And in Other Council News…

And in other news, the Dear Leaders in York House have announced that council tax in the borough will be frozen again this year. Good news for residents feeling the squeeze of continued recession. In the accompanying press release, Deputy Leader of Richmond Council, Geoffrey Samuel [for whom we don’t yet have a nickname but are now working flat out to deal with that] said: “Over the past three years we have had an intensive efficiency programme, which has already generated more than £20m of savings… Further savings must be made and our plans include a further £10m+ savings in the next 2 years. Our aim will remain to deliver the lowest possible increase in Council Tax whilst maintaining or improving the services that residents tell us they value the most”.

It’s that tricky old balancing act between keeping residents onside in terms of the bills we pay, prioritising and delivering services (where one person’s irrelevance can be another’s crucial piece of council support) and responding to the cuts in local authority funding being passed down from Westminster. So, that good news on council tax bills for the majority of residents could be less good for those where services are reduced or where savings have a direct impact on jobs, especially if it’s your job.

Yep, it sure is tricky! And that is why we say ‘good luck with all of that’, to Mr Samuel, the Deputy Dear Leader of El Brute and Cabinet Member for Finance or, to use his new street name… G-Sam.

* Richmond Council – Council Tax Freeze

We usually leave Teddington matters to those in the know, namely the Teddington Town website. But, FYI, the footbridge over Teddington Lock will be closed for lighting repairs in March. Panic not, oh little ones. Or rather, don’t panic excessively, because it will only be closed during weekdays and even then will still be open for morning and afternoon school rush hours. Does the bridge have a rush hour? Probably not, but it will be open to let school types and others use it. Closure will be between 4th & 28th March, from 9.30am and 3.30pm on Mondays through to Fridays.

* El Brute & The Footbridge


Filed under Council, Local Issues & News

14 responses to “And in Other Council News…

  1. Alexis

    Gareth Roberts says: “I think it’s worthwhile bearing in mind that, like him or loathe him, it’s pretty much accepted that Serge more than put the hours in as required of leader of the council.”

    Many of us wish he hadn’t. We dared to put a small “Save our Riverside” poster in the front window of our house and promptly received a rather spooky personal letter from Serge Lourie saying “When I walked past your premises today I noticed that…” Did he really?! I know the Twickenham Riverside sell-off was a bit of a vanity project for him but should the leader of our Council spend his time pounding the pavements to spot troublemakers like us displaying a small poster? After all, there are an awful lot of roads in Twickenham for one man to patrol and, yes, before Gareth pounces, he confirmed to me that he had indeed walked the streets! I remain unconvinced.

    As to this administration – I’m quite impressed. They seem to be doing most of the things they said they would without imposing any of their political agenda on us. (take note: Lord Rennard) – isn’t that what local councils are there for? Lourie and his chums seemed to forget that simple concept and might have survived had they ditched their hubris. That said, the Twickenham Station redevelopment remains unsatisfactory, however the PO site looks quite well thought out – just my unqualified and unaffected opinion.

    I think that Gareth would be safe in assuming that I don’t “love” Serge, equally I don’t “loathe” him because I don’t know him. From personal observation, I thought he ran an autocratic administration supported by the tired old LibDem guard, or perhaps it was the other way around. All of them treated us, their supposed customers, as an irritating necessity and paid the inevitable price. Perhaps Stephen Knight will dissociate himself from those who hold him back but I don’t see much sign of progress yet.

    Watch out Stephen – Gareth is probably already snapping at your heels!

    • Schooless in Twickenham

      “They seem to be doing most of the things they said they would without imposing any of their political agenda on us.” Like you mean landing us with a “much desired” potentially exclusive Catholic School that it appears that only 67 families actually desire, as in made it first preference (and some of those may not even live in the borough, let alone Twickenham) whilst every other community school in the vicinity of Twickers is oversubscribed, with hundreds of families denied first preference and some only given the choice of Lord Trues legacy school when it didn’t feature on their preferences at all? Not everyone is happy to have Lord True’s pet political project imposed on us………..

