As always, we have a number remembrance services this month – unfortunately I’ve had to miss the first at Acton Care Centre due to family illness, but I’ll be at Ealing War Memorial this coming Remembrance Sunday. It’s so important to remember those who gave their lives in service of our country, and I’m proud to represent Acton at these events. This year I’ll also be attending the service at Acton High School.
Once again Full Council discussed the refugee crisis and Ealing’s desire to provide a safe home for children stuck in the Calais camp. Cllr Julian Bell gave a moving account of his visit to the camp, and there were sensitive contributions on all sides. The fact remains, however, that the Government’s delays in implementing the ‘Dubs amendment’ that offered help to unaccompanied children in the camp means that refugee children have suffered unnecessarily.
I’m pleased to say that as a result of our pressure, working with other Labour councils and campaign groups, we have finally been able to welcome a number of Dubs children to Ealing. They have fled the most terrible conditions in their home countries, and I hope our leafy borough will provide some solace for them.
Unfortunately I missed Health Scrutiny due to a clash with Planning, but it heard an important update about the NHS’s ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plan’ for north-west London. As ever the more innocuous the name, the more important the document. We and Hammersmith Council have refused to sign up to this Plan, which the Guardian covered in the summer, because it commits to implementing the downgrading of local A&Es and a loss of 500 beds across north-west London. At a time of growing demand for services, we can’t endorse these proposals, and with Hammersmith we have commissioned an independent review of the business case behind them: we will always stand up for our NHS and the vital local services our residents depend on.
In my role as a member of the Gunnersbury Museum and Park Development Trust, I’m also involved in fundraising for the restoration of the mansions and grounds at Gunnersbury Park. The wider funding climate for heritage is precarious and it is increasingly difficult to raise the large sums needed. As a result, Cabinet has noted a bid for additional capital investment of £900k – to be matched by Hounslow – to ensure works are completed.
South Acton news
One male has been arrested in relation to the incident on Winchester Street in mid-October. He has been charged with attempted murder. For obvious reasons further details are limited, but if I can share anything else I will keep you updated.
An encampment has appeared on the new school site in Acton Park. It’s just out of the ward but I know many residents are concerned this will lead to delays in building the new primary school – the children are currently co-habiting with Ark Priory on Acton Lane. As a result of a number of encampments over the summer the Council has a good deal of experience resolving these situations and processes are ongoing to secure the site.
We’ve had the results back from the second consultation on closing one end of Denehurst Gardens, following the successful scheme in Hillcrest. The first time round ended in an almost dead heat, so we felt it best to continue with the status quo so residents could see the impact on neighbouring streets before seeing if they’d changed their minds. The result this time is much clearer, and suggests we should go ahead with closing Denehurst at the junction with Uxbridge Road. A removable bollard is recommended for emergency access so there will be no impact on residents’ safety.
Finally, I’m pleased to say that the Education Funding Agency have responded to my request to meet with residents about the design of the new high school that will replace Acton college. There are concerns about how local roads will cope with any additional traffic, so hopefully these can be addressed at an early stage.
As ever, do get in touch with myself, Yvonne or Mik if you have any questions, problems or just want to chat!
With best wishes,
Josh, Yvonne and Mik