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Monday, 24 August 2009


I'm now back on my feet, just, as I've been ill since Thursday.

Been a very odd 4 days, mostly spent in bed. If it was the Swine Flu we'll never know, but I wasn't planning on going near that Tamiflu and I'm not really convinced that anyone's had Swine Flu anyway. I'm personally convinced it's a marketing ploy for Roche and GSK.

It's safe to say that I don't remember being this ill since I was a Child - certainly not to the extent that I've been out of action for such a prolonged period of time. I felt so pathetic and lifeless. I've spent most of it in bed, not really quite sleeping, with Test Match Special on in the background. Therefore it's all been some sort of fever-ridden restless euphoric Ashes victory blur chaperoned by Jonathan Agnew and Phil Tufnell.

How odd.

Once you're better you spend time trying to work out how you contracted the damn lurgy in the first place, and I have to say that all fingers point west in this instance. The most likely time is the joint meeting I attended over in Chester about the social care system we use. Perhaps CWAC they're trying to poison us?!

Saturday, 22 August 2009

I'm Ill....

Been in bed for the last few days, hence no updates. Hope to be back soon.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Where does your Macclesfield recycling go?

I was sent this a couple of days ago by Cllr Smetham. Being a geek, I found it interesting, and I thought you might too:

Material collected for recycling in the Macclesfield area is sorted and separated at the kerbside. It is then taken to the council’s depot in Macclesfield to be passed to contractors for processing. The materials are sold on to approved industry sources to be turned into new products.

Paper Recycling collected at kerbside is sent to UPM-Kymmene Ltd paper mill in Shotton. Here it is recycled into paper for newsprint.

Glass Recycling collected at kerbside is sent to Recresco Ltd for processing into glass cullet for use in making new glass bottles. Further information can be found at their website.

Green Garden Waste collected in the green wheelie bins is taken to CRJ on farm composting in Allostock where it is composted in an open windrow system.
Aluminium cans collected are sorted from the steel cans at the councils’ depot in Macclesfield and sent to Novelis in Warrington recycled back to aluminium sheets.

Cardboard collected is sent to a local merchant who then supplies markets in the UK and abroad.

Steel is processed by Corus in the UK.

The Salvation Army collects textiles from the council’s depot, the textiles are then sorted and sent to Salvation Army shops in the UK and to various countries worldwide.

The recycling process depends on market demand for the materials collected. The UK has a growing market for recyclable material with new businesses coming on line particularly in the area of plastic recycling that will increase UK demand for the material. Other materials as described above may be exported to nations where there is a greater heavy industry demand for the raw materials.

While we would wish to support the UK market, export of good quality recyclable raw material is not necessarily a negative option but a product of the global market we are part of. Companies exporting product for recycling are controlled by the Environment Agency to prevent the export of waste. From a carbon miles perspective most export of recyclable product is on ships already delivering goods to the UK that could otherwise have returned empty. That said, as the UK market for recyclable product increases it is likely there will be less need for long distance export.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Lib Dems using taxpayers money for Political leaflets

Our Chief Executive, Erika Wenzel, will have this morning received the following letter from myself. I thought some of you may be interested with the content.

As you will no doubt be aware, the Highways Department are undertaking a review of on-street parking following a similar review carried out in Wilmslow. This process is beginning with a consultation phase which has recently seen an exhibition in Macclesfield Town Hall seeking the views of residents.

Highways have been very careful to include members from an early stage of the process, and for this I am very grateful. In fact, members were invited to a meeting at the Lyme Green depot to discuss the consultation phase. At this time, they asked one of the members if they would be happy to co-ordinate the publicity of the consultation. Cllr Arnold volunteered, and all present agreed on the proviso that none of the communication would be party political.

I was therefore dismayed to receive a copy of a leaflet advertising the Town Hall exhibition which was drafted by Cllr Arnold's party and distributed at the expense of the Highways department. This leaflet does not carry Cheshire East branding and does not mention any Councillors involved other than the Liberal Democrat members. It also carries the phrase "working for you" - which in the context of the rest of the leaflet suggests that this is a project driven by Cllr Arnolds party.

I have enclosed a copy for your review. It seems inappropriate that Cheshire East and therefore taxpayer’s money has funded this.

I received a note from Rob Cramer explaining that other Councillors could have a leaflet funded if they wished, but this note was received too late to publicise the exhibition in our wards. In any case, I’m not convinced that “two wrongs make a right”. Any publication of the exhibition funded by Cheshire East should have been non-partisan and correctly branded.

I responded to Rob outlining my concerns. Several weeks have now past and I have had no response.

I ask that you personally investigate this matter, specifically how a publication on behalf of Councillors for one political party came to be funded by the Council and not approved by our publicity department. I look forward to hearing the outcome of your investigation.

Naturally, I've got a lot more to say on the issue - but I thought you'd like the facts of the matter first.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Parking Express Comments

Here follows a selection of comments about me from the Macclesfield Express website:
"Come off it he is all show and no substance. He claims a lot of credit for projects which were initialised befiore he even came to Macc."

"We should be grateful that we have Councilors like Ainsley, John, and David who are prepared to represent their consituents, unlike some of the others mentioned."

"Perhaps they are just out of town tory clones. "

"If that is true, and I have nothing to suggest that it is not, then it does show the contempt that we as residents and traders are held by some of our elected representatives."

"What hope will Macclesfield ever have of getting decisions about the town, from people who have no interest in the town. "

Makes pleasant reading, doesn't it?

Notwithstanding that there is an anti-tory bias in the comments on the site that's not reflected at the ballot box, and notwithstanding that there is a pro-Darryl bias in my views, one can't help being a little aggrieved by these comments.

