Hey Hey, it’s the Council Meeting as an Assembly Show!

Missed the council meeting as an assembly show this evening which was on in Skelmersdale… finally. Sadly the children weren’t well and I couldn’t make it, so I’m hoping to catch it on DVD as they did last year.

If it was anything like those over the past four years, it would have been a sycophantic back-patting exercise to say how good the council is, followed by the presentation of awards to kids from around the district. The latter being a ruse to make sure that some people attend who usually leave after the presentations.

In the distant past there was supposed to be a real consultative reason for these meetings, having strangled at birth the local area forums which play such an important role in neighbouring authorities. Instead it’s run as a Kilroy style show. It’s generally a waste of time.

This year’s stupid decision was to hold it at the investment centre. Sending a message to the people of Skem that they don’t want them to attend – there is no public transport to the building. Had I been able to get along I would have made the point, but I hope that others would have spoken out.

Despite the stupid location, the lack of consultation and¬†the vacuous nature of the whole event, I sincerely hope that this year’s meeting was different. I hope that a cross-section of the community were there, that they had the opportunity to speak about their issues and I hope that the Tories will listen to what they say. Because shamefully it’s the only consultative forum in West Lancs.

Bickerstaffe record online

Paul Cotterill’s regular newsletter, the Bickerstaffe Record, has gone online. “Hard worker” and “tireless worker” are tired phrases bunged in newsletters often describing people who really don’t deserve it. But Paul really has plugged away in Bickerstaffe – bringing in funding for the village and campaigning for slower speeds and the creation of the South Lathom Parish Council as well as working for West Lancs through his links in education and health.

He’s standing for election this year in Bickerstaffe and is probably more qualified than anyone else in the district – it will be a great shame if he doesn’t make it this year.

Recycling chaos in Skem

Last year, the Tory council changed the recycling collection in Skelmersdale which was supposed to make things better – easier to recycle and a higher percentage of waste recycled.

Well, it isn’t working in Moorside – and by all accounts it isn’t working across Skelmersdale.

Things have been made much worse by the chaotic collections since the start of December. I complained last month about the collections and was fobbed off with an email stating that there were “teething problems” in the area.

The fact is – before Christmas, the streets and paths were starting to look in a state because cardboard wasn’t being collected from everywhere and the autumn leaves were left to rot. Now it’s worse because of patchy and incomplete collections.
I’ve had complaints of:

  • Collections not happening – leaving recycling out on the streets
  • Collection teams actually telling residents that they had been when they hadn’t
  • Teams not taking all the waste from outside a house, despite it being presented in the correct way.

The result is that the estates have rapidly ended up with cardboard, paper and other waste blowing around or rotting outside houses.

When there were “teething problems” in the past, in Burscough for example, a lot of the problems were because the Council didn’t explain fully what was happening. Consequently there was more waste and the wrong waste presented to the Council. In Skem the “teething problems” are because the Council can’t or won’t do the job properly.

We’ve now reached the point where people are asking for the old skips back and the old recycling service to be re-introduced. No wonder, because some people have over a month’s recycling collected in the house.

The situation is an absolute disgrace. People are rightly demanding a public meeting and Pat and I will try to get the Tory Cllr Baldock and the Council officers responsible to attend.