Tuesday, 5 April 2016

New signs are symptomatic of the 'throwaway society' say local Green activists.

Last week Stoke-on-Trent City Council announced that it was to spend £16.000 on new signs welcoming visitors to the city.

Council leader Dave Conway told the Sentinel 'This is all about promoting and celebrating the city's identity and having fit and proper gateway entrances to Stoke-on-Trent.'

He added that the signs will ensure visitors to the city are 'given a proper welcome' and that they will 'see we have great pride in where we live.'

Also speaking to the Sentinel Ernie Clarke chair of Coalville residents association said that it was 'good that the council is investing in new signs and making sure they are maintained in future.'

One reason cited for replacing the signs is that some of them have become covered with dirt thrown up by passing traffic. The new signs, it is understood, will be maintained as part of the 'gateway strategy' being drawn up by the council.

The first of the new signs has been erected on Weston Road in Weston Coyney and it is believed that they will all be in position by the end of the year.

There have been a number of critical responses to the council spending money on new signs at a time when budgets are tight.

Writing on Twitter local music promoter and Green Party activist Annette Bellyou said the decision to replace the signs because they were dirty was condoning the 'throwaway society' and that this was not showing 'pride in the city.'

She added that unless the new signs would also get dirty unless they were 'totally mud deflective' and said the decision to replace the old ones was like the council having the windows in the new civic centre replaced when needed cleaning.

An anonymous source within the civic centre suggested that the decision to replace the signs was part of the council trying to use up funding before the end of the financial year, adding that buying new signs my also have been cheaper than getting a contractor in to clean the old ones.

North Staffs Green Party Campaigns Coordinator Adam Colclough said that 'although the amount being spent in this instance is, comparatively, small it is still an unnecessary cost. Things like that can easily mount up when the budget is as tight as it is now.'

He added that 'if the old signs being dirty was the problem, then surely soap and water mixed with a little elbow grease would have solved the problem for a fraction of the cost.'

The Green Party has sent a freedom of information request to the council asking whether the old signs are going to be recycled and if the new ones are made from recyclable material.

They will also be suggesting that the council consider using more natural and longer lasting materials to construct any future signs.

Campaign Coordinator Adam Colclough said 'if we're going to put up signs welcoming visitors to our city, then lets use to do so materials that honour our industrial heritage and celebrate our world famous creativity.'

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