Archive | June, 2014

13 questions about the RPZ extension

30 Jun
Capel Road parking
06:40 a.m. on Capel Road – if there’s a problem, it isn’t commuters parking for the Overground
So that the council’s officers can be prepared at the drop-in session on Thursday, here are the questions I will be asking about the proposed extension to the Forest Gate residents parking zone (RPZ):
  1. How many residents have requested this and over what period were the requests made?
  2. To what extent have local councillors been involved in developing the proposals and the decision to hold a consultation?
  3. If I have a permit can I park anywhere in the RPZ, or just on my street or my bit of the zone?
  4. Will parking bays be one big bay or marked individual bays?
  5. What guarantees are there that the free first permit per household will continue to be free in perpetuity?
  6. Can a resident’s application for a permit be declined? If so, on what grounds?
  7. Who within the local authority can access the database of residents’ vehicle ownership details and on what terms?
  8. Will residents’ data be sold or otherwise made available to third parties?
  9. Has an assessment been made of the impact on local shops and businesses, particularly as a result of the Sebert Road extension?
  10. Are residents on streets adjoining the RPZ extension, but not part of it, being consulted? If not, why not?
  11. Why are there no public meetings being held, just a single ‘drop-in session’ at The Gate?
  12. When will the outcome of the consultation be known and will all of the responses be published?

and unlucky 13 – if, after a period of operation, residents decide they don’t like the RPZ and want it removed, what mechanism exists to request this?


Two excellent additional questions via a resident in a street not included in the proposal but likely to be affected by it:

  • How will Newham monitor fraud, especially regarding the misuse of visitor permits; and
  • How did the parking design team come to the conclusion that the far ends of Sebert, Hampton and Osborne Roads, which are more than half a mile from the town centre should be included in the proposal but not side roads in Forest Gate village (between Sebert and Capel Roads) which are much closer?


From Newham council’s Parking Policy on RPZ consultations: “there must be a minimum of 20% of respondents, where 55% or more must be in favour for a scheme to progress.”

So another question:

  • Is the 20% is counted across the whole proposed extension or area-by-area: if the Woodgrange Estate part of the scheme gets a big response but the Capel Road/Woodford Road/Chestnut Avenue bit gets none, do we still end up with an RPZ in our area, or does it just go ahead on Woodgrange?

Forest Gate RPZ extension consultation

29 Jun

Yesterday I received a package through the door from Newham council containing information about a proposed extension to the local residents parking zone (RPZ).

This was a bit of a surprise to me and to others on Twitter, none of whom had heard anything about it. Some people living on streets directly affected hadn’t received the information pack.

Below are links to scans I have made of the documents:

There’s a ‘drop-in session’ at the Gate Library on Thursday 3 July from 4:30 to 7:30, but no other public meetings (that I’m aware of). The closing date for responses is 18 July 2014.


27 Jun

In chains 01

Making plans for Robin

26 Jun

Scene: the mayor’s office in Building 1000. Sir Robin Wales is meeting representatives from ‘executive recruitment consultants’ Moneyfore Olderope & Co.

Date: sometime in the distant future

Sir Robin: Thanks for coming in, guys. We need some help finding someone to chair the board of our private housing rental business Red Door Ventures. People who can give us the independent advice we need so that we make the right choice for our residents. 

Moneyfore:  At Moneyfore Olderope we know that’s what really matters. You can rely on us.

Sir Robin: It’s an important job. Red Door Ventures is owned by the council, but operates as a private business. We’ve used the borrowing power of the council – backed by public money – to build 3,000 new homes and buy 500 others. But we’ve done it in a way that means we aren’t obliged to let any of them to people on the housing waiting list. Most of the homes are let at full market rates which, as you can imagine, puts them out of reach of those kinds of people. But for appearance’s sake – after all, we are supposed to be a Labour council – some of them are rented at what we call ‘affordable’ rates.

Olderope: ‘Affordable’?

Sir Robin: 80% of the market rate. 

Olderope: So they’re still quite expensive then?

Sir Robin: Oh yes, way too much for people who need social housing.

Moneyfore: 3,500 homes at London rents. Even with a few of those [makes air quotes gesture] ‘affordable’ units you have quite a business there. £5 – £6 million a month in revenues?

Sir Robin: In that ballpark.

Olderope: Which is why you need a big name to chair the board. Give it the profile it deserves.

