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  • Writer's pictureDavid Taylor

Roundup - Febuary '23

February was a month of calculator politics, a month where I put on my thinking cap and poured over the latest budget proposals. With the Council due to vote on council tax rises on March 1st, there was a lot to go over.

 

Scrutiny Meetings


On Feb 1st I attended an Overview and Scrutiny Meeting regarding the new waste disposal contract. Councillors were shown that the new waste collection company has no depot of it's own. This means the council will have to borrow £4million to build one for them.


This seems outrageous however, as we were shown, this still made the new contractor cheaper than the alternative.


February 7th was a long night. This is where we scrutinised the budget proposal. I took a day off, from my day job, to pour over the documents and I put together around 40 questions on it. Certain items concerned me, such as £30k for fountain in a cemetery.


Given the amount we had to go through, I asked the Chair to arrange an earlier starting time of 7pm instead of 7:30pm. The meeting is time limited and we can only extend it through a vote. I wanted us to have time to extend the meeting and still be able to get home at a decent time. Not everyone drives.


Romford's only Labour Councillor made a fuss about this, on her social media, despite not being due at the meeting. Her claim was that, by asking for an earlier meet, I had shown a lack of sensitivity and was disadvantaging other members.


The meeting had full attendance. You can read my report on the meeting, by clicking the button below.

 

Fighting ULEZ

Ahead of the budget meeting, on March 1st, I began arranging a protest outside Havering Town Hall.


Conservatives submitted a budget amendment that would fund Havering joining legal action against ULEZ expansion. This was done by reducing the number of high-paid managers in the Council as well as reducing councillor's allowances.


We were successful in getting around 250 residents to Havering Town Hall. But, Labour and the RA voted against our motion and Havering has now given up fighting ULEZ expansion.


View my ULEZ speech by clicking the button below.


 

Autism Hub Visit

I was honoured to be invited to meet with residents at Romford's Sycamore Trust.


The trust runs an Autism Hub in the Liberty Mall, next to Time F.M. They host a regular group of residents who meet to discuss Havering's autism provisions, to share in what they are doing to raise awareness of issues that impact autistic residents, and to speak to leaders in the community.


I shared about my role as a Councillor and listened to feedback about what can be done to improve our town-centre. The group shared about how they often feel unsafe due to low levels of lighting.


Friday 31st March marks the launch of Autism Acceptance Week.


The Sycamore Trust will be marking this with their Dare to Be Different campaign.


Please take time to read about their campaign and to support them where you can.


 

Ward Walks

I arranged for Councillor Barry Mugglestone, Cabinet Member, to walk the town centre with myself and other local Councillors.


We highlighted the need to keep the subways clean and clear, the lack of lighting in certain areas, and the general neglect that Romford Town Centre has seen.


I was particularly keen to highlight casework that I had reported, which hasn't been addressed, such as the loose paving near the London Road subway.


Cllr Mugglestone did a great job of taking note and has since worked with local directors and officers to start improving things. I've asked if the community can take the lead in two areas, beautifying Como Street Car Parking and planting up one of the St Edward's roundabouts.



Let's paint this fence!

 

No Job To Small

My focus on work such as this neglected fence has upset Romford's Labour Councillor, who took to social media to mock me for focusing on trivial issues.


I think that the role of a Councillor is to care, whatever the size of the problem. I've worked with helping people find emergency housing, campaigned against ULEZ expansion, and things as small as having a tree trimmed.


All of these matter to local residents, who fill my inbox with issues that matter to them.


If you have something you'd like me to take up for you, please get in touch.




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