A summary of the Listening Forum held on 10 January 2018 at St Helen's Church Hall
We’d like to thank everyone who attended this Listening Forum.
Approximately 20 people came to the event to share their thoughts and ask questions of our Leadership Team. Local ward councillors and police officers also attended.
The key questions and issues raised included:
How can the council improve its communications?
Residents raised the need for improvements to our website, to connect more with residents’ association and community groups and to improve the way we distribute material. Residents highlighted the need for more offline methods, such as street noticeboards.
The Leadership Team explained that the improvement of the website was high on their agenda. The full review of our approach to communications is currently being undertaken.
Residents asked for the period of consultation on the priorities for the Council Plan to be extended by 5 working days: this was agreed in the meeting.
Community safety issues for North Kensington
A resident highlighted the need for more rubbish collection, CCTV and street lighting for our parks. They also highlighted safety issues for cyclists and asked whether Quietways can be introduced. Visit the Sustrans website for further information on Quietways.
Residents discussed the issue of dangerous pavements not being maintained, dog fouling, a lack of high quality publicly funded youth clubs and the issue of drug dealing and drug misuse on the streets.
The Leadership Team responded that the Council is undertaking a review of CCTV, including the use of wireless technology and mobile cameras. They discussed how the council works with the police on issues of community safety, and are keen to hear ideas from residents. The Police responded by saying they patrol the streets and stop and search people. They urged residents to provide information to the police on when and where they see drugs being dealt or misused. Regarding Quietways, the Leadership Team agreed that those the council had introduced in the borough so far for cyclists have proved popular. A new route that would connect Notting Hill to North Kensington will be consulted on soon.
The Leadership Team discussed the ongoing review of its youth services, describing how the Council had spoken to over 500 people in the North of the borough as well as 60 providers. The conclusions of the review are guiding the council’s work to meet the needs of young people over the years ahead.
A particular concern was delivery trollies being abandoned near Tesco Express on North Pole Road, which resulted in the pavement being frequently blocked: there were also concerns about the noise of deliveries. The Leadership Team committed to follow up on complaints made.
Local health issues
Residents said the Council should see the community as capable of coming up with solutions and encouraged the council to adopt the ‘Space’ model, which is led by residents and lets them commission their own services, giving them more control. There was discussion on the importance of long term funding and sustainability of projects run by community groups, residents’ associations and the voluntary sector. Residents encouraged the Council to be creative and innovative in their solutions, to listen and then form an action plan.
Cllr Taylor-Smith said that local residents should be supported to form sustainable organisations, and that the Grenfell Recovery Strategy included plans for a community programme which would support community development.
A particular concern was the noise and pollution from HGVs and motorbikes on North Pole Road. The council would look into this issue.
How can the council better support young people?
Residents raised the need for greater education around mental health for young people, and the need more dialogue on these issues.
It was suggested that more emphasis should be put on more creative subjects to develop talents, outside of core subjects, inside and outside of school. The Council should think about launching initiatives to support young people much earlier in preparing them for the world of work, such as CV workshops, as well as financial education on tax and budgeting.
Cllr Faulks, Lead member for Skills and Enterprise, agreed with everything suggested. She said the Council is keen to support young people both with mental health issues and in developing their careers, via CV building and mentoring.
How can the council improve housing services for everyone?
Residents raised the importance of engagement and empowerment of residents by both the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Housing Associations and rented properties with private landlords. Residents of Housing Association properties experienced a lack of engagement and poor repairs. They suggested the Council should take the lead on calling for a gold standard of accountability on the part of all landlords in the borough, especially when it comes to maintenance and repairs. Residents also asked to see the Council’s response to the Government green paper on social housing, which is available here:
Councillor Taylor-Smith agreed with the suggestion for a borough-wide standard of accountability and said he understands the issues with maintenance for residents of Housing Associations. He explained the Council is drafting a policy for those renting from private landlords.
Issue around the Grenfell Recovery Strategy
Residents complained about the lack of response to residents outside the Lancaster West estate and called for the Council to provide information for support services to a wider range of residents, as their needs are likely differ from those directly affected. Residents called for the Council to open up the Recovery Strategy for people to evaluate and recommended that additions should be truly co-designed with residents.
Councillor Taylor-Smith described how the recovery strategy sets out plans to co-design the community programme with local residents.