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Motor vehicle crime – Bush Hill Park Ward

The local Police asked me to share with you the Bush Hill Park Ward vehicle crime figures so far this month of February.

Bury Street West is particularly being targeted for Theft of Motor Vehicles for Catalytic Converters. There
was an attempt to steal one in the street, but they managed to remove and steal some parts. Informant saw three males walk off towards the A10 and one of them was holding what appeared to be a catalytic converter. There was also an incident just around the corner in Little Bury Street, again a Catalytic Converter was stolen. Solna Road, N21 has been targeted twice this month they were Theft from Motor Vehicles.

The Bush Hill Park Police advise to park vehicles in a garage (if you have one). If not recommend driveway parking vehicles at an angle, against a wall or fence so that suspects cannot access the catalytic converter.

Suspects have been known to jack up the on street parked vehicles so that they can get underneath. I appreciate not everyone has the option of off street parking.

The local Police also advised of the option to make contact with the vehicle manufacturer to see if they could make the catalytic converter secure and prevent it being stolen.

I have attached an information sheet about catalytic converter theft. Not the best news – but thought it was important to be aware. The information sheets are also quite informative.

Mobile Phone Mast – REJECTED ❌

The 17.5 metre tall Telecommunications Mobile Phone Mast that was proposed in the Bush Hill Park Conservation area (junction of Queen Anne’s Place / First Avenue) has been rejected by Enfield Council Planning Officers.

✅Thank you to everyone who expressed a view – I understand over 90 representations from local residents were sent in.

Firs Farm Wetlands – update

I am actively working with the Firs Farm Wetlands Friends Group and Council to maintain and enhance this wonderful community asset.

*Pavements edging and clearing weeds is ongoing.
*Regular checks and clearing of litter. I spotted some the other day which the Council resolved.
*New padlocks for security gating around the old changing rooms compound.
*Additional litter bins on the way.

The above is not a comprehensive list, but gives you an idea of some good news.


Tackling crime in Bush Hill Park – latest CAPE meeting

Last night the latest Bush Hill Park CAPE meeting took place. The CAPE brings together local residents, businesses and the Police to discuss local issues and to prioritize two or three issues local issues to focus on.

Overall crime remained the same for the month of October compared to September with 32 crimes reported. The largest issue continues to be vehicle crime with 15 reported offences last month. Sadly we already know that for the month of November many keyless car thefts have taken place.

A range of other issues were discussed, including; the continued spate of burglaries, dangerous speeding (and accidents) along Halstead Road & Firs Lane, A10 speeding and anti-social behaviour around the Bush Hill Park Station / Firs Farm Wetlands.

It was agreed that the three key issues for this month will be: Motor vehicle crime, Burglary, anti-social behaviour / cars speeding.


Keeping Firs Farm Wetlands clean and green

Some good news. We have seen Firs Farm Wetlands blighted by litter and fly tipping.

In response I took action and contacted the Council. As a result the following has happened;

(1) The Council has agreed to conduct a litter pick of the site and keep more regular supervision of the Wetlands. (2) Additional litter bins will be installed around the Wetlands. Firs Park Wetlands are a jewel in the crown of Bush Hill Park and as a local Councillor will always do my best.

Housing Sector – Budget 2017 briefing

The Chancellor pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat today with a stamp duty exemption for first time buyers up to £300K. This was part of his promise to fix Britain’s housing market with a package of measures including; investment, planning reform and tax cuts for first-time buyers, as mentioned.

Lets also look at the other announcements today;

      • Government committed to deliver an average of 300,000 homes a year by the middle of the next decade, the biggest annual increase in housing supply since 1970.
      • Since 2010, Government overseen over 1 million new homes being built. Housebuilding is at its highest level since the crash, but housing remains unaffordable for many.
      • Abolishing stamp duty for over 80 per cent of first time buyers – up to £300,000. The exemption will also be available to properties up to £500,000. This means an effective discount of up to £5,000 for a property of £500,000.
      • Investing an additional £15 billion for housebuilding – taking the total this Parliament to £44 billion. To include; £2.7 billion to double the housing infrastructure fund, £1.7 billion to unlock small and strategic sites, £400 million on estate regeneration, £1.5 billion to support SME builders, and provide £8 billion on guarantees – committing a total of £44 billion over the next five years.
      • Helping Local Authorities to deliver new homes – The Homes and Communities Agency will expand to become ‘Homes England’ bringing together money, expertise, and planning and compulsory purchase powers with a clear remit to facilitate delivery of sufficient new homes, where they are most needed, to achieve our goal and to deliver a sustained improvement in affordability.
      • Reforming planning to unlock land for homes. Government maintains to protect our green belt, and make better use of urban land. They will consult on introducing minimum density rules in urban areas and near transport hubs, and expect councils to permit more homes for first time buyers.
      • Getting the skilled workforce in place to construct the homes. Funding to provide £40 million to develop construction skills across the country, so to create skilled jobs and build the high quality homes needed.

