Last night saw the Ealing Area Committee move into the council chamber. We had another full agenda with a talk from the Borough Commander followed by seven further items. The meeting was chaired to good effect by Councillor Millican so we got out by 9.30pm which was something of a triumph. Contributions from the public were numerous and useful but mercifully short so nobody won the windbag of the evening award, not even the inestimable Arthur Breens.
Under the public forum heading we discussed the issue of how the street lighting PFI is putting utilitarian “hockey stick” lamp posts into many areas that don’t want them. Keith Townsend, the Executive Director for Customer Services, reported that it would cost Â£2.4 million to put heritage style lamp posts in everywhere. The old Labour administration decided to cut corners in this area and it is hard to see where this money would come from if the new administration was going to change course on this.
Commander Paul introduced Ian Daniels, who is the Area Inspector for Ealing, and also in charge of licensing. The Safer Neighbourhood Teams report to Ian. The six SNT sergeants also stood up and introduced themselves. Paul reported that we are on track to get teams of at least six by the end of December in Ealing. An extra 18 PCSOs are due next May/June to tackle transport problems. In addition three wards with populations over 14,000 will get an extra 3 PCSOs each next June, Cleveland, Hangar Hill and East Acton.
She reported that overall crime was down 17% in Northfield. 6 graffiti vandals have been dealt with and 50 foreign registered cars taken off the streets.
Paul clarified the position with Ealing Police Station. She is looking for premises near the Town Hall with a bigger and better front office. This does not change the fact that Ealing Police Station will not be the home of response teams – they will be based in Southall and Acton as they have been since December.
The Commander made a badly judged crack about commuter parking in Ealing: “This borough is a car park”. She feels that car crime would be reduced if there were more CPZs and hence less commuter parking. Most people in the borough don’t want CPZs and it is easy to ridicule this statement by suggesting that we ban cars altogether to eliminate car crime completely. It is the job of the police to catch criminals not to tell us how to live our lives.
The bulk of the meeting covered various local schemes in the Ealing area. Due to the ridiculous rules around conflicts of interest councillors had to keep leaving when wards where they lived were discussed. It might be reasonable to deny councillors the right to speak on issues effecting their homes but to send them out of the room so that they cannot hear the debate is a joke. Thank you Standards Board for England.
The item that took up the most time was the Mattock Lane CPZ. As I live in the area I had to leave the room and cannot tell you what happened!