2018 review – a summer of major successes

July

The Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission – appointed by Government to direct transformative investment in the Thames Estuary – recommended extending Crossrail to Ebbsfleet in Kent. It called for £20m to be made available so the project could be delivered over the next decade. This was a central commitment in our election manifesto, to campaign hard for this project and the support of the Growth Commission was a vital step in that journey. In fact, we started campaigning for the Ebbsfleet extension in 2008.

The results of the £4million investment at Lesnes Abbey continued to pay off, as the site won the London Borough Tree and Woodland Award, following a year in which the number of visitors had increased by 15%. This was followed by Lesnes and Hall Place being named as among the best parks in the entire world, by winning the international Green Flag awards.

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Work began to improve the approach to Erith Station got underway with new seating, trees and shrubbery plus more bicycle racks which will be more secure. The existing heritage lights which are a key feature on the station building, which is locally listed, will be restored and brought back into full use.

Following the major investment made in keeping Bexley’s streets clean and tidy (investment opposed by Labour), new figures shows the number of residents complaining about street cleanliness had dropped a further 24%, following the 38% drop earlier in the year.

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August

The results of the Ofsted inspection were published – and it revealed Bexley’s Children’s Services were rated as “Outstanding.” In fact, it showed the service was among the top five in the country, an incredible achievement.

In its report, Ofsted gave the following assessment of Bexley’s Children’s Services:

  • The impact of leaders on social work practice with children and families – outstanding
  • The experiences and progress of children who need help and protection – outstanding
  • The experiences and progress of children in care and care leavers – good
  • Overall effectiveness – Outstanding

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The 200 year old Charter Oak in Danson Park was featured on BBC Breakfast for showing signs of strong recovery after receiving a new innovative treatment in November last year. For several years the tree had shown decreasing leaf cover over its huge canopy and signs that a potentially destructive fungus had taken hold. But after a specialist contractor de-compacted the soil around the tree’s root system and inject an enriched soil improver, the tree started to burst back into life as crown became denser after only nine months.

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Our manifesto commitment to improve internet connectivity was delivered as, after working with BT Open Reach, superfast broadband was made available to over 10,000 homes.

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September

The Medway and Kent NHS announced that Darent Valley Hospital was the preferred option for new urgent stroke services. This was something your Bexley Conservative Councillors had been campaigning for, although the final decision won’t be taken until 2019.

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The campaign to extend Crossrail to Ebbsfleet gathered even more support, with the announcement that London City Airport was now backing the idea.

Bexley’s Conservative Council joined forces with Labour Greenwich to undertake a deep clean of Wilton Road in Abbey Wood. Staff from both Councils worked together to undertake the project and it followed a previous Wilton Road Improvement Programme which involved both councils joining forces to support 13 independent businesses to make shop front improvements and modernise their marketing methods.

New figures were released showing under the Conservatives Bexley has one of the lowest rates of child poverty in London.

Exactly as we predicted would happen following the Labour Mayor of London’s decision to axe Bexley’s Borough police force and merge it with Lewisham and Greenwich, it was announced the Bexley burglary unit was to be disbanded.

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4,000 people attended the Erith Pier Festival, as part of the Greater Erith Regeneration Programme, which is partly funded by the London Borough of Bexley.

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