Saturday, 18 February 2017

Pigeon and Gulls in Barnhill

Cllr Sarah Marquis,Cllr Pavy and myself are complaining about ever increasing population of Pigeon and Gulls in Chalkhill especially around ASDA. We are not only one, there are lot others
A Freedom of Information request has revealed that the amount spent by local authorities on ridding streets of pigeons and gulls has more than doubled in the past three years. The two-thirds of councils in England that provided information spent £452,000 on the problem in 2013-2014, and £830,000 in 2015-2016. Methods used by councils include spikes to discourage landing, hawks, and even marksmen to shoot the birds

£10 car charge for worst polluters

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has confirmed plans to press ahead with a £10 “T-charge” for older, more polluting cars wishing to enter central London from October. Around 10m vehicles are expected to be affected by the levy, which will be imposed alongside the congestion charge Monday to Friday, 7am to 6pm. He said the move is necessary to protect people’s health, particularly children who are at increased risk of reduced lung function in adulthood if they live in highly polluted areas


Friday, 17 February 2017

Wembley Stadium planning application


                            
Please find attached here a letter in relation to the application by Tottenham Hotspur to use Wembley for their home fixtures next season.
The consultation involves approximately 41,000 properties, any comments / queries from Elected Members can be directed to Chris Heather, Principal Planning Officer – North Area Team,
chris.heather@brent.gov.uk.
The consultation period is beginning now and letters for residents are to be delivered this week.


During this period, until the application is heard, Members are advised not to accept any gifts or hospitality, such as tickets, for an events from the Stadium.

Courtesy of Brent Council


Have your say on priorities for local improvement


                                            
People who live or work in Brent are being asked to have their say on how £3 million – money collected from developers under the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) - could be spent in their area.  Please see flyer attached here.

On 13 February 2017, Brent Council’s Cabinet approved a process to manage the allocation of these funds, and following consultation, spending priorities for each local area (or CIL Neighbourhood)  will be set for the next three years.

The Consultation will be open from 15 February 2017 to 30 March 2017.
Members are being asked to encourage their constituents to take part in the consultation.

You can access the consultation via the following link:
www.brent.gov.uk/spend.
A Member development session covering CIL is also planned for 25 April 2017.

For further information please contact Nkechi Okeke-Aru, Principal Development Funds officer on:

020 8937 1824 -  nkechi.okeke-aru@brent.gov.uk.
courtesy of Brent Council

Special Meeting of Full Council 24 April 2017

.
The November Cabinet made the decision to consult on whether to bring BHP back in house. Information on the consultation can be viewed at www.brent.gov.uk/housingreview. This Council meeting will discuss the outputs from that consultation in order to that Cabinet can make a decision on 24 April.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Tree Plantation in Barnhill

Barnhill Residents Association members and Chair Mr John Wood
Tree 
Barnhill Resident Association and local councillor met Council Officers for planting 60 to 80 various type of trees in Barnhill. Barnhill Resident's chair Mr John Wood and myself have been pressing upon this nearly two years.
Roads Resurfacing
I am happy to say resurfacing of Alverstone  Road has now been completed.  I have already requested putting  Wykeham Hill and Wentworth  Hill into next year programme. Will continue pressing council.

Pocket Park at Chalkhill

Chalkhill Park Maintenance is very poor and uncleanliness cannot be described . Wrote to the Park Department. After inspection of the site I have been informed that Annual scheduled maintenance will be carried out during the month of February including removal of natural die back, thinning of root stock and replanting and replacing of dead or deceased plants. Sadly I have been informed that Spring, summer, Autumn and Winter annual Bedding plants such as Wallflowers Pansy's, Pollyanna's Germanium's Marigolds etc are no longer planted in Brent Parks and have been replaced with  Herbaceous Perennials.

Rubbish Bins

The Avenue-Rubbish Bin lying around on  footpaths and on grass verges have again been reported. Veolia will send officers to educate local residents yet again. Will come back on this.

