Seyi’s March- June Bi-Monthly Councillor Report

Seyi writes…

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 continue sharing this with residents of Forest Gate North ward that aren’t members of the Labour Party.


Forest Gate North Meetings & Events.

17th March, I attended the Forest Gate Arts Trail Steering Committee meeting. Plans are underway! Lots more artists and local businesses are involved this year and we’ve ensured we include the West side of the ward. Forest Gate Arts Trail 2016 will take place on 21st July- 7th August.

2nd April, I volunteered at the Maryland Primary School’s Big Dig. The school and the local community helped to tidy up the nature garden and put in some more flowers in for the children.

4th April, I organised a walkabout with officers from Greenspace and local residents to choose suitable locations for a Winter Works project in our side of the Community Neighbourhood. Winter Works funding is about providing more or cleaning up greenspace for residents. There’s also the potential to create a community garden. Watch this space!

7th April, I attended the final Crossrail Public Consultation meeting on the redevelopment of Maryland Station. There were some concerns that residents didn’t receive consultation packs so I’ve raised this with officers who will investigate and rectify this. Afterwards I attended the Friends of Maryland Core Group meeting.

If you would like to get involved in Friends of Maryland please get in touch (seyiDOTakiwowoATnewhamDOTgovDOTuk). You can keep up to date with all thing #MarylandE15 by following @MarylandPoint.

9th April, I attended Aston Mansfield’s Big fundraiser for Durning Hall. All funds raised are going to help give the building a much needed lick of paint. They will be needing volunteers over the next few week so if you’re good at painting please get in touch!

I’m still working with residents living on and around Knighton and Dames Road to fight a very complicated planning issue. If you live on this road and have similar concerns please get in touch.

For the last two months I’ve been working with Friends of Maryland on the #MarylandZone2 Campaign. We have almost 500 signatures and 100s of positive and supportive comments.

Maryland was the only station in the Stratford area not to be re-zoned to 2/3 in January, meaning residents, many of whom are on low incomes, have paid over £200 more this year to use their local station compared to those living elsewhere in the area.

Newham continues to be one of the most deprived areas of the country with household incomes among the lowest in London and while the 100,000 weekly users of the eight re-zoned stations in the Stratford and Newtown ward now benefit from cheaper travel, those living in Maryland do not. We believe this is unfair and we are asking the Mayor and Commissioner of TfL to include Maryland station in zone 2/3.

Lyn Brown MP has already given her support and at the last Newham Council meeting the Mayor of Newham agreed to include this campaign in the Council’s 16/17 priority.

How can you help?

  1. Please sign our petition and share this with your neighbours.
  2. Please adopt this campaign as part of Forest Gate North’s local campaign.

Both the Newham Recorder and the Newham Mag (pg 5) have written articles supporting the campaign. I have also asked Lyn Brown MP to write a letter to the newly elected London Mayor and have asked London Assembly Member Unmesh Desai to ask a question on the rezoning of Maryland Station at the next Mayor Question Time.

As you may know there has been a rise in violent youth crime in the ward, with 5 shootings and stabbings in the last two months. I am working with the local police team to do some outreach and preventative projects with young people. I will keep you posted when we have a concrete plan in place.

Waste Timed Collection Consultation on Leytonstone High Road is finally underway! After a successful pilot in December and January lead member for Environment has agreed to roll out a permanent Waste Time collection for Leytonstone High Road. Residents and businesses are currently being consulted and have two weeks to give their comments and thoughts. Friends of Maryland have done a lot of work to demonstrate the need and want for this permanent collection so hopefully the consultation feedback will be positive. This should see an end to the unsightly waste bins and fly-tipping on the High street.

On Friday 27th May I was invited by the Headteachers of Kay Rowe and Maryland Primary School to attend the Forest Gate Family and Children Centres’ first away day to help with their Forest Gate community audit and Forest Gate community needs plan. The new centres form part of the borough’s Best Start in Life Programme and will hopefully officially open in the Autumn.

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

Since being elected I’ve raised a number of questions at council meetings about how we as a Council can improve our relationship with Europe whether that be applying for EU funding or the council encouraging more young people to enrol on EU programmes such as Erasmus+.

In April the Mayor agreed that in light of the upcoming European Union referendum I should lead on a review with the policy team on the potential impact of Brexit on Newham. Given time constraints due to the EU Referendum purdah (started on 27th May) the review will happen in two parts and I presented the first part of the report to Cabinet on Thursday 26th May. You can read part one of the report here.

Part two of the report is dependent on the outcome of the referendum. If we remain in the EU, the second part of the report will look into how we can improve the dis-benefits of Europe for Newham.

If we leave, the report will explore how can we support our businesses/residents and still maintain a good relationship with Europe.

Committee other LBN Commitments

On International Women’s Day I attended the borough’s celebration event at East Ham Town Hall. It was very well attended! I nominated a couple of female leaders in Forest Gate who were celebrated.

As a member of Investment and Accounts Committee I attended a meeting about new investment methods and products.

West Ham CLP/ Forest Gate North Campaigning

I’ve been door-knocking and leafletting in:

Forest Gate North, 16th April, 21st April, organised a big canvassing session with London Young Labour 23rd  April,  27th April

West Ham ward 12th March, 6th April and 9th April

Custom House ward on 26th March

Stronger In EU /Labour In EU Street Stall at Stratford Station on 30th May

The next big CLP canvassing session is being led by the West Ham Women’s Forum on  Sunday 19th June, 1pm Maryland Station, it 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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