20 December 2010
17 December 2010
The deadline for objections is 4 January 2011. Save Our Skyline has useful reminders about the key issues and a ready-made email template and link.
CPAG says, "Many residents feel that this is a defining planning decision for Hammersmith: if it goes through not only will our lovely river views go for ever and we will lose a large part of Furnivall Gardens to the ramp of the footbridge linking the Town Hall to the river, but the floodgates could be open to tall buildings all the way down King Street and it will become a very different place. So please do make time to send an email."
16 December 2010
Suzie Hobart is married to Edward Hobart.
15 December 2010
- Have there been any discussions among councillors and/or council officers about what rent the council might charge the West London Free School for using Palingswick House or the Askham Family Centre? If so, on when did these discussions take place? What options were put forward? Were any of them to charge a market rent? Were any of them to charge a peppercorn rent?
- Have there been any discussions among council cabinet members and/or council officers about what is expected to happen to the charities in Palingswick House if the council evicts them to make way for the West London Free School? If so, what options were discussed?
- Have there been any discussions among council cabinet members and/or council officers about what will happen to the services for children and families in the Askham Family Centre if the council evicts them from to make way for the West London Free School? If so, what are the latest options under discussion?
If anyone else fancies asking the council the same questions via a Freedom of Information request, which is surprisingly simple to do, see here for instructions.
And let's not leave out the school itself. A good question for the Steering Committee of the West London Free School might be, “Would you think it decent to evict local charities and services for children and families to make way for your school?”
The best collective email for Jo Alexander, Charlie Ben-Nathan, Mita Bhattacharyya, Stefan Bojanowski, Caroline Bondy, Mustafa Erdem, Caroline Ffiske, Edward Hobart, Suzie Hobart, Simon Hugill, Cosmo Lush, John McIntosh, Justin Tooth, Tim Waters and Toby Young (biogs here) seems to be firstname.lastname@example.org.
14 December 2010
According to the paper, he was talking about a “handful of noise nuisance and environmental protection staff”. In a seven-storey building.
With passers-by able to watch these workers through brightly lit windows at all hours, who would have guessed this is what H&F meant when it said it aimed to become Britain’s most transparent local council.
13 December 2010
CONFIRMED! Hammersmith Council sacrificing centre for local children to ideological “free” school for children from outside the borough
The council claims the Askham Centre is “underutilised”. But at least it’s used by local Hammersmith families whereas the new school will take only half its children from H&F.
The Tories seem to think Hammersmith taxpayers won’t notice that local services are being at best disrupted and at worst sacrificed in favour of an ideological school experiment for kids outside the borough.
07 December 2010
What would he think of a statement yesterday by Shaun Bailey, his own failed parliamentary candidate, that "We should stop building sink estates, look at the social mix of housing and incentivise people to live together"? Making shared ownership viable for people on low incomes should also be a priority, says Bailey.
What with Tory MP Zac Goldsmith attacking the unwanted scheme, soon the Tory council's only remaining friends will be the developers salivating about their profits.
06 December 2010
03 December 2010
The centre’s services include overnight respite for families with severely disabled children and assessments for families with serious behavioural problems. This would be sacrificed for an unwanted ideological free school experiment, half of whose pupils will come from outside the borough.
Toby Young wants the new school to teach Latin. To which we can only say, ne cede malis*.
* May you not give way to evil things (Virgil)
29 November 2010
Lord Ashcroft’s £42,000 bounty was conveyed by Bearwood Corporate Services Ltd, a subsidiary of a subsidiary of an investment company owned by a Belize-registered company (yes) associated with the straightforward peer.
John Nash, who owns a huge private healthcare company, chose to channel £50,000 to Hammersmith Tories via his wife Caroline. She also bestowed £21,000 on Andrew Lansley's office, causing the Daily Telegraph to exclaim, “Andrew Lansley, the shadow health secretary, is being bankrolled by the head of one of the biggest private health providers to the NHS” and the Daily Mail to warn, “Mr Nash runs several other firms that provide services to the NHS and stands to gain hugely from Tory plans to increase private sector involvement”. It will be interesting to see how local GP consortia develop.
26 November 2010
Cathnor Park Area Action Group Communication
Please could you forward this email to all neighbours and friends.
If you are in Hammersmith tomorrow (27th November 2010), there will be a stall in Lyric Square showing more details of the Town Hall Redevelopment and what you can do to object.
Annabel Clarke, Cathnor Park Area Action Group
25 November 2010
Given the 14-storey monstrosity the Tory council wants to build on the cinema site, it is ironic that Cineworld is currently showing an alien horror film called "Skyline", whose poster warns "Don't look up". (Tory councillors take note: the good guys win in the end.)
