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Monday, 31 March 2014

Liberal Democrats release Local Election Manifesto

The Ealing Liberal Democrats launched their local election manifesto today. They are the effective opposition in Ealing, given that they are the only party who has costed policies to deal with the key local issues that residents are concerned about.

In Ealing we have a growing membership
Ealing Council has been selling off our day centres, left our streets and parks dirty and charged for collecting our garden waste. The Liberal Democrats are the only party who have costed policies. We will be tough as nails with contractors who are providing a poor service and we will freeze Council Tax for the next four years to give some stability to residents' finances.

The ten key areas of the 2014 manifesto where we will take action on include:
Protect the vulnerable - save day centres like the Carlton Road day centre and local health services
Freeze Council Tax for the next four years – cut costs not services
Cleaner streets and fine contractors for poor performance
Safer Ealing – more Bobbies on the Beat in high crime areas
Restore free garden waste collection
Freeze parking permits and vouchers
More investment in roads and pavements
Increase social & affordable housing supply
Make the Council easier to contact
Protect green spaces & prevent “garden grabbing

The Liberal Democrats have produced an alternative budget every year during this 4-year electoral term, while the Conservatives have not done so. The Conservatives have not done so, preferring instead to make statements about what they would do without proving that they could afford to do it. This is further evidence of how seriously the Ealing Borough Liberal Democrats take their duty to the electorate.

The Labour party have left Ealing far worse than we were in 2010 and the Conservative party's financial plans do not add up. Only the Liberal Democrats can improve Ealing giving fairness to how our council money is spent. We are the only party who treat our vulnerable residents with a priority.

On May 22nd vote Liberal Democrat to get hard working Councillors and a party that will focus attention on avoiding problems for the vulnerable in society.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Southfield Lib Dem Councillors help out in clearing up St Albans Church

On a cold Saturday morning, Southfield Lib Dem Councillor Andrew Steed and I helped out a large number of local residents to clear up St Albans Church.

Me removing a wooden pallet behind the church
This involved throwing away masonry, cutting back overgrown trees and lots of other rubbish that had accumulated over the years whilst the church had not been open to the public.

This community work followed the successful victory over developers who wanted to convert the church into ten luxury flats.

It is crucial for the site to be brought back into use. This type of work is vital and it has prepared the ground for future works to make repairs to the church itself.

Lots of overgrown trees were cut back.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Lib Dems alternative budget would increase spending on roads and pavements and cancel the Garden Tax

At an Ealing Council meeting last night Liberal Democrats put forward an alternative budget which would have meant an extra £1.6 million would have been spent on roads and paving across the borough, as well as getting rid of the garden tax.

Sadly the Ealing Labour Party voted against our fully costed and approved budget it will mean that residents will still have to pay £40 to have their garden waste collected on top of the Council Tax.

On the doorstep we are constantly are told that people are sick of having to pay the garden tax. It is a stealth tax. Only the Liberal Democrats put forward proposals to ensure the Council spend more on maintaining our roads and pavements. Both the Tories and Labour party voted again this sensible plan.

Ealing Lib Dems
In my speech I gave a summary of what Labour-run Ealing Council has done over the past four year and it does not read well...

  • Cutting of enviro-crime officers
  • Cutting of many Park Rangers
  • Cutting respite care
  • Cutting transport services for the vulnerable
  • Cutting Sheltered Housing provision
  • Culling of numerous day centres. Numbers of disabled and vulnerable residents will suffer. Elderly and the disabled. I expected more of Labour!
  • Then cuts to the very sheltered housing
  • People waiting too long to speak to staff when they call the Council
  • Our streets dirty and unclean - STILL

Looking at my home ward of Southfield, only two roads have been resurfaced in the past four years. The Liberal Democrat amendment would have helped many roads in Southfield as well as the whole borough.

In the forthcoming local elections on May 2012 people will have the choice to vote Lib Dem for a party who are hardworking all year round and in opposition focus on what the Council needs to do to treat residents fairly, whether the administration does not agree to sensible proposals.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Lib Dems: working for better and a safer transport system

Over the New Year period many of us either leave London to visit relatives or stayed here in what feels like a deserted Ealing. We expect a reduced transport services at that time of year but hope for a better transport system in 2014.

We saw the government reduce transport fares across the country but due to mistakes from the Mayor of London, residents in Ealing are paying higher fares than necessary. On top of this it is expected that the Mayor will close many of the ticket offices which will not help make Ealing a welcoming place for tourists if there is no one to help with ticket enquiries.

The Liberal Democrats have worked with Ealing Council in supporting many cycling initiatives such as the hub outside Ealing Broadway centre and the improvement of many cycling facilities across the borough.

It is clear in Ealing that the Conservative party have continued to block or to pour cold water on many positive initiatives that Ealing Council have been working on to improve the safety of cyclists. As the number of cyclists increases it is crucial that both facilities are improved and training of both children and adults takes place to ensure that cycle users stay as safe as possible.

In Southfield ward, covering Acton and Chiswick, the three Liberal Democrat councillors have been proactive in consulting residents about a possible 20mph zone. After the consultation, which involved a public meeting, about 70% of respondents were in favour of the scheme.
Me at a cycle ride around Ealing in 2010

The 20mph zone should reduce the number of people injured or killed on our streets as well as making it less stressful and safe for those walking or those cycling. The safer we can make walking and cycling, perhaps we can encourage people to be fitter and healthier.

Looking to Ealing Broadway station, one of the busiest stations in London, Crossrail offers a once in a lifetime opportunity for Ealing residents to get a fit-for-purpose station they deserve.

