Elected on 3rd May, back to work on the 4th.
Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE, Leader of the London Borough of Bexley, explains what has been happening across the Council and the Borough since this year’s election.
“Thank you for your support. We were all honoured to have been given such a decisive mandate from residents in May’s election.
While many Councils have just cut services year after year, our strategy has always been to take a long term approach to transform services, invest in prevention work which helps avoid future costs and anticipate future need. It has been a strategy that has delivered tangible results and success.
The fact we have the best recycling rates in London shows that in action. A major investment a decade ago has increased recycling to record rates and saved millions of pounds too by avoiding the need to pay huge land fill charges.
We’ve all been working flat out since May’s election to implement our manifesto and set out priorities.
Our positive campaign and strong record of delivery year after year received a huge endorsement – we were re-elected with 55% of the vote, increased our vote share by 12% and we were elected to represent over 75% of the seats.
We also now have 30% fewer Councillors, having delivered our 2014 pledge to reduce our numbers – in fact we are the only group of Councillors in the country to voluntarily propose to cut our numbers and we have delivered that exactly as promised.
We have welcomed newly elected Councillors and I am proud to have been re-elected to serve as Leader of the Council.
And we haven’t stopped working since the election.
We are already delivering on our election manifesto and we have seen some stunning achievements.
Firstly, in July Ofsted suddenly announced they were coming to inspect our Children’s Services Department. With little notice our staff went above and beyond to prepare for and then undergo this rigorous and independent inspection.
Cllr Philip Read, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services was interviewed by the inspectors and was able to talk through all the improvements and investment that had been made over the previous four years.
And at the end of it, Ofsted declared that the Bexley Children’s Services were “outstanding” – the highest rating possible!
Everyone of us is so proud of this achievement and the hard work and commitment that went into this rating.
While the Mayor of London has announced a delay in the opening of the new Crossrail our manifesto pledge to push for Crossrail to be extending to Ebbsfleet remains on track.
This follows the announcement by the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission that they fully recommended the Government implement this proposed extension.
This news was followed with the announcement that London City Airport we’re behind the scheme too.
And we have secured an agreement with BT Openreach to roll out super fast broadband to over 10,000 homes in Bexley with more to come.
Alongside this, Lesnes Abbey and Hall Place have won international awards, which means they are two of the best parks on the entire planet. Lesnes Abbey has also won the Forestry Commission London Borough Tree and Woodland Award. We’ve also been able to secure a new cinema for Sidcup and embarked on major improvements at Erith station.
Our manifesto commitment to make the trial litter enforcement service a permanent fixture was delivered in June.
Our zero tolerance policy for those who mess up Bexley by dropping litter or flytipping has led to over 7,000 fines being issued and the seizure and crushing of vehicles involved in illegal dumping of waste. And we have purchased more street trees ready to plant this winter, which means our commitment for 1,000 new street trees by 2020 is on course for delivery.
So we haven’t wasted a moment and we will continue repaying your trust in us to make the right decisions in the long term interests of the Borough for the next four years.”