Brent and Harrow
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Navin Shah GLA Brent & Harrow
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Navin's News for November 2011

Increase in teenagers injured by knives in Brent and Harrow

The number of teenagers injured by knives has jumped 16% in Brent and 90% in Harrow in the last year, new figures show.

I feel the figures are disturbing and I call on the Mayor to do more to "get a grip" on the problem.

In Brent there were 50 teenagers, aged 13-19, injured last year (2010/11), up from 43 in 2009/10.

In Harrow there were 19 teenagers, aged 13-19, injured last year (2010/11), up from 10 in 2009/10.

The Mayor said in his 2008 manifesto, "by using all the powers available to the Mayor and taking a fresh approach, we can tackle knife and gun crime in London".

The Mayor made lots of promises during his election campaign, sometimes unfairly and distastefully using the deaths of young people to grab headlines.

These disturbing figures show that for young people in Brent and Harrow his plans have failed and he was wrong to pretend there are any easy solutions to this problem. He now needs to get a grip on this problem urgently.

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25th November 2011

Assembly member Navin Shah asks people to name most dangerous roads

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By Suruchi Sharma

ROAD-USERS are being asked to name the most dangerous roads, junctions and roundabouts in Harrow and Brent this week.

Last week London Assembly member for Brent and Harrow, Navin Shah, backed pedestrians and cyclists on improving a "dangerous" junction in The Broadway, Stanmore.

He has raised the matter with Mayor Boris Johnson and is awaiting a response.

This week Mr Shah has asked members of the public to name the most dangerous roads for Road Safety Week.

Mr Shah said: "Recent incidents on London's roads such as what happened on Stanmore Hill are a stark reminder of the dangers cyclists and pedestrians face every day.

"I'm keen that the matter is resolved as a matter of priority to ensure that both the traffic lights, the road junction and crossings are altered to make them safe to avoid a repeat of any accident or injury.

"I'm also keen to find out how confident local residents feel getting to work, on the school run or going to the shops."

To tell Mr Shah about a dangerous road in your area email navin.shah@london.gov.uk

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22nd November 2011

Libraries are Community Hubs

As the move towards the proposed closure of Brent’s six libraries continues, I would like to make my position clear.

 

The Cuts

It is entirely due to the Tory and LibDem Coalition Government’s ill-conceived and

savage imposition of cuts that local authorities across the UK have been placed in an

impossible position of having to make stringent – often unpalatable cuts. This is

clearly putting local authorities such as Brent Council in an extremely difficult position

of having to make tough choices. Brent Council faces a staggering £60million worth

of cuts next year alone. But as a responsible authority Brent is committed to protect

frontline services from the cuts forced upon it by an uncaring Government.

 

Libraries

Since libraries across the country have come under pressure to close, I and my

London Assembly colleagues have been lobbying Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

We have asked him to help Councils in London who are faced with the decision of

closing of libraries. Unfortunately the Mayor’s announcement launching the ‘Libraries

Trust’ earlier this year has come to nothing.

 

My view

I’ve always seen libraries as community hubs. As a senior Councillor in Harrow I

have demonstrated this by ensuring libraries are not closed, by removing the Tory

threat of privatisation and as promised, restored the Sunday opening of central library

which was closed by the previous Tory administration.

 

I’m not a Brent Councillor so as such have no powers or vote on Brent Council.

Brent has been placed in an impossible position by the stringent cuts worth

£60million next year alone imposed by the Tory and LibDem Government.

 

I do not envy any elected members or officers who have been placed in this

position. I have been talking to Brent’s Councillors expressing my concerns about the

library closures and equally having regular dialogue with lobby groups opposed to the

plan for closures. I’ve offered to work with Brent’s SOS Libraries campaign to explore

viable schemes to keep the libraries open.

 

As the Assembly Member for Brent together with my Assembly colleagues I’ve

quizzed the London Mayor about his plans to set up a ‘Libraries Trust’ to safeguard

London's library services and asked him about his commitment to work with London

Council’s on this. So far Londoners have had nothing more than rhetoric from the

Mayor.

