CAMPAIGNERS and amenity groups are coming to terms with the borough having its third different administration of the year.
Councillor Susan Hall was voted the first female leader of Harrow Council at a packed extraordinary full council meeting held on Monday at Harrow Civic Centre after councillor Thaya Idaikkadar and his Independent Labour group, which had been ruling as a minority administration, were deposed after six months.
Georgia Weston, who lives in Headstone Lane, Harrow, and led the opposition to plans to turn Broadfields Country Club into a caravan park, said: “I voted Independent in 2010, so I’m in the middle, but in 2010 the people of Harrow voted for a Labour administration at the election. We now have a Conservative leader and this was not done through the ballot box and it was not done democratically.”
Darren Diamond, a Liberal Democrat activist, said: “At the last cabinet meeting the Harrow Weald Lib Dems submitted six petitions. We are talking to residents and reporting problems to the council, day in, day out. This is a service people should be getting from their local councillors, but they are too busy playing political games at the civic centre.
“With the councillor numbers the way they are, no one party can have a majority. If they want to control the council so badly, maybe they should all resign, call an election and actually let the people of Harrow decide.”
Irene Wears, of Campaign For A Better Harrow Environment, said: “If what has happened means we are going to have stability with which to steer through and oversee the momentous changes that are happening now the new local plan is finalised, it can only be a good thing, although this is not a political statement in favour of the Tories.
“Hopefully Harrow can move forward and blossom.”
Asif Iqbal, president of Harrow Deaf Club, who attended the meeting, said: “I do not think it matters who is the leader. I know people have got some quite strong feelings about what is going on politically and it can look bad to people who are looking in at Harrow, but all that matters is that residents have access to services.”
Seven of the eight Independent Labour members – all except councillor Krishna James, who abstained – supported handing back power to Ms Hall and the Tories.
An Independent Labour group statement said afterwards: “We are upholding the Labour values of fairness and justice, but unfortunately, instead of considering the merit of the motion from their own existing members and set-up an investigation, Labour expelled us.
“We did not have a choice but to stand up with the people who came to our rescue in our hour of need when we faced discrimination.”
Harrow Council is composed of 25 Conservatives, 25 Labour, eight Independent Labour, three Independents, one Liberal Democrat and one UK Independence Party member.
Ms Hall told the Observer afterwards: “First female leader of the council? I’m absolutely delighted.
“There’s gaps in the budget we will be looking at. The residents are complaining that the roads are filthy and the parks unkempt. The reality is I want the Conservative vision: a cleaner, safer and fairer Harrow.”