Fare Deal

Ilford South Labour Party members have been out at stations across the borough today (3 January) leafleting about the fares increase and Ken Livingstone's proposed fares deal.
Newbury Park Station Fare leafletingKen has confirmed that if elected in May 2012 he would cut fares by 7% taking them back to at least 2011 levels. Bus fares would also fall still further back to 2010 levels. The deal would also see fares frozen in 2013 and the end of Tory Mayor Boris Johnson's plan for a further inflation busting rise after that.

This is all affordable, each year Londoners pay more in fares than the Mayor's own budget predictions say they will. This operating surplus grows each year. The Tories claim the increase is to pay for improvements, but the capital budget is entirely separate from the operating budget. Ken's policy is to put money back into Londoner's pockets and purses. It is estimated that over the next 4 years the average commuter can be £1,000 better off.


Ken and Mandy
Mandy Richards, Havering and Redbridge GLA Candidate is backing Ken's campaign locally. She says:-

“In an area such as this where so many people travel to London each day, fare levels are important, for the future prosperity of London we have to ensure that people are able to afford to travel”

In our pictures Mandy is seen with Ken at a recent fundraising event and (above) with Labour members at Newbury Park. Ken will be canvassing with your local Labour Action Team in Seven Kings this coming Saturday 7 January.

Chadwell Councillors and Fare deal

The Chadwell Councillors are seen below at Chadwell Heath Station.

Boundary Commission Proposes To Abolish Ilford South

The Boundary Commission has put forward proposals to abolish the parliamentary constituency of Ilford South, splitting its wards between four other constituencies. This is part of its attempt to reduce the number of MPs in London. It seems strange to do so by breaking up one of the largest existing constituencies! Below is the response of Barbara White, Labour Councillor for Goodmayes Ward. You can also see Mike Gapes MP’s response by clicking here.

Whilst understanding the difficulties of reducing the number of constituencies in London from 73 to 68 the proposed changes would mean the total loss of Ilford South with the stroke of a pen.

Ilford South is a multi cultural area made up of many races and many faiths. We all live in harmony and we should be held up as a model and not divided by four. We share each others festivals and our lives are enriched by this.

I live in Cranbrook and under the proposals Cranbrook would join the new Wanstead and Woodford constituency. People from Cranbrook have little to do with Woodford. We are used to walking round our constituence y and passing synagogues, churches, temples, gurdwaras and mosques. This isn't the case in Woodford. People from Ilford South joke about needing a passport to visit Woodford. There is a tremendous community spirit in Ilford South which should be treasured.

The destruction of the historic Ilford South is appaling and will result in the loss of identity for many. As terrible as it may be I appreciate the fact that some change is inevitable.

If we think of Ilford town centre, the hub of life in Ilford, it appears madness to split the town centre into two separate constituencies.

Because of its diversity there are close community and religious associations between certain wards. The first one that springs to mind is the closeness of the jewish people who live in Cranbrook and Clayhall. Putting these two wards together would make sense. I believe that Mike Gapes, MP for Ilford South, has already presented his alternative to you. The alternative proposal was given to you by somebody who understands the area and the important links between certain wards. He has been the MP for Ilford South for almost 20 years.

The historical part of Ilford is very important. The constituents of Ilford South have had their own member of parliament for sixty six years. They want an Ilford South MP and surely they are entitled to that. Ilford South is one of the five largest constituencies in the country and to simply dismiss it is callous and brutal.

Our Community Festival

An item from Barbara White, one of our Labour Councillors for Goodmayes & Chair of the Area 5 Committee

What a wonderful day was had by approximately 5.000 people on the last Sunday in September. They were the people who attended the Area 5 (Chadwell, Goodmayes & Seven Kings) Community Festival.

The crowds were entertained by the Wenn Stage School, a Folk Band, and a very energetic Janice Irwin who had the crowd on their feet joining in her Zumba Class. They say that Britain’s Got Talent but I can assure you that Redbridge has as well.

Free food for all was provided by the Seven Kings Gurdwara and there was a BBQ provided by the Barley Bowls Club. Our Deputy Mayor, Cllr Felicity Banks, tried her hand at bowling. Free afternoon tea was provided at St Paul’s Church as part of the event. Councillors from Seven Kings, Goodmayes and Chadwell were also there offering help and advice to residents.