Cllr Shafique Choudhary


Saturday, 4 February 2017

Greater funding for mental health needed

The Parliament Street think-tank has called for greater investment in mental health services after figures emerged showing police in England and Northern Ireland handled almost 240,000 incidents involving people with mental health issues during 2016. A Government spokesperson said: "We're investing £30m in providing more alternative places of safety, have more than halved the number of people detained under a mental health section in a police cell in the last year and are entirely banning the use of police stations for this purpose for under 18s."
BBC News

Labour backs council house initiative

Labour shadow housing minister John Healey has urged the Government to remove the cap on borrowing by councils in order to allow them to raise money against their existing housing stock to pay for new social housing. He estimated that the proposal could pave the way for 60,000 new council homes over five years, lowering rents and cutting housing benefit bills.
Independent i, Page: 6

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Funding cuts to prompt grammar schools to request money from parents

The Grammar School Heads Association has warned that grammar schools will soon need to ask parents for voluntary donations of between £30 and £40 each month in order to make up budget shortfalls caused by incoming changes to funding. The Government’s funding formula reforms will leave some schools better off but others will lose hundreds of thousands of pounds. Those to suffer cuts are expected to make the request of pupils’ parents in order to ensure teaching standards do not fall.
The Times   Daily Telegraph   The Guardian

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

More funding for apprenticeships in 2017

With the apprenticeship levy beginning this year, there will be more investment in apprenticeships from May 2017. Our Brent Works service already provides fantastic opportunities for local young people, and will continue to do throughout the year. See the current vacancies and encourage young people to sign up to our mailing list, so they are the first to know about upcoming opportunities.

courtesy of Brent Magazine 

Friday, 13 January 2017

Art and Literature for Children/Young peolpe/families

Brent Libraries have been successful in receiving a grant of £30K from the Arts Council in a joined up partnership bid with 12 other London Library Services and Apples and Snakes ( an Arts Bridge organisation). Brent was the lead library service and wrote the bid jointly with Apples and Snakes.

The funding will support the delivery of the SPINE Festival now in its 3rd year.  SPINE Festival is an innovative celebration of arts and literature for children, young people and families.  The ambition is for SPINE Festival to become a recognised brand with a strong emphasis on inclusion. The Festival runs annually February to March.  The funds will pay for two ‘artists in residents’ to provide workshops for children and families in Wembley Library.  

Full details of the events program will be available shortly

Weather forecast Mid January 2017

Below is official report on current weather forecast and measures taken by the Brent Officers.

Council officers check the weather forecast 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and have been doing so since the Winter Service commenced on 1 November.

With all 5 of our gritters fully serviced, more than 326 grit bins on the streets and filled with salt, and over 800 tonnes of salt in stock, the council is ready for any cold snaps.

On yesterday’s (12/1/2016) operation, all of the priority routes were treated from 10am due to a forecast of snow in the afternoon, grit bins were refilled, sweepers (with re-deployed parks staff) spread salt in town centres, outside transport hubs (train and tube), and in cemeteries where burials were taking place and also where needed and if necessary.  Full details of these can be found here.
   
Because of freezing temperatures from 22.00, gritting continued overnight.

The Borough was checked from 5.30am and the roads were in good condition - clear Tarmac showing on roads, no settling of snow from yesterday, and the gritting had stopped widespread ice formation.
   
On the latest 5 day information from our bespoke Brent forecaster, no snow is forecast but temperatures are expected to be below freezing on Friday night into Saturday and Saturday night into Sunday  and, if there is no change in the forecast, we will be gritting.
    
The gritters are loaded and ready to deal with any sudden change in the weather.








Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Annual Report – Barnhill Ward

