Posts Tagged ‘Councillor Phil Andrews’

Council Tax frozen for a 4th time

March 3, 2010

I cannot begin to describe how proud I am that this administration has managed to achieve four zero increases -in its share of the Council Tax – in a row.  It was an unprecedented meeting for me and other Councillors in that there was a period when the Council could not agree a budget.  But one was eventually agreed and it included no increase for the Council Taxpayer in Hounslow.  A recorded vote took place the second time so all residents will be able to see how their Councillor voted.

All of the above has been managed at a time of massive reductions in graffiti, major new investments in leisure, parks & open space, the most major increase in the profile of planning enforcement of any Council, one of the biggest turnaround in complaints management of any Council and the list could go on.  There is lots more to do but if I had been offered this in 2006 when Labour were removed from being the administration, I would have taken it with both hands (and feet).

No longer is the London Borough of Hounslow London’s forgotten Borough.

Update: Here is the release from Cllrs Thompson & Andrews.

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Meadowbank Adult Community Education Centre

February 4, 2010

Over lunch yesterday, I went to Cranford to attend the official opening of the above.  This new facility is going to benefit a lot of people in Cranford and the areas around them.  I feel a lot of pride about this mainly about the outcomes but also because I have seen the likes of Cllrs Thompson, Andrews, Lynch, Paul Fisher & Lin Davies investing time int making this a success – it proves that this administration has worked for all parts of the Borough, irrespective of how those areas vote at elections.

Here are some pictures, beginning with the pleasant looking exterior:

A well equipped interior:

Very impressive training rooms:

Lovely landscaping at the side:

And, some pictures of the Mayor performing his duties, in typically brilliant fashion – another top notch speech with no notes:

I wish this Centre every success and it will be interesting to see how things are progressing in six months time.

Question Time

October 15, 2009

Like the author of this article, I reluctantly agree that it is right to allow the Leader of the BNP representative to appear on Question Time.  He may have been elected as an MEP via an unfair electoral system but elected he was nonetheless.  The question of the article is who should the Conservatives put up?  My initial choice was David Davis but I also think that the likes of William Hague, James Cleverly, James Brokenshire, Baroness Warsi & Chris Heaton-Harris would do a good job.

If there is one point that the Conservative on the panel should press, beyond the advice given by Conservative Home, is that we are only in this position of having to give the BNP such a platform because Labour have completely cocked things up over controlling immigration and by creating such a sense of resentment and frustration amongst a number of white working class people (and some lower middle class people too) in some parts of the country, especially through the way that New Labour behaved between 1997 & 2001 towards anyone who expressed concern about the scale of immigration into this country [remember their frequent references to other playing the ‘Race Card’].

My friend and colleague, Phil Andrews, takes a different view to me on this but he does make a fair point about the format of Question Time.  He said:

“the argument that Griffin is being allowed onto this programme so that others can discredit his arguments frankly doesn’t wash, the format of the programme will not permit this to happen and the more likely outcome of this new fascist-friendly strategy, which the BBC would appear to be spearheading, is that people will start to view the BNP as just another mainstream party with a valid, if controversial political platform.”

I share his concern about the format of the programme.  However, the Leader of the BNP is an elected politician and I understand the difficult position of the BBC.  Had I been in the Labour Party, I would have chosen to put up John Reid or Frank Field.

As Tim Montgomerie says on his posting, panellists should avoid being seen to gang up on the Leader of the BNP but for those of us who are passionate about good race relations in this country, I hope that they really expose him and his party.

Update: Baroness Warsi will be representing the Conservatives on the panel – a good choice!

We salute you Brentford FC

July 18, 2009

On Friday evening, Councillor Paul Lynch, the Mayor of the London Borough of Hounslow, held a Civic Reception for Brentford Football Club to celebrate their Double Achievement of winning League 2 and in being vote the Community Club of the Year.  It was my immense pleasure & privilege to be asked to deputise for the Leader and say a few words, in between those of the Mayor and Councillor Phil Andrews.  The contribution of this club to our Borough is so much more than pure football.

Here is a picture of me with the Club Captain, Kevin O’Connor:

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It was brilliant chatting with him.  He has played over 350 games for Brentford and that loyalty to one club is increasingly rare in football.  A great role model and really nice guy.  I will him all the best.

Here is a picture of me with the manager, Andy Scott:

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Another very inspirational character who had to finish his playing career early for health reasons, which must have been a terrible shock, but has adjusted since and been a huge success.  I really do get a kick out of good people getting the success that they deserve!

I will remember this night for a long time and only wish even more people could have been there to celebrate with us!

