Tories Breach The Local Authority Publicity Code

Hillingdon-PeopleDear All

As readers of your local Gazette you will no doubt appreciate the vital contribution that a healthy local press makes to a thriving democracy. The impartiality that allows this paper to produce a monthly column for leaders of both political parties represented on the Council, is something that should not be taken for granted. Contrast this with your Council newssheet Hillingdon People. This tax-payer funded publication makes no attempt at such even-handedness. Instead it provides an indulgent level of exposure for the Council Leader and Cabinet members and rarely invites contributions from elected members of the Opposition, even regarding matters affecting their wards.

It is this principle of supporting an independent local press that led Kris Hopkins MP, to write to Hillingdon (as well as six other councils) on 15st August 2014, pointing out that the publication of our newssheet, Hillingdon People, is currently in breach of the Local Authority Publicity Code.  The Publicity Code aims to prevent Local Authority news sheets, published by local authorities, funded by tax-payers, and providing biased commentary .and publicity for the leading local party, from creating unfair competition for the local free press.

We do not know how the Leader chose to respond to this communication. However, we do know that Eric Pickles MP for Communities intends to take legal action against Council’s who do not comply with the Code. We also know that this issue was discussed at our latest Council Meeting last Thursday, 11th September, and the Conservatives rejected the motion, put forward by Labour, that Hillingdon should comply fully with the Publicity Code.

In contrast to your local free press Hillingdon People makes no attempt at even-handedness. For example, as Leader of the Opposition, I was at no time offered the opportunity to contribute to articles on such issues as Heathrow Airport, HS2 or the closure of South Ruislip Civic Amenity Centre.  There is rarely any reference to elected members outside the Leader, the Cabinet and the Mayor.

And it doesn’t stop there. In addition to Hillingdon People the publicity machine steps up a gear every 4 years just before local elections with distribution of a further, ward-level, publication. Even the individual elected Ward Councillors were not consulted on the content of this publication, which included an address from the Leader of the Council and content prepared by Cabinet members.

As readers of your local free newspaper you will appreciate the balanced view, and superior scrutiny that an independent press can provide. It is easy to take it for granted. Our neighbours in Hammersmith and Fulham have been without a local newssheet holding the council to account since April 2014 when the Fulham and Hammersmith Gazette was closed. The F&H Gazette had been involved in a long running legal battle with London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham over their frequent publication of a rival newssheet. Ultimately this legal battle was successful, forcing LBHF to reduce the frequency of their publication. Unfortunately, despite this, the paper went out of business with the loss of 15 jobs in their Uxbridge Offices (now moved to Watford). These offices also serve several other West London newspapers. If the administration at Hillingdon does not comply with the Publicity Code I can envisage a negative impact on our local free press across West London.

Leader of the Labour Party
London Borough of Hillingdon

Advertisements

Join the Neighbourhood Forum

Heathrow Villages Planning Committee invites you to join in with creating a neighbourhood plan for the Heathrow Villages, Sipson, Harmondsworth and Harlington

“The Neighbourhood Plan will give our villages a say in development decisions that have, in the past, been difficult to influence in a meaningful way.  It’s particularly important for this area, which has suffered the blight caused by airport-related development for decades.”

What can you do?

* Join the Neighbourhood Forum.
* Help us with publicity, online media and awareness in the villages.

* Plan an event to find out how local people want the area to develop.

* Think about what you think the villages need and how you want them to develop and let us know!

Email: heathrowvillagesplanning@gmail.com
Twitter: @HRWplanning
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HRWvillagesplanning

Heathrow villages plan

Carriage Resurfacing – Summerhouse Lane and Vineries Close

Dear Villagers 

As part of this year’s carriageway resurfacing programme, works are to be carried out on Summerhouse Lane and Vineries Close, in the week commencing 20 October 2014. The Council will place notices on the street giving the actual start date. The hours of working will be 8.00am to 4.30pm (Monday to Saturday).

The start date and duration period are subject to weather conditions and other unforeseen problems.

This is excellent news for Heathrow Villages and we are fighting to get more roads resurfaced. If you have any concerns regarding these works, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Kind Regards

Cllr Peter Money, Cllr June Nelson and Cllr Manjit Khatra

Your Local Labour Councillors 

Harmondsworth Residents Meeting – Saturday 18th October

St Marys Church

Dear All

For the attention of Heathrow Villages Residents

The monthly meeting of Heathrow Villages residents and Ward Councillors will take place on:

Saturday 18 October 2014
10.00 am – 12 noon
St Mary’s Church Hall, Harmondsworth

Many residents do not use e-mail so it would be helpful if you would spread the word about these meetings.

regards 

Flooding on Blossom Way – Update

Dear All

We have just had an email from a very happy resident from Blossom Way. You can probably remember the flooding that took place on Blossom Way from an earlier post.

