Southall Residents Speak Out!

Southall Green Ward is home to over twenty places of worship, making it one of the largest concentration of religious congregations in Ealing; a busy Mosque, over three Hindu temples, a Roman Catholic church, a Protestant church, a Pentecostal church, several Christian organisations using premises in the ward for prayer meetings on Sundays, and over five places of Sikh worship (including Europe’s largest Sikh Temple). We now even have a Somali Centre, a room above a cafe on The Green that is being used as a Prayer room (which will no doubt be converted to a Mosque in the not too distant future).

Despite hailing from different backgrounds, the ordinary hard-working family people of Southall generally all live and work together in harmony with very little help from the local council. Over the years, under both the Labour and Conservative administration, Ealing council has systematically ignored the needs of the town whilst using the town as a ‘dumping’ ground for increasing numbers of immigrants. Southall councillors have also failed to make any effective representation on resident’s behalf either through lack of ability or because they got elected for the wrong reasons (promotion of self-interests is cited by many).

As a result of the failure of Southall councillors, council officers have long been accustomed to the idea of marginalising Southall and of treating Southall residents as buffoons. There is no shortage of cases that can be quoted where it has taken numerous letters, emails, and even petitions to get officers to respond to quite legitimate complaints by the people of Southall. Go and speak to activists in the Southall Green ward and they will tell you of the many documented cases where they have had to expend an inordinate amount of time to get the very simplest of issues resolved.

Whilst David Cameron talks of a “Broken Britain” here in Ealing mind games are played by our politicians in trying to score points at the expense of the local community, leading to a ‘Broken Southall’, so much so that the town, or at least this ward is now on the brink of breakdown.

Promoting Gambling and Betting Shops
Southall Green ward already has a heavy concentration gambling shops within yards of schools and places of worship. In the evenings women and children no longer feel safe to walk on the streets of this densely overcrowded ward. Such is the fear that family members have to collect their wives and daughters from the railway station in the evenings.

In recent months the council has granted at least two new betting licences in Southall Green ward, despite fierce opposition by the local community. Local people feel badly let down by their councillors, Southall Regeneration, and ‘Safer Communities’. These different departments were either unable or unwilling to stop the continued degeneration of Southall, and took no interest in taking preventative measures with reference to increasing crime and anti-social behaviour resulting from the proliferation of betting shops; even a petition of over 350 signatures opposing the new gambling shops fell on deaf ears.

Successive administrations of Ealing Council have taken the stance that, never mind, let’s continue to encourage the residents and children in this ward to gamble, drink, and take drugs. After all, Southall people can always visit one of the numerous places of worship to absolve their sins, or to partake in ‘langar’ (free food) if they are unlucky enough to make a loss at the bookies.

Sharma, MP for Southall has shown zero interest in representing residents on this issue. And the current state of affairs is a sad reflection of the inability of Southall councillors to unite to fight for a common cause. Tribal politics and fighting for their own patch (if indeed they are capable of fighting) seems to be their style.

Turning a Blind Eye to Drug Dealing and Drug-Related Crime
It may sound like the stuff of fiction, but several years ago when the Southall Green Focus Group raised the issue of drugs misuse, drug trafficking and drug-related crime on The Green, Southall politicians, community leaders, council officers and even the Police all colluded in denying that such a problem existed. It took the shooting on The Green in June 2007 for the authorities to acknowledge that there was indeed a problem. At that time Charles Ghillican (then chair of ECPCG) made a public statement saying “I have reliable sources who tell me that 20 years ago Southall was the cheapest place in England to buy heroin. 20 years on and this hasn’t changed”. At the same meeting he went on to criticise the traffic congestion during Diwali and Eid, two festivals that inject enormous wealth to the local economy. None of the Southall councillors present at that meeting challenged Mr Ghillican on his stance.

