Welcome to the latest update on what your local South Acton councillors have been up to in the past month, we’ve all been busy with meetings (full council, cabinet and scrutiny) as well as being out and about in Acton.
The month started with the annual Acton carnival on Saturday 5 July, once again expertly run by Acton Community Forum in concert with the council and it was excellent to join Ealing mayor Cllr Tej Ram Bagha as well as a whole host of Ealing councillors as we enjoyed good music, food and fun. As always, the event kicked off with a march from Woodlands to Acton Park and it is always positive to see the wide range of people and groups celebrating what makes Acton great. You can see pictures of the whole day here, and as ever we’d all like to say thanks to the organisers for putting together such a good day and to everyone who came along for having fun (plus the sunny weather helped), so roll on next year.
For you in Council
On the council front we’ve also been busy following the election. Josh, Yvonne and I have all been at Ealing town hall for a series of briefings as the key departments outline the challenges Ealing faces over the next four years. We’ve been to updates on council communications, governance, safeguarding, adult and children’s services and more and Josh has hit the ground running on the planning committee as well as joining me on scrutiny. This month the main Overview & Scrutiny Committee (on 10 July) looked at the council’s overall sports strategy with a particular focus on improving engagement as well as a review of the facilities at Norwood Hall playing fields. We also had a good discussion on the specific recommendations of the cabinet’s considerations of the scrutiny report on governance reviewing suggestions on how to not only make the council connect with residents more effectively, but also improve the council’s performance. Full details of the subject areas and decisions can be found on the council website here.
Tory Leader AWOL
Last week the council chamber was packed for the second council meeting of the year, although the leader of the opposition was notable by his absence, a bit of a poor show in my opinion especially as he did not turn up to cabinet in June either. The main item on the agenda was the corporate plan, or Ealing’s aims for the coming year. There were a number of contributions and Josh gave his maiden speech outlining his concerns about accessibility across the borough and improving community engagement. Yvonne highlighted the strong performance of council services, and while the council continues to perform well we are mindful of making sure we continue to focus on securing our services in the face of further cuts from central government.
Ward Forum - Issues and answers
Last week also saw a very well attended ward forum at the Armenian Centre in Mill Hill Road. There were a wide variety of subjects covered, with a positive update from the local police team on targeting anti-social behaviour and drug dealing in the ward. Other subjects included the improvements to the bridge on Acton Lane, sadly taking longer than expected as we try and nudge Network Rail into action, the changes to the high street - which we will be looking at again once they’re completed and bedded in – as well as the planned roundabout on Twyford Avenue, trees for the high street and a good presentation on the new tenants’ management organisation on the estate to be run by the South Acton Community Builders Co. I wish the TMO the best of luck, We had lots of questions, and the one issue we would suggest relates to our budget, if you have an idea for something that could benefit the ward (and local residents and/or businesses) then please drop us a line with your ideas and we’ll see what we can do. There’s also a date for you diary in that the next ward forum will be on Wednesday 15 October when I’ll be in the chair. It’s a long way off, but it’ll be worth the wait as we always like to highlight and act on the key issues affecting local residents (as well as spend our little pot of local funds as best we can – suggestions always welcome).
Across the Borough
This week we were also given an update on the criminalisation of khat and the possible impact in Ealing, we will be keeping a close eye on developments as a result of this change, working with the community and the local police to deal with any issues that may arise. Yvonne was also at cabinet this week, it was a packed agenda, but they key highlights were the annual performance of the council (improving despite our budget pressures), the council’s spending and budget update and strategy (we sadly have a further round of cuts to come which will put strong pressure on the services we can offer) as well as the expansion of local schools and the very good news of the compulsory purchase order on the cinema site opposite Ealing town hall. We are slowly progressing to a major cinema focused regeneration project in the heart of Ealing which will bring a cinema back to the town centre.
And that’s about it for now. August is usually a quiet month as we all take a short break from our council duties. We’ll still be doing the regular Ruskin surgery at Labour’s Ruskin Hall on Church Road every Saturday from 11 to noon (on a rotating basis between most of the Acton councillors), but the Oak Tree Community Centre one is not held in August. We are still going out and about in the ward – and all three of us have a large amount of casework covering parking, fly tipping, housing, regeneration, decent homes, transport, anti-social behaviour and much much more, as ever if you have any questions please feel free to drop us a line, and we’ll try our best to help.
Other than that enjoy the sunny weather and the August break and bank holiday, my next update will be in late September after party conference season.
Josh, Yvonne and Mik
Josh Blacker – firstname.lastname@example.org 07934 773 372 / updates on twitter: @jkblackler
Yvonne Johnson – email@example.com – 020 8993 4166
Mik Sabiers – firstname.lastname@example.org – 020 8992 5014 / updates on twitter: @miksabiers