Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Merton Council meeting

Another month and another Merton Council meeting.The main issue under discussion was post offices in the borough and the council passed a resolution opposing the closures. Regretfully, an amendment proposed by the Merton Park Residents' and seconded by the Labour group was narrowly defeated. This sought to remove the reference to all post office closures being opposed throughout London, and some inaccuracies in the Conservative motion (the Tories even amended their motion to correct some mistakes). While we agreed with most of their motion, some of the motion effectively committed Merton to opposing closures across the capital. While the case for post office closures in other boroughs may have a very good case, we don't know the full circumstances of those closures and as a borough we should be focusing first and foremost on Merton. Sadly, instead of trying to obtain a consensus motion, the Tories decided to play petty politics which makes little contribution to putting the case for Merton.

On the street scene (i.e. environment), we moved amendments on the Conservative motion (which praised the extra resources) despite nearly all the extra money coming for the capital budget. On the revenue budget, the Council has cut the amount spent on the street scene by £1 1/2 million this year. With capital spending for one year it more a case of short term solutions and long-term spending remains unclear. The package of cuts implemented by the Conservatives that relate to the street scene is likely to have an impact over the next year.

Another debate was on Mitcham town centre and the Tories failure to do anything over the last two years. Currently the plans are stalled and have been characterised by in-action from the Tories, the hopes of re-development have all but evaporated of late. Since coming to power, they've undertaken a consultation, which changed nothing but has managed to delay regeneration and the opportunities that would've arisen from the ASDA proposals. The council has been keen to boast a great deal about Eastifelds station which is opening in May (thanks in large part to Siobhain McDonagh). Whilst it will assist, it's not the key to solving all of Mitcham's issue, which the Tories have shown no sign of tackling.

The debate was also characterised by the Tories obsession with Siobhain Mc Donagh, indeed Tory Leader David Williams called her’ Auntie Siobhain' in a derogatry manner. It was a sign of their desperation, when they resort to these types of remarks, indeed Siobhain has done more for Mitcham then they'll ever do. If you asked the people of Mitcham their views on Siobhain, she would come out a great deal more popular then David Williams' Tories. Given the remarks by David Williams tonight, it exposed first hand his lack of understanding about Mitcham.


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