31 December 2016


After going through more than 10,000 emails both directions, I feel it is important to let Labour Party members know in brief what have been achieved and fought for on their behalf in the Barnhill Ward during the year 2016.
Perhaps it will not wise to mention individuals names who have expressed  sincerely their gratitude and admiration the positive work being carried out which has changed  Barn hill ward  beyond recognition. This is being achieved because of hard working, unrelenting efforts and continuous push by councilor to bring the issue in the forefront in council.
Last year variety of cases and issues brought to the attention of the council such as in housing issue /repairs, housing provision for young and old, housing benefits issues, school admissions, flying tipping, rubbish collection and removal, raising issues about roads and foot paths , grass not being cut, safety, Planning . Seeking help for environment issues in the area and working with police regarding Anti Social behavior, issues with local ASDA store, planning applications so on and on. So please read this report it is for your read and digest.
Aim and Achievements,
My aim remains representing Barnhill Ward community and draw attention to the variety of issues to the Brent council and those who are involved in decision making process. Also get involved in decision making process and contribute for the good governance/ wellbeing of the area. Take part in activities and encouraged local community participation. Most importantly respond as quickly as possible to issues/enquiries and represent Brent/ Barn Hill Residents moderately, without prejudice and decisively whoever and wherever.
Chalk hill Park
Turned waste and derelict land, used to be used rubbish dumping into a park now called Chalk hill Park at Chalk hill Road. This is most visible achievement in the area. No doubt, this little beautiful park especially exercise section, has perhaps become the most popular and visited area Barnhill Ward since its opening to the public on 4 May 2013. The opening ceremony was participated and attended by many hundreds local residents. Because of non existence annual fanfare Events and importantly venue, this Park is now being used as venue for Chalk Hill Park original opening ceremony legacy under “LOVE CHALK HILL” an Event now has become annual events for Chalk hill, a wildly popular event being held on 16 May 2016 with massive success. This community day has support from Chalk hill Trust Fund as well. How nice it will be if this Event is adopted by Chalk hill Trust Fund for annual staging.
Brent "BMX" Track –First and only
Another  first and only new Park was created in the Brent with left over money from Chalk hill Park is Brent firsthand only BMX bicycle track which opened 2013also behind St.Davis Close along with football kick about ground, which is being used cycles enthusiastic.
 New Road Signs/Lighting
Numbers of old conventional roads signs have now been replaced either with new electronics or conventional signs. LED street lightings are being introduced from next year.
Employment.
Help/encourage local employers especially ASDA, to give preference when employing to local residents and youths. Brent is London Living Wages Borough which 9.40 per hrs. All local employers are asked to employ local residents. Brent has also help and encourages training courses to help improve job skills.
Traffic Management.
New Traffic management arrangement initiated with the help of the council, TFL, local Barnhill Residents association throughout the ward especially traffic on Bridge Road/Forty Avenue/Paddock. The choices by the Transport Department were 2 and represented to the local community for their views which was rejected and new Transport Department is now rethinking their options regarding traffic on Bridge Road/Forty Avenue/Forty Lane and Barnhill. Any new proposal will be reported to you.
Police Presence and Level.
Level of police presence was reduced dramatically during last few years but 2016 was worst, resulting crime of the ward started to climb up and up. Continuous pressure excreted upon authorities by the local councilors, especially Barnhill councilors and as a result police presence hopefully will go up soon. The total number of police officers will go back to 5. Definitely this will improve law and order situation in the ward positive way and towards the correct direction.
ASB
Tackling anti social behavior is key priority for Chalk Hall due to diversity of environment. In Barnhill ward with help of CCTV, police and other means, crime reductions have become our first priority this year. There were unfortunate homicides cases. Police is active in the area so we are. I have attended some meeting s organized by Prevent.  Police is fully aware of Gangs and we have discussed this SNT Safer Neighborhood meeting. My aim is to steer away youth from crime and help police curbing Anti Social Behavior
Infrastructure Repair.
Authorities in the council are fully well aware of up-to-date situation about state of affairs of all roads, footpaths and verges, in the ward. The councilors are also very keen to provide such information to the transport authorities. A named road list and footpaths need repair or resurfacing regularly being prepared annually by each councilor and send to Transport Department who then set the priority of repair Brent wise. Last year Brendon Gardens, Crossways and Barn rise were resurfaced on my initiative this year name of Alverstone road, Wentworth road and Wykeham Hill name has been forwarded besides others.
Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.
You may have read in the press that Wembley Stadium has agreed that Tottenham Hotspur football Club may use Wembley Stadium while Tottenham’s own ground is being re-developed. In 2016-17 (August 2016 to May 2017) Tottenham will play their Champion League games at Wembley and these will be classified as Events Day. I do not have to remind that originally Wembley Stadium planning allows 37 Event days each year. There are currently 26 Events day arranged for the stadium for this year. So this leave three Games fall within this year allotted figures. Next season 2017-19 Tottenham are holding all their home games at the Wembley which could total up to 28 depending Tottenham progress in the competitions. Obviously this will increase Events Days during 2017-18. I have attended few meetings with Wembley Stadium, Council Officers and Tottenham management team. The residents views and possible difficulties were conveyed to both council as well as Wembley Stadium Authority regarding Parking, ASB, Rubbish and traffic arrangements.
Others Issues.
It is pleasure to say that Local Resident Associations are now using councillors for speedy resolution of their members’ issues with council. This is so big turned around which was not considered easy task few years ago due to multi nature of the residence ship. I am glad councilors efforts have now started giving positive results.
For example  Group representing residents of  Chalk hill House,, are having problem with ASDA, regarding noise, seagulls, late or off hours work, human shouting, flood lights, I am glad to say councilors pursued  this with such a  vigor hopefully result will be good.
Problems emerged from TFL, embankment work at the jubilee line has now resolved after number of meetings with TFL and residents as well as council.
Rough sleepers, a huge problems and issues at Fryent Park have an early come under control. Police and others Agencies use their resources to get rid of this problem. Veolia picked up day after day, time and time again weekly/daily loads of rubbish and households goods after dismantling huts and sheds which used to spring up every day on various locations in the Park. Dog poisoning was handled so swiftly surprises all of us. Lewd pictures display in the Fryent Park
Cases regarding Flying tipping, encroachments,   Planning applications, non-observation of conservation areas rules and regulations, dispute between two neighbors, School admission, multiple occupation houses, repairing cars in front gardens or roads without permission, all dealt with ultimate efficiency and quickness.
Suggestons are made on request of local residents to introduce yellow lines on dangerous location to avoid parking and possible accidents.
Keep carry on Full liaison with local associations, schools and other organizations.
Keep in touch with Chalk hill Residents Associations, local residents, watershed residents forum, constantly in touched with BHRA resident association on matters concern to them and such as:
Traffic / School / School Admission/Parking at ark academy/Traffic at Neasden /Run to the beat/Burglaries/Waste/Rats and environmental issues. /Green bins collection


