Ealing refunds parking fines

Guest blog by Cllr Andrew Steed

Did you get a parking permit reminder?

This was a story from last autumn: Ealing Council had a IT meltdown with the result residents did not receive reminders to renew their permits. Upto 3,000 Ealing residents subsequently ended up with a parking fine. Many appealed but the Council response was that it was up to residents to renew and rejected appeals. Local LDs raised the issue with parking, with the Portfolio Holder, the Chief Executive and asked questions at Full Council. To be frank it looked like the Council were adamant and would not do the decent thing. However I began to hear anecdotal stories that some of those who appealed were receiving notices cancelling the fines and refunds issued. It has now been confirmed that the Council will refund all residents who were penalised as a result of the Council’s own failure.

Crime down in Southfield?

Last Tuesday I attended our local Police Panel with 30 other residents. All wards in London have, or should have Police Panels, it is a key ingredient of Community Policing. Over the years Southfield has benefitted from some effective Chairs, committed ward sergeants and dedicated PCSOs and a team of Street Watchers. On this occasion we were joined by Inspector Leigh Ballard who manages the 23 wards in the Borough. Topics included doorbell cameras, thefts of catalytic converters, fly-tipping, and the relationship between the various ward police teams. Overall crime is down in Southfield year on year.

Planning

As the discussion forum indicates this is a big issue at the moment with a number of proposals in the ward and neighbouring the ward. The TfL proposal for Bollo Lane is actually in South Acton but will impact us significantly: the initial consultation gave the impression there would be something in the region of 400 units-to now discover it will be twice that number is shocking. The Stanley Road development with a planned 22 storey tower is also a concern, with local opposition growing and getting organised. Closer to home, as it is actually in the ward, are the plans for Cobbald Way, the site is currently a car park behind Greenend Road, adjacent to Acton Pumping Station. This last application is due to go to the Planning Committee soon, maybe in February, and I will speak against it.

Ward Forums – the final chapter?

Hounslow has Area Forums, Ealing has Ward Forums. Credit where it is due, the Ward Forum was originally a Conservative initiative. Over recent years Labour reduced the recommended number of meetings, the extent of officer support, and the budget to spend locally. Our meeting in St Albans Church on the 1st April will be the last such meeting. We maintained four meetings a year, lived with limited officer support, and enjoyed being challenged by residents. The ability to fund local improvements, be it lighting in our parks, helping local charities, or contributing to the Turnham Green Murals was appreciated by all. It is a great shame and without wishing to sound too dramatic, bad for local government and local democracy.

Cllr Andrew Steed is one of three Lib Dem councillors representing Ealing borough’s Southfield ward.