Picture: Romford MP Andrew Rosindell was speaking in Westminster Hall this morning.
The Conservative MP for Romford made the proposal as he put forward a motion for fundamental reform to the powers of the Greater London Authority (GLA) and the Mayor of London.
“It’s a nice name,” he said. “It’s actually a small country village in the North of my constituency but it’s not actually a name that represents the communities of that London borough.
“Why can’t Havering become the borough of Romford and Hornchurch, which is more representative of the two major towns that exist in the borough?”
Rosindell also suggested Redbridge simply be renamed Ilford.
“We do need to start going back to sensible names so that people can identify with the communities they live in.
“These 1960s names need to be reviewed and it would be incredibly popular if the government was to lead a review of that and give local people the chance to decide their boundaries and to restore traditional names.”
The Romford MP also suggested Chadwell Heath and Rush Green should have their boundaries changed to be in the “Romford and Hornchurch” area.
“Rush Green, which is in fact the area I was born, is divided between Havering and Barking and Dagenham and it’s a ludicrous boundary.
“It runs down a road, divides a community. It’s all part of Romford but … they stick to these boundaries which no longer are relevant.
“Chadwell Heath is another part of Romford which is not in my borough. It’s divided between the London Boroughs of Barking and Dagenham and Redbridge.
“I know that honorable members from across London can come up with lots of examples of similar situations whereby pointless divisions exist.
“These should be resolved by local consultation to ensure boroughs actually fit local communities and meet the needs of local people.”
Rosindell, who failed in his bid to become the next Conservative candidate for London’s mayoral election in 2020, made a 23 minute speech in Westminster Hall saying it’s time to reassess whether the GLA is fit for purpose.
“We have a duty to look at how we can evolve London government to better suit the needs of Londoners and the wider region around the capital,” Rosindell said.
“Let us not be afraid to reconfigure the way London government works. To embrace reform and renewal and, in so doing, return power to local communities where it belongs.”
He also said:
:: The Mayor’s power should be restricted to only what borough councils can’t do themselves, mainly transport.
:: The “London Plan” should be dumped, with Borough Councils given the power to make planning decisions themselves.
:: Policing should become less centralised, with the “tri-borough” model scrapped.
:: The London Assembly should be replaced by panel of council leaders.
:: Local councils should be able to work together to take control of health services.
:: The GLA’s reputation in Havering is “hanging by a thread.”
:: The lines of where London begins and ends are blurred.
Rosindell said: “Despite more than 50 years of being a so-called London borough, Romford and Havering generally is still very much a part of Essex.
“Whatever local government structures and boundaries are imposed by Whitehall, the true identity of local people has never been lost and never will be lost.
“People in my borough are Essex through and through and are proud of their heritage.”
The Mayor and his office has the ability to overrule boroughs on planning, something seen recently when the Beam Park development was rejected by Havering’s regulatory services committee.
Mr Rosindell suggested that City Hall is failing to serve all the areas in Greater London, calling the GLA “too powerful, too interfering, too centralised, too bureaucratic, too costly and utterly remote from the real needs of people in areas like Romford and other parts of outer London.”
“Local government in London should be just that: local,” Rosindell said. “As localised as possible, where local people are able to control what happens in their communities, in their towns, or on their doorstep.
“Remote and centralised regional government that fails to understand local identities and rules from the centre, forgetting about the needs of the wider areas of the London region, is never going to be popular.
The Romford MP moaned that the London Assembly, an elected body which is meant to scrutinise the Mayor, doesn’t have the powers it needs to provide a “proper check.”
He called for the political responsibility of policing should be transferred from City Hall to each borough.
“I believe leaders of boroughs are better placed to respond to the needs of their communities, working with a dedicated police force who know and understand their patch better than anyone else.”
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