Monday, January 21, 2008

Reduction of Anti-Social behaviour in Howdenshire

The problem of anti-social behaviour in the Howden area is reducing, a local forum heard last week. Meeting on Wednesday, the Howden and Howdenshire Police and Partners Community Forum heard that instances of anti-social behaviour had decreased. Figures for drink-fuelled assaults and criminal damage had increased slightly, but this was put down to the time of year. Reported crime in Eastrington and the surrounding areas had also fallen.

As the forum's chairman, I indicated that I was pleased with the findings of the ERYC Safer and Stronger Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee (of which I'm the Vice Chairman) . "It was felt by the committee that over the last twelve months the police had gained the increased respect from the public and this was felt to be due in part to the presence of more Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs). A lot of young people were showing more respect towards the PCSOs and this was in fact a two-way street, as the young people were receiving more respect from the PCSOs. This respect shown by the PCSOs towards the young people is to be applauded and bodes well for the future."

(It is worth adding that the PCSOs are funded locally and NOT by central government).

A debate about anti-social behaviour established that it was sometimes viewed subjectively. For example, a large gathering of young people outside a bus shelter or shop could be interpreted by some as anti-social, but it was not necessarily felt to be that by the people involved.

"Young people have a right to enjoy themselves as long as their behaviour is acceptable, and a balance has to be struck," said Inspector Michael Bower. 'It was not always a case of moving them on."

He said the youth shelters in Gilberdyke were a good example of tolerance of the community towards young people.

The issue of parking outside village schools was discussed, with Eastrington being given as an example of where it had been suggested that vehicles were sometimes parked illegally during school drop-off and pick-up times. It was confirmed that other villages faced similar problems. This issue is to be addressed in the village of Gilberdyke within the next few months through the development of a 'Travel to School Policy' by Gilberdyke school, and also through possible new parking restrictions within the village resulting from an on going consultation with the ERYC.

The police forum passed two issues to the Neighbourhood Action Team for their attention: travelling to school, including school travel plans; and youths gathering in villages and possibly being involved in anti-social behaviour.

The next meeting of the Howden and Howdenshire Police and Partners Community Forum will be held at Bubwith Leisure Centre on March 5 at 7pm.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Call for a review of composting business rates

The following is taken from the Composting Association website which makes very interesting reading

It has been found that many composting businesses are not paying rates because of confusion about the system. This comes from the fact that traditionally composting was done for personal use but now increasingly composting businesses are working with local authorities and catering companies to provide food waste and green waste recycling services and these are counted as "rateable activities".

A spokesman from the Valuations Office Agency (VOA) said "There is nothing new here - all non-domestic property is rateable (including composting sites) and always has been. As and when the VOA becomes aware of composting sites, these are added to the rating lists."

The VOA has said they will backdate any missed payments from composting companies to 2005, which could have a very negative impact on smaller companies. In response to this and the fact that rates are dependent upon the size of land, facilities and location, rather than the amount of revenue the company makes, the Composting Association believes that the rates system should be reviewed.