The Frustrations Of Being A Minority In Council

A week in the life of a local councillor in Chiswick



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Cllr Sam Hearn who represents the Riverside ward in Chiswick, is chairman of the Chiswick Area Forum. He has written this account of his week as a busy local councillor

Saturday 20th February: Canvassing along Thames Road and can see at first hand the rolling traffic snarl up caused by TfL’s closure of Chiswick Bridge. Mrs Hearn drags me Into London to see Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Musicals are not really my thing but Robert Lindsay is astonishing.

Sunday 21st February: A meeting with a couple of colleagues to discuss the 2015/16 Council Budget proposals. John Todd has covered a huge amount of ground with his research and Paul Lynch has an interesting proposal for Loraine Road.

Monday 22nd February: An interesting Group meeting at which we pull together the various strands of our amendments to the Council Budget. The aim remains to be a constructive opposition but to be honest it takes a real effort to fight off the ennui that derives from being only eleven out of sixty councillors.

Tuesday 23rd February: At the Borough Council meeting for the annual budget setting meeting. It is the first budget for the new administration. Most of the detail has already been covered in numerous meetings over the last few months. As agreed, my Group brings forward a few useful suggestions but as expected the ruling group vote down all our amendments. Last year they accepted our amendment to spend an additional £1m on street cleaning but this year the waters seemed poisoned from the start. The Deputy Leader opened the debate with the dramatic tactic of trying to have all our amendments ruled ‘ultra vires’. He failed.

Wednesday 24th February: At Chiswick Pier for a management meeting of the Chiswick Pier Trust. It is a pleasure to be with trustees who take their responsibilities so seriously and bring such a wide range of skills and experience to bear on the matters under discussion.

Thursday 25th February: Decided to go into the Civic Centre to see what the Planning Committee made of two applications referred to it by the Chiswick Area Forum. When I arrived I found the car park full and the meeting room packed. The Planning Committee was supposed to be considering a planning application to change the use of 88 Hibernia Road and regularise its use as a community centre and a place of worship (a Mosque). The item was deferred.

Friday 26th February: Preparing for the AGM of the Local Conservative Association.

February 27th, 2015

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