Viewpoint: E-scooters and Castle Hill roundabout concerns

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Council is not meeting its set standards

Barry Giggins’ letter about scrutiny (Viewpoint, June 3) brought the RBWM Environment and Climate (E&C) Strategy immediately to mind.

The strategy was approved by cabinet in December 2020 and as far as I’m aware hasn’t been before any Overview and Scrutiny (O&S) Panel since.

In contrast, the RBWM Single Use Plastic (SUP) Strategy was endorsed at the same December meeting and went before the Communities O&S Panel the following month.

There may be good reasons for this, but there’s no excuse for the current absence of governance.

The council took 18 months to get its E&C Strategy written and approved, and is now ignoring its own governance provisions.

The strategy clearly states that the Cross-Party Climate Steering Group will continue to oversee the development and delivery of the strategy (paragraph 5.9).

However, the group didn’t meet between November 2020 and May 2021, and the May meeting was only arranged when the community stakeholders raised the matter with senior councillors and officers.

The Steering Group is still uncertain about its role and doesn’t have any Terms of Reference.

The strategy also states that the Steering Group will be supported by a Stakeholder Advisory Board to support monitoring and delivery of the action plans (paragraph 5.10). At the second meeting in May the council finally agreed that Terms of Reference would be drafted and that the Board would meet again in 2 months’. In other words, the can was “kicked down the road”.

In the meantime, the only action plan that we have is the skeletal version contained in the strategy itself. It isn’t complete, quantified, or prioritised, and isn’t linked to the agreed trajectory to net zero. A detailed action plan is now the highest priority. Without it we are blind. Instead there are prolonged and unnecessary debates about roles and Terms of Reference for governance organisations, but no governance and no scrutiny.

At a recent meeting of full council, the Lead Member for Sustainability stated she was confident that the borough would achieve 50 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2025 in accordance with the trajectory to net zero. I admire her optimism, but under the current levels of scrutiny and governance there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell.


Balmoral Gardens


Dangerous e-scooter use is not being checked

E-scooters are high profile in the media at the moment, however, they have been high profile on the Cliveden View estate for the past few months.

Both adults and children (of about 11/12 years) are perpetually using them on both the road and pavements where I live, indeed two children on one scooter have been seen on the road!

It is quite clear what the legal situation is for the use of e-scooters and the above use is not legal.

Both my local Liberal Democrat councillor as well the Police, Community Engagement & Resilience Officer (PCE & RO) have been advised of the above situation, the former saying that she would inform the community wardens whereas the latter stated that they had more important things to deal with such as the COVID-19 pandemic!

When there is a tragedy involving a young child in my road, I will remind my local PCE & RO of their complacency.


Create a proper lane to make roundabout safer

At the Castle Hill roundabout, after extensive alterations, the extra right hand lane from Frascati Way appears to be turning back on itself when there is adequate space on the roundabout to make a proper lane.

I cannot think that many people will use this lane as it is inconvenient at the least if not dangerous!


East Road


What was intended in approving this protocol?

Phil Jones writes that I was wrong in a letter printed on May 20, basically because I should have used the word ‘treatment’ rather than ‘drug’.

This is what can happen when one follows a report in the London Times, supposedly a ‘newspaper of record’, rather than a parallel report in the longer established but lesser known and circulated Belfast News Letter.

But all this is really beside the main point, which is that the Great Charlatan and the Tory MPs keeping him in Downing Street have now reduced our compatriots in Northern Ireland to the status of second class citizens.

And government lawyers even claimed before the High Court in Belfast that their constitutional degradation has been legitimised by the implied repeal of Article 6 of the 1800 Act of Union of Great Britain and Ireland.

We await the judgement in that case; hopefully it could require the government to ask parliamentarians whether they really intended to set in train the dissolution of the country when they approved the Irish protocol.


Belmont Park Avenue


Please let Bridge Road nightmare end soon

I am a resident of Bridge Road. It seems since forever we have been putting up with the ‘improvement’ works at the Oldfield junction which has caused long delays for traffic in both directions along Bridge Road and from the south of Oldfield Road.

Arguments as to the need for these works I will leave to others but today I received a note from Volker Highways on behalf of RBWM telling me that, for five nights between June 21 and 28, Bridge Road will be resurfaced.

The section at the junction with Ray Park Avenue was resurfaced without warning one weekday night last month and the noise and flashing lights between 10.30pm and 4.30am the next morning was indescribable.

Now we are expected to put up with five more nights of this.

I cannot understand if it is possible to carry out the Oldfield junction works during the day for 18 weeks why is it necessary to carry out resurfacing of the road over six nights?

It seems to me if the road needs resurfacing and it can be done completely in less than 40 hours then another week of daytime working would see the work finished.

Or is that too simple a conclusion?

This entire road work improvement programme has been a management disaster from the beginning.

Please make it end soon.


Bridge Road


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