Tributes to Marilyn
The meeting started with tributes being paid to, Cllr Marilyn Greenwood (Greetland & Stainland) who died at the beginning of February. Speeches were made by the Mayor, her chaplain Canon Hilary Barber, three group leaders, the Chief Executive and other councillors. Mention was made of Marilyn’s dedication to her ward and to the causes she felt passionately about. A slideshow of Marilyn’s favourite photographs was shown accompanied by a recording of the Calderdale Choir, of which Marilyn was a member.
At the November 2020 Council Meeting, a petition was submitted opposing reductions in the waste and recycling collection service that were under consideration at that time. As the petition had garnered over 3,000 signatures, the issue automatically gained a place on this Council Meeting’s agenda. Paul Bellenger (Greetland & Stainland) led the debate, highlighting the options that were being considered earlier: closure of some of the waste/recycling sites; reduced frequency of collections, and the withdrawal of the household collection service for some rural properties. James Baker (Warley) commented that the size of the petition showed how much local residents valued universal services such as waste collection. However, while Paul led, very few councillors followed, with just one Labour councillor pointing out that the Cabinet had not found it necessary to pursue many of the savings options initially put forward.
Council Transparency Questioned
James Baker questioned whether the Council was as open and transparent as it claimed. The recording of the November Council Meeting had not yet been placed on the Council’s YouTube channel; a Cabinet key decision list had again been published containing no upcoming items; Cabinet agenda papers had recently been published later than normal and spending reductions agreed under the Future Council programme were difficult to follow.
Access to Education
Ashley Evans (Warley) expressed his concern that, especially in the current lockdown situation, children from lower income households had less access to education than those who were better off. The effects this may stay with them for the rest of their lives, said Ashley.
Waste and Recycling Collections Need to be Improved
Following increases in complaints from residents about missed collections, increased fly-tipping and more sightings of rats, Ashley Evans placed a motion on the Council agenda calling for the Cabinet to come up with a plan to improve the waste collection service.
Ashley told the meeting that the quality of the waste collection was a big issue for residents and the service seemed to be struggling to cope with the extra demand caused by many people being at home and many children not at school. While the collection crews were working very hard, there were increased reports of missed collections and rats and other vermin. Fly-tipping was a big problem in some areas – especially in poorer parts of the borough – and his calls for a more pro-active approach to tackling it, including greater use of mobile CCTV cameras, had gone unanswered.
James Baker agreed that the collection crews were working hard, but recent events had tipped the service over the edge and capacity needed to be increased. James also criticised the government for not doing enough to shift workers from commercial waste services where demand had fallen to domestic waste collection where they were more needed.
Labour councillors, though, reported much better experiences with waste collections in their wards and replaced Ashley’s motion with a self-congratulatory statement of what has been done to improve matters. As Ashley pointed out, whatever has been done has been shown to be inadequate and the service being received by residents is not good enough