23 November 2010
- 13 September - At a Save Our Skyline meeting, H&F Tory Cllr Harry Phibbs says "I'm here to listen" to residents' concerns that replacing the town hall extension with two 14-storey skyscrapers would blight the skyline, force out vulnerable local residents and damage local shops.
- 29 October - The “listening” Tories submit unchanged plans to the planning committee.
- 12 November - Private Eye again calls H&F a Rotten Borough: "How the Bigger Society became the Bugger Off Society when it came to consulting over plans to demolish council buildings in favour of luxury flats”. Full piece here (better still, buy the paper).
16 November 2010
• June 2008: H&F council refuses emergency accommodation to an eight-month-pregnant battered wife, who ends up sleeping rough in a park for four days.
• 2009: THA complains to the Local Government Ombudsman.
• Jan 2010: Ombudsman finds H&F guilty of maladministration causing injustice
• June 2010: H&F council stops funding THA.
• Nov 2010: THA closes.
The Ombudsman is still investigating a second THA complaint about H&F, allegedly “a lot, lot worse than the first”.
15 November 2010
Are local charities being kicked out to make Palingswick House a free school for kids outside the borough?
Dogma-driven H&F Tory Council looks set to hammer local charities and sacrifice local residents’ money on educating children from outside the borough. The council originally shamefully said it would kick out 23 charities that help local people from Palingswick House on King Street and sell the building to pay down debt rather than improve services.
Now rumours are flying that the Tories are about to give up any rental or sale income from the building and hand it over to Toby Young’s new free school. Toby says only “about half” of students will be H&F residents – in other words, half will come from outside H&F (see http://tinyurl.com/2wllgop). Why should local charities and residents pay for this?
09 November 2010
That's before any plans are finalised for the so-called super council of H&F, K&C and Westminster.
31 October 2010
22 October 2010
Plans to create a 'super council' surely only require one 'super leader' as Mr Blobby takes another step towards world domination. So this is the new localism.
RIP H&F, hello to WKCH&F: Who xxxKxxx Cares about Hammersmith & Fulham!
PS and this is why: http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2010/10/osborne-poor-labour-london
19 October 2010
11 October 2010
Save Our Skyline is a new residents' group which has arranged a public meeting about the council’s plans on Wednesday 13th October. The meeting will start at 7.00pm and will take place at Rivercourt Methodist Church, King Street, Hammersmith, W6 9JT.
For more visit: http://www.saveourskyline.co.uk/
10 October 2010
The cabinet report describes the out of hours service as well respected by residents, but says it has to be relocated to Rochdale to save money. So next time you have a housing problem, need a social worker, have an environmental health issue or noisy neighbours, you know where to call.
hfconwatch must have missed this plan to put residents first in the Tories' manifesto at the recent council elections.
The cabinet report also forgets to mention that the council already makes £15 million profit a year from parking and penalty tickets. This profit will be topped up by increases in the cost of parking tickets and visitor permits in the borough. Tell your friends and family to go elsewhere.
30 September 2010
Who tipped off Cllr Greenhalgh that his mate Pickles was calling a halt to his propaganda machine?
Is the council's wheeze of turning H&F news into a 'partnership arrangement with an independent news provider' a clever move? Or a cynical attempt to get round the government's announcement?
The H&F council press release states: 'While H&F wants no say in editorial coverage, it wants to use the newspaper to communicate and engage with residents in allocated space clearly set aside for the council.'
So not very independent then!
Respond to the council consultation ASAP by going to: http://www.lbhf.gov.uk/Directory/Council_and_Democracy/Consultation_and_complaints/Consultations/ and access H&F Buildings Consultation questionnaire
The consultation formally ends at 23.59hrs on Friday, 1st October 2010, according to the covering letter from the council leader.
29 September 2010
A consultation published today outlines new proposals to tighten up the publicity rules for councils so they guard against campaigning with public funds.
The proposals set out specific rules to stop municipal newspapers being published more often than four times a year and to prevent the hiring of lobbyists. Instead, Ministers say councils should redirect resources into protecting front-line services.
H&F leader Cllr Greenhalgh and his fellow Tories look like they have been squashed by Pickles. So farewell then H&F News...
22 September 2010
What does this say about the borough and the state of the economy in Tory Britain? H&F now stands for 'Hard-up and F***ed'.
16 September 2010
He has put on his journalist hat and written a diary story for the Evening Standard about his 105 recycled ideas. That's enough Phibbs.
11 September 2010
- the council's education department is being merged with Westminster council and also it seems Kensington & Chelsea
- three so-called free schools are being set up in the borough (out of 16 in total across the country)
- meanwhile existing schools are being robbed of resources with £200 million of improvements to local schools axed
- children's services are to be privatised as part of a pathfinder experiment which will affect some of the most vulnerable, looked after children
- and children's centres staff are all on notice with the council poised to close several of the borough's children's centres next year
None of the above was in the Conservatives' manifesto before the recent local elections.
