ONE OF the great things about community forum and residents associations is the amount of information disseminated. The trouble with many of them is that very few people turn up and the information stays within the group.
There are honourable exceptions: The very wonderful Janet McCheyne publishes everything in Bulphan and you get the feeling that everyone in Bulphan gets to know everything that is going on and there are a few more (Hello Vince, Hello Gareth!)
It isn’t the council’s fault. They do ask the forums to let the press know about the meetings and the press have offered the forums and res assocs space on the site to publish minutes but apart from the noble few, they seem unable or unwilling.
With another round of funding cuts about to roll out, some of the groups may be signing their own death warrant unless they come into the 21st century.
But that is for another day.
YT recently attended the South Ockendon Residents Association. They have been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons and also given us an opportunity to write “internecine strife”.
The ward of words continued as resident Peter Perrin questioned the minutes and asked why the attempt to expel him from the meeting was not included. The chair, Sue Gray informed the meeting “That it was not necessary”
At that point, it was feared that the meeting would descend into the usual battles but instead it sailed into smoother waters.
This was due to the lengthy and detailed reports from council officers such as Estates Officer Kerry O”Prey. Kerry has been one of those officers who has been hiding her light under a bushel for a number of years. Infact no pun intended as she has been identifying that street lights obscured by over growing trees can cause dark spots around an estate and heighten the sense of danger.
After that we learned that Kerry joined by councillors Carr and Arnold as well as a police architect regularly go on ward walks and identify hazard and danger spots.
YT recalls seeing Kerry down in Purfleet when she was attached to that office and it was clear that she was highly regarded there.
Kerry, the councillors and the evergreen community police officer went on to inform the meeting of a lot more information.
It was a very fruitful exercise. The question remains as to who actually gets to hear the good news. The answer for the time being will be fewer and fewer as SORA have requested that the press give two weeks notice if they attend the meetings and be prepared to be subject to a cross-examination during the meeting. Reuters, CNN and Fox have expressed their dismay whilst the Pyongyang Bugle have declined to comment.
Forums and residents associations. Continue to send us your news. Both good as well as those issues of concern.