REALLY? Shopping trolleys in Shotton ‘are a blight on our lives’ says the Leader.
Every once in a while comes a slow news day, those days when there’s not really much local fury, shock or horror to report on, you know the sort of
“Residents Fury as Bus Fails to Turn Up” etc etc…
Our bastion of local ‘news’ the Flintshire Leader has turned to the trusty old ‘no news lucky dip’ to fill some space in between the mass of adverts, so what did they pull out today? shopping trolleys!
Ah yes they are a ‘BLIGHT’ on our lives apparently!
Read the story here
You can just image the sigh of despair from the poor sod at Leader HQ when he/she pulled the short straw “oh god no! not shopping trolleys again” they probably groaned.
Another very important ingredient in this type of story is of course the ‘outraged’ town councillor, they are the largely anonymous folk who chug away in the background doing things that town councillors do.
Cllr Evans who features in the Leader’s story is, we must stress, a thoroughly decent chap.
Anyway, the crux of the story is that shopping trolleys get ‘dumped’ in some Shotton streets and this grotesque behaviour is a ‘blight on peoples lives’.
Now for the average person struggling to get by, its fair to say there are perhaps one or two things that are slightly more important to worry about than the odd shopping trolley.
However, for Cllr Evans its a really big deal, and something he recognises as a huge problem for residents, as he says in the newspaper;
“I know the stores don’t put these trolleys there. It is the people of the area who put them there – irresponsible individuals who decide they are going to wheel a trolley home with them before dumping it on a street corner.
“You always see them on street corners because no one wants them outside their house.”
Cllr Evans regularly contacts Flintshire County Council, who in turn contact ASDA who then send out a van -so the story goes.
Something very special happens at night.
Here lies a bit of a problem for newspapers, when you write a ‘local news’ story from the comfort of an office twenty minutes away from the very streets you are writing about, your bound to miss a little bit of detail.
If a lazy reporter had bothered to go to the very streets and talk to somebody relevant, perhaps a resident for example, they may have picked up on something quite amazing that happens at night in Shotton.
Besides all the bad things that we read in the press about Shotton, THE real shopping trolley story here is pretty unique.
Somebody, who we’ve dubbed the ‘Civic Pride Crusader’ goes around Shotton’s mean streets collecting the shopping trolleys, usually around 10pm after the last shoppers have made it home, they then precede to park them very neatly on the corner of the street, ready for collection by ASDA staff early the next morning.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that if you have lots of housing within a 500 metre radius of a massive superstore, you are going to get a few trolleys dumped on the pavement.
These “irresponsible individuals” Cllr Evan’s refers to, the ones we witness daily, tend to be those who don’t have any transport and highly unlikely to get a taxi 400 metres home, mums with kids pushing the weekly shop or elderly (irresponsible?) people.
Arguably if you take a trolley you should return it, to be fair trolleys shouldn’t actually pass over the invisible magnetic barriers, as the article says it’s a problem created by supermarkets who could easily come up with innovative ways of dealing with the issue for their loyal customer base.
In the meantime, the ‘Civic Pride Crusader’ will continue to do his or her bit for the community, the newspaper will continue its race to the bottom with its ‘no news’ stories, and the councillor will continue councilloring (is that even a word?)
And, if you think its a unique problem for Shotton think again:
Man wakes up to find four Asda shopping trolleys parked outside his Quedgeley house
The point both the Councillor and of course the Leader are missing is the fact that changes to Section 90 and Schedule 4 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 as amended by the Clean Neighbourhood and Environment Act 2005 (wow thats a mouthful!) give Flintshire County Council the statutory power to recover the costs of collection, storage and disposal of abandoned trolleys from relevant trolley owners by charging £110 per trolley.
The charge includes administrative costs, such as those arising from the notification requirements, staff time for collection and delivery, as well as the cost for storage.
Steve Jones, Head of Streetscene said,
“The Council has adopted the powers to remove abandoned supermarket trolleys from all Highway Land and Council owned open space and issue a charge to the supermarket for their return.”
So given the £18 million hole in the Council budget, more shopping trolleys dumped on street corners is a potential good thing, as long as the council get their finger out and impound them!