Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Landfill Tax Credits Community Grants - Does Hyndburn miss out on Whinney Hill landfill taxes?

All waste disposal companies are charged landfill taxes for sending residual waste to Whinney Hill. This includes other local authorities who have no landfill capacity within their boundary.

As long as the group is within 10 miles of a site (which it will be) the group could apply, however, there are two types of available funds; the Main Grants which is up to £40,000 and Small Grants which is up to £15,000, both funds do not cover all of the cost of a scheme so there will be a need for match funding

I have highlighted the link to their website where there is under "Quick Links" a guidance note to both types of grant which seems very comprehensive, please have a read of them and let me know if you have any questions.

http://lancsenvfund.org.uk/component/option,com_frontpage/Itemid,1/

The next deadline for applications is 3rd October and then early in January 2012.
The receipts of which go towards funding community grants which I have listed below for Hyndburn.

Project Title Grant Offer made
£15,000 - Saheli Community Garden, Accrington
£30,000 - Lowerfold Naturalised Play Project (phase 2), Gt Harwood
£30,000 - The Hollow Play Area, Huncoat
£30,000 - The Woodlands - Wheels for All - Clayton Le Moors
£14,328 - Foxhill Bank, Oswaldtwistle, Biodiversity project
£18,000 - Woodnook Vale/Priestly Clough Improvements, Accrington
£30,000 - Hyndburn Towpath Improvements Leeds Liverpool Canal
£18,038 - Temple Sensory Garden-Mercer Park, Clayton Le Moors

Monday, 22 August 2011

HMR decision put back

I wrote recently to Grant Shapps making the point that his criteria of 50% or less occupancy in a terrace block would qualify around 12 terraced blocks in Accrington's HMR areas.

That the Council, forced to 50% match fund could only afford to bid for 2 or 3 blocks for demolition or refurbishment leaving some 9 blocks qualifying but being neglected. Some £1m in total from the Council.

HMR money is being unfairly distributed. The Merseyside's and Hull also bidding for the £30m government fund are unitary authorities with 50x the budget of Hyndburn Council.

Lancashire County Council is contributing nothing.

Housing in low demand under Mr Shapps is in chaos. The letter promises funds via the New Homes Bonus, an oft made promise by the Mr Shapps. Hyndburn's allocation was just £63,000 whilst leafy shires down south (who don't need the money) received in excess of £1.5m or more.

£63k might buy one house at current prices.

Double click to enlarge

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Stop the closure of Great Harwood Recycling Centre

I have been opposed to the closure of Great Harwood recycling centre and I think many of the arguments are self evident. Langho closed some years ago and Ribble valley residents were told they only had to travel to Great Harwood.

Whinney Hill, the next nearest is along Whalley Road, the busiest road in the Borough which is frequently congested. This alone will deter people. The cost will be passed on in more fly tipping and loss of recyclables. More rubbish which could be recycled will go to landfill. Great Harwood serves 3 northern towns of the borough and services are contracting towards Accrington.

Keith Ashworth however has gone one further by trying to put numbers to some of these arguments and I thought I'd publish them for debate.
I am informed that a decision to close Great Harwood Household Waste Recycling Centre was taken in February 2011 as part of the County Council's pledge to reduce costs. The review period of this decision closes at 5pm on Friday the 30th September when comments will be considered.
The claim was made that the 3,350 tons of waste could be collected by the district council by doorstep collections.
If all vehicles carried 50 kg of waste it would require 67,000 journeys to the Altham site. Fuel costs for the residents would be an additional £167,500. (50p per mile for a 5 mile journey.)
The point was made that all fly tipping was done exclusively by businesses who had to pay for disposal, and so this would not be increased by closure of the site.
The conclusion is that there would be no increased cost to the district councils as a result of fly tipping. I seriously question this assumption. If fly tipping became more widespread, it would result in a considerable increase in council costs in collecting the waste, and none would be sorted and recycled.
The replacement of transport by Skips, by in excess of 67 thousand journeys by private car, (it is not possible to put 50 Kg of branches in a car), would further damage the environment, cause considerable traffic congestion on an already very congested road, and be a consideration of the willingness of conscientious residents to spend the greatly increased time needed for the disposal.
I consider the closure would reduce the cost to Lancashire County Council, in exchange for a considerable greater cost to the District Council, the residents, and business.

Its a strong argument. I do not think there is any merit in County's argument that this can be collected by doorstep collections. They are tiny boxes. Great Harwood recycling centre handles bulky household waste and large volumes of wood, metal, plastics and cardboard. All pre-separated.

My correspondence bag is filling up with people probing for a real answer, a justifiable answer. Here is one such letter.
Dear Mr. Jones,
I write to register my concern and objection to the proposed closure of the Great Harwood Household Waste Recycling Centre.

The centre has provided Great Harwood with a facility which has benefited the entire community and been an important factor since it opened in the regeneration and “tidying up” of a town having to make the transition over the years from its industrial past with factory closures etc. to the present time of trying to attract new industry and enterprise in the shadow of its larger neighbour Accrington.

Over these years the recycling options have increased giving the people of Great Harwood and district the possibility to recycle so much more than appears to be the case in some surrounding districts/ authorities. In fact it is one of the best I've seen and I note that at present 71% of the rubbish collected at the facility is recycled, a performance that must be the envy of some of those others. It also provides recycling for items not accepted by bin collection so why close it, it doesn't make sense. In fact this I feel has been a factor in the “tidying up” I mentioned earlier. People with awkward items now take those to this facility rather than leaving them lying around often outside properties or in back lanes or fly tipping. Its closure will reverse this process, particularly fly tipping which, when it happens on the lay-bys on Blackburn Old Road, gives a very bad impression to those visitors coming into Great Harwood.

