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Bonkers Blog October 2016

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20 October (Part 1) - Bins, Bridges and Broadband

When Council meetings are held on successive days the reporting of them is inevitably delayed and never more so than now, one is three weeks behind the times! However for now BiB returns to last Thursday’s Places Scrutiny meeting, to conclude with recycling issues.

Councillor Stefano Borella (Labour, North End) pitched in with fly tipping again because at the last meeting, Cabinet Member Craske accused him of being the fly tipper’s friend when Stefano suggested that the practice was likely to increase. Councillor Borella said he could “clearly see a very large increase in fly tipping going on as a result of Council policy for a number of years”.

Councillor Craske’s response was to say that “starting on Monday is our new pilot for the enforcement of fly tipping and litter, people who let their dogs leave a mess behind. Do members of the opposition support that pilot scheme? So that’s a positive thing we are doing to tackle this issue and I am looking forward to seeing this start and there is a very good campaign starting on Monday to promote it. Billboards everywhere under the slogan Don’t be a Tosser”. A week of staff training and patrols from the 24th October.

Bryce-SmithDavid Bryce-Smith said that fly tipping had been higher in the last quarter but overall fly tipping “is at a similar level to previous years but we are treating this issue seriously”.

Councillor Joe Ferreira (Labour, Erith) said there had been “a spike in the number of missed bins”. Mr. Bryce-Smith said that there were 23 million collections a year and “the number of missed bins is much higher than we would want. We are working with Serco to address that. Serco has no ability to differentiate between a badly performing crew and a good performing crew and the [IT} integration we are getting will enable better monitoring”.

Some bins are reported missed when crews are merely running late, the improved IT will solve this problem “and there will be occasions [contamination for example] when they are left for a reason”.

A question from Councillor Danny Hackett (Labour, Lesnes Abbey) about delays to planning applications and the broadband black spots in Thamesmead and Sidcup found Mr. Bryce-Smith apologising on behalf of “the Planning Service, we have had significant staff turn over, two thirds of the team left during the year and had to be replaced. That’s been coupled with increasing volumes of work that has impacted on the termination time overall and it has been a challenging year. We have introduced a retention scheme for staff which has also helped in attracting new planners. The service generates more income than it costs.”

“On superfast broadband we have had positive discussions with Virgin in particular who are provided with details of major developments in the area so that they can get in early. We are also working with BT but it hasn’t been so positive as with the likes of Virgin.”

Councillor Cheryl Bacon, standing in for its Chairman Councillor Val Clark reported on the recommendations of the Transport Strategy Sub-Group which have already been reported here in some detail. However since then London Mayor Sadiq Khan has made his announcement on river crossings without mentioning any that would make landfall in Bexley. “He should be reminded of where we are and who we are and what we need to deal with regeneration and housing that are needed in Bexley”.

Councillor Borella whose party had suggested the creation of the Sub-Group commended its report.

Councillor Daniel Francis (Labour, Belvedere) whilst welcoming the new destinations, was concerned about the Thameslink proposal to run a train from Rainham to Luton Airport which would not stop at Belvedere or Erith but would stop at rarely used stations like Stone Crossing in Kent and the proposed reduction from six to four trains per hour in services serving Slade Green, Erith and Belvedere.

Cabinet Member Alex sawyer noted his concerns.

The following Agenda item was the Regeneration update which was reported out of sequence on 14th October.


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