The Action Log of the meeting held on 27 February 2018 is attached for information and discussion.
Punum Patel, the Community Engagement Officer confirmed that the actions outlined in the action log of the previous meeting had been dealt with.
Questions were raised as to why Councillor Clair had been absent from previous Rushey Mead Community Meetings. Councillor Clair responded that he had submitted his apologies where he could not attend and had either been in another meeting or on holiday. He was always ready to meet his constituents. Some attendees expressed a view that the ward meetings should be a priority.
An attendee commented that he had previously raised concerns that the junction of Melton Road / Checketts Road / Marfitt Street was hazardous and it had been agreed to forward the concerns to highways, but nothing appeared to have happened. The traffic and the situation there was horrendous and he was concerned that there was going to a serious accident.
Action: Punum Patel, the Community Engagement Officer to report concerns to Highways.
The attendee further commented that there was numerous problems with litter and the Rushey Mead area was deteriorating.
Rushey Mead Library and Recreation Centre
The Rt Hon Keith Vaz addressed the meeting and explained that following a meeting he had attended with the City Mayor, Councillor Clair and local groups, the City Mayor had written to him. A copy of this letter was handed out to attendees and Mr Vaz said that he would arrange for the letter to be circulated to all Rushey Mead residents.
Mr Vaz stated that the three councillors for the ward had worked extremely hard on the issue relating to the closure of the library building and re-location to the recreation centre. He had heard criticisms directed at councillors, but he did not agree with any of them nor with comments about resignations. The councillors made representations but could not do everything and decisions such as the library were made by the City Mayor or the Executive. Where people were not happy with the elected representatives, there was the option to vote for other candidates at elections.
Mr Vaz had called the meeting with the City Mayor. Councillor Clair had been present and as the Deputy City Mayor, he had responsibilities beyond the ward. Mr Vaz thanked Councillor Willmott for his persistence with the issue but he gave credit to all three councillors for the campaign they had run.
Mr Vaz referred to the letter and stated that the City Mayor had agreed that the plans to close the library and merge the two facilities had been put on hold for the next three months.
Mr Vaz explained that the City Mayor had been impressed at what had been said at the recent meeting and wanted to see the residents’ plan for the way forward. He added that this was a significant response from the City Mayor and victories such as this were rare. The council had incurred severe cuts in government funding and had had to review their facilities and assets. Facilities had been closed in all the other wards, though not in Rushey Mead.
Mr Vaz said that he agreed with a comment that a resident had made about deterioration in Rushey Mead adding that he thought areas of the ward looked tired and run down. Concerns included the following:
· The area around the library needed tidying up
· The grass on Troon Way needed cutting
· The levels of traffic were an issue and he had serious concerns about highways issues at the junction around Marfitt Street .
· Belgrave and Rushey Mead had some of the worst levels of diabetes and Mr Vaz wanted to see a health campaign in the two wards help with this.
· Mr Vaz said he would like to see Diwali celebrations in Rushey Mead, not just in Belgrave. Belgrave received a lot of resources compared to Rushey Mead. He believed that Rushey Mead was a forgotten area. Further to this, more use could be made of Rushey Fields; a Mela could be held there which would raise income towards plans for the library and centre.
· Mr Vaz said that S106 money received from Rushey Mead developments should be used in the ward.
Comments from attendees included a need for the community to be united on their preferred outcome, a suggestion for a referendum, continued need for the Councillors’ support and a strong desire that after three months, there would be a favourable outcome.
It was agreed for a further meeting, to be arranged, preferably within three weeks, for Councillors to meet residents in order to come to a consensus for a proposal. Following that, for a further meeting to take place with a smaller group of residents, Councillors and officers to discuss funding and timescales.
Action: Punum Patel, the Community Engagement Officer to forward request to the Transforming Neighbourhood Team.