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Saturday, 6 October 2018

An insider's view of the Brexit Deal and how it might affect West London

Last week there was a great Town Hall meeting where the issue of Brexit was discussed. Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake was present to speak and answer questions from the packed meeting.
Joining Tom Brake was Nacho Morais, Chair of West London for Europe, who talked about campaigning in West London and the People’s Vote march scheduled for October 20th 2018.

Tom Brake MP
It was stated that some of the likely effects of a no-deal would include the continuation of medicinal stockpiling and also of food. Businesses and people are now so nervous that they are assuming the worst situation will happen.

It does appear to many as if the best deal that can be achieved will be a total disaster for Ealing, London and the country.

Nacho Morais mentioned reminded us about the Irish aspect of Brexit: a third of milk in Northern Ireland goes to Ireland. The border issue is a crucial one that is not easily solved.

Lib Dem MP Tom Brake mentioned that if European citizens leave the UK, then come back, they will have reapply to live here even if they have lived here for many years contributing. It is a sad way to treat people who have helped our country by working in the health service.

What is sad is that the Labour party have a chance to stop Brexit but are trying their best to sit on the fence. But almost all of the options of the Labour flowchart lead to Jeremy Corbyn having to support a People's Vote.

Ealing Liberal Democrats believe that residents should go on the People's Vote march on 20th October. It is likely to be even bigger than the last one.

This will be a chance to remind MPs who are not sure about Brexit to vote to cancel Brexit or go for a People’s Vote.

Monday, 9 July 2018

A sports hub for Southfield Rec?


For many years the Liberal Democrats have been supportive of initiatives to improve access to youth club services for our residents in Chiswick and Acton.

The Southfield Ward Forum, which the Liberal Democrats chair, has funded W4 Youth on two occasions to help provide a range of activities for teenagers in the area such as football and table tennis.

After many years of hearing about possible plans for a youth club on Southfield Rec, by surprise it appeared on the agenda of a Council meeting this week with no up-front briefing for Southfield ward Councillors to ask questions. This approach is very regrettable as residents and Councillors will have lots of questions and it would make sense to ensure they are dealt with in an organised fashion.

There are implications on requiring planning permission (the Council told ward Councillors that the only buildings that can be sited on Southfield Rec would be those that relate to maintaining the grounds such as for tool storage) so it appears the Council is by passing its own rules when it wants to without taking into account the views of residents who might be affected such as those living in the South Western section on Wilkinson Way or Southfield Road.

The Council plan to grant a 99-year lease to W4 Youth for the construction of a community sports hub including a car park. The suggested uses include: Youth clubs (street dance club, drama club), sports facilities (T20 cricket club, football pitches), a café and administrative offices for the charity.

It also appears that the lease will allow the football pitches and tennis courts to be hired out. We have asked whether the Council has consulted the current users of the football pitches and the tennis courts but so far not had a response.

I am in favour of improving the facilities for local people but these types of initiatives should be done by involving residents as well as local Councillors so that a better outcome can be achieved.

As it stands currently there are lots of questions and it appears that the Council should have asked to attend the Southfield Ward Forum meeting that was held in the last two weeks.

This would have been an opportunity to put forward proposals, listen to concerns and answer questions so that any proposals will be better for all.

For the Council to shun the local residents' association, residents and ward Councillors is deplorable.

The proposals can be seen here on the Council’s website (report 14).

 If you have any views please let me know at gary.malcolm@ealing.gov.uk

Monday, 28 May 2018

Labour-run Ealing Council's secret parking shame

Many Chiswick and Southfield residents have seen the notices placed on lampposts detailing Council plans to allow commuters to park in your streets even though many residents have bought their annual parking permits!

The plans mean that Ealing Council wants to charge non residents money to park in areas where local Southfield residents are paying the annual CPZ permit fee. Over 40 sites are possibly affected across Southfield. Councillor Gary Malcolm has made a Freedom of Information request to uncover information from the Council about their plans.

It appears that the Council has not considered the impact of having more parked cars will cause in terms of an increase in road traffic accidents by reducing the visibility of oncoming vehicles at blind corners. Many residents have told us that it will mean that people who have paid for their CPZ permit will not have a parking space for them to park during the day.

Councillor Gary Malcolm said: "At £4.50 a day to park this will be the cheapest all day parking in London! The introduction of residents permits was  to stop commuters clogging up the streets. This could encourage commuters to seek out cheap parking options travelling from Windsor, Slough or Oxford to save huge amounts of money over train season tickets once this loophole is announced!"

If you are against these proposals you should contact Tony Singh at Ealing Council (singhto@ealing.gov.uk) to let him know your views on the matter. The more people who let the Council know that their plans are not wanted, the higher the chance that they will back down. Please copy ourselves (southfield@ealinglibdems.org.uk) into the email so we are aware of your views.

The closing date for views is 11th June.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Southfield has been greened but it can be even greener!

Over the past few years the local Southfield Councillors have had access to a small budget to spend on local schemes in Chiswick.

Liberal Democrats have always made efforts to not just support charitable organisations that provide help and advice for those with caring needs, but to also promote environmental projects to brighten up the area.

Photo credit: Jon Perry
Some of the projects included:

  • Improvement of our three main parks which all now have Green Flag status!
  • Wild meadow planted on Southfield Rec
  • Over a hundred new street trees planted
  • Nest boxes for swifts
  • Plant beds on Southfield Rec and Acton Green
  • Winning a Council recycling award after we promoted the benefits of recycling
  • Greener lighting
  • Successfully stopped the Conservative party from relocating the 94 bus terminus to Shepherds Bush meaning we would lose a vital bus service
  • Many bus stops are now disability friendly
  • Cycle training for children and adults
  • Bike racks installed to help support our local shops
  • Bike racks expanded opposite Turnham Green station
  • Bike Hangers installed so that residents can store their cycles safely overnight at low cost
  • Agreed to Car club bays to help give alternatives to those who want to give up their cars

Of course this is a good start but in seeking re-election Southfield’s three Liberal Democrat Councillors look to make more improvements to the area. Some of the key improvements we seek include:

Much greater number of electric charging points
Better recycling so it is free and better promoted
Piccadilly Line tubes stopping at Turnham Green
Better access for those with disabilities at our tube and rail stations

In the up-coming local elections which take place on 3rd May 2018 I look forward to how we can discuss more ideas from residents about how our area can be improved.

