Councillor Damian White, Leader of Havering Council, writes for The Enquirer this week:
“With the Christmas holidays now over, I thought you might be interested in what your council is doing in 2019 and beyond to make Havering an even better place to live.
Recently we announced plans to spend £10 million-a-year improving the condition of our roads and pavements which is responding to what residents told us is their number one concern.
Alongside this we are investing in making the borough safer and cleaner by earmarking £250,000 for better CCTV, keeping weekly bin collections, targeting flytippers and improving our street cleaning.
However, the next four years will also bring us some tough choices.
A reduced government grant means we need to find £37 million of savings.
We have already started to do this but much more needs to be done. Despite this we will continue to protect the services that matter most to our residents.
I know that we are fortunate to live in a place that has the best of London and the best of Essex.
We have great parks, great schools, thriving town centres, relatively low crime and relatively affordable housing while being less than 20 minutes by train from the City.
How many other boroughs in London can boast that?
Our job is to protect what we love about Havering while making sure that our sons and daughters can continue to afford to live here.
That’s why we are bringing more than £3 billion pounds of new investment to the borough to build more genuinely affordable homes, bring new jobs, improve our town centres and improve transport connections across the borough.
We are also working hard to help local business grow.
This includes making it easier for local construction companies to bid for work as part of that investment programme.
And recently we also launched the Havering Works scheme, providing job coaching, job search support and confidential one-to-one assessment of an individual’s skills and training.
For businesses, the new service will help them to recruit, train and retain employees from the local workforce.
This year will bring with it a journey of both challenge and opportunity.
We will continue to focus on the things that matter most to people in the borough.
I am sure with the vision and ambition of my administration – 2019 will be another great year for Havering Council as we work towards a cleaner, safer and prouder borough for our residents.
Last but not least I would like to wish all our residents and community a Happy New Year and all the best for 2019. “