It is common knowledge that the vast majority of burglaries are committed by people who are desperate to feed their drug habit. Southall is a haven for these people – ask any young people (including school children) in Southall and they will be able to put you in touch with dealers within yards of where you are standing. The problem has escalated to such an extent that now Friday evenings and the weekends are far more lucrative for drug dealers than for the ordinary businesses in Southall. People travel long distances to buy drugs in Southall at cheap prices, no wonder Southall is branded as the ‘Tesco for Drugs’.

This long-standing and growing problem of drug misuse and drug-related crime has plagued Southall for years, but Southall community leaders and politicians have failed miserably to bring up, let alone address this grave issue. No elected representative has ever asked the question that why does Ealing not have a dedicated drug squad (as do Haringey and Hammersmith)? This long-standing problem of drugs has been at the heart of the continued decline of Southall, attacking the very fabric of society, culture and family values

It is scandalous that much of the drug-related crime and anti-social behaviour has been’ tolerated’ for so long; it is time that our councillors recognise the seriousness of this problem and put pressure on the Borough Commander on this matter. We must ensure that the sufficient resources are allocated to tackling drug crime and campaign to have a permanent drug squad to be based in Ealing. When Sharma comes knocking at your door (with or without his Dhol players) ask him what he has done to address the issue of drug-related crime. If you still have the energy you might also like pose the same question to Gurcharan. Or we could save you the trouble and tell you that as far as we are aware they have done bugger all.

This article was submitted by members of the Southall Green Focus group

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About geezer

The time has come. A new dawn awaits. Shake off the lethargy and rise to the challenge of reclaiming your quality of life! Fight for what you deserve - after all you have been paying the council tax. Resolve to be fobbed off no longer, rise and make your voice heard!
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13 Responses to Southall Residents Speak Out!

  1. Singh says:

    I have to agree with this article
    (as most on this site:) )
    Southall Green is just far too neglected compared to Southall Broadway that nots too say Southall is the luxury oh no, far from it
    but the little investment Southall does get its other side, ‘old’ Southall is far weaker
    Will the gasworks helps Southall Green?
    Or will it just make relations worse? I have to agree it does feel far less safe to be in the Green that Southall Broadway
    Even the link between both the Smelly Subway is finally being closed down and a new crossing being built, wow great way to build relations,
    apparently it was advised this had to be down because tourists did not use this (i agree) so they weren’t visiting The Green
    in fact the reason is there is no funding going into the green, it looks tired and dilapidated
    Go past the subway you get a urine dark smelly area of the road, past a tired looking building which are solicitors.
    Go further on and on the opposite is the pastel green Phoenix building, probably the eyesore of Southall, and then we have The green
    old pavements, just a basic no go zone by foot!
    Look at pocket park, how much money has gone into that, you cannot tell me you can go past and honestly say wow what a wonderful park!
    The only shining light is Manor House, this still continues to get investment but it doesn’t help when the surroundings are so pathetic to actually walk past to see this heritage site.
    Traffic…that’s something which has existing and still will for the next few decades

  2. TheGreen says:

    I have lived in Southall Green for over 20 years and have seen the non stop decline here ever since. Just look at the state of the main road artery through the green, it is full of potholes with a few shoddy repairs here and there. The businesses are in decline, there has been no investment or regeneration, yet you see pavements being renewed in new Southall. Southall Green has become a dull, drug infested and a run down part of Ealing. Shame on our politicians for failing to stand up for us and our area. As an older resident I feel sad and disillusioned with what is happening to my town.

  3. Southall Lad says:

    “If you still have the energy you might also like pose the same question to Gurcharan. Or we could save you the trouble and tell you that as far as we are aware they have done bugger all.”

    Being an unofficial advocate for Mr Singh, I’d like to point out that the alleygating initiative that he spearheaded is directly linked to the drugs problem in Southall. I for one, having had my house broken into numerous times by local addicts welcomed that new service.

    Having said that, much more needs to be done. We shouldn’t however discount the efforts made by those on the front line e.g. the DAAP organisation http://www.daap.org.uk

    Good article.

