With the change in date came good news for three local people, whose work was recognised in His Majesty’s New Year’s Honours.
I’d like to congratulate, Dr Meenakshi Nagpaul of Honeypot Medical Centre, who was made an OBE for services to the NHS; Sandra Calderbank, long associated with Belmont Community Association, made an OBE in recognition of her years of service to local people; and Dr Darrell Carmel Desouza of Harrow College, who was made an OBE for services to Further Education.
With freezing conditions again taking hold, we’re very conscious of the damage to our roads caused by the winter weather. This week I attended a local trial of some remarkable new kit that could help us fight back this ‘pothole season’. We filled 1,300 potholes last winter and have invested a further £240,000 to combat them this year - see our video to find out more.
I’m very pleased to report that the council has successfully pursued a substantial recovery of the money lost in a highly-publicised highway fraud in 2021. £1.4 million was paid out against our insurance claim just before Christmas. London Borough of Harrow is continuing to work with the police on the matter.
The council’s anti-fraud team works tirelessly to protect precious public assets. This financial year we’ve so far taken back council homes from seven tenants where fraud, such as subletting, was suspected. This saved the tax-payer more than £650,000. If you suspect fraud relating to council money or property, report it now on the council’s website.
We're running a consultation on our draft budget for next year. Inflation and the growth in demand for services is placing pressure on council budgets across the country. In Harrow, thanks to careful financial management, we've been able to propose a balanced budget that safeguards the services you rightfully expect. Our consultation closes on 24 January - have your say on our budget proposals.
I was very saddened this week to learn of the death of former Mayor, John Nickolay, who passed away on Tuesday. John represented Roxbourne and Pinner South and was first elected to the council in 1964. My thoughts and prayers are with John's wife, Joyce, who also served as a councillor, representing Rayners Lane for a number of years, and the rest of his family at this difficult time.
The coming days are an important time for our Tamil community, as preparations get underway to mark Thai Pongal – an ancient harvest festival, named for the ceremonial practice of boiling the new crop of rice in milk. To all our residents observing, I’d like to wish a very happy Thai Pongal.