Ealing Council Must Support “There But Not There” Campaign to Honour First World War Sacrifice say Conservatives
25th September 2018 – Ealing Conservative Councillors are urging the Labour-run Council to support the There But Not There campaign to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.
The campaigned launched by Lord Dannatt, former head of the army, calls for the installations of “Tommies,” a life-size figure of a First World War solider. Lord Dannatt has written to every Council leader in the country, but Ealing have not even responded.
Cllr Gregory Stafford, Opposition Leader said:
“It is very disappointing to learn that the Labour Leader has not bothered to acknowledge Lord Dannatt’s letter.
There is tremendous public support for our servicemen and women, whose sacrifices has and continues to ensure our freedom.
On the eve of this very important centenary, it is disheartening to know that the Labour Council will not fund £750 for the installation of a Tommy, especially when you consider that they were happy to fritter away £13,000 on a plastic bottle Christmas tree!
As always, this Labour Council priorities are at odd with public sentiment.
I call upon the Council to install a Tommy in a prominent location in the Borough and to ensure that the Ealing War Memorial is uncovered in time for the armistice day commemorations.
Residents can show their support for this very worthy campaign, commemorating the centenary of the First World War, by signing the petition I have launched.
The petition can be found on the Council website under e-petitions or by clicking this link.
Notes to Editor:
The wording of the Petition is as follows:
We the undersigned urge Ealing Council to support the There But Not There project launched to support the centenary of the First World War.
The project calls for the installation of “Tommies” a ghostly, life -size figure of a First World War solider, to serve of a reminder of a horrific war and honours the great and noble sacrifice of our servicemen.
Ealing Residents Urged to Sign Petition Against Borough-wide Illegal Encampments
17th September 2018 – Ealing Conservative Councillor, Cllr Joanna Dabrowska (Ealing Common ward) has launched an online petition calling for a borough-wide injunction to stop unauthorised encampments.
This comes after official figures revealed that Ealing Council has spent over £600k in the past 2 years alone dealing with illegal encampments.
Cllr Dabrowska said:
“Enough is enough. Unfortunately, some unauthorised encampments have been antisocial and have left behind piles of rubbish and human waste. It is also very costly to the Council and, ultimately, taxpayers as well as affecting the local community where residents are scared to leave their homes.
It is shocking to know that the Council has spent over £600k in the past 2 years removing and cleaning up after these illegal encampments as they often move to the next open space, requiring the process to start all over again. Hence the need for a borough-wide injunction.
Other councils in the capital have successfully applied for injunctions such as Elmbridge, and Barking & Dagenham, so either Ealing Council wakes up and applies for an injunction or will forever repeat the cycle of legal processes and clear ups after encampments. Is Ealing Council a soft touch?
The petition, which is open until 1 October, also calls for the legal campsite in Bashley Road to be enlarged (or another site to be set up) in hopes that this will also deter travellers from camping illegally.
The petition can be found online on the Ealing Council website I hope that at least 1,500 residents will sign it, so we can force a Council debate on the issue.”
Campaign to save Pitshanger Lane Library begins
Residents working with Ealing Conservatives have started a petition on the Council Website to save Pitshanger Lane Library.
Pitshanger Lane Library is under threat of closure by the Labour-run Council when the lease comes up for renewal in December. Ealing Labour wants to move the library away from Pitshanger Lane to an unspecified “community location” to be staffed with volunteers.
The petition can be found HERE.
Cllr Seema Kumar, Shadow Cabinet Member for Council Services and Safer Communities said:
“The closure of Pitshanger Lane Library timed for December will create a massive hole in this award winning High Street.
Locals and others visiting the area will be much affected by this move particularly our elderly residents who use it not only as a Library, but a community Hub within a community.
I urge residents to sign the petition and try to force Labour to reverse their decision to close this valuable community asset.“
Conservatives Condemn Labour Plans to Close Pitshanger Library
At last night’s Cabinet meeting, Labour-run Ealing Council confirmed that it would be looking to close Pitshanger Library when the lease comes up for renewal in December.
Whilst the Cabinet Report states that alternative provision will be looked at, the Labour Leader of the Council confirmed that the Council was not looking to move the library to another commercial/bespoke premise, but, instead are hoping to find a “community location” for the library. He suggested that St. Barnabas Church might be appropriate; though confirmed no contact has been made with the church or any other community location so far.
Conservative Group Leader, Cllr Gregory Stafford, said:
“This an utter disaster for the local people who use Pitshanger Library and for the future of Pitshanger Lane which last year won the Great British High Street accolade. The idea that a comparable service can be provided by volunteers operating out of a site not designed for a library, such as St Barnabas Church is total nonsense.
More shockingly, with under six months until the lease runs out on the current site, the Council hasn’t even begun to identify alternative sites or put any plans in place. This is going to leave the people of Pitshanger and the surrounding area without a library – one of the focal hubs of community life.
Labour have repeatedly promised that they weren’t going to close libraries, but as with the planned move and reduction in size and stock of the Ealing Central Library, it now looks like Pitshanger is another library set to be closed by the back door.”
Conservatives Vote to Save Victoria Hall
In line with Labour’s commitment to selling off Ealing’s iconic Town Hall, the Labour Members on the Council’s General Purpose Committee who are legal trustees of the Victoria Hall, voted on the 15th March to grant a 250-year lease to Mastcraft who plans to operate it as a boutique hotel. This was despite the best efforts of the Conservative members who voted against the proposal.
