Sunday, 21 September 2008

Community Forum

I mentioned our local community forum briefly in a couple of posts recently but I thought a more detailed post was necessary.
Ours is run by one man, a retired, community spirited ex councillor who organises it, takes minutes and does follow up letters and actions. The town team type up the minutes for him. I was particularly miffed with our local councillors who want to be seen at these meetings but don’t want to help. The chair pointed out that more people attend our forum than the West Brom town committee.
We have had some sheds broken into recently and our police showed some very positive pro active policing by providing free shed alarms for anyone who wanted them. We had reports from police on crime figures. Education, but this is confined to our local children’s centre and a debate on whether our newly formed academy would eventually have provision for swimming pool.
The Red House in the park of the same name is having a difficult time with the friends group trying to get a resolution on the future of the house. I for one do not feel that this property is of sufficient historical value to warrant spending millions of tax pounds to restore it. I’m afraid I upset the Chair of the Friends group over this. I have in the past tried to help them with advice on how they should get listed status for the park and a proper constitution for the group so that they can apply for funding from a variety of sources. They don’t seems to be listening unless you go along to their meetings which according their chair most councillors don’t.
Usually you get our local councillors who are happy to blame the council for pretty much everything. They are of course in opposition and it is easy because no one from the controlling labour group attend. This time however the newly elected labour bloke for our ward was present and I’m impressed, he’s learning fast and gave several well argued support for items blamed on the council. When it came to offering to do something he was again the only one who did. I had to point out to him his enthusiasm was commendable but one item he was offering to deal with was not on his patch. The councillor who’s patch it was never volunteered to do anything.
Planning items are always contentious with this one being no different. There appears to be a lot of concern and very little knowledge on the part of planning committee members what the new regulations mean. I think they mean it’s a free for all as long as you meet building regulations it’s do as you please.
It’s a big well done Tony who organises these meetings because this must be one of the longest surviving and best attended forums in Sandwell. I feel guilty because I can’t help him with the meetings. One of the most vocal of concerns is usually litter with one of our local pubs being a big offender. I like the labour bloke’s style he offered to visit the landlord that afternoon and get it sorted. Action Man Hosell. It’s a pity the wider electorate don’t see this.

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