There were so many events for the children that it is difficult to know where to start. Spartans Basket Ball Team coached younger children, the Youth Bus was there as was a climbing wall, gyroscope and crazy bikes for free. Maytime Montessori, Goodmayes carried out free face painting and henna and for the mums and dads Lloyds Pharmacy, Chadwell Heath, gave free checks for blood pressure and diabetes.

The local allotment societies from both Seven Kings and Goodmayes joined forces to display a colourful array of produce.

There was a Give or Take Recycling event and Dr Bike was there to fix any bike problems.

The event proved that in Area 5 there is only one community and that is Our Community.

I would like to thank the caretaker, staff and everybody who helped with the event. The biggest accolade must go to Antoinette Davis who was like a one woman show pulling all the events together. She even arranged the sunshine.

I’m looking forward to next year and hope to see you there.

Cllr Barbara White, Goodmayes. Chair Area 5.

Downshall Centre “Consultation” Farce

Last night (Wednesday 16th) a farcical “public” meeting was held to present proposals by E-Act to open a Free School on the site of the current Downshall Centre in September (see post below). Below are some of the issues beginning to emerge

  • E-Act have already advertised for a headteacher for the “proposed” school. The closing date for applications is this Friday, 18th March! If you wanted to apply, you’re already too late: the project briefing days for applicants were earlier this week.
  • Back in October the Ilford Recorder ran a story about E-Act’s interest in bidding to open a free school in or near Newbury Park. It reported that a disused building such as a former office block would be used.
  • The Department for Education website shows the proposal was approved to the “business case stage” on 14th January.
  • About a dozen people attended last night’s “public” meeting held by E-Act. Most were representing voluntary sector groups using the centre. Also present were local councillor & Labour Group Leader, Bob Littlewood & union representatives. None of these people had been sent notice of the meeting. Only a couple were prospective parents, one of whom arrived minutes before the meeting ended.
  • E-Act claims to have been running a consultation since December 2010. This has consisted of a survey carried out by MORI of a about 300 prospective parents about whether they would want to send their children to a free school in the local area. No consultation of existing users of the Downshall Centre. No consultation with local residents or their elected representatives.

Some of the questions which need answering are:

  • When was the possibility of using the Downshall Centre first raised with Keith Prince, Leader of the Council, or Alan Weinberg, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services?
  • Why was a true consultation of all stakeholders not implemented as soon as consideration of using the centre had been agreed?
  • What consideration has been given to traffic management at the crossroads on which the Downshall Centre stands? This is already a longstanding problem which will be greatly exacerbated as the school builds from its opening capacity of 120 children to 420.
  • What alternatives were considered?
  • How can the results of the totally inadequate “consultation” be regarded as valid when those surveyed were not told the location of the school? Nor were they told it will take over the home of many servics provided by the voluntary sector & one of just four centres across Redbridge for the borough’s Youth Service.

Everyone accepts that there is an urgent need for more primary school places in the borough. That is why the last Labour government funded the building of new, purpose built primary schools on the old Port of London playing fields and off Winston Way. But the current proposal is not the way to go about it.

The Department for Education says free schools are “set up in response to what local people say they want”. We say:

  • This is the ConDem government hurriedly pushing through its ideological free schools agenda with the connivance of local Tories & Liberal Democrats. This denies local people the chance to say what they want.
  • This is no way to plan for the future.
  • This is top down, not bottom up government.
  • This is not transparent government.

Downshall Centre Shocker

Tonight, a poorly advertised “public” meeting will be the first to hear plans to close the Downshall Centre and open a Free School in it’s place in September.

This evening, at 6:00pm, free schools education organisation, E-Act, will present proposals to open a free school at the Downshall Centre. The proposal to dispose of the Downshall Centre to E-Act will go to the Cabinet meeting of Redbridge Council on Tuesday 22nd March.

The Downshall Centre is used by more than a dozen voluntary organisations in the borough. It is also used for meetings and sessions by various public organisations, such as the Youth Offending Team. The closure of the centre would be a huge blow to its many current tenants. They were only informed of the plans in a letter posted in their pigeon holes at the centre yesterday: it made no mention of tonight’s public meeting. But it will be the many users of these organisations who will suffer most if alternative, suitable and affordable premises can’t be found.

