Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Computer chips in bins - What's the truth?

The Bournemouth Echo is reporting that the Leader of the Council, Cllr Richard Smith, has said that there are no chips embedded in the new bins that have been delivered around Bournemouth since June 12th.

That's completely contrary to the dozens of residents of Littledown and Iford who have been in touch with me today to confirm that there are chips inserted under the rim of their new bins.

It's incredible that the Council leader doesn't know that the bins have chips embedded in them. Apparently the Echo have been attempting to get a response from the Council most of the day without success. It appears to me another situation where the current leadership of the Council are totally out of touch with the actions of their officers on the ground.

UPDATE: The Council have just released the following statement about chips in bins:

Chips in bin not yet active

In the past few days there have been many articles in local and national press about micro-chips in refuse bins. We would like to tell Bournemouth residents about the situation in our town.

The ‘micro-chip’ is a chip and each contains a unique number which will be allocated to a property. The new bins delivered have a chip already contained within the bin as these are fitted at the point of manufacture. In the future we could fit the technology to new refuse vehicles which will enable us to record the time of emptying and the weight of the bin. Should we decide to proceed with this technology; the micro-chips will help speed up data collection. We already collect data so that we are aware of exactly how much waste is being produced within Bournemouth, but this new technology would enable us to monitor such things as tonnages collected far more efficiently and see the trends quickly. It would not be there to monitor bins on an individual basis. The micro-chips would also enable stolen or misplaced bins to be easily identified and returned to the correct house. We would like to reassure residents that this ‘chip’ is nothing to worry about.

Cllr John Hayter, the Councils Recycling Champion stated “Taking advantage of new technology would help the council to deliver a high quality waste and recycling service for the residents of Bournemouth. By looking to the future and using all new technologies available we will be able to meet the challenge of increased diversion of waste from landfill.”

We would also ask that residents stop using the ‘Blue Bags’ as this scheme has now finished. Please place the recyclable material in Big Bin after your normal collection this week ready for your first collection of the new scheme in September.

Tracking chips inserted in bins

You may have seen reports over the weekend carried initally in the Mail on Sunday and subsequently by the BBC about computer chips being placed in bins to enable tracking of rubbish collections and levels.

It would appear that the new recycling bins distributed by Bournemouth Borough Council may include these chips. The use of this technology concerns the Conservative group on the council greatly and we will be pressing for assurances by the officers and Lib Dem Cabinet member responsible for the scheme that the technology will not be used without approval from the full council.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Troika Development - Dates for Appeal

The date for responses to the Appeal by Troika Developments against the refusal of planning permission for their park and ride and office development scheme on Wessex Fields has been set. The publicity letter from the council is copied below.

You can see that there are two ways by which you can object, either in writing or on the web site of the Planning Inspectorate.

As usual, I will be circulating a letter explaining my point of view along with notes on how to write your own letter and an example letter to use should you wish to do so. It’s terribly important that local opposition is made plain by the largest response possible at this stage. I’d therefore urge you to object before the deadline of September 22nd.

My opposition remains based upon the fact that the development proposes offices for over 3,000 workers with parking for only 1,000, that the park and ride facility is proposed to be built on Green Belt land and that the combination of the two will increase local congestion even further in and area which is already considerably over developed.

Publicity letter:

"Your ref:
This matter is being dealt with by: Mrs Seddon
Direct line 01202 451193
Our ref: PT/CAS/S78/2006/6047 & S78/2006/6048
e-mail: planning.appeals@bournemouth.gov.uk

21 August 2006
TO :- The Owner / Occupier

Dear Sir/Madam,

APPELLANT: Troika Developments Ltd
APPEAL SITES: 1. Land adjacent Riverside Avenue, A338 and Holdenhurst Road 2. Riverside Avenue to the west and fronting and to the South of A338, Bournemouth.
REFS: APP/G1250/A/06/2020319/NWF & APP/G1250/A/06/2020325/NWF

In September 2004 the Council received two applications from the above named for planning permission for 1. “Construction of car and lorry parking areas and ancillary buildings, construction of grade separated junction with associated earthworks (Park & Ride Scheme)” at land adjacent Riverside Avenue, A338 and Holdenhurst Road and 2. Approval in principle for the erection of Class B1 offices, health care and nursing facility with associated vehicular access, car parking, external works, landscaping and service installations at land at Riverside Avenue to the west and fronting and to the south of A338. The Council refused the applications on 28 February 2006.

