On May 12th I wrote: "Whilst we crammed 200 people into Isleworth Public Hall last year to discuss the possible imposition of Controlled Parking Zones in and around South Street and St. John's Road, we are still capable of drawing in less than twenty on a bad day".
Well, last night we didn't have less than twenty at the ICG's Public Meeting at the Isleworth Working Men's Club - thanks to our trusty club steward who came and sat with us between pouring the pints!
All the same, and modest turnout aside, this first in what will be a whole series of Friday night public meetings was a superb exercise, with our team of councillors giving an extremely good account of themselves and several members of the public engaging us with their issues.
Caroline Andrews chaired the meeting with humour and with confidence. Jon Hardy provided a fascinating analysis of local health issues and the work of the Scrutiny committee and panels aided by the imaginative use of stage props. Genevieve Hibbs - Madam Mayor to some - was enthusiastically received as she talked the meeting through some of the work and duties of the community councillor in a coalition administration, and ran us through some of her themes and ideas for the year ahead. And last but not least, new Executive member Paul Fisher left those present with a tantalising insight of how we see the Empowerment agenda unfolding during the last two years of the present council. All that was left for Yours Truly to do was to keep the beers coming.
The small attendance included representatives from Charlton House, Brent Lea, Ivybridge, Worton and the South Street traders, and hopefully residents and businesses in these areas will be furnished with an account of the work we are doing and the efforts we are making to engage with the communities we serve.
Ideas are already being developed with a view to increasing participation at future events, including "themed" meetings and the targeting of special interest groups. In the meantime, I believe we were all enthused and encouraged by the way in which the diverse group of people who did come along engaged with us and with each other. There were no passengers.
Mysteriously, the lights went out on the IWMC shortly after midnight, but the community councillors who represent the wards of Isleworth and Syon have no intention of leaving our constituents in the dark.