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redrobbo

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About redrobbo

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    Forum Technophobe
  • Birthday 18/04/1948

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    United Kingdom
  1. The council's cabinet committee recently approved the demolition of the remainder of the 5M (flat-roofed) properties in Arbourthorne, (located off East Bank Road and Eastern Avenue). As a councillor for the Arbourthorne ward, I chaired the numerous public meetings back in 2004 which eventually led to the Arbourthorne Masterplan being adopted. These properties were built to last for approx 20 years, but have lasted much longer than that. The brick-built houses in Arbourthorne have been improved to the government's Decent Homes Standard, but these properties don't muster the test, and will therefore be the last major-scale demolition scheme in Sheffield. A number of the 5M properties have already been demolished, but the Tory-Lib Dem coalition pulled the plug on goverment funding to complete the demolition work. The council has now found a way to secure that funding and so the remaining 5M properties have recently been declared for demolition. If you are to be made homeless - because the house you live in is going to be knocked down - then you are legally entitled to compensation. The council will also give you priority for rehousing. Private owners, that is those occupants who have bought their own council homes, will be compensated for the market value of their properties and also have their legal costs met. Council tenants will be eligible for disturbance payments, for example to cover the cost of new carpets and curtains when they move. I'm not sure what private tenants might be compensated for though. But as it happens, I'm in the process of setting up the first of a series of monthly meetings with those residents affected by the demolition scheme, and thanks to the OP raisding this issue, I'll make enquiries with council officers as to their eligibility for compensation.
  2. Sheffield isn't London Bikertec. We are not in any case talking about the general travelling public in their private vehicles, but about street traders - who need a license to operate in Sheffield. I'm confident we'll find a solution to the problem of meeting the government's target of vehicle emissions for street traders. In the meantime, whilst we further ponder this problem - and with the better weather we're now experiencing - I'm relishing having a '99'!
  3. As the chair of Sheffield Council Licensing Committee, I may be the "horse's mouth" you are referring to! Permit me to put this into perspective. Last November, the Licensing Committee (which comprises Labour, Lib Dem and Green councillors) received a report on street trading. In an attempt to improve both vehicle standards and emissions it was agreed that an age restriction of 5 years on vehicles would be imposed. No ice cream traders had responded to the council's consultation document. But nearly two weeks ago now, an ice cream trader from Walkley came to a committee meeting to appeal against the new policy. The gentleman provided a sound and sensible case to allow him to continue trading with his existing vehicle (which is over 20 years of age) and his application was granted. In the process of granting the application, we immediately suspended the new policy and asked officers to review the vehicle emissions issue again. As a council, we do, by law, have to meet certain standards of emissions as adopted by the government - as RosyRat has been explaining. But it is now obvious that the policy we adopted isn't suitable, and so we've scrapped it. A new consultation on different ideas on how to meet the goverment's emissions policy will now take place with street traders. It is to be hoped that the ice cream traders will, this next time round, give us their views! ---------- Post added 22-04-2013 at 18:37 ---------- See my post above. The council are not targetting ice cream vans. The Licensing Committee adopted a report in relation to street traders (which includes mobile fruit & veg vans, wet fish vans, burger vans, ice cream vans, etc.). The 15 year age policy for taxis relates to the period of time when they need to be replaced. Taxis are already governed by an emissions policy. The idea of having an age restriction on street traders (including ice cream vans) as a mechanism to control vehicle emissions fell at the first hurdle when the ice cream seller from Walkley explained to us the problems it was going to cause him. We listened, and instantly scrapped the new policy to go back to the drawing board.
  4. The council licensing commitee has an age restriction policy of 15 years on black cabs. redrobbo is the chair of Sheffield City Council Licensing Committee
  5. Thanks to all for your kind birthday wishes. I was in Brighton to celebrate a (second!) birthday that I didn't expect to see. Had a geat time. Life is wonderful, plus (but please don't tell Cameron and Osborn what I'm about to reveal to you....) I've reached an age where the government are now paying me a weekly sum of money to be old! red
  6. My Dad worked in pits that became unworkable because they became flooded, filled with methane gas (he was on one occasion trapped following an explosion underground), or - as in his native county Durham - simply exhuasted. But I wouldn't disagree with your contention that (even during the Thatcher government) coal production needed subsidising. What's wrong with that? To this very day the government continues to subsidise many things, for example, the rail network. Indeed, and most importantly, the government subsidises the production of nuclear energy. If nuclear energy can be subsidised, why not coal energy? The answer, I believe, is because Mrs Thatcher was hell bent on destroying the unions. Indeed, Mrs T settled an earlier wage demand from the NUM, but then stockpiled coal. Then when Arthur Scargill was goaded into calling strike action (in the summer (!) and without a ballot of his union members) the battle lines wre drawn. The miners lost, and the McGregor pit closure programme was accelerated. There was no doubt that Margaret Thatcher won the battle, and the unions subsequently became emasculated.
