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Ealing and Northfield

The cowboys will be back soon

You may remember this appalling scene from South Road in Northfield ward in the summer. This photo was taken by a council officer on 15th June after I had reported this scene to Customer Services on 9th June. It took a lot of kicking and screaming from local councillors to get this site sorted out as the six day delay just to get on site might indicate.

The cowboy builder concerned, Michael Wells of South Ealing Road, has been ordered to pay £1,651 after putting up unlicensed scaffolding and leaving rubbish and debris by the side of the road. He was found guilty at Ealing Magistrates Court on Thursday, 25 November. See the council’s press release here.

Labour’s Bassam Mahfouz is quick to get in on the act and sound off in the press release:

When I heard about this case, I was appalled that any builder could have such a blatant disregard for their own safety and the safety of the public. In addition, he has used the public street to store his building materials and rubbish, which shows a lack of respect to other residents. After being fined, I’m sure he will think twice before committing similar offences again.

Great. Cllr Mahfouz will have heard about this case when the lady from the comms department rang him to check that the quote she had made up for him was to his taste. What he does not say though is that it was the council’s envirocrime team, who are very energetic and proactive and masters at getting people prosecuted for messing up our neighbourhood, who were the main movers behind this prosecution. Mahfouz also fails to mention that his administration are cutting the envirocrime team of 26 to 15, a cut of 42%.

5 replies on “The cowboys will be back soon”

I am pleased that the envirocrime team is being cut. It costs around £1.6 million to employ 42 envirocrime officers (including corporate overheads). Cleaning up after flytippers costs around £100,000 a year. From the “Value for Money” perspective Ealing Council’s Envirocrime Department is simply not viable: a “vanity service”. Let the police prosecute.

My apologies, I mis-read the number of staff in the Envirocrime Department: there are 26 not 42. I therefore estimate that the cost of the Envirocrime Department is around £1.04 million which is still a disproportionate cost compared with remedial action. There are much more important services in Ealing that are poorly-run and cash-starved. I knew of one old lady who kept missing her hospital appointments because the social worker was always too busy to help her read her post even though her eyesight was rapidly deteriorating. It seems to me that something is not right with the balance of what Ealing Council provides and what the residents of Ealing actually need.

Dear Councillor Taylor,
This blog entry gives me hope. I have seen this building site several times earlier in the year and I have to admit that I though it was the work of an over eager DIY builder. The reason why I did not take much notice of it is because I live on Ranelagh Road overlooking what is known as the Ascott Allotments with Baillies walk running between the houses and the allotments. The view out of back window fits in well with the picture above. That you have managed to get something in six days is amazing as I have ben trying to get something done about the state of the Ascott Allotments for over six years. There is still the amazing collection of sheds and storage houses built from scrap and rubbish with a very large one that could hold at least four cars just behind the allotment gate on Ranelagh Road.
Over the past six years a shoulder high chain like fence with a clear view of the allotments and lines of site between the allotments and Baillies Walk has been replaced with an over two metre tall heavy duty fence which has been rapidly overgrown with weeds and shrubbery to the full fence height making it a haven for criminals and fly-tippers. A number of walls on the backs of various garden have been illegally raised to three metres without planning permission (and in spite of protests to the Planning Enforcement Department) which creates dense dark overgrown tunnel of a walk where drug dealers operate along with providing a good escape route for muggers as they cannot be seen either from the allotments, or from further along the path as it curves. This walk is used by toddlers in prams, and infant and primary school children heavily in the morning and the evening as a child-friendly convenient route that does not carry the risks of going along the busy main road to get to the Grange School.
This has created dense tunnel-like walk whican be very scary at night.
I would like to invite you to take a night-time walk along Baillies Walk from St Mary’s Church, to the allotment entrance at Ranelagh Road (where you can see a great heap of rotting rubbish inside the gate on the hard-standing which is meant to give emergency access to ambulances, fire engines, and police cars. You can also take note of the giant garage-like shed building that stands behind this rubbish heap.
Then I would suggest walking further along Baillies Walk to Queens Annes Gardens noting the other complex constructions that you can glipse through the overgrown mess inside the allotments just inside the fence.
I would feel a lot more sympathetic to the planning enforcement officers, envirocrime offices, and park rangers f something appeared to ever be being done to regulate the Ascott Allotments, especially as there seem to be rather a lot of them (26 envirocrime officers and 20 park rangers) and the state of Ascott Allotments seems to multiply planning enforcement incursions, envirocrimes, and things that the park rangers could fix like overgrown bushes and trees by Bailies Walk by the year.
If you really adventurous you could take a random good walk along the paths between the plotswhich in this wet weather are treachorous and a health hazard.
I am sure that after this exercise you will wonder exactly what planning enforcement, the park rangers, envirocrime, and even health and safety have actually been doing with regard to a duty of care to this site and its users.
P.S. This site has over 150 plots and around 200 tenants. There are NO TOILET FACILITIES on this site. At first it was mildly amusing to watch people having a pee behind their sheds when they though that no one was looking, though now I and my family find it rather sad that octagenarians have to go in the toilet in the open air with a quick pee by the side of a shed because Ealing Council does not seem to be able of looking after this site properly.
Best regards,
Maggie.
P.s. I understand that public urination is a crime, doesn’t Ealing Council at least have some obligation to provide at least one toilet?

Dear Councillor Taylor,
Thank you for publishing my comment here. Your blog remains more editorially un-biased than the Ealing Today Forum from which I have been deleted. I guess I made one too many anti-Ealing-Council comment or something like that. But I guess that is what you get when you have an editorial operation run by an ex-BBC conformist.
Best regards,
Eugene.

Do not fret Eugene! You are in good company. When I try and log in to the Ealing Today site I now get a message telling me that I should write in (by snail mail) to the website administration to verify my address details. On ringing them I was told that the terms and conditions of the use of the website are on website and had the phone put down on me when I tried to enquire who I was actually talking to. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! You are not the first to be blacklisted for anti-Ealing Council comments, nor, I suspect, will you be the last to be so! I would suggest a new alias and one of those on-line tools that let you manage multiple identities/aliases simultaneously.
Jeff.

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