Needless to say the issues surrounding the Lytchett Drive open space continue to dominate my in-box. It’s not surprising since Cabinet, at its meeting on 22nd March, rejected the recommendations of the call-in committee without any discussion whatsoever. Again without discussion Cabinet members voted to continue to investigate the suitability of the site for housing. Residents who attended the meeting found it difficult to understand how such a decision could be made when the legal documentation clearly states no houses or flats can be built on the land, which is public amenity space. Furthermore the Head of Planning Services agreed it had always been regarded as protected open space. Since that Cabinet meeting, at which I spoke, I have had further discussions with the Head of Planning and have been assured the site is now included in the Core Strategy Review, which will provide an opportunity to formally designate it as public open space. It is also included within a specific policy in the Broadstone Neighbourhood plan which, if accepted by residents, would ensure its protection as a local green space.
Another issue that has come to the fore in recent weeks is the emptying, or rather the lack of emptying, of dog bins. The Council has been replacing the small red bins with large black wheelie bins and, where appropriate, re-positioning them. Unfortunately these bins have not been emptied as regularly as they should with rather unpleasant consequences. Several people have complained directly to the council but apparently with little success. I contacted Environmental and Consumer Protection Services recently and was told that there hadn’t been any changes to the timing of collections but the schedules were being severely disrupted because the majority of vehicles had reached the end of their life and were breaking down. With a significantly reduced number of usable vehicles it is clearly going to be an ongoing problem. To ease the impact in the immediate vicinity of the bins it would be really helpful if dog-walkers could take their dog waste home if a bin is full.
Annual Council takes place in May when a new Mayor and Sheriff will be installed and new committees formed. Perhaps we may even find out what is being planned to replace Area Committees and so provide the public with an alternative opportunity to engage with the Council.
Councillor Mike Brooke