A letter in Fulham and Hammersmith Chronicle last week gave a timely reminder to politicians that their accountability doesn’t start and end on election day.
What power we have we exercise on trust, not on personal or political whims, and it is strictly temporary.
That basic message has been forgotten locally as the Conservative administration in Hammersmith Town Hall sets about changing the borough beyond all recognition, without any mandate to do so.
In the past week, I have dealt with complaints about the following developments:
l) The plan to let a private French school build in the grounds of Planetree Court sheltered housing in Brook Green.
2) The release of Westfield from its obligation to fund 100 affordable homes for key workers in Shepherd’s Bush.
3) A proposed seven-storey block of flats in Glenthorne Road – none of which will be affordable to local residents.
4) The council’s own scheme to evict all the community groups from Palingswick House, in King Street, and sell it off.
Any one of these would be bad news, but what makes this sinister is the volume of bad planning decisions and the fact they all point the same way. What suits developers is in; what suits residents is out.
The only good news last week was that the government has called in the Goldhawk Industrial Estate scheme to a public inquiry. But this – like the Olympia hotel inquiry – is just more evidence that the council is not doing its job.
Last week also, my opponent at the next election gave his ‘wholehearted support’ to the council’s plans to demolish thousands of local homes to make way for commercial development.
Next year’s elections – local and general – look like being pivotal to the future of Hammersmith & Fulham as we know it.