Bad news hidden behind the bins?

From: J Robin Hughes

Worrall, S35

A good day to bury bad news? Controversial waste collection proposals got the limelight, overshadowing those for housing on greenfield sites.

Maybe the council hoped we wouldn’t notice them, hidden behind the bins.

Weekly bin collections can restart if needed, but once built on, precious green areas are lost forever, and the trend is set for more urban sprawl.

In Worrall, for example, the council plans a massive suburbanisation, increasing the size of the village by a fifth by intensive building on two sites which until recently they considered utterly unsuitable for housing.

All over the city, greenfield sites are being lined up for brick and tarmac, because the council fears that greedy speculators will twist the government’s arm, already flexible to the interests of big business, into allowing uncontrolled raids on Sheffield’s prized green spaces.

Reasons given include low house prices and reluctant lenders - temporary conditions, surely - making life hard for developers, and concerns about a short-term lack of easy sites, raised I suspect by those same developers.

The city’s development plan, five years in the making, is being hastily adjusted to accommodate banks and builders who want a cheap job and a quick profit, and don’t mind getting it at the expense of the city’s character.

This way, the city’s future is as one huge housing estate looking longingly westward at the Peak District, recalling distant days when Sheffield boasted itself a green city.

To let the council know what you think, visit www.sheffield.gov.uk/sdfconsult before February 27.

From: Coun Paul Scriven

Lib Dem, Broomhill Ward

Betts and Blunkett tactics are back in favour with the Labour Council, I see.

Impose a Labour local cut to a service and blame the Government of the day, who of course happens to be anything but Labour.

I refer to a Labour double whammy of fortnightly bin collections and stopping the green recycling service in Sheffield.

Labour politicians shrill words are just that, shrill words

First they say it costs too much and can’t be afforded. But then they let slip they still don’t know how much the Government is going to give to Sheffield extra to help keep weekly bin collections. Now I know Labour’s strong point in Sheffield has never been budgets and finance. But an eight-year-old knows you can’t work out if something will cost you until you know how much income you are getting! So Labour can’t use cost as the reason with any creditability to impose this Labour cut to Sheffield’s bin service.

On the other side of the coin, if cost was so high that we can’t keep the weekly collection, the people of Sheffield need to ask Labour this question: If you knew that weekly bin collections cost too much and can’t be afforded why did you have a consultation saying it was possible? You can’t have it both ways. Or are we just back to the same sham consultation we are used to in Sheffield under Labour?

Also just for the record to show that local choices can be made and it isn’t anyone else’s fault than local politicians where the axe falls on services in Sheffield, last year when I was Leader of the Council and we had to save £80m, the fortnightly option was put to us and we said no. Same problem, same cuts, same local decision but different outcome ,we said no and found other ways to save £80m.

You see it is about local choices and Labour in Sheffield, as was predicted, are now using local people’s services as Betts and Blunkett did, as a political battering ram to make some political points to a Government they don’t like.

I despair at these tactics and for the people of this city who have to live with the consequences of such blatant political games by Labour councillors in the Town Hall.

From: Vonny Watts and Anne Smith MBE

Sheffield Conservatives

Council tax payers in Sheffield deserve a much better explanation of the council’s proposal to scrap weekly bin collections than they have had so far, not least how the £2.44m is actually going to be saved. The Veolia recycling contract has tied the council’s hands, because they are unable to re-negotiate elements of that contract without compensation to Veolia.

How much are these proposals going to cost in compensation? Clause 24 of the contract states this will be the case. How are the 40 expected redundancies going to be funded and by whom? If the city has 160 bin men, how does the halving of the frequency of bin collections achieve only a 25% reduction in numbers employed? Can Veolia not sustain the existing service by improving the efficiency of the 120 remaining bin men?

How much will it cost to lose the Green waste part of the contract, since the Council’s own website reminds us that 20% of domestic waste is garden rubbish?

And which “front line services” are really being protected if this proposal goes ahead? Have the council included an estimate for the increased fly-tipping and pest control costs which will undoubtedly follow?

The reality is that the city is at the mercy of the contractor because a 35-year agreement was signed in haste by the Lib Dems, to replace the city’s incinerator. We are paying for poor financial management which leaves the council unable to fund this key element of their own website “Service Charter”.

How much longer must we tolerate poor council decisions and economic incompetence?

From: John Barber

Chapeltown

I see Sheffield’s Labour council has decided to move to fortnightly bin collections AND stop the collection of green waste!

Surely this will mean that rather than encouraging people to ‘go green’ they will put their garden refuse in the black bins, increasing overall waste and leading to more fly tipping.

This demonstrates once again their short-sightedness and total disregard for the people of Sheffield.