    • Alexis

      A fair comment Sir or Madam – This debate has been relentless with literally hundreds of far better qualified commentators so I will keep out. Was the proposal in their manifesto?

  2. twickerman

    Today El Brute placed the following advert on twitter: “@LBRUT: JOBS: Board Member: Unpaid – Voluntary”

    Surely they:
    1. have enough bored members already?
    2. can find something to entertain/challenge them other than sitting in interminable, indecisive, inconsequential meetings every day?

  3. Gareth Roberts

    Since Geoffrey took us all back to the Enclsures Act and built his famous fence on Buckingham Fields he will always be ‘Geoff The Fence’ to me. To his constituents he is known as Councillor Brigadoon as he’s only seen in the ward once every four years and as for his nickname among council officers, well I know it but I’m not going to make it public #TooFar

    • jimbo

      Bit of a cheap shot, but of the standard expected judging by the ya-boo political debate apparent on Tuesday evening.
      However, I for one (I suspect in common with most of the citizens of this Borough) am pleased to know that Council Tax is to be frozen for the third year in succession. This is equivalent in real terms to about a 10% reduction.

    • Gareth Roberts

      A cheap shot? Possibly. Then again Geoffrey’s not above those himself – watch the footage of the council meeting and apparently the first act of a new Lib Dem administration would be to vote ourselves payrises. No basis at all in fact, just a cheap shot designed to scare people.

      When Geoffrey plays nicely I think more people, myself included, would be prepared so to do. Until then……

    • jimbo

      I seem to remember – but please correct me if I’m wrong – that ex-Cllr Lourie did indeed increase the Leader’s salary shortly after his election in 2006.

    • Gareth Roberts

      Up to a point. What happened was that an independent remuneration committee was established to look at all aspects of members’ allowances and expenses.

      It was the recommendation of the panel that the allowances should be increased and that recommendation was accepted.

      I think it’s worthwhile bearing in mind that, like him or loathe him, it’s pretty much accepted that Serge more than put the hours in as required of leader of the council. He recognised it as a full time job and he treated it as such. Now the current leader may well be putting in the same hours but, given that he seemingly spends the majority of his time at The House of Lords (the attendance details are there to be seen on the website), I think it unlikely.

      Also for less work the same Special Responsibility Allowance is drawn – well, the spin is that a cut was taken to provide the Leader’s Tea Dance. Frankly if you voluntarily take a pay cut it displays a degree of chutzpah to forego that allowance and then dictate that it be spent in a manner which allows you personally a degree of self aggrandisement.

    • Alexis

      Good old Gareth, our nearly new hot shot LibDem Councillor – he doesn’t miss a trick does he? Where he lets himself down is by referring to an unmentionable nickname used by Council Officers to describe Tory C’llr Geoffery Samuel. Even by his standards that seems a bit of a low punch – doesn’t it? He gets irate with those who choose to post anonymously, like me, yet studiously refuses to confirm or deny whether he has ever done so himself. Strange that.
      Every time I read yet more of his bons mots, I’m reminded of Carly Simon’s song, reputedly a “tribute” to one of her ex-beaux – you know the one.

    • jimbo

      regarding Gareth’s latest comment: I find it extraordinary that people can be criticized for doing a job quickly. Messrs Bolt and Fara do a job very quickly, and get praised for it. Some people I know are interminably slow. Provided a job is done well, I think it is more creditable to get it done quickly than slowly.
      Following Gareth’s argument, I assume he would prefer that Cllr Knight gave up his job at GLA if he (perish the thought) becomes Leader next year?

    • twickerman

      It’s a frightening thought that Cllr Knight could be Council leader next year.

      But, I suppose he does make all other Lib Dem Cllrs appear sensible & reasonable!

      Blue Baron or Yellow Knight?
      Neither – bring back the Green Goddess and Red Robbo!

  4. Paul

    Teddington Footbridge rush hour(s) : 4-7 pm weekday evenings and (presumably) equivalent times in the morning. A lot of cyclists use it to get to central London via Richmond Park.