The Victoria Hall was completed in 1888 as part of a wider development to build public offices and a free library – which is now Ealing Town Hall. The Hall was built on land owned by the Council’s predecessor with money (£5,000) raised by public subscription to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.
Cllr Nigel Sumner, Conservative Spokesman said: “The Victoria Hall was built by the people, for the people. The lease terms, specially state the Hall is: “to be made available for hire for the purposes of “Meetings, Entertainments, Balls, Bazaars, and other gatherings whether Social or Political.”
Labour claims they are safe guarding the public interest, as the public will be able to hire the Victoria Hall at “affordable” rent for 10 years, conveniently forgetting about the other 240 years on the lease.
Labour’s plans also beg the question, whose definition of “affordable” will be used? Labour’s actions demonstrate that they cannot be trusted with either the public purse or public assets. This is the administration that have sold off a number of Ealing’s heritage assets: Acton Town Hall, Southall Town Hall and now Ealing Town Hall.
Either way, residents of Ealing, will know they have a clear choice on 3rd May. Vote for a Labour Administration who will continue sell off Ealing’s heritage assets for apartments and boutique hotels or a Conservative Administration who will protect the community interest.”
Note to Editor: Link to 15th March General Purpose Committee Agenda: http://ealing.cmis.uk.com/ealing/Meetings/tabid/70/ctl/ViewMeetingPublic/mid/397/Meeting/5794/Committee/289/Default.aspx
RESPONSE TO EALING COUNCIL’S PRESS RELEASE
Ealing Council: A clean break for environmental services in Ealing
14th Mar 2018
Councillor Greg Stafford, Opposition Leader said: “The news that the Council is finally ending its relationship with the current contractor is 6 years late. From day one, the contract has failed the residents of Ealing and the blame lies solely with the Labour Council, who failed to heed the sage advice, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
Whilst not against the principle, I am extremely sceptical that Labour Council can deliver an effective service. They clearly don’t have the skills to even manage the current contract properly, never mind, having to be responsible for its day to day delivery.
Under the Conservative Administration of 2006 -2010, Ealing had some of the cleanest streets in London. Under Labour, we now have the dirtiest streets and was outed as one of Britain’s Grot Spot for fly tipping. The most recent quarter results, shows that the Council has missed it’s street cleaning target by over 20%. Rather than changing the contract and the months of disruption that will follow, they should focus on getting our streets clean again.
Residents will remember that a Conservative Administration delivered a weekly collections, free garden waste service and weekly street cleaning.
Labour’s legacy is a fortnightly collections, a paid service and monthly street clean if you are lucky.
That is why we have promised that the Conservatives will go back to weekly street cleaning and free garden waste collections if we are elected on May 3rd.”
Ealing Labour’s departing bombshell for residents is a 6% increase in Council Tax
21st Feb 2018 – At 20 February Council meeting, every Labour member present voted to increase Council Tax by 5.99%. This comes on top of the Labour’s Mayor’s 5.1% increase. Conservative Councillors said this increase in Council Tax and raiding of reserves, rather than making proper efficiencies, whilst services decline revealed that the Council is on the brink.
Cllr Greg Stafford, Opposition Leader said: “Residents will be shocked to know that Labour knew from as early as 2010 that this moment of financial reckoning was coming.
But, they sat back and allowed massive departmental overspends (without any consequences) while failing to make proper efficiency savings; wasted millions on vanity projects and increased their own allowances. Classic behaviour from Labour: spend until there is none left and then blame others.
Yet, in our neighbouring Borough of Hillingdon, run by the Conservatives, residents for 11 years in row will enjoy a zero percent increase in their council tax, with charges and fees remaining frozen since 2011, continue with a weekly rubbish collection service and see massive investments in schools, libraries and roads despite facing the same scale of challenge as Ealing.
The difference between the two, is that Ealing is run by a Labour administration without any regard to prudence and priorities.
It’s time to have an administration who can cut the waste, prioritise services, and deliver for the residents of Ealing. I urge people to vote Conservative on 3rd May.”
Ealing Hospital is not closing. Ealing Conservatives work to get assurances from the NHS
30th Jan 2018 – Despite a lot of misinformation and claims over the last 10 years, Ealing hospital is not closing. Getting the facts out about local changes has been frustrated by Ealing Council, who are preventing the NHS from publishing details of changes in the Council Magazine: Around Ealing.
Two areas of concern however are the future shape of Ealing A&E and the number of beds at Ealing Hospital. Ealing Conservative Councillors wrote and met with the local NHS leader and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Jeremy Hunt MP to discuss these concerns.
The NHS have given clear assurances that no changes to Ealing A&E will take place until there is a reduction in patient usage. Additionally, even when changes have taken place patients will still be able to walk into Ealing A&E and be treated.
“Regarding A&E, the same principle applies with that of bed numbers, we will want to see reductions in patient usage before changes are made….The way patients’ access A&E services will not change and people will not need to do anything differently”– Dr Mohini Parmar 24th October 2017
We have also received assurances from the NHS that they will only look at changing bed numbers once all their planned out of hospital services, which are aimed at reducing admissions, are up and running and working successfully.
“Only once we are completely assured that those services are not just in place but working for our local community will we look at bed numbers.”
– Dr Mohini Parmar 24th October 2017
The NHS have also given the same assurances to the Health Secretary.
“The local NHS has provided assurances to me that bed reductions will not take place until it sees a sustained reduction in attendances following the successful implementation of its schemes to reduce admissions.” – The Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP 21st December 2017
Ealing Conservatives will hold the NHS to its commitments and always fight for improved services for local people.
