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  • Writer's pictureLauren Dingsdale

Councillor Diary - June 2022

Updated: Aug 4, 2022

May was filled with lots of new councillor training sessions and AGMs, getting set up for the term ahead. June has been building on that - getting to know my ward from a councillor perspective (rather than as a resident); ensuring my Scrutiny Panel is set up for success; and my first 'proper' full council meeting (where I made my maiden speech). I thought it might be handy for residents to read about how I have been spending my time over the past month.

Getting to know you

My key focus was getting to know local community groups in the Eltham Town and Avery Hill. One of the things I am loving about representing where I live, is that I'm starting to feel like I have real roots here now! We only moved here 18 months ago, and between being a new parent, a pandemic and working from home, it's been harder to meet people and get settled in our new home.

This month's highlights:

  • Going to the Roots4Life Community Lunch with my family, and having a separate meeting with the manager about the great work they are doing there.

  • Attending a residents' meeting between the Strongbow Community Association and Council Officers to work through a list of issues.

  • Meeting the Sergeant in charge of our local Safer Neighbourhoods team to raise concerns about issues in the ward, including anti-social behaviour.

  • Attending a community meeting with New Eltham residents to hear their concerns about a proposed new development in the Co-op car park (and separately meeting with the proposed developers to raise these concerns to them).

  • Meetings with the Friends of Avery Hill, the Chair of the Winter Garden campaign group, Clive Efford MP and other interested stakeholders to re-invigorate the campaign to save the Avery Hill Winter Garden.

  • Holding my first surgery for local residents.

  • Running BubbleRush with my 2 year old in Avery Hill Park to raise money for Demelza.

  • Attending a Jubilee street party in Sparrows Lane and judging the 'best bunting' competition.

  • Working with the Avery Hill branch of the Bexley Foodbank to try to raise its profile and increase donations (crucial, as demand is increasing with the cost of living crisis).


I chair the Regeneration, Transport and Culture Scrutiny Panel and this month my focus has been on building a comprehensive work programme for the year ahead. This has involved:

  • Meetings with all three cabinet members to discuss their priorities;

  • A briefing from the Director of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills; and the Director of Communities, Environment and Central Management;

  • An informal meeting with my panel members to obtain views and input;

  • Several meetings with the Scrutiny Officer; and

  • An informal meeting with Overview and Scrutiny Committee to sense-check all of the Scrutiny programmes.

I think this has resulted in a robust work programme which will bring a lot of value to the relevant areas. It is due to be approved at Council in July.

Maiden Speech in Council

My first (non-AGM) Council meeting was an interesting one. Greenwich council now consists of 55 councillors, only 3 of which are Conservative.

The Conservative Councillors decided to bring a motion to the Council to spend £5m of our limited resources giving certain households (based on council tax banding) £50 to help with the cost of living crisis. I hadn't intended to speak - but the audacity of the Conservative Councillors acting as though their Government hadn't caused this crisis really riled me up.

To then bring a motion that would cost the Council a lot of money and wouldn't actually help the most in need, all whilst chasing a cheap local headline was just too much for me.

I frantically made some notes on my phone and gave my maiden speech. You can watch it here:

Overall it was a pretty packed month, and not quite how I was originally picturing my maternity leave! But William and I have enjoyed every second of it.

If you live in the ward and would like me to meet your community group, or you have any issues you would personally like to raise, please do get in touch.

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