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22nd November 2011

Boris: I’m "strong supporter" of fire museum (but we’re closing it anyway)

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By London SE1 website team

 

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has described himself as a "strong supporter" of the London Fire Brigade Museum just days before the Conservative-led fire authority is expected to approve proposals to shut it down.

The Mayor was asked by Labour London Assembly member (and fire authority member) Navin Shah whether his vision for a combined 'blue light' museum of London's emergency services is now a "dead duck".

"I am a strong supporter of the London Fire Brigade Museum," replied Mr Johnson.

"I have been informed by the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority that the current fire brigade museum will need to close when the training site is eventually sold but they have assured me that the collection will stay where it is until that time and then be placed in storage until a permanent home is found for the collection.

"I remain supportive of the idea of creating a blue light museum in the long-term. The responsible authorities (LFEPA, Metropolitan Police Authority and London Ambulance Service) are unable to pursue this aspiration at present because of the difficulty of raising sufficient set-up funds in the current economic climate."

The fire authority will meet on Thursday afternoon to consider budget proposals which include the closure of the museum on Southwark Bridge Road.

Mr Johnson's comments suggest that the collection will not be dispersed; this is at odds with the papers to be considered by the fire authority which say that the museum closure (on 1 April next year) "would generate savings from October 2013 once the 7,500 items in the collection have been disposed of to either other museums, the original owners or sold".

Trade unions have registered their concerns about the authority's plans for the Southwark training centre site.

"The museum is a great resource which provides good publicity for the brigade and generates income for the authority," says Charles Adje of the GMB union.

Last week Brian Coleman, chairman of LFEPA, complained that the blue light proposal has been scuppered by the Metropolitan Police which refuses to allow its infamous 'black museum' to be incorporated into the attraction.

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22nd November 2011

Launch of Campaign against LOCOG at the Olympic Stadium

JOIN THE CAMPAIGN NOW AND SIGN THE PETITION

I was joined by Labour Friends of India and a cross-party coalition of MPs at the Olympic Site yesterday to urge the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) to review its decision to award Dow Chemical Company the contract to build the decorative wrapping on the Olympic Stadium. I feel that Dow's appalling human rights record with regards to the victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster puts the Olympic legacy at risk.

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Background

Dow owns Union Carbide Corporation, which was responsible for the 1984 gas leak in Bhopal, India. Half a million people were exposed to the gas and 25,000 people have died as a result of their exposure. More than 120,000 people still suffer from ailments caused by the accident and the subsequent pollution at the plant site.

Health and human rights groups in Bhopal continue to report high rates of congenital deformities and cancers among families who are forced to use contaminated groundwater sources. More than 10 independent scientific studies show dangerous levels of chemicals such as carbon tetrachloride in water supplies.

Dow bought UCC in 2001. It denies responsibility for UCC's Bhopal liabilities and claims the $470m paid by UCC in 1991 to disaster was final. This settlement gave victims an average payout of only $630, and many received nothing.

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JOIN THE CAMPAIGN NOW AND SIGN THE PETITION

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15th November 2011

Closure of London Fire Brigade Museum is "ill-conceived" says authority member

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Last week we reported that the fire authority's chairman Brian Coleman had tabled a proposal to close down the museum which is located at Winchester House on Southwark Bridge Road.

Three years ago a similar proposal was withdrawn after objections were raised by serving and retired firefighters, unions and museum users.

So far more than 1,100 people have signed a petition calling on the authority to save the museum which costs just £81,000 a year to run.

"I believe that the whole proposal is ill-conceived," said Cllr Navin Shah AM, a Labour member of the fire authority. "This is our heritage and history we are talking about."

Cllr Shah was speaking at a meeting of the authority's finance and personnel committee on Monday morning.

"The right approach would be to look at how we can invest in a more accessible, better museum which can enhance the educational aspects ... rather than losing the entire collection at a stroke."

Cllr Shah added: "This should be off the agenda. We should look at how we can safeguard and enhance the provision. I thought that the Mayor's proposal for a blue light museum was a good one ... but obviously that has disappeared in smoke."

