December 9 2013 Latest news:
Ramzy Alwakeel, Reporter
Monday, October 14, 2013
Havering’s Labour group accused the council of failing to consult properly over the £15million Harold Hill Ambitions regeneration last week – an allegation hotly denied by both cabinet members and backbenchers.
Conservatives hit back with a controversial accusation of their own – that Labour itself had neglected the area while in power.
The debate, which lasted 80 minutes and drew speakers from all the parties save Ukip, was sparked by a motion from Labour’s Cllr Keith Darvill (Heaton) asking for full disclosure of the council’s implementation plans “to ensure democratic participation” of residents and ward councillors.
Rounding on Cllr Darvill, Cllr Steven Kelly (Tory, Emerson Park) said councillors had been “advised all through the programme” and that residents had been “drenched in paper”.
Cabinet member in charge of finance Cllr Roger Ramsey added: “There were some 20,000 documents distributed, 23 roadshows and 16 newsletters.
“There has been constant consultation since 2010.
“The fact some people might not like particular aspects of it doesn’t mean there hasn’t been consultation.”
But Cllr Denis O’Flynn retorted: “You can put all the letters through letterboxes, but [you must] convince people to read them and participate.”
Cllr Pat Murray echoed him, saying the consultation process “becomes perfunctory if the [views of residents] are ignored and aren’t dealt with.”
Tory Cllr June Alexander said: “The people in Harold Hill had as much consultation as they asked for.
“Briar Road had its own committee and knew exactly what was going on.
“The reason this regeneration has come along is that Labour, years ago, never spent a penny.”
Cllr Barry Tebbutt tried to bring opposing sides together, saying: “It’s a shame we sit here and argue about it. We should be proud of what we’ve achieved.”
Despite protestations about the number of newsletters sent to residents, Cllr McGeary criticised what he maintained was a lack of consultation.
“Two hundred and forty-two houses have been built at the bottom of Gooshays Drive,” he said. “As a resident, I haven’t received anything – letters or anything else.”
The Tories’ backslapping amendment, criticising “many years of Labour inactivity” and congratulating the group on “revitalising the Harold Hill community”, was adopted by 38 votes to three.
A 17-year-old girl has beat the bullies by setting up her very own YouTube channel which already has thousands of subscribers in just a few weeks.