Apr 28 2015

Susan Says: Council Blows £12k of Residents Cash on “Ideas and Feelings”

susan_hall_2Harrow Council spent over £12,000 launching its regeneration strategy at an event where residents were given heart-shaped stationery to write on, were encouraged to put coloured stars next to options they liked, and where four people were employed to write on an ‘ideas and feelings wall’. This is despite the Council’s Labour administration claiming the authority is cash-strapped – recently making the decision to close four libraries to allegedly make ends meet. The Council estimates that around 150 residents attended the event on 1st April – working out at over £80 per-head.

Conservative Group Leader Cllr. Susan Hall attended the event and said: “Many Harrow residents will be appalled at the idea that the Council has money to spend on heart stationery and idea walls, but not on libraries, park maintenance and street cleaning – services all facing massive cuts under Labour. Getting the views of local residents is important, but it should always be done in a cost-effective way.”

20150408_heartsCllr. Hall added: “I also spoke with several residents at the launch who were disappointed with the quality of the consultation itself. Though Labour made a big fuss of asking people for their own ideas, all they really wanted was sign-off on the strategy they’d already put together. This is vintage Labour consultation; lots of talk about listening to people, then either narrowing the options so as to make the exercise near meaningless, or just ignoring the results if they don’t like them.”

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  1. F.D.Billson

    This is typically Labour’s way of carrying on with the management of our money. Just throw it away on useless exercises that are of no use to anyone. Sue Hall is totally right to illuminate this pointless excercise. This is an example of the Government we will be landed with if we are stupid enough to let Labour back in to ruin the country. Harrow is already becoming a mess under the useless Labour council.


  2. iharrow.com

    Yes, there was a typo in that with the incorrect usage of the word “stationary” instead of “stationery” – all fixed!

    1. richard ramirez

      maybe they should have poured buckets of water over their heads susan hall or jogged round the boro with the ceo both as ludicrous and non productive but hey ho it does not matter the ship is nearly sunk.

  3. Concerned Harrovian

    I cannot understand why the stationery was heart shaped? Why not ordinary sheets of A4 paper? Was the heart shaped stationery meant to impress on residents, on a subliminal level, that they should love Harrow? Also the ideas wall sounds very patronising. Why not just get a Civic Centre employee to write up the ideas on a board and save on the PR fee?

    I supposed it is called spending other peoples’ money!

  4. Someonewhocares

    Maybe ‘stationary’ was the correct word after all if nothing comes out of this? Will some meaningful ‘results’ be published somewhere?

    Choosing April 1 really would not add to the event’s credibility and attendance either!

  5. mike mcfadden

    Ha ha ha Susan you have to laugh. The reason the Loonies have to give children’s cut-outs and colouring pen’s is because they have banned so many words in case it offend that they have run out of words to use. Plus I’ve learnt they are of the opinion if they are spending others peoples money it must be good!!

  6. H D Karia

    It seems Labour run Harrow council thinks they are just Law into themselves, and can do what they like without accountable to any one. E.G. Extra tax to collect the garden west.
    I hope the realise what will happen at the next election.

  7. sonoo malkani

    Labour is happily doing whatever it wants with our monies and will carry on regardless for the next three years.This is what we have been experiencing for the past year.Heaven help us should they get the chance to run our nation.It would be tantamount to disaster!

  8. Someonewhocares

    So the current Council are “damned if they do and damned if they don’t” then?

    They *are* at least asking folks what they think – and then being criticised for this, because it is assumed ‘they won’t take any notice’ anyway?

    It is a ‘bit rich’ for Cllr. Hall to create the impression that the brief Council Conservative/ILG ‘Coalition’ were actually any better at listening to residents either, with their own ‘consultations’ that were ignored if ‘inconvenient’.

    Rather than just stirring up trouble by complaining about the style of this event would it not be more productive to ask for copies of any conclusions – and then comment on these instead?

  9. j p hobbs

    Susan you are far to good for Harrow , if the residents vote Labour they must have a death wish . move to Bucks nice people , just how people used to be .

