New data from the London Fire Brigade has revealed that in the first full year after Boris Johnson forced the closure of 10 London fire stations, including scrapping one engine from Willesden, fire engine response times increased in two thirds of London’s wards. In Brent 11 wards have seen an increase in response times. The analysis from Navin Shah AM, comes as the London Fire Brigade prepares to launch a consultation on proposals to meet £6.4m of cuts demanded by the Mayor. Amongst the proposals are plans to permanently cut 13 further fire engines, but Mr Shah said “Londoners should be aware that there is an alternative that won’t see their fire engines cut, and that will prioritise their safety.” Continue reading
I’m now away in India until November 16th – if you need to contact your councillors, you can do so here.
I have sent the following letter to the Evening Standard and the Brent and Kilburn Times.
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I am disappointed to see a Willesden woman caught on film in what appears to be a bigoted attack on a young Muslim mother in Brent. It would be bad enough if this was a one-off, but this was quickly followed by a similar incident in which an elderly Muslim man was cruelly attacked and his walking frame thrown.
Racial aggression in this second case was also directed against welfare support, itself a frequent target of ignorance. Too many wrongly believe that immigrants, or in this case those who ‘look like immigrants’, a racially tinged judgement, somehow have ‘special’ privileges. This is a divisive and obvious myth.
Sadly, in both cases, the alleged perpetrators were from ethnic minorities themselves – a depressing state of affairs.
Most Londoners take pride in our diversity. We understand that our strength lies in community, mutual respect and understanding. But on public transport, a space we must all share, this seems increasingly and inexplicably stretched.
It is welcome to see Police taking such abuse seriously – we can’t allow George Osborne’s cuts to put this at risk. But we also need to see a zero tolerance approach from TfL. Passengers and staff both deserve to feel safe when they travel. The small but loud minority taking part in bigoted, abusive or violent behaviour should be immediately removed and banned from using the buses and tubes we share. We must be open to each other, but we do not have to put up with them.
Cllr Tom Miller
Willesden Green Ward, Brent
tommillerwg.wordpress.com | twitter.com/tommilleruk
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just to let you know, you can take a virtual tour of the Library at Willesden Green here.
I have written on this issue at some length on the blog, and I’m very happy that the new library has opened its doors. We had a very busy first day, and there is very obviously considerable enthusiasm.
The superiority of the new building is quite striking, and again I am proud that we have managed to find a way of financing this other than levying extra charges and taxes on residents. By working in partnership with business and being smart about what we do locally, we can still help our residents get access to high quality services, even in the face of huge Tory austerity cuts to our local budgets. We must fight the cuts politically as a Labour Party and alongside unions and campaign groups – but if we are to act responsibly we must also provide whatever innovations and efficiencies we possibly can. I wish more people would accept the need to do both.
You can find out all the detail about what is in the new building here.
It is with a warm heart that I greet the upcoming completion of the Library at Willesden Green (which I will simply be calling ‘Willesden Green Library’ despite our wonderful Council officers). The library will of course also be a vibrant and modern cultural hub, and will be opening on July 27th. Our job is now to make sure that it integrates with the local community as well as it possibly can.
The Library at Willesden Green replaces the former library which was built in the 1980’s and was inefficient and expensive to run, but still retains an element of the original building to the front, blending the old with the new. Local Labour Councillors have been very keen to retain this original building as part of the development – it was built and financed directly by local people, and is an icon of the area.
Though it rolls in the much older building, this is a development which is much more fit for the 21st century than the previous 1980s library, and which came without us having to raise further taxes from already squeezed residents due to our decision to fund this wonderful public asset with a private housing development.
The state of the art building will include a mix of uses including a new library, gallery and exhibition space, a museum and archives as well as performance space and also a new café, which will be introduced shortly after opening.
Brent Council has worked with renowned architects AHMM, developers Linden Homes and main contractor Galliford Try to create a new, exciting multi purpose venue for the local community.
My colleague Councillor James Denselow, Lead Member for Stronger Communities at Brent Council, has given the following statement:
“The Library at Willesden Green will be a building at the heart of its community, in every sense. When it opens to the public I’m sure it will quickly become a place full of life and creative energy.
“Being more efficient to run and easy to maintain, it will be able to respond to changing aspirations, offering the spaces and services that the community needs, now and in the future.”
As well as a new library with access to millions of books and council services, residents can look forward to a cultural centre that will include:
- children’s library
- self service customer facilities
- exhibition space
- education room
- computers, free wireless broadband and study space
- archive store
- office space
Local people are being encouraged to get involved in designing the art and cultural programme for the centre, through The Library at Willesden Green Users Group and workshops. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Self-service kiosks and customer free phone will be available for visitors who wish to access services and information on the ground floor. The council will also be offering weekly surgeries for vulnerable residents at the library. These will be provided on an appointment basis – the details of this will be published once finalised.
The customer services centre located at Brent Civic Centre will continue to offer assisted self-service facilities, face to face interviews and customer freephones between Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.
I just wanted to post this link – the Council are seeking local artists who want to exhibit their work, or put on a bit of a show.
There will be continuous exhibitions around the time of opening for the new Library at Willesden Green, starting in August. You can find out more here.