Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Taking a walk on the green side - DAY 1

I broke the news to the family last night that we are now going greener.  As I suspected my plan was met with a certain amount of derision - my husband looked slightly puzzled and then smiled in a positive manner. Child number 1 nodded in a rather sagely way having experienced some of my other more radical initiatives and said with a sigh in his voice "Whatever you say, Mum".  Child number 2 however, dealt with the suggestion in a less welcoming manner with dark mutterings which included phrases such as "if you think I'm walking, my bike has a flat tyre and as a final shot "what about my warm towels".

So onto day 1 of the new greener (and hopefully leaner) McGuire clan.  Children off to school, dog walked no problem.  Then off to a meeting with Sefton NHS to discuss children's health services in Southport and Formby.  Normally I would drive to Bootle and use the time to catch up on phone calls (hands free of course) but today I chose to cycle to the train station, travel with my bike to Bootle and then cycle to my meeting.  I made a rather dramatic entrance to the meeting declaring rather smugly that I had cycled to the meeting.  This smugness was quickly lost when I was forced to admit that I had in fact only pedalled about 1.5 miles. But the blood was pumping and I felt good. Journey home was of less interest apart from the fact that I was very cold and much less jubilant.

Miles NOT driven 40
Miles Cycled 3

Market Hall refurbishment grinds to a halt

ROK, the company contracted to work on the Southport Market refurbishment, have been placed in administration following reported losses of £3.8million.  For more details please see the Southport Visiter site or the Birkdale Blogspot.

It seems somewhat ironic therefore that there is a report on the Agenda for Southport Area Committee meeting next week which gives details of the Southport Market Gateway Features (Public Art).  The report requests approval from the Southport Councillors for moving to stage 2 of this commissioning process with an overall cost of £111,750 including £26,400 for 3 granite seats.

I think its madness to consider spending this amount of money when we are trying to reduce budgets. We are facing the prospect of at least 1,000 employees of Sefton Council losing their jobs as a result of necessary spending cuts and so it seems unjustifiable and incredibly insensitive for Labour and Conservative Councillors to have voted for a scheme that allows large sums of money to be spent on items such as granite seats.

As Tony Robertson, Lib Dem Leader of Sefton Council explained “It displays a complete lack of any grasp of the economic realities that we are facing.  It also indicates that both parties do not see how investment in market redevelopment should be directed. It’s all very well having expensive seats, but if the market traders cannot afford the inevitably higher rents, then who will be there to sit on the granite seats?”

Councillor Simon Shaw has already voiced concerns about where money for this project is being spent. “At a recent Council meeting I asked how much money had so far been spent: the answer was that over £250,000 had been spent on external Consultants, while just £15,000 has been spent on building work.”

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Taking a walk on the green side

During my daily stroll around the park this morning, I got to thinking about all the "green" things lib dems stand for.  In the course of my deliberations I considered how we live life specifically "how green am I" so on the second circuit of the park I set myself (& family) a challenge - to go green.

Now there are certain things that we won't be able to do - like install solar panels, put up a wind turbine or buy an electric car but apart from these there are areas of our lives which could be made more environmentally friendly if only we made a bit of an effort so here goes.

For the next 12 months the McGuire family promise to:
1. Only put the central heating on when the temperature outside falls below 0
2. Think twice before using the car and use our bikes as much as possible
3. Shop locally and only do the family "big" shop at Co-operative stores
4. Buy as much organic food as possible and swap to environmentally friendly products
5. Recycle more

That all sounds pretty straightforward -  Follow my exploits on Twitter

I should add that I haven't shared this "Damascus moment" with either the children or my husband yet so maybe that will be my first challenge.

Tackling anti social behaviour

A number of residents have contacted the Focus Team to report an increase in youths congregating around the shops on Churchcill Avenue.  The incidents have been reported to the police and I have spoken to Inspector Tony Jones and the Community Support Officers regarding this issue.  Both ask for residents to contact the Police Control Room on 0151 709 6010 directly so that all incidents can be logged and the police can take the necessary action to get the situation resolved.  All calls can be made anonymously

We have also been in contact with the Council to see if an alcohol banning order can be put in place in the area which would mean that anyone caught drinking alcohol on the street would have the alcohol taken from them.