Notes to editor: Ever since clinically-led plans were first announced for the closure Ealing Hospital’s Stroke Unit in 2009, there has been concerns regarding the changes put forward by local doctors to improve local health services.
There have been a lot of claims about these changes, but the results so far are:
- Concentrating all emergency stroke care from 30 to 8 hospitals across London has seen stroke survival increase by 1/3, saving 100 lives a year;
- Concentrating major trauma care in only 4 hospitals in London has seen survival increase by 50%;
- Changes to maternity services in our area have been praised by the Royal College of Midwives and has delivered 100 additional midwives, more Obstetric Consultants on delivery suites and more women getting one on one midwife care in labour;
- Changes to pediatric services locally has meant; 90 additional pediatric nurses recruited, more children seeing a pediatric consultant earlier when presenting to hospital, a halving of the number of children needing to be transferred out of North West London for admission than before;
- An increase in the number of evening and weekend GP appointments with all Ealing patients being able to access bookable and urgent appointments, at 3 GP sites across the borough that open every evening between 6.30 – 8 pm and weekends from 8am to 8pm on both Saturday and Sunday.
One of the key areas of concern is about the future of Ealing A&E. The local NHS leader has clearly outlined that the way people access emergency services will not change.
“Most people who walk, take public transport or are driven to Ealing A&E will be well enough to be seen and treated there now and in the future. Those that need further care will be transferred to the right place. Regarding messaging for the public, it will be very simple and exactly what people are already doing, with no expectation of self-triage. In a life threatening emergency call 999 for an ambulance, for all other emergencies please attend the A&E at Ealing Hospital.” – Dr Mohini Parmar 24th October 2017
Please watch our video: https://video214.com/play/0g1NMrSM0DQjlNTtfwL40g/s/dark
Conservatives Fear Labour Plans to Drop Public Access to Ealing Town Hall
24th Jan 2018 – 19 months from selecting a developer for the Ealing Town Hall, the Labour Administration has yet to secure a signed contract.
Ealing Conservative Councillors believes the lack of a contract is a signal that Labour’s concession made after pressure from the Conservative Scrutiny Call-In, which secured the right of the public to hire the famous Victoria Hall for duration of the 250-year lease and not just 5 years as planned, is not acceptable to the developer.
Ealing Conservatives also believe that Labour are now attempting to drag the process out until after the local election in May, where they will quietly drop their promise to protect the public interest in Ealing Town Hall.
Cllr Greg Stafford, Opposition Leader said:
“The signs are there that public access to Ealing Town Hall and ability to rent the splendid Victoria Hall will be quietly forgotten by Labour after the local election in May.
It has been 19 months since the Labour Administration voted to get rid of Ealing’s crown jewel – The Town Hall, by the grant of a 250-year lease to a developer to turn into a boutique hotel.
At that time, Conservative Councillors questioned the legitimacy of giving away the much-loved and much-used public asset built by public subscription to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887 and argued successfully that the public should be allowed to the hire the Victoria Hall for the full duration of the proposed 250-year lease and not just for 5 years as originally proposed.
We are now fearful that the failure of the Council to get the contract signed implies that they have not been able to get the developers to agree to the public use for the full 250-years. Furthermore, Labour’s decision to consult now on the charitable status of the Town Hall after the agreeing to flog it, suggests that they are just waiting until after the election to backtrack on letting the community use the facilities for the duration of the lease. This certainly would not be first, not the last time, that Labour falls to safeguard the public’s interest.”
Labour Plans to Pedestrianise Longfield Avenue
15th Dec 2017 – The news that Longfield Avenue is to be pedestrianised has come as a shock to both residents and ward councillors, neither of whom have been consulted or worse yet informed.
Cllr Seema Kumar, Ealing Broadway Councillor said:
“Springing this on us is the height of arrogance. They did it with the banned left turn and now this. Clearly Labour is not bothered by what residents think or given any consideration to how residents and the public will be able to access the 583 car parking spaces at Dickens Yard.
This is another ill thought out plan by a Labour Administration, who is not listening and not working for residents.”
Note to Editor: Link to the News: https://www.ealing.gov.uk/news/article/1709/new_civic_centre_and_affordable_housing_plans_progress
Draft London Plan ‘Good Growth’ only for Developers
29th Nov 2017 – The new draft London Plan has now been published and is being called ‘Good Growth’ by the Mayor. Conservative Councillors argue that the only ‘Good Growth’ aspect of the plan will be for developers, who have basically been given a free pass to develop London into a more urbanised concrete jungle.
Cllr Greg Stafford, Opposition Leader said:
“The Draft London Plan is a perfect illustration of a Mayor who says one thing and does another.
During the election campaign, Mr Khan said that he would change the London Plan ‘on day one’ to implement his commitment to 50% affordable housing. In the Draft Plan, it now an ‘aspiration’ and comes after he already agreed a deal with London’s property developers to only seek 35% affordable on new homes.
Rather than protecting back gardens, the Mayor’s Plan removes the protection and in fact appears to be encouraging garden grabbing with a presumption in favour of ‘infill development within the curtilage of a house.’
The housing density matrix has completed abandoned. This means there are no limits or guidelines to the appropriate density of developments in particular areas, so expect to see the continuation of 40 plus story towers being approved locally by Labour.
There are also no targets for family homes, despite previous commitments. Boris’s housing strategy had a target for 36% of affordable homes to be family sized. There is simply no targets in the Draft Plan, but there is a suggestion that two bed units can now be considered suitable for family housing. This is absolutely craziness, especially as most people know, that you can barely swing a cat in the average new 2 bed unit, much less try to house a family with children.
