All Change At The Town Hall

It is an enormous privilege to be elected Deputy Leader of the Royal Borough. Although we had a brilliant result in the local elections. Nothing must be taken for granted. With power comes responsibility to get things right in the interests of the community we serve. In the age of social media, problems and criticism emerge quickly, not always accurate but they demand a more urgent response. Sometimes seen as uncaring, more often seen as unwilling to listen and taking everyone for granted. So far from the truth.

Each day is a learning process for me in my new role. The majority Group under the leadership of Denise Hyland is determined to make the difference to improve the lives of those living in the most difficult circumstances. Bringing economic prosperity, employment and housing remain key priorities. Achieving these objectives are difficult but important. In the coming months, major decisions will need to be taken. How we create the climate to achieve our manifesto commitments requires difficult and sensitive negotiations with those who do not always have a sense of civic commitment.

It is extremely important that we involve and engage our residents in the decision making process. I welcome the critical comments made in the blogs that exist and are emerging. However inaccurate they are, the responses always warrant consideration. The myth about the Council reserves is a case in point. All of the financial transactions are in the public domain but are constantly misquoted. No surprise that those who are hostile will attempt to gain an advantage having failed at the elections. Increasing our majority suggests we are getting something right.

In the months ahead every waking hour will be about sustaining our services, despite the swingeing budget pressures placed upon the Council by this Government. As the attack continues on the most vulnerable our challenge will be to find creative ways to protect those vital services valued by the community.

Spending more time in the community and discussing issues is something I am keen to develop in the coming months. Town Hall meetings for residents need to be developed. I welcome any thoughts of suggestions you have are welcome. Write to me or. Happy to arrange meetings as necessary and of course, all local Councillors have regular surgeries, details for which can be found on the Council website.

John Fahy is one of the councillors for the Woolwich Riverside ward and in 2014 was elected as the Deputy Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich.


  1. Tony says

    When will the council do something about how horrible so many places now look? Much of it is a dump! Much of the borough looks a mess away from the nice areas like Greenwich. I’m not just talking about short term things like sweeping rubbish (though that is needed!) but permanent things like broken walls, fences, paths, railings etc that need complete replacement with high quality replacements. It seems to be about number 1000 on the list of priorities, and the council are happy to leave people living in places that are a complete mess.

    It all adds up to ugly, grim streets and towns. It is obvious when speaking to people, or even looking online (twitter, facebook etc) at the reputation most of the borough has to visitors and people living there. Really not good at all and one can only wonder what wider effects that is having.

    Loads of other London boroughs have improved their towns so people can live in a place where they aren’t ashamed.

  2. dimps says

    As a Labour voter and erstwhile party member, I once asked you a question (back in 2011) about the high level of reserves (quoted directly from the annual accounts) in response to a comment you made regarding a Plumsteadshire blog about charges for the use of tennis courts. You did not respond. My question, you will note, was made about now 4 year old accounts; the information was based on information published by the Council; the question was not from a failed and bitter opponent.

    If the current level of reserves has been misreported, could you kindly quote the correct level here (or, if you prefer, in direct response to the original blog – I am assuming this is Royal Greenwich Time)? The figures I referred to in 2011, for comparison, were a year on year increase of approx. £133m to approx. £1,032bn, the figure for this year being in the region of £1.2bn. Perhaps you could also let readers know whether these reserves have been earmarked and, if so, for what purpose. It is usual for organisations to make provision for future losses, but these reserves would be net of those provisions.

    Thank you.

  3. dimps says

    Ooh, and while on the subject, I also asked at the time why the reserves were omitted from the version of the accounts sent out with Council Tax Bills.



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