The local elections reconfirmed Southfield ward in the London Borough of Ealing as a Lib Dem stronghold – the only one as it happens in Chiswick or in Ealing. As the dust settles it’s business as usual for the three Southfield councillors.
A cycle through Southfield
Guest blog by Cllr Andrew Steed
Ten days ago my colleagues Gary Busuttil, Gary Malcolm and myself were re-elected as councillors for Southfield Ward (Ealing). We are grateful for the support of the residents of Southfield and for our increased majority. Election night and the count are the culmination of a long process. We started election canvassing back in February, in the hope of making contact with as many residents as possible. If you want people to vote for you, the least you can do is to try to talk to them: most people are pleased to see their ward councillor on their doorstep. A sunny Sunday provides the ideal conditions to get the bike out and continue where we left off, taking a tour of the ward to pro-actively identify problems. You can work out the route from the locations visited.
First stop is at the junction of Whellock Road and Woodstock. A flytip of a black bin bag, which looks as if a fox has been there first. Reported. Many of the services the Council used to perform have changed and regular monitoring no longer happens: in this case it is road markings at the junction of Fielding Road and The Avenue. These have faded over time and are not routinely repainted. The Council will repaint these but only after a resident or a ward councillor raises the problem. It is the same with overgrown hedges, this is a particularly bad example on Fielding Road, where the footpath is virtually blocked. This will be reported to the Environmental Enforcement Officer who looks after Southfield ward.
At Fisher’s Lane crossing the road markings have almost disappeared. It is the same at the South Parade junction with Beaconsfield Road. The plot of land opposite the Prime Minister’s Estate has historically seen builders using the green space for access to properties on Kingscote Road. The white picket fence was installed to deter this behaviour and has I think been reasonably successful. Clearly not on this occasion.
We receive numerous complaints about the state of the roads and pavements across the ward. There is a programme of road resurfacing and in recent years, two or three roads have been resurfaced every year in the ward. If you are on a bike, you cannot fail to be aware of the poor state of the roads, and today was no exception. Is this pot hole, on Fletcher Road the worst in the ward? Please let me have your own nomination for this accolade! A couple of residents asked about Disabled Parking spaces during the election campaign, suggesting that in specific cases they are no longer needed. Upon inquiring it seems that there is meant to be a review every three years, and that a review is indeed over-due. This should result in some parking spaces being returned to general usage.
One of the projects that we are funding from the Southfield Ward Forum is the possible expansion of the Play area on Southfield Recreation Ground. The aim is to provide facilities for older children. The consultation closed at the end of April, so we will expect the results any time now. Finally, back to The Avenue, and a classic example of a short term cut in funding with a long term impact. Some years ago the Council decided to no longer post planning applications to neighbours, and rely on attaching signage to nearby lampposts. This meets their statutory obligations but it means some applications go un-noticed by those most affected. In addition the Council put up the signs but never take them down, resulting in day-glow notices littering the street scene. I collected a dozen such notices well past their date, but I know of many more that will have to wait till the next Sunday cycle in Southfield.