Sir Robin: But not just any big name. We need someone with knowledge of the local area. Someone who knows how to keep the press onside. Someone the councillors on the board can look up to and respect, who can provide the leadership and vision they are used to.

Moneyfore: So they’d need political as well as business experience.

Sir Robin: Absolutely. And it would be good if you could find a candidate with previous experience as a director on a big public sector delivery project. Like the Olympics, say.

Olderope: [scribbles the word LOCOG on notepad] Go on…

Sir Robin: You know, I always think a title adds a bit of gravitas. A lord, or a Sir. Always looks good on the letterhead.

Moneyfore: Those people are quite hard to find. And they don’t come cheap.

Olderope: Are you thinking this is a full time role, or a day or two a week?

Sir Robin: Part-time. Something that might suit someone who’s recently retired but wants to keep their hand in, so to speak. And earn a little to top up their pension.

Moneyfore: A little?

Sir Robin: We were thinking in the region of £40 – 50,000 a year for a 2 day week.

Olderope: Very reasonable.

Moneyfore: Well, leave it with us Sir Robin. We’ll have a think about possible candidates. Come back to you in a week or so with a list.

They stand up and shake hands.

Sir Robin: Oh, before you go… this isn’t public yet but I’ve decided not to stand for re-election next year. It’s time to wind down a little. But it would be nice to still have a little something…

Moneyfore: … to keep your hand in, so to speak.

Olderope: And top up the pension.

Sir Robin: Exactly. So if you hear of anything suitable…

Moneyfore: Funny you should mention it, but we’ve just received this interesting new brief…

Fade to black


21 Jun

via Instagram

Vintage road sign

21 Jun

via Instagram

Disappearing act

17 Jun

Photo by Karls Kamera

According to Wikipedia, the oozlum bird is a legendary creature found in folk tales that, when startled, will take off and fly around in ever-decreasing circles until it manages to fly up itself, disappearing completely.

After reading this account of goings-on within Left Unity and this piece on relations between them and TUSC I am pretty sure the definition applies equally to the hard Left.

30 years ago, when I was briefly a student member of the now utterly discredited and irrelevant SWP, it was much the same. Then it was ‘us’ versus the WRP, Militant, RCP, IMG and a whole alphabet soup of teeny-tiny groups, all arguing over paper-thin differences of interpretation of what Trotsky said at some conference in 1937. Like anyone cared

Now it’s LU versus TUSC. And even worse, within LU itself, the ‘Socialist Platform’ versus the ‘Communist Platform’. The party is less than a year old and already it has a disputes committee. Does anyone think this sort of thing is remotely appealing to the rest of the world?

In the recent mayoral election TUSC got less than 2% of the vote, despite standing against a Labour incumbent with a depressingly right-wing record. 

Unless and until the non-Labour Left gets its collective head out of its arse and focuses its energies on engaging real people in the real world about the real problems they face it’s doomed to decades more of irrelevance. 


Money (that’s what I want)

13 Jun


The best things in life are free, but you can keep them for the birds and bees

Details of the allowances paid to the mayor and councillors in the last financial year (2013/14) have been published in the ‘Summer Edition’ of the Newham Mag.

The Mag’s version of the table lists councillors in alphabetic order (except the mayor, obviously, who is always on top) and doesn’t include any totals. So it’s hard to see exactly how much is being paid and to whom.

I’ve taken the data, added up totals for each councillor and sorted them into rank order:

