I was up at St. Charles Sixth Form College the other evening for the first in a series of “Ask Nick” sessions.
Now whatever you may think of the wisdom of giving these residents Q&A sessions a title so rich in punning potential, I’m sure most of you will see the sense in council leaders getting out and about to meet and talk with residents.
It would be all too easy to have the diary entirely full with meetings of the great and the good – actual or imagined – so at the Council we go to a lot of trouble to make sure we receive a good spread of views from all parts of the borough and all walks of life. Ask Nick – that’s ASK Nick – is part of that strategy.
Having survived the first session, I must say that I found it enjoyable, instructive and somewhat reassuring too because, no matter how thorny the issue, the more than 100 residents who turned out remained calm, polite and lucid throughout – well most of them did anyway.
The meeting began with something of a crackle of electricity: a number of residents stood up to complain about drug dealers trading openly on our streets. The crime figures for the borough and London as a whole are very encouraging but even so it was shocking to hear people naming actual locations where dealing takes place, places I know, where families live and children play. Our borough police are doing a very difficult job and all the statistical evidence points to them doing it well but I have already made sure that those locations have been passed to the right officers so that further action can be taken.
There were questions too about basement developments, some local planning applications and also about social housing. Underpinning most of those housing questions was the issue of fairness. We shall soon be announcing new tenancy policies which I hope and believe will greatly advance the cause of fairness. You can get the gist here.
Anyway the next Ask Nick event – that’s ASK Nick!!! – is on 26 November at St. Cuthbert’s Centre, Philbeach Hall, 51 Philbeach Gardens, London SW5 9EB.
There will be tea and chat first, then questions.
Places are limited but you can register at www.rbkc.gov.uk/asknick or call 020 7598 4633.
I hope to see you there.