Posts Tagged ‘Councillor Ruth Cadbury’

Back from a week away

June 5, 2011

Whilst I mostly kept on top of my emails whilst away, I did not update the blog as I had intended, especially regarding the Council’s Annual General Meeting.  Here was the agenda for the meeting that took place on 24 May. 

The Election of Mayor and Appointment of the Deputy Mayor

My Group supported the Labour nomination of Cllr Amrit Mann for Mayor and his choice of Deputy, Cllr Ajmer Grewal. I spoke on behalf of the Group and do believe that this is a good choice.

Future of Area Planning Committees

There were some very strong feelings about the above report. It was very clear that both the Labour and Conservative Groups have differing opinions on the report. My Group did not have a Group Position on the matter, instead all Members were given a free vote. The Labour Group supported the recommendations in the report. A minority of Conservative Group Members, including me, also supported the report. A majority of the Conservative Group Members opposed it. It was a very interesting debate with some excellent contributions, especially from Liz Mammatt who spoke against. My feelings on Area Committees are pretty well known and I believe that the report is a sensible compromise between my position and that of the majority of other Councillors who believe and value the Area Committee component.

Phil Andrews has commented on this decision on the chiswickw4 forum. His views on Area Committees have always differed to mine but I do agree with the following comment he made:

“I would have been more reassured had the Report been presented to Borough Council in the name of the Lead Member whose responsibility it is, rather than of the chief officer”

I have attacked the Labour decision to remove the name of the relevant Lead Member from reports. Amongst my reasons for supporting the report were:

  1. I was supportive of what was written in the report bar some minor clumsy remarks, which did not alter what the report was trying to achieve;
  2. One of the hardest things to explain to constituents is the quasi-judicial nature of planning. It is reasonable for residents to assume that Councillors have been elected to represent opinion in their ward. With Planning & Licensing, local representation (which I am as passionate about as anyone else) is over-riden by the legal requirements placed on Councillors. Were planning decisions not to be quasi-judicial or Councillors were allowed to have pre-determined views about planning applications then the case for more planning applications being determined at an area level becomes stronger than at present;
  3. Some Councillors enjoy and are more able when it comes to certain areas, in this case planning. This enables the planning enthusiasts to run with the decisions that require Member approval;
  4. The financial consideration cannot be ignored. I find it difficult to justify the structure (that does not exist elsewhere in London) when services are being cut elsewhere.

An inaccurate remark made in response to the previous posting epitomise the difficulty with planning, a difficulty which will still continue to a lesser exent without Area Planning Committees, namely the difficulty that local representatives have when it comes to Planning. I know that there were decisions taken (rightly in my view) by the West Area Committee in recent years to over-turn certain recommendations. Residents were pleased with those deciions but the planning inspector overturned each one. Hardly a good outcome for anyone.

I concluded my remarks by stating that I went into the meeting as a strong supporter of the report but became less enthusiastic by a very bad decision from the Labour Group to remove Cllr John Cooper as Chair of SDC. He was very important in such a transition and I know he has looked at this objectively. Cllr Cadbury considered the removal of Cllr Cooper to be irrelevant to these changes. She is wrong. I expect some feedback on the above.

Establishment of Formal Council Bodies 2011/12

I do have concerns about some of the Labour Group decisions but the worst one of all was the removal of Cllr Cooper. Planning is a quasi-judicial matter and he had the respect of both Groups and others.

Notification of the Appointment of the Executive

I was not given the opportunity to ask questions about some of the changes but some would have been:

  1. Why has Housing been removed from Cllr Cadbury’s portfolio?
  2. What has Cllr Gupta been taken away from Education?
  3. Isn’t the portfolio given to the new Lead Member, Cllr Curran, too large for one person? Why does he have Corporate HR also?
  4. Why has Budget Strategy Responsibility been taken from Cllr Dennison and given to the Leader?

But a well natured meeting.  One of those where I could say that it was unfortunate we no longer have webcasting of the Borough Council meetings.

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Update on Victoria Gardens

November 11, 2010

To his credit, Councillor Alan Barber has, in his capacity as a member of the Sustainable Development Committee, called-in this and one other decision made by the Heston and Cranford Area Committee.
Here is a link to the agenda.  See agenda items 8 & 9.  It remains to be seen what SDC will decide but the call-in is the right thing to do.

No answers to my questions from Councillor Cadbury yet.  Instead, an exchange on something irrelevant that I can not share as it relates to content written by someone else.  Lets hope she answers my questions.

Further update

And, here is a further update:

I looked for a comment from one of the Labour Councillors and here is what I read:

“However, Councillor Rajinder Bath defended the decision, insisting the committee should be free to overrule officers’ recommendations when they felt it was appropriate. “I heard the arguments and made up my mind on the night,” he told the Chronicle.”

So which argument was it that convinced him that aerial photographs were not the overriding factor when deciding whether something was immune from enforcement action?

No comment from Councillor Ruth Cadbury.

Serious accusations from Councillor Cadbury

September 7, 2010

I have asked some questions about this posting.  I am concentrating mainly on where allegations have been made.  I believe when allegations are made, evidence is necessary.

Strange thing this is when I posted a comment, I saw the following:

“Your comment will be visible after approval.”

Having posted before, I expected it would not need approval.  Wonder by when my comment will appear and, more importantly be addressed?

