Waste Transfer From Woodside Link Road To Houghton Town Council Offices On 25th August 2017
At 16:34 on 25 August Roger Guigno posted this picture to his "Stop the Destruction of the Kingsland Wildlife Site" Facebook Group, stating, "Sorry Houghton Regis but sometimes direct action is the only way. If CBC cant arrange to pick a few bags of rubbish up from the Woodside Link then maybe they will collect it from Town Council"
At 17:25 On February 25th, Houghton Regis Town Council posted the picture (top) to their Facebook Page, saying, "Houghton Regis Town Council is sad to report that a number of pink and black refuse bags were 'flytipped' on our forecourt this afternoon. Not only has this caused disruption to our neighbours in Peel Street, but there is a financial cost to the Town Council of having this refuse removed by a professional company (please note that refuse collection and environmental services in the town are managed by Central Bedfordshire Council, and not the Town Council)."
"The refuse was dumped at 4.08pm on the back of a flat bed lorry and the Town Council would be grateful for any additional information on this matter."
Several members of the public were outraged by the dumping. Town Councillor Tracey McMahon countered comments that were suggesting the Town Council should remove it. Cllr McMahon wrote, "The Town Council are not in charge of rubbish collection. That is Central Beds Council. The Town Council cannot get the rubbish removed by CBC today, so are having to pay privately. Essentially, our tax payers are paying twice ☹️ The Town Council have as much authority to remove rubbish as you or I do. Ground Staff cannot remove it for Health and Safety reasons (you don't know what might be in there), and therefore a professional company will need to be used."
OPEN LETTER FROM ROGER GIUGNOFrom: r g
Date: 27 August 2017 at 00:31:02 BST
Subject: Waste Transfer From Woodside Link Road To Houghton Town Council Offices On 25th August 2017
This email is not confidential and can be forwarded to any authority/person or persons that the recipients see fitting.
To : Houghton Regis Town Council
I would ask the Clerk of the Town Council to ensure this email is distributed to ALL Town Councillors and Central Beds Councillors representing all the Houghton Regis wards.
Further to the incident on Friday 25th August where by a very small number of black bags and pink recycle bags were deposited at the Town Council Offices on Peel St. in Houghton Regis, I thought it fitting and respectful to outline my reasons for the transfer and the events leading up to my actions.
As you are aware, I head the Stop The Destruction Of The Kingsland WildLife Site campaign group based on Sundon Road in Houghton Regis, and take full personal responsibility for the actions carried out on Friday. No other persons were knowingly involved or aware of my intentions, save the councillors and CBC employees that I had contact with during the hours leading up to the action, although our intended actions were documented fully during the course of the day on social media sites.
Timeline: At approx. 11.40am I received a call from a local resident and campaign group member that there was a number of bin bags neatly bagged up and stacked on the Woodside Link Road next to the travellers encampment. The resident was concerned that the bags would be left over the long weekend and end up sprawled all over the new road similar to what has occurred in the last few months. The resident ( and myself at this point) was also concerned that the wildlife /foxes/dogs etc.would forage and rip the bags open causing potential hazard. The resident asked if I could contact the council and press them to get the bags collected and asked me knowing that in previous unrelated issues I had been very vocal and persistent and managed to get the council to respond far quicker than the normal procedures.
At approx.11.55am I headed over to the WSL and located the bin bags, approx .22 in number stacked in 3 separate piles. I took photographs of these and later put those photos up on social media. I met with three of the travelling gents and we struck up an amicable conversation and I explained that I was concerned about the bags being opened by the wildlife etc. and they said that the Council ( CBC) had provided them with the sacks and they was doing their best to keep the place tidy. We spoke about various things mainly on the councils lack of receptacle provision for their personal and work waste, we spoke about provisions for transit camps during the summer months and generally conversation that they probably very rarely get from residents of the house dwelling community.
Around 12.30pm two officers who I later spoke with, Geoff ( didn't get last name) from CBC environment division and his colleague her name I didn't get, was talking with some other members of the travelling families and I asked the gentlemen I was speaking to who they was. They explained that Geoff had been very helpful during their stay and they was complying with everything that he had asked of them, the gents I believe had genuine respect for Geoff and this was evident when I later spoke to him and his colleague.
