Liberal Democrat Leader Councillor Paul Lorber, Syed Shah and Peter Corcoran joined 3,000 walkers and runners from the Swaminarayan Neasden Temple in their annual charity fun 10K event through Wembley.
The running mates, who recently went to Bratislava for Councillor Lorber’s first ever marathon, ran the 10K route which included part of Wembley High Road past Friends of Barham Library near Argos.
Syed Shah, Paul Lorber and Peter Corcoran after their 10K run
While Councillor Lorber continues to run in support of Friends of Barham Library and welcomes donations to virginmoneygiving.co.uk/paulllorber the 3,000 walkers and runners from the Swaminarayan Temple were raising money for a number of other good causes including national charity Kids which supports young children.
Councillor Lorber said:
As always the Swaminarayan Temple in Neasden organised a fantastic event. The beautifully sunny Sunday morning attracted a record number of participants who walked or run the the 10km with smiles on their faces.
It was great to see people of all ages taking part. The oldest participant was 90 and the youngest just three years old. Syed, Peter and I were honoured to take part.
Brondesbury Park Liberal Democrat councillor Mark Cummins has urged Quintain Estates to rethink their plans to destroy one of the last remnants of the Wembley Empire Exhibition – the event which brought the national stadium to Wembley and hosted 27 million visitors over two years on what was previously Wembley Park and farmland.
The concrete walls of the Palace of Industry building are one of the few physical reminders of the massive event still in the area.
The Palace of industry building before demolition (Image: oyxman)
Quintain Estates wishes to demolish the wall as part of their plans to provide a temporary car park close to Wembley Stadium and the new Civic Centre.
Councillor Cummins is backing a proposal to retain a portion of the wall at the edge of the proposed car park. He spoke in support of retaining the wall’s a Brent Council’s planning committee in March, but acknowledged the council does not have the legal power to stop Quintain from demolishing the walls. However he hope the developer will listen to the arguments from local people.
Plans drawn up by local historian Philip Grant show that part of the wall could be retained without affected the proposed operation of the car park. Councillor Cummins said:
The British Empire Exhibition reshaped Wembley from a mainly agricultural settlement into a centre for sport and industry.
Now Quintain Estates are re-shaping the area again on a massive scale. It would be fitting for them to retain this vestige of local history to help mark the ninetieth anniversary of the exhibition next year.
The walls are of particular interest to architectural and engineering historians because of the innovative use of reinforced concrete, which was used on a greater scale than ever before to construct the exhibition.
Image: By oyxman (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
A scary path in Gladstone Park has been made safe and will be turned into a beauty spot thanks to the action of Dollis Hill’s Liberal Democrat councillors.
Cutting back shrubs and opening out views has made the path look and feel safer
Park users and residents contacted local councillor Alison Hopkins about the very overgrown, scruffy shrubs obstructing the path leading to the railway bridge at the bottom of Parkside. These blocked a clear view for walkers and were seen as a crime risk.
Many locals use the bridge every day to walk across to the Tube station on their way to work, as well as those enjoying the park.
Councillor Hopkins arranged for the overgrown foliage to be cut back a few weeks ago and secured funding from the council’s ward working scheme to improve the area. The current unsightly low brick walls and broken paving will be replaced with a gentle grass slope and two or three slim specimen trees once better weather allows work to start.
Councillor Hopkins said:
We want people to be safe in Gladstone Park and to feel safe. These changes will give people a clear sight line when walking over the bridge and provide a sweeping view of a lovely part of Dollis Hill. We are so lucky to have Gladstone Park on our doorstep. I hope these improvements will lead to even more people using it.
Responding to the publication of proposals to restructure the senior management arrangements at Brent Council, to be discussed on Thursday, Liberal Democrat Leader Paul Lorber said:
These proposals look broadly positive and in line with proposals Liberal Democrats have made at recent budget meetings. It’s curious that Labour councillors are prepared now to support plans for the abolition of the Customer and Community Engagement department which they previously voted against.
However I am not convinced local people will benefit from a new Assistant Chief Executive with a vaguely defined remit costing £100,000 to £150,000 a year.
The report is also notably silent on the process and timetable for the recruitment of a new Chief Executive. This could be a waste of time and money if the council recruits a new Chief Exec who wants a different structure. We will ask questions about this at next week’s meeting.
The proposals, drawn up by Interim Chief Executive Christine Gilber,t are supposed to save up to £900,000 per year (not taking account of any redundancy costs). They reduce the size of the corporate management team from nine directors to five; reduce the number of Assistant Director posts from nineteen to fourteen; introduce a new Assistant Chief Executive post; and reallocate functions including the creation of a new Education, Health and Social Care department.
The full report is available at http://democracy.brent.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=153&MId=2046.
Liberal Democrat Leader Councillor Paul Lorber is on schedule to run his 1st ever Marathon on Sunday in Bratislava despite a foot of snow covering parts of Slovakia last weekend.