Resident: “I would like to say a big thank you for your help about the flooding in Blossom way they have been out and sorted problem we’ve had rain and no more foods so far so now I’m hoping the problem has been solved thanks to you your help has been much appreciated shame theirs not more people like you!”.

Hopefully the floods which occured on Blossom Way (pictures below) are a thing of the past. The Council are still working on fixing the drainage and we will keep you updated as this occurs. 

Kind Regards

Cllr Peter Money, Cllr June Nelson and Cllr Manjit Khatra

Blossom_Way__Flooding.JPG

Blossom_Way_Flooding_2.JPG

Drop-in surgery Heathrow Villages SNT – Harlington Co-op 16 October 5.00 pm

Dear Villagers

Local policing is carried out on a day to day basis by the Heathrow Villages Safer Neighbourhood Team – Heathrow Villages SNT. Come and meet you local SNT team tonight at Harlington High Street – CO-OP stores. This stall starts at 17:00pm – 18:00pm.

Kind Regards 

 

Your Local Police – Message from New Inspector

Dear Villagers we have been asked to pass this message from Inspector Dave George who has recently taken over as the senior police officer in charge of community policing teams for West Drayton, Pinkwell, Heathrow Villages and Yiewsley wards.

Neighbourhood_watch.JPGDear Resident and Community member

Hello; My name is Inspector Dave George and I have recently taken over as the senior police officer in charge of community policing teams for West Drayton, Pinkwell, Heathrow Villages and Yiewsley wards. I’d like to introduce myself to you. It is very important to me that I spend as much time as I can with my officers working to drive down crime and improve the quality of life for the local community. Recently we have seen some significant crime reductions in the key crime groups.

As a borough, key crimes such as Burglary & Robbery are down on last years levels.

For example, Burglary is down 30.4%, Robbery is down 44.2%, Theft OF a motor vehicle down 23.5%, Theft from a Motor vehicle 26% down . These are superb reductions of serious crimes in our community but we cannot be complacement and I fully understand that any victim of these crimes is one too many and leaves a victim in its wake.

I therefore intend to email you on a regular basis to inform you all about the work YOUR community officers are carrying out to continue to drive down Crime and Anti Social behaviour in your area. These emails will inform you of some of the great work and results we have in our battles against crime and also seek your assistance for Information and bring you the latest updates on crime trends and crime prevention news.

In the last month community officers from the South Neighbourhood policing team have made arrests of people in your area for a range of serious offences including Fraud and Theft. Last week ,following a serious incident in a local park where a dog became dangerously out of control, local community officers have launched an investigation, have seized the dog in question and have arrested the owner. This investigation is till currently ongoing.

Following another investigation by your local community officers a male was sentenced to four years imprisonment following a trial at Isleworth Crown court for supplying Class a drugs at the detention centres on the A4. This male attempted to take drugs into the centre and following a painstaking investigation the offender was found guilty and is now behind bars.

Our engagement activity takes place daily and in the past few days one of the local officers attended a local primary school and gave a Crime Prevention message to the pupils and carried out security marking of the pupils expensive personal belongings. On Saturday 04th October 2014 between 10am – 12pm PC RADETTE and PCSO WALSH held a Crime Prevention Surgery at Yiewsley Library. The surgery is held on a monthly basis and it gives the residents of Yiewsley a chance to speak to police face to face. Please come and along and meet the officers if you are passing by.

These are just some examples of some of the good work your officers are carrying out to drive down crime in the area. However I would remind everybody to remain vigilant and report any incidents that concern you. In an emergency call 999. If non emergency but you need to report an incident or crime then the number is 101. The four community teams have mobile phones when their on duty and these numbers are listed below for you.

Heathrow Villages Ward – 0208 721 2557
Yiewsley Ward – 0208 721 2713
Pinkwell Ward – 0208 721 2556
West Drayton Ward – 0208 721 2018

Finally, I would encourage all of you to please forward this email onto any local residents, business members of friends living or working in the area. If these contacts that you are aware of wish to receive regular email contacts from the police then I would encourage people to complete the attached form below and return it to me by email and I will ensure they are added to my database of community contacts . I would also encourage those on Twitter to follow us @MPSHillingdon where we circulate regular timely updates on local matters.

I look forward to meeting with as many of you as I can over the coming months and years and encourage you to approach me or my officers when you see them patrolling your area.

Inspector David George
South Sector NPT , Licensing & ASB Lead

Hillingdon Borough Police

C/o 1 Warwick Place, Uxbridge ,Middlesex, UB8 1PG
Email: David.B.George@met.police.uk