The Queensbury latest

Very pleased that The Queensbury pub has been recognised as an Asset of Community Value. To quote The Save the Queenbury site:
"Brent Council has confirmed today to accept the pub on their list stating it provides a significant role in the community. Being on the list means that if the building is sold, the clock stops for six months to enable the community to bid to buy it. More importantly for us, we will be pressing very hard to have the pub’s community status featuring prominently as a “material planning matter” when Brent considers the plans for The Queensbury early next year."

Fly tip prosecution

An example of a recent prosecution:
Muciano Ltd & Tagdateli Ltd   Trading as Mezzoroma, 36 High Road , Willesden and 66 Walm Lane: Pleaded guilty to three offences of fly-tipping under section 33 of the EPA and was Fined £800.00 and costs of £1700.00 totalling £2580.00 inclusive of victim surcharge.


Boris and transport problems

A reminder of the transport problems under Boris Johnson:

·  London fares have become the most expensive in the world
· The cost of a single bus journey has increased by 56%
· A Zone 1-6 travel card is now £440 a year more expensive
· Closing ticket offices and cutting staff will make commuting more difficult and will cost jobs
· A pledged to keep a ticket office open at every station. He is breaking that promise.

Flagrant discrimination

Appalled to hear of local estate agents prepared to follow landlord instructions to illegally discriminate against African-Caribbean people seeking flats to rent. The BBC undercover investigation found several incidents of discrimination, including a black researcher being denied viewings his white counterpart was welcomed. The lettings manager at A to Z Property Services, Willesden High Road, is quoted as saying: "We cannot be shown discriminating against a community, but obviously we've got our ways around that….99% of my landlords don't want African-Caribbean people or any troublesome people." The lettings manager at National Estate Agents, also in Willesden, had similar comments. Under the Equality Act 2010, it is illegal for businesses to refuse to provide a service based on ethnicity. There has to be further action on this flagrant breach of the 2010 Act.


Scrap metal licensing

A large number of people have been affected by the illicit theft and sale of scrap metal, whether it affected them by problems on rail lines or theft of lead from a roof – both dangerous activities. Local authorities will continue to act as the main regulator but the new Act gives Licensing Authorities more powers, including the power to refuse a license and powers to revoke licenses if the dealer is considered unsuitable. Both the Local Authority and the Police have been given powers to enter, inspect and close premises.


Adult social care

Brent has become one of Labour’s 25 “Whole Person Care Innovation” Councils. When Andy Burnham visited Brent, it was recognised that the council is working hard to deliver an integrated health and social care service to people in Brent. Labour is working on legislation from now having already committed to repeal the competition elements of the Tory and Lib Dem top down reorganisation of the NHS. An independent commission led by Sir John Oldham has been set up to work on the fine details of legislation and of course, cost. Brent will be a part of this process, sharing experiences on barriers to integration for us locally.  We will be telling the commission what we need in order to integrate effectively.


School places funding report

A report from London Councils suggests London local authorities are spending £9,000 on every pupil making up for a government school places funding shortfall. While councils have strategies in place to create places, the total £1.04bn councils are spending on top of government funding is placing unprecedented pressure on council budgets. A total of 83,470 additional school places need to be created in London between 2014 and 2017. Cllr Peter John, London Councils’ Executive Member for Children’s Services, said: “Councils are pulling out all the stops to create places, but London’s rising population, particularly at school age, means they are running to stand still. The government needs to reassure worried parents and provide adequate school funding.”  Schools in Willesden are full and do not have large enough sites to expand. Despite considerable education service effort, there are WIllesden children without a school place. 

Gambling licenses

Spent 3 hours last night reviewing a gambling license. Not everyone realises how limited councils are in relation to gambling licensing. Residents with objections have few grounds to appeal for a review and most betting shops have the financial resources to counter objections. We cannot take into account that there may be several shops in the same parade, for example. The London Borough of Newham recently lost a court case with a betting shop and called for government action to stem the tide of gambling “clusters” on high streets. The Gambling Act introduces three licensing objectives which underpin the functions of the commission and the council and limits our response:

Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder, or being used to support crime

Ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way

Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.