|South Acton Councillors' Report|
Update on ward matters for May
Welcome to the May 2012 update on what’s been happening across South Acton, it’s been another busy month with full council, regeneration plans and more across the ward.
Since the last update there’s been a lot going on including plans for the new school at the Priory Centre in Acton. Most of the Acton councillors were updated on the plans for the new Priory school from ARK, an academy sponsor that runs a number of schools across London. The new primary will open in September next year and admit 60 children every year until it reaches its capacity of 450 students in 2019. The designs are up for planning consideration at the moment, and entail the complete rebuilding of the site with construction set to start in July (subject to approval). The plans have been designed to minimise impact for local properties, and to also ensure the school meets modern demands. On top of that ARK have also ensured that there will be a good sized community hall that is planned to be available for hire by local groups outside school hours. While it would have been nice to have some of the original features of the old school retained, the main issue is we will have a new school the helps meet some of the demand in the borough. This, on top of the community space, means this is a welcome step forward for South Acton and one to watch over the coming months. If you want to know more about ARK’s plans check out the website: http://www.arkprioryprimary.org/
Early April also saw what should have been the last full council meeting presided over by John as the council came together to discuss community relations after a scandalous blog by one of the Tory councillors. There has been a lot of press coverage of this, and it was disappointing that the councillor concerned did not stay to listen to the hurt and impact his comments made. It was a very sombre meeting with just one response from the Tories, and sadly no real apology for the actions of the – now suspended/independent – member.
Early April also saw the transfer of the waste and recycling contract to Enterprise. It was not a good start to the month as a mixture of missed collections, poor planning and lack of detailed information for residents saw a poor start to the contract. However hard work by both council leader cllr Julian Bell and the cabinet member responsible, cllr Bassam Mahfouz, has seen the situation improve markedly over the last few weeks. The initial performance could have been better, and the council has offered an unreserved apology for that, but in the main most collections now seem to be working to plan. If there are any problems please don’t hesitate to get in touch as we have been checking across the ward for problems and missed collections/street cleaning.
Mid April also saw the latest councillor surgeries - we are available on the second Wednesday of the month at the Oak Tree Centre on the estate (it runs from 18:30-19:30) and also take it in turns to hold the Saturday surgery at Ruskin Hall in Church Road (from 11:00-noon) with the other Acton Labour councillors. Yvonne was at last night’s Oak Tree surgery and I did the Ruskin one on the 28 April and am next there on 2 June.
We’ve also been on the case at council meetings. On the 19 April I attended the latest scrutiny panel which was looking at community facilities across the borough. There was a detailed discussion of what the council can offer, what options are available and ways to improve facilities. As aforementioned I am encouraged by the new space planned in the Priory school, and there is also the town hall development which should add to availability in the ward. One of the key suggestions I proposed was to do a map of current and past facilities and to see what we can do to encourage community groups across the ward.
Also held on the 19 April was the latest update on the Oaks on the high street. Although this is not in South Acton ward people may want to make comments on the proposals. I personally think 10 stories is rather on the high side and while I like quirky architecture am not wholly convinced about the proposed ‘periscope’ but I’ll leave that to you to decide, details can be found here: http://www.theoaksacton.co.uk/. The regeneration of the town hall complex is also continuing, now that Ealing’s planning committee has granted planning permission we are awaiting the decision from central government on the proposals. The latest Around Ealing has the details on the developments: http://www.ealing.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/3901/around_ealing_may_2012
The end of April also saw the latest cabinet meeting which Yvonne attends in her role as cabinet member for finance and performance, with elections coming up there was not too much that was controversial, but if you would like to know more see here: http://www2.ealing.gov.uk/services/council/committees/agendas_minutes_reports/cabinet/24may2011-15may2012.html.
And that takes us to the mayoral and GLA elections. Rather than go into any details on winners and losers suffice to say we all worked hard knocking on doors and contacting people across the borough. It is always good to get out and talk to residents and (apart from John who has to remain neutral as mayor) we all value the chats and challenges that regularly knocking on doors brings. You can review the results here: http://www.londonelects.org.uk/news-centre/results-and-past-elections/results-2012.
The other good news was that the elections were followed by the May Day bank holiday so we all had a chance to recharge our batteries, although not for long as on Tuesday of this week a special council was called to look into the transfer of the waste and recycling contract.
John got to chair another full meeting as mayor, and it was a very boisterous one even with John calling not only councillors but the public gallery to order. Bassam offered an unqualified apology for the poor performance of the start of the contract and explained the many steps being taken to bring the service back to the level expected by residents. The council has been working hard and missed collections are now minimal, we will however continue to keep a close eye on developments. I have to say it was not the opposition’s finest hour as the Tories revelled in the problems rather than helping with any solutions. The meeting did however end with unanimous support for the amended Labour motion which called for “the return of a first class waste and collection service” and Ealing’s council remains committed to ensuring that commitment is met. As I said before if there are any problems/concerns please do not hesitate to get in touch.
And that is almost it, we have full council once again next week where Yvonne and I will thank John – and his mayoress Pauline Melson - for their sterling service over the past year. I’m really proud of how John has taken on the role of mayor, he has not just been an ambassador for the borough of Ealing, but a real credit to the council in chairing meetings and keeping us all in order, representing us both at home and abroad, and making sure that Ealing and South Acton remain on the map.
And that’s it for this monthly update, any questions please feel free to drop us a line.
John, Yvonne and Mik
John Gallagher – firstname.lastname@example.org – 020 8993 0017
May 24th 2012