31 October 2007

Has anyone seen Greg Hands?

H&F Conservative MP Greg Hands seems to have gone missing - just when local residents need him to stand up for their concerns.

Where was he last night at the council's planning applications committee when it considered some of the most controversial developments in the borough? Did he support the hundreds of Hammersmith residents concerned about the over-development of their residential area to oppose the Armadillo office and entertainment complex (for full report see http://thecowanreport.blogspot.com/)?

Where was Greg Hands when parents and children needed his support to fight plans to close local schools?

Where was the Tory MP when hundreds of older and disabled people lost their home help service thanks to council cuts?

Perhaps he has been playing hide and seek?

Please report any sightings of Greg Hands MP to hfconwatch@hotmail.co.uk

Tory council backs down again

H&F Tories have backed down in the face of huge public opposition to their plans to turn the borough's main parks into regular havens of music, drinking and ancient sports.

Just 48 hours after receiving the hfconwatch Giant Haystacks award, the Cabinet member for Residents Services, Cllr Paul Bristow has conceded that it was not a good idea for the council to apply to host boxing and wrestling in Ravenscourt and Bishop's Parks.

Cllr Bristow made numerous other concessions to what must have been the most misguided licensing application in recent years (see previous blogs). But local residents are still concerned that alcohol will be available at events in the parks.

28 October 2007

hfconwatch awards mark blogging century

Thanks to the inspiration of the Tory council in Hammersmith & Fulham and its many cuts, blunders and misdemeanours, hfconwatch is celebrating its first anniversary and 100 blogs with its inaugural annual awards.

These are awarded to the Tory councillors (and their friends) who have created the biggest impressions in the last year:

The Giant Haystacks award: this is not to the council's esteemed leader but to Cllr Paul Bristow for his efforts to host wrestling contests in the borough's parks

George W Bush Statesman of the Year award: to Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh for his powerpoint state of the borough address

The Less for More award: to Cllr Nick 'secret budget' Botterill for introducing new and higher fees and charges for council services

The Prime Cuts award: to Cllr Antony Lillis for selflessly putting cuts in local services before his career

The Half Cut award: to Cllr Antony Lillis for not introducing charges for home care yet...

Services to the Voluntary Sector award: surprisingly not to Cllr Antony Lillis, but to Shaun Bailey for creating new charities

The New Tory award: also goes to Shaun Bailey

The Secret Policeman's Bill award: to Cllr Greg Smith for his plans to pay for 24/7 policing

The Anything Goes award: to Cllr Mark Loveday for his approach to new developments in Hammersmith

French Lessons award: to Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh for making H&F known as Hammersmith et Fromage

The Headteachers' award: to the Fulham Schools Commission for the proposal to create 'a merged single sex school' on one site

Salesman of the Year award: to Cllr Mark Loveday for shamelessly flogging off many of the borough's historic assets

The Nasty Niche PR award: to Cllr Paul Bristow for drawing residents' attention to grotspots

The Best Excuse award: to Greg Hands MP for taking a fortnight to come up with hide and seek in the French countryside. Runners up to the Tory group for 'it was an administrative error'

The I Have a Good Lawyer award: to Greg Hands MP

Le Gateau Chocolat award: to all Tory councillors for not only having their cake but eating it by awarding themselves an 18% pay rise while cutting local services by £34 million.

Many thanks to readers of this blog for their contributions. Many more blogs to follow...

27 October 2007

Halloween horrors a day early in H&F

Tuesday 30 October sees major meetings at Hammersmith Town Hall about two of the most controversial local issues of recent times.

First, the council's licensing panel will hear a wide-ranging application from the Conservative council itself for Ravenscourt Park and Bishop's Park to host events from boxing and wrestling to concerts and parties. Local residents have expressed outrage at the prospect of thousands of drunken people regularly invading their parks. This just three days before the annual fireworks displays in the parks.

Then on Tuesday evening the council's planning applications committee will consider a proposal for a huge office and entertainment building on the NCP site at the southern end of Hammersmith Grove. Again local residents are outraged by the planned 'Armadillo' development in this area.

The Tory council in Hammersmith & Fulham faces its own Halloween horrors early. Remember, remember the 30th of October....

22 October 2007

Nominations please for hfconwatch awards

To mark the first anniversary of hfconwatch's blogging on Tory cuts, blunders and misdemeanours in Hammersmith & Fulham, hfconwatch will soon be announcing its inaugural awards.

To make nominations, please email: hfconwatch@hotmail.co.uk

Please use your imagination!

21 October 2007

Psssst: Voulez vous acheter une ecole?

For many months, long before the rugby world cup kicked off in France, Tory councillors in Hammersmith & Fulham have been in talks with the French government about selling off local schools.

While the decision to close Peterborough Primary School in Fulham was only taken by the Tory Cabinet on 10 September, it is clear that discussions have been going on with the French embassy much longer to develop a private French school on the site.

Hammersmith & Fulham Tory MP, Greg Hands, has just published figures showing a growing number of local parents are choosing to use private schools. He says he wants more parents to use the state system.

So why is the council closing a state primary so another private school can be opened? And why is it doing a deal with the French government? Not that the finances have been disclosed to date, of course.

Now Hurlingham & Chelsea secondary school - recently reprieved from the axe - is being forced to go into 'partnership' with the French to save its future. C'est la vie?

* If you're interested in seeing documents revealing discussions between Hammersmith & Fulham council and the French government about creating French schools in the borough, please email hfconwatch@hotmail.co.uk

18 October 2007

Black History Month arrives late in H&F

October is Black History Month and has always been celebrated in Hammersmith & Fulham. Following recent local controversies, it arrived late in the borough this year. The Tory council eventually issued a press release about what's happening to mark the month - on 11 October!

06 October 2007

When's a grotspot a nasty niche?

The streets of Hammersmith & Fulham are becoming filthier which is not surprising given the huge cuts in street cleaning and refuse collection.

It's got so bad that the Tory council has issued a press release about 100 grotsposts in just one ward, naming the worst places for rubbish in North End: http://www.lbhf.gov.uk/Directory/News_and_Media/Press_office/Press_releases/86879_Grot_spot_blitz.asp

Chief grotspotter Cllr Paul Bristow has also coined a new phrase for places where rubbish is dumped: 'nasty niches'! Is this a Fulham expression?

Now you see it, now you don't