Sep 17 2013

Gareth Says: I wasn’t there last night, but Harrow faces some big challenges…

gareth_thomas_headshot1Dear Editor,

Harrow faces three big challenges over the coming months: The growing living standards crisis, the regeneration of our town centre and shopping areas, and how to reshape our essential services under severe financial pressures.

With budgets tight for so many families, I hope that despite the political problems on the Council, Councillors of all political persuasions will work together to keep the Council Tax from increasing next year. Equally I hope that Boris Johnson can be persuaded to freeze tube fares; which are now the most expensive in the world. A clear and united message across the political divide could help to influence City Hall.

Our town centre remains fundamental to the borough’s economic, social and cultural future. With the current Mayor of London having set Harrow a target for 3,500 new homes by 2021, Harrow is set to change significantly, particularly in the town centre and Wealdstone. The Council need to recognise that reality, engage all of us in planning for that change and ensure that a clear bold plan for the town centre is designed and stuck to.

Lastly our essential services, staff at Northwick Park Hospital have never been under such pressure. To ease that pressure we need to work together to prevent further cuts in alternatives to hospital admission such as social care services and encourage Harrow’s Clinical Commissioning Group to increase opening hours at for example the Alexandra Avenue Clinic.

The cut in the number of Harrow’s police officers has seen Harrow fall behind other boroughs in tackling crime and anti-social behaviour. We need to get behind the ambition of making Harrow London’s safest borough and press Boris to get Harrow’s police numbers back to where they once were.

I look forward to continuing to work on these issues and I hope we can do so on a crossparty basis.

Yours sincerely

Gareth Thomas MP

Harrow West

Footnote: Despite the enormity of last night’s Extraordinary Council Meeting, which will go down in history as a defining moment for the borough, there was, alas, no sign of Mr Thomas. We’ve asked him office to advice if he’d turned out for it – no response. We also checked with a couple of other people at the Civic Centre, and none of them saw him either.


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1 comment

  1. Cllr Willy Stoodley

    Why is the regeneration of our town centre a big challenge Gareth? It’s well under way – haven’t you been to St. Anne’s recently?! As the Minister for standing outside buildings perhaps you should try standing outside St. Anne’s Shopping Centre?! But then this is the MP who, after happily showing my wife & 2 sons around the houses of parliament with great aplomb and tea on that famous terrace, then kicked my wife off his facebook because I left the Labour group. Our walkout had NOTHING to do with my wife – that was a big kick in the teeth for her and if anything ever justified my walkout, for me it was that. And if the former Labour group leader Bill Stephenson hadn’t been shouting out insults at last Thursday’s Cabinet such as “what a shower”, “he doesn’t know what he’s talking about”, “they couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery” I suspect the ILG would have abstained or maybe even thrown a few votes Labour’s way; but those hecked insults were STILL FRESH in everyone’s memory. So WELL DONE BILL – by gobbing off last Thursday you lost it for Dave and put Susan in. And now I know why you called it “let’s talk” and not “let’s listen”.

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