwich. They have delegated responsibility for that to you, if you drop that responsibility so as to chase after their scraps in Westminster then who is left to challenge the Council?

You acknowledge that there are problems with Greenwich's schools, social services, housing and responsible usage of our Council tax.

And then there's the plethora of other issues that pop up on a day to day basis that the Council seems to deal with badly. We've had our roads badly gritted, ground up glass used as grit, rubbish piling up in the streets, dodgy dealings over free air race tickets and the waste of money on a corporate box at the O2. Actually you'd best not tackle the box at the O2, until you were named and shamed your snout was rammed right into that trough right alongside Chris Roberts (read about that here, scroll down a bit, oh Greenwich Watch, you are missed...).

Those issues are what you should be dealing with and what I would expect to see a true local opposition writing and campaigning about.

Taking Greenwich away from the current group of disinterested and arrogant Labour Councillors will be tricky and it will take a lot of work. Devoting so much of your time to national issues is not only doing nothing to advance peoples confidence in you as a potential local Government but also damages that cause by giving the impression that you're not interested in what is really going on around here.

Proving that a Conservative Councillor is interested in the real low down and dirty problems of Greenwich when it's not just the few weeks before an election will do far more to set Greenwich right than talking about how "call me Dave" acknowledged your existence.

However not talking about your connections with the national party won't bring their attention upon you, which will slow down your climb out of Greenwich to a seat and an expense account at Westminster.

However what are you in this for?

I'll drop my cards right on the table, I have never once voted Conservative in any type of election.

However they can prove that they really are committed to making a difference to the borough and it is here that their passion and interest lies then I can see myself looking beyond the blue rosette and voting for the person behind it.

Right now though that just simply isn't the case.

Greenwich Council's Response

Well my street has been cleaned and the rubbish has been taken away, but other than that not one person from either the Council or the ruling Labour party has seen fit to give me any kind of a reply or response to my email.

Now Google's a wonderful thing, it indexes pages on the web and makes them searchable for years after they were written. So in the interests of any any inquiring mind who goes goggling for details on any of these people over the next few years let's name them nice and clearly here.

If you have any doubt as to the power of Google then try searching for "Councillor Gary Parker", I'm in there at number 2 right after Greenwich Council's own site.

What these people do, or fail to do, will stick around on the internet for years...

On the positive side that also means that if they do pull their finger out of wherever it's been stuck for the last year then that will also go on record.

Unfortunately my cunning plan that holding these people up to the dim light of what public accountability I can provide may get results is somewhat hobbled by the fact that not only do the Council clearly not care about Charlton, but they don't appear care who knows that they don't care. Why else would we have a year of inaction?

Anyway, on with the naming.

These are the people who I've contacted and have had absolutely nothing to say:
Councillor Allan MacCarthy
Councillor Gary Parker
Councillor Janet Gillman
Councillor Chris Roberts
Jim Wintour, Director of Neighbourhood Services
Ray Collingham, Assistant Director of Neighbourhood Services

It's interesting to note that throughout the most recent saga of the Council taking all of our bins away Jim Wintour, the man nominally in charge of waste services, hasn't replied to me once.

Even Councillor Allan MacCarthy found time to reply to me, even if it was to do his usual trick of passing dodging any kind of responsibility and laying it onto his colleagues.

However perhaps I'm being too harsh on Mr Wintour, he is after all Greenwich's resident equine sporting expert and is therefore no doubt far too busy to actually do his job.

So perhaps I should send him the following photo, maybe that would combine his experience with what he's actually meant to be doing and would get the job done....

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Council in not doing what it promised shock!

Well there's rubbish out in the street again, this email to the Council just about sums it up....

On Wednesday night, the day after our rubbish collection, there were sacks of rubbish out on the pavement along Floyd Road.

This evening they are still there.

Yet I was told by Ray Collingham that you "have arranged for further, regular monitoring and action by the Council's Enforcement Team and for street cleansing crews to remove bagged domestic waste from the western part of Floyd Rd (between Valley Grove and Charlton Church Lane) on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays."

Later he clarified that "the back up service from street cleansing is due to start on Tuesday 5th May."

So did the extra cleansing begin but for some reason the rubbish was left behind?

Did the monitoring occur but perhaps they failed to notice the filth?

