Roundup: July 2023
I'm a little late publishing this, mostly because the first week of August has proved to be so busy. July was also a busy month and the first in which I chaired a Committee in my new position as Chairman for Places.
The new role is an exciting one and I've previously outlined how I plan to use the role to increase transparency.
Throughout July, I have been focusing on the Town Centre of Romford and the high street. This has included a high-profile campaign around the sale of our car parks, as well as spending time with some of the new enforcement and security teams in the centre. I was also honoured to be invited on the judges tour for Britain in Bloom.
Romford has made it through to the finals of Britain in Bloom, representing London in the BID (Business Improvement District) category. A BID is an entity, separate from the council, funded by local businesses to improve the high-street. In Romford, our BID does brilliant work at organising events in the market square and in sprucing up the place with new planters.
I wish the Romford BID team the best of luck at Britain in Bloom finals!
Romford is, and can continue to be on the up. But, it'll only be so if every councillor and resident plays their role. This looks like taking our litter home, championing small businesses, ensuring we report fly-tipping and graffiti, and certainly with politicians being present.
I'm out walking in my ward on an almost daily basis. If you live in St Edward's, and you want me to go check out something, please flag it with me.
I've put my pick of local events below. We're privileged to have some great events here in Romford, do check them out!
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, reach out.
Councillor David Taylor
New Littering Enforcement
We had some drama around this new team, didn't we? Even The Sun newspaper was concerned about how an elderly resident was fined.
Whilst many politicians wrote angry Facebook posts, I decided to go meet the team and to raise my concerns directly. I was joined by Cllr Nisha Patel and Cllr Barry Mugglestone (HRA, Cabinet Member).
The team work for National Enforcement Solutions and are hired by the council to enforce against littering. The team don't cost the council a penny, as they are funded by the fines they issue. The council gets a cut and the team also lock the parks at night, saving the council around £100k a year.
I had concerns that the team don't always appear to have bodycams, could be over enthusiastic, and don't use discretion. I've been assured that bodycams should be worn when issuing fines. The team also informed me that a majority of the fines go to those aged 18-59, not the elderly, as is believed.
The team is still bedding in and I'll keep an open channel of communication with them. I think they are, in principle, a good addition to the town. We want to keep the place tidy and littering is too widespread. "The bins are full" is not a good enough excuse for dropping your fag-ends or litter.
I'll be using my position as Chairman of Places Committee to get an update on their performance in a few months time.
Times Radio Interview
I was privileged to be invited onto Times Radio, to talk about how I publish my payslip in full.
Whilst this isn't ward councillor work, I'm proud to be the only UK politician to show this information and I will continue to show this transparency throughout my term.
You can watch the interview by clicking the video on the right
Car Parks Will Be Sold
The Council rejected my petition, calling for a new consultation on the sale of Romford's car parks.
I was informed that the consultation was in-line with legal requirements, despite the fact no-one seems to have known about it.
The Labour / RA cabinet have agreed the sale of both Angel Way and Como St car parks. Slaney Way remains 'under consideration'.
I'll continue to keep you updated on this issue and to campaign. The closure of these car parks means, almost certainly, that there will be developments on both Angel Way and Como St. We must ensure that whatever is built is suitable.
The Places Committee
I chaired my first Places Committee in July. We received a report on the tree-pruning programme and the cost of ULEZ to Havering.
Council Officers informed us that there was a gap in contracts and planning, with regards to the tree pruning, that has meant they fell behind on some areas. We've been assured that a new set of contracts are on the way. The committee has asked to see the full tree-planting programme when it is produced.
We were also informed that Havering Council is expecting to pay around £88k a year in fines, for ULEZ. This is because their vehicles are not deemed 'compliant'. It will cost over £2m to replace the fleet up to the exempt standard.
You can read more about the committee on the link below.
Chelsea Pensioners Visit Romford
The Chelsea Pensioners visited Romford Bowls Club, to mark the club's 125th anniversary.
I was honoured to join the club for a fantastic afternoon of bowls and a celebratory dinner. The club provides a brilliant sports and social environment for the local community and I'm proud to be a member there.
If you'd like to give the game a try, or just want to be a social member and enjoy their fantastic events, check out their website.
What's On In Romford
We live in a fantastic town with a lot going on, so here's a few highlights
School of Rock - Brookside Theatre (2nd November - 5th November) TICKETS ON SALE NOW
Based on the 2003 film of the same name, SCHOOL OF ROCK the Musical follows Dewey Finn, a failed wannabe rock star who transforms a group of prestigious prep school kids into a mind-blowing rock band.
Romford Football Club
Our team don't have their own ground, yet. But, that isn't stopping them from winning every game this season! You can see them in action at Mayesbrook Park in Dagenham.
Their next matches are:
- Wednesday 16th August, 7:45PM vs Barking FC
- Saturday 19th August, 3PM, vs Welwyn Garden City
Premiere Cinemas - Prices Slashed
You can now go and see the latest blockbusters for just £3.50 at Romford's Premiere Cinema. Currently screening is;
- Gran Turismo
- Ninja Turtles
I went to watch Oppenheimer there. I've not yet brought myself to go see the Barbie movie.