Sunday, 29 August 2010

Alan Johnson in Kingsbury to save ASBOs

SHADOW Home Secretary Alan Johnson has launched Labour's campaign to save Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) in Kingsbury.

Mr Johnson arrived outside Kingsbury Safer Neighbourhood Team office, in Barningham Way, off Church Lane, on Tuesday where he was met by Police Acting Sergeant Richard Stout, councillors and members of Springfield Residents' Association.

People are concerned the coalition Government intends to scrap Asbos, said Mr Johnson. They feel that without ASBOs, crime will return to their housing estate, according to the politician.

Mr Johnson said: “Everyone remembers that under the last Tory government crime rocketed and anti-social behaviour was classed as low-level nuisance and not taken seriously. This time around, Tory Home Secretary Theresa May is wrongly claiming that ASBOs don’t work. The problem is not the powers available but her Government’s lack of commitment to tackling crime and disorder in our communities."

Theresa May sounded the death knell for the ASBO after new official statistics showed breaches of the orders had risen above 50 per cent and that their use has fallen to the lowest level yet.

Mr Johnson said: “Anti-social behaviour destroys people’s lives and neighbourhood groups agree with Labour. ASBOs have worked and will continue to work provided they are used effectively. Scrapping Asbos and cutting police budgets would leave communities helpless and vulnerable.

“Cracking down on crime and disorder needs to be constantly reviewed and improved but the ASBO is a success. Don’t let the Tories turn the clock back to the days of rampant crime and anti-social behaviour in our communities."

Courtesy of Harrow Observer.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

"Motorists offered bribe to give up parking permits in Brent"-Daily Telegraph 25 Aug. 2010

Whether you agree with this or not, here is something which may become a real pain or real pleasure in the future. The following is taken from today's Daily Telegraph.

The Labour-controlled authority is hoping that the incentive will persuade motorists to enroll in car clubs, whose members will be allowed to park free of charge. Under the proposals, motorists who give up the permit for two years will be given a £200 voucher, which can be used towards the cost of a bike, public transport or the subscription to a car-sharing scheme.

Brent wants to promote the scheme as “incentives for residents to reduce non-essential car use and contribute to combating climate change.” According to Cllr Jim Moher, the council cabinet member with responsibility for transport, the proposals are likely to appeal to people who want to help fight climate change. “It is very attractive for people who want to discard their car and help deal with a growing problem. “I would certainly consider it,” said Mr. Moher, a car owner himself. “I would have no problem towards contributing to this sort of thing.In some parts of the country, notably Brighton, residents can have to wait up to 12 months for a resident’s permit.

The council is also proposing to join the growing number of local authorities who vary permit charges according to the environmental friendliness of the car. A car emitting less than 110 grams of CO2 per kilometre will be issued with a free permit, while the heaviest polluting car – with an emissions rate of 255 grams of CO2 faces a £200 a year bill.

Brent’s plans come against a backdrop of councils trying to discourage car use by drawing up plans for higher parking charges. And, as disclosed by the Daily Telegraph, a number are considering imposing a charge for using staff car parks, following the example of Nottingham, which will impose a £250 a year levy – rising to £350 – for each space.

However, the council’s initiative was welcomed by both environmental and motoring groups.

“There is huge pressure on parking spaces. It’s good that it is being offered cash as an option rather than people being forced to surrender their permits. “Brent is showing a far more sympathetic approach than some other boroughs,” said an AA spokesman. Stephen Joseph, executive director of the Campaign for Better Transport, added: "That is very innovative and it will be interesting to see if other councils follow their lead. This is a carrot rather than a stick. In parts of London people are finding they can get by without a second family car and join car clubs instead “But it doesn’t work where there isn’t decent public transport.”

Brent Cross Development - An Eye-Opener Letter for Everybody in Brent

This is a must-read letter from the Chair of the "Federation of Residents Associations in Barnet", Mr. David Howard.

Dear Sir.

I write is response to Mr Sach’s letter regarding the fear of change at Brent Cross. The Federation of Residents Associations in Barnet joined the "Coalition FOR a Sustainable Brent Cross and Cricklewood" because we agree that parts of the area do need investment and regeneration. Because of the scale of the potential development, there is an opportunity to build a sustainable community fit for the 21st century. Medium-density low-rise houses could be built, needing zero heating with hot water from solar heating and PV electric panels. Exemplar projects are already underway in the UK,.and they all put the local residents and the future needs of the wider community at the heart of the developments.

Yes, we do fear the current proposals. The existing established, well-housed community is destroyed, to be replaced with high-density high-rise "hutches for hobbits", not fit for family homes.