  7. However much I disagreed with the Thatcher government, there was, I discovered, a human side to the face of the Iron Lady. Mrs Thatcher flew to Bruges to visit survivors of the Zeebrugge ferry disaster in hospital. I too flew to Belgium and returned with a little boy who had been orphaned when five of his family were dronwed. He was the sole survivor. I was unaware that Mrs Thatcher had met this little boy, until a few nights later I received a telephone call at home from her Personal Private Secretay, who was enquiring on her behalf over what was now happening to this little boy. My number was ex-directory, and in any case I thought this was a newspaper reporter attempting to obtain information by a ruse. I refused point blank to discuss anything. The man claimed he was ringing from No 10 Downing Street and gave me his number to ring back. He told me to give my name and to ask to be put straight through to him. I rang Directory Enquiries for the No 10 Downing Street number. It was the same number. I rang, gave my name and asked to put through. The receptionsist said that Mrs Thatcher's Personal Private Secretary was expecting my call and put me straight through to him. The guy thanked me for ringing back and supplying him with the information he was enquiring about on behalf of Mrs Thatcher. I have no doubt from this event that Mrs Thatcher was touched by this orphaned boy's terrible plight and in the aftermath of the ferry disaster she displayed a human and humane side to her character to her otherwise steely persona. I was opposed at the time, and remain so, to much -indeed, most - of what Thatcher did in government. I do not hold with the belief that she made Britain great again. Instead she wantonly destroyed whole communities with her policies - for which she should never be forgiven. But as the funeral hour approaches, and the mourners gather to pay their last respects, I recall this one small incident when the Iron Lady dropped her mask and showed some humanity towards a small, orphaned boy.
  8. By the end of the second world war, lots of coal mines were exhausted. These tended to be small pits, that had been mined for up to a hundred years or so. Such pits were liberally scattered across Scotland and the North-East, especially County Durham. The war weary soldiers and sailors found difficulty in returning to their homes to find work down the pits. My Dad, the fourth son in a generation to follow his father down the village pit in County Durtham, migrated to the Derbyshire-Nottinghamshire coalfields in order to find work. He was not alone. Thousands of Geordies and Scots did likewise. These men were skilled labourers who hewed coal underground - sometimes in appalling conditions, with water and methane gas seepages high amongst the threats they faced to their very lives. The coalfields of Yorkshire and the East Midlands, Kent and elsewhere were particularly productive, and although some smaller pits in these areas did close (including the two my Dad worked in in Nottinghamshire) - there was still productive pits where a good living could be made. Pits that could last for a further one or two generations; where once again a son could follow his father 'down pit'. The closure of pits under the Thatcher govrnment wasn't though as a result of pits becoming exhausted, or because of any natural decline in coal working or for want of skilled labourers. It was political showdown between the Tory government and the coal unions, especially the NUM led by Arthur Scargill. The Thatcher government was determined to get revenge for the fall of the Conservative Heath goverment following the 3 day week - itself a direct response to a coal strike. The Thatcher government was determined to break the strength of the unions; to weaken their bargaining position. Margaret Thatcher began by bringing in a strong-arm man, Ian McGregor, as chairman of the then National Coal Board. "Sir Ian was given by Margaret Thatcher the job of scaling down the coal industry in the belief that pit closures would provoke a strike for which the government was ready." [Obituary, The Independent, 13 April 2013]. I do not know the figures over the number of pit closures under various governments, but what I do know is that the closure of the pits under Thatcher was not for economical reasons, but solely for political reasons. The legacy from that period is that pefectly workable piuts were closed; whole communities are still in continuing or stagnant economic decline; thousands of men were put out of work, some never to work again; and good paying jobs in the pit for young men were replaced by the lure of heroin and other drugs. The additional legacy that we were bequethed by Thatcher is that - as nearby Maltby pit has recently closed - our country currently imports 40% of its coal from other countries.
