Common Sense Wins Over Lawyers In Parking Palaver
A week in the life of a local councillor as told by Sam Hearn
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
Friday 30th October: Chaspal Sandhu the Clerk to the Area Forum calls to run through late changes to the agenda of the Forum and the requests from members of the public to speak. Ata Rahman of Hounslow Highways has very efficiently summarised in an email the actions from the ‘Wardabout’ and promised a list of investigation outcomes and completed actions within 28 days. Network Rail will be contacted about improving the lighting on the pedestrian railway bridge between Deans Close and Herbert gardens.
Saturday 31st October: It seems that LBH was after all legally entitled to fine people illegally parked in the Chiswick House Car Park. The original advice that LBH’s contractor could not legally issue PCNs in the car park was just plain wrong. LBH will not be seeking to recover the fines that it has already refunded. The advice that the Data Protection Act prevented LBH from proactively tracing the identities of those who had paid fines also turns out to be wrong. Common Sense 2 - Lawyers 0.
Sunday 1st November: Trying to work out how to bring in the Area Forum on Tuesday in under two and a half hours. A 10.00 pm finish would be great. In theory that would leave time for a pint. It is clear that there will be speakers from the ‘Floor’ on most of the topics.
Monday 2nd November: The single planning application called in to the Area Forum generates a flurry of emails. Is this a test case for which items can now be referred to a ward forum? Unfortunately no one knows exactly how such a forum should be established nor how it should operate. There are apparently examples in a couple of the Ealing Council wards.
Tuesday 3rd October: A late afternoon meeting at the Civic Centre with my fellow Riverside Councillors Barwood and Lynch and Officers to go through the analysis of the results of the Riverside CPZ consultation. Then back to Chiswick Town Hall in order to chair a meeting of the Area Forum. We agree to take the called in planning application as our first item. The application raises some issues of principle and councillors are eventually content to refer it on to the Planning Committee. The hot topics under discussion range from wheelie bins, to libraries and parks and fly tipping in Dukes Meadow – not forgetting cyclists in Barnes Passage. We finish at 10.30 pm. Bloodied but unbowed.
Wednesday 4th November: My day is enlivened by an extended email correspondence about what was decided on Dukes Meadow and what should have been minuted from the previous meeting. I agree with Officers that my ‘spot’ at the LBH Pension Fund AGM on the 16th November as Chair of the Pensions Board will be low key. It is still early days for the Board and there is little of substance to report.
Thursday 5th November : I spend part of the evening looking at the meeting papers for the Housing and Environment Scrutiny Panel next Tuesday. The agenda includes a discussion of the Domestic Violence Task and Finish Group. Interesting that Inspector Edwards now mentions domestic violence in his police update to the Chiswick Area Forum. Then I turn to the budget monitoring spreadsheets for Strand on the Green Junior School these are to be discussed at tomorrow’s Pay and Finance Committee. Which way round are these brackets supposed to be?
November 6, 2015