PCA Newsletter 53 - March 2011

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In This Issue

 

Break In News

Brentham May Day

Royal Wedding

Big Society Coming Our Way

Help Kelvin Overcome His Humiliation

Pitshanger Pictures

Those Buses Again

St Gregory’s Plans Approved

Membership Renewal

The Other Charity Shop

Go Slow In Pitshanger

Dates For Your Diary

Break In News

A known burglar from Ealing was arrested in the early hours of Tuesday 29th March on suspicion of burglary after a vigilant neighbour saw someone acting suspiciously behind the fishmonger’s shop. Despite this and other indications that we’re suffering a mini-crime wave, newly-appointed ward police team leader, Sergeant James Ayling, writes with the reassuring news that recorded burglaries in Pitshanger for February and March are exactly the same as last year – 11 cases. Obviously that’s eleven too many and Sgt Ayling recognises burglary is a “truly horrible” crime and promises to take a “firm grip” on the problem. His team visits every burglary victim and refers them to the S.A.F.E Partnership, which can offer such help as free locks [and hopefully a night in the cells for the PCA committee member who thought the fish shop thief was simply in the “wrong plaice at the wrong time” – Ed.].

If you want to keep ahead of the burglars come to the crime prevention surgery at Pitshanger Library on Tuesday 5th April from 5.30 pm until 7.30. Alternatively call Sgt Ayling and his team on 8246 9406 or email [email protected].

Those Buses Again

E2 Bus Problems

Our appeal for information about possible damage caused by double-deckers elicited a handful of responses. Two from Woodfield Road carried an air of resignation: both have made their protests – formally and otherwise (picture) – but to no avail. They detailed a variety of problems including loss of privacy, damage to footpaths and trees, and house-buyers being put off because of the buses, but neither could point to any structural damage their own properties had suffered.

Back on the Lane ‘bus strike’ on the raised platform at the top of Selby Road, which shakes houses more than 30 yards down the road, seems

to affect some properties more than others. We’d like to hear from members with the necessary structural knowledge who could advise us on this odd phenomenon. Please contact Dave Wallis on 8998 2203 or email [email protected].

Brentham May Day

The Brentham Club is celebrating its centenary so this year’s May Day Parade on Saturday 14th May promises to be extra special with new attractions and lots for the whole family to enjoy. Following tradition, the Yiewsley and West Drayton Band will lead the children’s procession from the club at 2.30 pm before returning to the club grounds for maypole and country dancing and the crowning of the May Queen. Other attractions will include food, Pimms, beer and wine, fun stalls and games, tug of war and exhibition tennis games, a mass balloon release and a kids’ disco at 5 pm.

St Gregory’s Plans Approved

“It’s a done deal” was the accusation made by Woodfield Road resident Jane Shirley to the Council’s Planning Committee when they sat to consider the application for the expansion of St Gregory’s primary school. Ms Shirley led the Committee through the main arguments against: the result was predetermined following a Council Cabinet decision in favour, the traffic survey was unrealistic and the traffic assessment incomplete, there were a large number of objections, and Councillors had failed to meet residents when they visited the site. However, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Westminster highlighted the Council’s statutory duty to provide a school place for every child in the borough and stated rather glibly that traffic congestion is a universal problem in London.

At this point Committee member Cllr Benjamin Dennehy of Hanger Hill Ward crossed the floor to speak as a ward Councillor, forfeiting his vote in the process. He re-stated the main objections and proposed a deferral to allow a further site visit and proper consideration of transport documents that had only become available in the preceding 48 hours. The proposal gained some support – “we need to be seen to be fair”, said one Councillor – but was eventually rejected by a single vote. Unusually for a planning meeting, the subsequent discussions were mainly about transport issues and not the building itself. To the disbelief of the gallery, the Committee acknowledged the traffic problems but brushed them aside with comments such as “all schools have transport problems” and “the need for school places is more important”. The application was eventually approved by a 5-2 vote, Cllr Popham of Cleveland Ward voting in favour. Other Hanger Hill and Cleveland ward councillors were not members of the Committee and chose not to become involved in the debate.

The way this application has been handled poses some important questions, such as whether the predicted need for school places is a valid planning consideration, and whether it was proper for the Planning Committee to exercise leniency in order to meet the Council’s legal obligation to provide school places. These points may yet be tested further.

Royal Wedding

Membership Renewal

St Barnabas church is facilitating a community gathering for the big day, 29th April. The event is to be shown live and people are encouraged to bring their picnics to the church hall and grounds. No charge will be made and refreshments will be available to buy.

It’s that time of year again: please look out for your renewal form coming through the letterbox. It’s our strength in numbers that gives us influence with the Council and others, so make sure you add your weight to the cause.

