Woodley and Whitegates Lib Dems have discovered that the blue bags being distributed by Wokingham Borough Council as part of their controversial new waste contract are all different sizes.
Until Lib Dems pointed this out to the council they had no idea that they were delivering different sized bags. The Conservative controlled borough council are in middle of distributing over 5 million bags.
Lesley Hayward, Lib Dem town councillor for Bulmershe said “This just about is the worst it could possibly be. When the council are restricting people to 80 bags a year at least they should all be the same size! We will be calling on the council to provide more bags, free of charge, to everyone with sub-sized bags” Lesley added “Everyone getting smaller bags than they were supposed to would have been bad enough if they were all the same size, but some people appear to be getting bigger ones than others –and the council has no idea who they are – it is just unbelievable”.
Peter Baveystock from council tells us that the correct size is 40 cm across the bottom; 73.5 cm across the widest part; and 99 cm Height (to end of handle). The smallest we have come across so far is 36 cm across the bottom; 66 cm across the widest part; and 88 cm Height (to end of handle). How big is your bag?
Tom McCann Lib Dem campaigner in Loddon said “This is just appalling and Lib Dems will be calling on Gary Cowan, the Executive member for waste to resign and take responsibility for the completely botched implementation of the controversial new waste arrangements. Where is the quality control?” Tom adds “I suggest everyone measures their bags as soon as they get them and contacts the council if they have sub-sized bags”
The Full Council meeting of Woodley Town Council on 7th February approved the Lib Dem group proposal to maintain the precept charge to residents at the same level as last year.
Beth Rowland, Lib Dem leader of Woodley Town Council, said “I think it is important that the council continues to respond to the difficult financial situation faced by many families in Woodley and this is the third year in a row that Woodley Town Council will have kept the precept at the same level. Our officers have responded very well to the need to improve efficiency in everything the council does and this has enabled us to continue invest in the future of Woodley whilst retaining the precept to residents at the same level”. Beth added “The council has had to make difficult decisions to target its limited grant funds on those groups which provide a direct service to Woodley residents and therefore next year the council will stop funding the MICE information van which currently comes to Woodley Town Centre on Mondays. MICE have provided a good service over the last decade, but the world has changed, and Lib Dems feel that the £3500 which was requested by MICE to maintain the service in Woodley town centre, on Mondays only, could be better targeted on supporting the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, ARC, Readibus and other groups which provided a direct service to Woodley residents in need”.
At the meeting the Conservative group suggested that increasing the fees for swimming clubs using the Bulmershe swimming pool would have enabled the council funding for MICE to be maintained. Phil Challis, Lib Dem deputy leader of Woodley Town Council, said “Lib Dems reject this concept. Providing activities at affordable prices for residents of Woodley, especially our youth, is more valuable and important for maintaining our community than providing a van in the town centre, one day a week”. He added “It appears that if the Tories had their way the charges at Woodley’s sports facilities would be increased to remove any subsidy. I am pleased that Woodley Lib Dems will continue to invest in our community by encouraging participation in a whole range of sporting and cultural facilities, right here in Woodley”
Lib Dems have discovered a major failing in the Conservatives’ proposed recycling rewards scheme for Wokingham Borough – which means that those who recycle the most may not get the most rewards.
Initially the Lib Dems were delighted when the Tories did a U-turn and decided to introduce an incentive scheme for recycling, especially as they had voted not to have one when the Lib Dems suggested it in September. But when she asked how the Conservative scheme will work in practice, Sue Smith, Lib Dem Councillor for Loddon was dismayed to discover that the rewards will not necessarily go to the individuals who are the keenest recyclers.
Cllr Smith explains “The Conservatives are proposing to reward the whole of an area, not just an individual family. So if you and your family are avid recyclers, but live in an area where others do not recycle much, you will see very few rewards. Whereas a family that doesn’t recycle much but are fortunate to live in an area where their neighbours all recycle every scrap of paper and plastic bottle, will get loads of rewards.
“That doesn’t seem fair to me. And the Conservative scheme doesn’t seem to provide much of an incentive if you can both be rewarded for hardly recycling anything and not necessarily benefit when you recycle a lot. It’s time for another Tory rethink.”