Scrapping poo bins saves nothing
AS a responsible dog owner, I’m appalled to see that dog waste bins are to be removed from West Harrow recreation ground, and presumably other parks in the borough, because of Harrow Council’s budget cuts.
I fail to see how removing a green plastic liner from the container and replacing it with a new bag while emptying the nearby litter bin causes any excess financial burden on the waste collection services.
We are told via notices that we should now place dog waste in poo bags in ordinary litter bins or take it home and dispose of it in our green wheelie bins.
I am prepared to do that but, seriously, Harrow Council, I’m sure there are more expensive areas of spending that could be trimmed for far greater savings.
Maybe if Harrow councillors developed some guts, the council could be like Westminster Council and fine litter droppers £80 a time for all the crisp packets, plastic bottles, cans and cigarette ends that are strewn throughout the park.
It would keep the place tidier and might swell coffers. It does so in central London. Shaftesbury Circle alone could generate thousands of pounds.
It seems we have abundant resources to re-pave St Ann’s Road yet again – but cannot spare a few pence and some initiative to keep our green areas agreeable.
Equally, you could fine those who think grass verges are personal entrances to their front of house parking spots. Shaftesbury Avenue and the crescent where I live look more like a Somme battlefield than green and pleasant land.
But no, let’s do the easy stuff and pretend we are really doing something. You are fooling nobody, Harrow Council.
The stench will drive people out
IT HAS been decided by Harrow Council that dog bins are to be removed from Harrow’s parks.
Whilst acknowledging a possible saving for only collecting one bin’s contents, as opposed to two, have the council’s officers considered a hot August weekend afternoon.
The normal refuse bins are full and the dog poo is being left on top – surely there will be a stench enough to drive people from our parks, or don’t the council care?
Isn’t this a health and safety issue, both for the general public and the refuse collectors?
The council officers have stated that not many councils are using dog bins now, but our research shows that parks in Bedfordshire, Surrey and Hertfordshire, among others, are persevering with this method of poo disposal.
Also, one of our members has made the point that if a refuse collector is collecting one bin’s refuse he or she can collect two. This would deal with the problem and cost of two collections.
It seems a retrograde step to persuade 85 per cent of dog owners to pick up after their animals and then dissuade them by not providing adequate ways of getting rid of the detritus.
Think again Harrow Council, please.
Harrow Recreation Ground Users’ Association
n Harrow Council’s portfolio holder for environment and community safety, councillor Asad Omar, replies: “Dog waste collection was a specialist service provided by contractors. Removing the bins, and the additional collection service that goes with them, will save the council around £35,000.
“Residents will still be able to dispose of waste by placing sealed bags in general rubbish bins. There are lots of general waste bins in the borough’s parks, so there will still be plenty of places for owners to dispose of their animal’s waste.
“Harrow Council’s enforcement teams already do some great work to ensure the borough is kept as clean and green as possible and we are always exploring options available to us. We agree that spot fines can be an effective way of reducing litter and this is an option we are looking into.”
Mayor has failed to stay neutral
THE Mayor of Harrow is our first citizen and, by tradition, keeps entirely clear of party politics.
I was disgusted and very upset to see our current mayor, Councillor Nana Asante, contributed to a press conference in her role as a senior member of the breakaway political Independent Labour group.
There, she continued her specious and unsubstantiated allegations of institutional racism against the Harrow Labour group, now widened to over three years, [Breakaway Labour Group Asks to Return to the Ranks, Observer, May 30].
As I was both leader of the council and the Labour group over this period, I take this by implication as a personal and party political attack on my integrity.
I can say without fear of contradiction that this allegation is without any foundation of truth.
It is completely unacceptable that someone who purports to be the first citizen of the borough has behaved like this.
Ms Asante regrettably has besmirched the office of mayor.
I hope she will reflect on this matter and offer myself, the Harrow Labour group and the residents of Harrow an unreserved apology as well as promising never to repeat such behaviour again.
COUNCILLOR BILL STEPHENSON
Harrow Labour group leader 2008-2012 and Harrow Council leader 2010-2012
Racism allegation is baseless
THE Mayor of Harrow, Councillor Nana Asante, has branded the Labour group elected in 2010 as ‘institutionally racist’ [Breakaway Labour Group Asks to Return to the Ranks, Observer, May 30].
Does this allegation stack up? You judge for yourself:
From 2010 to date: Councillor Thaya Idaikkader, a portfolio holder for property, was elected deputy leader and then leader of the Labour group.
2010: Councillor Asad Omar was unanimously elected Mayor of Harrow by the Labour group
2011: Councillor Mrinal Choudhury was elected Mayor of Harrow.
2012: Councillor Nizam Ismail was elected Mayor of Harrow.
2013: Councillor Nana Asante was elected by the Labour group to the office of mayor.
The mayor, as reported by local papers, now appears to be merrily abusing her mayoral position by blatantly accusing the Labour group of institutional racism.
If the current Labour group was racist in any shape or form, not one of the above four who have defected and are in coalition with Tories would have got to the top positions they have held, and are holding.