Cllr Terry Stacy, a Lib Dem member of the fire authority, said he understood the need to make cuts but warned that the museum closure and other proposed savings would "allow resentment to build among staff and the community as a whole".

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"There's a lot of huffing and puffing about the museum," Brian Coleman told the committee.

He explained that the future of the museum would have to be considered in the context of plans to outsource the training of firefighters which is currently carried out at the Southwark Bridge Road site.

"In the medium term Winchester House and the whole Southwark [training centre] site will go," he said. "It will have to be disposed of. When [the site] goes, there's no space for the museum.

"I wish we had money to invest in the museum. I wish we didn't have to make the various cuts ... but I see no proposals from the Labour group on how we can make up this deficit bearing the mind the cuts target we have been by the Mayor which is part of his political directive to freeze the precept for Londoners."

Cllr Coleman added: "I would be happy to reverse the proposed savings if Cllr Shah could propose other savings or other sources of revenue."

Turning to the proposal for a combined museum of London's emergency services, Cllr Coleman said: "It was actually my idea, worked up with the late Sir Simon Milton, to have a blue light museum, and [the Mayor's culture advisor] Munira Mirza spent £8,000 of taxpayers' money on getting a consultant in to look at it. I'd have done the exercise for 10 per cent of that fee.

"Sadly it's gone nowhere. Cllr Shah: you are more than welcome to ask questions at City Hall as to why it has gone nowhere. 

"I understand that the police wouldn't play ball – as ever – because the key attraction for a blue light museum would be the so-called 'black museum' from Scotland Yard.

"They queue round the block for the London Dungeon and I think they'd queue round the block for the contents of the 'black museum'.

He continued: "There's the London Ambulance Service Museum out in Ilford and several warehouses – which you are paying for – to store old police vehicles, believe it or not."

"I still believe that there is some merit in the blue light museum."

The proposal for the closure of the museum – and the overall draft budget for the fire service – will be considered at a meeting of the full authority on Thursday 24 November.

 

Permanent link to this article
14th November 2011

Public meeting on housing to be held next weekend

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By Suruchi Sharma

A PUBLIC meeting with the shadow minister for Communities and Local Government will be held next Sunday on housing in Brent.

Barry Gardiner, MP for Brent North, will host the meeting to discuss costs, availability and standards in the private rented sector.

Speakers will include Chris Williamson MP, shadow minister for Communities and Local Government, Jacky Peacock, director of the Brent Private Tenants Rights Group, and Navin Shah, London Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow.

Mr Gardiner said: “I have organised this meeting because I want local residents to have their say on London’s housing crisis and the impact of housing benefit caps on vulnerable tenants here in Brent.

“Ever increasing rents are driving workers in lower paid jobs out of the capital. If we want a city with decent services where people from all walks of life live alongside each other then we must address this housing crisis now”.

The meeting will start at 3pm at Brent Town Hall in Committee Rooms 1 to 3.

Permanent link to this article
11th November 2011

Sat-Nav 'sends lorries along the narrow street'

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By Max Walter

Angry residents are calling on satellite navigation system companies to put the brakes on sending lorries down their narrow streets.

The heavy duty vehicles are being guided by satellite navigation systems (SatNav) into Tubbs Road and Nightingale Road in Harlesden, clogging the roads up on a daily basis.

The lorry drivers are unaware that both roads are narrow residential streets as Tubbs Road is also known as the A40002, making it one of the smallest A-roads in the country.

Beatrice Barleon, who lives in Tubbs Road and is the chairwoman of Junction Residents' Association, said: "Drivers blindly follow these instructions and always assume that they are going to be right.

"There is a width restriction sign up now and the SatNav companies should send vehicles an alternative way because the street is not designed for them.

"They are very loud but they have also caused problems for residents getting in and out of the road and caused damage."

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Residents have also reported damage to cars and gardens walls. A warning sign was put up by Brent Council but the problem has continued.

Navin Shah, London assembly member for Brent and Harrow, described it as a 'disaster waiting to happen.'

He added: "All the SatNav companies need to do is programme into their systems that these roads are impassable for HGVs.

