Street meetings are the best way to solve local problems

Archive for July, 2011

Street meetings are the best way to solve local problems

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Far away from the media-driven world of politics in Westminster, I have been continuing the street meetings that I organise in response to issues raised with me by local residents.

In the past few months, they’ve tended to focus on problems with parking, litter in the street or anti-social behaviour. Often residents just can’t get to the bottom of something or feel they are being passed from pillar to post.

That’s what had been happening to people living in Fanshawe Avenue who kept receiving parking tickets on Sundays following the introduction of the East London Transit. One person told me that he drove round in circles for hours trying to find a parking space. By getting together officials from the council and the Greater London Authority’s Transport for London, I got them to agree a pilot which is going ahead to allow parking on one side of the road.

The Controlled Parking Zone on the Gascoigne estate proved to be a big success when it was introduced. However, residents living on the edge of the estate suddenly found they’d inherited the problem of commuters parking outside their house! Two street meetings later, and residents living off Ripple Road in Barking have been consulted and, where they voted for a parking zone, are having one put in. And Spring Place now have parking permits.

Similarly, residents in Seton Gardens and Finnymore Road in Dagenham how have extra parking bays. Those living in Essex and Suffolk Road have received the results of the survey they’d originally requested. And there’s more besides.

Someone once said that all politics is local. I have held more than 15 street meetings in the last few months. One was attended by more than 50 people. They are also one of the most effective ways I know of resolving local problems.

There’s only one thing that cannot be guaranteed – the weather! Standing on a street corner can sometimes leave you exposed to the elements! But that’s when good old-fashioned community spirit kicks in. Just like two weeks ago when one neighbour kindly offered us the use of her front room during a rain shower.

Let me know if there’s an issue in your street that you would like me to tackle by contacting my office on 0208 594 1333, emailing me at or by clicking here.

An invitation to my health services meeting

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

I would like to invite you to a meeting I am holding so that you can share your concerns about health services at Queen’s and King George Hospital with the Care Quality Commission.

The Care Quality Commission are doing a special investigation into our hospitals and it is very important that your voice is heard, so please make the time to come and tell them about your experiences at this meeting.

This meeting will be held at Barking Learning Centre on Thursday 28 July between 3.30pm and 4.30pm.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) are the watchdog who make sure that hospitals provide high standards of quality and safety.

In January the CQC found that the maternity unit at Queen’s was not providing some of the basic standards of care. As a result of this and an investigation of the A&E at Queen’s they are carrying out a full investigation into these departments.

The CQC wants to hear from local residents. They have heard from the politicians and the bureaucrats, and are now giving you the chance to voice your views. They particularly want to hear about your own or your family’s experiences at the A&E and the maternity unit. Did you get the care, treatment and support that you needed? Did you feel safe?

If you are not able to attend you can send your views to, contact me on 0208 594 1333, write to me at Margaret Hodge MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA or click here.

As I can’t send this invitation to everyone, please feel free to invite any members of your family, friends or neighbours who would like to come and share their experiences of Queen’s A&E or maternity services with me and the Care Quality Commission.

I look forward to seeing and hearing from you.

With all good wishes



Margaret Hodge MP

P.S You call the CQC on 03000 616161, email them at or write to them at Care Quality Commission, Citygate, Gallowgate, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4PA

Barking Learning Centre is situated in Barking Town Centre, opposite the Town Hall.

By train and tube
The nearest British Rail and Underground station is Barking. Barking is on the Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness C2C line, and is served by the District and Hammersmith and City lines. On leaving the station, turn right into Station Parade and head towards the pedestrianised shopping area. Keep on walking straight ahead down East Street. About 50 yards ahead is Barking Magistrates Court. The Barking Learning Centre is set back behind this building in the new Town Square.

By bus
Bus routes 5, 62, 169, 238, 366, 368 and EL1 all run to or through Barking Town Centre.

By car
Car parking is available nearby.