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Ealing and Northfield Northfield Ward Forum

Northfield Ward Forum

We had the second Northfield ward forum on Tuesday. Northfield is trailblazing for the Borough – I will come back to this later.

We had 22 attendees – 12 representatives of residents’ associations (Boston Manor, EFRA, NABTA, OEN, North Road/South Road, Ealing Civic Society, Kingsdown) and Streetwatchers plus six council officers and our SNT sergeant, Cliff Elam. All three councillors were there. Last time, see previous posting, we had representatives from a couple of the churches. I have been asked if the public can come to this session. We are starting off with residents’ association reps and Streetwatchers but it will be open to the public soon I guess.

We kicked off by presenting Northfield Avenue’s elite street sweeper, Nadia, with some flowers and our thanks for her excellent work.

We spent some time talking about planning. Dick Johns from the Council talked about the Local Development Framework. This is the piece of work that will allow to have more control of planning at the local level in the future. This is currently being consulted on and the public can get involved between now and 19th October. Follow this link for more information.

In the short term there was a lot of concern about applications for more takeaways around Northfield station. Cllr Mark Reen has taken a lead on this issue. Another local issue is the language school and hostel that has sprung up without a change of use opposite the station. Add to that Charlie’s which has applied to sell booze until 2pm.

Sgt Elam reassured us that Northfield is the safest ward in Ealing.

The group found the meeting useful and we committed to repeating it on a quarterly basis.

The Neighbourhood Governance Specialist Scrutiny Panel, follow link, has been looking at area committees and the idea of setting up ward forums across the Borough, maybe even with their own budgets. The Cabinet is due to provide its response to this on 16th October and we should see a new regime in place in the next municipal year, starting next May. It is likely that all wards will be following in Northfield’s footsteps.

3 replies on “Northfield Ward Forum”

Yes a very useful meeting.

However, so that WEN is not ‘airbrushed’ out of history, WEN was also represented at this meeting.

Also you took me to task in June when I suggested that the ‘informal’ Northfield Ward Forum was a trailblazer for formal Ward Forums to come and matched what the Neighbourhood Scrutiny Panel was propossing. It’s good to read that you now admit in print that this is indeed likely to be the case.

Councillor Popham strongly hinted last night though that the putative ‘Super’ Area Committees (so called North, South, East and West) might be dropped. This is kinda worrying when one is dealing with problems which straddle multiple Wards. Also your comment that the formal Ward Forums may not have any delegated budget is a tad worrying. One can hardly view this as effective, fine grain democracy if the forums aren’t given any pocket money.

For another view on proceedings on Tuesday evening, have a look at the WEN report of it on the WEN site.

Eric,

Sorry not to mention WEN – no airbrushing intended.

I am not sure I admitted to anything. The forum started off as an experiment that the councillors in Northfield thought would be a good way of getting in touch with local bodies and not part of a “plan”. It was coicidence that this happended alongside the ruminations of the Neighbourhood Governance panel.

Most councillors recognise that the most popular and effective area committee is Perivale which only covers one ward. Therefore the Neighbourhood Governance Panel’s proposal to have ward forums is pretty acceptable to most councillors and is likely to be pushed forward.

Eric’s report is good, if a little peppery in places. Follow this link. In his report Eric says that in response to the Arcadia development I said that I “was not allowed to answer the question” because I was on the planning committee. This is inaccurate or at least more complicated than Eric suggests. You have what is called a quasi-judicial role on planning. This means that you need to consider all the facts and not rush to judgement. Therefore it is best to not talk about specific planning applications outside the process. That is why councillors on planning committee don’t tend to talk about things and ones that do want to take themselves off planning for that application. If we get this wrong then the council can pick up big legal bills when developers appeal.

Perhaps its time for EALING, once the first municipal borough, to reawaken and show the others the way too, by eliminating appeals as a condition of applying for planning permission.
The benefits would be huge as developers would have to present realistic plans acceptable to local communites, whether its in somebodies backgarden or a forty story block of flats.
Theres no doubt that theres increasing disquiet throughout the borough, Acton, Ealing, Hanwell, Greenford, Southall, Northolt, Perivale and a feeling that planning on every level is failing.
When permission is granted there should be continual policing to ensure that builders are conforming to local standards with regard to blending into the style of a road or area. Look at the mish-mash at the corner of Midhurst and Salisbury Roads and is this being included in crime statistics?

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