Thursday, 19 March 2009

MWDA letter

In a previous post I offered to send a copy of the letter from the Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority out to anyone interested. This is the letter correcting many false impressions in the leaflet about the proposed Jack Allen Holdings waste plant.

I don't have an electronic copy so please if you do post to say you'd like a copy, please give me your postal address (you can e mail me at with this if you would prefer)

Alternatively a scanned version has, I understand, now been added to

Ban these words?

The Local Government Association earlier this week said that there were certain words and phrases that councils (and by extension others) shouldn't use because they were meaningless or confusing. Fair enough - its important that the language we all use is understandable and correct.

So I'd like to throw my own pet hates into the mix!

Firstly - "going forward" which seems constantly used in the context of plans or organisations. Well unless we are all about to go time travelling - there is not really any other way you could go! Now I know that people who use this phrase mean to refer to more than chronology - but what exactly? It is never clear and you could probably chop those two words off the end of a phrase and have exactly the same meaning

Secondly "refresh" when used about plans or strategies. We are told about the refresh of the Multi Area Agreement or Neighbourhood Plan or whatever. Why on earth is this word used. Surely if we are looking at a plan because a few years have gone by and we want to check and possibly amend we should be saying "update", or "review" or "revisit" or "renew". When the plan was first written, did we describe it as "fresh" ? No. We would have called it "new" - fresh carries a whole different group of meanings.

But finally, my all time bugbear is the word "access" when used as a verb. I don't "access" services. I use them, or apply for them, or get them, or receive them or qualify for them. In fact using access simply weakens the meaning in many cases.

So I am now off to Chair our Neighbourhood Partnership Working Group where no doubt we will be talking about how to refresh the LAA and enable people to access things going forward!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Issue pursued

Thank you to the anonymous person who replied to my blog re cigarettes. I haven't published your comment as that would act as a tip off but I have taken action on the issue. Apologies to other readers as this will mean nothing to them, but I want the person who commented to know that the information has been passed on.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Friends of Garston Park

Anyone interested in meeting to discuss this? Several parks in Liverpool already have Friends groups and they do seem to make a difference. I'd like to get a group of people together to discuss whether we can get a Friends of Garston Park group set up. I've sent some letters out about this, but given that its impossible to write to everyone who might want to be involved, I am posting here too. If there is enough interest I'll get a meeting together so we can discuss it a bit further. If you think you'd like to take part, even if just in a preliminary meeting what I need is your name and contact details (address or e mail address). Please drop me an e mail at

Garston Hospital plans - update

I have just heard from a local resident and campaigner that the application to "spot list" the Garston Hospital building has been rejected. Had the building been listed the PCT were talking about taking their development plans elsewhere (although I am not sure how viable that would have been given the lack of suitable sites elsewhere). What this means is that the PCT still needs planning approval for its plans at the hospital, but that these won't be affected by any listing of the building (although people may still be commenting on other aspects).

I imagine a lot of people will be upset by this as the outside of this building is a significant Garston landmark. Work has been going on to try to incorporate historial aspects into the design, but there is no getting away from the fact that the plans for this building look very different to the old hospital.It may be that there is more that can be suggested, asked for, lobbied for etc but we now also need to concentrate on ensuring that the health improvements do go ahead (particularly in the current financial situation where PFI deals are becoming more and more difficult to obtain)

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Councillors' surgery times to change

A quick note to say that the Cressington Councillors' surgeries will change their day and time from April. They are moving to a Saturday morning at 10 am (but staying at the same place - the library). The one on the 4th Monday of March at 6 30will still take place. It's only in April that the times and dates shift.

Jack Allen leaflet misleads Garston public

People in Garston can't fail to be aware of the leaflet produced on behalf of Jack Allen holdings promoting their new plans for a waste facility at the docks. After the withdrawal of the original plans last year, the company has drawn up new proposals and a charm offensive has begun with three consultation leaflets (last week) and a leaflet.

However the Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority (which is the body responsible for disposing of the waste that you or I put in our purple bins - and which people in other Merseyside boroughs put in theirs) has complained that the information being provided by Jack Allen is quite simply misleading.

Anyone reading the leaflet would think that there was an arrangement for the purple bin lorries to pop along to this new site, leaving the waste there to be treated.

This is an extract from the MWDA letter:

"Throughout the leaflet it is implied that this proposed Jack Allen waste facility will process Liverpool's purple bin waste. The organisation with statutory responsibility for the disposal of household waste collected by District Councils on Merseyside is Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority.

Therefore Jack Allen Holdings Ltd would need to have a contract with the Waste Disposal Authority to treat and dispose of household waste. Jack Allen Holdings Limited DO NOT have a contract with Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority.

Jack Allen Holdings are NOT part of the Authority's current procurement for new waste services and facilities........."

The letter goes on to talk about other statements made as part of the leaflet. It is more than two pages long so I won't copy it all on to here. I am however more than happy to make copies and put them in the post if anyone wants to see the full text. The letter is not marked private and confidential. If you want a copy, please let me have your addresess. I imagine you won't want to post your name and address on the blog (you can if you like) so you may prefer to use my council e mail which is

Monday, 9 March 2009

Party conference in Harrogate

I hadn't intended to speak in the higher education debate at Harrogate as I rather expected others would say the sort of things I wanted to. But listening to Linda Jack's points on women not being called to speak, and the reply that this was partly because not enough women put in speakers' cards in the first place, I thought I had better do my bit. So I bunged in a card and got called towards the end of the debate.

Its a weird thing waiting to be called. If you are not moving the motion or amendment (and so guaranteed your slot) you really can't tell whether your name will come up or not. So you can spend an hour getting nervous for no reason (this has happened to me in the past)

I was glad I spoke in this one though. I was able to use some of my own experiences (working in higher education) and talk about the very real financial pressures most, if not all, students are under.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Jack Allen tries again

Jack Allen holdings, the company with the proposals for the huge waste facility in Garston, is trying again. The original plans were withdrawn towards the end of last year. the company say this was to look again at the scheme - butht he thousands of objections must have been relevant. Now they have a new scheme which, despite some changes, would still cause a major problem for people living near the site (Dock Road) and for those near the roads that will form the lorry route. Jack Allen (or rather their PR consultants) have organised some exhibitions. The residents group I am working with have prepared some leaflets. If you want to go along to the exhibitions they are

Today - at the village hall on Banks Road till 8pm
Friday - at the Innkeepers Lodge which is the hotel next to the Kingsman (Toby Carvery) on Aigburth Road - 12 till 8
Saturday - at the Reading Rooms on Wellington Street in Garston Village - 9 till 5.

The website set up by the residents has been updated and is now at