Revamped Democracy For Ealing Residents

New ward forums replace defunct area committee meetings

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Following the abolition of Area Committee Meetings in Ealing, the council has announced new local forums for residents in every ward across the borough.

The first five forums are:

Acton Central – 17 September from 7-9pm at St Mary’s Church, The Mount
Hobbayne – 16 September from 7-9pm at St Mary’s Church, 91 Church Road, Hanwell
Northfields – 4 September from 7-9pm at the Log Cabin on Northfields Avenue
Southfield – 10 September from 7.30-9.30pm at Acton Green Church, Cunnington Street
Walpole – 18 September from 7-9pm at St John’s Church, Mattock Lane

In May Ealing Council voted to abolish the old poorly attended area committees in favour of 23 ward forums, with the aim of getting more people involved. Because each forum covers a much smaller area it can focus on local issues and it is hoped that will encourage more people to attend.

Led by ward councillors, the forums will feature joint problem solving on local concerns, including round table discussions on issues such as community safety, traffic and transport schemes, parks and street improvements. Plus each ward will have the chance to influence an annual budget of £40,000 for local improvements.

Council Leader, Councillor Jason Stacey, said: “The area forums were usually quite poorly attended and people would often turn up to the one item that was of interest to them and then leave. I hope more residents will want to attend the ward forums because they cover smaller areas so the discussions should be more relevant and people can really influence the decisions.”

Lib Dem Councillor Gary Malcolm welcomed the idea on the whole but questioned how effective the forums would be in solving cross ward issues such as CPZ’s. He said, "The council is making is making all sort of bold claims that the ward panels are super democratic but the reality is that when it wants to spend money it needs to get its begging bowl out to the council Executive.

“Local Liberal Democrats want to see ward committees have real power to spend larger proportions of the council's budget.”

He added “I would like to see the Acton Area committee brought back so that larger or more strategic issues such as large CPZs or the South Acton estate can be discussed by everyone who is affected in on meeting. It appears the council are trying to hide from listening to residents views on some large and complex issues."


August 29, 2008