Recorder letters: Garden waste, Kenneth More Theature, nurses and shingles vaccinations

PUBLISHED: 09:00 22 July 2017


Residents have been charged £50 for garden waste bags which regularly split. Picture: MARK SHERER

Garden waste bags a disaster

Mark Sherer, Ilford, full address supplied, writes:

Back in March I paid Redbridge Council £50 for the privilege of supplying me new garden refuse bags. They informed me that if I didn’t purchase them, then I would have to dispose of the garden waste myself.

To say the bags are absolutely useless, (and from my understanding I’m not the only person who thinks this) would be an understatement. The flimsy material means that as soon as you put the rubbish in, the bags will split. Which then means we have to use yet another bag to put over the split ones!

I contacted the cleansing team at the council with my concerns. The response I received from them was nothing but twaddle.

I was told that “the sacks we have purchased for the service are better for the environment, than continually producing the re-usable bags that take 400 years to decompose even if they can be re-used a number of times”. Really? Mine haven’t lasted four months!

It was also pointed out to me “that I needed to take care when putting thorny and sharp twigs into the sacks but they will not decompose”.

Thank you for pointing that fact out, I’m not concerned about them decomposing, more about them splitting.

Even the 5p or 10p bags I get from my local supermarket are of a stronger material than these. I am disgusted the council are now charging for this service, but I’m even more disgusted with the amount I, like everyone else, has to pay for this load of rubbish.

On speaking to Citizens Advice, they told me that “the consumer rights of 2015 states that all goods must be of a satisfactory condition and the service should be performed with reasonable care and skill”. I’ll let other people decide on that one.

I have sent a further email in to the cleansing team, and I have copied in the CEO of the council. Let’s see what, if any, response I get.

Gary Staight, Jarrow Road, Chadwell Heath, writes:

Ron Jeffries’ letter of last week blew apart the reason the council gave for ending the old free garden waste collection, that is the £300,000 annual cost to run that scheme.

His letter reveals that the new scheme is costing the council nearly £200,000 and is used by 6,145 households, which I estimate is less than 10 per cent of the borough’s households.

From observations in my area the usage of the old scheme was around 30pc with residents using the council-provided hessian bags. Therefore for an extra £100,000 the council ran a highly efficient, low administrative scheme that had a high take-up and was widely praised in the community.

So what is happening to all the garden waste that the old scheme used to handle? Some is being fly-tipped, some people are resorting to garden bonfires (with its related air pollution) but a lot of people like myself are now making regular trips to the council recycling centre at Chigwell Road (with related vehicle emissions).

It might be a good idea if members of the council administration take a trip there on a Saturday or Sunday morning. The depot is dangerously busy with at least 50pc of the visitors going to the green waste bay taking their garden cuttings in the old council hessian bags.

Looking at Ron Jeffries’ picture of his split green waste bag it looks like all it is able to take are grass cuttings. No use for twigs, small branches or even bush cuttings which make up most of my garden waste.

In normal circumstances you would expect the council Labour administration to recognise that the new scheme is by all measures a disaster and they would admit it. However that is something I don’t think they will have the bottle to do.

Funding our theatre costs 53p per person – excellent value

John Gadd, chairman, Kenneth More Theatre Club, writes:

I have been a resident in the borough since 1952, and at the age of 12 I started to perform with a local drama company at the “Little Theatre”.

My passion for local live theatre remains unbroken. For 57 years I have acted, sung, danced, directed, and undertaken all the necessary duties concerned with the putting on of a show.

I have helped to raise much needed funds for local charities, and have spent a lifetime in entertaining the people of Ilford and beyond.

I have been a member of The Redbridge Theatre Guild since 1960 and an officer for 37 years. The Guild’s existing 12 companies have an enormous number of members who, like me, all come to the Kenneth More Theatre to participate in their leisure activity.

I have been a member of the Kenneth More Theatre Club since 1975, and a committee member, progressing to the borough treasurer’s representative for many years until 2015 when I was elected as chairman. My first full year raised over £17,000 to support the theatre, my second year is looking to exceed that figure, all of which is down to the 750 club members and staunch volunteers who support my lead.

The Kenneth More Theatre Club has for 42 years provided unpaid support with a small army of volunteers, and provides 10 staff for front of house duties for every performance. Alongside this the club, in its lifetime has handed over £534,307 to support the theatre and keep costs down.

So why, when the council is so obviously supporting swimmers, cyclists, sportsmen and all the other leisure pursuits, are they turning their backs on the Kenneth More Theatre?

They are withdrawing the small amount of funding that enables the theatre to survive, and this funding represents a charge to each resident of the borough of just 53p per annum. Yet the council pay over £7,128,380 to Vision who provide the council with leisure facilities within the borough, across such services as music, drama, grounds maintenance, nature conservation, museum and heritage, libraries, arts, and sports development which – when combined with the maintenance grants – means charges of £33.88 to each resident.

The subsidy to the KMT equates to less than 1.5 per cent of the huge amount paid to Vision to administer the leisure facilities.

At 53p the KMT looks to be excellent value!

Speaking as a council tax payer who neither swims, plays field sports, uses the facilities of the library, and only occasionally walks across a park or open space, I do not consider I and the huge number of local participants at the Kenneth More are being fairly treated.

It is my opinion that the cost to the borough for its incredibly small subsidy to the KMT, is excellent value compared to the costs in providing the remaining leisure facilities for its residents.

The council recently announced its proposed regeneration proposals for Redbridge, which includes an enhanced cultural centre around the Oakfield Road site, and clearly shows that they intend to pull down the KMT and replace it with a brand new building.

So I ask the question, why take away such a small amount of subsidy, which will definitely toll the death knell for the KMT, when they are looking to develop an enhanced cultural area?

So I appeal to the council to think again about withdrawing the small KMT subsidy and show it more support.

Time we started caring for nurses

Catherine Hunt, Stapleford Avenue, Newbury Park, writes:

I am appalled at the cap on nurses’ pay. They work extremely hard, not only for very little money, but sometimes for very little appreciation either. Often understaffed, they carry on regardless,as they are so devoted to patient care, so it’s time we all started caring about them.

If you, like myself, are a retired nurse, then, if you haven’t already done so, renew your membership of the Royal College of Nursing. It will help to keep you up to date with what is going on in the NHS.

If you are under the care of any hospital, thank your nurses for their care, as having been both a nurse and a patient, I know how much this means to nurses.

If you go to an A&E department with a minor condition and have a long wait, please realise that you can’t always see what is going on in the major areas of the department, where often all the rooms are full and resuscitation may be taking place.

Fewer and fewer nurses are available as the 1 per cent pay cap has seen them having to use food banks! You can support their case for a pay rise by writing to the press, discussing the issue with your local councils and supporting the members of Parliament who are trying to help.

Ilford has Wes Streeting and Mike Gapes who both work tirelessly for both staff and patients, but it will encourage our nurses if they know they have the support of the public.

Born in wrong year for shingles jab

Diana Neslen, Ilford, full address supplied, writes:

I was delighted to read in your paper that it was possible to obtain a shingles vaccination as I am over 70 and have over the previous three years endeavoured to obtain a shingles vaccination. Each time I was told I was not eligible. Following the information in the paper I tried again but was told by my GP’s surgery that I am not eligible.

It is most disappointing again to be told that I am not eligible because I was born in the wrong year.

The LCCG should not be in the business of misleading residents about the possibility of getting a service when this is only available to people born in particular years. They should advise people to check with their GP surgery.

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