Cllr.Shafique a Choudhary

Monday, 18 July 2016

Community Day at Chalkhill " Love Chalkhill"

Every Body enjoyed  very hot and cloudless day in Chalk Hill Park HA9 
16-07-2016



























































Monday, 14 March 2016

Homelessness to skyrocket following benefit cap

The St Mungo’s charity warns the local housing allowance (LHA) cap will lead to widespread bed closures, triggering a massive increase in rough sleeping. It will tell an MPs’ inquiry today that proposed limits to housing benefit payments, coupled with a planned 1% reduction in social housing rents, will make most of its shelters and supported housing financially unviable, as the charity would be left with an estimated £12m annual shortfall by 2019. In a separate submission to the inquiry, Homeless Link, which represents more than 500 homelessness charities, warned that more than half of the 36,500 bed spaces for homeless people in England would be forced to close.
courtesy The Guardian, 

Thousands attend Housing Bill protest

Thousands of people have marched through central London to oppose the Government’s Housing Bill. Demonstrators claim the Bill, which requires councils to change how they charge tenants with a combined income of more than £30,000 outside of London and £40,000 in the capital, is an attack on council house tenants. A spokesman for the DCLG said: "The Housing Bill makes sure we make the best use of social housing based on need and income, while reinvesting in building new homes.”
Courtesy local paper

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Rickshaw regulations

The Guardian explores how rickshaw riders were among the main targets of new regulations proposed for London’s private hire industry this week after Boris Johnson secured a government commitment to promote legislation to enable TfL to regulate pedicabs in London. Reflecting on the news, Westminster City Council’s Melyvn Caplan comments: “The truth is that we actually have no way of knowing who is driving rickshaws in the heart of London. We need regulation to help us work out who the good guys are and who is an unscrupulous operator.”

