Hugh Neal’s blog reports today that Bexley council’s meeting with residents concerned about the proposed
use of the former Homeleigh Care Home as temporary
accommodation for the homeless did not go well.
His informants said the meeting was not signposted so that attendees were unsure about whether they had gone to the right place at the right time, there was no agenda and neither the council officers not the councillors present were able to answer simple questions.
This is not at all what I expected from my own brief conversation with the responsible Cabinet Member Eileen Pallen when I spoke to her last Wednesday evening. She appeared to be genuinely anxious to handle the potentially delicate situation in a professional manner. She specifically said that she had instructed council officers to select occupants very carefully to avoid the unpleasant and even dangerous situations I have seen in my own street when unsuitable people are placed in an otherwise quiet road.
Hugh’s report implies that the Cabinet Member did not attend the public meeting which is very odd. Alex Sawyer attended nearly all the Splash Park meetings when he was responsible for its future.
It has been reported that councillor David Hurt (Conservative, Barnehurst ward) was at the residents’ meeting and thought that their concerns would be fully addressed if one of them put their case to the Planning Committee. A clearer case of dismissive arrogance would be hard to imagine.
That resident would be given five minutes and then torn apart by aggressive councillors before his case was rejected. It is essential that their concerns are properly considered long before any plans are formalised and put before the Planning Committee. Badgering the cabinet member is absolutely essential.
It is alleged that Bexley council has appointed a property management company to look after the premises. Their website (see image) does not inspire confidence.
Note: Homeleigh is in Northumberland Heath ward. (Councillors Read, Reader and Seymour.)