Barnet Borough Council criticised for repeatedly failing to answer residents' concerns

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Flaws in the council's ability to deal with questions and concerns raised by people living in the borough was brought to the fore tonight.

Barnet Borough Council holds residents' forums to allow the public to raise issues of concern - but at tonight's Finchley and Golders Green forum many were left frustrated as their queries were left unanswered.

In one case, blogger Theresa Musgrove asked how long the park keeper’s lodge in Victoria Park has been vacant and what plans are being made to sell the property – questions she has been asking for three years but still has not received an answer – and tonight was no exception.

Ms Musgrove said: “This is a beautiful building which could have provided a home for a family, but instead it’s been allowed to decay.

“There’s drug dealing going on there and it’s not safe. It will be either trashed, left to rot away to nothing or there will be an arson.”

But Ms Musgrove was told to stop speculating, and no instructive answer was provided. Instead she was told the council is looking into it.

Ms Musgrove also asked why safety barriers next to Manorside Primary School in Finchley have not been replaced since funding was allocated to improve road safety measures in the area last year.

Highways manager Neil Richardson apologised for the “lack of action” adding that it “dropped off [his] radar”.

But Councillors Kath McGuirk and Arjun Mittra raised concern that too many issues were being buried or forgotten about.

Cllr Mittra said: “The question here is about general reporting and the question of the council’s system for management. I sent an email about a week ago with 18 defects in my ward, some of which I reported months ago.”

And finally, chairman of the conservation group Friends of Windsor Open Space, Dennis Pepper, asked about the lack of consultation over plans to build a new library at Gateway House – but with no ready answer he was told the item would be moved to the next residents’ forum.

Comments (3)

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10:41pm Wed 18 Jun 14

Don't Call Me Dave says...

Perhaps Mrs Angry should stand for election if/when a by-election arises. If elected, the council will find it hard to fob her off with non answers.
Perhaps Mrs Angry should stand for election if/when a by-election arises. If elected, the council will find it hard to fob her off with non answers. Don't Call Me Dave
  • Score: 0

9:15am Thu 19 Jun 14

Barnet Parker says...

It's not good enough DCMD to suggest residents should stand for election in order to hear their voices heard. The council serves us and should carry out meaningful consultations to gauge our views. This forum as reported seems miles off that target.

Even if a concerned resident did stand the party political system would probably mean they had no chance of election. The constitution seems to enshrine party politics seeing as how the current mess over make up of committees is about proportion between the parties rather than best people for the job.

Fortunately it's looking as if residents are holding Barnet's politicians to account more and more, led by the sterling efforts of all our bloggers of all political persuasions.
It's not good enough DCMD to suggest residents should stand for election in order to hear their voices heard. The council serves us and should carry out meaningful consultations to gauge our views. This forum as reported seems miles off that target. Even if a concerned resident did stand the party political system would probably mean they had no chance of election. The constitution seems to enshrine party politics seeing as how the current mess over make up of committees is about proportion between the parties rather than best people for the job. Fortunately it's looking as if residents are holding Barnet's politicians to account more and more, led by the sterling efforts of all our bloggers of all political persuasions. Barnet Parker
  • Score: 6

11:50am Thu 19 Jun 14

kgdave9@gmail.com says...

Baranet council should take a second look at this question . Otherwise people will think it has ulterior motive . If you do not have to hide anything come out clean . In the past some conservative seats have lost in elections due to such scandals. Barnet LIbrary and Parking meters etc has made some Tory loyalist to turn away from them.
Baranet council should take a second look at this question . Otherwise people will think it has ulterior motive . If you do not have to hide anything come out clean . In the past some conservative seats have lost in elections due to such scandals. Barnet LIbrary and Parking meters etc has made some Tory loyalist to turn away from them. kgdave9@gmail.com
  • Score: 0

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