Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Barnet - a Council out of touch with its electorate

We all know how unhappy people are about the parking by phone system that was imposed without consultation or discussion. I had a card registered but it expired and since then I have had huge problems registering the new card. Yesterday morning I tried to buy some 30 minute scratchcard on line. I wonder how long they will take to arrive? We see the old ticket machines still languishing on the streets covered in black bin bags. If they had kept the machines but created incentives for people to use pay by phone I am sure over time many people would have gradually moved over to pay by phone. Barnet council say that the machines were always breaking down and that is why they had to be replaced but I had a look at the figures given in an FOI on this very subject and while there were a number that were problematic, the majority had only occasional failures. Yes, there were some occasion when a lot of machines went wrong but when I looked in detail at the dates it coincided with days when we had the snow last winter (which I think stopped the solar panels on top of the machines from working).

Another topic where the Council seems to be out of touch with residents is the proposal to let out the parks to private groups. In my local Oakhill Park there is an area by the cafe which has been designated for use by private parties. It also happens to be the cricket square during the summer and is an area widely used because it is flat and close to the cafe. At tonight’s council meeting a question has been asked about the consultation on this subject. Interestingly the reply states that:

“As of the 12th January 2012 the Council has received over 650 response to the consultation of those 464 have been analysed thus far, the breakdown is as follows 428 are against the policy, 9 are in favour and 47 have taken a neutral position”.

So that’s 92% opposed and just 1.9% in favour. Pretty clear cut in anybody’s terms but will the council listen or will they plough on regardless like they do on every other topic like selling the Church Farmhouse Museum and pushing through this mad outsourcing programme.

Barnet Council continues to distance itself from the people it is supposed to represent. This cannot continue much longer before something snaps. Either someone will try and stage a coup within the Council or the residents will start a revolt. Either way, the current approach of the cabinet doing what they want and arrogantly ignoring any public views is untenable.

Barnet Council - please start listening!


  1. There have been comments that the "consultation" was not about WHETHER to sell off space in the parks for events (although never Brian Coleman's own Friary Park) but HOW to do so.

    An officer has now said "No decision has been taken".

    So they are not even clear themselves, what they are trying to do.

  2. After tonight's performance at full council, Mr R, I don't hold out much hope of any coup among the Tory group. The one characteristic which distinguishes them is abject cowardice: they follow the party line even when they have grave doubts about the moral justification for the policies they are being asked to endorse; Why? I cannot think of any reason other then that they put their own ambitions and self interest before the best interests of the people they have been elected to serve. Shameful, utterly shameful.

  3. Looks like a revolt may be in the offing then!

  4. Barnet councillors should take note fo what Angela Merkel said today:

    "Good politicians always have doubts, as a way of constantly reviewing whether they are on the right track."

    I don't think she can ever have been to Barnet.