    • Singh says:

      The priority alleyway is Palace Parada which is near the Himalaya Cinema, this must be the number one hotpot for an alleyway for drugs, urine etc
      but surprise its still open!

      Southall Lad, open your eyes, there is no real candidate! There is a reason why Mr Singh posters have been damaged, its because he as Mr Sharma are not wanted here!

      I remember whne he was a GP, he was not liked by anyone!

  4. Singh says:

    Gurcharan Singh also mentions there are cleaner streets? Shame as when he was in charge during his labour days he was also in charge of streets but during that time the streets were voted the worst in Ealign borough…

    Have things really changed?

    I believe Safer Neighbourhoods did step in to prevent a new bookmakers opening in Southall Broadway, it was to be situated a few shops away from Abbotts Road,
    Ive walked past so many and all I see are immigrants/asylum seekers inside, this is unacceptable!

    I would love to see a change from Labour but realistically there isn’t a strong candidate, they all are weak and all have no real values for Southall!

  5. Southall Lad says:

    Sorry Singh – I think your facts are slightly off there – G Singh was Head of Environmental Services back in ’01/’02 when actually, the standards were improved however, due to the divisive politics of the Labour Party, these gains were subsequently lost. The “worst Borough” assignment was given in ’03/’04 when he was Mayor and therefore had no political input.

    Singh’s record is pretty good. If anything, he’s best qualified to make the positive changes we all want.

    • Singh says:

      Your comments make me laugh, you are so determiend to get this shady man in Southall, you will stop at nothing.
      the fact is his input has been minimal, the two big issues facign Southalians (minus crime etc)
      is the Gasworks and Congestion.
      However Mr Gurcharan Singh cleverly roudned off his peopel at the temple and the coach but surprise surprise as with Virendra Sharam he was a no shwo at the plannign awards? Where else coudl he have been to miss the most important night for Southall? Surelly not out for a meal was he? Also since then he hasnt attacked the fellow blue coat that is Boris? Friends I guess? or worried about his position!

    • anon says:

      Southall lad, you demand facts from everyone else however you dont support your own. According to this months around ealing, street cleanliness monitoring of the contractors commenced in 2006, how can you register an improvement if there is no data with which to compare.

      gurcharan took on a position of responsibility, claimed expenses as a cabinet member and DEPUTY Leader of the council. his record is clear, illegal box junctions introduced whilst he was in labour, money not refunded by the tories, construction of three NEW box junctions in southall near ealing hospital and iceland, massive council tax rises that gurcharan supported, unequivacal support for the west london tram, no support for southall black sisters, failing to attend gasworks meeting, wasting council tax payer money by keeping a toilet in storage for years, posing for photos outside jubilee gardens health centre paid for by the LABOUR government.

  6. TheGreen says:

    I have to disagree as over the years I have yet to see a politician who has actually stood up for Southall and made a difference. If any of our politicians had a good record, the state of our town would not have deteriorated to the state that it is in now. The truth is that our politicians have had no desire or interest to care for Southall, they are more into using their position for themselves. Southall Green Focus Group asked for help from our politicians, including Gurcharan and Sharma to oppose the new gambling shops, but none of the, apart from Kang showed any interest. again, apart from Kang, none of the others have spoken up to address the growing problem of drugs and drug crime. So I disagree when you say Gurcharan’s record is pretty good.

    But I do sense that things are begining to change, but I don’t see any big surprises in this election. Perhaps by the net election the people of Southall might have woken up from their amnesia…

    • Singh says:

      Unfortuantely congestion problems such as near Ealign Hospital, Iron Bridge, Broadway and the Green will now not change until gasworks, Ealing council have said it will be easier if a developer for the Gasworks paid to fix this problem rather then Ealing/TFL
      Surely this problem has existed for many years, another excuse for neglect by the Council it seems.

      The problem is all election candidates are weak, and realistically no-one deserves the position more then the other person. we need a real vote not just useless talk.
      I cannot beleive the first priority for SOuthall (before Gasworks ) was a car pakr, Since Jason TStacey (tory) came in, and still we have no car park. Just 8 dual parking bays, that is unacceptable.

