Thursday, 19 February 2009

Why the Southall shoplets and bazaars?

Why have so many Southall Broadway shops turned into smaller retail units, creating so-called 'bazaars' or 'Shopping centres'?

Since 2004 Southall has seen a growth in the 'splitting' of Southall shops into a number of smaller retail units, creating so-called 'bazaars' or 'Shopping centres'.

What is the reason behind it?

Today, established big business in Southall is saying that if they had to pay rent and business rates they would be out of business.

A typical single shop on Southall Broadway pays around £15,000 in business rates alone.

The freeholder (owner) of the shop has been splitting up the shops into smaller retail units to minimize his risk (not being able to let the whole shop).

The tenants can't afford to pay the business rate and the rent without sub-letting the front of the shops to offset their costs.

A few bazaars to create an atmosphere of 'Little Inda' or 'Little Punjab' is acceptable but there are too many of them already.
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Southall Traders unhappy with parking issues

Southall Broadway traders met on Wednesday morning at Chaudhry’s TKC to demand that Ealing Council do something about their parking problems.

At the last Southall Broadway Forum meeting, one attendee joked that visitors to Southall think they are no longer in England.

Not because Southall resembles "Little India" but because of the different parking restriction enforced here (up to 8pm and on sundays aswell).

Yesterday, the Southall business people repeated this as well as "Southall has been neglected."

Shortage of parking space is an old and known problem.

Instead of opening a McDonalds on Southall Broadway, Ealing Council could have solved the problem with a car park. The local traders are also extremely unhappy at the outrageous clamping practices at the McDonalds car park.

The Northcote Hotel was a large derelict property which could have been used as a car park. This was discussed with the Council. But while discussions were going on, unknown to council officials, the planing department approved it for residential use.

Another missed opportunity.

One of the reasons no progress has been made is that the head of the Ealing parking services keeps changing every year.

Ealing Council is asking people experiencing difficulty during the current credit crunch to get in touch with them, to see if they qualify for any assistance.

The business is feeling the credit crunch and their biggest problem is the parking restrictions that are deterring customers.

They want Ealing Council to support them, just like other Council support their businesses.
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Friday, 13 February 2009

Freedom of Speech has NO Limits?

You either believe in free speech or you don't, there is no half-way house.

That is the message we hear loud and clear from the so called "freedom lovers".

They point out that Mr Wilders is an elected MP from another EU country who should not be banned from entering the UK.

They totally ignore the fact that his own country is going to try him for inciting hatred.

Not long ago Mr Wilders himself asked the Dutch government to ban an imam entry to the Netherlands for the exact same reasons.

If Mr Wilders beleived in freedom of speech then why is he calling for a ban on the Koran?

The "freedom lovers" beleive that Mr Wilders should have have been allowed to make his case and anyone could then challenge his asertions.

Wrong.

Nobody is allowed to say whatever they want on TV. There are clear rules on what is acceptable. Those likely to abuse them are not given the opportunity.

All sensible websites like the BBC do not allow any one to say anything they like in their blogs. They moderate the blogs.

Why is that? Why is allowing a rebuttal NOT good enough for them?

Prevention is better than cure.

Does any one feel that their freedom is being under-mined by this?
No, only those whose opinions have been rejected by the vast majority of people in the U.K.

Being turned back at the airport Mr Wilders said: "I'm not doing anything wrong. I'm not protesting or running through the streets of London."

If he is not protesting then why did he fly over here after the British Government told he would not be allowed?

If he is not protesting then why is he making all this fuss?

Michael Portillo beleives that if Mr Wilders had been allowed in he would have arrived unnoticed. The ban has made him a "globally famous figure".

It takes guts to make the right decision.
The government had no choice but to act.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband said: "We have profound commitment to freedom of speech but there is no freedom to cry 'fire' in a crowded theatre and there is no freedom to stir up hate, religious and racial hatred, according to the laws of the land."
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Friday, 6 February 2009

Southall Broadway Ward Forum

The latest issues raised by the Southall Broadway residents, yesterday, at the Southall Broadway Ward Forum meeting.

The general consensus of the Southall Broadway Ward Forum meeting was that elected officials/leaders are not willing to stand up for the residents of Southall. The only time you see them is when they want your vote.

A prime example of that is that the roads around Southall Broadway are full of holes. As fast as Ealing Council is repairing them, (only recently), more holes keep appearing all the time. The quality of the work is also shoddy and roads have always been full of holes to this day.

Mr Asif Khwaja said that there is no community centre where young people can hang out. So, it is no surprise that they loiter about picking up bad habits. Sergeant Shahid Malik pointed out that the old B&Q store site nearly would be an ideal location for such a place.

Nothing being done to address the issue was due to "a problem of finance" according to Cllr Jagdish Gupta. "Where is the money being spent then?" was the attendees’ question.
"Ealing Broadway", where there are no such problems was the attendees’ response.

The £40K ward budget is not enough. The Regeneration budget is for cosmetic affects like nice paving and lighting only. Ealing Council is unlikely to spend any money to address the issue. The only other option left is to apply for Lottery money, according to Sergeant Shahid Malik.

Ealing Council has always wanted to promote Southall as a tourist attraction but has totally neglected the town. Planning for the next Olympics is happening now. Mr Dalawar Chaudhry has been talking to the "West London Alliance" about basing the India and Pakistan teams in West London.

