Borough Council last night

Here is the agenda from last night.  A long meeting that finished at around 11pm.

It was one of those meetings where I was hugely proud of my Group and its performance last night.  Easily won the debate on agenda item 5 (Adult Social Care Consultation Outcome) but did not have the numbers and lost the vote.  The amount of work, research and thought that John Todd, Liz Mammatt & Pam Fisher have put into this has been astonishing and it all showed last night.  Some Labour Members, including Colin Ellar, made considered and non-partisan contributions.  The contributions from the Ed Mayne & Sachin Gupta were unfortunate for their inaccuracy, lack of objectivity coupled with an excessive partisan approach.  Shame that there is no webcast after debates such as these.

John Todd & Adrian Lee tabled the following motion to agenda item 5:

Proposed by Councillor John Todd
Seconded by Councillor Adrian Lee
 
“This Council believes that the process adopted to implement the proposed closure of Chiswick Day Centre (CDC) has been consistently flawed and materially misleading for the following reasons:

* The LBH Public ‘Budget Consultation 2011’ Document  (CS 13/15) did not mention ‘Closure’ but ‘reconfiguration of day care services”   Residents were materially misled;

* Initial Consultation with users/carers at the Chiswick Day Centre did not mention ‘closure’ either. This caused much distress and confusion to users and carers;  Dementia sufferers and others with diverse medical conditions were not provided with counselling and guidance or the offer of advocacy

* Attendance figures at CDC have been quoted in various LBH documents, namely December 2010 and May 2011, yet no vetting process for new users has been in operation since September 2010. Since March 2011, residents from Greenrod  LBH sheltered housing were prevented from attending CDC

And in addition

* Council agreed in March to increase the charges by up to 3000% for those attending the CDC and other Centres; CDC Users accept these increases which when implemented would materially decrease the financial obligation of LBH to the CDC costs.  However the Consultation process on these new increased charges have yet to commence.

* Suggested alternative proposed LBH options are not viable or considered  to be  appropriate by the Alzheimer’s Society and others.

* Two subsequent  petitions have confirmed that the Public does not want closure;  National Charities including  the Alzheimer’s Society, Age UK, Carers UK and Chiswick based GP’sand  District nurses are opposed to closure too  as are the Hounslow Deanery Synod..

Council therefore agrees that the suggestion to close Chiswick Day Centre does not proceed.”

The above motion was also lost.

Other items from last night:

Announcements (agenda item 2)
A provision for cabinet members that is not always used within the spirit of the provision, namely to make informative announcements about their portfolios rather than complaining about central government.  Last night Theo Dennison used it to talk about the Boundaries Review.  He asked for cross-party support for the Council expressing a view.  He will not get that as the Labour Party, and any other party, can make submissions.  Individuals can too.  But using Council resources is not appropriate in my view.

Petitions (agenda item 4)
One of the petitions related to Feltham Arena.  I wanted to speak after the presentation but was not allowed to do so.  I followed 90% of what the Lead Member, Theo Dennison, said.  It was the 10% that I did not.  Overall, I do not think he was closing the door on the current tenants.  I hope that he does not and gives an opportunity for things to get moving again.
I would have expressed concerns about some of the wording of the petition and the Lead Member, with whom I have not discussed this, appeared to share these.

Annual Review of the Council’s Complaints Procedures
The Conservative Group were happy to support but I did not speak, as planned, because it was late and the report was not contentious.  I was merely going to welcome the report and acknowledge that the Complaints Panel has been a massive success.  I was thinking of reminding the Chamber that Colin Ellar once said the Complaints Panel would be legally challenged.  It has not been.

Hounslow’s response to the Government’s consultation on their ‘Aviation Scoping document’
Supported cross party.

Manor Lane Regeneration Scheme – Compulsory Purchase Order
The wheels of local government move slowly but we welcomed this and agree with the points John Cooper made about CPO being the last resort.

Confirmation of Establishment of an Alcohol Free ‘Designated Public Place’ Report on Public Consultation
A majority of members supported this.