Finally, there are no major changes to Green Belt policies and cycling standards despite the Mayor’s fanfare.
I urge the public to respond to the consultation, as the Mayor’s policies rather than grow London in a sustainable and holistic fashion, gives a free pass to developers and paves the way for London to be a more densely populated concrete jungle.”
Note to Editor:
Link to the Draft London Plan: https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/planning/london-plan/new-london-plan/download-draft-london-plan
Council Adopts Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Charter
5th April 2017 – The Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Charter championed by Conservative Councillors was adopted by full Council on 4 April.
Councillor, Fabio Conti, Conservative Member for Health said:
“We are pleased that full council agreed our motion for Ealing Council to adopt the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Charter, in order to demonstrate its support and commitment to the needs of the people with motor neurone disease and their carers in the community.
MND is a life changing, fatal and rapidly progressive disease, and it requires greater awareness of the impact it has on the people affected and their families. We hope that with the adoption of the charter, greater work can be done to ensure that those affected get the good quality care and support they need quickly given the nature of the condition
Notes to Editor: Link to MND Charter: www.mndcharter.org/the-mnd-charter
Ealing Labour Council Spent £229k Subsidising Union Paymasters
Ealing Council spent £229k on union facility time in 2015-16 as revealed today by the Taxpayers Alliance.
At the time of the budget setting in February 2015, the figure for trade union facilities was a closely guarded secret, as Labour was already under fire for sneaking in a pay increase for themselves at the expense of severe cuts to the Adults and Children’s budgets.
Cllr Greg Stafford, Conservative Opposition Leader said: “Included in Labour’s 2015-16 budget was the closure of two day centres for people with mental and severe physical disabilities and cuts of £6.5m from the public health grant which funded school nurses, child protection and sexual health clinics.
Also included was a pay increase for themselves and protection for their union mates, which they would not accurately quantify. Now thanks to the Taxpayers Alliance, we now know that this was amount was a whopping £229k.
It is beyond disgraceful that Labour is spending over quarter a million a year of taxpayers’ money subsidising their union paymasters. This amount of money should be spent on key services. It is yet another example of Labour being unfair, unjust and self-serving.”
Notes to Editor
Taxpayers Alliance Article LINK
Ealing Labour Approves 2% Increase in Council Tax
22nd February 2017 – At 21st February Council Meeting, Ealing Labour voted in favour of a 2% increase in council tax to fund social care.
Whilst there are national pressures on social care funding, these have been exacerbated by Labour’s bad planning, bad financial management and bad leadership.
However, this shouldn’t mean that Ealing’s vulnerable residents have to miss out on services, argued Conservative opposition Councillors, who also voted to support this extra funding. Conservative Councillors further argued that the extra £2.3m to be raised from this tax must solely be spent on adult social care.
Cllr Gregory Stafford, Leader of the Opposition said: “Morally, supporting Labour’s 2% social care tax was the right thing to do even though it was a result of their bad planning, bad financial management and bad leadership.
The looming issues in social care was always on the cards with a growing ageing population. For Labour to be so unprepared by that growth in demand beggars’ belief.
It also demonstrates that Labour have been living in la la land when they decided to put £18.2m into reserves, spend £3.2m on wheelie bins and put up their own councillor allowances – valuable resources that should have been directed immediately into social care. Yet a another example of Labour not listening, not planning, and not delivering for residents.“
Ealing Conservatives Welcome Additional Support for our NHS in Spring Budget
8th March 2017 – Social Care in England is to receive an additional £2billion funding over next three years as announced today by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Spring 2017 budget address. Alongside that, a further £100 million will be available immediately for up to 100 new triage projects at A&E in English hospitals in time for next winter.
This will provide immediate benefit to our NHS, and stands alongside the Government’s commitment to deliver a £10 billion real terms increase in annual NHS finding by 2020.
Cllr Dr Fabio Conti, Opposition Member for Health & Adults said: “Whilst we wait to hear exactly how the money with be distributed it is great news that the Government have committed a further £2billion for the Social Care system over the next three years. This is on top of the already delivered £7billion extra spending power to the system over the next three years.
It is also welcoming to hear that the Government are going to outline in a Green Paper later this year, the options on how they plan to tackle the challenges of social care over the long term.”
In response to Ealing Council’s press release on next financial year’s Council Tax proposal:
Cllr Greg Stafford, Opposition Leader said: “Last year Ealing Labour over-taxed residents by £18.2m and put it into reserves rather than spend it on social care services. Had they done so, services would be saved and there would be no need to raise Council Tax this year. This increase (and the GLA tax increase by the Labour Mayor of London) will hit ordinary hard-working Ealing residents and needs to be fully justified.
Along with over £100m in reserves that the Council holds, the Government has provided Councils with up to an extra £7.6 billion of dedicated funding for social care over the course of this parliament — significant investment to ensure that vulnerable people get affordable and dignified care as our population ages.
Labour’s cry about cuts to Grants are crocodile tears as they know full well that the Government is phasing out Grant funding and replacing it with Business Rates retention; a move that Ealing Council claims to fully support.
Indeed, the LGA’s own analysis shows that for this current Medium Term Financial period, Ealing’s cumulative cash change will be 2.7% better by the end of 2019-20.
The only crumb of comfort is that this Labour tax increase is ring-fenced and will have to be used for social care provision, otherwise no doubt they would squander it or worse yet, use it to fund another increase in their councillor allowances.”
