Redditch Conservatives have released their election campaign video “Unlock Redditch”, a short collection of views from supporters and voters on the situation here in Redditch and what the Conservatives are going to do to release the full potential of our town.
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.
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.
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?
3 Good Reasons to Vote for Mike Rouse
- I will find a way to do something about the old doctor’s surgery on Tanhouse Lane. I have already had early discussions to understand the problems in more details and I am confident there is a solution to be had – but I need to become your local Councillor first.
- I will run coding clubs in the local community in partnership with local groups. This will allow adults and young people to learn how to become software developers and apply for good jobs in the IT industry. I will run these classes myself as an experienced software engineer who wants to share my expertise to help people.
- I will work hard to ensure Church Hill is clean, green and safe. That means I’ll tackle issues around trees, and I’ll work hard across the board to help move other issues forward, such as anti-social behaviour. I can’t claim to solve these problems on my own, but I can be a strong voice for the community.
I lived for 5 years in Donnington Close in Church Hill South. I got married and brought my two daughters home to Church Hill. I grew up in an estate like it. It feels like home, and I want to be a strong voice in the council chamber to make Church Hill the best it can be.
Tell me your details so we don’t keep knocking your door to remind you.
More Details about Voting by Post
You can vote by post, which is when you send your vote to the council in the post so that it arrives by the close of polls (10pm) on Thursday 3rd May 2018. However, I strongly advise you to return your ballots as soon as possible.
If election day (Thursday 3rd May) is looming then bear in mind the time it takes for the Royal Mail to deliver your ballot. Do they have enough time? If not you might be best dropping your postal vote into a polling station on the day. You can do this, it’s fine. Just take it along to any polling station in Church Hill.
Deadline to get your postal vote registration sorted (5pm on Wednesday 18 April 2018)
Postal voting: a step by step guide
Look out for the white envelope with purple edges that is usually sent out two weeks before polling day. Please take great care with the contents. If you lose or destroy them you will need to contact the council immediately.
Open the outer envelope. Inside the outer envelope there will be:
- One Return Envelope marked ‘B’
- A single document of instructions explaining how to complete your paperwork
- Ballot Paper Envelope marked ‘A’, which contains your ballot paper(s), with a security statement attached to it
Take great care not to mix up your documents with anyone else’s in the house.
You can detach the instructions that explain how to complete your paperwork, but do not detach the security statement.
On the security statement, using black pen write your date of birth in the boxes and sign your signature in the boxed area. Take care to use your usual signature. If your signature or date of birth varies from the records you supplied to the council previously, your vote will be rejected. This is just an anti-fraud security measure to protect against abuse of the postal voting system.
In a private place, mark your ballot paper with a clear ‘X’ in the box next to my name – mine is the one with the Conservative Party logo next to it.
When completed, fold the ballot paper and slip it into the pocket of the Ballot Paper Envelope marked ‘A’. Remove the self seal strip from the envelope flap where shown and fold over to seal. Remember, do not detach the security statement.
Place the Ballot Paper Envelope marked ‘A’ and the attached security statement into the Return Envelope marked ‘B’.
Return without delay. The postage is pre-paid. Make sure you send it back so that it arrives by close of poll, which is 10pm on election day. If it arrives later than this your vote won’t be counted!
A Brief Bit of Background
The old doctor’s surgery on Tanhouse Lane served the community for a number of years, but these services have since moved into the new Church Hill Centre, quite literally over the road.
The old premises still belongs to a consortium of GPs, but the land it sits on is owned by someone else who charges a rent to the consortium. There is a covenant on this land requiring it to be used for healthcare purposes, but this can be lifted by the owners if they are willing.
Since the services moved over the road the vacated building has fallen into a poor overall state. It has become a magnet for anti-social behaviour. The owners of the property have tried their best to protect the building from damage and break-ins, but there is only so much they can do. Certainly, if elected I would begin working with them immediately to investigate what security improvements we could make.
What does the community want?
If I am elected I pledge to take forward whatever the community wants to happen in their area, to the best of my ability. I ask people to remember this is private property on private land, so we need to be careful how we approach matters, but it is still important for the community to make its voice heard, which is something I believe the owners would like to hear anyway.
But let’s be clear: this is a hugely complex issue, and it will require a lot of time, effort and energy from some very smart people to figure things out. Change will not come overnight, but if enough of us want it, change will happen.
You can be a part of the change. Have your say. I have prepared a short survey on the issue, below, which you can use to share your ideas and thoughts on this issue.
Survey about the old doctor’s surgery on Tanhouse Lane
By submitting a suggestion in the box above you give me permission to email you, including emails to keep you informed about news, events and political life in Church Hill and Redditch as a whole. Your email address will be processed and stored by Redditch County Conservative Association and the Conservative Party and may be used by both organisations to communicate with you. Your data will not be shared with any third parties outside of the Conservative Party. You can withdraw your consent to receiving our emails at any time. This website is promoted by Jane Potter on behalf of Mike Rouse, both at Faraday Business Centre, Windsor Road, Redditch B97 6DJ.
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On 9 March 2017, the Chancellor of the Exchequer came up to Birmingham. It was the day after the Spring 2017 Budget. He announced, amongst many other things, a package of £17.5m that the Conservaative government is pumping into the Midlands region through the LEPs (Local Enterprise Partnerships).