  • Driving the housing market will be crucial to addressing the downgrade in the UK’s economic prospects. The OBR cut the projected growth rate for 2017 from 2 per cent to 1.5 per cent. That said the Stock Exchange reacted well, with the FTSE 100 share index rising 0.1 per cent to 7,453.65, its highest close in eight sessions.The Chancellor stated, “Put simply, successive governments over decades have failed to build enough homes to deliver the home-owning dream that this country has always been proud of“. Lets hope this Government can succeed where others have not.

UK – Open for business

ukAs we leave the EU, the message we take to the world is this: Britain has always been open for business. But outside the bureaucratic EU we will, even more so be an outward-looking, globally-minded, flexible and dynamic country we have always been.

This new chapter for Britain presents clear opportunities and challenges. The British uk2economy is fundamentally strong and will continue to be strong as we negotiate our exit from the EU.

In the immediate aftermath of the referendum, there have been some encouraging signs with
the UK being the fastest growing G7 economy this year, business confidence has returned to pre-referendum levels and manufacturing activity in September grew month on month at its fastest 
rate since June 2014.

There has been concern for science and research. Indeed this is an important part of the Cambridgeshire economy where I live. However, Bill Gates has predicted that the UK science and research industry will not be negatively affected by Brexit. The Microsoft founder said he believed there was already a stronger research uk4relationship between the UK and the US, than between the UK and other European Union countries, and that ‘the basic strengths of the institutions that are here and the opportunities that exist will overcome the uncertainties we have’.

Already Countries are lining up to discuss new trade deals with the UK.  For instance the Australian Prime Minister say he would welcome a trade deal with Britain ‘as soon as possible’.

With a period of negotiation with the EU, there may be some adjustment as the economy responds. But we start from a positon of strength and the economy is resilient. The UK is well placed to deal with the challenges, and take advantage of the opportunities, that lie ahead as we make a success of Brexit. The head of the World Trade Organisation says Britain will not face a ‘vacuum or a disruption’ in trade flows when it departs the European Union. Roberto Azevêdo said: ‘We will be working … very intensely to ensure that this transition is fast and is smooth’.

Let us look forward to a post EU future with optimism.




UK playing it’s part in Syrian Aid

DCThe Prime Minister has pledged more money for Syrian refugees as world leaders gathered this week in London. The moving scenes of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children risking their lives crossing the Aegean or the Balkans – more must be done to address the humanitarian disaster in Syria. The £2.3 billion pledged by the UK in aid helps show the way for the international effort.

We can provide the sense of hope to stop people thinking they have no option but to risk their lives on a dangerous journey to Europe.

Action the UK Government is taking:

(1) More than doubling our international aid to Syria and the region. The UK GovernmentUKAID1 is investing an extra £1.2 billion to help fund education, create jobs and humanitarian protection. This brings the total we’re investing to more than £2.3 billion. In total, the conference has raised over $10 billion – the largest amount ever raised in one day in response to a humanitarian crisis.  

.(2) Resettling up to 20,000 Syrian refugees over five years. This is an expansion of the UK’s existing SVPR scheme and continues the use of the UNHCR process for identifying and resettling refugees. The cost to support Syrian refugees in the UK will be met by international aid spending in the first year

(3) Striking Daesh in Iraq and Syria. UK action is making a real difference on the ground as the UK represents between a quarter and a third of the international coalition’s precision bombing capability.

SyriaThe UK Government commitment of over £2.3 billion in Syria and the region makes us one of the largest donors in the world. This is helping to meet the immediate needs of vulnerable people in Syria and refugees across the region

The UK will also work with our European partners to help those affected by the migrant crisis in Europe, however the UK is also clear that the only solution is to discourage individuals from making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean.

Action on drainage issues

fieldsDelighted to report real progress has been made in the matter of residents having sewage backing up onto their properties in Bannold Road, Waterbeach.

Today I chaired a multi-agency meeting including Anglian Water, County Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council and Morris Homes.

Several key actions have taken place;

(1) The whole system has been surveyed

(2) Significant blockages were found reducing pipe capacity by 50% in some parts. These blockages have now been cleared.

(3) The blockages were caused by grease, oil, fat, food waste, nappies, sanitary items being put into the system. Anglian Water will be running a campaign called ‘keep it clear’ to help reduce instances of such waste entering the system.

(4) The pumping levels at the pumping station were not set at the right level and this is being changed.

The combination of measures being taken above should resolve the situation. But we will keep having multi-agency meetings to keep a close eye on the issue.

Time to tackle school bullying

Charter logoThe Good Childhood Report by The Children’s Society made for stark reading.