Ealing revealed as 2nd worst Council for Food Hygiene Ratings
12th January 2017 – A new study by the Food Standards Agency have named Ealing as the borough with the second worst food hygiene ratings at restaurants and cafes in the UK.
The Food Standards Agency website holds the data from inspections carried out by each local authority under the Food Hygiene Ratings Scheme. Every business that serves food is awarded with a hygiene rating between 0 (urgent improvement necessary) and 5 (very good).
Out of a total of 360 council areas in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the area with the second highest percentage of restaurants and cafes with poor ratings is the London Borough of Ealing, with 28.2% rated 0, 1 or 2.
Cllr Greg Stafford, Opposition Leader said: “A good food hygiene rating gives people the confidence that a business is taking food hygiene seriously. They also need to have confidence that the Council is proactively inspecting and re-inspecting these businesses to make sure that they meet the stringent requirements of selling food that is safe to eat.
Ealing’s rating as the second worst performing borough suggests that the Labour Administration is clearly failing residents in this area.”
Note to Editor:
Link to the study: http://www.lovemyvouchers.co.uk/lifestyle/food-hygiene-study-restaurants-cafes/
Ealing Conservatives Welcome Government’s 4-Year Budget Settlement
Ealing Council has agreed to accept the Government’s offer of a 4 year financial settlement following a vote at the 11 October Full Meeting.
The 4-year settlement provides the Council a degree of protection from any further reductions in excess of those already announced and a clearer basis for undertaking financial planning.
Cllr Greg Stafford, Leader of the Opposition said: “I applaud the Conservative Government for giving all Councils the option to accept a 4 year financial settlement in relation to its main Revenue Support Grant. Having this certainty over budgets for 4 years along with a degree of protection from any further reductions in excess of those already announced, will change the landscape of how Councils fund services.
Unfortunately, for the Labour Administration, this change removes their ability to cry about funding uncertainty and further government cuts. They won’t be able to hide their continued inability to listen, to hear or deliver for Ealing residents.”
Notes to Editor
Link to the Council Report: 11th October 2016 – Full Council – 4-Year Settlement Report
Ealing Conservatives Pledge To Restore Weekly Street Cleaning
Cllr Greg Stafford, Leader of the Opposition announced at the 11 October Full Council Meeting, that a Conservative Administration would restore the weekly street cleaning service. This comes after Ealing Labour have moved to a three weekly clean and six weekly deep clean of Ealing’s streets.
Cllr Stafford said: “Towards the end of summer, Labour quietly changed the street cleaning schedule hoping that residents would not notice. Unfortunately, it is hard not to notice how dirty the streets are, especially as rubbish is being accumulated over three weeks instead of a week.
Labour insists that three weeks is an acceptable standard for street cleaning and that residents are not complaining. Residents are complaining, but just not to the Council as they don’t want to waste 45 minutes of their lives trying to contact the Council only to either be given the run around or useless reference number!
This is yet another visible example of Labour not listening, not hearing and not working for Ealing. A Conservative Administration if elected in May 2018, will however work for Ealing by promptly reinstating the weekly street cleaning service.”
Rise in Fly tipping Under Labour is Staggering, but not surprising, say Conservatives
21st September 2016 – Fly tipping is on the up in Ealing – a staggering 144% just the past 3 months alone according to new Council figures.
Between September 2015 and August 2016, there were 8,918 reports of fly tipping recorded by Ealing Council. By comparison, the figure was 5,688 for the previous year. This represents a 56% increase overall.
In June, the Labour run council introduced an alternate weekly collection service and reduced full street cleaning to only once every six weeks. Fly tipping increased by a whopping but not surprising 144%.
Cllr Gregory Stafford, Opposition Leader said: “To see that fly tipping has increased by 144% in only 3 months since the start of the new alternate weekly collection service and the massive reduction in street cleaning, is staggering but not surprising. Everyone except the Labour Councillors could see that these changes would result in increased fly tipping.
Ealing used to known for its clean streets and as a pleasant place to live. It is such a pity that since Labour took control in 2010, it is being ruined by dirty streets and dumped rubbish. The Queen of the Suburbs reduced to the Lord of the Flies!“
Cllr Nigel Sumner, Opposition spokesman for the Public Realm said, “This staggering increase in fly tipping demonstrates how misguided and devastating Labour’s changes to the waste and refuse collection services are and serves as yet another visible example of Labour not listening, not hearing and not delivering for Ealing.”
Notes to Editor:
See below chart produced by Council Officers showing number of Fly tips reported between September 2015 and August 2016.
Conservatives successfully defend the public right to hire the Victoria Hall
9th August 2016 – Ealing Conservative Councillors are claiming a victory for the public after the Labour Administration have bowed to pressure to allow the public to hire the famous Victoria Hall at Ealing Town Hall for the full duration of the proposed 250 year lease.
Conservative Councillors called in the decision at the 4th August Overview and Scrutiny Meeting and successfully argued the 5 years was not long enough to protect the public interest on a 250 year lease for a well-used, much-loved public asset that had been built by public subscription.
Cllr Anthony Young, Opposition Spokesman said: “I am delighted that as result of Conservative intervention, we managed to safeguard the public right to hire the Victoria Hall for 250 years rather than just 5 years as initially proposed.
The Victoria Hall was built by public subscription to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887. For the Labour Administration to limit the public right to hire the best parts of the Town Hall without adequately safeguarding the public interest was unacceptable to us.
I am therefore pleased that the public and future generations will continue to have access to the full splendour of the Victoria Hall.”
