WANTED: Ambassador for Colnbrook Conservation Area. Apply Within.
The Parish Council appears to be finally waking up to the state of the village and has been discussing options for improvements – including the appointment of an Ambassador for the Conservation Area.
The Chair and Vice-Chair of Colnbrook Parish Council appear, belatedly, to be making some attempts to clean -up the village. At least, they have acknowledged the extent of the problem which, as anybody suffering from a debilitating problem knows, is the first step on a path to rehabilitation.
In the last Finance & Policy Committee meeting before the Summer recess Cllr Angell reported new litter bins have finally been ordered for the Colnbrook Recreation Ground. The lamentable state of our parks came under the scrutiny of these pages last year when over a dozen residents posted comments about overflowing bins, drug paraphernalia and broken glass. Keep Britain Tidy said they would keep the parks under closer scrutiny after the Green Flag Award was widely mocked last year
Then, as now, Cllr Angell said there had been a problem with animals taking rubbish out of the old ones, which had no lids.
In the Services Committee meeting on the same evening, Cllr Angell also noted that all the entrances into Colnbrook and Poyle were an eyesore due to the extent of the current fly-tipping problem. The shock of the comment must surely have caused a momentary pause in proceedings and a sharp intake of breath all round.
WHAT CAN THEY DO? Things don't always have to be left to Slough Borough Council, Highways England or the Environment Agency. Contrary to popular belief Parish councils do have a wide-range of powers to address the issues of litter, dog fouling, fly-tipping and similar issues. These include the Litter Act 1983; the Environmental Protection Act 1990; the Litter (Animal Droppings) Order 1991; the Public Health Acts of 1875 and 1936; and the Open Spaces Act 1906. Parish Councils can (and elsewhere do) hand out fixed penalty notices, litter abatement notices, or street little control notices. (‘Quality Parish Councils’ can use income from fines on anything, and you may like to use it on other environmental projects which will gain public support). They can also take responsibility for signage, placing (and emptying) bins, or employing litter wardens and litter pickers. A Parish Council also has a general power of competence established under the Localism Act 2011 to do almost anything. The CPRE has a toolkit on what Parish Council can do (if they want to).
Sadly on this occasion there is to be no instant remedy. PSCO Cropper told councillors she was pushing for the fly-tipping at the entrances to the parish to be dealt with by the respective agencies but the problem lay with the fact that “different highways authorities and different budgets were involved”. Alas!
The Chairman, however, has come up with a cunning plan for the centre of the village.
He says he would like a volunteer to be an Ambassador for the Conservation Area and take up maintenance issues with Slough Borough Council. Apparently there should have been a 10 year review (of exactly what, we do not know) which has not happened. Street furniture is broken, bollards have been removed and weeds and litter are everywhere.
Interested applicants should apply to the Parish Council when it convenes again after the August recess.
In the mean time, talking to Slough Borough Council at the Community Day tomorrow remains your best bet. The Council’s multi-agency community fun day runs from 12pm until 4pm tomorrow and Community Projects Officer Esther Masters has said she is interested to hear from residents on how the area can be improved.