Responsible citizens may be prepared to make the effort to journey with increased fuel usage to another facility but the irresponsible will revert to fly tipping and at what cost to clear up?

The alternative at Altham has a steep access road, difficult in winter, never mind also having to tolerate the appalling noxious fumes eminating from the landfill there! I 'm constantly amazed how the nearby residents are able to tolerate it and I personally have to close car windows and switch off its air conditioning when passing along the A680 Whalley Road or the M65 when the wind is coming from the direction of the landfill! Are these fumes really within guideline limits? If Great Harwood is closed I would rather travel to Clitheroe than be forced to breathe the noxious fumes at Altham.

Has the short term saving involved been weighed against this long term cost of clean up. Is it not short sighted to sacrifice the ongoing benefit this facility has given Great Harwood at the altar of budget cuts?

Why when we are being constantly told of the priority which needs to be given to recycle to meet our commitment to E.U. targets and to reduce the amount of waste going into landfill are we closing such a busy successful facility valued so much by Great Harwood residents. Councillors and M.P.s should be doing what they can to protect it.
This is simply a cost cutting exercise.



Monday, 8 August 2011

Todmorden Curve - The latest from LCC

Dear Mr Jones

I write further to your e-mail to Chris Anslow dated 24 June 2011 and apologise for the delay in replying.

It is certainly very good to see the level of support the Minister of State for Transport is giving to the Todmorden Curve project. As you will be aware, the bid into the Regional Growth Fund has been submitted and we await the Government's response. In the meantime, work is continuing to develop the full rail industry business case. This work should be completed by the autumn.

No.12 Bus to Baxenden from Spring Hill via Woodnook

Dear Mr Jones - NO.12 BUS ACCRINGTON

I write further to your e-mail to Chris Anslow dated 24 June 2011 and apologise for the delay in replying.

With regard to your enquiry concerning Service 12, Spring Hill-Accrington-Baxenden, you will be aware that as a result of the recent local government finance settlement and existing budgetary pressures, the County Council identified the need to make savings of around a quarter of its direct annual expenditure. As part of this process, the County Council identified a number of subsidised bus services for withdrawal that did not meet the Authority's financial criteria.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Alarming figures on the quality of residential elderly provision say Action on Elder Abuse

Thousands of care homes across England do not have a registered manager, and hundreds have significant breaches of standards which place thousands of older people at risk of poor care and worse, according to new information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Figures obtained by Action on Elder Abuse (see below) show that, at the start of July, more than 3,000 active care homes had conditions placed upon them by the Regulator requiring them to have a registered manager in place, (the person legally responsible and legally accountable for every aspect of running the home), with 16% of them waiting for CQC clearance. And, of equal concern, all four of the primary residential care providers had large numbers of homes with significant breaches of standards – Four Seasons 32% of all homes, BUPA 26% of all homes, Southern Cross 24% of all homes, and Barchester 17% of all homes.

Neighbours From Hell in Britain (NFHiB)

One of the common complaints I receive is in regard to neighbours from hell or noisey or anti-social neighbours. Predominently from the private rented sector.

As a Councillor I sought to introduce on the spot fines for noise nuisance but the cost at the time was prohibitive. It requires extra staff 24/7. More than a small District authority can afford particularly now with 27% cuts. Of course a lot more can be done and there is a wide ranging debate on current law, policing and partnership working with local authorities
However advice is at hand via the internet.

Neighbours From Hell in Britain (NFHiB) - Positively Managing Negative Neighbours.

Are you suffering or suffered in the past with a nuisance neighbour, noisy neighbour, harassment, bullying, boundary problems, anti-social behaviour or any form of unwanted neighbour attention or interference? Neighbours From Hell in Britain (NFHiB) can help you to resolve neighbour problems or any issues with neighbours within many different situations, there's no need to be or feel alone.

Monday, 1 August 2011

The OBSERVER: Rogue landlords flourish as would-be buyers forced to rent

Shelter warns that many disreputable landlords are taking advantage of the major changes sweeping the property market. The dearth of mortgages has forced many people into poor housing.

Jamie Doward and Vicus Burger from the The Observer, Sat 30 Jul 201

Slum landlords of the type that enjoyed a boom in the 1980s are again doing brisk business because of major changes sweeping the property market, say housing experts.

Millions of people are being priced out of buying a property as mortgage availability becomes scarce and they struggle to raise a deposit. Latest figures suggest mortgage lending is now a third of what it was at the height of the boom in 2007.

A dearth of social housing, which is under acute pressure as local authority budgets are cut, is also contributing to a lack of affordable accommodation. An increasing number of people have no option but to rent, creating intense competition in the private rental market.

There are now 3.4 million households living in the private rented sector in England, a 40% rise over the past five years and the biggest increase on record, according to new analysis by Shelter. The trend has alarmed the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) whose officers are charged with ensuring the nation's housing stock meets adequate standards.

Tory led Government policies mean families face lack of play facilities & childcare provision over the holidays

As the school year ends the Tory led Government policies have meant that families will face a lack of play facilities and childcare provision over the holidays as the cuts begin to bite.

Recent research by the national childcare charity Daycare Trust has shown that 62% of local authorities in England have cut their budgets for childcare and play services since last year; and almost half are offering a decreased level of holiday childcare provision.

These cuts are attributed to cuts in grants for childcare and youth services from central Government. According to figures from the House of Commons Library, Lancashire County Council has received 24.2% less this year than it was allocated in 2010, equal to £50 per child.

The summer holidays can always present a challenge to parents, whether it’s finding extra childcare if you’re working or finding affordable activities to entertain the kids if you’re not.