Due to popular demand the Asian Sunday Accountable Councillors is back, renamed ‘Out & About!
Every month we will be out and about in different areas of the city and we will be speaking to local residents, community organisations, businesses and your local Councillors to find out what it is like to live in your ward.
We will be highlighting your concerns and putting a spotlight on your elected council representatives to find out what they have been doing and campaigning on your behalf.
This edition we visit the Heaton ward which includes the village of Frizinghall, Heaton and Daisy Hill. Heaton has a total population of 17,587 people according to the Census in 2010. And more than 25 per cent of the population describe their ethnicity as Pakistani.
Role of Councillors
The duties of a local councillor can be defined as to: direct and control the affairs of the local authority; take key policy decisions defining the objectives of the Council and allocating the resources
required to attain them and keep under review the progress and performance of local services (social care, education, housing and so forth). Councillors are also known as Elected Members. There are 90 councillors on the Council – three for every Council ‘ward’ (an area of the district).
These councillors are members of the public who put themselves forward for the role and are elected by the people who live in the area they represent. Councillors are paid an allowance, but are not employed by the Council. They can also claim for out-of pocket expenses, such as travel, incurred in the course of their duties. Councillors may belong to a political party, or they may
stand as an independent. Those who belong to a political party form ‘groups’ on the Council.
Councillor Mohammad Shabbir – LABOUR
Committee Appointments: Bradford West Area Committee (reserve), Health & Social Care Overview & scrutiny committee, Joint Health and Social Care & Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committees
Re – Elected: 2016 Next election: 2020
Allowance: 1 Apr 2017 – 31 Mar 2018 basic: £13,463
Top three priorities in Heaton Ward: AWM – After effects of fire, road Safety and anti-social behaviour
Councillor Mohammed Shabbir was fairly easy to get hold of and was promptly available to discuss his ward and the work he is doing.
He told Asian Sunday one of the key issues he has been working on and is concerned about for his constituents is the AWM depot that caught fire recently. Cllr Shabbir is concerned about the putrefied smell coming from the depot. He has been working actively to see if the Environment
Agency is going to renew AWM’s license as he believes residents do not want the license to be renewed and therefore, he would not agree to support the license renewal as it has caused concern among residents.
Other issues, of concern is road safety. Cllr Shabbir believes dangerous driving is a wider social problem that needs tackling.
He strongly believes in clamping down on vehicle leasing. Aside from that Cllr Shabbir told Asian Sunday that ‘our’ celebrations need to be thought about. He said: “This ostentatious showing of wealth, fireworks at late nights is not good. There needs to be’consideration of civilisation”
Cllr Shabbir says the PCSO’s are pushed as it is, with the governments budget cuts, so his message is that people need to self police. He also strongly believes that calling councillors
for gutter cleaning and street lighting is ‘devaluing councillors’
Cllr Shabbir believes councillors should only get involved after you have approached the council to sort your lighting or street cleaning and they have failed to resolve. He says: “We
as councillors are feeding expectations. It’s the expectation we give to people.
He clarifies what he means by giving this example: “I get many approaching me for planning issues. Sometimes the issue is something that is not within planning guidance. My advice is to stay within the guidance. Instead people expect you then to talk to planning committee instead of keeping within guidelines. Cllr Shabbir says: “Our job as councillors is to engage and get people to
think about issues more broadly and to see from the perspective of the other.
Councillor Nussrat Mohammed – LABOUR
Committee Appointments: Bradford West Area Committee, Corporate Parenting Panel (Reserve), Environment & Waste Management Overview & Scrutiny Committee, Joint Corporate,
Environment and Waste Management, Regeneration and Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Regeneration and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Re – Elected: 2018 Next election: 2022
Allowance: 1 Apr 2017 – 31 Mar 2018 basic: £13,463
Top three priorities in Heaton Ward: Strengthen Support for families, road safety and help community establish core values & help them look after one another
Nusrat Mohammed won her second term as a councillor recently. Along with dealing with planning issues, bin collection and school matters, Cllr Mohammed says she is particularly focused on engaging with the local community to help them establish their core values, and to help them look after each other.
She told Asian Sunday, she wants to strengthen families in the area and wants to ensure that in her diverse ward no one is isolated and is fully supported whatever their background.
Cllr Mohammad said: “The role of women in society particularly ethnic minority women has changed. I know when I was growing up the role of a woman was that, you get married you are the mother, you are the wife and you are the home maker. If you want anything extra than this then you’re wowee. But other than that, these are your key roles.