Appeals against these refusals have been lodged with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and will be determined by her following a Public Inquiry.

I am required by The Planning Inspectorate to inform you that if you have any opinions on the proposed developments which you wish the Inspector to take into account in preparing the report to the Secretary of State, you can either submit three sets of them in writing to: The Planning Inspectorate, Room 4/04 Kite Wing, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol, BS1 6PN quoting reference numbers APP/G1250/A/06/2020319/NWF & APP/G1250/A/06/2020325/NWF or submit your comments through the online appeals service www.planningportal.gov.uk/pcs. You must ensure that any representations you wish to make regarding these appeals are received by them no later than 22 September 2006. I have also been instructed by The Planning Inspectorate to inform you that any communication received by them after this date will not normally be seen by their Case Inspector and will be returned to you. Please note that the Council can take no responsibility for forwarding representations to The Planning Inspectorate on your behalf by the date specified above. I must make it clear that any comments you may write cannot be treated as confidential but must be made available to the appellant and any other interested party. The Planning Inspectorate may publish details of your comments, on the internet (on the appeals area of the Planning Portal). Your comments may include your name, address, e-mail address or phone number. Please ensure that you only provide information, including personal information belonging to you that you are happy will be made available to others in this way. If you supply information belonging to a third party please, ensure you have their permission to do so. More detailed information about data protection and privacy matters is available on the Planning Portal. The Planning Inspectorate will not acknowledge your letter unless you specifically ask for them to do so.

Please note that any letter which you may have written to me at the time the planning applications that are the subject of these appeals were being considered by the Council (my ref. 7/2004/20006/A and 7/2004/16450/G) has already been forwarded to The Planning Inspectorate. Should you want to amend those earlier views in any way, please write or e-mail the Planning Inspectorate as per the details given in the third paragraph of this letter.

The documents relating to the appeals may be inspected at the address at the top of this letter during office hours on weekdays. However, in order to avoid a possibly wasted journey, it is advisable to check on the availability of these documents by telephoning the number given at the top of this letter before visiting this office. A booklet entitled “A guide to taking part in planning appeals” can be collected free of charge from department, or through “publications” on the Planning Inspectorate’s website www.planning-inspectorate.gov.uk

If you wish to be advised of the outcome of the appeals, you must specifically request a copy of the Secretary of State’s decision from the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol as per the details given in the third paragraph of this letter.

Yours faithfully,"

Monday, August 21, 2006

Budget Seminars

Bournemouth residents are invited to come along and give their opinions on how the Council should spend it's money this September, at specially organised Budget Consultation workshops at the Bournemouth Learning Centre, Ensbury Park.

The Council is looking for 300 volunteers to take part in six Budget Consultation workshops at various times between the 6-9 September. The workshops give residents the chance to tell their Council which services are valued most and which services should take priority over others. During the workshops, participants will be given points to ‘spend’ and asked to decide what levels of various services they want to ‘buy’ with their points. Should libraries be opened on a Sunday? Should car parking charges be increased or reduced? Do we need more street cleaning or more youth centres? Should the Council stop charging for collecting bulky waste? As in the real world, participants will not be given enough points to buy all the services they would like, so will need to think hard about where their priorities really lie.

As well as knowing that their feedback at the workshops will help inform any decisions our Councillors make about future spending plans or changes in services, participants will be given a £10 voucher to spend at ASDA Castlepoint as a 'thank you' and to cover any travel expenses.

If you are interested you can either click onto www.bournemouth.gov.uk and fill in the application form on the homepage 'Budget Consultation workshops' or call 454962 and details can be taken over the phone. A letter confirming your place will be sent to you, along with a map and directions to the Learning Centre.