I approached Geoff and his colleague after he had finished talking with the other gents and introduced myself giving him my name and explaining why I was there and we began talking in general about the travellers and the role he was playing. I explained about our campaign (albeit briefly) and about my concerns that the bin bags would be left over the long weekend and the problems this could have on the wildlife let alone the potential hazzard for the young children on the camp. In fact a new born baby boy had been born just the night before, which in any race /creed or colour is a beautiful thing.
Anyhow, as we was talking another CBC officer Ian Cottrall ( excuse last name spelling might not be correct) turned up and after introductions we began ( as you do)talking. He explained his role as being similar to a liaison officer and that he spends a lot of time with travellers and is welcomed by them as he has a genuine empathy with them and is not blinkered by the bigotry all so apparent from many members of the settled communities towards the travelling community. He explained to me that he had delivered a number of bin bags and other items to the travellers days before and that they had done exactly as asked with their waste. I asked why the bags had been sitting by the road for 3 days and he said that Biffa was responsible for the collections on behalf of CBC and that they had failed to collect the bags. I did state to him clearly that this was not good enough from CBC or their appointed waste contractor and that the bags needed moving immediate. We discussed further and discussed the pros and cons of skip provisions for the temporary camps and he wholeheartedly agreed as did Geoff, but politics being what it is.............. we resolved that Ian would continue to chase Biffa to move the waste and prior to my leaving the site I spelled it out clearly to him that he needed the bags collected by 4pm or we would be collecting them and taking them to the council offices. He was not taken aback by this statement which leaves me to believe that he thought I was just making a hollow threat, so I did ask him to give Howard Dobson from CBC a call to confirm that I would rarely make such a statement without the intention of abiding by it. I left the site at approx. 13.15pm
Having left the site I drove directly to Balfour Beatty temporary offices at the roundabout compound on Sundon Road. I went in to the offices,signed in and took a few internal pictures. I asked one of the groundworkers if he could get one of the managers to come and see me. The only management left on the site came out to greet me and we discussed if the WSL now been adopted, which he informed me it had been by CBC, he also informed me that Telereal Trilium ( new owners since 2015 of Land Improvements) was now on site in preparation for HRN1 development works. I asked briefly about the problems with the landscaping works and the mess and waste, in particular large quantities of plastic plant sheaths dumped on the Pear Field. He did not have any answers other than it would be looked in to. The purpose of my visit was to confirm that CBC had adopted the road and were responsible for the waste collection, that answer had been forthcoming.
I returned back to Campaign HQ, some 300 yards from Balfours and immediate posted on social media pictures of the bin bags and a brief outline of the current state of play along with my statement that the bags would be collected by us and deposited with the Council. The link to these photos and post was sent to Cllr Susan Goodchild,Cllr Tracey McMahon,Town Leader Joanna Hillyard,Chantel England Houghton Regis Town Council,Karen Aspinall CBC,Stewart Carr Dunstable Gazzette,Alan Winter and various members of the public. Had I had more time then more councillors would have been contacted but I do have a day job and was trying to juggle my own work at the same time. However, I would have expected ( given previous issues over the last few months) that a simple message or call to clarify the current problem would have been forthcoming. Alas, not one recipient of my correspondence even acknowledged.
At 14.22pm further posts were put on social media reminding CBC/Biffa/Highways of the 4pm timeframe for collecting the bags. And a final post at 15.39pm when it was clear that the bags were not going to be collected. The final post reiterated that the bags were to be deposited where they would be collected immediate. I arrived back at HQ and took one of my sons company trucks (without his knowledge, as he was not contactable) who has nothing to do with the campaign ,social media or any other issues regarding our group or the events leading up to the transfer of the bags to Town Council. I immediate went back to the site arriving at 4pm on the dot. I commenced loading the truck and on completion went directly to Peel Street and deposited the bin bags on the forecourt ensuring the roadway was kept traversable and that none of the bags compromised the vehicles parked on the forecourt or the footpath that the residents use.
I am fully aware that the Town Council offices have CCTV installed and given all the social media posts and contact with councillors by me prior to the transfer of the bin bags, this really isn't the expected action of a criminal committing the so called'fly-tipping' that the council has themselves been partly responsible for due to the apparent apathy in helping a local resident resolve a simple problem from the outset.
