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Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The local Safer Neighbourhood Ward AGM meeting

Tonight was a short meeting and it took place in the same location as the meeting last night. Some of the same people even attended!

Some advice was given to reduce the height of peoples' garden hedges. This would lessen the chance that any potential criminal can hide behind the hedges as well as use the high hedges as cover when breaking into people's homes.

We heard from Southfield's new police sergeant who mentioned that Southfield ward, which covers some of Acton and the section of Chiswick in Ealing, has has a pretty low crime rate compared to the surrounding areas.

Those in attendance including fellow Liberal Democrat councillor Andrew Steed heard about people having their phones and iPads stolen when they leave tube stations. You have been warned. Always check who might grab your belongings.

One of the Southfield police team also goes on patrols with officers who deal with street drinkers. The aim is to try to get drinkers off drink and if they have drug problems then they are helped to seek assistance for that addiction. So much crime is produced from those with drug or alcohol problems.

One resident who attended asked the question: "When should I call 999?" The answer given was that if you are watching the crime then call 999. They will assess the priority of the call based upon other issues at the time. If a 999 is not used then do call 101 and give all the information about the crime and importantly a description of the criminals or those you think were about to commit a crime. Try to give the person's height, build, skin colour, clothing, age.

And always report a crime if you see something. If you don't then the police will say they have no reports of any crime. You can do some crime reporting (of non emergency items) on line.

Remember that at the moment a lot of people (esp women) are having their gold necklaces stolen as they can be melted down and sent off for cash. Also if you have a Sat Nav remember to wipe away the sucker mark or else a villain will see this and break in to see what you have in the glove-box.

At the end of the meeting there was a number of residents who stood down from the committee (after having served for three years) and they were replaced by some residents new to crime reduction. They will attend only four meetings a year, with the police, council officers and three local councillors incl. myself to reduce crime in Southfield.

I wish them a fruitful year.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Report of the Southfield ward Forum - 27th September

The ward forum meeting took place at the Carlton Day Centre and a lot of issues were discussed. Present was one Ealing Council's recycling officers, the local police team and a park ranger. The following was agreed:

1/ Lighting Southfield Rec - after a good discussion the ward agreed to fund a consultation for the 1000 or so residents around the Rec to see if they might benefit from having the Rec lights installed at night. We also agreed to see what anti-crime measures (a night camera) mights be installed to reduce any crimes that a lit park could attract.

2/ We also agreed to spend money on the following ward proposals -
  • Feasibility Study into road traffic concerns on Cunnington Street
  • Newspaper recycling bins outside Chiswick Park tube (x1) and South Acton stations (x1)
  • Mixed collection recycling bins outside Chiswick Park tube (x1); at the west side of The Avenue near the E3 bus stop(x1); at the junction of Brookfield Road and 5-7 Southfield Rd (x1); and at the Acton Green side of Fishers Lane (x1)
  • Street signs for Acton Lane at the junction of Beaconsfield Road
  • Feasibility study into traffic numbers at the Larden Road - The Vale junction
  • Alteration to the wall layout in the Beaconsfield (Prime Ministers) estate to reduce anti-social behaviour
  • Contribution to the Sunflower Club (a senior citizen's social club)
  • Planting Wildflower on Southfeild Rec near to Wilkinson Way
  • Adding a path near the old playground of Southfeild Rec. with a Hoggin groundcover
  • Funding for W4 Youth for them to expand their equipment in their youth club
  • Installing two picnic tables in Acton Green Common near to the playground
  • Installing two picnic tables in Southfield Rec. near to the playground
  • A replacement tree for The Avenue
  • Lighting for the alleyway between Woodstock Road and Southfield Road

3/ The local police team gave details of the two recently approved dispersal zones for Acton Green Common / Beaconsfield Estate and Southfield Rec (they give the police powers for the next few months to move people on if they are causing anti-social behaviour)

Tweet @CllrGaryMalcolm if you want to suggest an item for the agenda of the next meeting.