06 September 2010
Jokes about piss-ups in breweries come to mind. Given free weather forecasts are widely available on the net and the fact that the council failed to grit the roads in advance of last winter's snow storms, perhaps councillors have been reading the comics down the pub. Or is the Old Ship part of the Tories' accommodation strategy?
For the official response, visit: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23874539-town-halls-defend-spending-on-pet-cats-free-running--and-a-wolfman.do
01 September 2010
You can sign the petition against the closure of Barons Court library here: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/savebaronscourtlibrary/
You can also go to Palingswick House - where lots of local voluntary organisations are based - to sign the petition to stop the council selling it off. Just visit Palingswick House to sign the petition form on the table in the entrance at 241 King Street W6 9LP. For an electronic copy of the petition, email: email@example.com
31 August 2010
All concessionary discounts on library charges are to be removed for older people and other residents; fees for using sports facilities will go up by at least 10%, while charges for collecting bulky waste will be increased by up to 200%.
So we are likely to see more rubbish on the streets and fewer people using local libraries and playing sport. Another Tory victory.
21 August 2010
People are wising up to the fact that what has happened in Tory H&F over the last four years is now happening to the whole country.
20 August 2010
That's another fine mess you got us into. H&F Tory council's leader, Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh, and deputy leader, Cllr Nicholas Botterill, really are the Laurel and Hardy of our times and borough.
Has Cllr Botterill stopped smirking yet? And Cllr Greenhalgh should be ashamed of the comedy stitch-up of the deputy prime minister.
19 August 2010
A photocall was arranged to demonstrate his new social mobility policies at the Shepherds Bush Village Hall - only for Clegg to discover when there that Tory H&F council has cut the children's centre's funding and is selling off the building.
Have a look at:
You couldn't make it up! Another ConDem cock-up...
17 August 2010
As they say, charity begins at home.
16 August 2010
Now there will be no independent body to judge whether councils are performing well and delivering good value for money - nor to monitor the impact of all the Tory cuts in local services.
No wonder Cllr Greenhalgh is delighted. After all, it was the Fat Controller himself who urged the other Fat Controller to get rid of the Audit Commission.
12 August 2010
Now the borough's playgrounds are not going get the promised makeover as more cuts hit locally.
Angry parents in Brook Green attacked the latest Tory cuts on Channel 4 News last night.
11 August 2010
Hard-nosed Harry Phibbs (in his other job on the Daily Mail) has had great fun raking over every class cliche going at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1302125/Sharp-elbowed-middle-class-Cameron-indifferent-rest-us.html
Now he has laid into H&F council for using private firms to lobby the government. We wait to see how much has been spent by the Tory council on lobbying and H&F News.
But Mr Pickles and Tory leader Cllr Greenhalgh must be heading for a super-heavyweight wrestling match in one of our local parks soon.
27 July 2010
A consultation on changes to the library service has been launched today just as many library users head off for their holidays. This cynical move displays the Tories' contempt for local residents.
The consultation closes on 15 September...
16 July 2010
Last night at the H&F cabinet meeting, Cllr Phibbs should have been asking why his colleagues were making huge cuts in local voluntary organisations that make up the so-called Big Society. Instead he said nothing and simply nodded through cut after cut.
Rather than his Daily Mail 'hypocrisy' attacks on others, Cllr Phibbs should be asking himself why he missed virtually every single meeting of the H&F Law Centre management committee that he was representing the council on. Shame on you and the rest of the cabinet.
15 July 2010
Faced with huge cuts, the seven organisations will be calling for decisions to be reversed. They are: Shepherds Bush Families Project; Under 5's drop in session run by SEAPIA (Sands End); Iranian Association; Grove Neighbourhood Centre; Hammersmith & Fulham Law Centre; Threshold Housing Advice; Hammersmith & Fulham Refugee Forum.
Support them outside Hammersmith town hall from 6.15pm this evening (15 July) and in the cabinet meeting itself at 7pm.
PS despite six powerful deputations, the Tory leader ran roughshod over his fellow cabinet members and opposition councillors tonight, refusing to allow any questions or debate on the proposals and moving straight to a vote on cutting voluntary sector funding. Clearly the Tories 'cannot afford to care'.
12 July 2010
Now Tory councillors will face a huge demonstration on Thursday 15 July when H&F cabinet meets to agree the cuts. A rally outside the town hall at 6.15pm will be followed inside by deputations to the cabinet meeting at 7pm.
The cuts will hit all sections of the local community and decimate local services. Organisations that are being hit include the Pre-school Learning Alliance, Hammersmith & Fulham Action on Disability, the Law Centre, Threshold, Shepherds Bush Families Project, Breakthrough and many minority ethnic and refugee groups plus CITAS.
Whatever happened to the Big Society?
