My report from City Hall, May 2018

My report from City Hall

No. 50: 10th March 2018 to 22nd May 2018




This will be my last report before the new GDPR data protection rules kick in, so if you have not done so and wish to keep receiving my updates, please confirm by emailing me at

This month brought the sad news of the death of Tessa Jowell who I knew well from my time in Parliament and after. I particularly recall working with her on my private member’s bill on Holocaust restitution, when she was Secretary of State for Culture. Tessa’s help and support were invaluable in securing the Bill, now an Act. Tessa was a good friend who bore her illness with great fortitude. She will be sorely missed. Incidentally, the ‘sunset clause’ in the Act is about to kick in.

The Assembly has now finished ‘purdah’ after the local election campaign, so this will be my first report after the local elections. Congratulations to those candidates who were successful and commiserations to those who were not, especially those who lost their seats due to no fault of their own; and to the three councillors deselected by Barnet Conservatives.

I attended Commonwealth Day In Camden.

… the national Yom Hashoah commemoration in Hyde Park….

…. the unveiling of the statute to Dame Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square

Dame Millicent Fawcett Statue

This month’s London quiz:  

Q London Bridge was the only bridge across the River Thames until which date:

(a) 1639, (b)1739, or (c)1839?

Contents: (please scroll down to the sections which interest you)

1 Europe and ‘Brexit’

2 Economy Committee

3 Transport and HS2

4 Policing

5 Planning, Housing, Regeneration

6 Environment

7 Fire Authority

8 Education

9 Health

10 Mayor’s report

11 Written questions to the Mayor

12 Problem solving and casework

13 Quiz answers


1 Europe and ‘Brexit’


you may be interested in details of the Lords’ votes to defeat the Government on the Brexit Bill.

See also my opinion piece in the Ham and High

And this Institute for Government article.

Leaving the Customs Union and Single Market after the implementation period will have a negative impact on the NHS and patients with diseases or long-term illnesses, according to a new report from the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan published with a survey of London doctors, in which 85 per cent of doctor respondents believe that UK patients would have slower access to new medicines and be able to access fewer clinical trials after Brexit because  EU Leaders have rejected UK membership of European Medicines Agency after Brexit which  risks new medicines and treatments taking much longer to come to the UK market – potentially damaging the NHS’S ability to treat patients. The full report, entitled ‘Post Brexit access to the Medicines and Medical Technologies’ can be accessed here.

2  Economy Committee


For 2018/19, I will be the Deputy Chair of the Assembly Economy Committee.


I raised the Windrush Generation scandal and Government immigration policy with the Mayor at MQT.

See also my letter to the local press.


I have questioned the Mayor over my concerns about the impact of Government welfare reform, especially with the roll out of Universal Credit.

You may also be interested in the Assembly Labour Group response to the Mayor’s draft Economic Strategy.


3 Transport and HS2


I have been pressing for action on the growing issue of noise from the Tube, which is generating an increasing number of complaints especially from people living near the Northern Line. For details of the issue, see my Tube noise briefing.


I raised this at our Plenary on Transport and also at our Plenary on the Mayor’s Environment Policy.

I questioned the Mayor over bus services consultations. At our plenary I raised the issue of river safety.

I welcomed the Mayor’s announcement of new investment in Colindale Tube Station.

Transport for London (TfL) has also announced that the proposals to modernise and upgrade Camden Town Tube station have received strong backing from the local community. A consultation found that 97 per cent of respondents supported the plans to hugely increase the size of the station. The proposals would see the station treble in size, and would include the construction of a new entrance on Buck Street. Three new escalators and new lifts providing step-free access would also be installed, making the vibrant Camden area much more accessible for everyone. Passengers using the four Northern line platforms would benefit from more circulating space – making journeys more comfortable, particularly in the busiest periods of the day. TfL will consult later this year on how the new entrance might be built and how it will manage the impacts of construction, and subject to the outcome of that consultation it will apply for powers to upgrade Camden Town station through a Transport Works Act Order application. If permission is granted, work could begin in 2021 with completion targeted for 2025/26.

