August started with a council meeting on the Wennington Fires. The People Committee joined with the Places Committee (the one I chair) and we heard from fire staff and council staff about the aftermath and the rebuilding.
Havering's Labour and Resident's Association cabinet met to vote on the sale of a number of car parks, despite our petition, and we also held an extraordinary meeting to debate ULEZ and Pay Per Mile.
It's been a month with a good amount of casework and my colleagues and I have had a number of meetings with residents and community groups. We've also held meetings with various council officers, including one to look at the upcoming app-only parking fiasco.
Cllr Nisha Patel and I also met up with the new Town Centre Security Team, hired in by Romford BID.
I'm always telling people that I'm proud of living in Romford and that I have hope for our town, so I'm always on the lookout for great events, groups, and people to highlight.
Romford's own Johnny Fisher, AKA the Romford Bull, made our town proud last month by winning the Southern Area Heavyweight Title in boxing. Fisher is a local guy and one to watch in the boxing scene. He's gaining notoriety around the world, along with his dad 'BigJohn' and their love of Romford's Blue Orchid Chinese restaurant.
You may not be into boxing, but it's great to have our town represented at high levels in the sport. They are putting Romford on the map.
I've been running my Summer Survey over the last month and will start pulling the data together for a report, which I'll publish. I want to know what makes people proud of Romford.
Let's start talking positive about our town!
You can find my survey at www.davidtaylor.online/summersurvey
As always, if you have any questions or concerns or if you want to flag something that makes you proud of Romford, let me know.
App Only Parking
Havering Council have decided to move a majority of the on-street parking to app-only. This means the removal of ticket machines that allow you to pay be cash or card.
The justification for this is cost. The machines are expensive to run and the spaces are, apparently, rarely used.
I joined Cllrs Keith Prince and Viddy Persaud at a meeting in the Town Hall. We challenged the cabinet member on the plans and sough assurances that residents without a smartphone, or not wanting to, would be supported.
We were told that the plan is those residents will have to walk to a nearby shop to purchase parking, which I think will make it harder for the elderly and may see them get a ticket whilst they are stood in line waiting to be served.
We also flagged the inefficient appeals process. I recently got an incorrectly issued ticket and, on appeal, was told I'll get a reply within 50+ days. That's far too long.
As the council rolls this app-only parking out, I'll be closely monitoring to ensure that my residents are not discriminated against for wanting to use cash or not having a smart phone.
I flagged cashlessness as an issue last September and am disappointed that it's not taken more seriously.
Read my September 22 speech on the link below.
New Security Team
Romford BID, funded by local business (not the council) have hired a private security firm to increase shop security in the town centre.
My Local Bobby provide two, experienced and licenced security staff who patrol the town centre and are on call for emergencies. They help protect smaller stores who can't afford their own security.
Cllr Nisha Patel and I joined the team and their regional manager to find out more about what they do.
Since being active in the town, the team have already apprehended a prolific group of shoplifters. They have a 100% prosecution rate and that gives small businesses confidence.
The team operate under legal powers that allow them to detain anyone suspected of a crime. Give them a wave if you see them in town.
ULEZ may be here but this doesn't mean the council should roll over and stop fighting for residents. This is why I, and my colleagues, called for an extraordinary meeting of the council. The Mayor decided that this should happen the day after ULEZ was implemented (Only the Mayor can pick the date).
We secured cross party agreement that the council will object to any Pay Per Mile plans that TFL may implement. The administration also promised to remove all illegal ULEZ signage across the borough.
However, just this week, the Leader (HRA) went onto Time FM to say that he doesn't think any signs all illegal. Which makes it odd he would promise that.
I'll be challenging the council to live up to their promise, by investigating the signs and taking them down if possible.
Press from Switzerland and France interviewed me on the day ULEZ was rolled out to Havering. They told me that Europe looks up to London for having the world's largest low emission zone. I told them that I'd rather London be known for excellent public transport links, low taxes, and personal freedoms!
My ULEZ speech, to the council has been watched over 7,000 times on Youtube. Watch the speech or read the transcript on the link below.
Keeping The Ward Tidy
If you know me, you know I'm annoyed by litter and fly-tipping.
It's a monthly occurrence that I am reporting fly-tipping in the Como St car park. The site is covered by a camera, so I'm amazed that the council never manage to catch anyone. I'll keep reporting and keep pushing for it to be taken seriously.
With the new Litter Enforcement Team in place for a few months, they are beginning to produce data on where they are getting the most fines. As the Chairman of the Places Committee, I've asked that we get a report on their first 3 months. I want to know who is being fined, where, and why. This follows reports that they have been enforcing in Tesco car park - Roneo Corner. I'd rather they be in the town centre during the evening.
Finally, I've been reporting more growth around the bottom of trees, that need trimming. The council had a break in contracts and so this fell behind.
If there are trees that need looking at where you live, click below to report them to Havering Council.
What's On In Romford?
Havering Interfaith Forum meet on Wednesday 13th September at 6:30. Representatives from different faith groups will be giving presentations on their faith's teachings on creation.
All are welcome, bring food to share!
Each forum is at a different location. This month's is being held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Butts Green Rd, Hornchurch.
Santa's Grotto (yes, Christmas is coming) returns to Romford Shopping Hall on December 2nd. Tickets are available now and are going fast.
Visitors can give Santa a letter, take unlimited photos and videos, and will get a gift from the big man himself.
Book your slot HERE.
That's My Doggo, Romford's very own dog show, returns to the Mercury Mall on October 7th. Entry is £2 and all funds raised go directly to local pet charities.
To find out more and to book click HERE