It found that children in England experienced the highest levels of emotional bullying out of the 15 countries surveyed. Half the children reported being left out by their classmates and 38 per cent said they had been hit by other children in the last month. Bullied children were more likely to have low self esteem than other children.

Those that had been bullied four or more times in the last three months were six times more likely to have low self esteem than those that had not. The myth that ‘bullying makes you stronger’ is just that.

Increasingly anti-bullying organisations are combining their efforts to ensure the bestAPPG framework is in place in schools. This includes the All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into school bullying, which successfully ensured amendments in the Children and Family Bill to give greater recognition to bullying in schools. Debates have also taken place in both houses. Pictured right with Dame Esther Rantzen DBE.

But there is a long way to go to secure the change that is required, and the scale of the problem demonstrated in the Good Childhood report.

The effects of bullying leave deep emotional scars often into adulthood. King’s College Institute of Psychiatry commissioned a substantial study of over 7,700 people, who were born in 1958, who were bullied at 7 or 11 years old. The study then followed up with the participants until they were 50 years old.

The study found that the impact of bullying is still visible up to mid-life, four decades after people were bullied. Symptoms included depression, anxiety and a greater likelihood to have suicidal thoughts than those who had not been bullied.

The study also found a direct link between childhood bullying and poor outcomes in mid-life with health, social and economic consequences. This included lower educational levels, more likely to be unemployed, lower earnings. Those bullied were less likely to be in a relationship or to have good social network.

In this country there is a serious injustice that is taken place now, in 2015. Currently a child excluded for aggressive and persistent bullying may be transferred to alternative provision such as a pupil referral unit at a cost of between £16 and 23K per year.

However, if a child subjected to bullying behaviour – the victim – becomes school phobic there is little or no alternative provision available or offered. They leave school and receive little or no support becoming more and more depressed with a bleak academic future. How can this be right?

For a moment just imagine 750 secondary school classrooms empty week in, week out, all year round. Could you imagine the outcry, the headlines? Let me explain; there are over 16,000 between the ages of 11 and 15 missing education in England because of severe bullying (NatCen Report 2011).

This varies from name calling to  physical attacks to cyber bullying and many more besides. And the figure of 16,000 is likely to be an underestimate, as many local authorities do not record the reason for a parent withdrawing their child from school.

So 16,000 children translates into 750 classrooms. Can you imagine the lost potential? But because the numbers are spread across all schools no one notices.

These silent victims need people to stand up for them. Many organisations and people are; and I am adding my name to the call for action.

To be clear, as the Kings College study demonstrates that this is not a new situation. I have spoken to people across the spectrum of ages and backgrounds. Everyone I speak to knows someone who was bullied or was themselves.

Indeed the charity Red Balloon, which provides alternative educational provision for children that are school phobic due to bullying, has been operating for nearly 20 years.

You may ask how can it be possible for so many children to leave education?

Well it usually happens as a last resort. When the situation deteriorates (with the child no longer attending school due to becoming school phobic, and parents who may be threatened with being taken to court for allowing their child to truant) the worn down parents agree for their child to be managed off the school role and outside the formal education framework.

Schools can meet the educational inspection criteria for the support of self-excluding students who have been bullied by having work sent home, having a teacher assistant available or by enabling the student to access the curriculum online.

In some cases such measures work satisfactorily, but is satisfactory as a best outcome good enough?

The approach required must be twofold. First, to put in place the measures needed to actively reduce bullying in schools. When the Good Childhood report estimates that half of children experience some form of bullying and over a third on the receiving end of physical bullying in the last month, we owe it to the next generation to do something.

Second is to ensure that in the worst case scenario where a child self excludes that there is a safety net for children who can no longer attend mainstream education, with the aim of returning them to mainstream education once fully recovered.

APPG5Wishful thinking? The charity Red Balloon Learner Centre Group have a record of 95 per cent of severely bullied children who stay with them longer than six weeks returning to mainstream education and leading productive lives. Indeed this year RB-Norwich was deemed ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. Pictured with Dr Carrie Herbert MBE, President of the charity.

The parallel that I would draw is MRSA. Hospitals have made real strides in reducing infection rates, but in the worst case scenario ensure that the patient receives the treatment required. Why cannot the same principle be applied to bullied children?

The six-point approach that is needed;

  • Training for school staff and whole school programmes to tackle bullying.
  • Special educational needs status should be granted to severely bullied children too traumatised to attend school.
  • The educational needs of self-excluding bullied children must be met.
  • Alternative provision must be monitored.
  • Each LA and school must make it clear to parents/carers how the education of children self-excluding from school due to bullying is to be funded.
  • The DfE needs to state its policy on distance learning.

A more detailed exposition of the above six aims is detailed in my previous article.

In developing this article I am grateful to a number of organisations and people in the sector – especially to Red Balloon Learner Centre Group.

With anti-bullying week approaching next month the need for action is now.