Friday, October 27, 2006

A week in the life of a councillor....

It's been a really busy week and I thought it would be useful for local residents as well as for people interested in being a councillor, to see what sorts of things I have been getting up to.

On Monday, after work, I went to my Heritage Scrutiny Panel meeting, where I am the only Labour member. We are currently looking at the programme of events for next year when Liverpool will celebrate its 800th birthday. In particular this week we looked at the creation of a new musuem dedicated to slavery (past and present) and how we would celebrate the 200th anniversary next year of the abolition of slavery. We also looked at plans for another new musuem, which is about Liverpool's 800 years of history.

I had to get my skates on to be at the GEARS residents association meeting for 6pm. Wendy Simon came with me, she is going to be the Labour candidate in next May's election in the ward and has already started campaigning and picking up casework for local people. Residents talked about a special event to unveil the new mosaic heritage bench in Birchfield Park in early December. There was also good news from the youth branch of the residents association - EAGERS, who have secured funding for a whole host of days out for young people in the area.

At 7.45pm Wendy and I went to meet the local Sergeant and talk to him about some particular hotspots for Anti Social Behaviour and he promised to put some special efforts into those areas. I dont want to say too much about that at the moment in case it scuppers the plans.

On Tuesday I spent the morning at the Planning Committee, it was my first time attending as an objector and I got up on behalf of local residents and made a short speech objecting to plans to turn 1-3 Beech Street into a B&B. It is an attractive grade II listed building that used to be a care home. It has now closed and the owners want to attract what they call "tradespeople" to work there. I pointed out that in my experience workmen travel about in vans, and there were 30 bedrooms envisaged for this place, but only 8 car parking spaces. We cannot have large amounts of vans parking up and down Beech Street, right next to our new flagship neighbourhood centre.

I spent the afternoon at a special Health and Adult Care select committee where we were fighting to save an old people's home from closure. Venmore care home has had £2.8million spent on it in the last 8 years, it is a lovely facility where the residents are very happy and the staff care well for them. The council want to close it down because essentially there are better things they would like to do with the site and because the money they would save would plug a gap in their domicillary care budget (looking after people staying in their own homes). Several people spoke who will be affected by any closure, including one old chap who was crying as he explained how happy he was living there and how devastated he would be to leave. I seconded an amendment to reconsider the closure consultation plans, but the LibDems voted en masse to press on.

On Wednesday I went to the Neighbourhood Services Task Group which is part of the accountable process for the management of the Kensington New Deal for Communities. It is multi-agency with lots of residents representatives and we talked about various issues around the area. I find it a very good forum for examining local priorities - cleaning up certain streets for instance. We are going to have a Christmas Party on 20th December where we dont have to talk about rat baiting for once, I am really looking forward to it already.

This was followed by a Labour Party branch meeting where we selected our local government candidates for the last three remaining wards in Liverpool Wavertree. I think we have done well, all our candidates are strong and credible and will give the LibDems a run for their money even if some fights will be more challenging than others.

Yesterday I had the night off from my council work (although I had spent a couple of hours in the morning doing casework at home while I was waiting for the man to come from Telewest and install my new phone, cable TV and broadband....)

Today I will use my special leave to visit the National Children's Home Regional Director for the North West to talk about what they do for children in Liverpool. Then I have my weekly surgery at 5.30pm, followed by our Constituency Labour Party meeting at 7.30 where we are going to talk about building strong communities as our contribution to the national policy debate and then at about 9.30pm Wendy and I are popping along to an Irish Night to help raise funds for Fairfield Area Residents Association and their bid to create a community garden at St Sebastians.

I am hoping to spend the weekend doing things for myself...!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Flippin heck Louise, put your feet up and have a cuppa on Saturday for heavens sake. You have unpacking to do :0)