  9. Pensioners are exempt from the bedroom tax. The Departnment of Work & Pensions [DWP] have also recently back-tracked by stating that where a couple are of mixed age, i.e., one is a pensioner and one isn't, they too will be exempt from the bedroom tax.
  10. It's not solely a question that authorities that have a limitation on the number of licensed vehicles which can operate in their area (such as Sheffied City Council) being undermined by this fairly recent legal ruling. It's also the case that each licensing authority makes their own determination on whether to grant a license to an applicant. The test is whether the applicant is a 'fit and proper person' to hold a license. As chair of Sheffield City Council Licensing Committee I am well aware that there are a number of applicants that are refused a license in Sheffield, yet some of these drivers are already licensed by another local authority - or successfully apply for a license with another local authority after being refused one by Sheffield. Now, I'm not saying that all drivers licensed by other local authorities aren't 'fit and proper' people to drive - as they've clearly been licensed to drive by another local authority. However, there appear on occasions to be differential standards operating by which an applicant is judged to be a 'fit and proper person'. The standards that the Licensing Committee Members apply in Sheffield are high - and they need to be in order that the travelling public can have confidence in the person behind the wheel. Another factor to take into consideration is that 'over the border' operators are potentially taking away the livelihood of Sheffield licensed drivers. I must seem odd to many folk, including the JJRB, that drivers licensed by local authorities as far away as West Lindsey (Lincs), Gedling (Notts) and Derbyshire Dales (Derbys) apparently find it sufficiently lucrative to want to ply for business in Sheffield. ---------- Post added 04-03-2013 at 01:43 ---------- It is never uninteresting sitting on the Licensing Committee my friend. Indeed, there are councillors currently queuing up to sit on the Licensing Committee following the council AGM in May. But then that's hardly surprising when you consider that three times a week the Licensing Committee deals with sex, drugs and alcohol .... as well as taxis!
  11. Each local authority licenses hackney cabs (taxis) and private hire vehicles to operate in their own area, which covers journeys which originate and terminate in their own locality (e.g., the rail station to home, home to a club, bar, theatre, etc.), or which may terminate further away, e.g., from your doorstep to an airport. In recent times there has been a test case in the courts which established that someone wanting to hire a licensed vehicle was not prevented from hiring a vehicle licensed by another local authority. This has led to a spate of vehicles licensed by other local authorities operating in Sheffield. What some operators do is to provide a free phone number and/or plaster a locality with their contact number, then when a caller rings for a licensed vehicle, they send a vehicle from 'over the border'. The vehicles, licensed by other local authorities, are usually stationed just across the border from Sheffield, but within easy reach of a pick-up. It remains illegal for a licensed private hire vehicle to pick up a fare if hailed to stop, as all journeys must be booked in advance. Any licensed private hire driver who picks up a fare that has not been pre-booked is breaking the law because they will not have insurance cover. Travel in any such vehicle at your own risk! A hackney cab (i.e., a taxi), can legally pick up a fare in the street without being pre-booked. A taxi will, in all such circumstances, display a light saying 'For Hire'. If you wish to make a complaint about a licensed vehicle, it should always be sent to the local authority that licensed the vehicle (details of which are always displayed on the plate at the back of the cab). That local authority should investigate your complaint even if the vehicle was operating somewhere else at the time. I hope this information is of help to you. NB redrobbo is the chair of Sheffield City Council Licensing Committee.
  12. I'm born and bred in England and I'm also white. But according to your definition, I can't be "truly British" ... because I'm also an athiest.
  13. I was told about SF by a political acquaintance back in 2005. Looked it up, liked what I saw and joined. Joinng SF helped me develop some technical skills, but ..... I still remain the forum Technophobe!
  14. Forgive me please, as I make this intervention, But it's pertinent you see that I should now mention, That you should not mock or even scald, Poor hairless men who've now become bald, When it's women who die their hair the colour of gentian!
  15. So, let me make sure I've got this right ... You joined "for a laugh" and gave your landline telephone number to six women - who are now pestering you for money and sex. Then you ask what should be done about "nutters on the net?". The answer is simple - just stay off the internet. Then you won't have to come back on SF and reveal how silly some folk can be.
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