Please accept my apologies for the long overdue blog. Firstly, thanks go to all our Independent supporters in Beddington who voted Nick, Tim and I back in to serve as your Ward Councillors for the next four years. As our motto says “Residents first, always” and we will adhere to this to the letter.
It has been a very disappointing start to the Council year. As most of you will know the Liberal Democrats have managed to maintain control of the Council by the skin of their teeth with a tiny majority of 3,
At Council meetings, this becomes a majority of 2 because the Mayor only has a casting vote and routinely abstains.
However, with the collusion of Officers, they have sought to marginalise both Independent Councillors and the three newly elected Labour Councillors. In the 2018-2022, through proportional representation, we Independent Councillors were represented on every standing Committee.
What the ruling Group have done is to claim a two-seat majority on every standing Committee and share our positions on Standing Committees between ourselves and Labour
So, as it stands, I have no opportunity to speak out for you, dear resident, because I am allocated a seat on Licensing and Scrutiny neither of which have much to do with residents’ problems.
To say I am angry about this is an understatement. It will be of no surprise to those of you who follow local politics that the Liberal Democrats rejected the two proposals, one from the Conservatives and one from Labour backed up by the Independents to extend the membership of some of the Committees which would enable true democratic representation.
We accept that the Liberal Democrats should have a majority on each Committee but the Conservative proposal offered a majority of one on each Committee but with representation by Labour and Independent and involvement in every debate – that is what the residents of the North East of the Borough voted for.
As usual they quote the Constitution. This increasingly worthless document was written when they had a huge majority in a two party Council – there is now representation by four distinct groups and we have asked the Monitoring Officer to recognise that but there is little interest in change.
Democracy in Sutton died the night of 5 May 2022.
We will fight on – challenging where we can and holding the administration to account for some of the dreadful statements they make publicly.
In their manifesto which only few will have seen, they say to make walking and cycling easier they are going to look at restricting HGV’s in residential areas. Wonder how that works as for 60 months or more the High View Estate is going to be inundated with heavy goods lorries and an 80ft crane being manoeuvred round roads that are narrow and were built nearly 100 years ago.
Councillor Dombey, Leader of the Liberal Democrats actually admitted to residents who were in attendance at a meeting in 2017 that access to the Sheen Way playing fields would be very difficult.
And as if to reinforce these contradictions, planning permission has been granted for Social Housing on Beddington Lan when the promised HGV ban in Beddington Village looks unlikely to happen any time soon.
Funnily enough, at that same Planning Committee, the 6 Liberal Democrat members voted for an increased volume of pollution by supporting Viridor’s application for a new diesel tank which will free off existing storage for a high sulphur content fuel for the incinerator. Invest in the Cancer Hub in Belmont and cause Cancer in Hackbridge and Beddington!
That is all I have to tell you at the moment but as Colombo says “just one more thing”.
At some time in the near future the Local Plan is up for review. I implore you all to keep an eye out for this and any consultations that may come up.
If the residents of the High View Estate had known earlier about the proposals in the Local Plan and been consulted regarding the destruction of the beautiful Sheen Way Playing Field we might have been able to fight it a lot earlier.
The Liberal Democrats say they want to keep green spaces so be prepared to put up resistance if they want to take yours – just look what they are destroying on Sheen Way