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Ealing and Northfield

Loaded question

The answers to written questions tabled at the last council meeting last Tuesday have just been published.

At council meetings only 7 questions are taken orally by the cabinet. If there are any further questions then members, ie councillors, are allowed to ask as many written questions as they like. These questions are often used, quite rightly, by opposition councillors to probe the administration and to pursue issues on behalf of their wards. With a by-election looming in Cleveland the LibDems are using questions to try to find issues to raise. In fact of ten written questions tabled all were asked by the tiny 3-man LibDem group.

This time round they haven’t found any smoking guns. Not surprising really as their leader, Harvey Rose, has pretty much been reduced to acknowledging that the Tory run council is doing a good job at the last couple of council meetings.

But, with this question to Will Brooks, Cabinet Member for Environment and Street Services, Councillor Ball is in danger of attempting to misuse public resources to sustain the LibDem election campaign:

When will the street lighting be replaced in the following Ealing roads: High View, Rosemount, Rutland Gardens, Kingsley Avenue, Cavendish Avenue and Royle Crescent?

All becomes clear in Will Brooks’ answer:

Rutland Road is currently included as part of the Year 3 lamp column replacement programme that commences in September 2007 and will be completed by August 2008. Unfortunately at this stage I cannot be more precise with the exact date when the lamp columns will be replaced on this road.

The rest of the roads listed currently contain heritage lighting. Following representations from a number of residents the Council is currently looking as to whether this heritage lighting can be retained or replaced with new heritage style lighting. A final decision will be made in due course.

Whatever the outcome, the renewal of these lamp columns will take place between August 2008 and September 2009.

Finally, I note all the roads listed are in Cleveland Ward. Considering there are no Liberal Democrat Councillors in this ward, I am puzzled why Councillor Ball would target these roads and not some in similar ones own ward of Ealing Common. I am sure Councillor Ball would not use Council officer’s time and money for political purposes!

Verdict: Must try harder.