Councillor Lister writes to Putney
Litter & the Council powers, Government hikes to course fees & the forthcoming Putney Music Festival ....
Keeping the streets clean and free of litter is a constant struggle for any council. In busy town centres like Putney the difficulties are often compounded by the sheer weight of commercial waste left out on the pavements.
Despite repeated warnings many businesses still break the law - and mess up the environment - by failing to make proper arrangements for the collection of their rubbish.
But from next week such deliberately anti-social behaviour will meet with a swifter, more decisive response. Under new laws councils will be able to hit offenders with on the spot fines of £300.
This is a long overdue strengthening of local councils' powers in this area. Our inspectors will be out in force on the first day (April 6) and, where they find problems, will not hesitate to use their new powers.
One of the great things about living in London is the huge variety of adult education courses available at local colleges and centres. For many people, it is not just an opportunity to acquire a new skill, like learning a language or a musical instrument: it's also a place to meet people and socialise.
Now the tradition of the evening class is under threat. Its crime, in the Government's eyes, is that it is seen as a 'middle class' pursuit. By announcing plans to double course fees, ministers aim to wipe out the so-called 'pleasure and leisure' courses.
The cutbacks could hit Wandsworth residents hard as more people attend evening classes here than in any other part of inner London. Colleges estimate that, across the country, a million night school places will be lost. Instead they will switch resources to people who need training in basic skills.
But if by going ahead they wipe out a long tradition of adult learning and self-improvement, the whole community will be the poorer.
Let's hope the weather improves this weekend for the three days of the Putney Music Festival.
With more than 20 local venues staging events it's a great advertisement for the town centre, offering entertainment for locals and visitors alike.
April 13, 2006
Edward Lister is the Leader of Wandsworth Council and a member for Putney's Thamesfield ward.