08 July 2010
Not only does Mr Blobby not know his stuff – part of Andrew Slaughter's new constituency covers the Fulham Society's patch - but isn’t Cllr Greenhalgh simply admitting that he was also hoovering up the free calories, but just travelling in the opposite direction? And we all know who can eat more.
Clearly Greenhalgh and Hammersmith Tories are still smarting and bitter (that will be 14 pints, please) two months on from losing the Hammersmith parliamentary election. Or perhaps Mr Blobby was tired and emotional when he wrote 'Wine before bed'.
07 July 2010
Up for sale are:
Fulham Town Hall
The Sands End Community Centre
The Askham Centre
Distillery Lane Centre
The Irish Centre
58 Bulwer Street
The Greswell Street Centre
50 Commonwealth Avenue W12
Once sold, these facilities will never belong to the community again.
They were celebrating a further £55 million cuts in local services over the next three years together with a deal to merge H&F's local education authority with Westminster council's. It's not clear who voted for that move or what benefit it will bring the children and students of this borough.
PS This is what The Guardian has to say about the education merger with Westminster: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jul/17/public-services-local-councils So much for the new localism.
05 July 2010
PS a H&F council press release about the vandalism to thirteen school building projects in the borough unusually doesn't include a quote from a Tory councillor about their government's bulldozing of their plans.
Tory leader Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh has proclaimed a personal mission to reduce the council's debt and thereby the council tax. No one seems to be asking why such big cuts in debt (and thereby local services) are necessary at this time.
Instead, Cllr Greenhalgh is glorying in selling off community assets, axeing funding to local voluntary organisations and closing the local carers' centre (as per previous blogs). More on all these Tory cuts to follow - £55 million over the next three years, as trumpeted by the Tory leader last week.
10 June 2010
The decision means the centre will have to close after 12 years. No alternative support or services for carers have been put in place. Families will now have to struggle even more on their own. Happy Carers Week!
PS One wonders what the Princess Royal makes of H&F council's decision to close one of her centres?
PPS The protests against the decision by new Tory cabinet member Cllr Joe Carlebach are mounting...
08 June 2010
News has just reached hfconwatch that H&F Carers Centre is to be closed after 12 years supporting carers and their families in the borough.
Following a lengthy review, the Tory council has decided to close the centre -without putting in place any other services for carers.
Cllr Greenhalgh has made it clear that reducing the council's debt is a priority compared to supporting carers or running summer projects for disabled children.
Watch this space for more Tory cuts coming your way soon...
31 May 2010
Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh – Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic and Housing Development
Cllr Nicholas Botterill – Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment and Asset Management
Cllr Mark Loveday - Cabinet Member for Strategy and Chief Whip
Cllr Helen Binmore - Cabinet Member for Children’s Services
Cllr Joe Carlebach - Cabinet Member for Community Care
Cllr Harry Phibbs - Cabinet Member for Community Engagement
Cllr Lucy Ivimy - Cabinet Member for Housing
Cllr Greg Smith - Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services
The leader of the council has taken on personal responsibility for demolishing estates in the borough with an addition to his portfolio.
And if Cllr Phibbs is the answer to the council's problems engaging with the community, what was the question? Hard-nosed Harry will go down well telling residents that their homes and local communities are being sold off to developers.
27 May 2010
Just days after the elections on 6 May, one local voluntary organisation was told that funding for its long-established summer playscheme for disabled children has been cut - a few weeks before it was due to take place.
hfconwatch will be monitoring Tory council cuts as they grapple with the £25 million budget risks unveiled before the election. Email any news to: firstname.lastname@example.org
CLEARLY the Tories are rather prickly about this post, having issued a denial/rebuttal 48 hours after the annual council meeting. A press release from the council (rather similar to H&F Tories' own website) has given this blog more publicity than it's had for a long time. As Cllr Greenhalgh knows, politics is about priorities. We all know what the Tory council's priorities are for the next four years - just read previous hfconwatch posts over the last four years.
He was still angry over “appalling” Labour lies that he blamed for preventing celebrated candidates such as Shaun Bailey winning in marginal seats. “They were telling people in Hammersmith they were going to have their council house taken away by the Tories.”
What lies, Prime Minister? H&F Tory leader Cllr Greenhalgh is already ploughing on with his plans to demolish council estates in the borough.
For the real reasons why Labour won Hammersmith, see: http://www.progressonline.org.uk/articles/article.asp?a=5925
23 May 2010
But Hands has now been appointed as Parliamentary private secretary to George Osborne.
So watch out for Greg and George creating havoc, with the first Tory cuts announcement due on Monday. Hundreds of thousands of jobs are threatened as services are slashed.
08 May 2010
Speaking at the conclusion of the council count on Friday, Greenhalgh said the pace of change would be quickened (no doubt helped, he hopes, by a Tory government).