Notes to Editor
Pictures of the Victoria Hall courtesy of Cllr Anthony Young
Labour to axe Children’s Library at Ealing Central Library
9th August 2016 – The number of Children’s book at Ealing Central library will be reduced by 66% from 21,000 to 7,000. The full extent of Labour’s plans to squeeze the library to death was only revealed after fierce questioning by Conservative Councillors at the 4th August Overview and Scrutiny Meeting.
To date, the labour Administration have yet to publicly announce their intention to effectively wipe out the Children’s Library. Under Labour’s plans, the library site will reduce from 1106sqm to 727sqm, the book stock from 124,000 to just 35,000; study space reduces from 145 to 45 and the Local History service is moved from the main library to West Ealing. Much of the archives is to be put into ‘deep storage.’
Councillor Anthony Young, Opposition Spokesman said: “It is not surprising that the Labour Administration wanted to keep quiet their intention to decimate the Children’s Library. A reduction of 66% in book stock is shocking and sends a poor message at a time when all studies point to the long term benefits and importance of early education. The children’s library and the ability for poorer families to borrow books is a lifeline for many families. For labour to try to cut this essential service on the quiet is quite shocking and unnecessary, especially as it is being done to facilitate the long-term profitability of the centre’s owners. This is yet another example of where the Labour Administration is not listening, not hearing, not delivering.”
Notes to Editor
Pictures of the Children’s Library at Ealing Central Library courtesy of Cllr Anthony Young
Ealing Council approves ‘rabbit hutches in the sky’ in North Acton
21st July 2016 – Last night, Ealing Council’s planning committee voted to approve the 42-storey development called Portal West (6 Portal Way) in North Acton with eight votes for with three against.
Conservative Planning Lead Cllr Joanna Dabrowska said
“the approval of this development sets a dangerous precedent for outer London residents. The highest 42-floor tower will be c.145m high, that’s higher than the London Eye at 120m.”
According to the Ealing Council’s own Planning Policy (2013) it classifies the site as urban, yet when it comes to planning decision making, planning officers have compared North Acton to Central London. The proposal has a density of c.2500 habitable rooms/hectare (HR/HA) which is over 3.5 times the London Plan. The Labour-controlled council has squeezed in five times as many units on the site as the (units per hectare – u/ha) guidance allows.
Cllr Dabrowska went on to state: “Labour is flouting its own plan-led planning policy. It seems they rewrite their housing planning policy to suit the developer’s wish list! Does Labour really want future residents to live like sardines?”
Cllr Dabrowska recused herself from the decision on this application to allow her to openly criticise Labour’s record of allowing extremely high-density developments at this week’s Full Council.
The Conservative Planning Lead is considering a call in of the approved planning application.
Notes to editors:
1) London Plan Housing planning guidance – density matrix
2) Ealing Council’s Planning Policy – tinyurl.com/LBE-DPD-DevelopmentSites2013 – refer to page 101
Ealing Council under Labour is in Decline
12th July 2016 – The Council’s Annual Performance Report which measure 57 key indicators reveals that for 2015/16, 45% of the indicators have declined in performance since last year.
The report also noted that the recycling rate remained unchanged and the number of streets being cleaned to the required standard the first time was still not meeting its target.
Furthermore, when compared across the 32 London Boroughs, 48% of Ealing’s indicators are below the London average.
Councillor Gregory Stafford, Opposition Leader said: “This is damning report of the Council’s performance when you consider that 45% of the key indicators have declined since last year.
In the key services that residents look out for, we see that the recycling rate didn’t improve even by a percent and our streets are still not being cleaned properly.
With the near total collapse of the rubbish collection system and the cuts to street cleaning that came in since May, I expect these figures to fall further as our streets disappear under the filth and grim.
This Annual Report only confirms what residents already know, Ealing Council under Labour is in decline.”
Ealing Central Library Squeezed to Death
The date and time of Ealing Central library being squeezed to death should be recorded as 12th July 2016 @7pm according to Conservative Opposition Councillors. This follows the decision by the Labour Administration voluntarily to give up its current site in exchange for a significantly smaller site.
The new site, above Primark, would be 727sqm instead of the current 1106sqm – a reduction of more than a third.
In the new space, the book stock reduces from 124,000 to just 35,000; study space reduces from 145 to 45 and the Local History service is moved from the main library to West Ealing . Much of the archives is to be put into ‘deep storage.’
Councillor Anthony Young, Opposition Deputy Leader said:
“In commercial terms, the value of the current lease for the Library is significantly below the value for the new site that the Council plans to accept. Only the Labour Administration which has no regard for the concept of public service and value for money would consider this exchange to be ‘best consideration.’
The slashing of the book stock, 124,000 to 35,000 (a 72% reduction), and the reduction in study space from 145 to 45 (a 72% reduction) is enough to demonstrate that Labour intends to kill off the library by stealth, after failing miserably in the face of public opposition to do so a few years ago.
It is only a matter of time before the other Libraries go as well.”
Labour sells Ealing’s Crown Jewels
12th July 2016 – The future community use of Ealing Town Hall is only guaranteed for 5 years according to a report to Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, according to Conservative opposition Councillors. This follows the decision of the Labour Administration to lease the building for 250 years to a hotel group.
Councillor Anthony Young, Shadow Deputy Leader said:
“This is a major loss of a community asset; an asset that was built by public subscription. For Labour to say otherwise is disingenuous.
There has been no public consultation on a loss a major public asset. The Town Hall is an iconic building in the heart of Ealing and for the large portion of it to be lost to ten generations is incomprehensible.
