|South Acton Councillors' Report|
March news from local representatives
Welcome to the March 2012 update on what’s been happening with South Acton’s three Labour councillors, it’s been another busy month with full council, lots of meetings and developments around the ward.
At the end of last month the top item on the agenda was the latest full council meeting (held on 28 February) where the budget and the council tax for this coming financial year were set; you should have received your bill by now.
Ealing’s Labour council has once again pledged to freeze the council tax and despite the £85 million of cuts from central government there will be no rise for yet another year. It was another boisterous meeting with some unfortunate comments from the opposition, but no sign of an alternative budget or plan from them for Ealing’s finances going forward.
Yvonne made a strong defence of the difficulties the council faces and the (correct) decisions we are making, and even though I did not get my chance to speak (the guillotine fell at 21:30) the main message was the good work being done by the council’s finance team enabling us to freeze the council tax again.
The end of the month was rather packed with meetings. There was the latest pension fund panel, chaired by Yvonne, which I also sit on. The figures were better this quarter, although as in any form of investment the long term is what counts. One of the more interesting aspects was a review of investment in infrastructure which could offer good returns, although this needs to be evaluated in more detail, it is another option.
I also attended two meetings of the boundaries panel which decides on polling stations., Ahead of the GLA and mayoral elections there have been some changes to two South Acton polling stations. For those that cast votes at the Priory Centre (DAA) the polling station will move to Acton Library, while anyone who used to vote at Acton High school (DDA) will now switch to Acton Hill Church Centre on the high street.
The other polling stations remain the same as before. The London mayoral and GLA elections are on Thursday 3 May, so don’t forget to not only cast your vote, but make sure you go to the right place. If you are not sure you can check out your local polling station on the council website: http://gis.ealing.gov.uk/propertyaccount_polling/Poll-AddressBuilder.asp.
As reported at the last meeting the number of school places at Berrymede Infant and Junior Schools is to be increased to help deal with the shortage of places in the area. Yvonne chaired the latest governors’ meeting at Berrymede infants earlier this month where more positive changes are coming forward; as a governor on both the infants and primary school I can provide more details on what’s happening for anyone that is interested.
That brings us to last week and Wednesday (14 March) saw two key events. The first was the regular South Acton ward forum at the Armenian Centre on Mill Hill Road with Yvonne in the chair. It was a well attended meeting with updates on parks, police priorities and more. The forum saw a good discussion on the proposed changes to traffic measures on the high street which we will chase up further, as well as those for Twyford Avenue.
There was also an update on plans for the Diamond jubilee with John in attendance in the mayoral chains. The one thing I would say out of the Ward forum is that we still have more funds to spend on local community projects so we would really welcome ideas that could bring something extra to the ward, whether that is art, light, signs, notices or something else, just drop us a line with some ideas and we’ll look into them.
The other key event that night was the planning committee meeting on the regeneration of the town hall and the swimming pool. The good news is the redevelopment plans for Acton Town Hall have now been approved by the planning committee so the council can now get on and deliver them. That means we remain on schedule to deliver the new town hall, pool and community space etc in early 2014, it is really good news that we remain on track to deliver on the important regeneration of the town hall/high street.
And talking of regeneration the next steps regarding the Priory Centre have also been set in motion. The centre is due to close shortly, thankfully the groups that used it have been found alternative facilities before the Acton town hall complex comes on stream. Preparations will begin to turn the Priory into a school which is scheduled to open in 2013. Detailed proposals on the new Priory primary school will be on show on Wednesday 28 March (17:30-19:30) and Thursday 29 March (13:30-15:30) at Acton Library. The new school will have two forms of entry and admit 60 children every year until it reaches full capacity (450 children) in 2019. It is good to see the project moving forward although I would recommend that people visit the exhibition to find out what is happening and air their views to the developers.
Other events that have been going on include the unveiling of a plaque for the Red Room (formerly the Ealing Club) opposite Ealing station where John in his role as mayor was joined by Charlie Watts from the Rolling Stones and others from the local ‘1960s scene’ to celebrate this key venue. As someone that started out as a music journalist I was sad to miss this event, but it is worth recognising the importance of the venue and what happened there; you can view tributes to the Ealing Club (with John in the mayoral chains) on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-WINSPEubM.
Other events included cabinet last Tuesday (20 March) with Yvonne in attendance. The town hall regeneration was top of the agenda, but there were also updates on the riots, value for money, pupil numbers and a review of the council’s performance. Yesterday (21 March) I chaired the latest Audit Committee where we look at the risks and challenges facing the council.
Going forward this Saturday (24 March) I will be holding the regular Acton Labour councillor’s surgery at Ruskin Hall from 11:00-12:00, anyone with a local problem is more than welcome to drop by and we’ll try our best to help out, while on Monday all of us should be at the latest Acton Gardens board meeting which deals with the redevelopment work on the estate.
We also all have full council coming up on 3 April, this will be John’s last full meeting in the chair, I know it has been a very busy and rewarding year so far, but let’s see if we have more controversy…
And that’s it for this monthly update, any questions please feel free to drop us a line. Warm regards John, Yvonne and Mik John Gallagher
John.firstname.lastname@example.org – 020 8993 0017
29th March 2012