Or did you lie? Is it yet another broken promise of action?

Is there not one among you who has the ability and determination to follow through on your commitments?

Ineptitude I can understand, at least that indicates a willingness to try.

It appears that Greenwich Council can't even be bothered to do that.

Now, what are you going to do and what assurances do I have that you will actually do it?

Must I spend another summer walking along a road clogged with foul smelling rubbish rotting in the heat?

I have had some communication with Conservative Councillor Spencer Drury over these matters and I include him on this email in the probably vain hope that some of you might fear enough for your comfortable Council seats that you will finally after a year or pressuring do something. At the very least this gives the Conservatives more examples of the shocking disregard that the current Council shows to it's residents.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Conservative "Opposition"

Councillor Spencer Drury has recently been in touch with me about the state of my street and my struggles with the Council to get them to sort it out.

I am wary of becoming a mouthpiece for the Conservatives, which could happen quite easily given my refusal to accept the disdain and contempt with which the ruling Labour party treats us locals. I've said similar things before and one of Spencer's comments to me was "I know that you are somewhat suspicious of Conservatives".

Well I'm not sure if suspicious is quite the right way to put it, what I said back to him was:

"Yes I am indeed somewhat suspicious of the local Conservatives. Too many of your Councillors, or would be Councillors, seem far more interested in what is happening in Westminster than what is happening in their own borough. To be ignored by the local Labour party is bad, to then feel that the local opposition seem interested in using the area as little more than a stepping stone onto bigger things is depressing."

So I thought that that statement needs some qualifying, so I looked into the three local Conservative bloggers of which I am most aware.

Simon Emmett, Conservative Candidate for Shooters Hill Ward
Nigel Fletcher, Conservative Councillor for Eltham North
Conservative Council Group Leader

So what do those people blog about?

Is my statement that they're seemingly more interested in national rather than local politics based in truth?

At this point I'm quite literally going to find out, I've not checked out the results before starting this entry so I could very easily be proved wrong, let's see.....

Simon Emmett
1Labour Suporting Media Show How Much They Are Out Of TouchNational
2Representing The Constituents?National
3Having Your Pension ScrewedNational
4Obsolete I.T.Local
5London MarathonLocal
6Promise on the CommonLocal
7Fly the Flag TodayOther
8George Osborne’s Response To The BudgetNational
9Economic Competence?National
10Brown's Expenses ReviewNational
Councillor Nigel Fletcher
1Bin and GoneLocal
2Celebrating St. George's DayNational
3Day 3 of the Henry trailLocal
4Henry VIII and modern GreenwichNational
5Newsflash: The King is Dead, Long Live the King!Other
6A Labour man with an internet planNational
7Oysters in the ThamesLocal
8Boris pledges to protect Greenwich ParkLocal
9Normal service is resumedOther
10Mandelson's Custardy BattleNational
Councillor Spencer Drury
2Conservatives write to residents about roadworks on A2Local
3More help needed for Greenwich and Woolwich’s small firms during the recessionLocal
4Labour reject Conservative proposalsfor increased police numbers and reduced council taxLocal
5School closure is short-term panicked decisionLocal

Well all told they did better than I expected.

Simon Emmet managed a depressing 30% of his posts with a local focus. On the one hand I enjoy reading his national commentary, on the other shouldn't a prospective candidate be generating more posts about his area? Isn't there something going on of importance like the bins around me?

I've commented on Councillor Fletcher's focus before and since then he's improved, he was on about a 25% local post rate and he's now doubled that to 50%.

Councillor Drury did impress me, a 100% local focus. On the downside though he's managed 5 posts since the end of February. As I've said about Simon Emmet isn't there something local to post about?

So in conclusion think my initial impressions have been pretty much justified. It's not as bad as I felt it was but the local opposition doesn't seem that interested in local issues, or at least in blogging about local issues. National issues also take up a higher proportion of their posts than I would hope or expect when in opposition against a Council as rubbish as Greenwich.

Please note though that I'm not saying that the local Labour Party is any better, but then you only have to look at the state of our streets to know that they don't care.