Big Society Coming Our Way

The Council has launched a consultation on the future of the library service and is inviting community groups and volunteers to help run local libraries and protect them from possible closure as budget cuts bite. Other savings suggestions being consulted on include reducing opening hours and stock, and the complete closure of the mobile library service and branch libraries in Northolt, Perivale, Hanwell and Northfields.

However campaign group Save Ealing’s Libraries are asking people not to respond as they regard the consultation as “divisive

Pitshanger Library

[and] rigged to make it easy for the council to axe libraries”. They will be issuing advice as to “the least worst boxes to tick”.

Your committee’s preliminary view is that the consultation is an example of ‘divide and conquer’ in that we are being encouraged to vote to close other peoples’ libraries in order to protect our own. We will consider the matter at our forthcoming meeting and communicate our advice, as well as that of Save Ealing’s Libraries, as soon as we can. The deadline for responses is Tuesday 3rd May.

The Other Charity Shop

If you asked someone to take something to “the charity shop” for you, it would probably end up at the Children’s Society. It’s easy to forget we have a second, but with its somewhat out of the way location and the recent appearance of a double-yellow line outside (which has significantly reduced donations), it’s fair to say ‘The Cats’ hasn’t had much luck lately and is in desperate need of your unwanted goods.

Ealing & West London Cats Protection, to give it its full title, exists to rescue and re-home stray and unwanted cats and to educate the public in the care of cats and kittens. It’s a branch of a national charity and last year helped around 700 animals, rescuing about 250. At any one time up to 70 cats and kittens are awaiting re-homing.

If you would like to help in this work, or can contribute anything to the shop, call in during normal shop hours. Alternatively call the branch helpline on 8752 0793 – the lost and found register is on 8423 1403.

Help Kelvin Overcome His Humiliation

Go Slow In Pitshanger

PCA Treasurer Kelvin Walker is running the London Marathon again this year after being beaten by a Womble last time out. Lesser men might have crumbled but Kelvin’s ‘get back on your horse’ mentality is to be applauded. He’s doing it in aid of Meadow House hospice and asks members to back him to beat the rodent by donating something, no matter how small, at www.justgiving.com/kelvin-marathon. Kelvin vows to convince at least one other member of the PCA committee to run with him next year, but if he thinks he’s getting your editor in the back of a pantomime horse he’s very much mistaken.

Council officers have secured funding from Transport for London for a westward extension of the Brunswick Road 20mph zone to include Pitshanger. They’re proposing a light touch with traffic calming measures only being implemented in streets with particularly high recorded traffic speeds. The Pitshanger 20 mph zone will be subject to a full public consultation, but we’re hoping to get electronic copies of the plans to share with members before that.

Pitshanger Pictures

Our local cinema will be holding a film festival this summer as the St Barnabas Proms have been cancelled. The two-week festival starts on 23rd July and promises “an eclectic mix of films both new/old, rare/popular and local” including a silent movie accompanied by a live pianist. Some films will be introduced by guest speakers and local directors will talk about their work. The next regular show is on Saturday 16th April with 'Up' (cert U) at 3pm, 'Africa United' (cert 12a) at 6:30, and 'The Social Network' (cert 12a) at 9:15. Prices have been reduced to £6 (£4.50 for under 16s) for the afternoon film including a drink and a snack, and £8/£6 for the evening films, to include a drink. Apart from the Saturday shows, alternate Monday evenings will feature rarely seen films in ‘Pitshanger Pictures Take 2’. For details of all their activities go to www.barnabites.org/PitshangerPics.asp.

Dates For Your Diary

Every year for one day only our local bluebell wood – Perivale Wood Nature Reserve – is open to the public. This year it’s Easter Sunday, 24th April, from 10 am until 5 pm. The entrance is in Sunley Gardens close to Perivale station: admission is free and refreshments will be available. Details here.

No chance of a ‘No Fly Zone’ at the annual PCA Quiz on Friday 13th May as David Jacks’ legendary flying prizes whizz a few inches overhead. It’ll be at the Brentham Club with a bangers’n’mash supper: more details shortly, but to reserve tickets and tables please call Karen Jacks on 07711 014331 or email [email protected].

Next up is the Fun Run, organised on our behalf by our friends at Fit For Sport, which takes place on Sunday 5th June. Further details and entry forms nearer the time.

The Big One – Party In The Park – is on Sunday 26th June and already new attractions have been booked including kids’ go-karts and a climbing wall. Pray for a sunny day and come and enjoy Pitshanger at its finest.

Finally this summer we’ll be reprising our older people’s Tea Party on Monday 11th July at the Brentham Club. Invitations will be going out to our older members and others in the community in due course.