Disability services and ice rink the hot topics at Havering Ask the Cabinet

Cabinet members faced residents angry about changes to disabled bus services and the temporary closure of Romford Ice Arena at the Ask the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday (July 13).

The meeting started with parents, many from the Positive Parents forum, asking councillors about changes to transport to school for disabled children.

Steven Bennett said: “Can the council tell us how they plan to ensure the safety of our children to get to school if they are forced to use cluster points? How many children need to be injured on their way to a cluster point?”

Cabinet member for children Paul Rochford replied: “When children are picked up on the bus these buses are safe and secure and will continue to be so.”

He added that children will be assessed on their individual needs as to whether they are able to walk. “The assessment will be done by an independent charity that’s specialises in autism and a range of disabilities.”

Another member of Positive Parents asked later: “Much has been made about the Your Council, Your Say survey and how it shapes your budget. Do you think it was wise to leave out the disabled community from the survey?”

Cllr White said he would be speaking to his head of communications about why there were no questions at all regarding disability services in the survey. He explained that the survey was not carried out as a statutory requirement.

Most Read

Children who use the Romford Ice Arena were present in large numbers as many questions were put to the cabinet about the future of ice skating and the need for a temporary rink.

Cllr White told residents that he could not name the developer who the council is working with due to reasons of commercial confidentiality.

Vanessa Riley, from the International Skating Union, received a large round of applause when she said: “I’ve been working with the club at Romford and with the Vice President of the International Skating Union. If they don’t get a temporary ice rink it will be a disaster for all the children (training there). Five years or two years is too long to be without an ice rink.”