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Everything posted by redrobbo

  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.
  16. It's one year today that I got my 'all clear' result. It's taken me the best part of the last twelve months to regain my strength and energy. (Alas, the tubby waist line has also come back!). The dreadful bouts of fatigue, which knocked me for six, have finally ended. I look and feel so well now. I'm still having follow-up hospital dental treatment in Hull (as I had teeth removed prior to the radiotherapy) -though that should end in the New Year when I get my new dentures fitted. I've had several problems in my neck due to swellings and a bad infection, but eventually got over them - but you get scared that the cancer has come back every time an unexpected lump pops up in your neck. I've recently been moved from 4 weekly to 8 weekly check-ups. That proved to be an incredible psychological boost. I returned to Castle Hill Hospital (near Hull) on Christmas morning as Santa and gave out presents (paid for by a charity) to all the patients. Considering that I was only given to last Christmas to live, it was a privilage to be able to start this Christmas at the hospital that gave me my life back. My life threatening cancer has now become life changing. nobikejohn has recently taken early retirement from work, and sometime during 2013, once he's sold his house near Hull, he'll be moving to live with me in Sheffield. For over a decade we've talked about a holiday in Norway in search of the Northern Lights. Life, I've now realised, is too precious to keep talking about what you'd like to do. The talking is over - it's time instead to act. So we've booked a two week winter cruise to Norway and we're off in a couple of months time. We've only got one life, and we've realsied that if we don't do it, then one day one of us will be all alone and expressing regret that we never got round to this holiday of a lifetime because we left it too late. I shall now stand down as a city councillor at the end of my current elected term in two years time. I'll have clocked up a dozen years as a councillor by then, achieved quite a few things for my constituents, but will then be looking forward to spending some quality time with nobikejohn in blissful retirement together. Nobody wants cancer. My treatment was long and difficult, grim and gruesome, but I survived it and here I am, a year later, still walking this earth. But when you are so ill for so long a time and facing death, oh boy do you reassess what you are doing with your life! And every day you breathe and every day the sun shines - or even when it rains - and every time you see your family and your loved ones, it is a bonus. And now, one year today, I am celebrating that I am alive. My thanks to all those on SF and on this thread who gave me their support and saw me through a bumpy ride to my journey's end. Smile .... because today is truly awesome. redrobbo
  17. I should have been dead from cancer this time last year, but I've now survived a whole year! My thanks to nobikejohn and everyone on SF who supported me through my long and difficult treatrment. This year I will have a wonderful Christmas. Merry Christmas everyone! Merry Christmas! red
  18. 'Tis the season of good cheer, A glass of wine, a jug of beer, Mince pies, turkey, brussels sprouts, It's Christmas folks - be in no doubt! Now hug a loved one that you hold dear. [Merry Christmas to nobikejohn - I've now survived a whole year!]
  19. Any proposal to return the site to a functioning and commercially viable airport, with no subsidy, is likely to require a huge investment of tens of millions for purchase of the site, redevelopment of airport facilities and any underwriting of its operations by the operator, should it prove to be loss-making. Any private sector proposal would have to be put to the current landowners rather than the Council. It is important to note that the Council is not in any position to step in financially at a time when it is having to make huge cuts to its budget, and given the past history of the former airport operation and the York Aviation Report, public subsidy could not be justified even were funding available.
  20. I've had a look at the petition, which concludes .... "We, the undersigned, therefore call upon Sheffield City Council to urgently ensure that any redevelopment of the site of the former Sheffield City Airport (including further destruction of its infrastructure) is proscribed until an independent public enquiry is held to look into the potential for its future use as a facility for commercial aviation." This is a non-starter. It is wishful thinking and simply cannot happen. I've obtained information from Councillor Leigh Bramall, the Cabinet Member for Business, Skills & Development, who informs me that the situation today is that the airport and the land it is sited upon is in the private ownership of Sheffield Business Park. The check-in building was converted to offices years ago, and the remaining land sits within an Enterprise Zone, backed by the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), ready for further redevelopment. It is important to note that the Council does not own the site, nor is it in a position to determine the future of the site. Indeed, the Council has no grounds whatsoever, or indeed enforceable powers, to attempt to seek to inhibit or delay the redevelopment of the site. So the petition, in its current format, is redundant (and thus a waste of time for anyone signing it) because it calls upon the council to take action which is not within the powers or scope of the council to legally undertake.
  21. You surely can't be talking about me? [redrobbo is a Sheffield City Councillor and is even known to wear a tie!]
  22. It is a common myth that someone with suicidal intentions will go from shop to shop in order to puchase enough quantities of lethal drugs in order to kill themselves. They don't. Suicide by overdose is often a spur of the moment decision caused by some emotional state of the mind, be it anxiety or depression. This is not to discount that some suicides are pre-planned, well-thought out and executed (including severing an artery, hanging and jumping, i.e., jumping off a bridge or similar high point or jumping in front of a bus, train or lorry).
  23. Yes is the answer. The restriction on over-the-counter purchases of potentially lethal painkillers has reduced the suicide rate. People in high states of anxiety (for example following the traumatic break-up of a relationship) or who are suddenly depressed (for example by consuming alcohol) can be prone to making irrational decisions, including making a genuine suicide attempt on the spur of the moment. They can also be prone to making a mock suicide attempt, in order to draw attention to themselves and their despair - but fatally miscalculate the doesage. There is now clear evidence that the restriction of over-the-counter sales of various painkillers has reduced the suicide rates. A similar result occurred when North Sea gas replaced gas made from coke. Sticking your head in the oven and turning on the gas was at one point the most popular route to commit suicide. In 1963, suicides by gas totalled 2,368, dropping to only 11 by 1978. I don't have any current figures to hand but do recall reading a learned paper a few years ago which confirmed that suicide by overdose had now reduced.
  24. Did you read the article yourself? It clearly explains how councils, such as Nottingham and Liverpool, have allocated most of their reserve funds. The same applies here in Sheffield. redrobbo is a Labour councillor on Sheffield City Council
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