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Allotments in Warrington

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Indeed, but priorities can conflict can they not.

 

Not always, some just happen to be more pressing than others and failing to try and deal with them will have more of a long term impact for current and future generations. :wink:

 

Maybe so but worth remembering that I and the other 1000's of people of Warrington haven't actually directly caused the ?100 million of WBC borrowings or it's pension deficit of ?80 million :roll:

 

Will the reduction of these local deficits result in a very substantial reduction in our council tax bills and a better way of life for all in Warringon? Will they have a direct impact on reducing the other weekly outgoings we all have to fork out on? Answer is of course NO !

 

Sometimes it'd the little things that mean more to people :D:wink:

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Any rationalisation of Council finances will ultimately lead to pain in terms of losses in service delivery - it's a fairly straight forward equation, high spend = high tax: high spend can include paying off debts. :wink: Perhaps a little effort in terms of brain cells, could lead to imaginative ways of increasing revenues without a corresponding tax increase on ordinary people - central Government permiting of course! :wink:

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Councillor Kennedy, First of all thanks again for your input, it is appreciated even if at time it may not seem to be. As you have raised quite a few issues since I was able to repond i will try my best to go through point by point and give you the response you deserve.

 

?PS When people say "nothing personal", they normally mean it is

personal. ?

When I say this was nothing personal it means exactly that. As I do not know you personally nor have had any dealings with you on a personal level I don?t see how anything I have posted could be construed as anything but impersonal. All my postings here are addressed to your position of Councillor of this town and I apologise if at any time I give you reason to doubt this.

 

?By making that comment it is evident that you know nothing about me or my background, your comment is therefore one made with a fair degree of ignorance.

 

If time and the opportunity permits, I will ask the question regarding allotments.....although I have to say my biggest concern at the moment is the over ?100 million of WBC borrowings and its pension deficit which was last estimated at ?80 million, althought my guess is that with revised mortality rates and movements in the stock market that figure might well now be in the region of ?100 million.

 

So allotments as you can see are a question of priorities, accepting that like other things they can be the sole focus and be all to some people.?

You accuse me of ignorance when I allege that ?You're too concerned with finding excuses not to confront a problem rather than trying to find a solution.?

This may have been a fair and honest accusation had you not previously said that ?such is the financial state of the council, I think that anything that can be flogged off will be?.

You then follow the accusation of ignorance with even more excuses not to address the problem.

I apologise if any of my post led you to believe I was ignorant of the facts but fail to see how you came to such a conclusion.

 

?Identify the land please.?The land I referred to earlier can be viewed here http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?t=h&hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=53.40352,-2.610326&spn=0.006332,0.022295&z=16

Mike Bailey and Helen Lacey in the planning department are the officers who are apparently looking into this piece of land.

 

?I would be most grateful for details of that law.?

?PPS I've now found the details of the Allotments Act 1922, and will give the matter some thought.?

I really appreciate the fact that you took the time to find the relevant Act of Parliament. The 1922 act was a revision of the original 1908 Act. It would be fitting if something could be done in time to celebrate the Acts 100th. Birthday, perhaps with the opening of some new allotments.

 

?If time and the opportunity permits?

If it doesn?t would I be allowed to raise the matter at the next Council meeting?

 

?So allotments as you can see are a question of priorities, accepting that like other things they can be the sole focus and be all to some people.?

Where in the list of priorities would you put recognising the Law and acting accordingly? Why can this council find millions for ridiculous traffic lights systems, Skittles and Italian cobble stones and the needless and costly rebranding of the Town yet not a penny for decades on the creation of new and needed allotments?

I am sorry if you feel we got off on the wrong foot and I understand that my strong feeling about this subject sometimes leads to me speaking in haste. I admire the fact that you are prepared to come on this forum and be accessible to the rants and raves some of us aim at you. I would like you to raise this matter for me at Council and perhaps we can find a way in which everybody gains. Please feel free to contact me at anytime through email or P.M. and any help or further input from you will be most welcome.

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Thank you for your post.

 

Having been elected on May 1st, things like the so called "skittles" were well before my time, and I have to say as a Council Taxpayer, the money could have been better spent....but we are where we are, and those who made the decisions at the time still defend them robustly today....and no doubt tomorrow.

