Little example of council waste

DOREEN Wolf’s letter (‘Wrongly franked letters that cost us’, Letters, November 1) is just one more example of lack of common sense and how organisations care little about the use of our money. Here is another example.

For some quite unknown reason I was asked to comment on a planning application on a property in Pinner for change of use from residential to day nursery.

As requested, I replied by sending my opinion to Harrow Council. Some time later, I received a letter from Harrow Council signed by Beverley Kuchar, head of development management and building control, stating that the application had been refused.

Fine – all nice and polite – but, in the same post came not just one, not two, but three identical copies of this letter, all in separate envelopes and obviously all franked at whatever rate.

I replied by email, complaining about this utter waste of paper, printer inks, envelopes and postage, but received no comment from Harrow Council – not that I expected one – not even in triplicate!

So what else is new?


The Ridgeway


Merging police job would be bad idea

AT a council meeting last week, Harrow Council strongly opposed police plans to reduce its senior leadership in London, which would mean Harrow sharing its Borough Commander with Barnet.

The motion called the plans ill-conceived as each London borough is unique in its make-up and demographics and Harrow has a very different geography, population and economy to Barnet. 

The plans are currently being considered by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) as the Metropolitan Police seeks to fill a £233million funding gap by 2016.

With 83 per cent of the London Police costs coming from salaries, a ‘shared-service’ type of approach is seen as a potential option to start making the savings.

We are delighted to hear that Mayor Boris Johnson has publicly declared that he would reject proposals to merge borough commanders and strongly hope that he keeps to his word.

Having a good understanding of a local area and the relationship between the borough commander and the local authority is critical to the delivery of a successful Community Safety Partnership. 

We believe that one individual would not be able to continue to maintain such an integrated partnership and that a merger of borough commanders would have a detrimental effect on local policing.

The people of Harrow deserve better than this shoddy, ill conceived plan. We are proud to have the second lowest crime rate in London and this move could damage the strong partnership working between our police, local authority and the community.


Harrow Council Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Environment

How one council restored taxi use

ONCE again my attention has been drawn to the plight of those in my ward who now go out less often due to the reduction in the Taxi Card trips from 104 to 52 a year to anyone who had a Blue Badge or a Freedom Pass.

Most affected by this change are people with a learning disability, mental health condition and from a BME background, with obvious implications, including the lack of mobility and isolation.

One can always blame the government about this matter but the truth is that the Harrow Council prioritises its funding package and works out the allocation of its resources.

No doubt the council has gone through a process for making cuts, but in working out the cuts by reducing the trips, it depends on how the situation has been assessed, which Taxi Card user groups are consulted and what weighting is given to the historic average use of the Taxi Card by members allocated 104 trips.

The response to the ‘consultation’ depends on individual circumstances.

Accepted that the council is looking for cuts but perhaps the Harrow Council administration could learn from London Borough of Richmond upon Thames in this case.

Considering who is most affected by the reduced trips and in listening to the people and their representatives, the borough decided that 104 Taxi Card trips per year be restored to all scheme members for Freedom Pass holders able to use public transport.




Reassurance on recycling charges

I WOULD like to reassure Mr Lewis (‘End charges if you want us to recycle, Letters, November 8) that the charges introduced at the Reuse and Recycling Centre only apply to non-household waste from building and landscaping works such as soil, kitchen units, bedroom fittings and plasterboards.

It does not apply to waste electrical and electronic equipment such as TVs and radios or waste such as plastic bottles or cardboard you would normally put in your blue top bin. There are deposit banks at the site where blue top bin waste can be deposited.

Furthermore, although there is a charge for businesses to recycle green waste such as grass cuttings and prunings it remains free for residents to take along their own green waste.

Brent Council has not introduced charges for residents to non-household waste recycle at Abbey Road.

The charges have been introduced for all users of the site, whether they be Brent residents or not, by the West London Waste Authority (WLWA) which owns and manages the Re-use and Recycling Centre in Park Royal, NW10.

I would like to thank Mr Lewis for supporting Recycle More and for helping Brent to greatly increase the recycling rate since the new system was introduced last year.

If he or any resident has any questions about the charges they can contact Brent Council on 020 8937 5050. You can also visit


Brent Council’s lead member for Environment and Neighbourhoods

West London Waste Authority member

Opposition should not just oppose

COUNCILLOR Husain Akhtar is right and Cllr Susan Hall wrong (Observer, ‘Akhtar quits Tory party in new council leader row’). Now I have dared to say it!

The function of the opposition is not to oppose everything which moves at every possible time as she and some of her misguided colleagues continuously do.

The function of the opposition is in fact to try and provide a coherent and credible alternative administration and hold the executive to account.

Her disrespectful behaviour at the last council meeting during the election of the new leader of the council and similar behaviour at the previous council when only half her group followed her walk out of the council shows that she does not understand this simple fact and how split her group is.

Her behaviour is in contrast with many in her group. We welcomed the thoughtful contributions from Cllr Bednell and Cllr Wright and other in the discussions about the Youth Offending Team at the council meeting in contrast to Cllr Hall’s attempt to play petty party politics with vulnerable children. Likewise the outstanding Scrutiny Report on the Private Rented Sector made by Cllr Marilyn Ashton shows how it should be done. Throughout the last two-and-a-half years of our Labour administration we have been subjected totally negative opposition to every proposal we put forward without ever saying how the Tories would have saved £51million as we have in the last two years while defending and indeed enhancing frontline services.

In contrast when we were in opposition we put amendments to the Tory budgets and some of our suggestions were taken up albeit without acknowledgement, such as, the recession busting group, setting up a credit union, while our suggestion reablement was not but is now.

Cllr Hall would do well listen to the more sensible members of your own group.


Portfolio holder Communications and Business Transformation

Thanks to staff at Northwick Park

THANK you, Northwick Park Hospital.

During October my husband was rushed into the hospital.

It was a worrying time but I found all the staff very kind and helpful.

Any questions I asked of the staff were duly answered and my mind put at rest. I found the nurses are on the go all the time, and work very hard.

So to all the staff of Edison Ward my sincere thanks; to Miss Renton and her team of doctors, a very big thank you.


Whitby Road


Early detection of diabetes is crucial

I VERY much welcome and support the letter from Councillor Simon Williams (Harrow Observer, November 15) calling attention to World Diabetes Day, and making the point that Harrow has a population with a very high risk of diabetes, and that early detection is crucial.

If identified in good time the condition is easily treatable at local GP surgery level and the more serious complications avoided.

I have recently become the chairwoman of the Harrow Shadow Health and Wellbeing Board and am delighted to welcome Mr Williams as a new member.

The board has carried out a Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and prepared and consulted on a Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy, which includes measures to prevent diabetes.


Chairwoman of Shadow Harrow Health and Wellbeing Board