Residents in the local area are also likely to be concerned about likely traffic chaos as the Downshall Centre is opposite the existing Downshall Primary School.

The plans have been shrouded in secrecy. A small article in last Thursday’s Ilford Recorder advertised this evening’s meeting but did not mention a specific location for the school, simply “the proposed location in Seven Kings”. When contacted today, Seven Kings councillors Balvinder Saund & Bob Littlewood reported they had only been alerted to the proposal to sell the Downshall Centre by today’s publication of the agenda for Tuesday’s cabinet meeting. Yet the council’s ConDem administration, must have provided possible locations for such a school months ago.

Pressure on school places is enormous in Ilford South. But are these rushed, secretive plans the way forward?

Speak Out – Let The Secretary Of State For Health Hear Your Voice

Chadwell’s Councillor Andy Walker interviewed Waseem Nawaz about the care his sister received at King George Hospital while ill with flu and posted the video on You Tube. He is encouraging others to post videos of family and friends as to why A&E and maternity should not be cut to make a video petition which can be drawn to Andrew Lansley’s attention before he makes his decision about whether to close services at our hospital.

The title of the video is “Speaking out against King George Cuts”” if anyone would like to make linked videos to go with it.

The campaign to save services at King George Hospital has the support of all the political parties in Redbridge.

Tuesday 4th January, 6:45pm – Save Our A&E

THIS IS THE NIGHT THE SPECIAL COUNCIL MEETING HAS BEEN CALLED TO REVIEW THE PRIMARY CARE TRUST’S DECISION TO CLOSE KING GEORGE HOSPITAL A&E.

Only a decision by the Council to refer the whole matter to the Andrew Lansley the Health Secretary can save our services now. At the moment all parties locally agree that we must oppose the closure, but we need a big show of support outside the Town Hall before the meeting at 7.15 p.m.

BE THERE TO SUPPORT YOUR COUNCILLORS AND HELP SAVE OUR A&E. OAKFIELD ROAD ENTRANCE, ILFORD TOWN HALL, 6.45 p.m. TUESDAY 4 JANUARY.

The Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee debates the issue at 6 p.m. The public may attend, but capacity for speakers at this meeting will be limited as it must be over, with its recommendation made before the 7.15 p.m. Full Council Meeting. The M.P’s are already ‘billed’ to speak at this one and you may want to attend just to observe.

The Full Council Meeeting to consider the issue is at 7.15 p.m. This obviously is not so time constrained and there is thus more oportunity for members of the public to speak.

If you want to speak at or know more about attending either meeting contact Cllr Andy Walker.

Save King George Hospital: The Next Step In The Campaign

On Wednesday the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts decided to go ahead with their proposals to close accident & emergency and maternity services at King George Hospital despite the results of their “consultation”. Yesterday, in response, a request for an Extraordinary Council meeting about King George Hospital was lodged with the Mayors Office. The date suggested is the 4th or 6th January. The meeting has the support of all parties. Councillors are determined to do the best they can to stop the cuts.

At the Stratford Town Hall meeting of 15th December it came out that Queens A&E has been closed for around 4/5 hours to ambulances twice in the last month. Despite this, the Health Authority is proposing to cut medical staff by 27% over the next four years for Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Trust. The date of the exraordinary meeting will be posted soon.

PCTs Vote Unanimously To Close Accident & Emergency & Maternity Services at KGH

At a meeting in Stratford Town Hall last night the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts decided in favour of closing the Accident & Emergency service & the maternity unit at King George Hospital. This decision was taking in the face of public opposition demonstrated through their own “consultation”. It seems that nothing will stop them except the intervention of the Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley.

Future Of King George Hospital Hangs In The Balance

The campaign to save A&E and maternity services is stepping up again as the risk to hospital services looks increasingly likely.

The campaign had been given a boost after Redbridge residents delivered an overwhelming ‘thumbs down’ by proposals to axe the A&E department and maternity unit. 65% of residents who responded to the consultation were opposed to the closures.

But the Government and Health for North East London have refused to scrap their plans.

(more…)

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