By David Parker
In the Valley News office, we are often asked about alleged money-wasting or services not provided, and about how Wiltshire council came up with the slogan ‘Where everybody matters’.
To be sure, whoever dreamed up the slogan must have meant well but…
Apart from pot-holes in the roads and compensation paid by Wiltshire Council for damage to vehicles caused by the ruts and cartwheel tracks that ruin suspensions and cause tyre bursts – allegedly – there is the sore point of roadside hedge and verge-cutting where it is not necessary for safety or the environment. This topic is part of the alleged lack of maintenance on roads serving former social housing estates, now in mixed ownership of private, local authority and/or housing associations.
Care for the elderly must begin with making sure the elderly can care for themselves and not present them with hazards of overgrown vegetation tripping them up or preventing them having full access to facilities. If street lights are needed, why do half a job and put up lamp standards that remain unlit?
An excellent job has been done on the stretches of road that have been re-surfaced, but pot-hole-filling remains a bodged-up job as the fillings don’t last long in some cases.
Many local ‘activists’ believe the local media, newspapers and websites can ‘get things done’. Here at Valley News, when a complaint is lodged with us after being put through the proper channels with no success, we try to contact the authority which could help solve the problem. The stock answer is that the service is not longer ‘offered’ because of cutbacks and budget constraints. Sometimes it is due to party political inaction.
Yet we are being encouraged to become unpaid volunteers to help shape and run our communities.
Many members of this band of trusty souls whose innovation and inspiration help improve many local lives by running clubs, forums, shows and charity events, also have full-time jobs. They do not seek reward or remuneration, but without them, this country – and the counties – could not support those who need advice, guidance, care, and an occasional helping hand.