Meeting George Meehan

In the afternoon I have my first meeting with George Meehan since his reincarnation as Leader of the Council. We have an agreed agenda – and quite quickly get into a real abuse of power that is going on in Haringey. There are three areas where Haringey Council is moving ahead on absolutely vital local issues – and not even consulting with the local councillors at all. I know Labour are angry and scared about their losses at the local elections – but the Lib Dems are democratically elected and it is not only not appropriate to leave them out of things happening in their wards – but it is also unethical.

I put the CPZ travesty directly to George. There are four CPZ areas in the borough up for review to add streets (Wood Green, Bounds Green, Seven Sisters and Highgate) which George has suspended and delayed because the local councillors had not been consulted with.

But there is another bunch of CPZ proposals in the west of the borough, (Fortis Green, Muswell Hill, Hornsey etc) where there are new proposals for great huge new CPZs where the local councillors (Lib Dem) have not been consulted – but hey ho – they have gone out and are going ahead anyway! I asked him to suspend ALL the schemes pending both consultation with the relevant local councillors and also in the light of the imminent new guidance coming down from government about CPZs and the processes around them.

George said that this was not right, that it shouldn’t have happened and that from now on it wouldn’t. I pointed out that ‘from now on’ was meaningless as such great swathes of the west would be progressed anyway under these proposals. George has agreed to discuss suspending the schemes with Brian Haley – Labour Executive member for Environmental issues. We’ll see what happens!

We discussed a number of other issues, including the planning enquiry on the Lordship Lane twin towers proposals. It banished the tower block but has allowed the eight-storey block to go ahead. Not a victory in my view. Also on planning – there’s the concrete factory. George says the council committed to the enforcing of the forty-three conditions that the Planning Inspector put on his granting of the appeal by London Concrete.

I also ask him about the council permits for parking that were issued to residents in a new block that had got planning permission on the basis of being ‘car free’. This is a great worry for local residents as parking stress is severe in their area.

George says that “only2 seven permits were granted – and when they run out they will not be re-issued. I point out that it is told to me that the developers advertised the flats as being with permits. George says if that is so it is illegal. So if anyone has hard evidence, please let me know.

We then discuss Fortismere School. Haringey Council is sending out a letter to all parents to lay out some of the facts. I am glad as I have been calling for the facts to be given straight so that the parents can make an informed choice and then, hopefully if they answer my call, vote in a parental ballot!

On to Hornsey Town Hall – an exhibition goes up today in the Town Hall and in September the development plan from the Community Partnership Board will go to the Labour executive.