The Mayor of London’s Crossrail plans fail to provide an escalator and includes only tiny lifts. When passenger numbers rise dramatically, the bulk of passengers will be forced to push their way down narrow and dangerous steps to catch a train or the tube. If there was an emergency I do not think people could be evacuated, especially those in wheelchairs or the less mobile, quickly enough.

Ealing's Labour-run Council and Ealing Central's Conservative MP should hang their heads in shame that they have failed to win a better station for Ealing.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Lib Dem initiative to protect Marie's Store

Recently I applied to Ealing Council to protect Marie’s Store, Cunnington Street by getting the site classified as a site as an Asset of Community Value.

This should help reduce the chances that any developers converting the popular local shop into flats. The suggestion for this came from a resident in Hounslow who said the new law had recently been used to protect a well loved local pub.

The Southfield Liberal Democrats Councillors have linked in with the local residents association, Acton Green Residents Association, on this issue before. Getting the site confirmed as an Asset of Community Value could be vital in protecting this local store where residents constantly say it is more than a shop.

At the same time there has been a new planning application for Marie's Store.

Marie's Store is at the heart of the community around Antrobus Road and Cunnington Street. Lodging the site as an asset of community value means that if the owner wants to sell the building or, as they have done recently, put in a new planning application, there is a greater chance of preventing the loss of Marie's Store.

Yesterday I recieved a letter from Ealing Council confirming my application. Let's ensure that Ealing Council confirms it quickly.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Southfield Lib Dems approve 20 mph zone

Southfield ward Councillors met with Council Transport officers and have agreed a 20 mph zone for Southfield.

From the consultation that took place in autumn, 69% of respondents wanted to see a 20 mph zone. Some of the key points are:
Southfield Councillor Andrew Steed

  • We do not think having two roundabouts is feasible or needed at the Southfield Road / Fletcher Road / Acton Lane junction. Officers have agreed to redesign and come up with a single roundabout option.
  • Two sets of improvements are to happen this month due to the high support from residents – including a new raised table / zebra crossing near the Murco garage across the Beaconsfield Road and a crossing across South Parade to Acton Green Common.
  • There were concerns that a number of mature trees were to be cut down. Local Councillors with officers have found ways for this to be avoided.
  • A number of the streets will have their centre lines moved which will help reduce accidents.
  • In some areas parking spaces will be increased by reducing the length of some double yellow lines.
  • Based upon which safety works were preferred most by residents and those which will give more road safety benefits, it was confirmed that each set of works will be done separately so to reduce congestion.

The Liberal Democrats Councillors want to see both our roads safer and for congestion to be reduced. We have agreed to items of work that will give benefit to the area and suggested methods which would not require cutting down trees.

Below we list some of the changes with more geographic detail so that Southfield residents can see what changes might be happening near to where they live.

Councillor Gary Malcolm

  • Relocating two car club bays near to the bend of Cunnington Street. No parking loss and it should give better visibility at the blind corner.
  • Proposal to reduce the Cunnington Street “stop & shop” parking bays from 30 mins to 15 mins was wanted by Acton Green Residents Association (AGRA) and local councillors but given some negativity from residents the officers are to look at whether residents local to Marie’s Store are in favour or not.
  • Speed humps at Acton Lane, Beaconsfield Road, Kingswood Road, Cunnington Street – we generally agreed with these suggestions but officers agreed to our request to look again at the Antrobus Road / Cunnington Street junction, due to the recent accidents. AGRA were strongly in favour of these proposals.
  • Mini roundabout at Rothschild Road / Cunnington Street junction – same comment as item one in relation to recent accidents.
  • Relocation of the signal crossing to a raised zebra crossing on Acton Lane (nearer to Cunnington Street) should reduce the number of pedestrians running across the road instead of using the safer crossing. There have been quite a few minor accidents near this location.
  • Raised table at Southfield Road / Carlton Road junction – 60% of people were in favour and this should stop some of the speeding.
  • Raising the existing crossing at Steele Road / Acton Lane junction – this was agreed by 64% of residents.
  • Rejected the idea of moving a bus stop on The Avenue (near to No. 38) as it would give little benefit and cost a lot of money.
  • Raising the existing crossing on The Avenue / Bedford Road junction. This was supported by 62% of residents.
  • Realigning the kerb layout and a proposed raised table on The Avenue / Marlborough Crescent junction intersection.
If you have any questions please let me know.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

My New Years Message: thanking volunteers and wanting a better-run Ealing Council

As we end the year I am reminded of the excellent work that the many nurses, doctors and staff at our hospitals undertake. They have provided a great service to Ealing and our local hospitals need to be retained, not downgraded.

Very recently, Nelson Mandela’s death has reminded us that problems can be best sorted out by discussion and engaging with those who have different viewpoints.

In my local area there has been a great uptake in community and sporting activities such as street parties and residents associations being active in suggesting how our areas can be improved. So many wonderful people improve the lives of others through their community work. Thank you.

In May this year residents of Ealing will have a chance to state in the local elections who they want to run Ealing Council and what values Ealing Council should have. Liberal Democrats have over the past four years challenged the Labour-run administration in their decisions to cut vital services affecting the disabled and other vulnerable groups. We would protect these groups first. Given the extremely poor level of service residents are getting from the waste & recycling contractors we would either ditch them or ensure they perform to a high standard.

Another area where Ealing Council needs to improve is in its communication with residents. So often residents tell me that they are treated as an inconvenience. Liberal Democrats want to see more focus on ensuring that the Council serves residents properly.

As I wish you a great new year, why not take up a new sport? There are lots of great FREE facilities around the borough.