Redditch was promised £5m of this money to support redvelopment of its town centre.
All the Labour-led council needed to do is submit a business case. They haven’t done this yet and currently plan to do it ‘some time before the end of 2018‘.
Here’s a timer showing how long the Labour-run council has been sat on the promised £5m our town desperately needs.
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Business cases are complex documents, we accept that. But the Council’s plans have already been given an ‘A Rating’, so why haven’t they submitted the paperwork yet?
The Labour-led council dithered for 10 years over our town’s swimming pool. When the Conservatives took control of the council we delivered it in 2. They dither, we deliver.
Don’t believe us? Take a look at the video below, which was put together by the Town Centre Partnership as part of Redditch’s failed bid to become a ‘Portias Pilot’ town SIX years ago. Some of the things said in this video are excellent, especially from the Mayor at the time, Anita Clayton, who talks about a cafe culture on Church Green. The Labour-led council are only just starting to open up to this idea six years later. Some of the shops shown in this video as closed SIX YEARS AGO are now closed AGAIN (or still closed) six years later!
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With your support on Thursday 3rd May we can start to #UnlockRedditch and release our town’s full potential.
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In February 2018, Redditch Borough Council published a discussion paper by Brendan Nevin regarding the Redditch economy. His job was to be an independent voice on where Redditch is right now, and what it needs to do going forwards to keep up with the rest of the region.
It’s not easy to find as it is well-buried on the Redditch council website, but fear not: we have gone through Nevin’s paper and extracted key parts that underline our argument that we need to #UnlockRedditch and unleash its full potential if we are to be an economic hub that contributes to the wider West Midlands powerhouse.
We’ve highlighted and screen-grabbed the key parts, so you’ll want to make sure you’ve got images enabled. Continue reading The Brendan Nevin Report underlines the urgent need to #UnlockRedditch
I was delighted to be joined on the campaign trail by Rachel Maclean MP who joined our Saturday Action Team along with borough councillors and Conservative supporters to deliver leaflets and knock doors around Jersey Close in Church Hill North.
We spoke to many residents in the closes around this area, including one lovely gentleman who raised the issue of the mess left by the tree-thinning exercise on Paper Mill Drive. However, what came up time and again was the issue of the moss on the pavements around there. In some places it’s hard to see where the grass ends and the pavement begins because it’s that thick.
I was quite surprised to see the pavements so poorly cared for in this area. It’s the responsibility of Redditch Borough Council to clean these walkways. Had any of the Labour councillors for the area (of which there are 3) just walked around and knocked on some doors they would have seen the issue for themselves as we did.
I have written to Councillors and I am working closely with colleagues to get this matter resolved and get the pavements cleaned. I have asked colleagues to look closely at the areas around the school as we don’t want kids slipping near there on the way to school.
We also discussed our #UnlockRedditch campaign with local residents. Every person we spoke to about this issue agreed with us – it’s time to revitalise Redditch town centre. If elected, and if the Conservatives take control of the council away from Labour in May that’s just what we will do.
I am sorry if I didn’t get to talk with you on Saturday. Perhaps you were out, or perhaps we didn’t reach your house before we had to call it a day. We’ll be back and I will be paying close attention to the issues that are affecting your area. If you have any questions or would like to raise an issue I can be reached by email on [email protected] or on Facebook by clicking here: https://www.facebook.com/vote4rouse
Happy New Year! I hope you had a good Christmas break. I know you have been aching to get to 2018 so you can vote in the local elections in May, so I’ll get straight down to business 🙂
Today I did a walkabout through Church Hill to talk to residents, look for problems and generally see what is happening around the local area. I was joined by Juliet Brunner who is a councillor on Redditch Borough Council (she leads the group there too), but also a County Councillor on Worcestershire County Council. A very busy woman! I took the opportunity to ask Juliet about the street lights in the ward that people have been talking to me about.
We also took a look at the tree works going on at the bottom of Donnington Close. I haven’t received any complaints about these works, but if there are any problems residents can contact me via [email protected] and I will look into them.
Finally, we walked through the centre and out up to Jersey Close where residents are concerned about ‘rat running’ through the area.
You can use the image below to check which bin to put out in 2018. Bookmark this page for easy access later.
If you are unable to access the image you can click the link below for the PDF version.
When is Bin Collection Day for Church Hill, Redditch?
- Bins in Church Hill are emptied on a FRIDAY.
- Place your bin by the kerb by 7am.
- Your bin may not be collected if the lid is not closed, or it’s too heavy.
- Remove your bin from the public pathways as soon as possible.
Do you (or someone you know) struggle with putting your bins out?
If you are ill, have a disability or other good reason why you cannot put your own bins to the kerbside the Council does offer an assisted collection service. Please email [email protected] if you would like to know more about this.
Where is the tip? When is the tip open?
For everything you need to know about the local tip please click here.
As a mark of respect we in the Conservative Party do not campaign on Armistice Day or Remembrance Sunday. Instead we turn up to the services and pay our respects to all those who have served our country. This year both days fell one after the other and so we had a Remembrance Weekend. Next year – for the 100th anniversary – both events fall on the same day. Continue reading Remembrance Weekend