All those people in College Park & Old Oak, Wormholt & White City, Shepherds Bush Green, Askew, Hammersmith Broadway and North End who voted against the Tory plans to wreck their communities will be horrified by Greenhalgh's comments.
The election is over; the war continues.
He faces more humiliation as he returns to his 'day job' as chief executive of the 'charity' MyGeneration which faces a Charity Commission inquiry into its £16k unaccounted for expenses.
Bailey was outdone by a much better Labour candidate and campaign and he was undone by the Tory H&F council's plans to demolish affordable housing.
H&F Tories didn't seem too unhappy about Bailey's defeat. 'These things happen' was a typical comment.
Today's newspapers contain lots about the Tory A-listers like Bailey who failed to win despite huge backing from Cameron and Ashcroft. See the Telegraph for example: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/cristinaodone/100038562/shaun-bailey-and-joanne-cash-were-on-camerons-a-list-and-lost-should-dave-take-it-personally/
05 May 2010
PS the propaganda was compounded by the Horton and Garton estate agents' advert wrapped around H&F News, with a blue rosette on the back cover and the front suggesting a change of occupant at No.10. Fortunately H&F News is now widely loathed.
Email of the day
Manchester United fans are writing to their candidates, asking what they intend to do about the club's financial state. They will be happy to read that Tory candidate for Hammersmith, Shaun Bailey, thinks "football matters". In fact, he cares so much that he replies: "Here in (name) we are lucky enough to have a great club in (name), whose fortunes I try to follow closely."
The best round-up of all the horrors of the last four years in Tory H&F is published in The Independent today: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/poverty-and-injustice-in-david-cameronrsquos-model-borough-1962318.html
Pass it on and make sure H&F residents know what's at stake on 6 May.
The H&F Coalition against Community Care Cuts wrote recently to local political parties about their plans for social services after the 2010 elections. Despite asking three times, they got no response from the local Conservative Party.
So what secrets have the Tories got up their sleeves? We know there are plenty of holes in their budget so expect more cuts in services for older and disabled people if the Tories retain control of H&F council.
But Hands has been silent about what has been going on closer to home. Hammersmith Tory candidate Shaun Bailey has still to explain why My Generation, the charity he runs, had almost £16,000 expenses unaccounted for in its last accounts.
The Charity Commission are investigating Bailey's charity. Hands up Shaun!
25 April 2010
Why is Shaun Bailey opposed to giving local people the chance to vote on the future of their homes?
22 April 2010
Not only was almost £16,000 unaccounted for in 2008-9, but the charity has spent unusually large amounts on publicity and travel and administration over the last three years. Full details at: http://politicalscrapbook.net/2010/04/shameful-accounts-of-tory-candidates-charity/
While it's clear that Shaun Bailey has used My Generation as a PR vehicle for himself, what has still not been revealed is who has funded the charity.
21 April 2010
Making big spending announcements in the immediate lead up to the election surely contravenes council publicity laws. It's made worse by the fact that the Tory council is covering up its tracks, having failed to predict and meet the increase in demand for primary school places. No wonder local parents are cynical about Tory education policies.
Bailey told Civil Society: "My Generation is a small charity that has experienced rapid growth. At that time we had a full-time staff of only two people responsible for all of the charity's projects and administration. Like many small charities and voluntary organisations, it took us some time to develop the administrative processes."
But the accounts in question are for the third full year that the charity has operated - 2008-9. Three years should be more than long enough to sort these things out, particularly for someone who aspires to be an MP. Surely the charity's chief executive should have dealt with this 'bad administration'?
In a statement to Third Sector, Bailey said the trustees of My Generation believed the discrepancy arose because the charity changed accountants and it appeared that the old accountants did not pass all the invoices on to the new accountants. "As soon as the paper trail is clarified, the complete 2008/9 accounts will be re-submitted so that everything is clear. The charity's accountants are waiting to see what information can be recovered and then will provide an explanation to the Charity Commission."
The question for Bailey is: why did the independent accountants not highlight this in their comments in the 2008-9 accounts? And why did it take so long to come up with this reason?
No doubt there will be plenty of other questions from the Charity Commission when they examine the 2008-9 accounts in detail. Such as what was the £16k spent on? And who funds My Generation?
17 April 2010
Mr Bailey told The Times yesterday that the charity had been unprepared to deal with its rapidly growing budget. “We had a little panic, we have the stuff,” he said. “What you are dealing with is a kid from the estate who had a good idea to do this and never had a wider view of accountants and lawyers. We have raised this money, spent it on the kids. We just didn’t know.”
Where has the £16k gone, Shaun?
The most recently filed accounts for My Generation, where Bailey is chief executive, show that independent examiners qualified My Generation’s accounts for 2008-9 because they failed to meet charity and company accounting laws.
