25 November 2007

What a waste

Hundreds of thousands of pounds are to be spent by the Tory council to monitor contracts for newly privatised services in Hammersmith & Fulham.

The Tory cabinet is due to agree the privatisation of the grounds maintenance service at its meeting on 3 December.

That meeting was also due to agree privatisation of waste management and street cleaning in the borough but the decision has been delayed because the bids were all higher than expected. So the council will now try and cut the costs further by reducing the service to be provided.

And H&F will become the even dirtier borough.

21 November 2007

Conservatives hit planning problems

The Planning Applications Committee of Tory Hammersmith & Fulham Council this week considered an application from the South Fulham Constitutional Club (SFCC) to build four town houses on an underused part of its site. Similar houses in adjacent streets sell for up to £2 million each.

Last November the SFCC, which is similar to a Conservative Club, donated £4,999 to the local Conservative Association.

At the start of the meeting the vice-chair of the Committee declared a preducial interest and said he would leave the room for this item (he, the chair and five other members are Conservative, three are Labour Councillors).

The Labour members said all Conservative members should declare prejudicial interests and should also defer the item to the following meeting. The Conservative members (save the vice-chair) adjourned the Committee for a few minutes to discuss this. They returned to say they could proceed. The application was then approved. The five Conservative members voted for, the three Labour against.

This matter is being reported to the Standards Board for England.

PS: Last year – against officer advice – the Tory members of the same Committee gave consent for an extra flat in a property being converted by a former Tory council candidate. Last month the Tories gave retrospective consent (at almost 1am in the morning) to a developer who had built an extra 40 flats in at Imperial Wharf, a luxury riverside development, for which they did not have consent.

Is Phil cross with Greenhalgh?

The Guardian's education diary has reported that the Tory council in Hammersmith & Fulham announced proposals to merge Hurlingham & Chelsea secondary school with a French school - without telling the school's head or governors.

For full story see: http://education.guardian.co.uk/egweekly/story/0,,2213563,00.html

18 November 2007

Parking chaos predicted for Fulham games

New parking restrictions introduced by the Tory council around Fulham Football Club come into effect on 17 December.

Already there are predictions of chaos at Fulham's home matches. Check out the new OurFulham website for the full story:


17 November 2007

Brace yourself for more cuts and closures

Just as babies cry, cats meow and dogs bark, Tories cut public services.

The first signs of more cuts, closures and higher charges in Hammersmith & Fulham were signalled this week by Tory councillors promising tax cuts.

Already the Tory council has announced £34 million cuts in services from 2007-10 and more will be announced in the coming weeks to pay for a small tax cut. Services and community organisations are being destroyed to pay for a 50p a week reduction in council tax.

At the same time key local services like street cleaning and refuse collection are threatened with privatisation. And the council's star rating could plunge as the cuts hit delivery of services and the borough gets dirtier.

Academy plans under public scrutiny

Cathnor Park Area Action Group is holding a public meeting this week to examine Tory council plans for a £20 million-plus academy for 780 11-18 year olds on the former Stamford House site (see previous blog).

Large numbers of local residents are expected to attend the meeting on Thursday 22 November at 7pm at Greenside School, Westville Road.

11 November 2007

New school 'at £20 million plus'!

While Hammersmith & Fulham's Tory council is making £34 million cuts in local services, it has announced plans for a new secondary school costing over £20 million.

The proposed school will take 780 pupils on the former Stamford House secure unit site north of the Goldhawk Road.

Local residents are already concerned about the impact on the surrounding area and existing facilities. Other schools will be worried about the drain on resources.

Sands End bears the brunt

Sands End ward might have been won by the Conservatives at the 2006 council elections, but the southernmost ward in Hammersmith & Fulham seems to be a major victim of Tory cuts and closures.

Education was first. Peterborough primary school is being closed. And the future of Hurlingham & Chelsea secondary school is still in doubt, with priority shifting from local pupils to serving French families.

Now other local facilities are going. The Castle Club which hosted services for children and young people is being closed and sold off. Next the Sands End laundry is threatened with closure.

In the meantime Tory councillors have let off the developers at Imperial Wharf for building more flats than planning permission allowed. And still the local infrastructure is sadly lacking to deal with the influx of new residents.

'Borough of opportunity' falls flat

Tory plans in Hammersmith & Fulham to get council tenants to move out and buy properties are failing because no one wants to take up the 'social homebuy' scheme.

This lack of interest led to the Tory cabinet considering a report at its last meeting to increase the financial incentives available to tenants. Never before has so much housing money been devoted to so few people.

But Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh, the leader of the council who has been championing the policy as part of his so-called 'borough of opportunity' programme, pulled the report at the cabinet meeting. Time for a rethink!