Thursday, February 22, 2007

Fairfield Assembly February meeting

Wednesday night was the Fairfield Assembly meeting, lots of residents there and a good spread of agencies to answer residents' questions.

We heard some interesting stuff, the police talked about our ongoing community campaign to clamp down on off licences who sell vodka to underage kids. It seems that my bete noire, Not Drunk Enough, has passed a couple of test purchases lately. I suppose I should be pleased, but I find it hard to summon up much enthusiasm. They also highlighted some problems with kids in Lorne Street and how we need to work on describing them and recognising them.

We talked about those signs - the Kensington ones outside the police club in Fairfield and why they are still there. I had anticipated this question, it has come up in my last two surgeries so I knew people were wondering why it was that despite the fanfare from both me and Cllr Invisible about how we had each won the battle to have them replaced, they still haven't been changed. I had been in touch with Highways this week and they told me the signs are about 5 weeks away from being replaced, apparently they have to buy new posts. Not sure why, we only need the sign changing over, the posts are set in concrete in a perfectly good location. Perhaps the new posts are needed to move the Tuebrook sign on Sheil Road a bit nearer to West Derby Road, rather than its "pole position" at the end of Boaler Street?

We had a lively debate about the Cheviot, Middleton, Lindale estate (CML) and the snaggings, I was pleased that my meeting last week on site and subsequent letter to residents had dampened down a lot of the anxieties. I also promised them a further letter this week on the implications for them of the Edge Lane resurfacing scheme. The "powers that be" had once again forgotten to write to them and let them know, they had faithfully told everyone whose house is visible from the main road but forgotten the estates that can only be accessed from Edge Lane but are a bit further out. That is twice in a fortnight that CML has been forgotten, I trust it won't happen again but my patience and compliance only goes so far.

The proposed traffic calming scheme was under the microscope, we anticipate it anxiously, especially after the tragic death of young Katie McPoland last year on Holland Street, but there were still lots of questions about precisely what the humps should look like, and where they might be located. I know residents have been "consulted" twice already but I sense the information must have been a bit obscure judging by the questions people still have about how it is going to work.

Pat, the Chair of both FARA and the Assembly had a lot of questions about the ongoing lamp-post replacement scheme, it seems the work has halted for a while before it has been finally finished and the interim arrangements, with two columns next to each other and uneven pavements as a consequence, are really upsetting people.

Maria Grimes of KNDC (Kenny Regen) told residents about our pilot Carbon Monoxide detection monitors scheme for the Fairfield neighbourhood, I should have talked about it during my opportunity to address the meeting but somehow it fell off the end, and I forgot. I know that is hard to believe given my personal passion for saving lives threatened by CO poisoning after losing my fiance in 1999, but there is always so much to cover. Anyway she did the subject credit (and I think she is great anyway, we are lucky to have her and you can quote me on that).

Finally Lynn Spencer, the Chief Exec of KNDC spoke about the future for neighbourhood assemblies, we all welcomed them and wanted them to continue. She also asked for people to make last minute nominations for KNDC awards for young people, ethnic minority community volunteers and carers. They are the categories with fewer awards apparently. I have already made my three nominations, I thought about it long and hard and chose three people who by chance all live in the GEARS neighbourhood. I don’t know why they need more young person’s nominations, I know the young person I nominated is a star in the making and I doubt very much if anyone can match him or beat him. But it is going to be fascinating to see how it all pans out. Whether they let me actually go to the event is a whole other thing but I may have had some good news about that today, a plan B, we will see.

I am a bit disappointed about not being able to nominate some true community heroes and heroines who live in my ward, just because they live in L6 rather than L7 and therefore are not in the new deal for communities regeneration area. The whole north/south divide in Kensington and Fairfield is going to be an oft repeated topic in my future campaigns.

I love going into Fairfield, they are strong and passionate, they know they want and they keep us up to the mark, it was just how community politics should be.

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