Information about my work as a Labour Councillor for East Finchley in the London Borough of Barnet

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Post Office Motion

I was pleased that Full Council passed my motion last week on saving East Finchley Post Office. With another pointless Tory amendment to basically do nothing, I was pleased that there was unanimous support for not changing the current structure.


I wanted to make a note that it is a real shame the Tory Councillors chose to play petty politics with our blacklisting motion at Council last week. It wasn't necessary to amend the motion, nor attack Unions when we were dealing with an issue we all agreed with.

London Living Wage

I was pleased to meet with campaigners for London Living Wage, who asked for an update on Barnet Labour's successful efforts to implement it in Barnet. We are very pleased with our work in getting a motion passed unanimously at council last week.

Task and Finish Group

I am pleased to be a member of the Task an Finish Group looking into the Barnet First Programme. I welcome any representations.

Old Barn

I attended an informal meeting with the managers of the Old Barn on Sunday. It was something of a farce, as he proceeded to hold an AGM, which he was told by the charity commission that he could not do. I won't go into the details now, but I do want to reassure that we are fully engaged with the process.

Post Office Lobby

I attended the Communications workers Union Lobby of the House of Commons last week. It was good to see strong support from Murad Qureshi AM, Alan Johnson MP and Dennis Skinner MP, all of whom spoke extremely well. Talking to others, it is clear that our campaign in East Finchley to save our Post Office is much further advanced, and enjoys more popular support than most other places.

Crossings on Church Lane and Creighton Avenue

I was really pleased to get a Council officer down to talk to the three ward councillors and local residents and shop owners about the continuing problems on Church Lane. The officer was excellent, he was polite, professional, listened carefully and made very sensible suggestions. I cannot praise him enough. I won't name him, as I don't for any officer, but he is surely in my very good books!

We looked at Creighton Avenue, and the crossing there. It is apparent that on the shop side there isn't a good view for children, as cars park behind the white zigzagged line. We are looking at some cross hatching there.

I explained about the dire state of the pavement on the High Road in front of the Fuel Land allotments, and St. Pancras Court, as well as over the North Circular, in front of Finchley Memorial.

We looked at the whole length of Church Lane, including the junction with King Street, Leslie Road (where the markings are incorrect) and East End Road. We pointed out a number of problems with EER, including the signage, the corners that get cut and and problems for cyclists with it being two way, but some drivers not knowing that.

He also explained that the poles had not yet been put up for the 20 mph zones, nor the flashing lights yet, and that is due to be done. It is supposed to be done this week, but who knows what further delays there will be. I was there today and saw no changes.

I was very pleased with this session, and hope we can deliver some real changes.

One Barnet Judicial Review

I was pleased to attend the High Court deliberations for the appeal on the One Barnet judicial review, brought by Maria Nash. I felt her lawyers did a good job in tough circumstances, and hope for a positive outcome. How the Council can still claim they consulted is beyond me. How they can claim that we knew what it all was in 2011 is also beyond me. I don't think anyone knew what it was until the proposals actually came out.

I think the result is due on 30th September.

Bishop Douglass and Benedict Way

I hear from residents of Benedict Way on the Thomas Moore estate that Bishop Douglass School has opened the side gates on Benedict Way for pupils to come into and go out of the school. I understand this is only temporary, as building works go on. Nevertheless, it is disappointing that the school did not ask permission of Viridian, nor consult neighbours. I visited the area to talk to residents and listen. They are not amused, and I hope we can get this one done swiftly.

Ward Panel

I am afraid I missed the ward Panel meeting with the safer neighbourhood team at Strawberry Vale, due to the Health meeting. I understand Alison Moore went, and represented the councillors. There are a number of concerns locally, and I struggle to see how Mayor Johnson's destruction of community policing, by reducing ward SNTs to 2 from 9 will improve patrolling and local knowledge. As I have said before, it is about maintaining stats, not real service delivery. I have real concerns about some areas in the ward, but I fear the new policing structure, where they all operate out of High Barnet Police Station, will not deliver it.


I was pleased that at the latest Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee we covered some issues very important to me, the Brunswick Park Health Centre and access and travel to Finchley Memorial.

You really have to ask what the point of the Cabinet member for health is, if she constantly delegates all responsibility to others and claims no influence. I think it is becoming a joke that every time Cllr Ioannidis asks her what she is doing, she says she can't do anything. Well done Andreas is all I can say. If it wasn't for his pressure there would be nothing being done to get this moving.

I was also displeased by the attitude of the Mayor of London towards improving bus access to Finchley Memorial Hospital. Andrew Dismore seems to have put in a lot of work for several months trying to get him to even look into it, and thus far the mayor has done nothing. It was interesting that Helena Hart waved a letter from his Borisness saying he would personally look into it. Why, after months of questions from Andrew Dismore had he not done that before? Does he not listen to residents represented by the Labour Party?

I am glad he has suddenly taken interest, no doubt to claim credit for himself.

East Finchley Altogether Better

I visited the East Finchley Altogether Better session at the Sree Aden Depala centre on Church Lane. This is the latest incarnation of the East Finchley Village Project, which I felt was unfocussed and unclear.

This seems to be a much better system, which aims to link in different local groups together, and help people access different services. I look forward to seeing more of their work in the future, thesekinds of events could be very useful if done right. I must also praise the hospitality of the centre, which was my first visit there.

We did a test to see how well we know East Finchley, and you will be pleased to know Alison and I got full marks!

Post office meeting

I was glad to be able to speak at the public meeting organised by the Communication Workers Union in East Finchley Library to discuss the future of East Finchley Post Office. It was an interesting discussion, with the gentleman from the Post Office saying that the re-franchising did not mean losing the post office, merely a different deliverer. I asked peopek to bear in mind that these are exactly the same promises that were made to residents in Finchley Central, when they were told they would get longer opening hours and better services. In the end they got nothing.

There were also concerns expressed about the TUPE change in employment conditions for the existing staff. I also raised the fact that the post office in its current location was vital for the economic health of the town centre, and that it attracted visitors, who shop locally too. It would lead to fewer local services, and potentially do damage to local business, losing the shop front. It was argued that the branch loses £1.60 for every £1 it makes, but I pointed out that it was a large space that seemed almost entirely unused, and that they could make creative solutions to reduce their losses. I also questioned whether the Government saw them as a community asset and service,rather than just a business.

Archer Academy plans

I visited Holy Trinity School to see the Archer academy plans. I am a member of the planning committee, so it would be improper to comment, but it was good to see what the proposals are, and how they will take shape. It was also good to see the proposed layout scheme, and how they plan on keeping parts public. It was a helpful session to me in getting background detail, and i hope others who are interested.

Back again

Apologies for the lack of posts recently, I have had computing problems. I am going through my diary writing up all the events I have done in July.