What practice facilities can Southall offer them?
Southall Park?
Ealing Council needs to take an active part and invite the business to participate.

Traffic congestion

Another problem in Southall is the Beaconsfield Road junction, where it is extremely difficult and dangerous to turn right towards the Railway Station. People from the other side carry on driving even through red lights.

Some silly individuals use the left hand line to turn right, carving up every one else in the process as well as well as holding up the unsuspecting cars behind them. Others do u turns after going straight or turning left.

A long overdue simple request like allow people "time" to turn right has not been addressed because parties other than Ealing Council are involved, we are informed.

Parking Times

There is general confusion as to whether you can park in front of the Chaudhry’s TKC on Southall Broadway after 4 pm. The sign says that bays can be used for "pay & display" parking between 9.30 am and 4 pm.

Chaudhry’s TKC were reliably informed by Ealing Council officials that although the sign say no stopping between 4 pm and 7 pm, this was no longer the case and it was OK to park there.

But since the sign says no parking, wardens are booking unsuspecting motorist. More confusing signs further along the Broadway have been reported. The matter will be raised with Parking Services.

Southall Regeneration

Ms Carol Sams, a senior Economic Regeneration Manager, said that £1.9 was available for Southall regeneration over 3 years. £1 million of that will go towards providing nice street paving and lighting.

She said that due to insufficient public toilet facilities the Council is considering "Community toilets". This is where any business will be paid £600 pa if they allow the public to use their facilities. The other reason cited by Cllr Gupta was lack of any space to locate the toilet facilities which was strongly disputed.

Parking in Southall is a well known problem. The timing of the CPZ is not in line with the rest of London. Under used CPZ streets during the week and weekends will be considered for dual usage i.e. pay and display parking as well.

The car park of the Conservative club, next to the old Town Hall, is hardly used over the weekend. Ms Sams said that a trial is being run whereby 50 spaces are available to the public over the weekend, at a charge of £1 for the day, to be posted via the letter box. This is not widely publicised.

Crime

Sergeant Shahid Malik stated that having CCTV cameras on Southall Broadway has moved the problem of drugs, drinking and related crime onto the side streets. The attendees wanted more Police presence on the streets.

A lot of elderly people have been victims of cash point machine crime. No one is around when they look. But after they have entered their pin, the victim is distracted by a friendly face "Aunty Jee, ...". When the victim turns back to the Cash point machine, the transaction is over/cancelled and no card is being returned.

The friendly face advises them to join the queue (for 10 minutes) to report that the cash point machine has swallowed their card. By which time the friendly face has made several withdrawals using the victim’s card.

Several of the attendees had been victims of crime and were not happy the way the Police dealt with the matter. One such person was on his way to the bank when sauce was thrown on his jacket. A nice lady offered to assist but when the victim removed his jacket, the lady ran off with the jacket (containing the money).

After a long chase, luckily the jacket and money was recovered. The criminal was arrested by the Police in Acton, who wanted to know if the victim wanted to press charges. The victim said yes.

What he heard next was shocking. "Why do you want to press charges when the money has been recovered?" Is that the standard "Report all crime to the Police" policy?

The Green is a place where too many cars used to be parked on the pavements causing a nuisance and a danger to the public. Bollards were added to prevent such parking. But still there are too many people just loitering around. Although not covered by the Southall Broadway area, Sergeant Shahid Malik suggested that perhaps a dispersal order was required.

Other matters

Railings are to be placed near the junction of Hambrough Road and the Broadway for safety reasons. Officers will examine the area and then decide on the precise location. They will be placed where there is a lot of congestion on the pavement and there is danger of the public inadvertently walking onto the road.

Over 300 children attend the Abu Bakr Mosque on the Broadway. It has requested for some time now that a pelican crossing be placed near West End Road to protect the children and to make the drivers aware of the children. Cost of the scheme will be researched by the local councillors.
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Thursday, 5 February 2009

Tony Blair's advice to the Barack Obama?

What was Tony Blairs advice to the US President Barack Obama at the US traditional National Prayer Breakfast?

"You don’t need cheerleaders but partners, not spectators but supporters."

He is just confirming, what the whole world already knows, that Tony Blair was a mere cheerleader and spectator in the western Foreign policy dictated by George Bush.

The other piece of advice was that doing nothing is the worst thing to do.

Nothing is the only contribution that Tony Blair has made in the Middle East peace process.

Mr Obama described Blair as "an example to so many people around the world".
It is indeed strange that "so many people around the world" regard Blair as George Bush’s poodle.

A very good example for those who want to be led like sheep.
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Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Extreme snow causes Southall school closures

Most of the schools in Southall were closed on Monday and Tuesday due to the the worst snowfall in 18 years.

The Southall & West London College on Beaconsfield Road was closed on Monday and Tueday.

Featherstone High School on Montague Waye on Monday and Tueday.

Hambrough Primary School on South Road wass closed on Monday and Tueday.

Villiers High School on Boyd Avenue was the odd one out. It was open on Monday and only sent year 7 to 9 home in the morning.

It was also open on Tuesday, although not many children turned up.

Villiers High School needs to improve its communication ability.
It is extremely difficult to phone in the morning and get through to the school.

Featherstone High School is the only enlightened school, which lets parents/students know via its website, whether it is open or closed.
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