Monday, December 26, 2016

Barkingside 21’s Christmas Day message

Well, I was due to address the people of Greater Barkingside yesterday at 3pm, but I got a bit ahead of myself and scheduled it for Christmas Day 2017. Mind you I could probably re-use it then anyway. I’ve only just noticed it wasn’t published, so here it is, slightly amended.

For some, it seems, 2016 has been a terrible year. True we have lost a lot of celebs, two quite recently, but that’s the way it works. Chaos and random behaviour produces clusters and patterns, like fractals. We really should be celebrating their lives and what they gave us. And for those worried about Brexit, Trump and Corbyn I have just one word: serendipity.

And we have some reasons to be cheerful here in Barkingside.

It’s not just me who can sit on the Royal throne, you can too now that we have the new long awaited toilet [singular] in our High Street. Mind you the Kiosk next door remains a symbol of economic austerity devoid of an occupant with the cash to pay the rent as does the former Fullwell Autos and the Post Office.

The long awaited bus route along Forest Road is finally operational. OK it doesn’t go the full distance but it’s a start. And it conveniently started just before the now annual Fairlop Fair, which continues to amaze.

Vision also did us proud with the Christmas event. We had a proper Christmas tree (a big one) with lights on in Ken Aston Square.

Newbury Park Station is to finally get a lift, well, it’s a planned lift.

Moving on to matters council they really are putting in a shift on the Civic Pride initiative. Adding to the free bulky waste collection service we have super-bins and Glutton machines, with cabinet members out on the streets with brooms helping to clear up the mess. New powers have lead to prosecutions for fly-tipping and the Landlord registration scheme is designed to alleviate the problems associated with high turnover in HMOs (houses of multiple occupation). And regular “action days” where the team of enforcement officers descend on an unsuspecting area, unannounced, to catch untidy and unsocial people in the act.

True they have blotted their copybook with the introduction of a charge for Green Garden Waste collection but that will be forgotten once we get used to doing whatever it was before we had the service, and then the service will cease due to lack of use.

Oh, and they’re not too popular down in Wanstead at the moment what with the new parking proposals. I know that’s not Barkingside, but the interesting bit is the other three unspecified areas earmarked for similar treatment in early 2017. Next year is looking like fun already.

And the subject of the last few years messages, the Local Development Plan [sic!] 2015-2030 has finally got to the stage where it can be considered by the Planning Inspector, 2 years after the plan has actually started. What happens if he/she disapproves of what has already been done?

On a related issue Redbridge has had a ward boundary review. In short the balance of population, and therefore political representation on the council, has shifted away from the west of the borough (Wanstead & Woodford) to the south the borough (Ilford). If you are successful at resisting new housing development at the expense of elsewhere you dilute your political voice.

And there have been a couple of changes on the representation front. In May we had yet another election, this time the London Mayor and Assembly. Labour re-took the mayoralty in the form of Sadiq Khan, but the Conservatives held on to the Havering and Redbridge seat with former Redbridge Council leader Keith Prince replacing the retiring Roger Evans. And we mustn’t forget the Roding by-election where Labour’s Local Lloyd Duddridge triumphed in what was, I think, the very first Labour success in that ward.

Finally, a health warning. The Save King George Hospital A&E campaign was re-launched in February to much trumpeting and swiftly put back into the dormant box. But we will have more to say about this in our New Year Message.

We trust your Brussels were firm and tasty.


  1. Merry Christmas b21! Thanks for the updates and service you provide to the local community. Excellent!

  2. Congratulations Alan on another year of immaculate information, eloquence, and service to a sometimes unappreciative public. Whatever the faults in everyone else, you're doing a great job and long may it continue. Happy New Year!

  3. Brexit, Corbyn and Trump - the Three Princes of Serendip. Your highness' glass is certainly half full not empty. What's in it?