I have just realised it is about time I wrote another piece about life as an Independent Councillor in Beddington North Ward.
If anyone was at the latest Council meeting on Monday 20 January, I can only say in my humble opinion children of 6 would have behaved better. It was like a bear pit, shouting at each other, politicising every discussion. I really did not go into this to be dragged down by the political rantings of Councillors on both sides of the “chamber”. Surely the people of the London Borough of Sutton deserve better in good rational debate with an ability to work together.
Now I have got that off my chest I can report that I am working with the Sutton Commissioning Group as I really would like to set up a health and wellbeing group. Wallington have one and it is highly successful. I am investigating and further details will follow.
If you are a member of the Beddington Village Neighbourhood FB group I have put a short survey on there to help with my future projects.
One thing I would like to see is the establishment of residents’ groups for the different areas in the ward. If that were possible we could appoint street representatives who would deal with matters in their street by contacting Councillors, deliver leaflets but more importantly the documentation for consultation.
No more receiving these things in amongst the gas bills as has been the case for the St Helier consultation. For consultations to be meaningful all residents should have the opportunity to engage with the process and, as you know, my pet hate is “well it can be done on the Council’s website”. Not everyone has a computer and not everyone knows how to use one if they do….
If we can establish a few residents’ or community groups there would be much we could do to support neighbours and friends with any difficulties. I am looking into organising a Christmas event for the switch on of lights and if anyone would like to help with this please ring me on 07599 661522.
Now onto the Parking Strategy – Councillor Foster and I visited the Council offices last week and at first glance it seems little will change in Beddington North except for the application of double yellow lines at strategic spots. Whether this will remain so is anybody’s guess but a second consultation on the proposals will begin before Easter and will last six weeks.
Speaking of the second consultation, I hope the response will be better than the first one. The response rates were so disappointing – if you don’t say you can’t complain…. We will be engaging with residents for their views so again, watch this space.
What angers me about this so-called Parking Strategy is that a very senior official at the Council told me when I said “no-one should pay for parking and instead of following other Councils we should be leading from the front”. The response was “well we haven’t any money” so there you have it from the horse’s mouth. The Parking Strategy is to make money. It strikes me that everyone complains about the loss of high streets and small shops but not being able to park is going to result in even more independent shops going out of business.
There is to be a meeting later this week to discuss various options for improvement in the Plough Lane area and we will update on this as soon as we can.
Street cleaning is another area that does not seem to be happening very much in our ward. I have not seen a street cleaner for months and I have regular correspondence with the officer concerned who says “the data says we are doing well”.
I beg to differ data is only as good as the person inputting it. Our eyes on the ground tell us a very different story. If you get your street cleaned in Beddington North every fortnight do let me know. firstname.lastname@example.org or 07588 661522.
I also should inform residents that at the last Environment and Neighbourhood Committee a strategy was passed by the Committee on Parks and Open Spaces. There will now be a charge on charities and voluntary groups to use the parks for events. These groups may be eligible for a neighbourhood grant to stage these events.
I asked for this to be removed from the strategy but to no avail. I even suggested that as it was around Christmas time did the Council want to be known as Scrooge – obviously what with this and the parking strategy they do.
If I have read the policy correctly Friends of Parks will be exempt from these charges. So, it doesn’t seem to matter that a voluntary organisation who helps clean up a park twice a year still has to become involved in seeking a grant to cover the cost of being charged for the park for a charity event – absolute madness in my opinion especially as the majority of money stays within the Borough helping charities who receive little or no help from the Council.
The answer is always the same “we have no money” but they can find it when they want to. Like when senior Liberal Democrats object to the building of a school at Rosehill and, as a result an unbudgeted £1.2 million is needed for school places in 2020……and probably more for 2021!
Tim, Nick and I will keep battling away on your behalf and keep you informed of any developments which will affect you.
And don’t forget, Beddington North Neighbourhood Forum is on Monday 27th at Cricket for Change on Plough Lane 7.00 – 8.30 pm
Happy New Year to everyone.