The need for the extra shops and a new town centre has not been demonstrated. Most of the research has been carried out by the developer, and does not take into account the new Westfield centre at White City and the other Westfield centre under construction at Stratford, opening for the Olympics.. The matter has not been subject to detailed independent examination The Borough carried out one study, which has numerous errors and omissions in the only version that is in the public domain. Barnet has 22 existing town centres, many of which are struggling to survive already. No consideration has been given to the impact on them, or the cost to their communities if the centres collapse

The adjoining boroughs of Camden and Brent have done work on the impact on their areas, and are very concerned. Brent has detailed objections to the proposals, but these were ignored by Barnet.

29,000 extra cars on the local roads are predicted EVERY day. This was the figure used by the developer and Barnet for four years, and changed to 9,000 recently. This was achieved by saying that 70% of all current visitors to Brent Cross, and 70% of all new users of the centre, would leave their cars at home and travel by bus. It cooks the books alright, but in all honesty does any one believe it will really happen?.

The Northern Line Station will be improved, but people travel on trains not stations, and there are no proposals to improve capacity on the Edgware branch of the Northern Line to cope with the passengers generated by 20,000 proposed new homes along the line by 2025, let alone any new shoppers. It is also a bus ride away from the shopping centre.

The new Brent Cross main line railway station is scheduled for phase 5, and is meant to serve the office tower blocks. The developer is only committed to build phase one, which increases the retail area and provides 700 new flats together with the increased cars. The so called benefits are in later stages which both the developer and council accept are highly dependent on the state of the economy.

The proposal to build an incinerator is being portrayed as a green benefit. It is not. It is a cash-cow for the developer, and will increase the air pollution in an area of London around the North Circular Road, already identified as periodically breaching European air quality standards and rendering the Government liable to heavy fines. The impact of 29,000 extra cars and an incinerator emitting dioxins and other fumes from its 140-metre-high chimney is something to fear

Yes, we are afraid. This scheme is designed on outdated 1960s car-based principles to generate profits for the developer. This is being achieved at the expense of thousands of people who live, not just in the immediate vicinity, but over a much larger area of North London. This is a wonderful opportunity to build a new eco-town designed for the 21st Century. We must not miss this once-in-a-lifetime chance in pursuit of short-term profits.

David Howard

Chair of FORAB.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Wake up Call Initiative

On Saturday 31 July, the MP for our area, Mr. Barry Gardiner, will attend an event hosted by the "Wake Up Call Initiative", which is mainly to raise awareness of issues affecting Somali youths. I will be there too.

The event will be held between 2pm and 6pm. More details can be obtained by email to

Thursday, 19 August 2010


£25 bulky items charge to go despite Lib Dem delaying tactics

Labour will ignore Lib Dem delaying tactics and keep its promise to abolish the £25.00 charge for bulky refuse collection. The abolition of the charge was a major plank in Labour’s election manifesto and the Council’s ruling Executive voted to implement the abolition from 1st October 2010.

However, the Liberal Democrat Opposition has now ‘called in’ the Executive’s decision in an attempt to delay implementation.

The Labour Leader of Brent Council, Councillor Ann John, has lambasted the Lib Dems’ delaying tactics and she is determined to abolish the charge. Cllr John said:

 “Unlike the Lib Dems who have betrayed every principle they ever had in return for ministerial limousines, we believe in keeping our promises and we will not be deflected by childish delaying tactics.This was our number one pledge and we have a clear mandate to implement it. The people of Brent have spoken and if the Lib Dems had any respect for the democratic process at all they would accept the electorate’s decision. The fact that they are still trying to overturn the policy shows that they are neither liberal nor democratic”.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Public Pressure on Barnet Tory ruling group is a magnificent result for us in Brent!

Amidst widespread public and political condemnation, Councillor Hillan (Barnet)announced today that the council will be asked to reconsider the proposals to increase allowances for cabinet members.

She said she and senior party colleagues have been “listening carefully” to the public's reaction, despite constantly praising the changes that were voted on in July.

This defeat for the leadership helps our campaign to stop the Brent Cross scheme, which will harm us all in Barnhill and the whole of Brent.

Saturday, 14 August 2010


I see that Cllr Ann Hunter has been telling the Wembley Observer that the Liberal Democrats are keen recyclers. Sadly, that is not the case. They inherited a recycling rate of 22 per cent from Labour in 2006. After doing nothing for a while, they introduced compulsory recycling, which largely consisted of a publicity campaign. They then ignored the issue again, so that by the end of their administration, Council officers described the recycling performance as "critical". It is now up to the new administration to turn their lacklustre performance around. We need to go from 28 per cent to at least 40 per cent to meet the 2011 statutory target, and then do a great more beyond.