  10. sonoo malkani

    Someonewhocares it seems you DON’Tcare at all what happens to Harrow.Why else would you pretend,like the Party you obviously favour that any consultation has been genuine and had them review what they had pallned from Day One..If you had SUBSTANTIAL PROOF that this is not the case,please let’s hear it!
    It’s the PEOPLE of Harrow who are damned,at this point in time,not Harrow Council.

    1. Someonewhocares

      Sonoo if you really must reply to my posts like that then at least refer to the relevant facts *first*, virtually all of which are in the public domain:

      The on-line *consultation* on all this ended last Thursday, April 30th. Obviously conclusions make take a while to emerge:


      So, did the ‘caring’ Cllr. Hall immediately draw our attention to this so that we could all participate? No, instead she complained -on April 28th- about the stationary and number of attendees at a meeting back on April 1st…

    2. Someonewhocares

      Furthermore there is a large document and a presentation from *last November* dealing with the long-term Regeneration of Harrow:



      Similarly are you aware there was a £31.3M GLA grant made to Harrow in March towards this Regeneration plan, too? It’s all there Sonoo if YOU care to do the necessary research….

      1. Someonewhocares

        Not sure if you do not respond to the ‘requested’ SUBSTANTIAL PROOF I provided because you are now busy reading it Sonoo, but if you want to see the *Final* version of the Regeneration Strategy document then please just refer to the link I posted above and click on the ‘Supporting Documents’ tab – if you did not already !


  11. Anne Jones

    The reason they were heart shaped was symbolic,so they could rip them up after,all they are pulling the heart out of the Borough.As for Susan Hall, Negligent Rail (Twitter Feed) pointed out to Cllr Hall the damage caused by utility companies & contractors carrying out work across the Borough that they do not make good & the fact the council are unwilling to chase these companies up to repair the damage & foot the cost for repairs out of the budget.

    Cllr Hall took this up & chased the company herself to get the work done & listened to the problems he had getting the council under Labour to carry out this task in the past.it is possible to get them to repair the damage they cause, when the council would not pursue Network Rail over damage amounting to a few thousand pounds he did & they paid for all repairs without a quibble.

    1. Someonewhocares

      Anne with respect let’s not worry too much about the shape of the stationary/stationery, which is irrelevant, surely/ Let’s focus on the *Regeneration Plan* itself… If you follow those links I posted above you will also see that this is all surely designed to put some heart *back* into Harrow!

    2. Someonewhocares

      Elected Councillors are of course are *supposed* to look into holes in our roads and find cost-effective ways to repair these, it is what we pay them for, to act on OUR behalf. The ulimate responsibility for such hole/damage however resides with the paid salaried permanent Highways Department staff . If they are not doing this properly his then there is a formal process to ‘encourage’ this – and it is NOT ‘Twitter’!

      1. Anne Jones

        I was not hung up on the stationery however the shape was chosen for a reason,as for your remark about Twitter I only mentioned it as a source of reference to the person,he does contact the ” the paid salaried permanent Highways Department staff direct ” & they would not go near it with a barge pole as they would get nowhere with the contractor.or Network Rail regardless of the evidence.
        As for regeneration anything that improves or enhances the Borough is a good thing.

        1. Someonewhocares

          Again, reporting all this directly and escalating if necessary is the way to go, surely?

          Agree with the Regeneration comment of course; Did you look at the links posted for details on this? It is quite encouraging!

  12. Anne Jones

    Yes looks good, & he went to the head of Highways then above him & was told by a PA not to ring again that is what public realm are for & to contact them,not interested at all,he did what she said the 2nd time damage was caused & they would not go after Network Rail and repaired it themselves.I would point out that Network Rail were willing to fix the damage caused but he told them to wait until he had contacted public realm as instructed & they would contact them about repairs.

    So now Network Rail & their contractors deal with him not the council over various issues including safety,damage,track litter & drinking/drug dens

    1. Someonewhocares

      Sounds like you have a real ‘Community Champion’ there Anne!