Southfield Liberal Democrats launch local election priorities

After many months of surveying the views of Southfield residents and local businesses, the three Southfield Liberal Democrat Councillors have launched their three priorities which they will campaign on in the up-coming local elections which take place on 3rd May 2018.

 1. Cleaner and Safer Southfield:

  • Free from litter, fly-tips and leaves by re-introducing the weekly sweeping regime. When the Conservatives and the Labour party in Ealing Council voted for Council Tax they voted for the two reductions in street cleaning from a weekly service to once every 12 weeks. Only the Liberal Democrats have stood up for residents on this issue.
  • Involve residents in gaining feedback on which streets are considered clean or dirty. We would be very tough on the contractors like Amey who have failed over many years to give residents a good service. We will get replace failing contractors or withhold monies from their payments.
  • Work with the local police team (SNT) to support projects that can reduce the crime rate and help promote the benefits of Neighbourhood Watch schemes. This should help keep the crime rate at its current low level.
  • Continue to work with the police and Ealing Council to reduce the incidences of speeding traffic which can lead to traffic accidents and deaths.



2. Public transport better for all:

  • Campaigning for TFL to get Piccadilly Line tubes to stop at Turnham Green tube station. We have successfully persuaded TFL that Piccadilly Line tubes can stop at Turnham Green station, we just need them to upgrade the signalling.
  • We want our tube and rail stations and bus stops to be accessible for those with mobility issues and have already improved a number of bus stops in Southfield in coordination with residents.
  • Promote cycling and the ability to store cycles safely when people are visiting residents or whilst shopping in the area.


3. Protect Local Health Services:

  • Campaigning to stop our hospitals from being downgraded or closed such as Charing Cross hospital.
  • Look for ways to expand local GP doctor and dental provision in the area.


So these are the main issues residents have contacted us about. We will campaign on these plus other issues and have an action plan for each of these topics including the continues improvement of our parks which now have a Green Flag status!

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Christmas and New Year message 2017

Over the past year we have seen a number of incidences where the outlook for many residents in our area is getting worse not better.

Brexit is affecting London and certainly the boroughs of Ealing and Hounslow. Many banks and financial companies are moving jobs from London to France and Germany meaning that Chiswick residents are losing their jobs.

Liberal Democrats have observed that continued government cuts have resulted is a greater number of people being displaced from their housing and some being homeless. The truer level of homelessness is much higher as there are a large set of residents who move from the homes of friend to friend, staying for a few days or a week before moving to another temporary home. There needs to be more investment in providing shelters and the services so that those who are homeless can have a better chance of getting a job or into education.

In May 2018 there will be the local elections. I hope, despite many people’s views of politicians, that everyone will reflect on which political party or councillors have been the most active in their area to make improvements. The Liberal Democrats have been fighting to get the council to keep the streets clean from fly-tips, litter and leaves. We also want to see the police continue their hard work to keep crime low and to catch drivers who speed.

I would like to end my putting on record, a big thank you to the many thousands of residents who take part in volunteering to raise money for good caused, care for family members or vulnerable residents. You all have improved the lives of many people. In addition there are many residents who have helped to set up or maintain residents’ bodies. These groups make a positive difference in Chiswick.

I wish everyone a great festive period.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Ealing needs action not words to reduce cycling deaths

Many of us who are cyclists see junctions which are hot spots for injuries often involving cyclists and lorries, due to the blind spots.

Recently I went on a rally to show Ealing Council that they need to do more to reduce fatalities on our roads, following the death of ex-police officer and cyclist Claudia Manera in West Ealing. As Ealing’s Council Leader spoke he was barracked by cyclists demanding action not words. Too right.

The Liberal Democrats believe that the Council and Transport for London (TFL) should make a commitment to action the recommendations of the review relating to Claudia Manera’s death, that is being carried out so that future lives are not lost.

Ealing, like many areas, has an increased number of people cycling, but we are failing against the main Council target, as to the share of residents who cycle in Ealing is lower than planned.

Liberal Democrats believe there should be an action plan (not a strategy) for both pedestrians and cyclists. We need TFL and Ealing to spend more on preventing accidents. What is the cost of a death of a cyclist or pedestrian? Too much!

We need to see the approaches to major and more dangerous junctions made safer so that new cyclists can be encouraged as well as ensuring that existing cyclists can move from their homes to where they need to go more quickly.

Activities that Liberal Democrats’ ward forum have funded and implemented include:

  • Expanded cycle racks and hangers so residents without a garden can store their bikes safely.
  • Cycle training for children and adults across the area.
  • Introduced a 20 mph zone and other measures to reduce the traffic speed at some key junctions where cyclists and pedestrians have accidents.

A cycling equivalent to Park Runs was suggested at a meeting this week. This should be organised and promoted to encourage new cyclists as well as holding events for younger cyclists so a range of cyclists can be motivated.

We need those who block bus and cycle lanes to be fined! On Acton Vale and Acton High Street this happens too often.

More money has been available for road repairs so let’s make sure Ealing receives its share!

I have suggested that all of Ealing’s cycling shops be encouraged to help promote training which Ealing Council offers. One in my area said they would.

We just need to be more ambitious.