Willesden Area Consultative Forum tonight!

Tonight I will be chairing the Willesden Area Forum at the College of North West London (Willesden Campus). Join us from 7.30pm tonight where we will be discussing Brent’s Household Waste Strategy, proposals for changes to an emissions based Parking Charges and the Crest Girls Academy.

The Willesden Area Forum covers Dollis Hill, Dudden Hill, Welsh Harp, Willesden Green and during the break, you will have the opportunity to speak to your ward councillors, the Safer Neighbourhood Team, speakers and council officers.

The Brent Lib Dems attempt to delay the scrapping of the £25 charge for bulky item collection

Labour plans to abolish the Dumpers’ Charter on 1st October 2010 despite the fact that the Lib Dems are attempting to pettily call-in the decision.

The Labour executive will ignore Lib Dem delaying tactics and we will keep our promise to abolish the £25 charge for bulky refuse collection. The abolition of the charge was our number one pledge in our local Brent Labour manifesto and the Council’s ruling Executive voted to implement the abolition from 1st October 2010.

However, the Liberal Democrat Opposition has now pettily ‘called in’ the Executive’s decision in an attempt to delay implementation.

The Labour Leader of Brent Council, Councillor Ann John, has lambasted the Lib Dems’ delaying tactics and she is determined to abolish the charge. Cllr John said:

“Unlike the Lib Dems who have betrayed every principle they ever had in return for ministerial limousines, we believe in keeping our promises and we will not be deflected by childish delaying tactics.

This was our number one pledge and we have a clear mandate to implement it. The people of Brent have spoken and if the Lib Dems had any respect for the democratic process at all they would accept the electorate’s decision. The fact that they are still trying to overturn the policy shows that they are neither liberal nor democratic”.

What the Bermans Way / Leeland Way intersection used to look like
What the Bermans Way / Leeland Way intersection used to look like

The £25 charge was introduced by the previous Liberal Democrat administration. It quickly led to an epidemic of illegal dumping and became widely known as the ‘Dumpers’ Charter’.

In Dudden Hill, the infamous Bermans and Leeland Way dump developed which infuriated residents for over a year. Within a week of being elected, the site was cleared after Lib Dem Councillors neglected and ignored residents LINK

The scrapping of the charge will help make scenes like this a thing of the past and shows commitment from the Brent Labour administration to improve services for our residents despite the wave of cuts that are being dished out by Sarah Teather’s Lib Dem / Tory Coalition Government.

Dear Liberal Democrats, how important do you think a manifesto is?

The latest Guardian ICM poll shows that Labour are now neck and neck with the Tories in the polls despite the fact that Labour don’t even have a permanent leader at the moment. Meanwhile, Lib Dem support has plummeted to a lowly 18%.

The news serves a bitter blow to the Liberal Democrats as voters are realising in droves that what you vote for with the Lib Dems is not what you get. The Lib Dem administration in Brent proved this with endless broken promises.

At Brent Council’s Forward Plan committee meeting last week, Councillor Lorber spoke out against Labour’s proposal to scrap the £25 charge for bulky item collection, encouraging Labour to go against our manifesto commitment, to which I spoke against. I told the committee that to go against the number one pledge in our manifesto, a few months after an election would be criminal.

The removal is something that residents want and this is reflected by the popularity of the Labour vote in the 2010 local elections where there are now 40 Labour Councillors.

Residents ecstatic at change on Bermans Way and Leeland Way

During the election campaign, I sent the following letter out to residents of Bermans Way and Leeland Way – (Letter to residents of Bermans Way and Leeland Way).

It was regarding this eyesore that had residents angry for years. My predecessors did nothing about it. It was ignored by the people who should by the duty of their role care about issues like this that residents are rightly furious about. I would hate to live with a dump like that on my road.

The Lib Dem introduction of a £25 for bulky item collection had made it easier to dump and unfortunately for residents on Bermans Way and Leeland Way, they had become victims of Lib Dem policy.

A week into my tenure as a Councillor and skips were around to deal with the dump. This is what it looks like now after the clear up.

The scrapping of the £25 bulky items charge will mean that scenes like this will become a thing of the past.

Brent Labour Manifesto for 2010 Local Elections

On a day where Gordon Brown announced the key battle themes that Labour will be campaigning on for the general election, here is what Labour will do if we regain control of Brent Council:

We Will:

  • Repeal the £25 charge for bulky refuse collection.
  • Keep Council Tax levels at or below the London average and introduce a discount for eligible over 75 year olds.
  • Introduce FREE parking for the first hour in Council car parks to encourage local shopping for local people.
  • Rebuild our secondary schools and ensure that school facilities are fully available to the wider community, especially young people
  • Crack down on crime and anti-social behaviour.
  • Introduce a Green Charter in consultation with local residents and other stakeholders.

