I’d like to start this month with a very disturbing incident. In mid-March, dozens of trees off Church Road were felled without any warning to local residents. The area surrounding the derelict site earmarked for retail and housing development contained trees that had stood for generations and were much loved by locals. You can see the pictures I took and read more about the incident here.
Just as disturbing is the shocking response of the Council to the legitimate anger of the community. Again you can read the evidence on my website. There are two stand-out issues here. First the obvious bias of the Council in favour of the developer. I have no doubt that many if not all of these trees could have been preserved if the Council had placed the necessary constraints on the developer. Instead, what the developer wanted the developer got.
The second issue for me is the inadequate consultation with local residents who were given the impression that the trees would remain. It is completely unacceptable that residents are treated in this way. Sadly, last year’s fiasco surrounding library closures shows that your elected representatives don’t take consultation seriously. Based on this incident, they have learnt nothing in the meantime.
- Following on from the above I have been looking at the latest redevelopment application to affect our area. The derelict flats at Quarrybank by the YMCA are due to be refurbished into 12 new units. This is welcome news for a site that has become an eyesore and prone to fly-tipping. However, I have today submitted a comment on this application. The plans as currently drafted would remove one of the trees on site to facilitate car parking. I have pointed out that, if this really is deemed necessary, there should be an obligation on the developer to plant at least two new trees. I have also pointed out that the plans for bicycle storage are hopelessly inadequate and run counter to Council policy.
- Meanwhile, the war on fly-tipping is a never ending one unfortunately. This month I have had to write repeated emails and make several phone calls to Council officers before finally getting action on the disgraceful conditions between Elmswood and Harrowby Roads. Can I remind everyone that most entries have a scheduled monthly cleanse. My experience is that this often doesn’t happen so if you are experiencing ongoing problems please let me know. To find out when your area is scheduled for cleaning call Streetscene on 606 2004.
- Other issues I have reported this month include:
The collapsed wall between Rodney Street and Clifton Road
The poor conditions for pedestrians under the railway bridge on Green Lane
Broken lights on Victoria Road, Craven Street and between Fountain Street/Whitford Road
Damaged alley gates on Paterson Street and Briardale Road (again)
Last week my nomination papers for the local elections on May 6th were submitted. Along with my Green Party colleagues I have begun door-to-door canvassing. The feedback so far is really encouraging with many residents responding positively to all the work we have done throughout the year. The local poll is clearly between myself and the Labour candidate. Other parties are out of the race. If you would like to support my campaign by displaying a “vote Green” poster please let me know. You can read my key priorities for this election here.
And finally, a special mention for the ARK project for the homeless. There will be an official opening for its new extension to the Sandford Street site on April 21st. Well done to everyone concerned on achieving this important milestone.