  13. PraxisReform

    I guess this is the sort of thing you get when you employ PR consultants… But, how does one get invited to this sort of shindig, is it political Party members only?

    If I’d have had an invite, I’d have given them my opinion of the nonsense in no uncertain terms…. Something that Cllr. Hall seems to have rejected the opportunity to do.

    1. Sarah

      I think Neighbourhood Champions received invites by email.

      1. Someonewhocares

        Sarah is correct: Invitations went out to residents from David Perry via Community Champions on March 18th (although you had to state your intention to attend as below);

        1. PraxisReform

          Thanks for the information.

          Typical muddleheaded council thinking: “We want local people to have opportunities to work with us, have a strong voice and influence how plans and projects like this take shape so they reflect the needs of everyone in the borough.”

          …but only if they’ll sign up to our wacky, waste of money, neighbourhood busybodies scheme!

          1. Someonewhocares

            Then perhaps what is needed is write to Clr. Ferry & Paul Nichols and ask them to invite a broader cross-section of the Community for their input too?

      2. richard ramirez

        and what l waste of time they are

  14. Someonewhocares

    Good question, probably one for Cllr. Keth Ferry and/or Paul Nichols who have responsibility for these Regeneration Plans. You could still write to them to comment of course if you did not participate in the Consultation which closed at the end of April.

    The earliest public references to the ‘Heart of Harrow’ were in February

  15. Someonewhocares

    Dear Resident,
    We have ambitious plans to improve and revitalise Harrow for the benefit of people now and for future generations.
    Our Regeneration Strategy outlines an exciting set of projects that will change the landscapes of both Harrow and Wealdstone town centres and introduce thousands of new homes, schools, parks, transport improvements, better leisure facilities and public facilities, like health centres. In short, it will improve lives, provide jobs, enhance conditions for local business and energise Harrow as a place.
    Part of our plan includes re-developing the leisure centre site and the current Civic Centre site and creating a new council building elsewhere in the Borough. We want our new council building to be more than a centre of public administration dominated by offices, we think a new council building has great potential and are determined it will have a range of community uses and benefits.
    Resident involvement and engagement is at the heart of everything we do as a council. We want local people to have opportunities to work with us, have a strong voice and influence how plans and projects like this take shape so they reflect the needs of everyone in the borough.
    On that basis, I would like to invite you to a special event to tell you more about our plans and listen to what you think.
    It takes place on 1 April at Kadwa Patidar Centre on Kenmore Avenue between 7pm and 9pm. As well as hearing from me about our hopes for re-vitalising Harrow, you will get the opportunity to look at maps and photographs of the affected sites and take part in activities which are about capturing your views and ideas. In addition, there will be opportunities for you to join our residents’ panel, which will be involved in delivering this programme.
    If you would like to come, please let us know by emailing your name, address and phone number to communications@harrow.gov.uk. There will be limited space so please let us know if you want to come as soon as possible.
    Yours sincerely
    Cllr David Perry
    Leader of Harrow Council

  16. sonoo malkani

    The proof of the pudding is in the eating!Let’s see what transpires from all this.The people of Harrow want to see what HAPPENS and whether their concerns have been taken on board or not!Merely repeating your words and links is not sufficient to impress or convince the public.

    1. Someonewhocares

      Well I ‘repeated’ those links Sonoo because you patently did not bother to follow them up and read what they contained. In other words you asked me for ‘substantial proof’ and then totally ignored it! How will you be deciding if ‘their concerns are taken on board’ if you don’t take part or you don’t actually know what these concerns are?

  17. Someonewhocares

    I knew I had seen that ‘Heart of Harrow’ idea and logo somewhere before… it is on *this* site – in connection with Lowlands Park Project! :-


    Good to see it looks a lot better now ……Not quite the same as the original concept but overall it is impressive and worth a visit. It is late though but overall it might even be -dare I say- ‘something to be proud of’!


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