Following the continuing disastrous implementation of the controversial new waste collection scheme, the Liberal Democrats are calling for Gary Cowan, to resign as Executive member for the Environment at Wokingham Borough Council.
Cllr Prue Bray leader of the Lib Dems said “Gary Cowan is responsible for the council’s waste service and has presided over a catastrophic failure. The new waste scheme is not well thought out and on top of that its introduction has been one disaster after another. It descended into farce when Gary Cowan asked in a radio interview about the variety of wrong size bags that have been supplied, didn’t even have the most basic information – the correct size of the bags.
“The Liberal Democrats are committed to reducing waste and increasing recycling but we have had serious concerns about these proposed changes ever since the Conservatives first announced them. The Lib Dems raised a whole raft of problems both publically and behind the scenes and each time the Conservatives ignored us and continued to steam roller through their ill thought out scheme.”
The Conservatives have refused to listen and it is time they are held accountable for this fiasco. Gary Cowan is the person responsible – we think he should take Executive responsibility resign.
Liberal Democrat councillors call for the Conservative council to listen and engage with its residents. As part of the scrutiny process to review the councils work, Liberal Democrats want the council to listen and learn from public debate on local issues before taking action.
Cllr Prue Bray leader of the Liberal Democrat group said “If the Tories had engaged with residents about the new waste scheme and the review of the library service we would not be facing the problems they have created. The Tories track record shows they think they know best but what’s needed is a new approach: a willingness to listen to residents and accept that in doing so the council might do things better.” Cllr Prue Bray added “Let’s get it right in the future, for example with parking enforcement. Residents want this issue tackled to resolve the problems caused by illegally parked cars. The council needs to ask communities how they are being affected by illegal parking and the lack of enforcement and then take action based on local views.”
The Lib Dems want to get voices from across the borough heard. They believe engaging with residents will provide a better quality end result and that this can be done without slowing down change and improvements in council services. A priority in the Conservative Vision is to encourage strong, sustainable and vibrant communities. The Lib Dems believe the council can only achieve this by engaging with residents so that communities can be confident that their voices are not only being heard but help to form their local services.
Liberal Democrats were startled during the budget council meeting on Thursday 23rd February by Conservative claims that Car Parking charges have not increased in the Borough for 4 years.
The Conservative Executive increased charges for most of the Council car parks in June 2008 – a decision made after the May local elections. They also increased charges at station car parks and country parks and for season tickets in January 2011.
Lib Dems scoured the Conservative budget papers to see if another increase to parking charges was in the offing this year. However, as Cllr Jenny Lissaman said during the council meeting “The budget papers are ambiguous. They contain a hint that there is to be a “part year increase” but no actual prices. The budget for the year is being set and we have no idea whether car parking charges are going to go up or not at some point in the next twelve months. What sort of budget-setting process is that?
Is this just a case of spin? Could it be that there are going to be some increases but the Conservatives are hiding them until after the election? Perish the thought.”