Sunday, 3 February 2013

My week ahead 4 - 10 February 2013

Monday 4 February, 6pm – Labour campaigning

Thursday 31 January, 6pm –Ipswich Area Committee Chairs meeting
7pm – Councillor training

Saturday 2 February, 10.30am – Labour campaigning in South West Ipswich

The two main events this week were Full Council on Wednesday followed by the North East Area Committee meeting on the Thursday. Full Council was the first with Chris Stewart as the new Tory leader and it was not the most auspicious of starts for him. The questions from the Tory group were both poorly researched and seemed opposite to his first statement s Tory leader when he stated that “I would not be opposing everything for the sake of it. We need to choose which issues to fight on.”

In the end it was left to the former Tory leader Councillor Carnall to attempt to save the car crash of Tory questioning from his new seat on the back bench.

Maybe one of the first things Cllr Stewart will need to do is to get his front bench to research their shadow portfolios. It was obvious from the question that Cllr Pope asked and then his comments on the proposed council rate rise that he does not have a strong understanding of the housing portfolio, a worry when he used to be the Tory Housing Portfolio holder. On two occasions he mentioned that tenants were being let down as IBC do not visit each house each year, what Labour have decided is to concentrate on working with tenants whose homes are felt to below the required standard. I then had to inform Cllr Pope that the frequency of visits and the change in inspections had been fully discussed at the Area Housing Panels, meetings attended by Officers, councillors and tenants. Before I could finish Cllr Pope was on his feet to say that the meetings were for administration councillors only - so it quickly became obvious that he did not know that Cllr Debman is the Tory member on the panel – then again both Cllr Debman and the Lib Dem Cllr Ken Bates have failed to attend the last three meetings of the East Housing panel. At least Cllr Bates sent in his apologies! So if Cllr Debman had attended and then briefed Cllr Pope we maybe would have had a question that challenged our running of social housing in the town rather than yet another example of the lack of Tory knowledge or interest in council housing in Ipswich.

Then we had Cllr Stroet talk about the lack of help we have given to small businesses in Fore Street, seeming to forget both the Fore Street market that we put on and the help we have given to over 100 small forms in the town that has enabled them to claim business rate relief (strange he had forgot this as six days earlier he had joined other members of the scrutiny committee in thanking officers for the work they had done on this project)
So Cllr Stewart may need to control some of his front bench or at least get them to do their homework before the next council meeting.

Thursday was a much more pleasant meeting and away from the slightly partisan arena of the council chamber, Cllr Pope and Stroet willingly contributed to a successful North East Area Committee.

At our second ever meeting of the area committee, a number of residents from Orwell Road had attended, lobbied and spoke about traffic measures they believed were needed to make their roads safer and on Thursday the committee unanimously voted for an experimental traffic order to place on Orwell Rd for 18 months. After the decision was made the room gave the residents a round of applause in recognition of all their hard work. We also heard the latest updates from another local resident in his campaign to improve one of the local parks, another scheme that is being supported by the area committee.


Anonymous said...

Which full council meeting are you talking about Alasdair? You lot got absolutely mauled at last week's one.

Alasdair Ross said...

Not according to your ex Tory Chair- who also states that Cllr Carnall had to save the day.