Biggest learning of last week’s council meeting and what shone out Monday evening, was the reality that the councillors need to learn how to work together. While the conservatives are not used to having so much opposition, they are still in the driving seat when it comes to votes but they are also hugely exposed when to comes to discourse, they’ve never really needed to explain themselves. Time for some relationship building…
Monday 1st July
First job of the day, email received at the weekend about lady who got charged for parking for more than 4 hours at Tesco’s when she’d been at a family do for most of the day… spoke to one of the managers, assured me they would sort out, emailed all parties via iPad while in Tesco… TICK 😉
Meeting with the Duncan Sharkey, Managing Director, to discuss a bunch of stuff. I do like his matter of fact way of getting on with things. You know where you are with him. Tick, tick, tick…
Then further training on Overview and Scrutiny Committees and how they should work, what the recommended guidance is from government and how that should flow through. We tend to be reactive as it comes back from cabinet when in fact, many things should probably be looked at more closely before they even get there. But being trained by a 45+ year old bloke with dyed hair, a snug fitting shirt and a “political” voice, emphasising this and that? “When I did a project for “blar blar” London borough / town council…” struggled with the waffle as just wanted to learn… anyway, have a better understanding of O&S so that will help in the next committee meeting.
Tuesday 2nd July
Meeting down at Sawyers Close with group of people inc Radian and Brunel Uni. to discuss various funding opportunities.
I come from a world of tenders where businesses are looking to grow and prosper by doing projects for councils and other organisations, I get that. Where the format is here is the project, how would you approach it? What will it cost us and this is when we need it done by… I get that.
The funding side, give us some money and we’ll make the world a better place… not sure I’m so comfortable with that format. I guess I’ve seen it where all that is important is the funding, not the end result… get the money in the coffers, keep half and spend half on trying to address the problem… all a bit flaky for my brain I guess.
The lady from Radian has been trying to implement a couple of projects but is moving on to something new and so wanted to share her vision before she went. They are also looking at how the council might fund this or that. I need to understand how that all works better than I do. We pay Radian to look after people but where do the responsibilities lie? I feel I hear more complaints about Radian than I do praise but I guess that’s normal. You hear people are paying exorbitant heating bills in Sawyers Close because the heating system is very old… what are Radian doing to fix that problem? Need to find out more…
A Professor in the house, talking UIA – Urban Innovative Action – apparently this rolls out around £4,000,000 per project where the local council only has to chip in a few quid.
European money… I do love the idea of taking £4m back as we exit stage left 😉
Forms need filling in, council leaders and officers are being spoken to. I will be following up as this is serious money that could be spent on a RBWM cross party initiative around culture… what that looks like we need to work out and get organised as the doors on this pot of funding open in September and we have till Christmas to put up our ideas for consideration.
Have a read of the parameters… the headline on their site says “Identify and test innovative solutions for sustainable urban development” that sounds like, as the space gets more filled up, how do we keep people calm! Perhaps urban development is not the way… perhaps we need to push the other way and say, OK, we want more countryside and less urban sprawl? Could someone read and translate this please…
The mention of tourism and knowing the Conservatives were looking to cull the tourism office in Windsor! It’s been given a reprieve while a commercial self funding stream is worked out … perhaps we have an opportunity to blend local-tourism with culture and grab that pot of gold? Have emailed the relevant people to ask the question… let’s see what happens.
Wednesday 3rd July
Had a meeting with local Police and learned that the biggest issues are around burglary and old people being defrauded, over the phone and on the doorstep. Burglary tends to be in the moment, opportunist, usually to feed a drug habit…
Suggested we put on an event and video it with local Police and Wardens telling folk to not have conversations on the phone about “overdue” bills as real companies will simply send a bill! And to share simple ideas on keeping their world safe from opportunist burglars… we then video and get is shared more widely and encourage people to check on their neighbours and reinforce the message of “if in doubt, leave it out!” Just made that up but the older generations grew up in a time of trust, today’s society isn’t playing from the same hymn sheet.
Followed up with a meeting with one of the lead councillors and ticked off a few more boxes before the Windsor Area Development meeting at York House where we reviewed property applications that have come to appeal. People were particularly pleased when we refused the demolition of Essex Lodge, Osbourne Road! (Building on the right above)
Thursday 4th July
I was at a business expo all day on Thursday. I do enjoy expos for all the banter and potential opportunity that might materialise over the coming months. These days I keep my display very simple, one pop up and a box with some flyers and business cards. You can try too hard and spent loads of money unnecessarily on display which doesn’t help you sell more if you are on your phone texting when folk walk by…
Friday 5th July
Visited Bruce Walk where I met half a dozen residents who have a variety of issues and feel completely ignored by RBWM. Their garages taken from them a few years ago, houses built, more traffic trying to park in less spaces, grass half cut by Radian, half by council contractors, not cut properly, kids & adults playing football against residents walls and being rude when asked not to. Been going on for years, they feel very neglected…
OK, first off, lets form a hub, right who’s going to lead the way… excellent, a main point of contact who can filter info through to me and I can then find potential solutions and share them back through… it’s what we’ve done up the Dell and that’s working great.
Popped up the Dell to meet with the hub and discuss recent developments. They are more than happy with the level of support they are getting from RBWM these days, with their ability to access the right people at the right time. Empowering neighbourhoods not egos is how WWRA will be rolling…
Back to Bruce Walk as a few more people wanted to discuss specifics and then down All Saints Church to listen to a Chief Inspector (Police) talk about a new initiative they have been working on in West Berkshire. Crime down 70% because they treat drug users as victims of crime and divert them to sources of education and help, rather than giving them criminal records which prevents them moving forward with careers.
One silly mistake can currently lead to unfulfilled potential… Jeff has a new way … in Portugal the death rates from drugs have fallen from thousands to 26 last year… we need to support this initiative as it moves into the Thames Valley.
Saturday 6th July
Wrote up my new initiative CHEW in the morning… bringing local people together under their own themes, street or topic, enables them to work out what is needed, give me a coherent list that is common to the group and work out ways of addressing their problems… feels like common sense… let’s see how it rolls out.
A resident had used our WWRA Questions Facebook Group to ask about a local pathway that was needing some tlc… went to visit, take pics and will send on to the team and ask when this might get inspected.
Homer Schools’ 50th Birthday Bash was on, tad cooler than last weekend’s Rotary Fair’s 34 degrees! Bought a teddy and some cupcakes for the butterflies 😉
Met a young couple leaving and had a most interesting chat… sad about Squires, as is most of the area, I shared with them my thoughts on the subject.
Home to take the pressure off and relax for a few hours… who knows what tomorrow will bring…