That’s the problem when the clocks go back: rather than sipping a cold beer on the patio, whilst watching Marge in the garden next door trim her bush, glass of gin only the merest whisker away from her, you end up trawling through the acres of meeting minutes, notes, briefings, presentations and other documents that the council slings our, having paid countless people to do nothing but generate paperwork. Produce enough crap, and somewhere you’ll be able to hide some bad news, I guess.
Tonight’s comment, buried deep within the documents for a future Overview and Scrutiny Meeting – and there’s a snappily-named committee if ever you’ve heard one – is this gem which is a report by the ‘Homelessness Scrutiny Review Challenge Panel” – those quango names just don’t stop coming, do they?
The report looks at homelessness across the borough: certainly a serious issue, with homelessness at it’s highest level in nearly a decade. The report also contains a number of recommendations, one of which is (page 5, here):
“To request that officers be instructed to investigate options around utilisation of green belt land and allotments…”
Or, to put it another way, can the council get away with scrapping allotments across the borough, and use those pieces of prime real estate to knock up small estates instead.
Figures from 2015 shows that there are almost 700 people on the waiting list for an allotment in Harrow; and that the council has only 34 allotment sites comprising of nearly 1400 plots across the borough.
It would certainly help the council raise some much-needed money. Having just decided to borrow £300,000,000 to finance the Chief Exec’s fancy regeneration scheme – a sum so eye-wateringly big, it even makes him own £130,000 salary look like a drop (drip?) in the ocean. And let’s remember, residents will likely be paying off this massive loan for decades to come, long after the expected portrait of Sir Lockwood, having had a large cock and balls drawn over it, has been torn down.
But to even consider building over allotments, what little green space the borough has left? Really? This smacks of a council out of control and out of touch. Unfortunately, they’re not yet out of sight.