Thursday, 25 July 2013

When Leicestershire County Council needs to save so much what is the excuse for needless waste?

Leicestershire County Council has got to save upwards of £100 million pounds over the coming years.

To make those savings we will see efficiency improvements, new charges, increases to council tax and not least cuts to services.

We all appreciate it's tough times right now which it makes it all the more galling when we see money being wasted.

Which turns me to this weeks Coalville Times.

Leicestershire County Council, as they are obliged to, have published and presumably paid for getting on towards two full pages of Public Notices about temporary traffic orders (and the like) in this weeks newspaper.

All well and good so far...

Coalville Times - 26 July
The only problem is of the 12 notices published only 1 of them (and that is somewhat tenuous) is for the area covered by the Coalville Times!

This week the Coalville Times has Public Notices covering Oadby, Enderby, Market Harborough and Wanlip... to name but a few!

Now I fully appreciate that the County Council are obliged to publish notification of traffic orders, and so on, but surely the first rule is that they should be published in a newspaper relevant to the area where the order is being made?

My question is how much did these pointless Public Notices cost? and, if the Coalville Times is full of irrelevant notices how much is being wasted, perhaps weekly, in publications across the county?

The Conservative administration at County Hall is rightly setting an agenda seeking to improve efficiency.

I shall be asking in what world could errors like this be seen as efficient or cost effective, or is it a matter of the Tory Cabinet taking their eye off the ball?

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Church Lane, Whitwick - Speed Cushions

When I was campaigning for election to the County Council earlier this year without a doubt the single issue which most people wanted to tell me about was speed cushions along Church Lane in Whitwick.

Some of you thought that traffic calming along Thornborough Road was a good idea, but universally (at least in the comments made to me) no one could see the benefit of introducing cushions to Church Lane.

Indeed many local people expressed to me the view that not only was the Church Lane traffic calming inconvenient it actually increased the danger due to double parking along the street.

I have asked Leicestershire County Council officers to look at whether, in their opinion, speed cushions along Church Lane are a good idea but I also want to ask your views.

So, if you have an opinion about speed cushions along Church Lane then please leave a comment. Whatever your view it will be very useful in discussions with the County Council.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Improvements to footpath - Meadow Lane to St Bernard's Road, Whitwick

I am delighted to have given my consent this afternoon for improvements to the footpath which runs between Meadow Lane and St Bernard's Road, Whitwick.

Plans had been proposed to improve the existing footpath from the alleyway at St Bernard's Road up to and including the Bridleway to Meadow Lane.     

The improvements will involve improving drainage and providing a 3.0m wide surfaced path using a recycled pathway material.

The existing access barriers will also be replaced like for like at the alleyway in addition to existing barriers being retained where the footpath meets the Bridleway.

If all goes according to plan the improvements will be carried out later this summer.


Thursday, 11 July 2013

Mr Bridgen's at it again...

As the row over MP's pay rumbles on, our local MP (and go to man when you're looking for an outrageous quote) Andrew Bridgen has once again hit the headlines.

When asked about a proposed £6,000 pay rise for MPs on BBC Radio 4's 'World at One' programme Mr Bridgen directly compared his role with that of a Primary School Headteacher:

'MPs are paid about the same as a junior school headmistress or headmaster. I've got lots and lots of those in my constituency, there is only one MP. I can't think of another job where there's only 650 of those roles in the whole of Great Britain that are paid on this sort of level. We expect that we are not going to earn the money that we could have earned in the private sector but there has to be some balance in there. To continue to attract people with dependents on a salary of £65,000 - the right sort of people - I think Parliament is going to struggle.'*

Now, Mr Bridgen is absolutely right there is only one MP in this constituency, and he is right that there are many more headteachers (although many are paid considerably less than £65,000 a year), but to my mind that is where the astuteness of his observations end.

As a governor, as an employee and as a husband I have come to know something of the role of a Headteacher.

I understand that Headteachers often have to manage budgets into the millions.

They are responsible, in many cases, for 50 or more staff (and all of the human resources issues that entails).

They have to be property managers, marketing experts and, all too often, caseworkers.

Most importantly they have to do all of that (and much more) whilst being responsible for the welfare and education of hundreds of children.

And, incidentally, most of them do their role exclusively - they don't have the time to hold down a second job!

Now, not for one second am I suggesting the role of an MP is not vitally important, it is, and MP's should be paid well - around £66,000 seems a suitable sort of figure to me.

But aside from the quantative aspect I cannot see for one second how the role of a backbench MP is substantially more demanding (and essentially deserving of higher pay) than that of a Headteacher, or other similar professional.

So here is a suggestion for Mr Bridgen.

Instead of trying to make a case that MP's are somehow badly done by, how about trying to emulate the dedication, professionalism and indefatigability of our many Headteachers here in North West Leicestershire?

I am sure your constituents would reward you for it.


Burglaries in Thringstone and Coleorton

Do you know this man?
Police have released CCTV images of a man they believe could have information about two burglaries which took place on the same day.

The first incident happened between 9am and 9pm on Friday, June 14 at a premises in Loughborough Road, Coleorton. Access was gained to the property and a quantity of cash was taken.

Officers are looking into the possibility this incident is linked to another burglary which happened at a premises in Loughborough Road, Thringstone. This incident happened between 4.50pm and 2.10pm when access was gained to the premises and again, cash was taken.

Detective Constable Melanie Fisher, who is investigating the incidents said: “Please take a moment to look at this image and see if you recognise the person in it. We believe he could have information which will help with our enquiry. I would ask anyone who thinks they know him, or if it is you, to contact the police as soon as possible.”

Anyone with information is asked to call DC 4433 Melanie Fisher on 101 and follow the instructions to leave a message for an officer. When prompted key in his identification number 4433. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers, which is free and anonymous, on 0800 555 111.

Please note, some mobile phone providers may charge for the call to Crimestoppers

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Do you have a fantastic neighbour?

Why not enter them into the Leicester Mercury Good Neighbour Competition?

(Simply print out the entry form below.)

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Thringstone Scarecrow Festival 2013

What a glorious day to celebrate what a wonderful community Thringstone is

Here's just a few photographs which show some of the hard work which went into making our 2013 Scarecrow Festival such a success: