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Letter to Papers about Moss

I have sent the following letter to the Editor of the Redditch Standard regarding the ever-growing issue of mossy pavements in Church Hill. This is an issue that needs addressing, though I accept people have mixed feelings about it. Ideally, residents would go out and clear moss on the pavements outside their homes, but some will lack the tools and many will feel it is not their job and they pay taxes for such a thing. When the moss grows so thick and problematic someone ends up breaking their leg on it we know it’s time for something to be done. That’s why I took action one Saturday to help residents in Church Hill, and all Labour have done is criticise and complain whilst doing nothing about it.

Dear Editor,

When a resident in Church Hill contacted me about mossy pavements I was keen to help, especially as they had broken their leg after slipping on it.

I had mixed feelings when I saw a Redditch Borough Council officer came out to spray the moss. It’s great the Council finally started to recognise the problem but spraying it doesn’t clear it especially when it’s been there for so long and grown so thick.

I raised the topic at the April PACT meeting in Church Hill, initially to three empty chairs as none of the current Labour Councillors bothered to turn up; the chair informed us they were too busy campaigning. However, Councillor Witherspoon did arrive towards the end, so I got to repeat myself.

The response was less than satisfactory, sadly. Councillor Witherspoon thought that residents should clear it themselves using vinegar and detergent and pointed out that clearing the moss in Church Hill would mean they’d have to clear it in all of Redditch. I rather thought that was the point of paying Council Taxes.

I decided to take up Councillor Witherspoon’s suggestion, and duly arrived with a Conservative social action team to get stuck in using only the kind of tools residents would be likely to get access to. We set to work, but it would not shift, and thereby proving my point that surely residents cannot be expected to do this themselves. A little moss, sure. A lot, no chance.

But now the Labour council tries to pass the buck to the County Council saying pavements aren’t their responsibility. If this is true, why was someone from the Borough out spraying the moss then? Why do they have a contract from the County to keep pavements clean and clear? It’s precisely to avoid pavements getting so badly damaged they need resurfacing, which is what has happened here.  Even so, the County Councillor for the area for 4 years was one Joe Baker for the Labour Party who failed to act.

Yet again Labour have dithered on this issue and now resort to social media lies, distortion and nastiness. Meanwhile the Conservatives are getting on with the job of helping people and improving our areas.

Kind regards,

 

Mike Rouse

Conservative Party Candidate for Church Hill

Going forwards I will try to copy these letters to my website more, in full and before they are printed. This is so you can read the letter before parts of it get cut out by editors.

Frequently Asked Questions/Points Made

Q1: Isn’t it the County Council’s job?

The County Council only get involved when the pavements need resurfacing. Until then it’s the job of the Borough Council (the more local of the two councils) to keep an eye on the pavements to make sure they are clean, clear and safe.  The Borough Council does this by spraying the moss every know and then to kill it off, but they haven’t done enough of this in certain areas of Church Hill.

Q2: People should clear the moss themselves

In ideal world people would do this. We would have community action days where neighbours join together to clean and clear their street. We can have tea and cake too. But unfortunately we don’t live in an ideal world. We live in a world where people pay taxes and believe this affords them some level of service in return, such as having their bins emptied. Some people suggest this should also include clearing the moss, and that’s where things get difficult. I agree that when the problem is small perhaps it isn’t too much to expect residents to give the path a little sweep, but when the moss grows so thick there’s a point where we have to say it’s not reasonable to expect this. The moss problems here in Church Hill passed that point a long time ago in some areas.

Q3: You should focus on [insert issue here] instead

Sometimes I wonder if social media is encouraging us to have a very black and white view of the world. As a local councillor it would be my job, if elected, to look at many things and manage many different competing priorities. One day it might be the moss, the next day it might be the bins. Who knows. Issues are not something that have to be dealt with one after another. It’s possible to multitask and manage many competing issues together.

Q4: Tory Cuts

This usually comes in the form of “you wouldn’t need to do [this] if it wasn’t for Tory cuts to council budgets in the first place”. This is an argument deployed by the Labour left alarmingly often. It’s a weak one because it pushes away responsibility for pretty much everything and suggests we could do everything if only we had more money from the taxpayer to spend. Every council has to contend with a budget – just like every household and every business does. It’s called living within your means.  The Borough Council does send people to spray the moss, so obviously they are spending money on it already. Would one more visit at the right time of year be too much to ask?

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Mike Rouse

The Conservative councillor for Church Hill (Redditch) who ran at a safe Labour seat at the first time of standing and took it by a single vote.

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