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Town in ‘chaos’ as bin fires spread

Council Leader Jangles introduces lockdown restrictions as smoke engulfs the town of Upper Bluster

At a heated session, beleaguered Council Leader Barry Jangles asked the town to come together and prepare for its “finest hour”, as firemen fight to control the fires that have raged throughout the summer.

To the dismay of those who had packed into the town hall, Jangles explained that three levels of restrictions would come into place next week across Upper Bluster. The Council chief says the restrictions are essential to meet the continued threat from the bin fires.

Under the new rules, those in the south of the town will be free to come and go, providing they keep a suitable distance from the flames. However, the housing estates on Bluster’s northern edge will be closed once again, with households prevented from mixing and pubs and restaurants shuttered.

GET YOUR BANGERS OUT

After announcing the new restrictions, the Council faced criticism from opposition councillors and members of the public. Councillor Karl Strimmer said the town was “descending into chaos” and asked Jangles whether it had been wise to allow residents back onto the High Street in September, having been banned from the area for months.

Tim Latrine, the landlord of the World’s End, took to the floor and said the new restrictions would put him out of business. Defying a request to take his seat at the packed meeting, the angry publican waved his smartphone at Councillors and said a Google search had confirmed that the flames surrounding his pub posed no threat to the health of drinkers.

Gaffe-prone Jangles had made light of the bin fires earlier this year when, in an interview with this newspaper, he urged residents to ‘get your bangers out’ and meet up for a barbecue after flames were first seen rising from a wheelie bin in the town’s William Blake Estate.

Like many Upper Bluster residents, Jangles later received medical treatment for smoke inhalation and has struck a less casual note since. An apparent change of heart about the health threat posed by the fires hasn’t stopped the Council Leader attracting further criticism, however.

He was roundly attacked when the Council relocated a group of flaming wheelie bins to the car park of the Twilight Days Care Home at the edges of town, where it was hoped they would burn themselves out. GPs at Upper Bluster’s surgery have reported a growing number of respiratory complications among care home residents since.

NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE

Questioned by this newspaper, keen golfer Jangles defended the Council’s decision to appoint Upper Bluster Golf Club Ladies Captain as the head of a working group to trace residents suffering from smoke inhalation.

He also dismissed the suggestion that employing local turf accountant Derek Loiter to map the spread of bin fires around town was a ‘backroom deal.’ Council minutes show that Loiter, who has no experience in firefighting or mapmaking, was paid £250 a day to draw up a map showing the location of all the bin fires.

The map was to go on display in the town hall to help residents navigate their way around the town’s smoke-filled streets. However, the map has never been seen and a council spokesperson blamed GDPR for the change of plan.

Separately, it has been revealed that a business associate of Loiter’s was paid £20,000 to supply plastic buckets and water hoses that Upper Bluster’s Fire Chief has since stated are not fit for purpose.

“We continue to follow the science,” Jangles said as last night’s meeting drew to a dramatic close. Councillors and members of the public followed each other to the World’s End to continue the debate — unaware it, too, was closing.

The Upper Bluster Echo says…

Jangles became Council Leader last year on the back of his promise to get the bypass around Upper Bluster built, writes James Forsooth, Political Editor.

The subject of fierce debate for many years, local businesses fear the controversial bypass scheme will make trade with neighbouring towns uneconomical. In response, Jangles has repeatedly talked up business opportunities far beyond the county. Council Members who returned from a fact-finding visit to Outer Mongolia last year claimed that the market for Yak milk presents a great opportunity for Upper Bluster’s farmers, and urged them to diversify.

Now, with bin fires spreading across town and the deadline for bypass negotiations getting close to the wire, the Council looks increasingly rattled. As more and more Blusterers pass through the door of the surgery with chest complaints, previously loyal councillors are beginning to question Jangles’ suitability for the job.

It could be a long and cold winter. Jangles will be hoping those fires are put out well before Christmas. Brrrrr!

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A pick and mix of words; now online, better packaged and more expensive, like everything post-COVID. The sour cherries are best. The opinions are my own.

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