Teresa O’Neill’s Leader’s report to Full Council is not something I
would happily miss although if one has taken the trouble to read the Agenda copy first
it would be unusual to learn something new.
It is delivered briefly, thereby avoiding any risk of boredom, although usually the only thing that could be considered remotely exciting is the constant use of the ‘F’ word.
Everything about Bexley is Fantastic and counting their use with the aid of my little five bar gate sketch to see if any records are set is the highlight of the evening.
Seven Fantastics in fewer than eight minutes was indeed a new record.
There was a reference to the Peer Review, the one that castigated Bexley Council’s Scrutiny arrangements for being ineffective and a total waste of money. Unlike the untruthful deceptions put out on Twitter by Bexley Conservatives, the Leader acknowledged that things were not all good and she had already introduced some changes to address the problem.
The Leader had continued to put pressure on the Crossrail Extension Project known as C2E. London City Airport has come on board her bandwagon. She is keen to put another couple of minutes on the Elizabeth line journey times into town by having an extra station at the airport.
Bexley Council is going to adopt the London Councils’ approved Anti-Semitism definitions.
Councillor Daniel Francis (Labour, Belvedere) asked the first question. He queried why schools were asking parents to help fund their budgets. (It’s nothing new; my school demanded half a crown per term to fund exercise books during the 1950s.)
The Leader seemed to think that “we are working with all schools” answered the question. The Peer Review seems to have got it right on Scrutiny.
Councillor Francis also asked how many tall buildings (ten storeys or more) are planned for Bexley bearing in mind that the administration had said it wouldn’t be approving any?
Deputy Leader Louie French answered the buildings question. He said it “would not be appropriate to comment too much” before the planning application goes in for Arthur Street in December.
Councillor Linda Bailey (Conservative, Crook Log) asked about the rebranding of the Thames Innovations Centre to The Engine House and asked the Leader to comment on its success - another polish the ego question - after it “made a profit of £70,000 this year”. Not much of a return after the Council gave (and loaned) the TIC a million in 2012.
The Leader said “they have done a fantastic job”.
Councillor Richard Diment (Conservative, Sidcup) said a lot of people are still unhappy with Sidcup’s library being moved but Cabinet Member Craske preferred to concentrate on the reconstruction of the building for use as a cinema as has since been confirmed by the appointment of architects.
Council Mabel Ogundayo (Labour, Thamesmead East) was “disappointed to see that for Black History Month we didn’t do much more than we did last year. We should take every opportunity to celebrate our diversity. Can the Leader commit to doing more and better?”.
The Leader did not agree that the Council had fallen short and Cabinet Member Alex Sawyer provided a long list of events that had been staged and referred to the quality of those events “and that is what should be judged, not numbers”.
Councillor Eileen Pallen asked the Leader “if she would join with her in thanking staff and volunteers who made the annual Children’s Summer Reading Challenge in the libraries happen?” The Leader said she was “happy” to oblige.
The Mayor then announced that the 30 allotted minutes had expired and apart from a few formalities, that was the end of the meeting, all done and dusted by 21:15.