      I agree down with all licensing, them ore gambling palces the more crime and drugs!

  7. Southall Hawk says:

    Same old tactics, same old people using them… I wish that people would smarten up & realise that we’re tired & bored of “all talk, false promises & no substantial quantifiable action”.
    The biggest problem is that the people, who have, for many years, been in charge with responsibility, talk what they can’t deliver, go to meetings to sit there, eat food, drink & get their expenses paid… Is this what we need??? I say no. We don’t need this anymore. We demand resolve to the many problems, which have been underlying issues for many years.
    People of Southall, if not addressed & a plan of action implemented now, they will continue to cause problems for years to come which means, residents like me suffer with no reprieve… Yet Again.
    I’m tired of these people… they don’t fit & should be removed. We need Action! It’s far overdue!!!
    What Southall desperately needs is a Councillor to take ‘these issues by the horn & wrestle them till submission’. Southall needs change, it needs it now! It needs ‘Gurcharan Singh’.
    We need to ensure Southall has that strong voice & the weight behind it, that makes people ‘sit up & take notice’ not “in one ear & out the other”. It needs a constructive approach with positive measurable outputs which not only ‘understand the problems we face’ but address & demonstrate that the lack of action has resulted in what we face today.
    My people of Southall, this has gone of far enough! We should no longer tolerate problems which fall on deaf ears. We require plans of action with controlled, assessed, demonstrated value which is why Southall needs to be taken by the horns & wrestled with.
    My vote is with ‘Gurcharan Singh’ as we need a change. We need to see beyond the ‘Dirty Tactics’ by other parties & vote for him to stand on behalf of the People of Southall. We need change, Southall needs change.

  8. Kash says:

    Politics is a dirty game in whatever country or constituency you may have the privilege of living in.
    I personally do not trust any of them although they may start of with good intentions they soon get sidetracked ,either for personal gain purposes or self glorification.If the MP’s are all scamming through lobbying ( bribery) what stops local Councillors from being misguided.
    The real problem is the people of Southall blindly except what is going on and cannot be bothered to question why it is happening and who can stop it.Everyone is aware of what the problems are in Southall ,goodness knows how many households have been affected with issues with sons or daughters on drugs yet they complain to each other but feel they have no voice to make real changes.
    What is needed is a strong young person with conviction to get into local politics and shake the system up until then everyone will just carry on complaining but doing nothing.The Councillors and local MP will carry on trying to hold onto there jobs ,hoping people will just carry on voting for them as there is no real contender to stand against them and can get votes just through the fact that people feel they have no real choice thinking any Asian politician even a bad one is better than none !! We are part of Ealing which was once known as Queen of the suburbs,yet Southall is now known as home of the druggies ,Prostitutes and Drunks.Try taking a walk after 11pm.You will see things that you would never have imagined going on in Southall 20 years ago.Unfortunately the influx of illegal immigrants has not helped as many are selling drugs to survive ,yet local people turn a blind eye as they can rent there sheds and rental homes to the illegal immigrants and without them worry there properties would be empty.. My car was broken into by druggies 3 times yet the Police said we cannot do anything ,but give you a crime reference number for insurance purposes.Even the Police have given up.So the story goes on.I assure you in 10 years time nothing will have changed,GOOD LUCK and GOD BLESS ALL WHO SAIL IN HER.!!
    We need it ………….

    • SouthallAction says:

      Kash,
      I agree with you 100%. I am local resident who has been highlighting the prostitution problem in Southall green for over 6 months. I cannot confirm that I’ve personally recorded the registrations of 42 male Indian clients who have picked up the East European women working each night in the area. I’m looking at a few options and am keen for more residents to join me. The area is a dump – let’s face it. Is there a residents association I can work with. Our lovely 3 councillors have failed to even respond to emails on the issue although I’ve had success in working with the Police who are actually doing what they can with very limited resources.

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