Posted by Cllr James Powney at 16:28 0 comments

Thursday, 12 August 2010

New Vision on Waste and Recycling

On Wednesday 11 August Brent Council's Executive will consider plans to consult on changes to the borough's waste and recycling services from summer 2011.
The council's draft waste collection strategy set out how waste management will be delivered in Brent over the next five years with a goal of 60 per cent reuse, recycle and composting by 2020.
The draft strategy proposes to extend the council's recycling services to include all flats as well as street level properties. It also proposes expanding the range of materials collected. The new service is expected to save around £1 million after the first two years of operation.
Residents will be asked for their views through a variety of channels including a survey in the October edition of The Brent Magazine, the council's website and local area forums.
The plans reflect successful schemes already operating in all of the top 20 best performing councils in England and Wales. The draft strategy covers household waste only.
In the financial year 2009/10 the council spent almost £9 million on the costs of disposing of waste in landfill, when rubbish is buried in the ground. The draft strategy proposes a modern waste service, responsive to residents' needs and environmental concerns that will reduce the amount going to landfill and allow residents to recycle more materials at the kerbside.
Michael Read, Assistant Director of Environment and Culture at Brent Council said: "Brent introduced compulsory recycling in 2008 and the response from residents has been excellent. Recycling rates have increased from 22 per cent in 2006 to more than 28 per cent this year, with no enforcement action necessary. Brent people clearly want to recycle more and we need as many views as possible during the consultation period in September and early October.
"In future residents will have more space to recycle as small green boxes are replaced with larger wheelie bins. We want to get opinions on everything from ease of access to the type of material collected. Under the new proposals there will be very little of what we might have called 'rubbish' as most of what we throw away can be recycled."

Brent Crest Academies - Updates

Wednesday, 11 August 2010Crest Academies saved

Brent Council has welcomed the Government announcement to give the go ahead for the £41.6 million rebuilding of Brent's two Crest academy schools.

It has approved the provisional allocation of the capital needed to rebuild and expand the Crest Boys' and Crest Girls' academies in Dollis Hill, Neasden.
Leader of Brent Council, Councillor Ann John, said: "I am delighted that, after careful consideration, the Government has provided the money to rebuild the two Crest academies.
"Brent Council wants to provide modern schools for our pupils and find the extra school places we badly need. This project was a crucial one and this decision is great news for children and families in Brent."

The existing school buildings - the former John Kelly boys and girls colleges - are in very poor condition.
Over five years, an extra 300 pupils will be taught in the new buildings.

Posted by Cllr Muhammed Butt at 15:11

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Waste Collection - What Cllr James Powney has said

Brent Council's next Executive is coming up tomorrow, and I am excited that we will be overhauling the waste collection system.

The outgoing Lib Dem / Tory administration had given up on recycling after the flurry of interest around compulsory recycling petered out. The target was 30%, but performance had been flatlining at 28% for some time.

To turn that around, we are going to adopt a similar model to the one in Harrow, which should vitually double our recycling. We will also be introducing co-mingled collection at places like Siouth Kilburn, Stonebridge and Chalkhill, leading to a boost in recycling, as these areas don't recycle at all. We should also be able to include new materials such as tetrapaks, so it will be something of a step change. Although we are taking the decision now, most of the changes will only be introduced next year.

The exception will be the abolition of the 25 pound charge which will happen from 1 October. This was probably our most popular policy during the election campaign, so everyone seems eager to implement it as soon as possible. I wonder whether the Liberal Democrats will continue to oppose it?

Brent Cross - They don't give a toss

I am yet again reproducing a real eye-opener for Brent, from the Barnet Eye blog. Brent will ultimately pay the price - so this is wake-up time!

One should not forget the so far friendly exchanges between Brent and Barnet councils, but the attitude of, "Let's see what happens next" will not save Brent children and others from respiratory illnesses, ill- health in general and miserable living conditions, including noise and disastrous environmental harm in and around Dollis Hill, Cricklewood, Willesden, Welsh Harp, Neasden, Hendon, Kingsbury and the whole of Wembley. (I am deliberately not including the Barnet side of the area.)

