Your Letters: Council finances, Ipsley Meadow and Arrow anger - The Redditch Standard
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12th Aug, 2022

Your Letters: Council finances, Ipsley Meadow and Arrow anger

Redditch Editorial 26th Mar, 2022

IT CAME as no shock to me to read that the Redditch Conservatives are steering our council towards bankruptcy (Redditch Standard).

The Tories pretend to be the party of fiscal responsibility, but their underlying motives are those of self preservation and greed.

We know the Redditch Conservatives put their pay rise before the welfare of the people they are elected to serve.

Meanwhile the public waits and waits for the Conservatives to deliver on their election promises.

More council houses? Nothing to see here!

£25million? Sorry it’s only £15million and we are going to use it to knock down the library without a plan.

Unlock Redditch? The only key they have found is the one which closes the doors where decisions are made.

S Harvey, Southcrest

IT WAS an interesting read that RBC may be facing financial problems.

Back in 2012 I started a campaign to get the Brockhill open spaces adopted and for Persimmon to pay their part under Section 106. Section 106 agreements are legal agreements, and as such Persimmon are allegedly in breach of the contract.

RBC have the power to enforce these agreements.

On October 24, 2018 the RBC legal department replied to me: “We are aware of the enforcement options but don’t believe that we are quite there yet.” Allegedly, this had been going on prior to 2012! Not there yet! A slight understatement.

October 31, 2019 (Redditch Standard) – “The long running saga over outstanding money owed to Redditch Borough Council by Persimmon Homes may finally be coming to an end.” Big fanfare from Rachel Maclean.

February 4, 2022 – Councillor Gemma Monaco is still tirelessly chasing the RBC legal department. I feel for her; it’s a wonder she has any hair left.

Why am I listing the above, well, the calculation is that Persimmon need to pay RBC £411,595.30 (approximately, I jest). That might help fill a few holes in one of their department’s budgets.

Coun David Thain was aware of this when he used to attend the Brockhill Residents’ Association’s meetings and that is not a dig at him as he wasn’t on RBC at the time, but WCC, and not within his remit.

Will this now get things moving?

P Merricks, Brockhill

I READ with astonishment a piece in the ‘Redditch Arrow’ in which the Conservatives appeared to boast of their turning open parkland into a cemetery and promising ‘consultation with the public asking what they would like from their new cemetery’.

There is no mention of the loss of green space in an area where there is already a deficit of such a resource.

No mention that previous ‘consultation’, such as it was, resulted in 834 objections and 13 in favour.

No mention of the flawed nature of the ‘whittling down process’ as they term it.

Nor do they consider that they are undermining the principle upon which new towns, not just Redditch, were designed, namely easy access to open green space.

They blithely ignore the plan being at odds with so many of the fine words in Plan 4, issued in 2017 as the strategic vision for Redditch.

In a final insult, the cemetery none of us wanted suddenly becomes “their (i.e., ‘our’) new cemetery”.

The effrontery is limitless!

This issue has been so mired in obfuscation and misinformation that I feel an independent enquiry into the whole process is required.

K Wass, Matchborough

I RECEIVED a newspaper from the Tory Party.

My thoughts:

1. The headline is the return of the Garden Suite to The Alex. Great – but we would never have lost this if Mr Johnson had shut down properly in February 2020 instead of allowing Covid to spread throughout the country.

Mrs Maclean also promised on election to return heart, stroke, full A&E, maternity and paediatrics…..still waiting!

2.BMX Returns – this was a brilliant venue until 2019 when the Tory council shut it down.

3. New Council Homes – promised in 2018 in a plan made by the Labour Council.

Labour built previously in collaboration with Redditch Co-operative to avoid houses being bought privately under the Conservative Right To Buy policy.

4. Town Centre Improvement. I responded to the first ‘consultation’ which could only be answered online. So did my mum.

There were 11 replies. We both said we wanted the library retained.

I did not get an invite to respond to the Tory 70 per cent endorsement. I wonder why?

5. Charging points: We get 40. Our population is around 80,000 with many homes having only street parking. I foresee long queues!

Since 2018 when the Tories took over, we have seen the BMX track closed, more services lost at The Alex than gained, precious little affordable housing and no correctly instigated consultation, even though this was the main promise of the 2018 manifesto.

M Bish, Abbeydale

IN reply to J Lovell’s letter about the proposed cemetery (Redditch Standard).

Ipsley Meadow is part of Arrow Valley Country Park, an area of about 900 acres.

The meadow is surrounded by fields, woods, grassy areas and parkland so if J Lovell prefers not to walk through a cemetery,which will no doubt be tastefully designed and a pleasant place, he/she only has to walk another 100 yards to enjoy similar surroundings.

People’s health and welfare is really not going to be affected by the change of use.

M Jones, Southcrest

RECENTLY volunteers for the local Conservative Party distributed the ‘Redditch Arrow’.

