Morning… just spotted last week’s newsletter talked about May when it was in fact June… can’t believe no-one picked up on it and told me, anyway, what’s been going on this week in my councillor and community world?
Picture above is all the Local Independents and Lib Dem candidates plus the Flood chap from Datchet.
Monday 10th June
2nd proper meeting, Communities Overview & Scrutiny Panel. I’d prepped before the weekend, asked for feedback from more experienced councillors and revised and reviewed a dozen times, read the minutes 3 times… OK, I’m ready…
Within 10 minutes the game had changed, apparently we don’t asked for things the way I had prepared, I needed to revise my approach… OK, so who’s rules of chess are we playing by? Best learn fast…
I ended up asking around half a dozen questions, each aimed at garnering more insight into a topic that could then be discussed…
I’ve tried listening to the recording of the meeting but the quality is very poor, I have pointed this out and will ensure any recordings are done better in meetings I attend in future… through simple suggestions!
I have asked when the minutes will be produced so I can be clear on what I asked for but essentially they were along the lines of:
- Has the new spend on CCTV solved the issues with bandwidth in regards to imagery travelling around the system?
- How many of the 100 CCTV related arrests in the Thames Valley and 20 in the RBWM resulted in convictions?
- We’d like a better understanding of the wide ranging work that the wardens do? In previous minutes the conservatives had removed their election pledge of 36 wardens down to 25 with a sweeping statement about the wardens focusing on the night-time economy… when I asked for clarity from officers, only 5% of their time is spent on night-time economy. They are a fantastic, under-appreciated asset…
- How far has the council got with their “removal of plastics from council offices”? Or is it just a soundbite.
- What impact has the loss of Squires Garden Centre had on the social exclusion, mental health and general well-being of those over 50 years old in Clewer & Dedworth West Ward?
- Knowing that 20% of the RBWM residents are disabled, how can we make better use of the skills set relating to disabled athletes built up by Sportsable, to help fund their own work while supporting the wider borough leisure centres and other relevant consultancy opportunities?
I seemed to be asking all the questions 😉
Tuesday 11th June
I had my surgery from 3-5pm. No-one turned up but hey, word has to spread that I am there to talk to people and that takes time. On Friday I collected my new councillor cards and so next week I can wander the tables and hand out cards so that the word does spread organically.
Wednesday 12th June
11am I had a meeting of Windsor Girls’ School Interact Club, a junior version of Rotary, with my Chairman of Youth Services hat on and they shared plans for their primary fund raiser, the sports day down at Thames Valley Athletics Centre in Eton. I shared my idea to help young people’s sense of good will turn into a value that sticks with them for life… they liked it, I just need to get it passed Rotary council in a few weeks and I’ll share more broadly.
PM we had a meeting of Local Independents to discuss questions and I came up with this one for full council on Tuesday 25th June, 7:30pm, Maidenhead Town Hall, which will be circulated with a host of other questions and motions tomorrow…
In last year’s budget there was a line “CC52 Clewer & Dedworth Neighbourhood Improvements £350,000”. On enquiring how this money was invested officers tell me that £386,943 was spent so there appears to have been a £36,943 or 11% overspend. How was this overspend allowed to happen and can you ensure us that you will not overspend again this year?
Let’s see what they say… turn up, be part of democracy at work and see how we all play our roles now the mix of parties has radically changed!
Thursday 13th June
I had a monthly business networking meeting in London and so was up early, 4:30am to check my council emails, walk the dogs and head out for the train around 8:00am.
On the train I noticed that a tweet had gone out about the chap that owns Wates getting a knighthood, the people that own the Wyevales land. I re-tweeted with congratulations as I obviously want to talk to these people about their plans for the area. One resident didn’t appreciate me tweeting but this is all part of politics, engaging with those who could just close the garden centre if they chose to so and just sit on the land until the council relents, as appears to be the builders way of things. Why would I not engage in a positive way to build rapport?
The reality is in all my council activities I will have the best interests of the residents at the heart of my decision making. Putting myself up for election and winning, I then have to crack on and make some moves. Not everyone will like the way I approach things and some will take sound-bites off social media and spin them in whatever direction they choose… I have to be the grown up, know my direction of travel, try and reassure those with fears but I can’t put every decision I make up for the vote on social media because that will essentially disenfranchise 75% of residents and nothing would ever get done.
Friday 14th June
Had a great meeting with local business owners about their ideas for “CY27 Dedworth Manor-Community Café 250k”… the one Ed was talking about and bouncing in many directions after Squires closed down. Essentially a “vanity project” to boost popularity with the electorate prior to the elections. I have discussed this at the highest levels and based on an approach from myself and Wisdom with a clear business proposal then this money would be released.
They had heard about it via Facebook a while back and I shared with them our intention to look to the wider community for ideas, real ideas, not half baked but clear thoughts that could be built into a proposal to release the money. We’ll be pushing out this appeal for community ideas in the not too distant future.
After this meeting I went up to Hemwood Dell to meet with Michelle & Pam who have been doing some great work keeping locals informed and also digging around for more reasons for planning not to give approval on any proposed developments. Michelle is particularly interested in the history of the Dell and it’s fascinating what she is unearthing… one person saying that the nature of the vegetation in this video confirms that it is ancient woodland… wow, what people know 😉
Saturday 15th June
Its duck race sales again… down to Kris Cruisers to search for the banners, no-where to be seen! But we had some “A” boards… back home to create half a dozen A3 posters…
Turns out, during the 2nd shift, we do 2 hour slots, 10-12, 12-2… a young lad rugby tackled Donald Duck, who fell over onto the pavement and his head went flying off 😉 David’s alright thank goodness… the lad was with his father who was sporting a broken arm after he’d not come off so well!
In the evening we celebrated Windsor & Eton Rotary’s President’s Night at Dorney Lake where we reflected on Richard Carlton’s year and enjoyed watching the sun come down on another successful Rotary year.