The Guardian Online 

Pothole problem worsens

Figures published by the RAC suggest the problem of potholes on Britain’s roads is getting worse. The motoring organisation says that it was called out to 25,487 pothole-related breakdowns in 2015, a rise of 24% year on year. The figures show that drivers in the south-east experienced the sharpest increase in pothole-related callouts, at 2,686 - a rise of 62%. Meanwhile, the total of 4,547 drivers affected by potholes in East Anglia made this area the most prolific region for callouts.

The Daily Telegraph, 

Rogue landlords targeted

Funding has been provided to the housing officials of local bodies by the government to help in the battle against rogue private sector landlords, who place tenants in squalid, unhealthy, high fire-risk and overcrowded homes. The money will pay for more unannounced raids on suspect properties, step up inspections and surveys and encourage the rooting out of so-called 'beds in sheds' - landlords who illegally rent out garages, garden sheds and outbuildings.

BBC

Friday, 27 November 2015

Migration boosts Budget review

Annual net migration to Britain in June hit a record high of 336,000, according to the ONS. In total, 636,000 immigrants arrived in the year to June. The OBR indicated that population growth fuelled by migration and foreign workers' contribution to the economy was a major factor in boosting the Chancellor’s revised five-year forecast. ONS data showed 75% of new jobs in the last year went to foreigners. However, the NI number count showed the amount of registered foreigners was up by 29% on the previous year. Alp Mehmet of Migration Watch UK said: “If these numbers continue the pressure on our infrastructure will intensify.”

The Guardian

Nurseries "will struggle" to offer extra free childcare

Many nurseries in England will struggle to provide 30 hours of free pre-school childcare, despite the promise of an extra £1bn, the Pre-School Learning Alliance has said. In April 2017, the hourly rates paid by government will be raised to £4.88 per three- and four-year-old child for private, independent and voluntary providers and to £5.39 for state providers, but the Family and Childcare Trust has pointed out that 30 local authorities already pay their providers more than this.

Think tanks on welfare reforms

The Resolution Foundation and The Institute of Fiscal Studies say that under Universal Credit, 2.6m working families will be about £1,600 a year worse off than they would have been under tax credits. Individuals currently on tax credits transferred to Universal Credit will not see their cash payments drop because they will be offered transitional protections. The Treasury said it was "not legitimate" to compare the payments received by a new claimant under the Universal Credit system with the amount the same person would receive under the current system. IFS director Paul Johnson explained: "The long-term generosity of the welfare system will be cut just as much as ever intended as new claimants will receive significantly lower benefits than they would have done before the July changes.”

IFS: Council tax levy spending “impossible” to check

The Institute for Fiscal Studies warns that it would be "impossible" for the government to check if the money raised by councils hiking their council tax under new powers is being spent on social care, as intended by the Chancellor. It also warned that wealthier areas such as Richmond, Windsor and Cheshire East can raise enough money to cover up to 17.6% of their care budgets, while those that charge significantly less for council tax, including several London boroughs, Manchester, Newcastle and Liverpool will see the levy raise as little as 4.2% of their social care bill. "The changes to local government financing and devolution are genuinely radical and could transform both the role of local government and the UK's fiscal architecture," IFS director Paul Johnson added.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Rise in faith-based child abuse

An increasing number of child abuse cases involving accusations of witchcraft and exorcism are being reported to the police. A Freedom of Information request to councils across the UK showed 31 children being accused of witchcraft or possession by spirits in 2014, compared with 21 in 2013 and ten in 2012. Project Violet, a Metropolitan Police faith-based abuse unit, recorded 46 incidents last year, more than double 2013, and 60 so far in 2015.

The Sun,

Right to Rent risks discrimination

Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham is calling on Home Secretary Theresa May to drop a key measure in the Immigration Bill for landlords to carry out rigorous checks on the status of their tenants, known as the Right to Rent scheme. It follows a survey carried out by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants which found that 42% of landlords said Right to Rent made them less likely to let a property to someone who does not have a British passport, while 27% said they were even reluctant to engage with people who had foreign-sounding names or accents. Mr Burnham said the evidence showed the scheme could lead to widespread discrimination.  
Independent on Sunday,

