Thursday, December 07, 2017

West Ham Ward Councillor Report 7 December 2017

Councillor Report to Ward
7 December 2017

tel: 0203 373 2615 or email
This is my bi-monthly written report. In October both I and my fellow ward member, John Whitworth, attended and passed a Labour Party candidate selection interview for the 2018 local elections. There will be local ward selections sometime in the New Year.

Our fellow ward Councillor, Freda Bourne, has decided not to re-stand but retire. Many thanks to Freda for her many years of service to the residents of West Ham.

Council IssuesResignation from Newham Fire Safety Scrutiny in Tower Blocks Commission
31 October I was forced to resign from being a member of this Commission because the evidence meetings are being held in secret. I did try to get this decision changed informally but was not successful. This secrecy is in my view completely unacceptable after the Grenfell Fire. We need complete openness and transparency to make sure such things never happen again.

Meeting with Director of Finance
22 November I met the Director and other senior managers with other Councillors to discuss our concerns about the Newham Council London Stadium loan impairment and pending huge investments into private sector renting (Red door ventures) and Commercial properties.

Newham Council Meeting
4 December. Following the announcement that £52 million in loans and working capital invested by Newham Council in the London Stadium has been lost, I raised emergency questions to the Mayor about the need for an independent judicial led enquiry into what went so wrong and that we should pause before committing proposed new massive investments in other property until we found out what had gone wrong. The Mayor disagreed.

Surgeries and case work
I have attended 2 surgeries per month in Vicarage Lane Community Centre and Brassett Point Residents Association room. There has been a number of cases regarding ASB; drug dealing; parking; housing disrepair, service charge disputes, Right to buy, domestic violence and neighbour disputes.

Ward issues
20th Anniversary of death of Police Constable Nina Mackay.
On 24 October both I and Cllr Whitworth attended this well organised and dignified remembrance service of PC Mackay who was killed on duty in Arthingworth Street E15.

AGM One Housing Group Tenants & Residents Association.
On 30 October I was pleased to attend its inaugural AGM and really hope that we are starting to see a rebirth of the TRA movement.

West Ham campaigning & petition on lack of social homes in Ford Showrooms development
28 October we went door knocking in the ward with Lyn Brown MP with petitions calling on the developers to commit to more social homes.

9 November we went and delivered letters to new party members in the ward inviting them to a special meeting.

Durul Jannah Community Centre, E15 – First Anniversary
5 November I was a guest with Cllr Whitworth & Lyn Brown MP at the 1st anniversary celebration. Lyn gave prizes to the children who used the centre and reminded all of them that they like her could one day become MPs when they grow up.

Estate Inspection Ladywell Street
8 November I did another inspection with a Family Mosaic senior manager and local residents. While there has been some improvements in this estate the performance by some contractors is very poor and they need to be monitored much better and made to improve.

Rebecca Cheetham Nursery School
23 November I attended its School Governor meeting. Things appear to going well at the school and I have been pleased to have met parents recently who are very complimentary about it.

Xmas Hampers for Elders
The free hampers for elders is running late this year but if you can help collect and delivery these hampers to local residents please contact Cllr Whitworth or I.

Pension Conference
10 October I was on a panel speaking to a Local Government Pension investment conference about ESG issues (Environment, Social and Governance).

Community Land trusts
12 October I helped organise a Newham Co-operative Party meeting on Community Land trusts which I think is something that we consider supporting in Newham. 

Local Authority Pension Fund Forum
17 October I attended the business meeting and in the feedback session about the pooling of Local Authority pension funds I stressed the need to have beneficiary representation on these new funds.  

Political/Community (outside ward)
18 October I went door knocking with local Councillors and members in Forest Gate North. We visited an estate to talk with local residents where a young child had been murdered recently in what was believed to be a gang related crime.

23 October there was a successful fund raising dinner for the 2018 elections sponsored in part by London UNISON Labour Link.

4 November “Solidarity Saturday” I was campaigning in the Thurrock Tory marginal with Lyn Brown MP.

London Labour Conference25 & 26 November I was a UNISON delegate to this conference and moved a successful motion on the private rental sector in London.

Black History event
4 November. After canvassing in Thurrock I attended a very well organised and informative event on Black History in Canning town Library. I very much hope next year that the Council participates in similar events.

Ramgarhia Sikh Gurdwara Temple
4 November. Next I went to the temple to help mark the 548th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

Workers Memorial Day 2018
Date for future is Saturday 28 April 2018 when West Ham Labour Party and local trade unions will be remembering all those killed at work or who have died of work related ill health at the Three Mills Green Memorial.

If any member wishes to contact me about this report to discuss any aspect please do not hesitate to do so.

John Gray
West Ham Ward Councillor

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