In particular they highlighted the fact that £15,952 of My Generation's expenses were made without any supporting records or receipts. About 8% of the charity’s total spending was therefore unaccounted for.
In addition almost half of My Generation’s spending in 2008-9 was on publicity and administration and was not ‘direct charitable expenditure’. Of the £116,000 charitable expenditure, over half was spent on travel and subsistence.
My Generation was established in early 2006 shortly before Bailey was selected to stand in Hammersmith by the Conservative Party.
The charity’s accounts for 2006-7 and 2007-8 were filed late with the Charity Commission. Now big questions have been put to the Commission about My Generation’s accounts for 2008-9.
13 April 2010
07 April 2010
05 April 2010
1. Where were you born?
2. Where have you lived and where do you live now?
3. Where did you go to school?
4. What did you do at college?
5. What have you done for a living?
6. What links do you have with the Hammersmith constituency?
7. Who is funding you?
8. How much have you spent on your campaign?
9. Who does your promotion?
10. Why don’t you speak out on the Tory council's record locally?
More questions and some answers to follow shortly.
Strangely Bristow doesn't mention that he's a H&F councillor on his Middlesbrough website, let alone the facts that he lives in H&F and gets paid for doing two jobs in the borough.
Bristow has also done the chicken run from his current ward, Fulham Reach, to stand in Ravenscourt Park on 6 May, presumably to protect his position on the council. The question remains about what he does as cabinet member for residents' services in H&F, apart from organising polo tournaments and standing in Middlesbrough.
28 March 2010
The Local Government Ombudsman submitted to the council on 19 January 2010 a report with a finding that the complainant, a homeless pregnant woman who presented to Housing Options Division as homeless in 2008, suffered maladministration and injustice.
That's how the official report puts it. See how it really was: http://hfconwatch.blogspot.com/2010/01/true-face-of-camerons-caring.html
- sacking council employees
- cutting local services
- closing and selling off community facilities
- hiking fees and charges to residents
- selling off estates to developers
- not helping homeless people
- breaking election manifesto promises
- introducing charges for homecare
- devising secret budgets
Only the Tories would be proud of these ten 'achievements'.
21 March 2010
But council finances are much worse after four years of Tory control so they have not been able to repeat their promises to emulate Wandsworth council. There are no pledges to cut council tax beyond 2011.
Instead local residents should be very worried about huge cuts to local services if the Tories get re-elected on 6 May. With budget 'risks' of more than £25 million, cuts are inevitable with higher fees and charges for those who need services most; another 1,000 jobs in danger; and local services and facilities closed down and sold off.
Just one example. In the north of the borough the Wormholt Tenants and Residents Association has been told to move out of Wormholt library where it has held activities and meetings for decades - to be replaced by a fee-paying prep school. But in the recession parents locally have been taking children out of private education and putting them in local primary schools at the same time as Tory H&F council closed a primary school. The result of course is that local primary schools are now oversubscribed and parents can't get their children educated locally!
All that was lacking was the caption: "I've never voted Tory before but I do want to cut Trident." You know it makes sense.
14 March 2010
PS. The offending officer has now been sacked by the council. Unlike the Tory cabinet member, Lucy Ivimy, who made racist remarks reported all round the world about H&F tenants.
13 March 2010
The Foundation's leader and former H&F councillor, Donal Blaney, has called the NHS Britain's 'biggest waste of money', claimed global warming is a 'scam' and suggested that the water-boarding of prisoners can be justified.
Greg Smith, who also coordinates Shaun Bailey's campaign in Hammersmith, co-founded the YBF which trains Conservative politicians and activists.
Donal Blaney has repeatedly attacked David Cameron's leadership of the Conservative Party. Local Tory MP Greg Hands is also heavily involved with the Young Britons' Foundation and sits on the organisation's Parliamentary Council.
12 March 2010
Not content with closing off much of the north of the borough around Goldhawk Road, the council has now told residents that the roadworks at Seven Stars will continue for two weeks longer than previously announced. The council blames its favourite whipping boy, Thames Water, but fails to take responsibility itself.
Add to that the continuing weekend closures of Hammersmith Bridge and never-ending hold-ups on Fulham Palace Road, there is no point trying to drive locally. So on your bike Cllr Greenhalgh.
02 March 2010
2) And why has Caroline Nash given you so much money?
3) Where do you live?
4) Why don't you write your own PR material?
5) And what do you really think about the 'super sewer'?
Any answers please to: email@example.com
28 February 2010
Hard-nosed Tory Cllr Harry Phibbs has blamed immigration for the Tories having given up their ambitions to emulate Wandsworth levels of council tax. If the Tories hadn't spent the last four years cutting local services, they wouldn't be in such a pickle.