Update: As of morning of 8 September, comments have not appeared.  Would be pathetic for any blog to given the impression that comments are accepted only for none to be approved.  If comments are not desired, it is more honest for the comment facility to be shut off.

Special Borough Meeting Requested

September 7, 2010

I am pretty clear that one of the most serious things that has happened locally since the elections has been the attack on local democracy.  Here is my most recent column in the Chronicle.  Probably a good idea to let people know more about the nature of our request.  Here is what we sent to the Mayor:

In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 3.2, we the five undersigned Members formally request a Special Meeting of the Borough Council, to be held at least 7 working day’s after today’s date, with the following agenda:

1. Apologies for Absence, Other Announcements and Declarations of Interest from Members

2. In Year Savings 2010/11 (report that went to Executive on 27 July – we understand that the recommendation will be to note the report)

3. Question from Members
Question from Councillor Pam Fisher to Councillor Jagdish Sharma
On 16 July, Councillors were informed of the calendar of meetings for the forthcoming year.  I have noticed a major decrease in the amount of Borough Council Meetings and with that a major decrease in the amount of opportunities for non-executive Councillors to table questions to Lead Members.  Would the Leader make a statement outlining why this decision has been taken?

Question from Councillor Mark Bowen to Councillor Jagdish Sharma
On 24 November 2009, Members were asked at Borough Council to note a report and approve consultation with scrutiny and other key stakeholders on the service spending plans for 2010/11 designed to deliver zero % rise in council tax and continued efficiency gains.
By when will the current administration produce a similar report pertaining to 2011/12?

Question from Councillor Gillian Hutchison to Councillor Ruth Cadbury
The Hounslow Chronicle has referred to you having conceded that the administration may have to re-evaluate another of its five key election pledges, namely providing 2,500 new affordable homes by 2014.  How many, and of why type, are now deemed a realistic target?

4. Motions

Proposed by: Councillor Mark Bowen
Seconded by: Councillor Bradley Fisher

This Council notes:

Councillor Cadbury has publicly stated:

“We have instructed Council officers to fully market the Lampton Park Conference Centre (attached to the Civic Centre) for outside functions in order to maximise its full potential for generating income.”

In a report presented by Officers to the Executive on 27 July, amongst the comments made were:

“There is currently no budget provision to meet this [preparation of a business plan and the initial promotion of the Conference Centre as a venue] cost in 2010-11.”

“In order to put this proposal of a proper long term footing, it will be essential to prepare an up to date business case,”

“The report indicates that these costs may exceed the extra income generated. It will therefore be essential for the Council to identify savings in other 2010-12 budgets to offset this initial cost.”

“…members will need to consider very carefully the costs and benefits of alternative options before reaching a final conclusion on this issue. At this stage, the report does not provide detailed information about this.”

“The costs of the new post are unfunded.”

Despite the above, amongst the Executive decisions were:

“Immediately agree to promote the use of Lampton Park Conference Centre as a venue available for community and private lettings, for social events, conferences and exhibitions, at weekends and evenings, in addition to its present use for Council business.

“Agrees that a proper venue management regime will be put in place and agrees the appointment of a venue/events manager to promote/manage this business opportunity, reporting to the Assistant Director (Corporate Property & Project Coordination) in the Environment Department.”

This Council believes the Executive should review this decision and only proceed with it when:

I. An up to date Business Case is complete;
II. There is a clear forecast of when the break-even point will occur;
III. It is clear that this makes financial sense.

Another 4000 reasons to punish Labour

April 28, 2010

A Special Meeting of the Borough Council was called last night.  There is a provision within the Council Procedure Rules for a number of Councillors to do this.  The likes of Councillors Connelly and Sharma were signatures.

Here is the agenda.

Not one Councillor justified why it was necessary to call a Special Meeting for this, which is important as it costs approximately £4000 to have a Borough Council Meeting.  Whilst I do not put a price on democracy, residents have a right to know why certain Independents and Labour felt it necessary to call a Special Meeting for this.  Why did they not propose a motion at any of the scheduled meetings during the past four years and why was it so urgent that needed to be decided just over a week before Local Elections?  Or have I just answered my own question?

The performance of Councillors Sharma, Cadbury and Vaught was especially poor and unpleasant, indeed none of them were willing to take an intervention from me when they were speaking.  I wonder why that was?

Feel free to take a look at the agenda and decide whether you believe that last night was appropriate?  No justification was given for last night’s urgency.

Update: See here for an article about this.

Last night’s Borough Council Meeting

June 24, 2009

Here was the agenda.

I answered the question in item 11 as Councillor Reid was away.   It was a highly appropriate question from my ward colleague, Gill Hutchison.  The property in Bedfont Lane is in our ward and I was truly horrified at the decision of the Planning Inspector so was only too willing to answer the question. I know that residents in the area will be horrified – I just hope that they know that it is not down to the Local Planning Authority.

Items 13 & 14 were motions proposed by members of the Conservative Group. The other motion was withdrawn as an appeal to the decision taken by the Magistrates Court has been made. With regards to item 13, if ever was an appropriate time to lose ones temper that was it.  What we exposed was clearly false and those accused expressed no shame, they did not even try to justify the comments and preferred to focus on red herrings.  On agenda item 14, the Labour Group had no interest in making a coherent argument, not that I expected one!