Good discussion about matters of importance

Many people do not watch political conferences. If they had watched the recent Liberal Democrat conference they would have seen a lot of good discussion about important matters.

Without the Coalition Government our country would be in a very poor shape, perhaps like Greece, as there would be infighting about how they are to solve their financial problems. Our coalition has amicably started to reduce the budget (and the huge interest payments this will save us). None of this is easy but it needs to be done. We are doing better than the USA, Spain and Greece to name a few countries.

Locally we want to see less paperwork in the Met and that money spent on front-line officers that can reduce crime and the fear of crime we have in Ealing. At the conference we spelt out our disgust of the rioters and looters that rampaged across the country. We also went on to say that the Met need to be quicker at adapting to tricky situations to ensure that if Ealing needs more police in the short term because of an emergency then they can get the resources they need.

Vince Cable stated that as a country we need to do more and more is planned to prompt growth and jobs. Some examples include initiatives like Crossrail which can bring jobs in the short term but also bring jobs to London. Vince followed up by announcing plans to separate the risky investment section of banks from the high street banks. This will mean that we should not be in the situation, left to us by the last government.

We then debated the difficult subject of domestic abuse. The coalition government has launched a cross-department body to end this type of violence. Also the government has opted in to the European Union Directive on human trafficking, which will strengthen the assistance offered to victims of human trafficking.

Finally we know in Ealing, with a growing population of toddlers, that we need to expand or create new schools. The government introduced a Liberal Democrat policy called the Pupil Premium which will continue to help Ealing’s most disadvantaged children. The government allocates an amount of money per child, so whichever school they attend, the money goes with them so the school can fund a better or more tailored education for them. This helps those pupils who need the most help at the start of their education.

So the next time you catch a TV show covering a political conference do at least watch five minutes and see how different parties might have policies that affect you.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Ealing's Olympic Torch Holders - a few hundred whittled down to two!

At a meeting this morning in Ealing Town Hall I was present when we discussed and then approved two Ealing residents who will carry the Olympic torch as part of the Olympic build up.

Over two hundred people contacted the council to say they wanted to be  Olympic torch holders. The short list was whittled down to about twenty. Myself with the Leader of the Council and the Ealing Conservative's party Leader discussed the merits of each applicant before choosing two.

We decided that the two residents would have to have some strong sporting interest as well as being a community person. Many of the applicants had one of the criteria ticked but a handful ticked both boxes.

It was very tricky to select them. I hope when the Council announces the two, we selected, that they become a local inspirational hero.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Acton Green Residents Association AGM news

Tonight I attended, with fellow Liberal Democrat Councillor Andrew Steed, the AGM of the AGRA - known locally as the Acton Green Residents Association.

It was a quicker than average meeting but was still very interesting and had a lot of items relating to the police and crime matters generally.

Southfield's new police Sergeant, Darren Grey, was able to attend. He is a real hand on sort of guy. He would rather be on the beat than sitting in an office creating a strategy document. He said he is someone who likes to bash heads together to get things done.

I know personally from one crime case he was working on he was willing (and thick-skinned) enough to be present at an address in Southfield taking verbal abuse from individuals who are knowledgeable of, or part of, some criminal activity. He was reminding certain individuals that the police were watching them! That is police presence.

Other advice given at the meeting was to trim your hedges for no higher than 1.5 metres. High hedges are known to allow criminals to break into homes without being easily seen by passer-bys.

Also the sergeant reminded local residents not to leave anything in your cars as criminals will often break into cars hoping that there is something in a pocket of a coat or jacket.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Positive news about Ealing Cinema

Many people in Ealing are sad when they see the old Cinema in Ealing just as an eyesore with the Council fighting with the owner of the land who had planning permission to build a new cinema.

Very recently there was some good news. CEO Justin Ribbons of, Empire, in August, has had meetings with local activists to press home and discuss the need for action on this issue to get Empire to build the cinema they promised.

It seems now that Justin Ribbons "remains cautiously positive", given the progress made resolving the outstanding planning amendments. There are apparently no major amendments that will cause any further delay.