21 February 2010
Last week CapCo, the owners of Earl's Court and Olympia, began a roadshow around West Ken presenting their plans to build 8,000 homes and a massive commercial centre straddling the border between H&F and Kensington & Chelsea. This is triple the density allowed for in the London plan.
The scheme was dreamed up by H&F's Tory leader Stephen Greenhalgh as a site for an international convention centre and a way of demolishing the homes of 763 families in council and housing association homes on the West Ken and Gibbs Green Estates. Branding the estates ghettoes and the people who lived there too poor, he ordered them out.
But last week the developer rejected Cllr Greenhalgh's grand plan. They can make more money by putting 30-storey blocks of luxury flats in the middle of the site, offices along the A4 and Kensington-style mansion blocks where the estates now are.
Tory H&F council no longer pretends they are making decisions on planning and development issues. The elected representatives have handed total control of local neighbourhoods to unaccountable multi-national businesses.
Since Cllr Greenhalgh declared H&F 'open for business' three years ago, the following has happened:
Not one but three massive 'Opportunity Areas' have been designated at West Ken, White City and Old Oak. 3,500 affordable homes will go and the scale of development will mean gridlock and inundation of local services. The borough will mimic Westminster as a destination for visitors and workers alike and both its distinctiveness and residential character will be destroyed.
Medium-sized sites are earmarked for over-development: the Olympia aparthotel, the 'squashed strawberry' in Hammersmith Broadway, the Goldhawk Industrial Estate, 282 Goldhawk Road, Stowe Road Depot, Shepherds Bush Market.
Community resources are sold off, privatised or left to rot. The latest to be marked up for sale is Palingswick House in King Street, home to 22 community groups. But it follows: 13 homeless hostels, Peterborough School, the Castle youth club, High Master’s House, the Hut Association. And will soon be joined by the old Wormholt library, and, according to leaked budget papers, Sands End and Baron's Court Libraries.
14 February 2010
The bridge will also close every weekend until March 15.
To make matters worse, Mayor Boris Johnson's Transport for London has agreed that Tory Kensington & Chelsea council can close Albert Bridge, linking Chelsea with Battersea, on February 15 for 18 months.
07 February 2010
The Tories' budget plans until 2013, to be discussed by their cabinet on Monday this week, show:
- council tax cuts will stop in 2011, with no cut in the following two years (another broken promise), thwarting H&F Tories' ambitions to emulate Wandsworth
- more than £25 million has been identifed as budget 'risks' exposing big holes in the plans over the next three years; the Tories are already raiding reserves as they gamble with the risks
- local residents face increased charges and fees for local services on top of council tax, while the Tories continue to make huge cuts in services
06 February 2010
The much-heralded baby boom has led to local primary schools being asked to expand their intake at short notice.
Why the Tory council couldn't forecast the increased demand for primary school places is unbelievable.
31 January 2010
You can meet friends at one of the many bars in Hurlingham Park or in the Veuve Clicquot Champagne Garden:
• Afternoon Tea Package (Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th June, 2010) Tea provided by Harrods of Knightsbridge and Champagne by Veuve Clicquot, served in the private pitch side corporate enclosure. Package includes grandstand tickets and complementary (sic) programmes. From £150.00 plus VAT pp.
• Picnic Package (Friday 4th, Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th June, 2010). Individual picnic boxes served under cover in a shared facility (tables of 10) in the grounds of Hurlingham Club. Package includes grandstand tickets and complementary (sic) programmes. Limited availability. £185.00 plus VAT pp.
• Club Lunch Package (Friday 4th, Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th, 2010) Full hospitality including Veuve Clicquot reception at The Hurlingham Club with canapés, followed by 2 courses plus Harrods Afternoon Tea served in pitch side corporate enclosure in Hurlingham Park. Package includes grandstand tickets and complementary (sic) programmes. On Friday 4th drinks in the pitch side corporate enclosure are complementary (pass the sick bag) and on Saturday and Sunday only in addition to their Afternoon Tea, Harrods will be serving a Continental Breakfast in the pitch side corporate enclosure for those wanting to watch the pre lunch match. Friday £415 plus VAT pp, Saturday £265 plus VAT pp, Sunday £295 plus VAT pp.
29 January 2010
Mr. Greg Hands (Hammersmith and Fulham) (Con): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I have given prior notification to the Member concerned.
In Communities and Local Government questions yesterday, the hon. Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe (Mr. Betts) put a question with a wholly erroneous set of comments attributed to the leader of my council, Hammersmith and Fulham, including the statement that
"one problem with social housing was that it was hard to get rid of these people".- [ Official Report, 26 January 2010; Vol. 504, c. 669.]
That comment is entirely false. The leader of the council never said any such thing, so I should be grateful for your guidance, Mr. Speaker, on how we might set the record straight for what is, after all, one of Britain's best-loved and best-run local authorities.
