1. Collection of dry recyclables from individual properties across the District and collection of dry recyclables from rural pavilions. £570,000 p/a to South Molton Recycle.
2. £48,000 for disaster recovery. I’d been ignoring this because I thought this was terribly worthy to have a disaster recovery fund. But I decided to have a look at all the contracts and found that this was an Information Technology disaster recovery service. Doh! No use blowing up the Riverbank then (JOKE!!!!!!)
3. £630,000 council insurance cover … now that’s something we wouldn’t need if Torridge didn’t exist. 5727 taxes.
4. Surveyor services for appeals to the 2010 non-domestic rating list for Torridge Council owned properties £10,000. OK – let me get this straight. Torridge owns the properties. Torridge rates the properties it owns. Torridge gets these ratings wrong. The occupiers (presumably people renting these properties for business) appeal against the ratings, for which Torridge has to pay £10,000 to employ a surveyor to assess the claim. Wouldn’t you think Torridge would have got this right in the first place??? …. Errr – no, not really!
5. Supply of software to support housing register, homelessness and housing advice functions … all very laudible, but … £72,000 + £11,00 p/a How much is actually being spent on genuinely helping the homeless?
6. Maintenance of fire extinguishers, fire blankets, hoses … now this is important. This is lives we’re talking about. Whether or not Torridge needs to exist. This is not some dim witted survey into the development of green spaces in the middle of the country. This is something which can save lives … £800 p/a.
7. Meanwhile … Provision and maintenance of towel roll cabinets and towels. £2,000 p/a
8. Landscaping works to enhance existing graveyard as a public park … I just had to include that one!! £15,000 Clearly not got enough other green spaces.
9. Building condition surveys and reports for a number of leisure, cultural and commercial buildings in the Torridge District £22,000 – see, now, can’t the people who work there tell Torridge the condition of the buildings? That might seem a bit odd, but I’m thinking that for £22,000 you’re not going to get anything but a cursory once over. These firms charge a lot of money for the work they do, so on that logic, £22,000 will give you something the staff who work in these premises can tell you.
10 Example … Architectural services for the preparation and submission of a detailed planning application for three no 3 bed, residential dwellings at Greenbank, Torrington. £24,000 – that’s for 3 x 3 bed dwellings. It’s not a lot. That’s £8,000 each, but, chances are, they’re all going to be the same anyway and even if they are slightly different, they’re all computer generated pick ‘n’ mix standard boxes.
11. “Demolitions and enhancement work to existing village green including planting, paths, seating and recreational areas”. £240,000. To which they then pay out another £25,000 for “The provision of landscape architectural design services for the Westward Ho! Village Green Enhancement Scheme.” Why was that not included in the £240,000?