So let us see the revised planning application from Empire so the Council can discuss the matter and then if they agree to the plan, then we might have a cinema within 60 weeks.

Fingers crossed.

Sign the petition to continue to the pressure:

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Southfield Ward Forum, Tues 27th Sept

The meeting takes place from 7.30pm at Carlton Road Day Centre, 8-10 Carlton Road, W4 5DY, which is easy to get to by the E3 bus route or a ten minute walk from Turnham Green tube station. All residents and local businesses are welcome.

The meeting will be chaired by myself, Councillor Gary Malcolm and ward councillors Harvey Rose and Andrew Steed will be present to discuss topics and answer questions.


1. Welcome and introductions – also Health & Safety Notices (7.30pm)
- apologies for absence

2. Request for “Any Other Business” items (7.35pm)

3. Notes of the last ward forum held on 29th June 2011  (7.40pm)
- review for accuracy
- matters arising (that are not on the agenda)

4. Southfield Recreational Grounds – should they be lit at night? (7.55pm)

5. Southfield ward budget (8.40pm)
- update on ward projects in progress
- proposals for 2011-12 budget

6. Southfield dispersal zones (9.05pm)

7. Section 106 Allocations (9.10pm)

8. Any Other Business (9.15pm)

9. Dates of future meetings
- Thur, 24 November. Venue: Scout Hut, Rugby Road W4
- Wed, 8 February 2012. Venue: Acton Green Church, Cunnington Street, W4

10. Meeting close ( 9.30pm)

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Four years of fare misery under Boris Johnson

It was sad to see Boris Johnson’s fare proposals for 2012, which he confirmed today, will be set at RPI plus 2 per cent.

This is the fourth year of fare misery that Londoners will face under Boris Johnson. He has already hit Londoners hard by hiking up bus fares from 90 pence to £1.30 for a single fare since he arrived at City Hall. Today’s further rise will really hit hard many people, especially those on low incomes. Boris Johnson has failed to tackle effective action to tackle fare evasion or cut waste which is widespread throughout TfL.

If the Mayor got on top of these issues there would be no need for such severe fare rises, especially for low income Londoners. The Mayor must also take real action to stop Londoners being ripped off by Oyster overcharging and give bus users a fair deal by introducing a one-hour bus ticket.

Ealing Council's cabinet meeting update

Yesterday I attended the Council's cabinet meeting. The following items are snippets:

1/ School Meals - The council is about to tender to gain a supplier for cooking school meals for 60 schools in Ealing. I asked a question that surprised the Cabinet member for Education. Quote simply I asked whether they would ensure that initatives, by Jamie Oliver, to improve the diet in schools. She seemed interested that someone was interested in this subject. I was given a committment from her that the contract when agreed would include elements to ensure a more healthy school diet.

2/ Green Spaces Strategy - The council is to consult on an updated strategy relating to parks in Ealing. In reply to my questions the Council stated it is still committed to improving Gunnersbury Park despite the 118 page report only mentioning Gunnersbury a few times. The list of consultees was reasonably extensive but they did miss some groups I identified. In relation to volunteering the report said nothing but the Council Leader said it was something of a priority quoting two parks! They agreed to ensure that the strategy document was looked at again to encompass volunteering given it has a lot of potential for educating and training children and young people. Only time will tell.

3/ New Recycling Contract - The Labour council agreed sadly to implement a plan to charge residents £40 per year for a garden waste collection service (that is currently free) using wheelie bins or via biodegradable sacks (£20 for 25 sacks). The report had little detailed financial information When questioned they stated that residents could decide whether they wanted wheelie bins or biodegradable sacks.

That might sound nice (apart from the extra cost) however there will be extra costs of having to collect two types of garden waste vessels. When asked about whether they are planning to introduce a fortnightly black bag waste scheme the administration said they were not. The Leader of the Council will be trying to state that the Council needs to do one or the other. But don't listen to that argument as I have quoted ways to save money elsewhere.