“Now in today’s society your key roles are you are a mother, you are a wife, you’re also a carer because our elders are now becoming very elderly so that’s the third thing added and then it’s, no you also need to bring an income into the home as well. You need to pick the kids up as well as drop them off at school and the list is increasing, yet we have not equipped our women for these roles.
“For me it’s about priorities, what do I want my daughter or children to have as core values, how can I equip them looking at society out there and how can I equip them for adulthood! These are the priorities I am dealing with for the Heaton Ward.
“I want to strengthen families, the way I see it is that by strengthening families, by empowering them I can make a difference to society. I feel I am a role model and if I can lead by example and show what I am doing with my five children and make them role models, people will see will see that if she can can do it, so can they.”
Cllr Mohammad says, it’s good that young people may have an ambition to own a £40,000 car, but what we need to do is have the conversation of how you are going to get there.
“You need to get a decent education, get yourself a decent job, and work X amount of hours to get that car” She explains.
“Or is it a case of I’d rather take the quickest route?” She asks.
“How do they make it a reality?” Cllr Mohammad explains that she is sowing the seeds by talking to families out there and leading by example with her own family.
Road safety in the area has become a cause for concern, and Cllr Mohammad strongly believes that by engaging with families especially the women, (as she feels they are the backbone ) she can empower and help make a difference to the community she serves.
Councillor Mohammed Amran – LABOUR
Committee Appointments: Bradford West Area Committee (Chair), Area Planning Panel (Bradford), Area Planning Panel (Keighley and Shipley) (Reserve)
Bradford West Area Committee, Miscellaneous Licences Panel (Reserve), Regeneration and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Reserve), Regulatory and Appeals Committee
Elected: 2015 Next election: 2019
Allowance: 1 Apr 2017 – 31 Mar 2018
Special Responsibility: £12,969.60 Mileage claim: £126.90
Councillor Amran was the quickest of the councillors to respond and seemed to be the busiest with a barrage of constituent inquiries coming to him while telling Asian Sunday all about his work in his ward.
“I live in the ward I serve, my kids go to the school in the community and my wife also works in the community, so this area is my pride” Said Cllr Amran.
“I use all the local services, such as the local barber, the local petrol station, the local meat shop – I use local all the time. I support the local economy, but this also makes me visible and approachable to my community. For example, when the new Raja’s opened in the area I just went along to see them and on my visit they told me the bin was in the wrong place, so I was able to help them” Often Councillors get labelled that they donothing, Cllr Amran is quick to tell us that, ‘that was in the past’. “In the past it may have happened, but that is changing now” Assures Cllr Amran.
“I represent a multicultural ward and I try my best to empower people, such as when they have issue with bin collection, I give them the council number and will help make the call while with them, so that they can get to know how to contact the council in future should they have any issues.
“I get involved in school appeals a lot. I fight for the community like it’s my own problem, like those children are my own and that’s probably why so many people call me for my help.
Cllr Amran believes that as councillors they need to engage more on issues and that we should be investing in more resources. He feels road safety in the area has now become a priority and much
more needs to be done to educate parents.
He is currently trying to put a working group together, particularly looking at high performance cars and young people. He wants to work with schools and mothers on road safety.
Superintendent Daniel Greenwood, Operations lead at Bradford District Police, told Asian Sunday:
“Police in Bradford West have led a number of multiagency operations aimed at improving road safety in the area.
“This work has been in support of Operation Steerside, which is a police-led partnership addressing driving standards across Bradford District.
“Steerside has been running across the district for more than two years and recently broadened its focus to tackle the anti-social use of vehicles, as well as the fatal four offences – speeding, using a mobile phone, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and not wearing a seatbelt.
“Police in Bradford West are continuing their work in support of Steerside and will be holding further multiagency operations to tackle those using the roads illegally or driving vehicles which are not in a fit state to be on our roads.
“The recent crash in Heaton which claimed the lives of four local young men should serve as a reminder to us all of what can happen when a vehicle is driven at speed, and anyone who chooses to use the roads in this way can expect to be prosecuted.
“We are keen to develop this work in partnership with the people of Bradford West to encourage people to use the roads safely and with consideration for other road users.
“It is everyone’s responsibility to do this and those who are intent on ignoring their responsibility will be targeted and will be prosecuted.”