Last Saturday (12th July) saw one of the first important Resident’s meetings in Heathrow Villages after the local elections on 22nd May, which returned sitting Councillor June Nelson in Heathrow Villages and saw Peter Money and Manjit Khatra join her as Labour took all three council seats.
UKIP ward representatives Bryan Tomlinson and Christine Taylor both regularly attend Resident’s meetings, and turned out on Saturday to see what ideas the new councillors would bring to the area. Below are their reports, which contrast the campaigning we saw before the elections with the reality we see now
After being exposed as totally ignorant of important local issues, Heathrow Villages Councillor Manjit Khatra has offered to resign saying, “I’ll go away if you wish and you can get someone who knows.”
Cllr Khatra showed she was out of her depth at a public meeting on Satuday 12th July that she co-hosted with fellow newly-elected Labour Councillor, Peter Money. The third Labour councillor, June Nelson, had booked St Mary’s Church Hall in Harmondsworth but did not turn up.
The congenial gathering turned into a Baptism of Fire when it became apparent that neither councillor could answer any of the residents’ questions. The councillors’ responses left residents open-mouthed with disbelief.
Harmondsworth is one of the villages that would be destroyed if a third runway were built and the Labour councillors had been elected after their Heathrow-focused campaign described them as “proven campaigners” and “Your Labour team lead fight for better not bigger Heathrow”, yet neither councillor could explain what these statements meant. They were also clueless about basic information on the impact of Heathrow expansion.
Cllr Money said that “Better not Bigger” meant “more efficient”. He is an airport worker and member of UNITE, which supports a third runway, but could not elaborate. Neither councillor had ever heard of the 60-year-old Cranford Agreement, the ending of which is likely to significantly increase aircraft noise in the villages next year.
One resident had sent an informative letter to the councillors but this must have been ignored as both were mystified by the simplest questions on a topic such as pollution.
When asked what the councillors would do to help residents if a third runway was given the go-ahead, Cllr Khatra said there was nothing they could do as the decision is made higher up. So much for being proven campaigners!
Cllr Khatra insisted she had attended a recent anti-runway meeting. In fact, the confused councillor had actually attended a Neighbourhood Planning event that had nothing to do with runways. Later, Cllr Khatra boasted that she is on a Hillingdon Council Planning committee, even though she cannot recognise a planning meeting even when she is sitting in one!
Uxbridge resident Cllr Khatra offered no explanation for her total lack of knowledge or interest in the area and became defensive, making derogatory comments about the residents. Her fellow Councillor attempted to subdue her but, after losing all credibility, Cllr Khatra offered to stand down to make way for someone who understands the issues.
At a crucial time when Heathrow Villages face the threat of mass destruction, it is vital that residents have representatives who can speak up for them. After Cllr Khatra’s disgraceful performance at this meeting, residents should take up her offer to go – The sooner the better.
The new Labour councillors received a baptism of fire at their first residents meeting at St. Mary’s Church Hall in Harmondsworth . June Nelson did not turn up as usual and left Peter Money and Manjit Khatra to take all the flak.
The stormy meeting started amicably but descended into farce when residents questioned the Labour councillors’ support of Heathrow expansion and possible increased jobs at the expense of 950 homes in Harmondsworth, Longford and Sipson. *
After intense but fair questioning, the new Labour councillors admitted that they knew nothing about the effect on our community by Heathrow expansion. This caused uproar as the Labour councillors had been elected as “proven campaigners that will stand up for local residents”.
As pressure on the Labour councillors increased, Manjit Khatra offered her resignation as a councillor. Manjit Khatra accepted her lack of local knowledge was a hindrance to real No Third Runway campaigners and agreed we need better representation on the council. . We support Manjit’s resignation but her immediate promotion on to a Planning Committee sums up her priorities. No one ever got to live in a gated community in North Uxbridge by helping Heathrow Villagers.
I guarantee that Manjit Khatra and her Labour Party insist she stays on her Planning Committee and continues to alienate herself from half of the Heathrow Villages ward.
Peter Money admitted that he was a member of Unite and that he wanted to get on the Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee. Christine asked Peter some easy questions concerning pollution levels and it was obvious that Peter isn’t qualified to represent Heathrow Villagers on HACC.
Unite openly support Heathrow expansion and a third runway so Peter Money will be representing the airport and not representing his constituents. No thanks Peter.
Manjit and Peter have been asked to clarify their position on Heathrow expansion and report to us next month. Are they representing Heathrow Airport or representing Heathrow Villagers ?
Will Manjit disappear back to Uxbridge and will Peter resign from Unite ? Will June Nelson turn up or accept £200 in allowances for nothing ?
The first residents/councillors meeting offered more questions than answers.
* The official Heathrow figure is that 750 would go immediately. (By cutting the number by 200 and therefore “saving them” they are saving the cost of giving them the top rate of “compensation”) In reality it would be 950 or more as you can’t reasonably expect to leave people in streets cut in half or without usable facilities. Ultimately, many of those remaining would find it impossible to live between the two runways but might only qualify for assistance in moving – at best. Many more people would feel forced to leave the area than is being estimated. Many of these will have jobs in the area but they are not being considered. There is no point having an airport-related job if there is nowhere to live.