 

Regarding "flogging off" land, not an excuse at all, it is simply a statement of fact as that is what is happening....ditto unused/under utilised buildings

 

With regards to expressions such as "nothing personal", "with respect", "hope it doesn't happen to you" etc, they are ones that do irritate me...but maybe that's just me.....on a bad day :wink:

 

Thanks for the land link, I'll do some investigating, maybe possible later this week and see what I turn up. The next full Council is June 23rd and I will see what I can do...as a member of the publc you could of course ask a question...and a follow up one, if I recall correctly they have to be submitted 5 days in advance.

 

No problem with rants and raves, just so long as people...as you have kindly done, recognise I come onto this Forum, an excellent one, and enter into debate and banter in my own name and now as a serving Councillor, something I wish to continue to do...despite receiving "advice" to the contrary. I happen to believe that politicians and government in all its forms is too distant from the people, something that in my own small way by posting on here, I'm trying to correct. :wink::)

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If you could look into possible uses for that land Paul it would be great. It is far bigger than is required for just allotments and could provide land for a community vegetable growing site, where volunteers who have their own small plot also help with the growing of vegetables on community land, perhaps as a condition of tennancy. The food grown on the community land could be partly sold to pay for the upkeep of the site and any surplus could be distributed to needy folk in the local area. There are a great many grants available for community based food programs for example the Big Lottery Fund has ?50 million up for grabs see here http://www.localfoodgrants.org/.

 

As this site sits squarely between Bewsey, Dallam,Callands and Old Hall it would be a great way to get the 4 communities involved with working together too. Schools and other organisations could become involved and a valuable teaching opportunity could be created. A focal point of Community spirit could become more than pretty words or ticks in boxes.

 

If the site was organically managed from day one with no chemicals and areas planted to benefit the local flora and fauna this site would become a help to nature not a blight.

 

I know I do go on a little at times and that a lot of hard work would be needed from a great many people but I still have faith in the people of Warrington and in their ability to pull together for a good cause.

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Just to play Devil#s Advocate for a minute.

The word priority and law were mentioned.

 

There are numerous areas where the law needs addressing, and WBC like any business decides it's priorities, I presume.

 

As the majority of the Residents of Warrington are probably not interested in an allotment and I doubt whether they know where they are or how you get one, I doubt that the "majority" would not be happy if their tax was spent buying land when they might need a crossing or two put on their dangerous bit of highway.

 

PJ, If you hadn't been bitten by the "Grow your own" bug, would you see it as a council priority? :wink::D

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Peter I have never seen this as of high priority for the council nor have I ever said that. In my first post I allude to the fact that I acknowledge this issue is not very important to most people and then again a couple of posts later. I fully accept that there are some serious issues in this town which are of high priority. The problem is that the council do not even see this as an issue worthy of their time or effort.

 

This said when you say that the Council as any other business decides its priorities again I agree with you, except that businesses must act within the bounds of the law. If a business makes increasing profit margins a priority it can't go about achieving this by ceasing to pay tax. This is because there is a law which states that it must pay tax. It is also not for the council to ignore the law because it would find it difficult to afford. It is not my fault that the pensions deficit is ?80 million pounds or that money is wasted every day in one way or another.

 

The council do not need to purchase land, merely convert unused areas into suitable sites. Yes this will cost money but not as much as a new corporate logo and brand, or marble skittles or some paving from Italy or a not fit for purpose traffic light scheme, or a Big wheel on the Town Hall lawn.

 

Peter the council spends money everyday in ways which neither benefit me nor meet with my agreement but thats the way things are. Not everyone is going to be happy with every outlay the Council makes.

 

What I would like to achieve is what is mine by right, heaven knows we have few enough rights anymore. It wouldn't be so bad if I could see any effort whatsoever being made by the relevent council officers rather than just fobbing people off and hoping we will go away.

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Gary, I'd like to thank yourself and James for the story on your online frontpage. With luck this may get the ball rolling :D

 

Article is here http://www.warrington-worldwide.co.uk/articles/2693/1/Thirty-year-wait-for-an-allotment/Page1.html

 

Glad you spotted it - not everyone one on the forum reads the news! :roll: Although having said that since the website was re-developed the home page is now the most popular by far!+ :D

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I've now been researching this matter and have spoken to the officer most involved with allotments and had a really good conversation, can't promise the outcome, but I will try and move the matter forward, both at Borough level and locally with the 3 Parish Councils I work with in my Ward.

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An excellent article and good news that there has been some positive conversation.

 

Found it interesting on the River Cottage Spring programme how easy it was made to look to get some land (admitedly full of bramble) when you have a camera crew and TV series in tow.

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Peter T. many thanks for the support.

