Seyi’s Bi-monthly Written Report

Seyi writes…

8th January- 3rd March Councillor Report

I’ve submitted by written report to Forest Gate North Branch Labour Party to answer questions at the branch meeting on Thursday. I thought it would be useful to share this with residents of Forest Gate North ward that aren’t members of the Labour Party.

Forest Gate North

On 9th February Cllr Rachel Tripp and I co-hosted the first Community Grant Info Drop-In Session in the west side of the ward. The aim of this was to inform residents eager to make a positive difference n their community of the various Newham community grants and encourage an increase in applications made by residents living in Maryland. over the course of two hours we had a steady flow of very interested residents dropping in wishing to set up a play street, community gardening/planting activities, community litter picking party and (my favourite) pop-up artistic shop in a empty property on Leytonstone High Rd. If you would like to get involved in any of these activities or you have an idea of your own please get in contact with me (seyi.akiwowo@newham.gov.uk) and I’d be happy to help.The next community grants info drop-in session will be sometime in be in June.

As a Forest Gate Neighbourhood we recently gave a grant to a Forest Gate Community cricket club for young people this take place on Saturdays at Forest Gate School. This was an opportunity to see how the Go For It Grant was helping to support the cricket club and to also play cricket (badly) with the young people.

Last week Thursday I attended the Forest Gate Networking evening, this month’s theme was Arts. There was lots of quality conversations among people very interested in art and getting involved in the Forest Gate Arts Trial this year. If this is something you fancy getting involved in please let me know! I also attended the Under My Skin Launch on 1st March at The Gate.

Residents on Knighton Road have been complaining about a nearby business breaching licensing permissions. This has resulted in various meeting with council officers, site visits to the business and residents. The business owners have told me they understand residents complaints and will now adhere to all of licensing permissions. Just incase that promise isn’t kept. There is an agreed action plan which includes setting up a residents group. If you live on or near Knighton Road and are interested in being apart of this residents group please get in touch.

On Saturday 20th February, Faithful Friends organised a Peace Walk around Forest Gate. This involved visiting various places of worship, meeting faith leaders and local residents. Despite the bad weather (it rained a lot!) there was a good turnout and the local police team helped lead the way.

For the last few months I’ve been working with officers to look at the amount of litter, fly-tipping and recycling in the ward. One of the solutions to address the high volume of rubbish on Leytonstone High road was extending the Waste Timed Collection from Stratford to Maryland. There was a successful pilot that ended last month which saw a significant reduction in reported fly-tipping and litter. In order to have a permanent Waste Timed Collection the council will need to consult residents and business owners affected as well as have sign off from the Lead Cabinet member for Environment and Leisure.

We’ve had a couple new license applications come through from businesses on Woodgrange Road for approval from ward councillors. These businesses wish to sell alcohol from as early as 8am until 11pm. We all know that London has a problem with street drinkers and anti-social behaviour so I am really not in favour of these applications. I therefore have been working very closely with Forest Gate North Police team who share my concerns to work out a compromise could be and suggest this to applicants.

I’m dealing with lots of casework at the moment a lot via email, some via social media and the majority from surgery. My resident surgeries have been pretty busy with eight people visiting my surgery on Sat 20th. The current trend of casework this month is residents experience with Newham Housing team and rubbish.

#CleanForTheQueens takes place Saturday 5th March, 11-1pm. Join us at Maryland Point, by Maryland Station at 11am on Saturday 5 March. The clean up will run between 11am and 1pm with refreshments being provided afterwards at Nooks Café.

Scrutiny Commissions- Deputy Chair of Crime and Disorder Scrutiny Commission & member of Overview & Scrutiny Commission

I’m part of an informal scrutiny group looking at Newham’s Prevent Duty and agenda. We have been interviewing members and key community stakeholders around the training given on the Prevent Duty, We hope to submit a report to Overview and Scrutiny later this month.

Overview and Scrutiny worked to analysis and adopt Newham’s 16-17 budget. This involved working closely with the Cabinet member of Finance, Cllr. Lester Hudson and the Mayor. You read about this on the Newham Council website

Key concerns I highlighted were:

  • Currently level of resources allocated to housing and residents experience of our housing service.
  • The need for clearer expected outcome of services to justify the amount of money being spent i.e. health
  • The need for sufficient data collection and analysis particularly around fly-tipping and littering hotspots. We need to know why and who are causing the problems as enforcement doesn’t seems to be working
  • The budget outlined a few risks include a potential increase in youth homelessness and so how are we a council going to prevent this.

Committee other LBN Commitments

At Full Council on 22nd February I asked two questions:

Q1) Will the re-zoning of Maryland Station be included in the Council’s 2016 priority

A1) Yes!

Q2) Is the Special Purpose Vehicle project still going ahead and if not why? My supplementary question was: Out of the half million given to this project how much was spent?

A2) Experts have advised against the current proposal and there is a Plan B in motion. I’m expecting a written response to my supplementary question which I’m happy to share.

I attended Cabinet meeting on Thursday 18th February, information about the meeting, the agenda and minutes are here

Key questions /points raised were:

  • On Keeping Newham Clean Deal: Investing in efficient data collection and analysis particularly around fly-tipping and littering hotspots.
  • On Keeping Newham Clean Deal: Involving the Youth Council and Schools as part of early education and intervention.
  • On Keeping Newham Clean Deal: Using the landlord licensing scheme to ensure tenants were not fly-tipping
  • On Keep Newham Moving: Ensuring CPZ didn’t negatively affect small businesses but encourage residents to shop local.

West Ham CLP/ Forest Gate North Campaigning

I went out door-knocking and leafletting in Custom House on Saturday 13th February and in Forest Gate North on Saturday 27th February.

The next big CLP canvassing session in 12th March in West Ham Ward, would be great to have your support!

About Seyi Akiwowo

Elected London Councillor & International Facilitator on active citizens, soft skills, social integration and sustainable development.
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