Friday, 10 August 2007

Catching up with paperwork

Yep, I thought that title would get you reading. With the Council in recess, and very few meetings, there's finally time to catch up with all the filing, sorting out and throwing away of stuff which has been accumulating steadily in my Inbox and on my desk at home. Time too to take a look at casework and issues around the ward and discuss with my friend and colleague, Fred Lawton, what we do next in some of our local campaigns.

I have been able to sort out a few problems for local residents during my first three months, which is really pleasing. Back in May I posted on here about the variety of complaints we received at one of our surgeries. Since then I have received more problems to sort out. Residents phone me, email me or stop me when I've been cycling around the ward. I think I should buy a bright yellow jacket with "Liberal Democrat Councillor" emblazoned on the back for when I'm out on my bike.

Some of the issues I've dealt with:

A communal garden in William Street which I reported as being badly overgrown has been tidied up by Streetscene.

A young lady with two children whose mother asked us to find out if her daughter would be allocated a suitable council house soon has now found suitable private rented accomodation nearby. Not an entirely satisfactory outcome, but at least she now has a place of her own near her mother's house. The policy of successive Governments in discouraging the building of decent low-cost public housing to rent is now putting great strain on the more affordable end of the housing market. The new Prime Minister's announcement of increased house building is welcome, but too little, too late, for many people.

Some residents in George Short Close have had to store their black refuse sacks in their flats all week because there was nowhere secure outside for them to leave them away from attack by cats and rats. I contacted the Council, and following a site visit, residents have now been promised a suitable container where they can put their bags.

A resident who lives on North Road who was constantly battling against traders advertising cars for sale right outside her home no longer has this problem, thanks to a quick phone call to the mobile number displayed on these particular vehicles. The wardens have been targetting this area, and there have also been two successful prosecutions against traders on North Road for advertising cars for sale a short distance apart. However, the problem persists along the length of North Road. The legislation is just too weak to be completely effective against this nuisance. We'll keep on fighting them, though.

Several other individual complaints and problems: for example, about anti-social behaviour, the condition of some roads and pavements, overgrowing trees and broken down raised flower beds and borders are being actively pursued with hard-pressed Council officers.

And now I'm off on holiday.

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