OTHER HIGH PRIORITIES:

  • Introducing 20mph speed restrictions in areas where residents want them.
  • Introducing fairer care charges for elderly and disabled people.
  • Making Brent a Fairtrade borough.
  • Provide multi use games areas in every suitable open space.
  • Provide a safer environment for our young people.
  • Work with other local authorities and central government to change legislation to allow the Council to restrict the growth of betting shops and fast food outlets near schools.

In the next few weeks leading up to the elections, I will blog on these pledges and priorities in greater detail, giving plenty of reasons to Bring Labour Back in Brent.

Brent Labour Group in Stonebridge after working on developing the Local Election manifesto

Brent Labour’s Budget Proposals

On Monday 1st March Brent Council met to determine its budget for 2010-11. Labour opposed the package of cuts and redundancies proposed by the Lib Dem/Tory administration. Labour also re-affirmed its promise to scrap the £25 charge for bulky refuse collection, which has led to an epidemic of dumping across the Borough Other proposals included:

FREE PARKING TO ENCOURAGE LOCAL SHOPPING FOR LOCAL PEOPLE

Labour will be proposing free parking for the first hour in council car parks (all of which are close to local shopping centres) in order to discourage local people from driving to ‘out of town’ shopping centres like Brent Cross, where parking is free, to encourage people to shop locally. This would have the effect of reducing carbon emissions and also have the effect of boosting local businesses with local people using local shops.

Labour’s Transport Spokesperson, Cllr Lena Ahmed, said:

“We believe that parking restrictions and charges in local shopping centres are bad for business and we want to encourage local shopping for local people so that local people use local shops. The cost in lost revenue is a mere £96,840, which is a small price to pay for a significant boost to the local economy during the world economic downturn”.

Labour is also calling for residents’ parking charges to be linked to carbon emissions with higher charges for vehicles which cause the most pollution.

These measures will form part of a ‘Green Charter’, which Labour will present to the electorate as part of its manifesto.

AN END TO THE LIB DEMS’ CARE CHARGE RIP-OFF

Having promised free personal care for the elderly before the last election, The Brent Lib Dems have increase some home care charges by nearly 300%. Labour voted against these increases and is pledged to review the charges. However, the government has now introduced the Personal Care at Home Bill, which will eliminate many of these charges.

Labour’s Spokesperson for Adults, Health & social Care, Cllr Ruth Moher, said:

“Those who receive home care are amongst the most vulnerable people in our borough and we will protect them”.

NO TO HOUSING ON PUBLIC OPEN SPACE

Labour’s budget proposals contain a specific pledge to reverse the Lib Dems’ plans for housing development in Barham Park and to protect all public open space from rapacious developers. In December, the Lib Dem controlled Executive agreed the sale of 776-778 Harrow Road, Wembley, which is in Barham Park, for housing development and Labour fears that a tower block may be built there.

Labour’s Environment and Planning Spokesperson, Cllr James Powney, said:

“The Lib Dems sneaked this report through the Executive just before Christmas and entitled it ‘Disposal of 776-778 Harrow Road’ in the hope that nobody would notice that the site is in fact IN Barham Park. The report allows for housing development on the site. Labour is opposed to any housing being built on public open space and we will fight this proposal all the way”.

Labour’s budget proposals also sought to reverse the sale of the scout hut at Oliver Goldsmith School.

ACTION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

With Brent South Labour MP, Dawn Butler, being Minister for Young People, it is no surprise that Labour’s budget proposals seek to improve services for teenagers and young people. The party proposes a multi use games area in every suitable open space and regrets the Lib Dems’ decision to remove years 2 & 3 funding from the budget for improvements to Kingsbury’s Roe Green Park. Labour is also committed to restoring the cut in funding for the ‘Positive Activities for Young People’ programme, which is a Youth Service project working with young people at risk of social exclusion engaging them in constructive activity programmes in order to assist their progress into education or employment.

Labour’s spokesperson for Children and Families, Cllr Mary Arnold, said:

“It’s a false economy to cut youth spending because with nothing better to do, young people can sometimes drift into trouble, become a nuisance to everybody else and miss out on educational and employment opportunities, which will affect their life chances. Given the opportunity for positive activities, young people generally develop their talents and skills and they will thrive”.

SUPPORT FOR ADVICE AGENCIES

Labour will maintain the £22,000 one off increase in funding for advice agencies and seek to develop innovative ways to link advice, debt management and job seeking support services.