I’d also like to add that Councillor Mano Dharmarajah, elected mayor in 2003 and one of the turncoats, has also benefited from Labour’s ethos of equality and belief in diversity.
As to those who failed to get portfolio positions, that was entirely due to their poor performance in the election process and not because of their race.
I am proud of David Perry, my fellow ward councillor in Marlborough who has already proved to be a promising and dignified leader.
He has been a very supportive colleague, both to me and Councillor Krishna James.
COUNCILLOR VARSHA PARMAR
Labour refused to work with us
Regarding the story Party Over for Labour Rebels [Observer, June 6].
It can only be good that the Conservatives on the council are working with us because most of them are very experienced councillors, some have been councillors for over 20 years.
Chairs etc to enrich the decision making process, are appointed according to expertise and were democratically decided by the recent full council.
Conservatives have no portfolios and no votes at the cabinet. They are just observers to ensure proper scrutiny and improve decision making for our residents.
It is sad that the Labour Group rejected our invitation for working with us as well, saying that they will hold our administration to account from the opposition benches and that they do not recognise the administration as ‘legitimate’.
Councillors are supposed to work together to improve things in the interest of residents, despite political differences. But it appears that egos and party political points are more important to the Harrow Labour Group.
COUNCILLOR HUSAIN AKHTAR
Secretary Independent Labour Group
Safer cycling starts at home
I AM glad Bob A wrote about safe cycling [Letters, May 23] because it gives me a chance to say some more on the subject.
I was prompted to write [Letters, May 9] by a recent TV programme on cycling that showed a woman riding under the wheels of a left-turning lorry. The lorry had approached a road junction signalling left, and as the traffic lights were green the driver continued the manoeuvre. When the lorry was across the junction, and still signalling left, a woman rode up to it and continued to ride to her death under its wheels.
My impression was that the woman was just trying to keep riding to her destination with very little concern with what was in front of her, but if she had been warned to stop she might have stopped. That is why I suggested a warning device fitted to the front of a bike.
Bob A is right to suggest that cyclists who ride badly need training, but he needs to take into account why they ride like that. When they were children they were given a bike as a toy and sent out to play on it. I assume they were never told that when they ride in public they are using a form of transport that is subject to legal controls.
It may be that few cyclists deliberately ride dangerously and illegally, but many have certainly been trained to ride that way. I have seen adults teaching children by example to ride on the pavement and the wrong way down one-way streets. I have even seen a child being led across a succession of red traffic lights by his dad, closely followed by his mum.
It would make all the difference if cyclists observed the rules of the Highway Code, but the same applies to pedestrians. Common observation suggests that if pedestrians observed the rules of the Code practically none of them would be injured or killed on our roads in a year, and none would be killed on railway level crossings.
We’re fortunate to have volunteer duo
LOCAL retirees Wally and Zena Stanton, from Pinner, have been volunteering for CLIC Sargent for just over three years.
They have dedicated their time talking to local shops asking if they would be willing to have a CLIC Sargent collection can on their counter to help raise much-needed funds for children and young people with cancer.
Wally and Zena have witnessed the effect the economic downturn has had on the numbers of shops willing to support CLIC Sargent, but this hasn’t stopped them. They provide collection cans, pick up the donations once the cans are full and count every single penny that has been collected, before paying the donations into CLIC Sargent.
Since February 2010, Wally and Zena have raised a fantastic £6,418 to help CLIC Sargent provide clinical, emotional and practical support for children and young people with cancer, and their families.
I would like to thank Wally and Zena during this year’s Volunteers’ Week and also the local shops that have helped to raise this amazing amount. We are fortunate to have such dedicated volunteers in the local community.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our volunteers and fundraisers for their support.
London, CLIC Sargent
Fire brigade cuts are dangerous
The Mayor’s imposition of swingeing cuts on London’s Fire Brigade, leading to station closures and the loss of fire engines, will put local neighbourhoods in unnecessary danger.
Figures I requested show that response times would increase by more than a minute in 34 wards across London. This could make the difference between life or death.
The Mayor and his Conservative colleagues on the Fire Authority have completely failed to make a convincing case for these closures. If these stations are closed, they are unlikely ever to re-open.
I would strongly urge everyone worried about these reckless fire cuts to respond to the consultation on the London Fire Safety Plan before the deadline of June 17. It can be found at www.london-fire.gov.uk.
I hope as many people as possible respond to the consultation and let the Mayor know his dangerous cuts are not what Londoners want.
DARREN JOHNSON AM
Green Party Member
London SE1 2AA
Pinner fair is full of fun and colour
Regarding the story Fair is Becoming an ‘Unfair’ Distraction [Pinner Observer, June 6], I cannot comment about loss of trade on this one day of the year, but other businesses and cafes manage to operate.
BaWay Travel had no reason to close, being out of the way. Sainsburys store gated the walk from Pinner station, but still opened for business. Was the broken window directly due to the fair? Unfortunately it could have happened any evening.
A centuries old tradition would not work in a park anymore than shunting Notting Hill Carnival to Wormwood Scrubs.
We need some fun, colour and noise in our lives, that is why we book holidays abroad. It is just one day and evening.