Therefore I urge you to spare TWO minutes and read below

Have a look at this picture, mocked up by the architects to demonstrate just how lovely the new Brent Cross is. Look really carefully at the "riverside scene". What do you see? Can you see the toddlers playing by the River Brent. Can you see that there is drop of a couple of feet into the river? Are they really promoting picnics in such dangerous spots? The use of perspective in the picture intrigues me. By clever angles a river which is 25ft wide appears the same size as a huge block of flats six stories high. The backside of a young mum is larger than the top three stories of the tower at the back of the picture. There is another view of this idylic development. Try this

In this picture, you can see just how big the blocks are. Nope they are not the same size as a young mum's Bum. They dwarf the London Bus in the bottom right hand corner. The Leader of Barnet Council proudly boasted that the Brent Cross Development would give the Borough an exciting new Town Centre. What sort of a Town will it be? It will be one with the largest road junction in London, an eleven lane highway, clogged with traffic dividing it in half. It is bounded by the Brent Cross flyover to the East, and the M1/Staples Corner flyover to the West. As to being a safe environment to raise children, well I'd guess that there wouldn't be anywhere in London with more cars spouting out pollution than this. Is there a larger conglomeration of roads anywhere? Of course the planners of this feel that this already polluted air quality is not polluted enough and are planning an incinerator. It is no secret that there are all sorts of cancer hotspots in the vicinity of such installations. Where is the "green space" for children to play? Down by the ungarded banks of the River Brent where there is no fencing to prevent them falling in? A river prone to flash flooding. There is also the railway passing by to the East. I guess if the kids get bored with the river, they could play on the tracks, maybe a nice game of chicken in front of the Freight Trains carrying nuclear waste to Sellafield, which rumble through.
At a hurriedly convened meeting of the Hendon planning committee last week, the plans for this monstrosity received approval. For some strange reason, the whole process was suddenly speeded up just as the holiday season started.
I attended the Hendon & District residents Forum where Barnet Council Official, Martin Cowie informed us that the meeting was only discussing the extension of the time limits, as a legal requirement, which seemed reasonable enough. This week the Times tells us that the extension will give stakeholders a chance to give extra input- They said "These controls will ensure Barnet Council and the other stakeholders and in particular TfL will continue to have real control and input into how the Brent Cross Cricklewood regeneration is taken forward - and that public transport, infrastructure and community investment keeps pace with development." So who thinks this is a good idea? Well it seems that the chair of the planning committee does. Her name Wendy Prentice.

Wendy Prentice thinks that children who grow up in an extremely polluted environment, with no green spaces to play, bounded by dangerous roads, railways and rivers will grow up into happy, healthy children. So what sort of a road does Ms Prentice live in. Well I googled her road and looked at the streetview? What does Ms Greenspan see when she walks down her road? Well she sees something like this :-
Make no mistake, if you live in the London Borough of Barnet, you are a stakeholder. How many people of the board of TFL live in Barnet. It is telling that the most important stakeholder mentioned in the Times article is TFL, who are responsible for the roads which run through it. Their remit is not the well being of the children of Barnet. If like me you think that this whole scheme is scandalous and we are building a future slum city, with huge urban problems, which will blight Barnet forever, please don't sit on your hands. Send an email to Ms Prentice, who is the councillor responsible for the decision and tell her that you think Barnet should put the wellbeing of children before the profits of developers and that you think multi story tower blocks, roads, dangerous rivers, railway sidings and gas incinerators are no environment to raise your family -

Posted by Rog T at Saturday, August 07, 2010 2 comments

Labels: Barnet Council, Brent Cross Incinerator, Brent Cross redevelopment, Councillor Eva Greenspan, Cricklewood regeneration

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Desparate Nation

This is what becomes of a nation which votes for discredited, corrupt, selfish, nepotistic politicians. This shocking picture was taken when an army helicopter was dropping food from above
I am not using this picture to discredit anybody, but drawing attention to frantic choices made in emotional situations.
This applies to everywhere in the world. Therefore, choose your representatives to any forum with care

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Brent - An Eye-opener

I am reproducing an extract taken from a true Barnet flag-waver blogger, our next-door neighbour, which is a most interesting read, and an eye-opener for all of us councillors in Brent.

Bulk Charges- Labour's position

This is Brent Labour Party's position on this subject:
"There should be no question in anyone's mind that the Labour administration is irrevocably committed to abolishing the charges. However the details of how to do so are part of a wider review on street cleaning, and therefore the practicalities of how to restore the free collection of bulky items will take some time to work out."

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Wake up Call Initiative - Report

The event was attended by a large young Somalian crowd. A hard-hitting video about stabbings and deaths, produced by a Somalian youngster, was shown.

Various workshops to discuss problems of the Somalian Community were set up. Deliberations were unimaginably intelligent and sophisticated. Mothers were basically worried about their children's education/lack of jobs/falling under the influence of undesirables. However, the youngsters mostly blamed lack of facilities of all kinds.

Local MP Barry Gardiner gave an excellent interactive talk, which was so effective that even those youngsters who originally kept themselves aloof from the proceedings joined in. The meeting ended with a photo session.