Civil Enforcement of Moving Traffic Contraventions
The Conservative Group had a Free Vote on the matter.  I was inclined to support it but changed to an abstention as I have concerns about both the partisan response from the Leader, Ed Mayne, and, more importantly that a very moderate motion of mine was rejected by him and the Labour Group.  It illustrates why it changed my vote from supporting the provisions to abstaining on them:

“Proposer: Councillor Mark Bowen
Seconder: Councillor John Todd
 
Learning a lesson from the implementation of the ‘Civil Enforcement of Moving Traffic Contraventions’ report that was agreed by Borough Council on 24 January 2006, and further to the provision outlined in section 3.8, this Council agrees that the following recommendations should be added to this report:
 
* 2.4 That Members be given, in advance, the relevant details of the deployment of CCTV in their wards.

* 2.5 That Area Committees be given the opportunity to offer suggested areas for CCTV deployment.”

The answers to the first two tabled questions were not controversial, indeed the first was helpful and I did not use the supplementary question because of it, but the answer to the third should be headline news.  The question was:

“For how long can the Lead Member guarantee a weekly collection of residual waste in the London Borough of Hounslow?”

The Lead Member could not give any guarantee.  She referred to wanting to increase recycling (as we all do) but I do not think that scrapping the above is the fairest option.  She will know, as I do, that most residents want weekly collections of residual waste.  In her response to the supplementary question, she said it was the previous administration who scrapped weekly collections.  She is not correct when it comes to residual waste.

Well done to all of my colleagues!

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4 Responses to “Borough Council last night”

  1. Mark Savage Says:

    Well done on challenging the current administration’s pussy-footing about their intentions on weekly domestic waste collection, Mark. Seems mind you that they are no better than the coalition, who initially said they were going to guarantee that weekly collections were protected, only to backtrack and give local authorities the freedom to choose between weekly and fortnightly.
    The problem with going over to fortnightly collections, is that a household’s accumulation of “black sack” waste does not follow some neat pattern which means that fortnightly collection is adequate. Countless examples have been shown in areas that have adopted fortnightly collection to show that it is NOT popular, and in some conditions is even potentially hazardous to health, attracting rats and other vermin, for instance.

    Just to take one example, some weeks a small household of single adults may generate little black sack waste, if they are recycling well and using the food waste caddy and bin as much as possible. But what about when somebody in the household is ill, even with something as routine as a common cold. What is supposed to happen with all the tissues infected with many nasties at such a time? Or bandages and plasters, for example, in a household of young children, notorious for all their bangs and scrapes Are the householders expected to have to let such items as these sit in their waste bins for a fortnight? The situation would potentially be even worse with the chronically sick.

    At present, I for one am actually quite proud of the standard of the borough’s waste and recycling, but a short-sighted cost cutting measure like this, unless there were safeguards or provision for people to dispose of black sack waste between home locally without having to add to their carbon footprint with a trip to Space Waye, would be a step backwards in my opinion.

  2. Mark Savage Says:

    Further to my comments above about weekly residual waste collection, would the cash that DCLG now seem to be finding for retention of this service be available to our borough? Or is it only for councils that have already abandoned weekly collections, to enable them to restore them? I certainly think that decision of Mr Pickles is good news anyway, and hope that some of the cash could come Hounslow way.

  3. Mark Bowen Says:

    My thoughts when I heard this announcement were about how it would impact Hounslow and whether it removes any potential excuse for removing the weekly collection. Will make enquiries. Thank you for your comments.

  4. Graham de wey peters Says:

    What get’s my goat about the Refuse collections is , i recycle as much as possibly can yet the houses’s in my road that are rented out , do not , in some cases 17 bags of rubbish , per household .are being thrown out to my 1 every other week , perhaps the landlords should pay extra on their Council Tax , perhaps enforcement should be brought in , i have also noticed a distinct lack of recyckling on Council run estate’s , perhaps LBH should get tough on their own tenants before going at the Homeowners of the Borough ……

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