Housing and vulnerable cyclists
This is a personal record and as such I talk about my personal activities, but the work of a ward councillor is very much teamwork and I work very closely not only with the other councillors in Brentford ward but also those in Syon which includes most of the town centre (and where I live). It’s easy to give the impression that I’m the only one doing anything here and of course that’s very far from the truth because all the ward councillors work hard both on their ward and wider responsibilities.
It so happens that last week’s rant was mainly about things in Syon and of course the councillors doing the work there are Steve, Theo and Katherine. I’m just the one with the good fortune to write the blog and sound off about the things that concern me, meanwhile they are the ones doing the fixing.
Anyway, my personal activities this week have been about housing issues. By their nature, these are hard to resolve because the council, reflecting London’s most difficult problem, has an acute shortage of supply and much of the council housing stock is in large complex buildings. I rely hugely in my efforts to help here on the experience and dedication of colleagues, Mel being the acknowledged ward expert and Katherine from Syon being the cabinet member for housing.
On Tuesday Mel, Myra and I had a marathon meeting, starting in St Paul's Church and ending in the River Café (after we were thrown out of St Paul's!) dealing with an agenda of about 40 issues which we need to work on, individually or collectively. Myra leads these team meetings and does an excellent job of managing the agenda and making sure we keep on purpose and make an organised response rather than all chasing around without a plan.
On Wednesday night I went across London to take part in a workshop organised by Stella Creasy MP, who has my vote as deputy leader because of her excellent campaigning record, particularly against legal loan sharks. The workshop was about activism and how to get things done in the community even when the political climate is against you. I decided to cycle to Chiswick station to get some exercise on the way there. Big mistake: some charmer in a Transit van, whether deliberately or due to inhabiting another planet, decided to squeeze me on Kew Bridge road to the extent that I now have a bloody bruise on my elbow in the shape of a Transit sliding door mechanism. Fortunately I managed to stay upright so no serious harm done but it brought home to me how vulnerable cyclists are and how badly we need the delayed superhighway 9.
Last night was planning and the Griffin Park development, which people will know was approved despite Mel’s motion to defer the decision. I’ll say some more about that next week but my submission is already long and late so that’s it for now. I’m off to the Boston Manor Park consultation, which ward councillors only heard about through TW8!
September 7, 2015