PETITION: Residents to bring ‘Community Engagement Framework’ to Scrutiny after being banned from engaging on it!

Independent Resident campaigners are forcing the Council to scrutinise the way in which it adopted the aptly-named ‘Community Engagement Framework, which, rather ironically, the Council refused to allow the community to engage with.

Bob Tyler and James Giles were told they were not allowed to contribute to this item, despite serious questions around Equalities and Risk to the Council, but could speak on a later urgent item which had not been circulated to the public until that evening.

A number of issues remain with this document, which is currently deeply flawed, and we need the support of 100 residents to guarantee its passage to Scrutiny Panel.

Please do sign below, and contact James on kirg@jamesgiles.uk if you have any questions.

Call-in: Community Engagement Framework

  

WE, the undersigned, being those who live, work or study in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, hereby call in all decisions of item 6 of the Community and Engagement Committee held on 12th June 2019, ‘Community Engagement Framework’ for the following reasons:

- Members of the public were not able to contribute to this item, as the co-chairs refused to allow those who ‘hadn’t submitted a green slip’ to speak, despite allowing them to on other items, bringing into question whether the decision-making was sound - particularly given this item was all about community engagement(!);
- The committee wanted to engage with people ‘who don’t normally engage with the council’, so the notion that this will be achieved through a consultation portal which doesn’t meet government guidelines on domains as well as neighbourhoods is laughable and inadequate - consultation must be wider;
- There is no basis for the consultation - no drafted questions, no concrete timescales, which did not allow for any evidence-based decision making as the councillors had no idea what form the engagement would take;
- Paragraph 22 of the report states the ‘framework will comply with equalities best practice’ - not law? This is wholly inadequate, as equalities legislation exists for a reason;
- No risk assessment has been completed, despite officers’ promise to send this to residents post-committee. It has now been admitted no risk assessment has been completed, which is a major flaw;
- No equalities analysis has been undertaken on the impact of an ‘online’ consultation and neighbourhood committee meeting. We have many disabled residents in this borough who may have restricted mobility and no access to the internet. Before this is consulted upon, a thorough analysis must be undertaken in order to ensure that the consultation is accessible to all; and
- The framework is in no way resident-friendly, and a first-class attempt at corporate jargon. Residents deserve better than this in understanding how the council will engage with them.

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The issues in full:

  • Members of the public were not able to contribute to this item, as the co-chairs refused to allow those who ‘hadn’t submitted a green slip’ to speak, despite allowing them to on other items, bringing into question whether the decision-making was sound – particularly given this item was all about community engagement(!);
  • The committee wanted to engage with people ‘who don’t normally engage with the council’, so the notion that this will be achieved through a consultation portal which doesn’t meet government guidelines on domains as well as neighbourhoods is laughable and inadequate – consultation must be wider;
  • There is no basis for the consultation – no drafted questions, no concrete timescales, which did not allow for any evidence-based decision making as the councillors had no idea what form the engagement would take;
  • Paragraph 22 of the report states the ‘framework will comply with equalities best practice’ – not law? This is wholly inadequate, as equalities legislation exists for a reason;
  • No risk assessment has been completed, despite officers’ promise to send this to residents post-committee. It has now been admitted no risk assessment has been completed, which is a major flaw;
  • No equalities analysis has been undertaken on the impact of an ‘online’ consultation and neighbourhood committee meeting. We have many disabled residents in this borough who may have restricted mobility and no access to the internet. Before this is consulted upon, a thorough analysis must be undertaken in order to ensure that the consultation is accessible to all; and
  • The framework is in no way resident-friendly, and a first-class attempt at corporate jargon. Residents deserve better than this in understanding how the council will engage with them.

 

THE DOCUMENT: https://moderngov.kingston.gov.uk/documents/s84068/Community%20Engagement%20Framework%20REPORT.pdf

https://moderngov.kingston.gov.uk/documents/s84069/Engagement%20Framework%20for%20CE%20Committee.pdf

KIRG call for urgent review of town centre GO Cycle works

The Kingston Independent Residents Group have called for an urgent review of the GO Cycle works, which are continuing to cause major disruption in the town centre.

Not only are these works being undertaken without proper consultation with residents living in the area, but they are causing great disruption to shoppers, who are less likely to support our small businesses as a result.

