Sir Robin Wales praises Newham's 'unanswerable' deprivation improvement
PUBLISHED: 11:54 18 March 2016 | UPDATED: 12:57 18 March 2016
The borough's relative improvement in national deprivation rankings has been hailed as a "major step forward".
Mayor Sir Robin Wales said during a council cabinet meeting in East Ham Town Hall last night that councillors should take their “share of the credit” after Newham went from being the second-most deprived local authority in England to the 25th between 2010 and 2015.
“This for me is unanswerable,” Sir Robin said of the data, released by the Department for Communities and Local Government late last year. “We are entitled now to say, ‘This was us – we did this’. We have transformed lives.”
According to the figures, much of the borough improved – with the Docklands and Forest Gate among the areas seeing the biggest gains.
But some areas remain as islands of deprivation, including Folkestone Road in East Ham, Grantham and Walton Roads in Little Ilford and Malmesbury and Ordnance Roads in Canning Town.
“It does perhaps make us think about interventions in certain areas,” Cllr David Christie, mayoral adviser for small business programme and transformation, said, before raising concerns about school funding falling as the borough becomes less deprived.
But Cllr Andrew Baikie, mayoral adviser for housing, wanted to focus instead on the positives.
“There are issues and problems, but this is a major step forward for this borough,” he said. “There had been decades of decline, but this administration has been devoted to helping people.”
In other business, councillors agreed there was no need “at the present time” for new Gypsy and Traveller accommodation in the borough.
Discussing the matter, deputy mayor Cllr Lester Hudson joked that he would like to know the address of the person who “made the objective”.
“I think what Lester is saying is that we would be very happy to set up a site right next to their house,” Sir Robin added.
Contracts for construction work at two sites in the borough totalling nearly £6m were also agreed.
Sandringham Primary School, in Forest Gate, will undergo work to ensure a “safe and acceptable” standard is maintained after a £2,819,826 deal was agreed with Lakehouse Construction Limited.
Meanwhile Thomas Sinden Construction Ltd was given the contract for £2,765,568 extension works at East Ham Town Hall to “facilitate [the] academisation” of Newham Collegiate Sixth Form Centre.