Barnet Councillor Dean Cohen spent 'disproportionate sum' of roads budget on his own ward, says independent Councillor Brian Coleman

Times Series: Councillor Cohen has been forced to defend the amount of money he allocated to fixing roads and pavements in his own ward Councillor Cohen has been forced to defend the amount of money he allocated to fixing roads and pavements in his own ward

A cabinet member in charge of the borough’s roads has spent a “vast” and “disproportionate” amount of money repairing streets and pavements in his own ward, according to his predecessor.

Councillor Dean Cohen, the Conservative cabinet member for environment, allocated £800,000 of the authority’s £7million annual budget for 2013/14 to his own ward of Golders Green – more than any of the other 20 electoral districts.

His predecessor, expelled Conservative politician Brian Coleman, described the spending as “pork barrel politics at its worst” – a term used to describe the actions of politicians who divert money to their own ward to garner favour with the electorate.

Councillor Coleman, who was removed from his cabinet role in 2012 after he lost his seat on the GLA and was charged with assaulting a woman in North Finchley, said: “It is pork barrel politics at its worst – it is outrageous. I would never have done it. I occasionally did minor projects for colleagues but never diverted vast amounts of money to my own ward.

“Everyone pays their council tax and in my 16 years as a councillor I’ve not seen such a disproportionate spend. In an election year as well - it is disgraceful.”

The £800,000 spent in Golders Green this financial year more than doubles the £330,000 total each ward would receive if the cash was spread equally.

Councillor Cohen, who was appointed in May 2012, scrapped the previous policy of equal allocation to wards in favour of a new system, under which highways officers identify areas of greatest need.

Defending the figures, he said: “It is based on need. We have a list of roads that are a high priority and that is constantly reviewed.

“It comes to me and I make suggestions and take things out but it is always based on the need of an area.

“I live in my ward so I am able to identify problems but if the need is in Golders Green then I’m not going to spend money in other areas just because they are not my ward.”

In response to Councillor Coleman’s written question on the agenda for tonight’s full council meeting, Councillor Cohen insisted that the additional cash handed to Golders Green makes up for a “lack of investment in previous years”.

Speaking to the Times Series, he added: “I’m here to represent the whole borough and spend the money wisely. It is very easy to criticise but I actually went around the whole borough with the officers because I know in previous years roads had work done that didn’t need doing, and I didn’t want that happening again.”

Comments (6)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

7:25am Wed 22 Jan 14

gingis says...

The highway officers were instructed to identify areas in need only if they were in conservative wards.
Not to spend money in labour wards.
This instruction came directly from Dean Cohen

Lets see how quick this post is taken down?
The highway officers were instructed to identify areas in need only if they were in conservative wards. Not to spend money in labour wards. This instruction came directly from Dean Cohen Lets see how quick this post is taken down? gingis

12:04pm Wed 22 Jan 14

shirleykosky22@gmail.com says...

As a general enquiry may I ask if he has been thru Green Lane Edgware and tried to keep a meal inside him?
As a general enquiry may I ask if he has been thru Green Lane Edgware and tried to keep a meal inside him? shirleykosky22@gmail.com

12:57pm Thu 23 Jan 14

bikers says...

For once I am with Brien!! Try walking in hale .tree pushing pavements up and broken.One rd near me is a disgrace but who the hell cares.We are told no money to fix it so why did this man get SO MUCH.
For once I am with Brien!! Try walking in hale .tree pushing pavements up and broken.One rd near me is a disgrace but who the hell cares.We are told no money to fix it so why did this man get SO MUCH. bikers

4:13pm Thu 23 Jan 14

You don't fool me says...

This is why the self serving Conservatives must go!
And as for the disgraced Coleman, has he forgoten the Met Pro scandal because we have not! Bye bye Conservatives.
This is why the self serving Conservatives must go! And as for the disgraced Coleman, has he forgoten the Met Pro scandal because we have not! Bye bye Conservatives. You don't fool me

11:01pm Sun 26 Jan 14

Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog says...

For years I have been trying to lobby for the restoration of road safety measures due to the awful number of accidents in my road, including a fatal incident outside my house. At last, last year, it was agreed these would be installed. We are still waiting, with no good reason for the delay, except that the beginning of installation is likely to be ... just in time for the elections in May. Curious coincidence of course. Oh, and yes, this is in a Labour ward.
For years I have been trying to lobby for the restoration of road safety measures due to the awful number of accidents in my road, including a fatal incident outside my house. At last, last year, it was agreed these would be installed. We are still waiting, with no good reason for the delay, except that the beginning of installation is likely to be ... just in time for the elections in May. Curious coincidence of course. Oh, and yes, this is in a Labour ward. Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog

4:03pm Tue 28 Jan 14

sally maylin says...

is this not gerry mandering like what porter done in westminster to gain votes
is this not gerry mandering like what porter done in westminster to gain votes sally maylin

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree