Leisure transfer moves forward to Full Council vote

As reported in today’s Redditch Standard, the transfer of some parts of leisure services in the town are proposed to be moved to a company that the council will set up. The plans are subject to the vote of Full Council, but with the Conservatives and Labour both supporting the plans at a previous committee meeting the process is very likely to go ahead.

The assets that are included in the proposals include the Forge Mill Needle Museum and Bordesley Abbey Visitors Centre, the Palace Theatre, Pitcheroak Golf Course and the community centres in Winyates Green, on Windmill Drive, in Oakenshaw and in Batchley. 

There are many reasons for the transfer, including savings to the council. It is also about building a leisure service that is better able to respond to the needs of its customers. 

At the previous committee meeting (Executive Committee) the Labour delegates tried to put forward an amendment to allow a competition to run for the naming of the new company. With the company planned for starting-out on 1 October ahead of a full go-live date of 1 December there just isn’t enough time to run a proper and fair competition – to do anything less than a proper job of it would be a disservice. I’m a little perplexed why the Labour group didn’t include this in the original plans when they were in control for six years?

It remains to be seen whether or not Labour will attempt to bring the same amendment at Full Council. 

Updated Advice on Bin Collections from the Council – Tue 4th Sept 2018

Church Hill Redditch: Vote for Mike Rouse

The following has just been issued as a press release from Redditch Borough Council. The bit that affects Church Hill residents is that this Friday’s green bin collection should be back to normal, and next week’s grey bin will also be back to normal by then too. I will keep you all updated if this changes through my Facebook Page.

Advice on waste collection services in Redditch issued today (Tuesday 4th September).

The service is approximately 1 day behind so in order to catch up we have put a plan in place to get collections back to normal by next week.

If your bin is usually collected on a Tuesday, please leave your bin out on Wednesday.

If your bin is usually collected on a Wednesday, please DO NOT put your bin out this week and we will return to collect double the amount on your next green bin collection date. Extra recycling should preferably be put in cardboard boxes and left at the side of the bin for collection.

Green bin collections will run as normal this week for residents whose bins are usually collected on Thursday and Friday.

Next week’s grey bin collections should run as normal.

Cllr Brandon Clayton, whose portfolio covers Environmental Services, said: 

“After an incredible series of unforeseen issues last week, from staff sickness to vehicle breakdowns, our teams have worked very hard to catch up so that now we are only a day behind where we should be.

“Unfortunately with grey bin collections hanging over from last week, we have had to prioritise collecting these over collecting all of the recycling rounds. Whilst we are sorry that this will affect our residents whose bins are normally collected on a Wednesday, we have agreed that the teams will collect any extra recycling left out on their next recycling collection day.

“We’re very sorry if you have been affected by the issues in any way but if all goes to plan we should be back on track for next week’s collections.

“We can then move forward, assess the situation and put in place long-term plans to ensure that the service is stable for the future, reducing the risk of a repeat occurrence.”


Bin Collection Disruption in Redditch: Why and How Long?

Church Hill Redditch: Vote for Mike Rouse

As the new administration on Redditch Borough Council we have been hard at work trying to bring financial balance to the books. One area that has massively overspent in the last year is around refuse collection and in particular the use of agency staff, which was only intended to plug gaps around sickness and holiday leave. The overspend was in the region of £120,000, and as we got the financial data for the current year it became apparent this overspend was continuing.

As the new administration on Redditch Borough Council we have been hard at work trying to bring financial balance to the books. One area that has massively overspent in the last year is around refuse collection and in particular the use of agency staff, which was only intended to plug gaps around sickness and holiday leave. The overspend was in the region of £120,000, and as we got the financial data for the current year it became apparent this overspend was continuing.

So the council is trying to change how things work. Gone is the spending on agency workers. Some of the regular agency workers have now been taken on to full-time contracts with the council, giving them a bit more job security and helping the council to control costs. 

How long will disruption continue?

Unfortunately, the answer to this isn’t straightforward. The council needs to change the working practices of the staff  – and apply it across two councils owing to our service being shared with Bromsgrove. This involves proper processes and consultations with staff, unions and other partners.  The sooner everyone can agree to the changes the sooner the disruption can end. 

This could mean disruption continues for weeks yet. Although the bins will all be emptied, they might not be emptied on the intended day (which is Friday in Church Hill). Any missed collections are prioritised for the next working day – Tuesday in the case of Church Hill as the service only runs from Tuesday to Friday. Residents are advised to leave their bin out until Tuesday, making sure it is kerbside by 7AM on Tuesday ready for collection.

Get updates and alerts about issues in Church Hill

I have set up a ‘virtual Councillor’ chatbot on Facebook. This can provide you with reminders and alerts about things that affect Church Hill residents. It can also help you with a range of questions and issues. 

  • Click here to subscribe to local alerts and broadcasts about Church Hill

  • Our Town Hall wouldn’t make a good block of flats

    At our last Executive Committee meeting (Tuesday 14 August 2018) the Conservative-led administration on Redditch Borough Council put forward changes to the plans around the regeneration of Redditch town centre. There are two major changes:

    1. The idea of building a £12m new Town Hall at the back of Smallwood Hospital is over – there will be no ‘office district’ in this location as there is no longer evidence to support it.
    2. The idea of turning our Town Hall into flats is taken off the table – instead we will look to converting the Town Hall into the central ‘public services hub’ that the £12m project above was going to address. It will be significantly cheaper to host the ‘hub’ in an existing building and the Town Hall is massive and very suitable to the task.

    I voted in favour of these plans. This means there is no realistic prospect of the Town Hall being turned into flats. You only have to look at Threadneedle House next door and the array of ‘To Let’ signs on the side of the building to see the demand for housing in this location is very low right now.

    Signs on the side of Threadneedle House in Redditch

    I sincerely hope the market picks up for the properties in Threadneedle House. The apartments were done to a high standard and deserve to be loved as homes for people. The last thing they need is competition from another 100+ flats in the building right next door.

    What’s the Redditch Conservative Plan for Housing in the Town Centre?

    It’s simple: we will do our bit to unlock the housing market in Redditch by building more council houses on more sites, giving Redditch people an opportunity to live in a safe, quality and affordable place they can call home.

    We have already stated that we are going to build a lot of council homes. Exactly how many and where is going to be revealed in due course and according to the proper democratic process, but it won’t be difficult to build more than Labour did in the 6 years they ran council. That’s because the Labour-run council built zero council homes in their time. Not one. 

    So the next time you hear Labour in Redditch bang on about building homes for all the homeless people in the town, and the families and the doctors and nurses who need them – just remember, they didn’t build a single one in six years.

    When it comes to residential accommodation in our town centre we believe the best answer is build homes where people want to live, not to convert a 1980s Town Hall into a block of flats and ‘shove’ people into them, killing off our Palace Theatre in the process. This means building desirable properties in desirable locations, and it means working with partners to ensure people have the one thing socialists hate: freedom to choose. 

    A good news update for residents about moss and pavement surface issues in Jersey Close

    Earlier this year I got quite a bit of stick from Labour over moss on the pavements around Jersey Close. They seemed to think I was making a legal argument; I wasn’t. It was a moral argument in representation of a resident who slipped on the moss and broke his ankle. More should be done, I argued. Continue reading “A good news update for residents about moss and pavement surface issues in Jersey Close”

    Update for residents following my talk with Tracey Onslow (Deputy PCC) about anti-social behaviour issues in Church Hill

    Today I attended Rachel Maclean’s coffee morning tour in Matchborough and was delighted to see residents from Church Hill had made the effort to come over for a chat about issues that are affecting them at the moment.

    One of the other reason I was keen to attend this event was to grab some time with Tracey Onslow, the Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner. I wanted to talk about the anti-social behaviour issues in Church Hill where we have issues with young people misbehaving in the bus road. I also saw our PCSOs at the coffee morning so was able to have a chat with them about things too.

    • Quick Aside: Bicycles are now banned from Willow Trees Community Centre owing to behaviour and damage.

    I have been working closely with local groups such as PACT, Church Hill Big Local and the YMCA.  I’ve also been talking with members of the community who have been brilliant around all of this.

    There are a number of things we can look at and Tracey had some good suggestions that I am going to follow-up. I don’t want to go into the specific details just yet as they might not come to anything and I wouldn’t want to raise false hope. I will just say they involve certain pots of money to fund certain things. We might not even be fully eligible to apply, but I’ve got to try to see what’s possible.

    • In the meantime I would urge anyone with concerns about anti-social behaviour in the bus road to please call 101 and log the incident. You can also log certain things online at https://www.westmercia.police.uk/report
    • If you would like to talk to me about the issues you can email me in my capacity as a local Councillor on [email protected] – but remember, as a Councillor I cannot come in and wave a magic wand to solve problems immediately, but I will always be happy to chat and see how I can help you.