Name Basic* SRA Total
RA WALES 0 81,029 81,029
AR BAIKIE 10,734 31,042 41,776
IK CORBETT 10,734 31,042 41,776
RJ CRAWFORD 10,734 31,042 41,776
U DESAI 10,734 31,042 41,776
CW FURNESS 10,734 31,042 41,776
LT HUDSON 10,734 31,042 41,776
C MCAULEY 10,734 31,042 41,776
A KELLAWAY 10,734 26,901 37,635
EH SPARROWHAWK 10,734 22,765 33,499
E ROBINSON 10,734 22,720 33,454
Q PEPPIATT 10,734 18,624 29,358
F HUSSAIN 10,734 18,039 28,773
RA MIRZA 10,734 17,877 28,611
RN MANLEY 10,734 14,488 25,222
AB MCALMONT 10,734 14,488 25,222
T PAUL 10,734 14,488 25,222
WT VAUGHAN 10,734 14,488 25,222
NJ WILSON 10,734 14,488 25,222
A SINGH 10,734 10,347 21,081
K SCORESBY 10,734 9,362 20,096
J ALEXANDER 10,734 5,176 15,910
F BOURNE 10,734 5,176 15,910
S BRAYSHAW 10,734 5,176 15,910
A CHOWDHURY 10,734 5,176 15,910
D CHRISTIE 10,734 5,176 15,910
R RAHMAN 10,734 5,176 15,910
L SHAH 10,734 5,176 15,910
J GRAY 10,734 3,621 14,355
PW SCHAFER 10,734 3,449 14,183
S AHMAD 10,734 0 10,734
PM BRICKELL 10,734 0 10,734
L CAMERON 10,734 0 10,734
NK CHADHA 10,734 0 10,734
AA CHAUDHARY 10,734 0 10,734
B COLLIER 10,734 0 10,734
MS COLLIER 10,734 0 10,734
JH CORBETT 10,734 0 10,734
C FIBERESIMA 10,734 0 10,734
O GANGADHARAN 10,734 0 10,734
A GRIFFITHS 10,734 0 10,734
PM HOLLAND 10,734 0 10,734
KJ JENKINS 10,734 0 10,734
KR KAZI 10,734 0 10,734
JH LAGUDA 10,734 0 10,734
S MAHMOOD 10,734 0 10,734
C MCLEAN 10,734 0 10,734
P MURPHY 10,734 0 10,734
F NAZEER 10,734 0 10,734
FA NEKIWALA 10,734 0 10,734
M NICHOLAS 10,734 0 10,734
M PATEL 10,734 0 10,734
S PATEL 10,734 0 10,734
G PEARSON 10,734 0 10,734
P SATHIANESAN 10,734 0 10,734
PJ SHILLINGFORD 10,734 0 10,734
MM SKYERS 10,734 0 10,734
R TALATI 10,734 0 10,734
A TAYLOR 10,734 0 10,734
S THOMAS 10,734 0 10,734
H VIRDEE 10,734 0 10,734
Totals: 644,040 560,700 1,204,740

*net of £95 deducted at source for home use of a council-supplied computer and data registration fee

A few things worth noting:

  • 29 out of 60 councillors received some kind of ‘special responsibility allowance’ on top of their basic
  • The top 10 recipients of council cash, including the mayor, were all men
  • Only one woman, Forest Gate’s Ellie Robinson, is in the top 20 earners from councillor allowances
  • Of the 29 councillors with ‘special responsibilities’, just 6 were women
  • Including the mayor, 14 elected members got more in allowances than the average Newham household income
  • Prior to the change to the mayoral system in 2002 councillors received a basic allowance of just £533 a year

There has as yet been no public announcement about the allowances to be paid to the cabinet members and mayoral advisors Sir Robin has appointed following his re-election, but you can bet that they won’t be stinting themselves.

Public service can be so rewarding.

Oh, Ed

12 Jun

Facepalm sandwich

Words fail me.

World in motion

12 Jun

The Guardian’s football writers have made their predictions for the World Cup. Here are mine:

Who will reach the final?

Brazil will play Argentina.

Who will win? Who knows, but it will be a cracking match.

Who will be the leading scorer?

Karim Benzema – France

The French have a straightforward group in which they will score a lot of goals. They stuffed Jamaica 8-0 in their final warm-up game and look to have a settled, happy group of players, all pulling together. The decision to leave the disruptive Samir Nasri behind will pay big dividends.

Who is the player to watch?

Angel Di Maria – Argentina

His performances for Real Madrid at the end of the domestic season put higher profile team-mates like Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo in the shade. Reproducing that form will be key to Argentina’s chances of winning the tournament.

How far will England go?

Out in the group stages. Obviously I hope I’m wrong, but I can’t see them winning a single game.  

Most looking forward to

Seeing how far Belgium can go.

They have a really good squad, with quality all over the pitch: Courtois, Alderweireld, Kompany, Van Buyten, Vertonghen, Chadli, Dembélé, Fellaini, De Bruyne, Hazard, Januzaj, Lukaku, Mirallas. They could be the surprise package of the tournament.

Least looking forward to

The inevitable tabloid monstering of Roy Hodgson after England limp out. And getting up in the mornings.