Monday, March 17, 2008

Room on your horse for three?

Would two little boys make room on their horse for one more?
We ask because we recently came across the following links and it looks like one of the Conservative Councillors, Cllr Truss, may be eyeing up the job of becoming the Lib Dem Whip. The Dynamic Duo must too be getting all exited at the prospect of increasing their numbers by 50%.

But let's face it as she used to be one of the fence sitters before moving over to the Tories to get elected its hardly surprising she's trying to keep close links with the Lib Dems.

See here;

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Councils' land speculation at the John Roan School

If your a council in need of money how do you go about filling a few funding gaps, well you look to sell off the family silver, or better still someone else's family silver if you can get hold of it. What could we mean, well following on from Greenwich Phantom's post we're talking about the Council's little plans to forcibly take the John Roan Foundation's prized land next to Greenwich Park and swap it for a polluted waste land on the Greenwich Peninsula? Well that's what looks like to be happening and a few days ago there were more moves towards this with the Board of Governors voting in favour of the move.

But surely if governors of a school want to go along with the Council's plans then they should be allowed, right, well maybe not, given that of the governors who were able to make an awkwardly scheduled meeting are in some way connected with their Labour Party paymasters it might not be? See the list of Governors here.

It should be remembered that David Gardner used to be a Labour Councillor and the Chair E Gardiner used to be Nick Raynsford's Assistant.

Now this is where it gets really interesting as the John Roan is a foundation school and this means that as well as having a governing body it also has the charitable foundation, which owns the land of the smaller of the two school sites and the schools playing fields, the other school site is owned by the Council.

So who gets to decide? According to the Council it is the Governing body as they are easier to handle, what with all those Labour connections. But with the Foundation owning the land, what are they to do, well it looks like there is an impending legal battle about to commence to decide if the council can take the foundation's land and forcibly swap it with other land.

The council seems to think that as "school is, however, fully funded by the London Borough of Greenwich Education Authority" it can therefore take the land away that the foundation allows the council to use. The governors vote resulted in four of the governors resigning, 2 parent governors and 2 from the foundation.

We have of course reported before about how the peninsula might not be the best site to located an expanded school. Due to the pollution and size, as well as transport difficulties.

None of this matters really if you offset poor little kiddies failing to get an education against a council which sees the prime residential development potential on land next to the green Greenwich Park. So looks like the lucky residents around Greenwich Park are set to see a new development along the lines of the new Ferrier development, shoebox flats here we come!

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Encouraging people to stay healthy

More on the Budget Efficiency Savings Cuts following on from what Charlton Average spotted, which in turn followed on from The Last Boy Scot's post, and this is the issue of the Charlton Fitness Centre being set to close in the near future. Now if you take the time to look at this PDF you will see Greenwich's Health Profile for 2007, as you can see it shows that Greenwich has a significantly below average level of adults involved in physical activity.

So how to encourage them to take up exercise? Well closing local fitness centers would naturally be top of the list in Greenwich, according to the budget this closure will not see any loss of service as people can just go to the recently finished Eltham Centre. Which makes sense so long as you don't look at a map of Greenwich. You want people to use services, make them local, where do you buy you newspaper from, a shop close to home or on your way to work, or one a couple of miles out of the way. If its the one out of the way you'll probably just give up reading the Newspaper, unless its shoved though your door, like Greenwich Time. So if a local fitness centre is closed down then less people will use fitness centres in Greenwich, making the health problem worse.

On top of this there is the woeful story of Swimming in Greenwich, As part of the Governments hopes for Gold at the 2012 games local sports clubs are seeing changes. In Greenwich this does not mean wholesale improvement to sports provision but instead changing the Swimming clubs executive management so that now the Council has people who are there to concentrate on individual sporting excellence, rather than just your average swimmer. What this means directly is that Swimming clubs in Greenwich which used to have a couple of hundred members are going to be scaled back to deal with just a minority of top swimmers.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Recycling update

Its been a few weeks now since the new recycling plans started in the people's republic of Greenwich, we're still seeing rubbish on the streets after the bin men have been around in the evening. These are of course not just our reports as we here at Greenwich Watch Towers are still being regularly emailed with stories from around the borough about the new system. As well as seeing some of the more horrific ones in the comments we have also spotted that BBC London wants to look into some of them. Take a look at the bottom of this story, here, and let them know what's life is like in Greenwich:

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Picking figures from the air

As well as silly motions the Budget was also discussed, but was hardly dissected at the last council meeting on Wednesday.
Here's some things which might have been missed; this budget saw the continuation of last years smash and grab raid on various council services.
In an Oscar like ceremony the leader of the council praised various departments for making tough decisions on "efficiency savings".
This is where we have difficulty with this budget and its from purely philosophical reasons, namely if it is an "efficiently saving" then it really can't be a tough decision, as it is by definition the most efficient, and therefore least troubling way of doing something. If however, the dear leader was to call these by there more common term, namely "cuts", then this would be easier for our simple minds to understand.
One area which will not directly be seeing many cuts will the be grass and hedges of the Council's parks, this is because of the "efficiency savings" which a review, which is yet to take place, has said will be found in the parks and leisure services department. We say will because in many cases that exactly what's planned, a review is to be set up to to find £xxx,xxx worth of savings, but what they don't know is how they will do it, nor do they know what staffing implications there will be. Hardly the most logically way to go about it.
Just warm yourselves knowing that your tax is going up by around 2%. Aren't we lucky!

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Now we know where they got their ideas from

If you have ever wondered where Greenwich Council gets its ideas for the dictatorial regime that seems to pass for a London Borough Council, then look no further than the Early Day Motion which was signed by two of Greenwich's three MP's and former members of Greenwich Council.
John Austin (Lab, Erith and Thamesmead) and Clive Efford (Lab, Eltham) both signed EDM 982, praising Fidel Castro. This Early Day Motion was also signed by the notable George Galloway.

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