Inside the Council: Price hike just fuels my anger...

File photo dated 22/04/12 of money with energy bills as households have been urged to "fight back" as they face the almost certain prospect of industry-wide energy price hikes. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday October 10, 2013. SSE's announcement of an 8.2% increase is widely expected to be followed by its competitors, while watchdogs and charities fear that consumers confused by a complicated market believe they have little choice but to ration their heating. Since the start of the century, the price paid by households for gas has more than doubled, while the cost of electricity has increased by 70%. See PA story CITY Consumers. Photo credit should read: Rui Vieira/PA Wire
File photo dated 22/04/12 of money with energy bills as households have been urged to "fight back" as they face the almost certain prospect of industry-wide energy price hikes. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday October 10, 2013. SSE's announcement of an 8.2% increase is widely expected to be followed by its competitors, while watchdogs and charities fear that consumers confused by a complicated market believe they have little choice but to ration their heating. Since the start of the century, the price paid by households for gas has more than doubled, while the cost of electricity has increased by 70%. See PA story CITY Consumers. Photo credit should read: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

I’m not usually grumpy, but the utility companies have really got me going! Ten per cent rises, I mean, how is this justified? I’m not generally a fan of the state, or local government running enterprises because I don’t think they are very good at it.

In the case of necessities like heat, light and water however I’m not sure that privatisation has worked out as it was intended.

At a crossroads over our future

There is only one thing being talked about in Hipperholme at the moment, apart from the weather, and that is the so-called improvement scheme for the crossroads.

The public consultation and the many letters and articles concerning these proposals have highlighted the mass local opposition from all corners of the community.

All three ward councillors oppose it ,all shops and their staff oppose it and 1500 signatures on a petition oppose it unanimously.

The council, however, still seem to think that the benefits outweigh this opposition, that they know best.

What are the alleged benefits? Increased pedestrian safety is one stated. This is just ridiculous. The accident figures for pedestrians at Hipperholme crossroads show that in the last five years there has been one (yes,one!) slight injury.

Frankly, my kitchen is more dangerous.

Reduced journey time is another. This, again, is twaddle.

The highways department (and Clugstones the developer of Southedge Tip) are relying for their traffic projections on figures compiled in June 2012.

At this time the M62 was choc a bloc every day due to the installation of the new £150 million managed motorway system.

Consequently surrounding roads, Hipperholme included, were much busier than usual, and the traffic figures collected by the consultants working with the developer (no clash of interest there then!) were falsely high.

Now with the managed motorway open the traffic in Hipperholme is transformed, and apart from peak hours, when it is busy everywhere you go, queues are non-existent.

So to some extent the council is spending £3.5 million on a scheme that is no longer relevant.

In the councils latest (of many) strategic plans there are lovely phrases such as “encourage local communities to thrive”, “support small businesses” and” generate the conditions for economic growth”.

The scheme for Hipperholme threatens to destroy a local community, close some small businesses and create the conditions for an economic catastrophe.

We ask them to think again.

We’ve got it all wrong

I read a lot of newspapers, and two recent stories brought home to me how mixed up our society has become.

A 75-year-old lady, suffering from dementia is sent home from hospital in a flimsy gown late on a Friday night in a taxi, when she does not know where she lives.

On the next page a woman with multiple children claiming £60,000 a year in benefits, with a pet pony and a plasma TV is buying stolen property on the doorstep of her state funded (that means you and me are paying for it!) house, which she claims is too small.

It sometimes makes you despair.

By Councillor Colin Raistrick