Kilburn ward Councillor Mary Arnold, who has campaigned against the closure of Brent In2 Work and cuts to advice services, said:

“Brent is slowly emerging from the world wide recession but the recovery is fragile and will be put at risk if the Tories or Liberals are in power. It is therefore important to retain the extra funding for advice agencies and to link advice, debt management and job seeking support services.

REPAIR POT HOLES BEFORE PAYING CONSULTANTS

Labour Councillors will slash spending on consultants by £1.5 million and use the money saved to repair pot holes and broken pavements. The Council’s own budget report shows that the cost of claims for injuries sustained on broken pavements has risen by over 30%. The Lib Dem and Tory council is also proposing to cut spending on street cleaning.

Labour’s Environment Spokesperson, Cllr James Powney, said:

“There are more pot holes in Brent’s roads than there are in the Yorkshire Dales and they are a danger to motorists in general and especially to cyclists. Meanwhile, broken pavements are an ever present danger to disabled residents and others with impaired mobility. Instead of wasting money on consultants who tell us nothing new we should repair our roads and pavements”.

Labour will also be seeking to reduce the grossly excessive spending of £16 million a year on temporary and agency staff.

Labour’s Deputy Leader and Finance Spokesperson, Cllr Muhammed Butt, said:

“How can the Lib Dems and Tories justify employing nearly 600 temporary and agency staff at a cost in excess of £16 million a year when we are sacking 250 permanent staff?”

Denzil Road residents demand better

Another day, another Liberal let down. Once again, local Dudden Hill residents have vented their anger at the Council at dealing with fly-tipping, dumping and road surfaces. This is what I came across today on the corner of Selbie Avenue where it meets Denzil Road.

Also left on Denzil Road was a dumped sofa set.

The Brent Labour Group has pledged to remove the £25 bulky items charge introduced by the Lib Dems if we regain control of the Council in May. Undoubtedly, we believe that this will lead to a significant reduction of dumping on our roads. This problem was not so widescale in Brent until the Liberal Democrats introduced a charge for the service.

Another point stressed by a local resident who works for Brent Council was the lack of care shown to the road. “Other parts of Brent are immaculately clean” she said. “These Lib Dems don’t give a **** about us on Denzil Road” and plenty more that if you want to find out, drop me an email on krupesh@bclabour.org.uk

Dumping in the Church End Area

More wreckless dumping on the streets in Dudden Hill. This time on Cobbold Road and Franklyn Road.

Cobbold Road
Franklyn Road

The Brent Labour Group has pledged to remove the £25 bulky items charge introduced by the Lib Dems if we regain control of the Council next year.

Where are our Lib Dem Councillors to deal with these issues?

£25 Charge really is a ‘Dumpers Charter’

12 day delay on bulky items collection

but illegal dumps removed within 48 hours

As soon as they came to power, the Lib Dem and Tory coalition, which governs Brent scrapped Labour’s free bulky refuse collection service in favour of a £25.00 charge. Since then dumping has reached epidemic proportions as local residents dump items rather than pay the £25.00 charge.

Local residents long ago christened the charge ‘the Dumpers’ Charter’ and the experience of Willesden Green Labour Councillor Lesley Jones, proves that it really is a ‘dumpers charter’ as dumped items are moved more quickly than items paid for by responsible local residents.

Councillor Jones booked a bulky item collection (for a mattress) online on 27 November and paid for the mattress to be cleared but she has been told that she will have to wait until 8 December before the Council comes to collect the mattress – a delay of TWELVE days. Councillor Jones has since received confirmation from the Council that illegal dumps are cleared within 48 hours. In other words, irresponsible residents who dump rubbish illegally to avoid the £25.00 charge have their bulky items removed within 48 hours whilst responsible residents who pay the charge can expect to wait for up to TWELVE days.

Councillor Jones said:

“The £25.00 charge really is a ‘Dumpers Charter’ as it encourages people to dump rubbish to avoid the charges then rewards them by collecting their items more quickly than those which are being disposed of legally. It doesn’t make any sense at all and thank goodness the Labour Party is pledged to abolish the charge as soon as we return to power”.

Read more from Lesley on the issue on her site: LINK

Another Day Another Mattress

This time it’s Ashcombe Park in Neasden. These problems are being experienced all across Brent and have been since the Lib Dems introduced a £25 to take bulky items from residents. Labour have pledged to scrap this charge should we regain control of the Council in May 2010.

There was also a mini fridge left by a tree on this road recently.

The state of out alleyways are also horrific. See what I found in the alleyway between Chartley Avenue and Ashcombe Park below.

Where are our Lib Dem Councillors to deal with these issues?