Many community groups, especially the elderly, use the Town Hall and they will now be priced out if not immediately, then for sure in 5 years after which the price cap will cease to apply. Furthermore, the cap only applies to off-peak hire and the coveted weekend hire will be out of the reach of most community groups.
The Labour Administration has sold Ealing’s crown jewels.”
Ealing Conservatives Welcome Intervention By Secretary of State for “Gotham City” Application
Local Conservative Councillors are welcoming the news that the planning application for 9-42 The Broadway is to be called in by the Secretary of State.
The Scheme which has been nicknamed “Gotham City” would blight the centre of Ealing and destroy its historic fabric.
Cllr Alex Stafford, Ealing Broadway Ward said: “I am delighted that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government have listen to the appeal by our Conservative Group Leader and many other residents and asked the Planning Inspectorate to review this application in the light of national and local planning as well as conservation area policies.
The fact that many residents believe that it would leave Ealing looking like Gotham City says it all. Residents rightly want a development that will enhance or preserve the historic fabric of Ealing, not destroyed it completely.
It is great news for Ealing that the application has been called in and there will be an inquiry by the Planning Inspectorate.”
No Waitrose for Acton
19th May 2016 – The news that Waitrose Supermarket will no longer be coming to The Oaks Shopping Centre in Acton was quietly shared at a small residents meeting in Acton last night.
Cllr Greg Stafford, Conservative Opposition Leader has today written to the Leader of the Labour Council to ascertain when the decision by Waitrose not to come to Acton was taken and more importantly, shared with the Council.
Cllr Greg Stafford said: “The timing and the delivery of the news that Waitrose along with 500 jobs will no longer be coming to The Oaks Shopping Centre is very suspect. Many residents who fought against the plans for the redevelopment have always believed that the Waitrose was touted to silence local opposition and obtain planning permission.
Now residents will only be left with the initial concrete eyesore. The Labour Acton Councillors and the Labour Administration owe it to residents to reveal exactly when Waitrose decided not to come to Acton and when they shared this with the Council.
This is yet another example of Labour not delivering for Acton residents.”
Wheelie Bins to “blight” Conservation Areas say Ealing Conservatives
17th May 2016 – Local residents and Conservative Councillors have slammed the controversial new fortnightly wheelie bin service that Labour-run Ealing Council is introducing next month which is going to blight Ealing’s conservation areas.
Whilst wheelie bins are classed as temporary fixtures thus not falling within any planning rules, according to the answer to a written question tinyurl.com/LBE-WrittenQns-23022016 (Qn 29) asked by Conservative planning spokesperson Cllr Joanna Dabrowska back in February 2016, these wheelie bins will last for 30 years.
Already two conservation areas (White Ledges and The Grange) have been exempted from the fortnightly wheelie bin collections by Ealing Council officers (due to covenant restrictions). The Grange will be using much smaller 100 litre bins and White Ledges will continue to use current waste and recycling containers.
Cllr Dabrowska said: “What about other Conservation Areas and Grade Listed properties? If ‘temporary’ satellite dishes are not allowed in Conservation Areas, shouldn’t wheelie bins be exempt too if we are to protect and enhance the character or appearance of the Conservation Area? What about grade and locally listed buildings?
As per Conservation Area Management Plans which emphasise that the Council will resist proposals of the removal of traditional front and side gardens. Wheelie bins ruin the protected streetscape.
30 years sounds very permanent in my book, hardly temporary. The service has not been thought through properly by the Labour administration and will blight our neighbourhood for decades to come.”
Local resident, Robert Gurd, Chairman of the Ealing Civic Society, concurs: “We support residents in local conservation areas who have recently managed to persuade the Council to allow them to use smaller bins than the standard ones supplied because of the special sensitivity of the areas. It might be appropriate to make this solution available to other residents if they want to use smaller bins.“
Less Planning Transparency, Weaker Democracy
18th April 2016 – At the 12th April Full Council Meeting, Labour-run Ealing Council has chosen to ratify the undemocratic proposals of the new Borough Planner, David Scourfield, and supported by the Labour Leader of the Council, Cllr Julian Bell.
These proposals are as follows:
* Delegated Authority Threshold – this is the level at which planning applications are automatically referred to the publicly viewed planning committee for decision making. The proposal is to refer applications above 50 units compared to 15 previously.
This means that fewer applications will hit the public radar therefore, less public as well as less councillor scrutiny. More decisions behind closed doors. Is this democratic?
* Fewer Planning Committee meetings – the council is moving from a committee meeting every three weeks to once a month, meaning a reduction of a third of such public meetings, less scrutiny, and heavier agendas.
* Site Visit Changes – Furthermore, the planning department also wanted to change the currently advertised Saturday morning site visits to unadvertised Wednesday afternoon visits when most councillors and residents cannot attend. The first step to eliminating this vital part of the planning process. But they retreated on this.
(Original Planning Proposals Report tinyurl.com/CRG-29032016-PlanningProposals)
Conservative Planning Lead, Cllr Joanna Dabrowska is furious and states: “The Council has stated in their correspondence that they consulted with members. As opposition planning lead I don’t recall ever seeing this consultation.
Slowly, slowly it seems that the current administration together with the Council’s planning department are eroding away the fundamentals of democracy and public scrutiny by limiting public access to the decision making processes that elected councillors are elected for.“
Notes to the Editor: For further information contact : Cllr Joanna Dabrowska – email@example.com
Labour Council Budget Feeding Reserves whilst Starving Vital Services
24th February 2016 – Feeding reserves and starving services was the hallmark of the Labour budget passed at the 23 February Council Tax Setting Meeting.