4/ Customer Service Performance - Public figures showed that residents were having to wait a lot longer than normal on the phone and when visiting the Town Hall to get information they needed. I asked the question about whether the customer Service Strategy was wrong or not being implemented correctly. The answer given by the officer, was that more recent figures show a big improvement. Why did they not update the meeting with these figures using a simple one-page printed update?

5/ Mayor's Riot Relief Fund - So far about £100,000  has been given out to local, independent businesses who suffered in the Ealing riots. So the Mayor and all three party leaders will have oversee about who is to receive funds from the Mayoral Fund.

6/ Acton's Priory Centre - This related to a Liberal Democrat call-in (to review a previous Council decision) about the impact to move out about 60 community groups from the Priory Centre when they have no alternative locations to go to. The only good news on this matter is that the original plan was to turf out (my term not the Council's) the community groups in April 2012 may be altered to see if they can stay where they are until July 2012. Not what I call real positive news but the Council seems to be trying to make some accommodation.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

If you live in Acton or Chiswick come to the police AGM

The Southfield police forum (which is made up of residents, local councillors, police) are having their Annual meeting on Wed 28th September from 7pm at the Carlton Road Day Centre, Carlton Road, W4.

The meeting will report on a number of local police matters concerning Chiswick and Acton that have happened over the past year. A new committee will be elected (each year some stand down) and so volunteers are needed. You can ask the local police team questions. They will give you advice on reducing crime. There are only four meetings a year so it isn't hard work (sometimes we even have fun!)

The residents who attend really can easily make a lot of difference as residents can direct the police into spending their time on particular projects or issues.

It is easy to get to using the E3 bus or a 10 minute walk from Turnham Green tube station.

If you want more information about the meeting please email me via or Tweet me at  @CllrGaryMalcolm or call me on 07813 205218.

It would be great to see you. Please pass on to whoever you think might be interested.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Councillor Malcolm Attended the Southfield Park Triangle Residents' Association Meeting

Whilst many watched Ealing in the rugby world cup this morning I attended a local residents' meeting. In order the following issues were discussed:

The police spoke about three matters -:

1) they introduced a new member of the team (PCSO Emma Green)
2) That the long-standing Seargant (Helene Holloway) has been moved to another ward in Ealing. Her replacement is Seargeant Sergeant Darren Gray.
3) That the Police have gained new powers to clear gangs from Southfield Rec and Acton Green. Please check out this link for more information:

The contact details of the Southfield police team are: Phone: 020 8721 2946 / 07879 694814 or Email:

And here the link shows the full team:

Then it was mentioned that the Southfield ward forum was coming up soon. It is Tuesday 27th Sept from 7.30 at Carloton Road Day Centre, W4. I will be chairing the meeting where we will be discussing some issues relating to spending some of the committee's budget on items to improve the area and make it safer. One topic that will be discussed will be whether it is a good idea to install lights in Southfield Rec. Currently there are no lights and residents do not feel safe to cross the Rec.

Lastly the Thames Tunnel issue was discussed. It was reported by the Chair that the Council had not been very helpful on this matter until recently. The project is where a tunnel will be built under the Thames to help reduce pollution / waste getting into the Thames (occurs more when there is bad whether). To do this they will be installing lots of tunnels, a storm tank and ventalation shafts which are apparently 15 metres tall.

There will be a meeting organised in early October (the 6th) in the Scouts Hut where Thames Tunnel project team will be able to answer questions about the latest project. It appears that the decision has privately been made to site the Storm Tank in the border of Acton and Chiswick. Residents also want to make sure that any works do not disturb them. It is possible from a letter on the subject that some properties might be compulsory purchased but we have not heard a definite statement on this matter.

Check this link out to read more:

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

A tale of two holes – and a £39m price tag

In principle, I have no objection to people digging holes in the ground. Even very expensive holes. Potholes? Bad. But lift shafts, underground tunnels and other such excavations? Good. A big hole that loops back on itself and could* end the universe? That’ll do nicely. The combination of a hole, Bernard Cribbins and Lego? Excellent.