Crisis in youth homelessness

The full extent of youth homelessness is more than eight times higher than the Government admits. Some 136,000 young people aged between 16 and 24 in England and Wales sought emergency housing in the past year, according to an analysis by the Centrepoint charity of 275 Freedom of Information responses from local authorities. Only 16,000 young people were officially classed as "statutory homeless". Centrepoint says the Government needs to change the way it reports homelessness figures; all young people going for help should be assessed for their needs; and more funding is needed to enable councils to deal with the problem. Matt Downie from the charity Crisis commented: "Our own research shows that when homeless people go to their council for help, all too often they are turned away to sleep on the streets." Peter Box from the LGA warned: "A chronic shortage of affordable housing and 40% cuts to council budgets over the past five years means councils are facing real difficulties in finding emergency care for all homeless people."
Independent on Sunday,

Monday, 5 October 2015

Stansted line support from Network Rail

Fast services from central London to Stansted airport and through the technology and biotech corridor between the Lea Valley and Cambridge are to be a priority for Network Rail, its new chairman has indicated. Sir Peter Hendy said that Network Rail intends to double the number of lines out of northeast London to four. Stephen King, director of the London-Stansted-Cambridge Consortium of business leaders and local authorities, said: "It is great to have Sir Peter's support. This line has been overlooked for too long.”

New infrastructure body


Chancellor George Osborne is set to use his keynote speech to the Conservative conference in Manchester to unveil a new commission dedicated to speeding up progress in areas such as transport, energy and housing. Former Labour Cabinet minister Lord Adonis will chair the National Infrastructure Commission to plan more railways, airports, power stations and other multi-billion-pound projects. Mr Osborne is understood to be “frustrated” with local authorities hindering infrastructure development, and aims to change planning laws. In a separate development, Mr Osborne will also announce plans to require local authority pensions schemes to merge into regional bodies with the critical mass needed to invest in infrastructure schemes. The 89 bodies, which control about £180bn in investments, will be merged into just six groupings.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Roe Green Walled Garden and Fryent Country Park

Roe Green Walled Garden has been awarded  a 2015 Green Flag besides receiving a Silver Gilt in the London Bloom Awards.

Fryent Country Park also had success in achieving a Silver Gilt in the London in Bloom Awards.

Labour outlines railway renationalisation

Proposals to seize rail services from failing private companies are being drawn up by Labour in an escalation of its support for renationalising the railways. Under a motion passed by Labour's conference in Brighton, a rail task force will look at "bringing private franchises into public ownership as they expire and also using break clauses to accelerate this process when this is in the interests of passengers and taxpayers". 

Labour champions greater oversight for academies and free schools

Shadow education secretary Lucy Powell has said a Labour government would bring academies and free schools under greater local authority oversight. Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Ms Powell said the party would not return free schools to local authority control but would allow local government to intervene where necessary: "I think the idea that the secretary of state herself can manage and oversee and support all those schools directly is wrong-headed. We should have local oversight of those schools," she said.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Free School Meal application -Entitlement

I have been asked questions about who is entitle for a free meal at school. Please read below for information.

Children who receive, or whose parents receive, one or more of the following support payments are entitled to receive Free School Meals (FSM), 

  • Income Support (IS)
  • Income Based Jobseekers Allowance (IBJSA)
  • Income-related employment and support allowance (IRESA).
  • Child Tax Credit, provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual income, as assessed by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, that does not exceed £16,190 
  • Guaranteed Element of State Pension Credit
  • Where a parent is entitled to Working Tax Credit run-on (The payment someone receives for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit).
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.


Corbyn's Challenges

with courtesy of Press Association

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Bus lane fines are the new parking fines

Becky Barrow examines the rise in fines for driving in bus lanes in the Sunday Times. Spurred by receiving a fine of her own, her research shows that following the introduction of the Traffic Management Act 2004 there were 9,838 tickets issued by one council (Reading in Berkshire) in 2006. In 2012-13, the latest year for which figures are available, councils outside London issued a record 554,773 bus lane fines. In London the figure was 242,541, raising an estimated £70m that year. Some experts suspect councils may be shifting their resources away from parking and towards bus lane penalties, writes Ms Barrow. "Bus lane fines are the new parking fines," said one source, who did not wish to be named.

