There was a meeting of Camden Council on Monday, 27th February. As part of my accountability to residents, below are the actions I took at the meeting:
- Seconded the Conservative alternative budget, proposed by Cllr Don Williams, to freeze core Council Tax, restore services, and invest additional funds in key areas. Sadly, this was rejected. (A)
- As the Budget item was rolled together with the scheduled separate item on fees and licences, in the same speech, I raised the issue of Labour introducing a £1,500 fee for a licence to coach tennis on Camden’s courts (on top of fees to hire the court). Absurdly, that’s over twice as much as Camden charges people to run a betting shop. (R)
- In response to the Treasury Management report, I asked the Cabinet Member for Finance & Technology to examine the refinancing of Camden’s expensive lender-option, borrower-option (LOBO) debt, in light of Newham saving £1.6m a year by refinancing its LOBO debt. When I’d previously asked this, it was dismissed, but now that other boroughs have beaten us to the punch, people are suddenly keen – but if we’d started the process six months ago, we could have saved hundreds of thousands of pounds! (R)
- I asked the Cabinet Member for Sustainability & the Environment what his targets were for fly-tipping: how many incidents this year, how many fixed-penalty notices, etc. This is in light of his refusal to impose the maximum fines on fly-tippers, as most boroughs have. It appears I have become so synonymous with the issue of cleaner streets that Labour councillors referred to this as my ‘big stick’. Well, thanks, guys. Labour clearly realise the importance of the issue, because the Camden member responded to my continued pressure by announcing the hiring of new civil enforcement officers (wardens to you and me) to prevent fly-tipping. Strangely, though, he still refused to raise fines, so taxpayers will pay, not offenders. The fight continues. (Q)
- I asked the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Transport, and Planning what he had done to fulfil his statutory duty to assess from time to time whether more or all of West Hampstead and Fortune Green should be protected as Conservation Areas. I love West Hampstead and Fortune Green, but sadly, the Cabinet member insisted that the area ‘lacks special interest’. People that see the beautiful high-density, low-rise serried terraced houses and mansion blocks of West Hampstead dwarfed by new-build skyscrapers might disagree. (Q)
- We did not get to the scheduled motions. However, I was due to propose an amendment to Labour’s motion to note Camden Labour’s miserable failure to build homes and note the importance of the Housing White Paper to fix Camden’s broken housing market. (M*)
You can see a full round-up of meetings this year here.