Paul is going to his birth place to run a marathon in support of Friends of Barham Library who want to reopen the closed library in Barham Park Wembley.
Paul Lorber is campaigning to re-open BarhamPark library
Friends of Barham Library have now been campaigning for two years for their Library and currently run a Volunteer Library and Bookshop at 428 High Road, Wembley which is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from around 12 noon to 5pm.
As of last Sunday Paul had raised just over £1,000 to get him to the half way mark in his Marathon fundraising target of £2,000.
Paul is being trained by Wembley’s own Ironman Peter Corcoran a veteran of numerous Marathon and Ironman Challenges. Peter intends to get Paul through the 26 mile run and said:
Paul has been training very hard through the long winter and is determined to finish his Marathon especially since the organisers have changed the route so that it now passes his old home in Bratislava.
Peter is urging all supporters of the Library Campaign to rally round and sponsor Paul by making a donation via www.virginmoneygiving.com/paullorber.
Friends of Barham Library have launched a fun competition urging supporters to guess Paul’s finishing time. The ten people guessing a time closest to Paul’s actual time will be able to pick a FREE book of their choice from Friends of Barham Library large collection in their Wembley shop.
More information on the Friends of Barham Library facebook page.
Liberal Democrat councillors have welcomed changes by Brent Pension Fund which mean the fund has ruled out direct investment of council employees’ money in tobacco companies.
The decision comes after two-and-a-half years of pressure led by Willesden Green Liberal Democrat councillor Ann Hunter, who first won the backing of Brent Council’s Health Partnerships Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the move and then persuaded the Pension Fund.
Councillor Hunter said:
I am delighted that the Pension Fund Committee has taken this step. It makes very clear that the pension fund will not invest directly in tobacco. Moreover their fund managers will not invest any part of segregated funds into any company that receive more than half of their income from tobacco.
This is excellent news, and definitely a step in the right direction. I am so glad that councillors and officers on the Pension Fund Committee have listened to us on Health Scrutiny and to other councillors and Brent residents who care about improving the health of the borough.
Smoking is the single largest cause of preventable deaths in Brent. The council plays an important role with Brent Primary Care Trust helping local people stop smoking through the Brent Tobacco Control Strategy. 2,668 people were helped to quit in 2011/12.
The relevant part of the Pension Fund’s new Statement of Investment Principles now reads:
- The Brent Pension Fund has an overriding fiduciary duty in law to invest Fund monies to achieve the best possible financial return for the Fund consistent with an acceptable level of risk. However, the Fund recognises that companies can enhance their long-term performance and increase their financial returns by adopting positive social, environmental and ethical principles in planning and running their activities. The Fund has delegated to the external investment managers responsibility for taking social, environmental and ethical considerations into account when assessing the financial potential and suitability of investments.
- Each investment manager is asked to work positively with companies to promote forward-looking social, environmental and ethical standards. This should not, however, deflect from the primary objective of achieving the best possible financial return for the Fund, in accordance with the Fund’s fiduciary duty.
- In line with the above, fund managers are instructed not to invest segregated elements of their portfolio in companies that generate over half of their income from tobacco products, due to the risk that tobacco companies may face large liabilities from outstanding court actions.
Councillor Paul Lorber and the local Liberal Democrat team have a long record of campaigning for fairer parking charges
Councillors this week heard that Labour’s big High Street parking charge increases have led to a big drop in the number of people using meter parking near local shops. After Labour increased the cost of parking in High Streets by 50% local shopping parades experienced a 24% drop in the volume of parking.
A report presented to the Executive [PDF] shows that as a result of drivers staying away from the shops, overall income from parking was half what had been budgeted and £1.6m less than if there had been no change in shopping patterns.
Lib Dem councillors say this is the worst of both worlds: the council has failed taxpayers by falling short of its income targets and failed local shoppers and traders by discouraging people from using local shops.
As part of the same report Labour councillors on Monday (11 March) agreed new parking charges which undermine the 15-minute parking pledge made just two week’s ago when the council set its budget.
Detailed recommendations agreed by Brent Council’s decision-making Executive set out new parking charges of:
- £1 for the first 15 minutes if you pay in cash (as most people currently do)
- 50p for the first 15 minutes if you pay using your phone
The highly publicised 20p rate only applies if you park, pay, shop and drive away again in a 15 minute period.
Liberal Democrat council group leader Paul Lorber said:
20p for 15 minutes should mean 20p for 15 minutes, not 20p, 50p or £1 depending on the circumstances.
Traders in our High Streets are not going to benefit from much extra business if customers are continually checking their watches and only have time to pick up a packet of chewing gum.
Once again Labour has failed to deliver the changes they promised and that local people need.
Elsewhere in the report the council admits that Labour’s massive parking increases mean: “Brent’s tariffs are more in line with neighbouring Inner London boroughs than with neighbouring Outer London boroughs.”