Local campaigner, Bob Tyler, said: “I am very concerned about the latest works in the Town Centre and particularly the ‘shared space’ designs. What is happening is going to be yet another unproven, unsafe ‘shared space’. This and other new works must be consulted on”

GO Cycle

  

We, the undersigned, call for an urgent review of GO Cycle works on Wheatfield Way and around Kingston Station. These works are causing great disruption to residents in the vicinity, without proper consultation. Further, these works are damaging to shoppers, who are less likely to shop in Kingston as a result of long delays to get in to the town, which has a knock-on effect to small businesses, already struggling in the current economic climate.

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Waitrose reinstate 2 hours free parking following campaign

Your Kingston Independent Residents Group team in Beverley have secured the reinstatement of 2 hours free parking at the Waitrose Car Park in New Malden. This is a victory for New Malden residents and businesses in the High Street, and we would like to thank everyone for their support.

Local resident James Giles with the new signage in Waitrose, reintroducing a 2 hour maximum stay

Waitrose recently changed the maximum stay from 2 hours to 90 minutes, and increased the penalty from £25 to £95. The car park is subject to a number of legal agreements with the Council and Waitrose did not have permission to reduce the maximum stay.

Following our campaign and intervention in Beverley Ward, Waitrose have now reinstated a maximum stay of 2 hours. Further, users of the car park are no longer required to spend £10 in Waitrose, which could boost trade for independent businesses in the High Street.

The one remaining area of concern is the £95 penalty charge, which we are asking to be reduced back to £25, to give shoppers peace of mind when using the car park.

KIRG Group Leader and member of the Beverley Independent team, Mary Clark, said:

“These changes would have impacted on shoppers who use the car park for both Waitrose and our independent businesses on the High Street. They were introduced with no consultation with residents or even the council. I’m very pleased that Waitrose has made the right choice in reinstating the longstanding parking arrangements, which date back before 2003.”

Local resident James Giles said:

“This is fantastic news. We would like to thank Waitrose for their co-operation in the matter, and their commitment to the community in New Malden.”

 

Beverley residents call upon Waitrose to reintroduce 2 hours free parking

Your Kingston Independent Residents Group team in Beverley are campaigning to restore 2 hour free parking in the Waitrose Car Park in New Malden.

 Waitrose recently changed the maximum stay from 2 hours to 90 minutes, and increased the penalty from £25 to £95. The car park is subject to a number of legal agreements with the Council and Waitrose do not have permission to reduce the maximum stay.

Cllr Mary Clark, group leader and Beverley lead, said: “These changes will impact on shoppers who use the car park for both Waitrose and our independent businesses on the High Street. They were introduced with no consultation with residents or even the council.

Many, including the disabled, will be deterred from parking here at a risk of a new massive £95 penalty, should they overstay in any form. A large number of residents have been in touch to make us aware of these changes which will damage the local economy.”

Your Independent Residents Group in Beverley has written to the Council Enforcement about this matter.

If you support our campaign and want to see 2 hour free parking reinstated, sign below and add pressure to the Council and Waitrose:

Waitrose: Reinstate 2 hr free parking and £25 penalty charge

  

We, the undersigned, call upon the John Lewis Partnership to immediately reinstate 2 hours free parking at their branch in New Malden and the £25 parking charge.

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Extraordinary meeting of Health Scrutiny Panel called to scrutinise hospital decision on blue badge parking

With the support of hundreds of local residents, the Kingston Independent Residents Group has been putting heavy pressure on Kingston Hospital to reverse their damaging decision to introduce parking charges for blue badge holders at Kingston Hospital.

Led by Councillor Mary Clark, a cross-party letter has requisitioned an extraordinary meeting of the Health Scrutiny Panel, with representatives from the Hospital being called to the meeting, in order to scrutinise the decision and for residents to have their voice heard. The meeting will be at the Guildhall in Kingston, 7:30pm start, on Wednesday 21st February.

 

Mary Clark, the KIRG group leader stated: “These charges are a disgrace, and must be reversed. We will end up with gridlock on Galsworthy Road where blue badge holders will legally park on the double yellow lines, and a situation where those who desperately need to go into hospital may not for fear of cost.

I urge all residents to attend the extraordinary meeting of the Health Scrutiny Panel this Wednesday, at Guildhall, to make their voices heard to Kingston Hospital and join us in our call to reverse this decision. ”

A letter was sent to Kingston Council demanding an extraordinary meeting of the Health Scrutiny Panel, under Standing Order 24, and was signed by Councillors Mary Clark, David Fraser and Sheila Griffin in their capacity as members of the Health Scrutiny Panel.

The Kingston Independent Residents Group will be holding a demonstration on the steps of Guildhall from 7pm on Wednesday 21st February, before the meeting begins at 7:30pm.

Can you join us and make sure that the voice of vulnerable residents in Kingston are heard?