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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL AUTHORITY STORIES IN THE REGIONAL PRESS - UPDATED 13.22HRS

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COUNCILLOR REBELS OVER HUGE PAY RISE DECISION ...
COUNCILLOR REBELS OVER HUGE PAY RISE DECISION

E-mails leaked to the East London Advertiser (p12) shows that Tower Hamlets LBC's licensing and general services committee chair plans to rebel over proposals to force through massive pay rises for councillors. Kevin Morton said in an email sent to all committee members that pay rises for councillors had been dealt with back in 1998. The committee will decide at its meeting tonight whether to give the proposals go-ahead.

COUNCIL PARKING POLICY WILL 'DRIVE CUSTOMERS AWAY' FROM CITY

The former lord mayor of Birmingham, Sir Bernard Zissman, has criticised the city council for pursuing a 'chaotic, aggressive and unfriendly' car parking policy. Writing in a letter to The Birmingham Post (p11), he warns that if there is no change in the council's current policy, customers will be driven out of town, causing a decline in investment.

£250M REGENERATION FOR CONTAMINATED MINE IN YORKSHIRE

The contaminated land of a former opencast mine in Yorkshire is to be rebuilt in a £250m scheme hailed by the Yorkshire Post(p6) as one of Britain's boldest tourism and leisure development. The project is a partnership between Rotherham MBC, - mainly its regeneration arm Rotherham Investment and Development Office ??? and private firm Oak Holdings. The cash will come entirely from the private sector. Gerald Smith, cabinet member for economic and development services said the proposals were a radical step forward.

TRIPS ABROAD COSTS SOAR FOR SCOTTISH COUNCILLORS

The cost of foreign trips made by Edinburgh councillors and officials more than doubled this year, reports The Scotsman. New figures published today revealed that the city council spent £17,362 on overseas visits for politicians in 2002-03, co mpared with £8,788 the year before. But the council's finance leaders defended the trips as 'vitally important to the success of the city' and said that each was carefully vetted to ensure it was beneficial.

PPP FIRM APPOINTED FOR £140M SCHOOLS PROGRAMME

Renfrewshire Council has appointed Amey, the support services specialist, and its partners including HBOS, to undertake its £140 public-private partnership schools programme between 2004 and 2007, reports The Scotsman.

POLICE CONCERNS OVER RELAXED DRINKING LAWS BACKED

ACPOS's report outlining concerns that Scotland is not ready for a relaxation in drinking laws has been backed by the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, reported The Scotsman (8/12/03, p5). The first minister, Jack McConnell is thought to be in favour of the proposals, but the ACPOS report, due to be submitted to ministers later this week, states that more education is needed before drinking laws can be relaxed.

MP 'WILL CONTINUE TO FIGHT' AGAINST EXPANSION OF WOLVERHAMPTON AIRPORT

Labour MP for Dudley South, Ian Pearson, has reassured local campaigners against the proposed expansion of Wolverhampton Business airport, in a letter to The Birmingham Post (p11), that he has voiced their concerns to aviation minister, Tony McNulty and will continue to do so whatever the outcome of the final decision.

YORKSHIRE COUNCIL ATTACKED FOR BEING TOO 'ZEALOUS' IN ENFORCING ADVERTISING RULE

A leader in the Yorkshire Post (p12) has criticise Ryedale DC for being 'far too zealous' in enforcing an advertising rule that prevented a man from putting up Yorkshire's white rose flag without a planning application. A spokeswoman for the council said there was rule against flying the Union Jack or the St George's flag, but any other flags required consent, which would cost around £60.

SCOTTISH COUNCILS COULD GET MORE FREEDOM OVER NEW CITIZENSHIP CEREMONIES

< p/="">Scottish councils could drop God Save the Queen and the Union flag from the government's proposed new citizenship ceremonies (see LGCnet) after the Home Office suggested last night that Scottish local authorities might be allowed to use the Saltire and the Flower of Scotland. But The Herald (10/12/03, p1) reported that a departmental spokesman emphasised that no final rules had been drawn up and this would only be done once pilot schemes had run their course in 2004.

PLAN TO MOVE EAST LONDON HOUSEHOLDERS TO REGISTERED SOCIAL LANDLORDS IN DISARRAY

Proposals to remove a £10,000 cap on costs for Tower Hamlets LBC's plan to hand over 38,000 households to registered social landlords have not been taken up by leaseholders, which could threaten the whole Housing Choice process, according to the East London Advertiser (p2). Council member, Kevin Morton, says the leaseholders are 'bemused' at being pressured to fall into line with the new capping policy that they believe will be a 'disaster'.

THOUSANDS USE M6 TOLL CLAIMS OPERATOR

The operator of the M6 Toll, Midland Expressway Ltd, has said it believes thousands of motorists have used the road after it opened on Tuesday, reports The Birmingham Post (p4). Managing director, Tom Fanning, said the first day saw a 20-fold increase in visits to their website and he claims inquiries for tag registrations have rocketed.

EDUCATION BRADFORD GETS THREE NEW ADVISERS

Three new advisers have been appointed to work with the private firm running Bradford City Metropolitan DC's schools to raise standards at those struggling to perform, reported the Yorkshire Post (6/12/03, p5). Earlier this year Education Bradford admitted it had underestimated the task of turning around the number of struggling schools in the district.

By reporter Bansri Shah

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