After The Storm – Answering The Criticism!

On WV11-Ashmore Park there was a criticism, understandable in many ways. But nevertheless, a criticism which was “you always say this nothing ever gets done.” And “Do you actually do anything though Phil?”

I understand residents’ frustrations, and I understand their anger. Especially when the storms are getting more frequent, and climate change is starting to deliver many more of these weather events.

When I called for your experiences as a community last night, it was because we need as a Neighbourhood evidence of the problems faced. When Insurance companies, the Water company and the City Council get to making decisions. The months will have moved on. Indeed, we are still pressing the results of the 2020 February storms.

On the very morning of yesterday’s Storms, I know a long-standing meeting was taking place between the City Council and Severn Trent to reference the Severn Trent work following the last storm problems. These issues are always time consuming. No matter what takes place, framed in law, legality, responsibility and some one’s judgement. Even when decisions do take place, they are rarely issues that can be solved quickly.

But back to the main criticism? – Look this is quite an easy argument. I either try with Mary and Rita to get things altered with you or residents just don’t bother to assist us.

None of these flooding issues are easy to solve, they are all big infrastructure issues. Some responsibility will be down to the private Water company. Some responsibility will rest with the owners of the property affected, and some issues will rest with the City Council.

The easiest thing would not be for me to do anything at all! I have always taken my role seriously, so its what it is.

Doing nothing for me Rita and Mary is not an option.

Take a look at all the neighbourhoods and communities that suffered last night. Essington. Cheslyn Hay, Walsall, all of them and dozens of other towns and Cities right across the Midlands suffered from the storm. We were not suffering the storm in isolation.

The overall flooding Bill will run into millions. No responsible body will be standing at the end of your drive this morning ready to give a big fat cheque to sort it out.

Do we do anything as Councillors?

Well, I was up till the early hours of this morning putting a report together, for the three of us, using what evidence I could gather last night. So, when the Engineers turn up this morning our part of the city is catalogued and ready to go.

There will not be many Councillors out there that will have done that. We need to be there early making our case.

Yesterday I tried to warn those householders, that were caught by the 2018, and February 2020 storms to be on their guard. Giving them the Early Warning and distributing the Weather Services -Yellow Warning notice -so that they could prepare.

I phoned those vulnerable property, I emailed them, and placed the warnings on all my Social Media sites. It took hours to do, even before the storms started.

I didn’t see many others doing that? So, do I “actually do anything” with my colleagues- Well Yes we do!

Now that task I undertook all last night was rewarded for me early this morning when the head of service at the City of Wolverhampton Council responded, before the start of the working day. Here is what he said –

John Roseblade Head of City Transport – “I will get a low down on what our guys were dealing with, and also ask them to look at these locations if not already. “

Phil Bateman

Phil Bateman is Married to Mary and lives in Wednesfield North. He was a long serving local politician having served previously on the now defunct West Midlands County Council... read more