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Councillor John Waters. Fingers in many pies

21st March 2011

Bexley Manor Nursery School

Councillor John Waters (Danson Park, £12,864) is a busy man eager to ride rough-shod over the population and line his pocket where he can. Back in 2004 he voted for installation of a new mobile telephone mast dismissing local residents’ concerns with the well known fact that “there is more danger of radiation from a domestic vacuum cleaner than there is from a mobile phone”.

More recently when the Embassy Court development in Welling was said to not comply with the plans shown to local residents John Waters dismissed complaints with “Residents have to accept is is a large building and that it is all water under the bridge now”. A real man of the people I am sure you will agree.

Apart from his strenuous efforts to do his best for Bexley residents he selflessly serves as director for several companies. The Thames Innovation Centre (TIC) is one and Invest in Thames Gateway London is another, where, as with the TIC, he is joined by councillor Linda Bailey (also Danson Park, £22,141). The Chief Executive of Thames Gateway is Aman Dalvi who until he got a better offer had been Chief Executive of TIC. Mr. Dalvi as far as I know has no other connection with Bexley council.

Further research reveals that councillor Waters is the local authority appointed governor at Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar School. The school is in Hurst Road, Sidcup as parents trying to park nearby will know to their cost. He is also a director of Bexley Manor Nursery School (BMNS), in Penhill Road. Its website says the head teacher is J.M. Waters, but it is not John, it is Jennifer Margaret. Not a coincidence. The website shows a J. Waters living at 147A Knoll Road, the same address as the councillor gives on the council’s website.

So John and his wife Margaret (other documents prove the relationship) run a small business, a nursery school and it would seem likely that Mrs. Waters at least draws a salary from it. Companies House reports it to be a limited company with shares owned by Mr. and Mrs. Waters in a 30%/70% ratio.

Is it a flourishing business? All that is known so far is that the total assets fell from £58,000 in 2009 to £52,000 in 2010. So maybe rubbing along just keeping their heads above water.

Of what interest is this to Bexley’s taxpayers? Isn’t it just the usual wheeling and dealing and using their contacts for the purpose of self-enrichment rather than spending the time protecting residents from phone masts and planning consents gone wrong? Maybe it is, but the council’s accounts throw a little light on where the Bexley Manor Nursery School gets its income from.

Last year Bexley council doled out £127,721 to BMNS. Some of it was to pay for the Early Years scheme whereby pre-school children can get free nursery education, but not all of it was for that; the council accounts don’t give a breakdown. In the preceding years the sum was £124,626 and £114,710. The Waters household will have benefited by the head teacher’s income.

So what is the morale of this every-day story of tax beneficiaries? It is that if anyone believes that councillors get themselves elected to serve the community and not to serve their own bank balances they should probably think again or go and talk to the fairies at the bottom of their gardens. How is it that their own businesses manage to take a share of the taxpayers’ largess and successfully feed it to their own bank accounts, but the ones they run on our behalf (TIC) haemorrhage cash on the grand scale?

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