 

I am really pleased to hear that you are working towards a solution Cllr. Kennedy and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

Alison, I know what you mean, its o.k. the celebrity gardeners and chefs etc. telling us to go out and get an allotment, but this shortage is nationwide so something does need to be done. If a plot of land is covered in brambles it is quite easy to clear it. An idea might be to use the people on community work orders to clear the ground, a bit of honest graft would do them good.

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Hang on PJ you can't do that..... don't you know that under Nu Labour the thugs have more rights than us normal citizens?

 

Anyway, good for you and the campaign. Looks like this might finally be something that gets this bloody inept bunch of prats in the council to actually do something for the community for once. mind you they will probably create a "head of allotment planning" or something and give it a ?16,000 a year "allowance" :D

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Watched Hugh Fernley-Wittingthingy tonight: where a group of residents got together to take over an area of derelict Council land, which they have to concede by law (apparently). :? They had to clear a load of scrub and fence it off, get a water supply organised, and put four pigs on site to rotovate and manure the ground. :shock: Seems they will be eaten at the end of the series - such is the life of real pigs, unlike their relatives in Westminister! :wink:

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.... and if it is possible to earn 35k a year as a local councillor with allowances.... at local level too Obs!!

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Watched Hugh Fernley-Wittingthingy tonight: where a group of residents got together to take over an area of derelict Council land, which they have to concede by law (apparently). :? They had to clear a load of scrub and fence it off, get a water supply organised, and put four pigs on site to rotovate and manure the ground. :shock: Seems they will be eaten at the end of the series - such is the life of real pigs, unlike their relatives in Westminister! :wink:

 

I didn't see that Observer but I wish I had, which channel was it on? I think the bit about having to concede it by law has piqued my interest :wink: As for the pigs being eaten at the end of the series, if God didn't want us to eat pigs he wouldn't have made them out of meat. :)

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Think it was CH4? :? He also did a piece on cray fishing in the River Kennet: apparently we imported some US crayfish (which are bigger than our indigenous type), some escaped the fish farm and have now took over (bit like the saga of the Grey Squirrel). :shock: They estimate that there are millions populating the R.Kennet alone, and the EA can issue licences to fish them, keeping their numbers down and providing a tasty meal. :wink:

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Well done Paul, glad to hear this news. Could you please give me more details of what you asked and what answers if any you recieved? Will there be further discussions?

 

I brought this matter up at our Parish meeting last week and one idea which may have some possibility is getting some of the land at the Omega site given over to Allotments which would be superb. I am also still in the process of trying to find suitable land around the town so if anybody has any suggestions I would be more than happy if you could contact me with details.

 

I will be contacting every councillor in Warrington soon informing them of the facts as I see them and providing them with a copy of the relevent law relating to allotments.

 

I will also be reminding Helen Jones M.P. that she promised me a reply which I still haven't had.

 

I will be sending the six letters to the council next week to invoke the legal side of things and will be meeting a legal firm to discuss the possibility of legal action against the Council should absolutely all else fail. Having said this with enough help and work from council members and members of the public this should not need to be the route taken.

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Questions were to Cllr Alan Litton

 

How many people are on the Allotment waiting list

 

Where in the Borough are the main areas of allotment demand.

 

364, confirmation given of number of existing allotments and over how many sites.

 

Area details not available, confirmation would be sent to me. Cllr Litton recognised that given the number of apartments etc, he recognised the significance of allotments.

 

I sensed that if you contacted Cllr Litton he would be amenable to a non legalistic approach.

 

PJ I seem to recall that you indicated that you would be at the Full Council. :wink:

 

PS One possible way forward is for the Council to have an Allotments Plan, I notice such plans exist in other Councils...Reading for example.

 

Maybe it is an Environment & Regeneration Overview & Scrutiny Committee matter

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I really wanted to come to the meeting but due to a mini family crisis I was unable to attend. If I had attended I couldn't have done anything anyway. Thanks for the information about your questions. What is the allotment plan which is being considered Paul? Does it involve making enough allotments to satisy demand?

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The Council have completed audits, surveys, consultations in the past, it all gets written up in a report, nicely bound then stored on a shelf; and of course nothing gets done, especially if there's a cost to it. :roll: As part of the UDP, an audit of ALL (every square metre in some Wards!), of open land was completed, with the intent to save a given provision that was close to and accessible to every resident; some of which could have been assigned (if residents wished) to allotment schemes. :? So what's happened since? :? Well, the Developers must have read the audit, cos they've now built on most of it, including formal parkland. :shock: Expediancy rules! :wink:

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