Liberal Democrats inspected Ashenbury Park over the weekend after a deluge of comments from residents in Woodley and found dog waste bags hanging on posts where there used to be dog waste bins. The Liberal Democrats say that Wokingham Borough’s decision to mix dog poo with normal litter is disgusting – it may be legal, but that does not make it right for our communities.
In Ashenbury Park, many normal litter bins are placed near to park benches, whereas dog bins were placed away from seating areas until they were axed by the Tories. Catherine Bearder, Lib Dem candidate for the South East in the European Elections said, “Judging from the smell from the dog waste in the litter bin this weekend there won’t be many people taking a relaxing break or eating a picnic on the benches this summer!”
Cllr Gareth Epps, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary campaigner for Reading East said, “Responsible parents have always taught their children to put rubbish into litter bins, but I can see them having second thoughts if the bins are full of dog waste –removing the dog bins was a bad idea and was badly implemented.”
Local Lib Dem Councillors from all over Wokingham have been told by residents that more dog waste is being left lying in the grass and on pavements since this new policy was implemented by Wokingham Conservatives. Prue Bray, leader of the Lib Dem group on Wokingham Borough Council said, “Residents valued this important service and the Lib Dem group at Wokingham call on the Tory Executive to bring back our dog bins.”
The public toilets in Woodley town centre have been a disgrace for many years due to the fact that the borough council, despite many promises, failed to maintain them properly. Lib Dems have campaigned for many years to get Wokingham Borough Council to do something about this eyesore.
Beth Rowland Lib Dem Leader of the town council said, “Lib Dem town councillors were therefore really pleased when we heard that LIDL were prepared to build Woodley some nice new public toilets as part of the redevelopment of the old Co-op site. However our joy was short lived as the Tory leadership in the borough suddenly decided to scrap public toilets in the borough altogether and the borough planning officers told LIDL that their toilets were not wanted anymore!”
Coling Lawley, Deputy Leader of the council said, “Apparently the Tories’ ‘big idea’ is to persuade shops to let residents use their toilets and there are even some ideas about building toilets in the library – but don’t get caught short on a Wednesday –the library is closed!” Coling went onto say, “This is unlikely to be acceptable for Woodley as, from my own experience of many years trading in the centre, the shops will not find this an acceptable option. I am worried, as well, about the adequate provision of disabled toilets; plans need to be in place before the old toilets are pulled down.”
Beth Rowland said, “Once again Woodley’s Lib Dem Town Council is picking up the pieces from yet another Conservative service cut and we will be talking to the borough council about opening the Oakwood Centre toilets for general use.”
Phil Challis, Lib Dem Borough Councillor for Loddon said, “It is important to keep spending under control, therefore to pay for additional cleaning and maintenance the town council will be asking the borough council to pass on the money the borough gets from LIDL for selling the land and planning contributions – it is, after all, only fair that this money is spent in Woodley!” He went onto say, “I also think it will be important to get a zebra crossing on Headley Road outside the Oakwood Centre to provide safe access to the toilets. The borough council has been resisting a crossing here ever since the Oakwood Centre was built.”
Wokingham Liberal Democrats were horrified when Tory-controlled Wokingham Borough Council removed all the dog waste bins in the borough without any warning. Dog waste is no longer classified as hazardous and the council says that it can be placed in normal litter bins.
Councillor Phil Challis (Lib Dem councillor for Loddon ward) says, “This is a terrible idea and the council has made a right dog’s dinner of this. The bins were removed without any warning, and with no explanation to the public that normal litter bins could be used for dog waste. In many cases, no alternative bins were even provided.”
Following a public uproar, signs have been placed where the dog bins have been removed advising people to use normal litter bins, and the council has promised to provide more bins.
Phil Challis said, “It is sheer incompetence on the part of the Tory executive that resulted in such a shambles.” He added, “Dog poo littering our communities is horrible, and the council needs to do everything in its power to make it easy for dog owners to take responsibility for cleaning up after their pets. Removing all the dog bins could result in a huge increase in dog fouling.
“The public don’t want dog mess in their parks and on pavements. Many residents have told me that they are very unhappy that dog poo can be put in normal litter bins. These bins don’t have lids or liners, and people are worried about the smell, the lack of hygiene and the risk of catching toxacariasis. I call on the Tory executive to re-instate the dog bins immediately, especially as the public have made it very clear they want the bins brought back.”