Green Waste Recycling Scheme planned

Under some pressure from opposition councillors the council have now published their plans for green waste disposal.

Finally recognising that we can not possibly compost everything from the garden, a scheme has been put in place. It requires you getting a ‘green bag’ from the council, either from their waste depot of from a dustbin man, however it does mean that there will be the possibility of getting your waste taken away.

This is the council's advice on how to go about this:

Residential Collection Scheme Monday to Friday Only

We will be piloting a “green waste” collection scheme commencing Monday 4th September 2006.

We will collect one bag of garden waste per property per week. Bags will be supplied by Bournemouth Council and only these bags will be collected.

The Green Waste Hotline 451649 will be open from Monday 4th September 2006 between the hours of 9am – 4pm. This is a direct number for residents to make arrangements for the collection of their green waste.

The contact centre number 01202 451199 will pick up any overflow.

Information will also be available on the council website www.bournemouth.gov.uk

Residents can collect the special green waste bags from Friday 25th August at either Southcote Rd Depot Reception, most Libraries, Neighbourhood Shops, weekend “Bring Sites” or Millhams Civic Amenity Site. They can also ask the Recycling Teams when they empty their 240ltr recycling bin.

It is important to remind people that these bags will start to break down within 4 days and as such, they should not use the bag or leave it where it will get damp until a collection date has been agreed.

Only garden waste will be collected no earth/soil, rubble or kitchen waste.

Each time a bag is collected; they will leave a replacement bag with the owner or post one through their letterbox.

It is envisaged that residents are allocated a day of collection based on the area in which they live. It may not be possible to collect on the same day as the Refuse or Recycling Teams.

We will trial and review different bags during the next 6 months.

Bring Sites Alternate Weekends at Kings Park and Slades Farm

Residents can continue to use the Millhams Civic Amenity Site or use the pilot “Bring Sites” on weekends.

These sites are for the recycling of garden waste only, brought to the site by Bournemouth residents.

Each site must operate with the same rules as Millhams. This includes providing proof of address, no trade vehicles and no trailers over a certain size.

The opening times will be 10am – 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Any changes will be advertised in the press or on the Green Waste Hotline answer phone.

Residents will be asked to pull over in a safe cordoned off area. They will remove the waste from their vehicle onto a designated area. The council’s own staff will be the only authorised persons to load the vehicle.

No exceptionally heavy items, large branches, roots or tree stumps will be accepted.

We will commence Saturday 26th August 2006 and review the frequency and suitability at each site during September / October.

A Duty Cleansing Supervisor or Manager will be on duty at all times the sites are open to the public.

Verges in Harewood Avenue

When I was doing the ward walk with the officer in charge of highways planting last week we looked at the beds between the path and the road in Harewood Avenue.

Particularly in the area between Swanmore Road and Christchurch Road these are looking, at least in part, rather sorry for themselves.

Again, a commitment from him to get these sorted out this autumn with fresh bushes being planted and new topsoil being delivered and the old taken away where the weeds and reeds have begun to come back.

Pruning of the canopy in Harewood Avenue is hopefully planned for 2007.

Trees in Holdenhurst Avenue

Finally! I managed to get the officer responsible for highways vegetation along on Wednesday to a meeting to review the trees in Holdenhurst Avenue.

They are too large to pollard unfortunately. However, he has noted residents concerns over their growing close to telephone lines, their darkness, the risk of branches falling and the nuisance caused by the leaf fall from their canopy. He has agreed to arrange for pruning as a priority, with the trees between Christchurch Road and Warnford Road being dealt with this autumn and then those from Warnford Road to Castle Lane being pruned in autumn 2007.

Holdenhurst Avenue Roadworks

I understand that these may continue in to next week. I’ll try and keep you updated.

They have, of course, caused chaos in the surrounding roads, particularly Cheriton Avenue and Ovington Avenue. Temporary parking and access restrictions were placed on these roads on Friday morning which hopefully have relieved if not resolved the problem.

Lack of updates

Apologies for the lack of posts over the past week. Blogger seems to have been down for ever!