However all the links and posts are up there, so take a look and make you're own mind up as to how interested the opposition is in Greenwich and your lives.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

A talk on Gilbert's Pit

I've been meaning to post about Greenwich Industrial History Society for a while now, however life taking a turn to the busy side and the Council still letting my street descend into a rats paradise have side tracked me.

However out the blue they've emailed me with an announcement about a talk on Gilbert's Pit. The pit is in Maryon Park and I've blogged about it before. Since then I've found out some more about it and become really rather interested, so needless to say I was chuffed to get the email.

I'm very tempted to go, if you're curious as to who I am I'll be the person at the back looking really interested.

Anyway here's the mail, it also includes some other talks they are doing.

This is to remind people that Greenwich Industrial History Society has the well-known (internationally famous) historical geologist PAUL SOWAN to speak at its next meeting on 12th May on GILBERT'S PIT.
Gilbert's Pit is an incredibly important site in Maryon Park - which we all hoped would be the recipient of restoration funds from the London Mayor's Office - but sadly it went unappreciated and lost the ballot. Here's your chance to learn more about it!

Its at the Old Bakehouse, Bennet Park, SE3 7.30. The Old Bakehouse is behind the Age Exchange Building in Blackheath Village

This is also a cry for Help - Paul would like a slide projector - does anyone have one which they could bring along to the meeting for him to use??? Please!!! I know its old tech but .........

Remember to look at the GIHS blog

and here are the rest of the meeting bookings we have at present. See you there!

23rd June Lorna Coventry on System Building on the Morris Walk Estate
21st July Thames Discovery Team on discoveries on the Foreshore.
15th September Mary Mills on the Hills of Greenwich and a lot of other places
20th October Duncan Hawkins on Waterfront Archaeology of Greenwich and Lewisham
17th November Edward Sargent on The Grand Surrey Canal
16th March Ken Mcgovern Pitcher’s Northfleet Dockyard (provisional booking)
13th April Diana Rimel. The Ashburnham Triangle - a Reappraisal.

The Council has a plan for the rubbish in our streets!

Could it be tackling the people doing it?

Could it be being seen to be serious about keeping our pavements clean?

Or could it be just throwing more extra collections at the problem?

Have a guess for now, I'll get back to it later.

Since last weekend a fair bit has gone on. It's curious to note that since I blogged about the lack of a response I've suddenly had a lost of emails from various people within the Council. Now a cynic would say that that's only because I've written about the Council's shocking indifference to the filth on our streets on a public web site. On the other hand you could argue that it takes a short time for the Council to formulate a plan and respond, about the only thing they seem to be quick at is taking peoples bins away, they're so quick with that they don't even tell us.


First off the blocks this week on Monday was Councillor Gary Parker who promised a response from Ray Collingham, who is an Assistant Director with responsibilities covering Cleansweep and waste management issues for the Council. But other than that had really little else to say.

However the residents of Floyd Road struck back and on Tuesday, a day after our normal collections, rubbish was already appearing in the street.

So I emailed the Council pointing out the fact that the letter tactic had clearly failed and asking what would be next.

Members of staff at the Council did get back to me the next day (Wednesday) saying that the "Enforcement Team are monitoring the road regularly, and in fact did so this morning, so hopefully they may have captured the culprit."

Well perhaps they were monitoring the road, but they weren't doing a lot of enforcing because on Wednesday night not only were Tuesday's sacks still in the street but they had been joined by some more.

Then on the 30th (Thursday) I got my promised response from Ray Collingham (kudos to Councillor Parker here, he may not always say a lot but what he does say tends to happen). It's worth repeating it in full here so I'm not seen to be potentially taking things out of context.

Thank you for your letter dated 11th April to Jim Wintour, Director of Neighbourhood Services and the attached letter to your ward councillors and the Leader of the Council.

I was very concerned to learn that wheeled bins had been removed from properties in Floyd Road without prior notice or consultation with residents. This should not have happened in this way and I would like to apologise on behalf of the Council for the inconvenience caused to you and your neighbours.

We received your letter on 16th April (the delay may have been due to the fact we have just moved from Peggy Middleton House to Crown Building) and the matter was referred to Peter Dalley, Head of Waste Services. Peter arranged for Jo Oliver (who I know you have met before) to visit Floyd Road.

Jo reported to me that she and a colleague visited properties from 2 - 30 Floyd Road on 21st April and contacted as many residents as possible.