On return to HQ I immediate posted on social media photographs and an apology to Houghton Regis residents for the action taken and explained the reason behind the action. My sincere intentions and expectations from CBC and the very fact that I strongly believed that the bags would be collected from Town Council quicker than left on the WSL for a further 3-4 days was the overriding factor that led me in to this direct action.
I make no apologies for my actions to either CBC or Houghton Town Council as entities, but of course, I do reiterate my apologies to any/all residents affected by the action that was taken in order to resolve the problem.
One could argue as to how we have got to a situation within our town as to why a local resident and community member has to take this sort of action or the threat of action to get anything resolved. You are all aware of the pressure that was placed on CBC to resolve both the Red House saga and the Community Centre issue, and irrespective of who wants to collect a few more brownie points for getting CBC to act, you all know the perceived threat of action by our campaign group or me personally was instrumental , as it was with Balfour Beatty with regards Chalton Cross Farm and again now with Balfour Beatty on the substantial landscaping debris and poor planting carried out along the WSL. From my perspective as long as the issues are resolved you can all pat yourselves on the back as much as you like.
Regardless the outcome of this current chapter, there are still many many issues remaining that I ,and/or the campaign group will as required become actively involved in, and I offer this in order to forewarn Town Council in order we hopefully can garner advice and help in pursuing these causes or indeed if the Town Council are prepared to resolve the issues themselves if possible.
Kingsland Wildlife site apart, there is the pond area that is an utter disgrace and again CBCs responsibility, I am entrusting Tracey Mcmahon to forward through the correct chanels and process as she has promised to do so, in the hope of getting the pond studied prior to a restoration plan being formulated, or at the very least being agreed upon with CBC.. The footpath provision along Sundon Road which Alan Winter(local resident) has already (some 3 months ago) been on to CBC about. This stretch of road is a deathtrap in the making and makes absolute no sense whatsoever in the aspirations of CBC to create flowing cycleways.
Thankfully the 30mph signs( although very small ) have been erected on Sundon Road so at least the badgers and foxes may have half a chance of being able to get across the road without ending up road kill like the two badgers last winter. Temporary transit camp pitches are another thing that needs consideration not just lip service, as the consultation and call for sites in 2012 went nowhere adding somewhat to the issues now faced and amplified. The ongoing off road biker provision again is another that has constantly fell on deaf ears and one that we will champion as long as required. One,some or all of these issues may not gain many political brownie points and most certainly wont gain the support of the whole community, but what ever does. This is just our end of the town and there are as many important issues and shortcomings throughout every ward in the town that need addressing with as much vigour and passion as is shown by us.......... to the extent where by I personally have my own head and hands firmly in the pillory now.
Uniting all of the Town Councillors in their condemnation of the heinous crime I am alleged to have committed on Friday is in itself a victory for our Town as a whole, and proves that when there is injustice, either real, perceived or exaggerated , that our Councillors and officers can stand as one. As a community member this is uplifting and positive and I hope and pray that the same unity can be achieved when the REAL issues that face our town start to unravel.
So there you have it again, honesty, transparency and the truth from my perspective. What course of action Town Council decide upon now is up to you. I am personally responsible for transporting the bin bags to your offices and any action you take should be against me and me alone if that is what you decide upon. Unless the Council (and taxpayer) has been ripped off ( same as they was with the church wall rebuild) then I hardly expect the cost for removing the bags would have run to much more than £150 and had Biffa collected them then I doubt Town Council has any charge of considerable amount as portrayed on your social media posts. In fact probably more time was spent by Town Council on social media and printing posters about the alleged crime, than it would have taken to place the bags in to the council bins.
Finally, as you may be aware ( as many community members are not) the CBC Community Consultation Day is set for this coming Wednesday 10am till 7pm. I would like to reiterate that in no way should the events of Friday overshadow or detract from this important event. I have been in constant touch with Jason Longhurst from CBC and again given him assurances of our commitment to see the event engage as many people as possible and to ensure that the consultation is conducted fairly,openly and with transparency. We have a fantastic opportunity to really turn the unwanted developments in this town on their head if, as a community with a Town Council fully behind us sing from the same hymn sheet.
Roger G Giugno
c/o Stop The Destruction Of The Kingsland WildLife Site Campaign Group
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