January – March
2019 got off to a fantastic start, after a report was published stating Bexley is THE place to live in London.
The report by My London News said that among the 11 reasons given for why Bexley is a brilliant place to live is the fact the Borough has over 100 parks, including Danson Park with the 200 year old Charter Oak and historic venues like Hall Place and the Red House.
The second meeting of the Budget Overview and Scrutiny Committee was held, giving Councillors the opportunity to ask questions on the proposals, and Labour Councillors to opportunity to put forward their alternative ideas to be considered. Just as at the first meeting the previous December, Labour Councillors were unable to come up with any ideas.
At the Budget setting meeting in March, following five months of work, our “Budget For Bexley” was approved.
Also after five months to prepare their detailed alternative budget plans, Labour Councillors put forward a plan that only filled half a page of A4 – and even that was printed in a massive font size.
Over 1,000 young people attended the Council’s apprenticeship fayre – double the number that attended the previous year. Over 50 businesses exhibited, showcasing all the opportunities on offer for Bexley’s young people.
The new Cleeve Meadow School for children with special needs and disabilities opened. The new free school will have 12 teaching rooms, a therapeutic hub, large open-plan library and IT space. We have also secured funding to create a new special educational needs school in Belvedere – the only Council in the country to secure funding for two such schools.
The Council took the decision to change the recycling collection system, giving the approval to replace the outdated recycling boxes with new wheelie bins. The decision was made following detailed work by a cross-party group, made up of Conservative and Labour Councillors, who recommended the Cabinet implement the changes – and the Cabinet did.
The first Council funded Changing Places bathroom, designed for people with disabilities, in London was opened in Bexleyheath.
The then Minister for Children and Families, Nadhim Zahawi MP, visited the Council to learn more about why our Children’s Services department was rated as “Outstanding” by Ofsted.
The 2018/19 year ended with 81 Fixed Penalty Notices issued for flytipping offences and 4 vehicles involved seized – one of which was crushed. This follows the implementation of our 2018 manifesto commitment to make the trial enforcement scheme for littering and flytipping permament.
Bexley’s Conservative Councillors ended March by taking part in the Great British Spring Clean, litter picking across town centres and parks and even along the A2.