Wednesday, May 30, 2007

£70M Price tag for Islington Businesses

The Islington Gazette just has a further story on the continuing developments in the Council Sell-Off of a large swathe of their commercial properties.

ISLINGTON Council's £45million portfolio of 222 shops, warehouses and charity offices is set to be sold for almost £70million to property investment company Structadene.

Many leaseholders are still hoping to buy their own premises - even though a number of the 159 traders who had hoped to purchase now need to raise hundreds of thousands more than they were expecting. Structadene has told the council how much it is offering for each property in the portfolio and, in order to buy, leaseholders need to price-match this figure.

As we discussed on our site back in February, the tenant businesses were originally looking to be offered the right to purchase. Now we need to ensure that as much as possible neither the Council is deprived of revenue nor that are our local businesses are adversely affected.

We need to ensure that the Right to Buy for the tenants is as transparent and a fair a process as possible. We also need to check that the Council does not squander the monies it raises, and we will do all we can to find out how this money is 'reinvested' into our Borough!

London North East GLA Selection

Last night the officers of the Conservative constituencies for the boroughs within the London North East GLA seat met to shortlist their candidate for the 2008 GLA election. The North East London constituency is comprised of Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest.

Currently the seat is held by Labour's Jenette Arnold. In the 2004 Election, the Conservatives were narrowly third place. Labour received 26.8%,
LibDems received 17.3% with the Conservative Candidate Andrew Boff receiving 16.7%. In contrast in the 2000 elections for the constituency, the LibDems had been 3.3% ahead of us, so we definately are closing the gap.

We had eight applicants to review for the selection yesterday, and short listed them down to four candidates. One of the four is a member of the Islington Association. We won't release the names until the unsuccessful applicants have been notified.

The next stage in the Selection is a Question Time format meeting at the Walthamstow Conservative Club later in June. The event will hopefully be chaired by a high profile Conservative MP. We will update you when we have all the details!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Urban Fox

Whilst flicking through the Times today, I read today's column by Matthew Parris. IN part of his article he wrote about a bizarre situation regarding the dumping in the countryside of urban foxes. Surprisingly you can always identify a released urban fox, as it will run towards buildings instead of away from them.

This made me wonder what Islington Council does for fox management. I thought I would start with Islington Council's website and it says this:
The council's pest control section provides information and guidance on deterring foxes from your property, but doesn't provide treatments.

They recommend you contact a charity called the Fox Project. However if you look around on the Council website , you will find their guide to Urban Foxes, although I prefer their filename, PestFox. Apart from some helpful pointers on rubbish disposal, and contacting the Fox Project, the most helpful piece of advice is
- If you suspect foxes are ‘going to ground’ on your property, much can be done to discourage them from using a den by creating noise and disturbance in the vicinity

So basically make some noise or contact the Fox Project, and over in theie website, the advice is:
Some householders do not like foxes in their garden, so The Fox Project operates a specialist fox deterrence and advice service, which is both more effective and more humane than outmoded "pest control".

So it looks like we are stuck with our Urban Foxes in Islington, so let's just make sure she doesn't dont recieve any more votes.

Traffic pair go tow to tow

Now the London Paper has an article about the Islington Council / TfL parking bust up I mentioned on Tuesday:

Shoppers in Islington cheered as they witnessed a parking warden’s van being towed away by a clamper.

They watched on in delight as the Islington council van – which had stopped in a bus bay – was hoisted into the air by a TfL tow truck.

The incident took place on Upper Street, in Islington, north London. One witness said: “It was amusing. People were shouting ‘Go on my son’.”

But a TfL spokesman said: “The van actually broke down and was being recovered by the truck because both work out of the same depot.”

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Islington Education

Walthamstow activist, John Moss, wrote a though provoking article about Conservative Party education policies for Conservative Home today. John works locally in Clerkenwell and began with an interesting Islington point from Boris that I had missed in all the coverage of grammar schools:

Boris Johnson points out that 50% of parents in Islington buy extra tuition for their children.

My role as Chairman in Islington Conservatives isn’t to provide or comment on Conservative Party policy on a national issue, however personally I do agree with Boris’s point that we need to address our children’s education, especially in locations like Islington.

As one of the Islington Conservative Future Officers said to me on Sunday, schools are one of the most vital influences on everyone and good schools can benefit a child beyond any other factor.

I am glad that this Nationwide debate about schooling is showing the measures the Conservative Party can and will introduce when next in office, including more setting and streaming
of pupils.


Actually the whole of Boris's Islington related comment in his grammar schools article was as follows:

They pay for tutors, like the former Labour education minister Margaret Hodge, and it is largely thanks to her diabolical leadership of Islington that, in some schools in the borough, the number receiving expensive out-of-school tuition has risen to 50 per cent, and no one complains about the consequences for the 50 per cent of children whose parents cannot afford the tutor.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

LibDems supporting our Post Offices?

Again Justin Hinchcliffe has spotted another local titbit

From today's Guardian Diary:

Hats off, finally, to the ever-alert Lib Dems, who yesterday protested against post office closures outside the post office at 238 Essex Road, Islington, currently threatened with closure because it and 221 other fine properties across the borough have been put up for sale by Islington's Lib Dem-controlled council. Brilliant.

Only today Bridget Fox (Islington LibDem PPC for Islington South & Finsbury) wrote on her website:

Meanwhile Liberal Democrats will continue to support local residents and fight to save Essex Road Post Office. On Monday Jo Swinson MP supported me as we launched our petition demanding the Post Office keep Essex Road open.

How can the Islington Lib Dems be supporting residents by selling off these properties, or does Bridget not speak with her former Council colleagues?

Islington Labour Leader

According to Justin Hinchcliffe in Tottenham, Islington Labour Council group leader, Catherine West is an early favourite up in the Hornsey & Wood Green seat for the Labour party.

Crowd cheers as council clampers' van is towed away from a bus lane

Seven hours today the Daily Mail posted a story on its website with this amusing headline. The article then continued:

The locals were jeering and shouting 'go on my son' and there was an interesting exchange between the Islington van driver and the TFL driver.

But things took a bizarre turn when, in revenge for impounding Islington Council's van, a council traffic warden slapped a parking ticket on the Transport for London (TfL) tow truck.

In an even more bizarre turn, the story is no longer on the Daily Mail's website.
It was only a few days ago that the Council claimed their Parking Attendents will apply Common Sense to parking fines....

HIP Hooray as No10 bins home packs

In Summer last year, Islington Conservatives published their opposition to the Brown-Blair govt's home information packs (HIP). As we stated then, HIPs could undermine the housing market and increase the cost of buying and selling a home

Today Ministers were today forced into a humiliating surrender over home information packs. In a deeply embarrassing move, they postponed the scheme until August.

As Michael Gove MP stated today:

Can I ask why, after being warned over a year ago that they were comprehensively mishandling this issue Ministers have seen fit to retreat only now – with eight days to go before Home Information Packs were due to be implemented?

Finally on this topic, a little cartoon from todays Daily Mail: