What a result! Thank you to everyone who helped out on polling day and in the weeks and months beforehand, knocking on doors, delivering leaflets, and signing up our promises for postal votes. That groundwork helped push turnout up higher than anticipated, one of the factors that saw us win locally.
We will find out in a few weeks how the result breaks down on a ward-by-ward basis, which will give us an idea of what’s changed since the local and general elections. For now, we can enjoy a brief break before campaigning begins to keep us in the European Union.
Despite the pre-election purdah period, work carried on for us with the meetings programme no less busy than usual.
The final meeting of the Child Sexual Exploitation scrutiny panel I have vice-chaired considered its draft report (pdf) which was accepted with some amendments to the wording of the recommendations. Given the nature of CSE, much activity is hidden from us, and there will always be more we can do to prevent, disrupt and prosecute. That said, we have learned many of the painful lessons from failures elsewhere, and the pro-active and collaborative approach means that our detection rate is increasing. Problems that we continue to face relate to cross-borough working and data sharing, and we recommended the Council does more to improve this.
As always, we had another scrutiny meeting on the changes to waste and recycling services. There’s a huge amount of work that’s gone on over many months behind the scenes to make sure these changes are implemented properly, which contrasts with the approach taken elsewhere to implement almost as soon as the decision has been made. Bins are now being delivered across the borough ready to be used from early June.
This week we also scrutinise the annual parking services report, another unglamorous but important statutory function that OSC carries out.
Finally, we have had our Annual Council meeting, where we appointed Acton Central’s Cllr Patricia Walker as Mayor for the year ahead. She’ll do a great job and is Acton’s first Mayor since my predecessor John Gallagher performed the role in 2011-12.
I was appointed as Vice-Chair of the Planning Committee, which means I’ll be chairing a number of committee meetings over the coming year. As this comes with an additional ‘special responsibility allowance’, it means that all three South Acton councillors are now performing roles with SRAs attached – we’re a strong local team!
South Acton news
The election campaign means we’ve continued to knock on doors and talk directly to the residents we represent, and pick up issues from them to help with. Even on polling day we were collecting casework – I began the day by getting drug paraphernalia cleared from an internal staircase on the estate, and dumped rubbish cleared from Winchester Street.
During last year’s general election we had local Tories scaremongering about the regeneration of the South Acton estate; this year it was the turn of Ukip, with their mayoral candidate making an appearance at Oak Tree Community Centre. Suffice to say – we are providing new affordable homes for existing residents, financed by additional private flats.
We know there are issues for some leaseholders, whose current flats aren’t worth as much as flats in the new blocks – that’s why we’ve introduced shared equity schemes to help them stay in South Acton if they want to. The vast majority of existing residents do choose to stay in South Acton, which is an endorsement of the regeneration project by those who live here.
We have our next ward forum on Weds 22nd June at 7pm at CAIA on Mill Hill Road. Do come along if you can to hear what’s going on in the ward, updates on local projects and a report from the police safer neighbourhood team.
With best wishes,
Josh, Yvonne and Mik