Yesterday’s Places Scrutiny meeting was another where one might be tempted to think that Bexley
Council is not doing too bad a job but detracting from that is their constant desire to keep
the public at arms’ length. I was the only member of the public present and had to
be kept well away from proceedings. No one is clearly visible because of the
unfriendly table layout and I had forgotten to take my binoculars. As a
Committee Member remarked just before the meeting began, it is a very exclusive
gathering and exclusive is exactly what it is, in every sense of the word.
For that we have to thank the useless Chief Executive whose very first action following her appointment was to write to me to tell me that I was unwelcome at Council Meetings and she would wherever possible make reporting difficult.
As yet the promised webcast of the meeting is still unavailable, the last such recording is dated 18th April 2018.
The meeting took the same format as the two proceeding Scrutiny meetings, a format that Deputy Director Toni Ainge called Death by Powerpoint. There were three such presentations, By Ms. Ainge - Leisure related things, Mr. Bryce-Smith - rubbish, and Mr. Bashford - roads, and all three had interesting things to say. One might almost think that the Tories were running a decent Council, apologies, that’s twice I’ve said it, although while Teresa O’Neill remains in charge that can never actually happen, obviously.
Ms. Ainge said she had tried to put a lot of information into the slides so hers was the least vocal of the three presentations. Take a look at them, they are crammed with statistics and things you may never have heard of. They illustrate the wide range of activities and attractions available within the borough. Three Leisure Centres, twelve libraries, many heritage sites, 106 parks, 33 playgrounds, 2,000 allotment sites and 270,000 trees.
Whilst Ms. Ainge restricted comment to her comprehensive set of slides and didn’t add a lot that was new, the other two speakers revealed snippets of information that their slide shows omitted.
Since the election the Tories have been bragging about keeping their manifesto promises but as yet no one has seen any sign of it. What they are actually delivering is things that were not in their manifesto. Last week they agreed to charge the parents of disadvantaged teenagers £400 to get their children to school and last night it was revealed that another grand idea under consideration is making all recycling collections fortnightly.
You won’t find either in the manifesto.
Mr. Bashford provided a few target dates for completion of ongoing road works. A full report will appear here within the next 48 hours. Meanwhile there is another meeting to attend.