Apologised for the fact that bins had been taken away without prior notice or consultation

Explained purpose of their visit - to ensure that residents were ok with their waste arrangements since the removal of bins

Explained the reasons for bin removal - in particular the problems caused by bins being left continuously on

Discussed individual property arrangements and requirements with residents

Explained that collection day is a Monday and waste in sacks or bins should only be presented on this day (or Sunday night) and that bins must be returned to within property after being emptied

Explained that Enforcement Officers would be monitoring Floyd Road and should waste be presented on days other than collection day then they could risk a fine of £100

Following the visit she arranged for crews to deliver bins to those residents who confirmed that they were able and willing to store them off the pavement and recycling bags to other residents. Letters were sent to all properties contacted in Floyd Road to confirm the discussions that took place on 21st April.

In addition, we have arranged for further, regular monitoring and action by the Council's Enforcement Team and for street cleansing crews to remove bagged domestic waste from the western part of Floyd Rd (between Valley Grove and Charlton Church Lane) on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

I will be meeting with Council colleagues on 6th May and will we review these arrangements then.

I can assure you we will continue to work to improve the cleanliness of the area.

Yours sincerely

Ray Collingham
Assistant Director of Neighbourhood Services
Greenwich Council
020 8921 3656

My first comment is that the callers only apologised for the complete lack of any consultation or communication about our vanishing bins after I mentioned it to them. It certainly wasn't their opening gambit, in fact they seemed shocked to hear that we'd not been told anything about the removal.

The second point regards the daily collections they've decided to introduce. Unfortunately on my way home prior to reading that email I'd had to pass a whole new load of rubbish that had been dumped out in the street, I was to put it mildly somewhat grumpy. My response to the Council sums things up pretty nicely...

Thank you for your reply, I'm CC'ing my response to my local Councillors, Council Leader Chris Roberts, Head of Neighbourhood Services Jim Wintour and the people at Waste Services with whom I've communicated.

I would remind you that I've been in contact with the Council for over a year trying to resolve the problems that the "new" bin scheme introduced. Yet here I am still discussing the same problems and trying to get you, the Council, to act and keep my street clean. Please excuse me if I therefore come across as being a touch frustrated.

I am curious as to when the "regular monitoring" and daily removal of bagged waste will begin? There certainly haven't been such collections either yesterday or today, bags of rubbish have been out in the street since at least Tuesday evening.

Also how long will the daily removal of bagged waste continue?

While I do want my street to be clean I do not believe that continuing to waste tax payer funded Council resources is the right way to do it. We've already seen the Council fund extra collections and buy us extra bins (the latest of which only lasted a few weeks before you then took them away) in order to tackle the symptoms of the problem while continually dodging dealing with the actual causes itself.

Such actions might be needed in the short term but they must be coupled with action being taken so as to actually stop having to do them.

To my Councillors, I voted for you in the last elections and so I therefore feel that I am somewhat responsible as I elected people who demonstrably don't care about their constituents. You've had over a year to iron out the wrinkles with the new scheme and you've failed. If you still can't resolve the issues that you have created will you please consider stepping down at the next election so that someone who is interested in the lives of local people can take your place.

I attach some photos showing the current state of the street a week after the visits, the letter and the street getting the "daily attention" of Clean Sweep.

Ray Collingham did reply today to that email and he had this to say:

Thank you for your reply and the attached photographs. Waste Services arranged the clearance of the bin and sack this morning and have identified the properties from where they came for further action.

The back up service from street cleansing is due to start on Tuesday 5th May.

I don't know what further action they had in mind but at least one of the houses who had dumped plastic bags in the street have dumped so more out today after the first load had been taken away.

I've said this before, I've said it above and I'll say it again but let's make this really clear shall we.

Extra collections alone will not fix the problems they will simply cover them up. In fact they will make matters worse by giving people the clear understanding that they can dump what they like when they like. This will only be solved by engaging with residents and actually sorting their problems out.

So are the Council going to stand by their letter and actually sort the problem out?

Or will they just slide away back to their corporate box at the O2 and think that spending our money on extra collections is the solution.

Well, time will tell, I do however appear to have caught the right peoples attention and if the problems are solved then you'll know which Councillors and which Council Workers to thank.