DIARY OF A FRESHER COUNCILLOR NO. 3

Gosh the first week in December and the last six months have rushed by.  Yes, it is now six months since the residents of Beddington North entrusted Nick, Tim and me with their votes and more importantly their confidence that we will do a good job.  I like to think we are but it has been a very steep learning curve for me.  For instance, I did not realise what a dirty game Council politics can be.  I have no time in my life for the “she pulled my hair” syndrome which seems to invade local political life.  Why can’t parties come together for the good of the wonderful residents of the London Borough of Sutton?  The answer as far as I can see is political ambition and the desire to leave a lasting legacy which if this nonsense of a parking strategy survey is anything to go by will be a lasting legacy of disaster.

I am extremely concerned about the parking strategy survey as, in my humble opinion, it will target those who work hard and do not have incomes that will support any charges that might be levied.  I hope those who feel they are being let down on this issue will speak to their Councillors reminding them they were voted in to support the residents of their wards and not to promote political ambition and legacies.  I know here in Beddington North the residents would be very quick to pull us up on this and I would expect no less.  Sadly (and I’m breaking my own rules here by being political) with one party having a majority it is very difficult to get a reversal of policies.  I suspect the parking issue is being driven by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, offering money to the London Boroughs who comply with his harsh measures to get cars off the road and to cut air pollution.  Could someone tell me please how the cut in air pollution happens when more humps are put into roads thereby necessitating vehicles to slow down and accelerate again?  It was only a few years ago central Government was encouraging people to buy diesel cars and now if you have a diesel car you are treated like a pariah.

Whilst I expect some of you are happy about the proposed tram extension from Wimbledon to Sutton, £15 million is on the table for the extension if the Boroughs of Merton and Sutton build 5,000 homes each.  I wonder how the infrastructure will cope with more homes?  We do need more social housing but it needs to be sited in appropriate places and where there is access to GPs and schools.  I dread to think about the pressure on local hospitals and other services.

I would like to make it clear that my observations have shown there are a hard core of Councillors on both sides who work extremely hard for their residents.  All they want is fairness and justice which is, at the end of the day, what we all should want. It is such a shame there are not more independent councillors.

I have had a busy time lately with missed bin collections (hopefully now resolved), housing and anti social behaviour issues.  Tim, Nick and I meet regularly to discuss how things are going in the ward.  We are fighting hard to address issues that are of concern to residents

PLEASE LOOK OUT FOR A LEAFLET ON THE CHANGES TO BIN COLLECTIONS OVER THE CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR PERIOD.

May I make a plea that when consultations, surveys etc come around please please please take part.  Unfortunately, this Council seems to think everyone can do this “on line” even though it seems to be extremely difficult to access the appropriate pages.  I and several Councillors from all parties continually bang the drum that those who do not have access to computers or to a library, where I am told the staff would be happy to help, are included in these.  True democracy lies in hearing the will of the people and if some are disenfranchised how can the Council say it is a democratic open fair Council?  I have the feeling that the Council hopes that people won’t bother to take part.  I am told paper copies are available but getting those might be a trial in itself.  If you have difficulties please let me know and I will try and address the situation.

It remains for me to wish all the residents of Beddington North and the London Borough of Sutton a very happy Christmas and prosperous New Year.

Councillor Jillian Green Highview Resident and Champion for Sheen Way