Plan needed to tackle fly-tippers

The Sunday Times’ Charles Clover discusses the rise in littering and fly-tipping, examining possible reasons for the increase, such as more home moves or an increase in council fees for waste disposal. He says farmers and other landowners are paying the price for cleaning up fly-tipped waste. Mr Clover points out that many instances of fly-tipping involve domestic waste that many councils take for free, so ignorance is also a causal factor. He also mentions that enforcement costs for fly-tipping cases were £17.3m in England alone in 2013-14, so perhaps “there is a case for being a little more accommodating to white van man.” The Government needs to respond by developing a strategy that will encourage a change in behaviour, he concludes.

Pragmatism required in face of refugee crisis

Hundreds of Britons are offering their homes to refugees on the website avaaz.org, reports the Sunday Times, while over 400,000 people have signed an online petition asking for Britain to "accept its fair share of refugees seeking safety in Europe". Meanwhile, David Simmonds, chairman of the Local Government Association's asylum, migration and refugee task force, has said David Cameron needs to consider how allowing thousands more refugees into the country will impact councils’ finances. "If the government wants a new approach, where a temporary safe haven is offered but people are clearly not going to be able to stay in the UK beyond the point at which it is safe for them to return to their country, then they need to set out and implement that in policy and law from the start," he said. Mr Simmonds added that Bob Geldof’s offer to put up families in his homes in Kent and London was "pie in sky". "If Bob Geldof is willing to make that offer, I'm sure his local council, which will already have a lot of people on its housing waiting list, will be very happy to bring them around this afternoon." Elsewhere, Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday voices his concerns over what he fears could be “an unstoppable demographic revolution” resulting from the refugee crisis, in which Europe and the UK “merges its culture and its economy with North Africa and the Middle East.”


The Observer

Friday, 7 August 2015

Brent Heritage Assets

If you would like to nominate a building or structure to be added to Brent local list of buildings and structures of architectural or historic interest, please take a part in the consultation and approach Brent Council for registration.
Brent's heritage assets include a wide range of architectural styles from Victorian Italianate, Gothic Revival, suburban 'Arts and Crafts', ‘Tudorbethan’, ‘Old World’, Modern and Brutalist.
It has historic formal public parks, gardens and cemeteries as well as planned ‘garden village’ estates but its archaeological discoveries from early prehistory are scarce.
The British Rail lines and the Metropolitan Railway enabled suburban 'Metroland' development. This was boosted by the British Empire Exhibition in Wembley Park in 1924/25. Many historic buildings within Brent reflect the styles of these times, but it also has examples of mandir architecture as well as ‘moorish’ and ‘Indo-Islamic’.
Heritage assets make a substantial contribution to Brent's local character and distinctiveness. They are a unique and irreplaceable resource which justifies protection, conservation and enhancement.
Brent’s statutory listed buildings, conservation areas and registered parks and gardens are all designated heritage assets. Locally listed buildings, areas of distinctive residential character, sites of archaeological importance and archaeological priority areas are non-designated heritage assets.
Brent’s heritage is valued as evidence of the past culture, providing a sense of belonging.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Kids Company raises questions over charity funding

Children's charity Kids Company has been forced to close after it failed to secure sufficient funds, despite the latest £3m government grant. The charity is said to have failed to persuade philanthropists to match government funding after being accused of financial mismanagement while also being under threat of a police investigation into crimes on its premises. The closure has left the government scrambling to secure support for the children the charity helped. Editorials in the Guardian and the Independent both say the story poses the question of how accountability works when the state subcontracts essential social services to charities which it funds with public money but does not control.
The Guardian, The Independent



Conservatives to ban union fee payments through payroll

The Government is to amend the new Trade Union Bill to ban union membership fees being collected directly by any public sector employer through their payroll department. Union members will have to set up direct debits or write cheques to continue their membership. Unions fear this could cost them millions. A trial of the scheme in some Whitehall departments led to the PCS union selling its building at Clapham Junction to plug a shortfall in fees. Jonathan Isaby, the chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, welcomed the government proposal, saying: "It is simply not the business of public sector employers to be processing the union dues of their staff, and it is shocking how many bodies have been providing this service at absolutely no cost to the unions.”    The Times,