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Topic: LBHF Rejects Genuine Democracy and Endorses a Sham Listening Exercise
Posted by: David Tarsh
Date/Time: 10/09/19 11:06:00

Last night’s Public Accountability meeting hit a new low for democracy in Hammersmith & Fulham.

It approved a motion to go ahead with plans to design two new segregated cycle tracks and to run a series of development and engagement working groups.

All very well you might think but when asked whether it would be possible for residents to express an opinion that disagrees with what the council is planning the answer was negative!

Cllr Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler asked the direct question: would there be a tick box option to say you don’t agree with the plans and it should not proceed? The answer was swift and uncompromising… “No”.

Therefore, it was immediately clear that the findings of the engagement campaign will be a blatant fraud because dissenting opinions may not be recorded.

In the last election, the Labour manifesto promised to oppose a cycle superhighway along Hammersmith Road and down King St. Now it has reversed that position entirely. Even in TfL’s heavily partisan consultation, residents in the postcodes most affected by the cycle superhighway proposals, W4, W6 and W14, expressed an opinion 60:40 against the scheme. That does not constitute a democratic mandate to go ahead.

However, now, there is no intent to listen to the voters; and the Leader of the council has broken its own promise, which was to do things WITH residents not TO them.

Even worse, a committee of the Council, which has a specific responsibility to hold the cabinet to account and to improve the council’s services by listening to residents and user groups, has endorsed a process which refuses to record dissenting opinion.

This is a disgrace, an abuse of process and a blatant affront to proper democracy.

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