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THE VILLAGE VIEW

Posted on December 30 2014 at 10:58:50

This column has focused on the Marlbrook Tip farrago on several occasions over the past few years; in fact, some of you might even be getting fed up with hearing us bang on about it.

But if we were to ignore the latest development in the stranger-than-fiction saga, we would be playing right into the hands of those who would prefer to sweep Bromsgrove District Council’s failings under the carpet.

When the cross-party Marlbrook Tip Working Group was finally set up to find a long-term solution to the situation, long-suffering residents and the wider public were promised transparency – yet a critical report from the Local Government Ombudsman was not made public because the council believed it “had no duty to make this information available”.

Despite being produced in October, the report was only revealed at the working group’s December meeting by leading campaigner Roy Hughes.

It declared that Bromsgrove District Council had failed residents by not properly investigating their complaints about the tip, and awarded compensation to Mr Hughes, who had made the complaint to the ombudsman.

While the council is always at pains to point out that the working group was set up to move things forward rather than rake over past mistakes, surely it is important to share all relevant information – only then will residents feel confident that a fair solution can be found.

And, by the way, shouldn’t all the affected residents be entitled to compensation (even though it’s all of us who will foot the bill for the council’s failings, since the money will come out of our council tax)?

All local councillors would also do well to remember that the next two years are election years – which brings us to Alvechurch Parish Council’s complaints about District and County Councillor June Griffiths, who they say “wasn’t coming to our meetings and wasn’t playing a part in anything we were concerned about”.

Although councillors have written to Conservative Party chiefs in Bromsgrove and the leader of Worcestershire County Council with these concerns, they say that ultimately it will be up to the voters to decide.

So do your research and make your vote count – there is little point in complaining about our representatives if we’re just going to tick the same old box at election time. 


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