Saturday, August 07, 2010
Residents unite to protest about company's antics
Around 40 residents from Rockwell Pastures and Albert Hill came together this morning to express their anger regarding Albert Hill Skip Hire Ltd in Nestfield Street.
We had decided to organise a mass walk by the river to have a look at the site for ourselves. Led by our local MP Jenny Chapman, we had an excellent turnout, especially given the cloudburst immediately before we were due to meet.
Jenny summed up the mood of the protestors at what we saw - there was still a shocking amount of waste piled high, with broken fences which presumably could allow children to enter whet is clearly a very hazardous place. After the walk, petitions were eagerly taken away by residents, keen to achieve the 1,500 signatures we need to trigger the first council debate under the new arrangements.
We've had 2 other pieces of good news; firstly, after pressure from the campaign, the Environment Agency has agreed to issue a number for residents to call about any concerns they might have - if the particular issue should be dealt with by the Health and Safety Executive or the Council, for example, then the phone operative will record the complaint and pass it on. This is a fine piece of joined up administration, which I applaud.
The number is 0800 807 060.
Secondly, the Council issued a new, tougher stop notice against the company on Friday relating to the company's operating hours and the height of the waste, I have been told. The maximum fine if a successful prosecution is achieved is up to £20,000! Maybe that will finally make the company's bosses think twice before operating at all times, as they do at present.
As Jenny told the protestors, both the company and the enforcement agencies need to knnow that local people are in this for the long-haul, and will not simply "go away" in time. The quality of life of too many people has been adversely affected for too long for that.