22 December 2018

Councillor’s Corner 18/19 No 13 – A Board Saga; the next sorry episode

Pitmen supporter and HTFCSA committee member Paul Woodhead is a Cannock Chase District Councillor for Hednesford. You will see him around the ground most match days, usually as Pitman Pete and in the Strikers Bar after the game where you can talk to him about any matters or issues of concern.

In these articles I want to bring the role of the councillor alive to you and ensure I am accountable to you as the elected representative for the ward in which the football club resides. I will highlight some of the things I get involved with and the decisions the council makes on your behalf. I will be available after most home games for a general conversation and we can arrange a private discussion should that be appropriate. Alternatively you can contact me by phone on 07930 120077 or by email paul.woodhead@greenparty.org.uk

I am returning to a regular topic which I would have thought would have been resolved by now; the A Board or Commercial Obstructions of the Highway Policy. After making representations to the original consultation that the provision of advice was the most appropriate way forward in February 2017 the cross party scrutiny committee finally agreed that this was the way forward in October this year. The process then means that this was recommended to cabinet for them to consider before making a further recommendation to all councillors at a meeting of the full council.

Despite this recommendation and the many hours of work by scrutiny colleagues the Labour Cabinet has rejected the recommendation and asked for further work to be done about how to implement the policy. I am incensed by the arrogance of this decision dismissing the work and wishes of councillors, businesses and the community.

It is yet another demonstrable example of the Labour Cabinet being out of touch with the community, out of touch with our high streets and out of touch businesses. It is disgraceful that this cabal ignores the work of scrutiny colleagues and the will of the community to reverse this absurd policy. The recommendations from the committee are sensible and proportionate and I hope that when it comes to full Council the cabinet decision will be reversed and a policy will be adopted which supports the will of our community.

The policy is implemented to control the size and location of A Boards at an annual charge as well as outside shop displays and pavement cafes. There have been no recorded incidents involving health and safety concerns of these items in the District. The policy only currently applies to the town centres of Cannock, Rugeley and Hednesford. Part of these new plans is to consider expanding the policy across the whole District.