Some people fire of vitriol without consideration for what I have actually done or what my opinions actually are.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Death at Waters Green

Received from the local constabulary:

An assault took place in the Waters Green area of Macclesfield during the early hours of yesterday morning. Sadly, as a result, a 37 year old male later died in hospital.

Police responded to the incident and enquiries were commenced. These enquiries ranged from interviewing witnesses to reviewing CCTV evidence. At the time of typing an arrest has been made and the matter continues to be investigated. There is already some local media coverage relating to the incident and I am confident that the offender will be charged with the relevant offences in due course.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Macclesfield cannot be found

A constant source of entertainment for me is fellow Councillors who get upset about some areas of the Borough getting more attention than others.

I suppose I find it entertaining because I sense the same paranoia in my own opinions. I remember myself moving to change the name of a topic at a Childrens & Families committee from "Underperforming schools in the South of the Borough" to just "Underperforming schools".

Fundamentally this is because if they're underperforming then they're underperforming, regardless of location. But I can't admit there wasn't a pang of fear that Crewe would be getting attention that Macclesfield wouldn't.

Anyway, there was a big flurry of excitment this week as one of my colleagues (who shall remain nameless unless they contact me requesting otherwise) drew our attention to this link:


It details community grant schemes for all of the borough. Try the links for Crewe, Congleton, and then Macclesfield, and you'll be able to guess what all the noise was about.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Council tax revaluation

This may be a little out of date now - as I've found it as a saved post on blogger that I meant to put onto the blog a couple of weeks ago. The topic of the day was council tax revaluation. The story was that covert methods were being used to re-band houses that had good views or nice gardens in order to bump them up to a different band.


I've been contacted by a constituent who was convinced that the recent stories about central government encouraging council tax revaluations didn't paint the whole story. Their concern was that the council were "in" on this, and it was just a different way for Cheshire East to get more money out of them.

This isn't the case, and can be proved by the way the council tax setting process works. This information is open to the public, and is all included in the papers for the budget meeting.

Essentially, the council decides how much it's going to spend in each department. It forecasts how much income we will receive from fees and fines, etc, and that leaves us with a deficit which will be paid for by council tax.

The council tax is then set by dividing this up into the different bands.

If a house is moved from one band to another, it does not result in the council getting more money - the total "take" from council tax has already been set. It just means that a bit more comes in from the higher bands, and in theory the lower bands can all pay a little bit less.

So what's the point in the revaluation? I suppose it's to try and make the system a bit fairer. I just hope that some properties get revised down as well as up.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009


Everyone in the Council gets sent a newsletter from Erika Wenzel called "TeamTalk" telling us what has been going on that week. Whilst we all know it isn't all penned by Erika herself, I at least like the romanticism that we all got a chirpy email from her every week.

Now they've changed it. It's still got Erika's signature on it and has the same kind of content, but it's now emailed from "Communications Cheshire East".

The ever expanding media relations department extends it's reach further...

I just felt a cold shiver go down my spine.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Is that it?

Seems the anti-viral collection point in the senior citizens hall is being closed down due to a lack of punters.

Does this mean that Swine-flu isn't as bad as we thought it was? Someone has suggested to me that most of the people off sick were a combination of people with colds, and some that fancied a few days off work. Once the skivers had done their bit it turned out that there wasn't that many ill as we expected.

I don't know if there's any truth in that, but I know that the senior citizens will be pleased to be back home. I'm also a little disappointing because I was only half way through a humorous blog post about how we should all be setting up stalls in the car parks to sell vicks vaporub and tissues to the "Flu friends" arriving from afar. I thought it would be a good way to supplement my pension.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Quiet blog week

Sorry chaps, been a bit of a quiet week on the blog.

I've had a lot of reading to do - trying to get on top of the social services IT system which is called PARIS. I'm a bit concerned that this isn't quite working out as well as it could, and I'm trying to find out why.

We've also been trying to get some progress on improving anti-social behaviour on the Weston. We're getting some anti-climb paint put up and some additional measures for the community centre.

I've got a lot of things I want to post about, but they'll have to wait for next week. One of them is about why James Nicholas always gets his letters in the express when I don't, and another is about rises in the number of looked after children. I blogged about the latter a while back and the 'Express are rumoured to be working on a story following the blog. I hope they do it justice.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Feeding the troll

They always say don't feed the trolls, but I couldn't help myself when James Nicholas wrote to the express last week. He suggested that it was all my fault that the Lib Dem's motion got little debate and was referred to cabinet.

I've not seen the paper today, but if they carried my response it would have looked like this:

James Nicholas would do well to carry out some research before committing pen to paper.

The debate on the parking motion was limited by procedure rule 12 of the Constitution, the Mayor had no choice in the matter. This allows 15 minutes discussion, to include 5 minutes each for proposer and seconder. It is therefore no surprise that there was not enough time for all members to speak who wished to.

The Constitution also mandates that the matter must be referred to Cabinet. He is wrong to suggest that there was anything I could have done to force a vote at the meeting and prevent this from happening.

Regrettably, it seemed that Nicholas is not the only person that hasn't read the Constitution as the Lib-Dem Members moving the motion were as much in the dark about procedure as he was. The layman can be forgiven, those paid to be there should be better informed.

Paying for parking

Assuming we can come up with parking incentive that works for the council and traders, it'll probably cost some money. Either the taxpayers will have to fund this or we'll have to get creative.

How about cutting the media relations department? We could save £140K there...which seems quite a lot for a bunch of press releases.