Whilst welcoming the Council Tax freeze, which has been enabled in part by grants from the national Conservative Government, Conservative opposition Councillors opposed the Labour Administrations budget, which included the closure of Heller House, a Children’s Home which provides short break services for children with disabilities on the grounds of cost, whilst transferring £18m to reserves.
Conservative Councillors condemned the Labour Administration’s willingness to dip into the £105m reserves to fund an increase in their members allowance, but unwillingness to do so to invest in services.
They highlighted that planned service changes, such as the introduction of wheelie bins and a fortnightly collection service, the closure of Heller House and ridiculous changes to ‘Stop&Shop’, have all generated petitions of over 5,000 signatures and demonstrated that Labour’s budget does not support the needs of residents.
Cllr Gregory Stafford, Leader of the Opposition said: “The Labour Administrations decision to close Heller House, a Children’s Home which provides short break services for children with disabilities on the grounds of cost, whilst transferring another £18m to reserves is simply despicable especially as the Council’s controllable reserves currently stand at a whopping£105m. Feeding the Councils reserves whilst starving services, is a demonstration of Labour’s contemptible and irresponsible leadership.
This 2016/17 budget like previous budgets, is based on Labour scaremongering, which is not substantiated in the figures. Yes the main Revenue Support Grant has been cut, but there have also been increases in other grants, enabling the Council to have more money to spend. Unfortunately, the Labour Administration would rather feed the Council’s reserves and starve services.”
Note to Editor
Link to report confirming increases in Members Allowances was funded from reserves and remains an ongoing cost in the budget tinyurl.com/LBE-MembersAllowances
Conservatives Force Council U-Turn on “Stop& Shop”
2nd February 2016 – Ealing Conservative Councillors are celebrating a victory for local traders after the Labour Council was forced into a humiliating U-turn on proposal to change “Stop&Shop.”
Labour’s proposed changes would have discouraged shoppers and threatened local businesses, who are already under tremendous economic stress.
Cllr Gregory Stafford, Conservative Group Leader said: “Labour’s humiliating U-turn on the planned changes to “Stop&Shop” is a fantastic victory for our local traders who were quick to assist us in getting the news around about Labour’s plans.
It is regrettable that the Labour Administration still believes it is acceptable to sneak through detrimental and damaging changes without any form of prior consultation.
Our petition which has been signed by several thousand local people expresses the anger of local residents and businesses at these changes.
Once again our local businesses recognised that Ealing Conservatives are on their side.”
Labour’s Independent Health Report Slammed as a Disgraceful Use of Public Money
20th January 2016 – According to Ealing Conservatives, Labour’s Independent Health Commission Final Report 2015 or North West London highlights why people in glass houses should not throw stones.
The Report commissioned by four Labour Councils at cost of over £100k of public money was spent despite the Council cutting a number of front line services due to a lack of funds.
The final report recommends that the Council should consider seeking a judicial review, whilst ignoring that such a process will cost taxpayers’ hundreds of thousands.
Cllr Joy Morrissey, Conservative Spokesman for Health & Wellbeing said: “For a Labour council who endlessly claim there is insufficient money to save vital front line services, they always seem to have more than enough to indulge their political agenda at the taxpayers’ expense.
The called for Judicial Review will only result in a report to confirm their preordained conclusion – and guarantee their next round of scaremongering headlines just in time for this May’s election. It is a disgraceful use of public money.”
Note to Editor:
Photo of Cllr Joy Morrissey outside Ealing Hospital (photo owned by Cllr Morrissey)
Ealing Council Failing to Protect Historic Woodland
19th January 2016 – A historic local woodland, Wyncote Farm, has been irreparably damaged say residents.
Wyncote Farm, near Elthorne Park, which is controlled by private company EasyCraft and owned by Kashmir Tack, has been accused of removing a large number of trees as well as dumping landfill waste on the site. Along with this, residents are also concerned that works are being carried out on the site with industrial machinery.
The Environment Agency have been made aware of the concerns as the industrial works are taking place within the 8 metres of a main river.
Whilst the land was sold by Ealing Council in 1990 to EasyCraft, the Council maintained a covenant restricting the use of the land. In April 1997, after a lengthy legal battle Ealing Council won an injunction against the owner, Mr Tack, who was fly tipping on the site (attached front page headline from the Ealing & Southall Informer).
This latest issue began back in 2014.
At that time, Cllr Joanna Dabrowska, Conservative Planning Lead together with outraged local residents, secured meetings with the Council’s tree experts and solicitors, the result of which was a recommendation of placing a group Tree Preservation Order (TPO) on the site in September 2014.
However since then nothing has changed. Now the Head of Planning has concluded that the Ealing Council will not be pursuing a group TPO on Wyncote Farm.
Cllr Dabrowska said: “Ealing residents have been let down by the Labour Council which has failed to protect one of the Borough’s green assets. It seems that it was worth saving Wyncote Farm in 1997 but no longer. Whilst the Trees department saw the value of this woodland, Ealing planners saw no merit in protecting these trees and our wood remains vulnerable to the ravages of the owner.
I am calling upon the Council to take every step to stop this destruction and protect our green heritage.”
Notes to the Editor:
Wyncote (formerly Wincott) Farm is located south of Elthorne Park, west of Capital Ring, north of the M4. Postcode reference W7 2QA.
LBE’s sites of important for nature conservation (SINC) – coded H127
Ealing Green Spaces – Protected SINC list – Page 51 http://www.ealing.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/3684/background_3-green_space_part_e