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Inside Politics with Michael Wilkinson: I'm on the people's side

By citizenmike  |  Posted: December 11, 2013

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insidepolitics

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Michael Wilkinson, public affairs correspondent for the Gloucester Citizen, takes an alternative stroll down the corridors of power.

TURF wars have broken out between politicians at Gloucester City Council as they row over a planned increase in charges for garden waste collections.

Currently green-fingered householders fork out £36 per year to have their bins taken away.

But the city’s environment guru, councillor Saj Patel, wants to rake in an extra £70,000 per year from the 18,000 people who use the service.

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He told councillors that he did not know how much the cost of the service would need to increase by, but Labour chief Kate Haigh barked: “You must have had a stab at the figures if you have come with this saving.”

A flustered Saj was rescued by finance chief Pete Gillett who revealed it might be around 10 per cent or £4 extra per year for two years.

Councillor Declan Wilson (LD, Hucclecote) said: “The amount of money that we will get in is going to be very small indeed. We should be encouraging people to use the service more, not less.”

It was clear nobody really knows how many people would ditch the service if they had to pay £8 more for it – but who will stomach this rise in hard times when you could sling it in t’other bin instead?

NEVER mind advent calendars, some councillors are already marking off the days until they fight to get re-elected in next May’s city council elections.

Some people have accused me of all sorts lately: I’m ‘in the pocket of Labour’, I’ve got a ‘personal vendetta’, I’m too this, too that.

Let me be clear – I’m on the people’s side. We live in a fabulous city that is on the cusp of some dramatic regeneration, but we need keep our politicians on their toes to make sure change happens. Whatever their political colours are.

Anything else is a nonsense.

BIGWIG developer John Whittaker, chairman of Peel Holdings, is coming to look at his baby that is Gloucester Quays on Monday.

With an amassed fortune of £2.3billion the astute businessman appears at number 31 in the Sunday Times Rich List.

He will enjoy a Hobbit-theme luncheon as he takes in the dramatic changes that have been enjoyed thanks to his £250million investment in Gloucester Docks.

The 60 shops, restaurants, cinema, gym and supermarket have never looked so good. With one million visitors to the Docks each year and four million shoppers at the Quays, there has never been a better time to check it all out. And here’s hoping that when he comes to visit Gloucester he will throw a whole load more regeneration money our way.

SHOULD council tax bills be e-mailed in the future? Of course they should. In fact, why is this not happening already?

Earlier this year I moved to a new property and far too many pieces of paper were flying through the letterbox when Gloucester City Council could just have e-mailed me.

Councillor Mark Hobbs (L, Moreland) said: “The way it works at the moment is quite unsustainable. I have had five pieces of paper and it is such a waste.”

City council bosses are looking into the way they work. Good on ‘em.

BROADCASTER Jonathan Dimbleby certainly had his hands full when he visitied the Forest of Dean last Friday to present BBC Radio 4 Any Questions.

He scoffed at a rotund man who got bolshie and proclaimed: “Down with capitalism!”

It made me realise just how terribly polite we are here, despite being angry at austerity. Look what happened in Greece in the past year with violence on the streets of Athens and a man having a rant in the Forest becomes laughable.

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8 comments

  • Mike_Smith_Gl  |  December 21 2013, 12:31AM

    Is anyone else sick to death of the confounded adverts that keep popping up every time they try to scroll down this site?? It is so frustrating!

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  • emseaell  |  December 13 2013, 10:36AM

    KimberlyDTyne stupid cow at it again

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  • jas37  |  December 12 2013, 6:02PM

    Perhaps John Whittaker could convince Bishop Bros to sell the collection of ruins and wasteland at Baker's Quay that they own to Peel to enable it to be included in the next phase of the Quays- what a difference that would make. I wonder if anyone has brought the Prison site to his attention, would perhaps make an ideal project for them.

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  • Snappy_Happer  |  December 12 2013, 11:59AM

    'A flustered Saj' sounds about right. I can't think of many people less suited to be an 'environment guru'.

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  • Beekeeper  |  December 12 2013, 11:35AM

    "The 60 shops, restaurants, cinema, gym and supermarket have never looked so good" - Why are we building a US style shopping mall, just like so many others, which offers nothing you can't find elsewhere and damages and distracts from the historic and unique historic city centre with its local shops? Answer - because this is what suits big business. Gloucester is driving people away in a race to the bottom with its "shopping outlets", chain stores, Macdonalds, KFC, Starbucks etc etc. Goodbye, historic city. Hello, clone town.

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  • Walker100b  |  December 12 2013, 8:25AM

    ".....and four million shoppers at the Quays". OK Michael, I have asked this question before on this site following similar claims from Peel and The Quays. How is the figure of 4 million visitors to the Quays arrived at? Because if the Quays was open 365 days a year that is 11,000 visitors each and every single day. Now, I don't want to be viewed as a cynical old person but I simply do not believe that figure, having seen the sight of a desolate Quays on so many occasions. Just how are visitor numbers measured when you have multiple points of entry and people coming in through two or even more entrances every visit?

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  • SandraPee  |  December 12 2013, 8:23AM

    When you take into account the ongoing cost of upgrading IT equipment / programs , the costs surely wouldn't be that more expensive . Are we not in danger of relying too much on doing more and more online ? All it needs is one hec of a cyber attack and we're all in utter chaos . ( never thought I'd be using words like ''cyber attack''........!!! )

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  • MrGarnet  |  December 11 2013, 8:03PM

    SHOULD council tax bills be e-mailed in the future? Of course they should. In fact, why is this not happening already? And why when you have a simple query regarding issues with council tax they insist on answering an email by post within 14 days!!! CRAZY!!

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