Mr. Speaker: I thank the hon. Gentleman for his attempted point of order, but as he will know, on the strength of his experience in the House, it was not a point of order but a most interesting point of debate, which has now been placed fairly and squarely upon the record.
24 January 2010
H&F council has just been found guilty of maladministration by the Local Government Ombudsman in a damning report on how the woman was dealt with.
This news doesn't appear on H&F council's website (and is unlikely to feature in H&F News). But it is another example of what would happen if the Conservatives won the general election.
PS some five days after publication of the Ombudsman's verdict, H&F council has issued a press release, 'apology for housing mistake', without a quote from a Tory councillor.
Another blow to residents around Goldhawk Road. If this had been happening near Fulham Road, perhaps it would have been resolved a bit quicker...
18 January 2010
Hammersmith Bridge will be closed in both directions every weekend until 15 March, and for ten days in mid-February.
15 January 2010
When asked 'if you could change one thing about the borough, what would it be', Nathalie says:
"I would remove [council leader] Stephen Greenhalgh and his Margaret Thatcher policies. I would rather pay the extra three per cent council tax which the council has cut, as charges have been applied to other services, especially for elderly people who have to pay £12.40 for home care. I would also change the Tory council's charges for the meals on wheels policy."
Already library staff are being axed and some libraries have had to reduce opening hours because of staff shortages.
But the Tory council is planning further cuts, with Baron's Court library and Sands End library first in the firing line for closure. In addition Askew Road library will be offering reduced services to accommodate a Royal Mail collection point.
10 January 2010
The Fulham & Hammersmith Chronicle will provide a much needed source of local news and issues, challenging the council's fortnightly propaganda newpaper, H&F News.
Let the new Chronicle have stories about Tory H&F council by visiting www.fulhamchronicle.co.uk, calling 020 8572 1816 or emailing one of the reporters.
09 January 2010
08 January 2010
In other words, Tory H&F council had failed to grit and clear the streets and pavements around Craven Cottage - just like most of the rest of the borough.
Well done H&F council.
07 January 2010
Cllr Bristow - a Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Middlesbrough - has called on each of the Tees Valley councils to hold reviews into their reactions to the snow chaos once the icy spell is over.
Cllr Bristow commented: "There has been considerable criticism throughout the Tees Valley about the lack of gritting and snow clearance by the local authorities responsible, especially on side streets and pavements. In Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland there has been, at best, minimal gritting on main roads only. Pavements are particularly treacherous with many residents unsure if they are supposed to clear the path outside their home. We have had this icy spell for weeks and it seems our local authorities are still struggling to cope. I understand that they are under acute pressure but we hear the same excuses every year. What is needed is a comprehensive review of practice by each council to learn once and for all the lessons for dealing with bad weather. They should work together and listen to the public. Each local authority has a duty of care to local residents and should look carefully into what has gone wrong.''
Cllr Bristow clearly hasn't been on the streets of H&F recently, otherwise he would have realised that phrases about 'pots and kettles' would have come to mind. Or perhaps he thought Middlesbrough was far enough away for his hypocritical views to be expressed. In fact we keep hearing the same excuses in Tory H&F - and we are still waiting for most of our streets and pavements to be gritted.
04 January 2010
"My mates are all in the Shadow Cabinet, waiting to get those boxes, being terribly excited. I went to university with them, they haven't run a pissup in a brewery. They're going to get a department of state, in one case running the finances of the nation."
£13 million new cuts in local services have been announced for the coming year, with £35 million cuts in total over the next three years to 2013. Taking the brunt of the cuts will be children's services, care for older and disabled people, and environmental services.
But the budget also comes with huge risks - some £9 million in the coming year has been identified as potential extra costs, almost equivalent to the council's total reserves. And over the next three years, the budget risks add up to £25 million.
The Tories' budget gamble shows how much the tax cut (worth less than 50p a week) is really costing local residents.
Meanwhile more money has been spent by the council to line the borough's streets with propaganda banners in advance of Dave's visit tomorrow. He is expected to face a barrage of protests from traditional Tory voters concerned by H&F council giving planning permission to controversial developments in Goldhawk Road.
03 January 2010
The Tory council's opposition to Thames Water's plans to stop raw sewage being pumped into the Thames puts them in conflict with many including the Tory Mayor of London, other local authorities, the government and green campaigners.
In the coming months we will no doubt see other Tory scaremongering resurrected - watch out for Charing Cross Hospital, the district line etc etc. All to deflect attention from the fact that the Tory council has done nothing over the last four years except cut local services and open Westfield and the new library which were planned under the previous administration.
But the Tories have been silent about Boris Johnson's huge hike in fares on London's buses and tubes. There's a really scary story...
02 January 2010
And for more Tory nonsense: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1240181/Setback-Cameron-senior-Tories-revolt-shaven-headed-image-supremo-Steve-Hilton.html?ITO=1490