3 Jun 2010

Casework: pink dog poo, footpath, housing and more

More on why this guy is spraying dog poo pink in a moment but first at a recent Parish AGM I mentioned casework and people were interested in what this entails - periodically I have covered bits in this blog - but I can't go into details as issues raised with me are confidential. Of course sometimes I seek permission to put the info on this blog - like work trying to get translators for deaf parents (see here) or a bus shelter at Tesco (see here).

Well to give a flavour of one afternoon last week here are some items that I looked at (excluding specific planning application issues):

- Footpath Lightwood Lane to Zion Hill (MWH 10). I have been asked by a resident to update on the proposed changes to this footpath as they were unable to obtain info - the changes have been advertised and objections were received to the proposals. I am aware properties have been hit by vehicles and they are understandably concerned by a potential increase in traffic along the route that is 1 in 3 in places. The latest news is that on a technicality, the County may have to re-advertise the proposals but in any event, having received a number of objections the matter will be referred to the Planning Inspectorate which will result in a Public Inquiry. The County have assessed the claim as ‘High’ in their priority rating but can't yet say when the inquiry will take place. It is normal practice for objectors to be notified of the date of the Inquiry. The Inquiry can hear from people wishing to make representations, both for and against.

- Access issue. At the request of residents I brought to the attention of the Parish Council and County Council that two residents living on Main Road, Whiteshill who live in the bungalows specifically for the disabled are having problems getting in and out of their homes due to the speed of the traffic and lack of paving. One of the residents uses a mobility scooter and she finds it difficult to get out without having to enter the middle of the road. Highways have now visited the site and come up with a couple of options - neither in my view are satisfactory. The site is very dfifficult to see what to do with - to me another argument for the mandatory 20 mph that we have long requested. Anyhow I discussed the options with residents and will take forward thoughts to next stage.

- Immigration issue. I helped write a letter of support to a resident who was being threatened with deportation within 5 days despite being married to a local resident.

- Housing transfer. I was able to help a resident make their case more effectively and move up to a higher priority rating as a crucial factor had not been identified.

- Whose garden? One Council house in the ward has an area of land that has disputed ownership. I made several phone calls to chase the investigation as nothing has seemingly happened for months. It doesn't look like it will but at least the householder knows that now!

- Parish Council elections. As noted there are some vacancies in Randwick. I met with two possible candidates to help explain what it entails.

- Dog fouling notices on footpath MWH/33/1 (Whiteshill behind Church). I have been approached by two residents regarding the vandalism of the notices put up to discourage dog fouling in the field. One resident also raised the issue at the Parish Council. Ironically in taking the photo below I managed to get some of the stuff on my shoes! Dog fouling continues to be a problem in this area. I have requested that the notices be replaced and also passed on the info to the Dog Warden at the District Council.

So why spray dog poo pink? Well I had heard about John Wood, a Sherwood Forest Community Ranger and his idea with paint - see photo above - to raise awareness about dog poo and it's dangers - when sprayed pink it made inconsiderate dog walkers aware of how big the problem was - I understand the National Trust have also used paint - I wondered if folk had thoughts on how effective it might be at raising awareness locally?

John Wood comments: "I was getting fed up with standing in dog poo while out walking in the woods so I decided to find a way of warning others of the dangers ahead. That's when I came up with the idea to spray paint every dog faeces in the park with permanent fluorescent pink paint. Now I have an army of volunteers that go out every day to search for dog poo and spray it pink. I have seen a drop in the number of complaints from visitors standing in poo and made the woods a more colourful place."

I love the comment from Councillor Eddie Smith at Mansfield District Council when he commented: "We are looking to expand on John's idea and have issued pink spray canisters to all council employees. We envisage our staff using the paint in a variety of different areas - traffic wardens will spray drivers windscreens to identify those illegally parked & road cleaners will spray chewing gum stuck on the pavements. We are currently in discussions with the police to allow them to spray those they have arrested to easily identify criminals to the community. The possibilities are endless."

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