The new rail timetables are proving very problematical for users of Thameslink/ Govia services, which emphasises the failure of the Government to honour their promise to transfer the commuter lines to TfL before the 2016 London elections. For the impact of timetables on the overground.

I met with Uber on site in south Colindale, to bring home to them the unfair parking by fleets of ‘uber’ cars in residential parking spaces. They promised to deal with the problem, but not much sign yet!

I attended the’ new look’ HS2 Euston Community Reference Group, which seemed to be less confrontational than in the past.

I have been in contact with the Mayor’s cycling Tsar, Will Norman, over the plan to go ahead with the CS11 cycling superhighway in Swiss Cottage.

Transport written answers.


4 Policing


As you would expect, we have been working on the rise in violent crime. During purdah, the Mayor held his knife crime summit; and we held a Police and Crime Committee on the issue, also subject to purdah. I think it is ridiculous that these important meetings could not be held in public and I would like to see the rules changed. Our main work in PCC over the next few months will be an in-depth inquiry on violent crime, including knife and firearm offences. I also raised knife crime at the Mayor’s Question Time before the elections (as well as the cost of policing West Ham football matches); and I attended the Camden community anti knife crime walk, after the tragic murders in Kentish Town in February.

We have held two other PCC meetings during this report period.; the first on the Mayor’s Police and Crime Plan progress after a year; and the other a Q and A, including my questions on violent crime, the 101/999 call response times; and the issue of disclosure and failed trials.

The purdah period, when we have fewer formal meetings, was also an opportunity for the PCC to visit the Met.’s Public Order training centre in Gravesend; and to observe recruit training at Hendon’s Peel Centre. I also visited the Peel Centre, to participate in the Met.’s training exercise for new Chief Superintendents.

The PCC also met with the Inspectorate (HMICFS) to discuss their monitoring of the Met.’s Tower Hamlets elections investigation; and progress on child protection.

I met with Det. Ch. Supt. Simon Rose, the Barnet Borough Commander, who has taken over as the new commander of the merged three boroughs of Barnet, Brent and Harrow, to discuss progress in the merger. The police in Barnet, Brent and Harrow are merging into one Basic Command Unit with just one Chef Superintendent running the three Boroughs. The merger process has started and will continue slowly over the year before it’s completed at the end of October. Chief Superintendent Rose has in the past worked as a superintendent at both Brent and Harrow as well as being the Chief Superintendent at Barnet so already has some knowledge of the important local issues across the three Boroughs. With the mergers some things will change like the centralised and slimmed down senior management team, the location of the bases for emergency response and CID and the policy change where response officers will carry more of the crimes they initially report as the size of the response teams grow and the CID shrinks.  Many things however will stay exactly the same. There will still be the two dedicated ward officers (PCs) and one PCSO per ward. The Safer Neighbourhood Inspectors with local knowledge will remain and they will still be two per Borough. There will also be an uplift in schools officers and youth engagement officers.

I went on patrol with neighbourhood officers in King’s Cross; and attended Barnet Safer Neighbourhood Board.

See also, on police resourcing and my letter in the local papers.

5 Planning, Housing and Regeneration


I have been concerned about key worker housing this month: good news: West Hampstead Fire Station Cottages plan progresses and bad news, from the Royal Free, where I was enraged by a scheme to flog off Royal Free Key Worker housing.

The cost of private renting in Barnet is now  £19,000 a year on average, which is why the Mayor’s new rogue landlord register is important.

Official statistics released on 19th April reveal that more genuinely affordable homes – and more social homes – were started in London last year than in any year since City Hall was given control of housing in the capital. A record 12,526 genuinely affordable homes were started in 2017/18 – up from 9,000 the previous year – and nearly 2,500 more than the highest year during Boris Johnson’s time as Mayor (2012/13). It is a more than 67 per cent increase from the low to which numbers fell in the previous Mayor’s final year in office (2015/16) even with Sadiq Khan’s new, tougher definition of what is affordable. The statistics also show that a record 2,826 social homes have been started – a huge increase from the previous year’s pipeline, left by Boris Johnson, that shockingly didn’t include a single home for social rent. The GLA affordable housing statistics to the end of March 2018 are available here.

I met TfL, to hear of their plans for housing developments, mainly in Barnet, on TfL land near their stations, which have the potential to create thousands of affordable homes.

On regeneration, I welcomed the Mayor’s £1.2 Million Town Centre funding for Gospel Oak and contribution to Holborn Community Centre.

I attended the launch at City Hall of a King’s College report on London 2030 and beyond.

Planning objections I have submitted: St Vincent School field application and the

European Design Centre.

6 Environment


I wrote to Thames Water over their recent failings and I also met with Affinity Water, who serve the northern wards in Barnet, to raise their inadequate  performance with them.

I was pleased to see the Mayor announce a major investment In Burnt Oak’s green spaces.

The Mayor has announced the installation of a new public water fountain in one of London’s busiest shopping locations, Carnaby Street, and invited bids to install more water fountains in the capital. As part of his work to reduce single-use plastic bottles in London, the Mayor is delivering up to 20 new water fountains across the city this year. In addition to the new fountain in Kingly Court, Carnaby, three more will follow this summer-  two in Liverpool Street Station and one in Bankside’s Flat Iron Square. To help secure locations for the next 16 fountains, Sadiq is calling on land and site owners to bid for funding from a pot of up to £75,000, up to £50,000 of which is provided by the Mayor, with an additional £25,000 provided by water fountain specialists MIW. Applicants should visit here.

7 Fire, Resilience and Emergency Planning


The Fire Authority (LFEPA) has now been abolished. The new governance arrangements are that the Fire Commissioner becomes the statutory authority, working with the Deputy Mayor for Fire, and subject to the scrutiny of the new Fire, Resilience and Emergency Planning Committee, of which I am the Deputy Chair.

At our first meeting, I questioned the Commissioner and Deputy Mayor on progress concerning the issues raised by the Grenfell Tower fire.

I also raised the apparent growth in fire deaths at the Mayor’s Question Time before the elections.


8 Education


The Mayor has  announced that bids are now open for his new £45 million Young Londoners Fund, supporting education, sport, cultural projects for young people in local communities: information on how to apply for the Young Londoners Fund is now live and can be found here.


I visited the RAF museum in Colindale, to see the almost complete reorganisation of their galleries and layout of their site; and to hear of their plans for community development.


I attended the Camden Council Youth Awards ceremony at the Town Hall.

I have supported the children at Martin School in East Finchley over their plans for a display on Migration and the East Finchley community at the tube station.

I have expressed my concerns at the Conservatives’ choice as Barnet Mayor for 2018/19.


9 Health


I have welcomed the hard hitting court decision against the Coroner Mary Hassell, whom I have called on to resign over her attitude towards our Jewish and Muslim communities.

The Chief Coroner has now issued clear guidance to avoid such problems. it is to be seen what happens next!


10 Mayor’s report


Each month the Mayor produces a report on his activities. His 21st Mayor’s Report to the Assembly.

11 Written questions to the Mayor

MQT old answers just published.

Late March MQT Answers.

March Plenary Answers.

MQT written answers March

Additional answers

May Written Answers

12 Problem solving and casework

Arjun Mittra is my City Hall assistant who manages incoming correspondence, casework and my diary:

13 Quiz answer


Q: London Bridge was the only bridge across the River Thames until which date: (a)1639, (b)1739, or (c)1839?

A: (b)1739

Best wishes,

Andrew Dismore AM

Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden

Twitter: @andrew_dismore