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Bonkers Blog February 2015

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19 February (Part 3) - The People Scrutiny meeting - the final minutes

James Hunt’s Places Scrutiny meeting broke the three hour barrier with ease last week and only today have I found the time to listen to the last hour again. It revealed a few things of interest.

Councillor Brenda Langstead said that the privately run library in Slade Green didn’t always open because the staff could not gain access when no one from Eco Communities showed up. Why? She also asked how many volunteers they have. Answers came there none.

Questions were asked by the boss of Bexley Community Safety Partnership, Joyce Sutherland, about Blackfen Library. Would it close? Cabinet member Alex Sawyer was still looking for community management, but would it close? He “simply didn’t know” but if no volunteers or organisation came forward, it would.

Councillor Ogundayo complained that only two days notice had been given for the Thamesmead community meeting scheduled for the following day. Councillor Sawyer agreed it was not good enough.

Councillor Sharon Massey said a rumour was going around that Danson Park was to be sold for housing and accused UKIP councillor Lynn Smith of “actually fuelling this rumour”. Sharon Massey was just fermenting political clap-trap. It was “not very wise for a councillor not to recognise their social responsibility”. She asked cabinet member Sawyer if he planned to sell Danson Park - as if she didn’t know the answer. Councillor Sawyer confirmed that there were no such plans. Outside the comment columns of the News Shopper, no one had dreamed otherwise, but making political capital amuses small minds.

Sawyer said that among the ‘parks’ that might be sold were Berwick Close, open space on Bexley Road, Millfield open space, Wilde Road East and Wilde Road West, space in Old Farm Avenue and Old Manor Way.

You may hear the complete list below.

Councillor Sawyer emphasised that no decisions had been taken and that he would report back when there was something to say. Am I being gullible but Alex Sawyer keeps coming across as a man who tries to tell it as it is?

If things are as uncontroversial as he says why has Bexley council gone out of its way to suppress information?

Councillor Joe Ferreira asked questions about the proposal to impose a five year residency requirement for social housing instead of two. No decision had been taken yet, but it will only be a matter of time.

Cabinet member Philip Read managed to contrive another excuse for taking a swipe at councillor Mabel Ogundayo. He went on to reel off a list of London boroughs which had difficulty recruiting social workers in a bid to head of criticism of Bexley. He then resumed his favourite theme, he took another swipe at Mabel and accused her of making party political points before any Labour councillor had spoken.

Councillor Sharon Massey said she knew why it was hard to recruit social workers. “It’s because of the blame culture.” She makes a good point but on the other hand there is an awful lot to blame them for. I am inclined to think the job title doesn’t help either. Social and worker both sound so horribly dated.

While councillor Sharon was in ‘tell it like it is’ mode she said that the problem with obesity was that we don’t use the word fat. She probably made another good point.


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