If I had to postulate a general theory of holes, I’d say that a hole that is not used is a bad hole. And two holes that are not used are doubly bad.

Which brings me to the question of the £39 million spent on building two holes in the ground at Shepherd’s Bush station. That the holes are called lift shafts might raise your hopes. But no, the project was cancelled £39 million in, so all we are left with is two holes in the ground, unused.

In 2009 further work on the project, i.e. putting the holes to use, was “deferred indefinitely” and it has stayed that way since. The reason is a half-decent one, namely that the costs of the rest of the work had spiralled up horribly so it was better to quit at that point. But of course the fact that the costs spiralled up so massively says something about the failure of planning and management up to that stage.

So thank you Mayors Livingstone and Johnson who between them have spent £39 million on giving us two holes in the ground, unused.

Monday, 5 September 2011

New Oyster system to help customers pay the correct fare

After a long campaign by Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the London Lib Dem GLA Group, a new system will help Oyster passengers who occasionally forget to touch out.

Transport for London (TfL) has introduced a new facility for Oyster pay as you go customers who occasionally forget to touch out at the end of their Tube, DLR, Overground or National Rail journey.

Currently those who do not scan their pay-as-you-go card at the end of a journey are charged the maximum Zone 1-6 fare of £7.90. But a new system will calculate the likely journey based on the individual's travel history and charge the appropriate fare, it is claimed.

Caroline Pidgeon said: "We don't want to penalise customers who normally touch in and out for occasionally forgetting, so, for such customers, we are looking at ways of correcting journeys that have been left open without a final touch at the destination."

In January figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats on the London Assembly showed mistakes at ticket gates had resulted in Oyster card users being overcharged by £60m last year. And in August 2010 BBC London revealed TfL had refunded £40,000 in eight months to customers who had been overcharged by faulty machines when topping up their Oyster cards.

Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly group, said: "The mayor and TfL must address the much bigger problem of Oyster overcharging caused by the system not always working properly, for example when barriers are left open, or the machines are not working at the start of the journey. We still have a long way to go in tackling the scandal of Oyster overcharging."

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Brian Paddick selected by Liberal Democrats for London mayoral contest

London's mayoral election next year will be a contest between Brian Paddick, Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone after the former Scotland Yard deputy assistant commissioner was selected as the Liberal Democrats' candidate for the second time.

Brian Paddick has thanked Liberal Democrat members "who placed their trust and confidence in me to be their candidate for mayor of London – I won't let you down".

Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem leader and deputy prime minister, said Paddick provided Londoners with a "real, credible alternative" to Johnson and Livingstone.

"Brian's experience is exactly what London needs right now. Whether dealing with the aftermath of the riots or phone hacking and corruption in the Metropolitan police, Brian has shown in recent weeks that he has the authority and leadership London needs." The phone hacking scandal that rocked News International, the Metropolitan police and the political establishment is likely to surface in the 2012 contest. Paddick, whose phone was hacked by the now defunct News of the World, is among a group of public figures who have sought permission for a judicial review of the Met's handling of the phone hacking scandal.

Paddick, who retired from the police in 2007 after 30 years of service, told the Evening Standard on Friday that reformed gang members should go into school to warn children of the dangers of getting involved in violent crime, after the recent riots in the capital raised fears about violent young people.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Our community is alive but we can promote ourselves better

Since my last post I thought I would update you with my thoughts on the issue of community groups and give an example of one we currently have that provides some useful experiences for the younger members of our community.

One person in a local paper stated recently that given the riots, we have no community left. What rot! Nearly everyone is a good person and doesn't commit crimes. Ealing has so many residents groups, carers, tenants associations, play groups, after school groups etc etc. Some of the wonderful work done includes the Army Cadet force, who are a voluntary youth organisation for 12 to 18 year olds, both male and female. There are two in Ealing borough as I recall.

Check out which gives some good examples of what they do for young people.

There is a need for young people to have clubs in the local area, but so many already exist but perhaps the Council needs to promote them to a wider audience, especially are not as well known about as they could be.