Normal service appears to have resumed though so I'll be posting all the held up information this afternoon.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Southwick Road Telephone Mast - O2 rethinking?

You may be aware that we have been working to persuade O2 that there are better places for their proposed telephone mast at the back of housing in Southwick Road.

Thanks to the hard work of Charmaine Despres I have now heard that O2 and their agents intend coming to Iford to consider alternative sites we put forward for the mast.

I'm waiting to hear when they are actually coming and hope to be present to put forward the local residents' viewpoint.

I should stress that this does not mean that their appeal against the refusal of the mast application will not go ahead, it does at least tell us that they are considering alternative sites, which is great news.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Holdenhurst Avenue closed next week

Some advance warning has just reached me that Holdenhurst Avenue will be closing next week. The full text from the Highways Department e-mail is as follows:

"I write to advise you of the temporary road closure of Holdenhurst Avenue.

Please find enclosed a copy of the closure notice for Highway Improvement. The Closure is programmed for the period between 16/08/2006 and 22/08/2006."

I've asked for clarification of the works being undertaken and will let you know more information as soon as I get it.

UPDATE: I've recieved confirmation from the Highways Department that the reason for the closure is the installation of traffic calming by St Peter's school. Therefore the road is going to be closed at the Castle Lane end only, with traffic being diverted around Christchurch Road and Castle Lane via Colemore Road.

Residents in Ovington Avenue, Cheriton Avenue and Holmfield Avenue might well find that there is significant additional traffic as people try to cut through. If this is the case please let me know straight away by calling 07766 141886 and I'll do what I can to get the police and council to limit the disturbance.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Dan does Clodagh - brilliant

Regular viewers of this site will have noticed Dan's earlier performance of Mary Hopkin's 'Knock Knock who's there'. He has seen this site and seems to have taken on board my muscial preference.

I'm very pleased to bring you his latest offering - lipsynching to the fabulous Clodagh Rodgers. Perhaps not quite as hysterical as Dan vs Mary Hopkin, but very funny all the same.

Thanks Dan!

Now, if only you could do some Nanne Grönvall.....

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Bournemouth's new marketing design?

This banner appeared at the bottom of the Chief Executive's weekly e-mail to council staff on Friday. I've not seen it before. If it is part of a new marketing campaign for Bournemouth then I think it's great. Modern, with visual impact and appealing to visitors of all ages.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Iford Lane Railway Bridge - traffic control

Finally it seems that there may be some hope for improvements to the footpath that passes underneath the railway bridge on Iford Lane.

Since I was elected I have been campaigning for the path there to be widened and for some form of traffic control to be installed.

Not only would these improvements make passing under the bridge much safer for pedestrians, but also it would break up the flow of traffic passing up Iford Lane, making it easier for residents there to get their cars out of their properties.

The cabinet member for Transport and Planning has finally confirmed that the highways engineers should look at a widened path and traffic control at the bridge. Let's hope they get on with the work as quickly as possible.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Labour's Bed Tax Plan - Stupid or what?

The Conservatives launched their opposition to Labour's new bed tax plan in Bournemouth on Wednesday afternoon.

Tourism is one of the main stays of our local economy. Can you imagine how much damage will be done in Bournemouth if these plans go ahead? Put simply, there will be a levy, managed by the local authority, on every hotel stay. The hotel industry can't afford to absorb this and so will have to pass it on to their customers. Visitors won't be able to afford the additional cost and therefore are less likely to come away on holiday, causing a knock on effect throughout the town's economy, not just the hotels.

More importantly, who is going to monitor and collect this tax? Who will be inspecting hotel records to check that the amount of stays declared equals the actual total of visitors?

It would appear to me that another army of bureaucrats is going to be needed to deal with the adminstration. Surely the cost of running this scheme is only just going to be covered by the income derived?

Of course, this could be Labour's clever way of ensuring even more people are employed in the public sector. By doing so they ensure a greater pool of likely voters, scared to vote for any alternative suggesting a review of public services and cuts in bureauocracy.