The Times spoke to one of the major SatNav manufacturers which confirmed that Tubbs Road and Nightingale Road were not wide enough for lorries.

However, they explained that there was a service available for truck drivers and drivers should take heed of road signs and use their common sense when driving.

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10th November 2011

Brent school children delighted with two wheels

I was delighted to meet pupils at Malorees Junior school in Kilburn who were helping to launch the new 'Bike it' scheme, together with TfL, Sustrans, NHS Brent and Brent Council.

It was great to see so many pupils, parents and teachers taking up cycling in the borough. Cycling is  a sustainable, healthy, and environmentally green way of commuting and should be promoted.

A day of bike-related activates had been planned including a bike breakfast and Dr Bike, for free bike checks.

The number of cyclists in London has been steadily increasing over the last decade and it is fantastic to see the next generation taking it up so early.

There is a lot more that can be done to get people on bikes in London and Malorees is a great example of a proactive approach towards cycling.

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I was pleased to be asked to open the new Bike Shed facility at Malorees', which is already being well-used. It looks like they will need another bike shelter soon as cycling is so popular here.

At the event, I spoke about my commitment to increasing the amount of walking and cycling in Brent, and of my keeness to see other initiatives, such as cycle sports facilities, be explored by Brent’s officers.

Teacher and organiser of the day, Paul Kaffel, said: "We were extremely pleased to see so many cyclists; children and adults alike, at our Bike Breakfast. There was a real sense of community and energy and we look forward to filling our new TFL funded shelter with the bikes of regular ride to school children."

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10th November 2011

ENJOY FIREWORKS – BUT BE CAREFUL & CONSIDERATE!

Happy Diwali and wishing Hindu, Jain and Sikh readers a happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous new year.

Enjoy the fireworks celebrations associated with Diwali and Guy Fawkes and bonfire night. But when you do so remember the elderly people in our community and pets who require a special consideration and care. Please do not set off loud and noisy fireworks and also ensure that you do not use fire works after 9pm. I’d also advice that you strictly follow the following safety code published by the London Fire Brigade:

  • Only buy fireworks marked with the British Standard Kitemark BS7114.
  • Don't drink alcohol if setting off fireworks.
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box, and always follow the instructions carefully when using them.
  • Light them at arms length using a taper and stand well back.
  • Never go back to them once they are lit. Even if a firework hasn't gone off, it could still explode.
  • Never throw fireworks and never put them in your pocket.
  • Respect your neighbours – don’t let off fireworks late at night and remember there are laws to follow. It is illegal to set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am
  • Take care with sparklers – never give them to children under five. Even when they have gone out they are still hot so put sparklers in a bucket of water after use. 
  • Keep your pets indoors throughout the evening.  

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If you want information about bonfire safety or the law governing fireworks visit here.

Celebrate by all means but please be safe and considerate.

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3rd November 2011

Policing fears as wards to share sergeants are revealed

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by Lorraine King

The 10 wards in the borough that will be forced to share five sergeants between them as part of the police cuts across London have been revealed.

Earlier this year London Mayor Boris Johnson annouced that some Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNT) could lose their sergeants as plans to axe 150 across the Metropolitan Police Service.

According to documents obtained by Navin Shah, London Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow, the following wards will be served with one sergeant: Barnhill and Welsh Harp, Kenton and Queensbury, Northwick Park and Preston, Mapesbury and Brondesbury Park, Kilburn and Queens Park.

All SNTs will still retain two PCs and three PCSOs.

Mr Shah is calling for Mr Johnson to reconsider the plans citing that the borough streets could be at risk.

He said: "There's a real risk that our streets will now start to feel less safe.

"Safer neighbourhood teams have been one of the Met's big success stories , since their introduction by Ken Livingstone, and the sergeants are an integral part of that. The Mayor's making the wrong cuts and should think again."

Kit Malthouse, Deputy Mayor of Policing, said: "Every ward will still have a Safer Neighbourhood Team, and every team will still be lead by a sergeant.

"Each borough will have the same strength in officer numbers. The only difference is that the sergeant may be shared amongst wards. In many cases this will lead to better co-ordination."

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3rd November 2011