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View from City Hall: Culture and arts part of dynamic vision

PUBLISHED: 08:00 17 March 2018

Archant

I joined council leader, Darren Rodwell, and colleagues recently at City Hall, for the announcement of the Mayor of London’s Borough of Culture awards.

Although I was disappointed that Barking and Dagenham did not with the top award, I am very glad that we won one of the seven Cultural Impact awards.

In practice this means a sum of £240,000 for arts and cultural projects in the borough.

I also attended the launch of the borough’s bid at the end of last year and I was impressed with the number of young people who showed up to support the council’s campaign at the town hall.

The energy, ambition, and dynamism I saw on the day is something we need to build on as a community and this is something I know that the council are determined to pursue.

Culture plays an important part in the regeneration of our borough and we can see this in a number of developments that are planned in Barking and Dagenham over the next few years, including the film studios in Dagenham. These are all part of the council’s vision for a dynamic and vibrant borough.

In February, I also attended a public meeting, hosted by Dame Margaret Hodge, to discuss local crime concerns.The borough commander and London’s deputy mayor for policing, Sophie Linden, were also there to answer questions and listen to residents’ concerns.

The meeting was well attended and I am glad that the police were there to hear from residents about their priorities.

Some people at the meeting also expressed concerns about the operational running of our police in Barking and Dagenham, following the merger of our police operations with those in Havering and Redbridge.

I understand that many people are worried that local policing will suffer as a result of this.

Borough mergers are taking place across London and this is a topic my London Assembly colleagues and I have done a lot of work on over the past few months. I will continue to monitor this new structure to ensure that the police service in Barking and Dagenham is meeting the needs of residents.

• What do you think of police borough mergers? Email postletters@archant.co.uk

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