Before it was shredded and added to a compost bin it was read by a pedant.

It’s entitled ‘Covering the Borough of Redditch, Astwood Bank & Feckenham’.

The following point might be considered pedantic: Do Rachel Maclean MP and Councillor Matt Dormer (leader of Redditch Council), think Astwood Bank & Feckenham are outside the Borough of Redditch, and not included in it?

Do the residents of Astwood Bank & Feckenham regard themselves outside the borough?

The editor of the Redditch Standard probably would not make this mistake – putting a ‘comma’ instead of the word ‘including’.

And this Redditch Arrow publication doesn’t contain the Tory leadership’s view about how the election wards might be re-organised – something referred to on the Redditch Standard’s letters’ page several weeks ago.

Central ward voter

I WAS somewhat surprised to read the social media post from Councillor Fleming (under the Twitter name @Peter_AFleming) about the state of the borough’s finances.

On 19.03.22, Councillor Fleming posted a message (along with a selfie) on social media stating: “Out in the sunshine today in #Greenlands with our amazing candidate Lee.

Only @RedditchTories have the positive message to keep #Redditch moving forward. Don’t let #Labour bankrupt our Council. VoteConservative.”

It seems as though Councillor Fleming has failed to appreciate that:

– It is the Redditch Conservative Party who are in control of the Borough Council. As such, it is they who are in control of the budget.

– They have managed the local finances for almost four years. This includes the widely reported increase to councillor pay of up to 326 per cent in 2019.

– During their time in control (up until 2018), under Redditch Labour, there were no accusations of financial mismanagement or involvement of the auditors with regards potential bankruptcy. This has only happened under Conservative control.

It seems that Councillor Fleming may not have seen the recent article in The Standard based on Councillor Thain’s (a fellow Conservative colleague of Councillor Fleming) claims that the Borough Council is heading for bankruptcy for the second time in four years.

Councillor Thain states that this is due to Conservative mismanagement of funds.

I trust that Councillor Fleming will retract his inaccurate statement and avoid using misinformation regarding any other political party whilst out campaigning.

P Willis, Brockhill

THERE is a trick in modern politics that you might call political ventriloquism. Blame the other side for the exact thing you are doing.

Sadly it really works, because for a short time at least it throws people off the scent.

if you read Conservative Party literature in this local election campaign you can see the same trick being played.

The Tories have doomed the library to the bulldozer, turned Ipsley Meadow into a cemetery and presided over the decline of a town centre so rapidly that it takes the breath away.

Yet reading their press releases and leaflets, somehow this is all Labour’s fault.

This despite Labour not being in power to make any of these decisions.

So just to set the record straight. Voting for Mr Dormer’s candidates this year will result in:

1.The library being bulldozed

2. More greenfield sites turned over for development

3.More tax payers money spent on Tory vanity projects nobody asked for.

Labour opposes all of that. So do most Redditch citizens.

Don’t fall for Mr Dormer’s bad ventriloquist act. And don’t let him take you for a dummy.

I Woodall

Labour prospective candidate for Winyates

WE raised £860.02 at the Sing for Ukraine live music event in Redditch on Sunday with further donations this week taking the total to a grand £1,000.

I transferred this £1,000 to the Red Cross via SumUp who are matching the donation, meaning £2,000 will be going to help the Ukrainian humanitarian crisis.

Thanks again to all the musicians for performing for free, James Hollamby and the team at Challenge Zone Redditch, Lea Room for tech support, Nicki Sharp and Ellie Kerans for photography, and Lynne Dagmar Andrews for bucket-shaking!

And of course to the good folks of Redditch for giving so generously.

Thank you all.

Ros, Vintage Trax Records

Redditch

I READ with interest about the improvements for Redditch town centre and the bandstand.

Over the years, all the fuss has been about the bandstand and it can be used to hold modern events.

But the important part of that area of town is, in fact, the fountain which was created to celebrate tap water arriving in Redditch.

I am writing as I don’t often see this documented and wonder how many people actually know the history of the fountain.

I and others have fond memories of throwing pennies in there during our childhood so we could make wishes.

R Hunt, Studley

ONCE again I have had a perfectly reasonable comment hidden on MP Rachel Maclean’s Facebook Page in response to the ambiguous claims ‘For the first time since 1994, council houses are being built by Redditch Council’.

My comment that was hidden said: “I know you will probably hide this. But I do think you’re being somewhat ambiguous since councils were stopped from building council houses until 2017.

‘That’s still only 19 that are not actually built yet and part of what you promised 67 in 2018 from the £12million left from Labour.

‘Now Councillor Dormer advocates selling council land off to make up for Tory Council heading for a second Section 24 Notice and possible bankruptcy.

When Labour were in control up until 2018 – despite being banned from building council homes – they in partnership with Co-op commissioned more than 600 award winning social homes built.’

Coun Dormer says he has nothing to hide in respect of the finances so why has my MP hidden my comment?

Name and address supplied

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