The councillors and residents’ association representatives who attended last night’s Ealing Area Committee had to endure a three hour meeting last night. Whilst these sessions are very useful – we discussed everything from street lights, through bus lanes to cycle schemes, we just had too much ground to cover. There were 11 papers to discuss after we had spent the best part of an hour covering three issues raised by members of the public. The Town Hall’s Nelson Room added to the burden on the participants as sounds from the street come straight through the windows.
The star of the show was definitely a bus driver called Alvarez who wanted to raise the lack of enforcement of parking restrictions which get in the way of his doing his job. There was some feeling that the council’s parking function is quick to ticket somebody overstaying in a parking bay but people who clutter main roads at busy times, such as minicab drivers, are largely unmolested. A number of times during the evening Mr Alvarez was consulted on bus related issues and the Committee welcomed having an expert in attendance for once. Keith Townsend, the relevant executive director, went away with some things to think about.
The issue that caused the most resonance was our discussion of the EDF street lighting PFI. This is grinding slowly along. The previous Labour council decided to try to save money by limiting the number of “heritage” lampposts that would be used. Many Edwardian streets are going to be disfigured by tubular “hockey stick” lampposts that will be out of character. One lady present reported that our lamposts were being sold by EDF to Camden for refurbishment and re-use. I understand that the previous administration decided to reduce the overall cost of the PFI by £2 million over its lifetime by this decision. This is definitely something that the Conservative group need to re-assess now it is in power.
Julian Edmonds of the Central Ealing Resident’s Association got my wind bag of the evening award. He is never shy of using 10 words where one will suffice.