Roundup - May 2023
This is going to be a summer we all remember. We had a very British coronation as it absolutely chucked it down on the day itself. Which was followed by a scorching summer Sunday.
I loved seeing Romford come alive. The miniature railway was packed, residents had organised street parties, and there was a brilliant concert in Raphael's park. I was proud to see Romford celebrate this way and it acts as a great reminder that we're a fantastic community.
We're rapidly approaching summer and it's not just the weather that's heating up. As well as my work as a ward councillor, I've been fighting two causes for the whole of Romford and Havering. Havering council is still facing the threat of ULEZ and I've been on a campaign to uncover more about the stealth-tax. I've shown the hidden costs, meaning everyone will pay, and I've uncovered more about our Council's 'fight'.
I've also been fighting the scandal around our resident parking permits. These were doubled in price by the HRA and Labour administration. They tried to pin the blame on council staff however, I showed that it was the politician's error and we manged to force a u-turn. My colleagues and I, by relentlessly campaigning on this, have saved residents £250k a year.
May marks my first year as a Councillor and I'm immensely grateful to everyone who has supported my. My special thanks goes out to the council staff, who take a lot of flack but who have been nothing but fantastic.
As promised, I've just published feedback from residents, so you can see how people are rating my performance and the feedback they are giving.
Here's to three more years!
Councillor David Taylor | St Edward's Ward
God Save The King!
Who will ever forget watching the moment when Charles was crowned King? I'm not one to run around wearing union-flag underpants, but even I was excited to watch it. Far from being excited by the pomp, what stood out to me was the focus on servanthood. I found it moving to watch the King be presented with a Bible, to be told that "this is the law of Kings" and to watch him take off his robes and kneel. It shows the strength of our constitutional monarchy. We've a system where the King serves the people. Politicians should do well to remember this and to also humble ourselves in front of the nation.
I've 'called in' a planning application for a proposed property on Cedar Rd / Hainult Rd.
The plans were to put a bungalow into someone's back garden. I feel that it makes the area too cramped and it'll also result in the removal of some mature trees. This will reduce people's privacy and I don't think the future residents of the home will have a good standard of living. I've also asked planning enforcement to update me on The Verve apartments. Back in November, the Strategic Planning committee approved an application there. The approval contains conditions and I am concerned that these have not been met. I also visited the Havering Islamic Centre, who have outgrown their site and are calling on the council to provide them a more suitable location. The Council are due to compulsory purchase the current site and the centre believe the proposed alternative isn't suitable. The proposal is for a, yet identified, town centre location.
Parking Permits - Reversed!
Havering council hiked the price of parking permits, some by more than 100%. Residents were not given advance notice of this and many had the money taken straight from their bank accounts. This made me furious and this rise was not what was proposed in the budget we were given to scrutinise. After a month of campaigning, I revealed that Labour and the HRA knew about the price rise the whole time - despite them trying to blame council staff. Following this revelation, the council did a u-turn and the price hike was reversed. Residents who have already paid at the higher price should get a refund. You can read the Recorder's coverage of the scandal.
Fly Tipping and Littering
Romford continues to attract fly-tipping and littering. The Como St car park seems to be a favourite spot. I walked the HRA Cabinet Member around the ward and highlighted this. There's a camera watching the car park so, I've asked that this be checked to ensure it's working. I have also highlighted Angel Way as an issue, especially behind the car park and by the building site. This is a regular dumping spot. Following my concerns about littering in the area, I met with the council officer for a briefing on how streets are prioritised. The council are looking at a new contractor and I'm hoping to feed into the prioritisation of certain streets. Different roads are inspected and cleaned at differing intervals. Some are done multiple times a day and some are left a few days. Much of my ward is close to the town centre and we get a lot of people passing through the ward. They drop a lot of litter. I feel the council are generally aware of the problem and working to tackle it. New enforcement officers will be patrolling the town centre.
I have been relentless in leading the fight against ULEZ.
I'm not against cleaning up our air but, I don't think ULEZ is the way to do it. It'll cost too much and hurt too many.
Following an investigation, I have uncovered how everyone will be forced to pay for ULEZ, regardless of whether they have a compliant car or not. ULEZ will force up council tax!
I've also received evidence that our HRA councillors softened their opposition to ULEZ, in order to keep Labour happy. Emails show Labour told the HRA they "want ULEZ delayed" and then asked the HRA to be less strident in their opposition.
Residents don't want ULEZ delayed, they want it stopped. This is why, when I presented the alternative budget, Conservatives proposed a fully costed fund of £300k to join the legal challenge and to support residents.
You can read my two investigations below.
Romford Film Festival starts today. This festival is a hidden gem and is something for our town to be really proud of. 160 films will be shown over the next week, day passes are just £15 and can be purchased online at Festival Line Up (romfordfilmfestival.com)
I was in Parliament recently, for the launch of the Bloom Review. This review looked at how Government engages with local faith groups. I'm working to esthablish how Havering can do more to support faith communities in the borough.
This evening, Wednesday 24th, Havering Council will meet to elect our next Mayor and Leader.
It's widely expected that Labour will continue to prop up the HRA, by voting for Cllr Ray Morgon as leader. HRA Councillor Stephanie Nunn is expected to replace Labour Councillor Trevor McKeever as Mayor.
My sincere thanks to Trevor for this term as Mayor. Trevor has worked brilliantly to raise funds for his chosen charity and I believe he has been a good Mayor in the chamber. Trevor is a brilliant ward Councillor and a real credit to Havering.
I wish Stephanie all the best as she takes over the role of keeping the chamber in check!
You can watch this evening's proceedings on the link below.