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Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Write up of Ealing's main Council meeting last night...

The Council meeting last night was jam packed. Here are some of the highlights...

Ealing Council awards the Army's 562 Transport Squadron Freedom of Entry

Freedom of Entry is a way for a town or city to give prominence to the locally based armed forces. They now can march through Ealing's streets with fixed bayonets playing their drums. As a drummer, I will look forward to when this moment will happen.

I made a short speech about the importance of this squadron especially in their peacekeeping roles. Logistics in the army is crucial and I recalled about when I visited Cyprus with my cricket team. We played against the army - and lost! The logistics we were offered was a nice post match meal.

The Non One Minute's Silence
At the start of the meeting the Conservative group made another request for a one minute's silence in relation to the late Margaret Thatcher.

At this point Liberal Democrat Councillor Jon Ball stood up and spoke to the Council chamber: "Mayor, the three political parties have discussed this last week and there was no consensus to hold a one minute's silence, so we should not. I got into politics to stop the type of politics that Margaret Thatcher stood for. If we hold a one minutes' silence I will walk out of the council chamber."

Margaret Thatcher had no local connection with Ealing and after the deaths of previous Prime Ministers there were no one minute's silences. The Mayor correctly confirmed that there would not be a one minute's silence.

Ealing Common Pavement Petition
Members of the public can hand in petition and Jennifer Hollis handed in a petition containing about 180 signatures from residents who wanted their pavements repaired. Jennifer mentioned about the people who had said they had fallen and hurt themselves.

In response to the petition Jennifer Hollis (@JenniferHollis) was told that because of her petition a number of the pavements have now been repaired. Well done. Jenni.

Ealing Council Finally Says Sorry Over Fostering and Adoption Leaflet

Many of you may remember a few weeks ago that Labour-run Ealing Council produced a leaflet asking for residents to become foster parents so they can avoid a cut to their benefits. Clearly many councils struggle to recruit enough foster parents but to attempt to yield foster parents in this way is immortal and offensive.

I asked a number of questions about this matter and initially the Councillor responsible for this topic did not want to accept there was anything wrong. Subsequently Labour admitted they were sorry for the leaflet and the offence that had been caused.

Council's High CPZ Charges Are Not It's Only Problems
After a long debate many problems were highlighted:
  • The frequent and high increases to parking and CPZ charges.
  • No proper guarantee of future CPZ fees being fair.
  • The very high visitor permit price means that carers are suffering as they use many visitors permits each week. With an aging population this will get worse.
  • Residents not being informed when their annual permits are due to expire.
  • IT issues when residents are requesting permit.
When I raised the matter of how in Hounslow they have a Visitors Permit which apparently works well and supports those who need that service, the responsible Councillor said he would look into this. I expect him to look into this properly as parking should serve people not the bank balance of Ealing Council at the expense of residents.

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