Council Executive Meeting earlier this week

July 18, 2009

Some terribly important reports were taken to Executive last Tuesday.  I was especially excited about items 11 & 14.  The report considered under item 11 is an example of Green IT at its best.  There are both environmental and cashable benefits.  With regards to item 14, the foundations laid by my friend and colleague, Adrian Lee, continue to be built on by the recent addition, Becky Stewart.

Item 3 was in my name.  I am concerned about the impression that it has given to some people and also the content of an article in the Chronicle last week.  Every organisation needs to have a policy like this in place and I would be surprised if the amount of people categorised as vexatious complainants was ever more than half a dozen.  The prospect of anyone believing that the Council would label someone as vexatious because they are making legitimate enquiries or complaints horrifies me.  Not long after being first elected, there was a case that I took on and I was horrified at the way a constituent and I were treated.  She was let down in a big way and the tactic of not answering questions and causing more frustration was deployed.  I could see that the Council had a major problem with its Complaints Procedure (despite having pockets of brilliance) and I quickly identified this as the element of the Customer Service Umbrella that needed the most attention when I became Lead Member in 2006.

I quickly took a report on becoming Lead Member that reversed the decision of the previous Labour administration to increase the timescales for dealing with complaints.  I also instigated other changes that reconfigured the Procedure to establish a Panel of Councillors to determine complaints at Stage 3.  I believe that the changes have been revolutionary.

These changes were not welcomed at first.  I first suggested them when in opposition but they were strongly opposed by the previous administration who made claims from predicting that it would be legally challenged to it would lead to a conflict of interest.  Despite the success since, only one person has acknowledged that they were wrong to oppose the establishment of the Members Panel.

My friend and colleague, Phil Andrews, posted about this most recent report recently.  I think I have been guilty in not giving enough thought to how the provisions in this report would be perceived by others.  I did try and reassure people when presenting the report that it would genuinely only be used where fully justified.  Asking legitimate questions will not be a reason for limiting the type of contact that a resident can have with the Council.

I am as passionate about the importance of complaints now, as I was when first elected.  The Council, and how it deals with the thousands of complaints,  is not perfect every time but I know that residents who will have the need to use the Council’s Complaints Procedure in the future now have a much better prospect of a better experience than they did a few years ago.  I am confident that there is a pool of Members who deal with Complaints at Stage 3 that will accept departments having a different point of view to residents but they will not accept any example of questions not being answered or legitimate issues, where the Council has a role, addressed.  I can honestly say that there has not yet been that case in all the panels I have been on that has angered me because of attempts to grind people down with no answers or answers to questions not asked.  There has been a step changed in earlier resolution of complaints and that is what I wanted to achieve.

Here is some information about how complaints work at Hounslow.  If you ever feel let down by the Council, I strongly urge you to complain.

Last night’s Executive

June 10, 2009

A good agenda.

Agenda item 5 was presented by me.  Before that, my ward colleague, Allan Wilson, presented a report (item 4) and his passion for the subject and personal imprint on the work came through.  Most residents would not see or hear about work like this, but it is terribly important to me!

Also, there were three new Executive Members – Councillors Jon Hardy (Housing), Rebecca Stewart (Leisure) & Robert Oulds (Education).  Each of them presented a report and did a great job and they are great additions.  Notwithstanding that, I will miss the contributions at Executive of three really good friends – Councillors Adrian Lee, Paul Lynch & Phil Andrews.  Each of them are different and offered heck of a lot!

Feltham High Street

March 6, 2009

Yesterday morning, Cllr Barbara Reid (Lead Member for the Environment), Cllr Barbara Harris (Feltham West Councillor), an Officer from the Environment Department and I carried out an inspection of Feltham High Street.

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I was extremely concerned about:

1) The issue of rats in the area, which had received coverage in the local press;

2) Fly-tipping at the former Feltham Community Association site;

3) A couple of complaints about the general condition of the High Street.

It was well worth the visit.  Number 2 has been cleared but I cannot find the picture I took.  Here are some pictures:

Work appeared to be taking place on the Longford River, for which the Rivers Authority are responsible:

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The other side did not look too bad:

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We then moved onto Bridge Pond.  Saw some litter on the way:

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No idea what the following was about but Officers will enquire which firm/agency left things that way:

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An example of some Rat Baiting around Bridge Pond:

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Enquiries will be made about the next two, I think for obvious reasons:

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In the alley next to New Chapel Square:

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The graffiti will need to be removed.

From another angle:

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Cllr Andrews will be pleased to hear about a new CCTV Camera going in:

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The pond in the High Street looked in good shape in my view:

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Some tagging:

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The High Street itself did not look too bad in my view:

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The following has already been reported:

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