It is a sad fact that most residents don’t know the names of their Ward Councillors, and don’t know whether they hold any positions within the Committees at the Council.
In 2019, one of the most active supporters for airport expansion – as he was also the Deputy Chair of the Board of the Directors of Luton Rising (the airport owners) – was Cllr James Taylor. Unfortunately for him, the ward he represented was, and is, badly affected by aircraft noise, pollution, and indiscriminate airport street parking. After a campaign by Stop Luton Airport Expansion at the elections that year he was promptly voted out of office by angry residents who realised that he didn’t represent their best interests or views.
Roll forward to 2023 and the Council elections that are being held on May 4th. Cllr Javeria Hussain is now the Chair of the Board of Directors of Luton Rising after being elected in 2019. Her ward is Luton South, which is the most heavily affected by aircraft flying into and out of Luton. Once again she fully supports the lives of the people she was elected to represent being further ruined by the planned near doubling of aircraft movements from aircraft that fly directly overhead at less than a 1000 ft.
We came to the conclusion, whether rightly or wrongly, that she was more interested in her own CV and furthering her career than representing her angry ward.
We now see that her party has remembered what happened to Cllr James Taylor and what could well happen to Cllr Javeria Hussain. Clearly worried that public feeling could strike again, she has been moved to a safe seat in a different ward to prevent her party’s embarrassment at the loss of Luton Rising’s Chair of the Board of Directors.
As for sleepless nights, we doubt Javeria suffers from them now that her ward has changed for the elections. She lives in a quiet road in Luton that is well outside the departure and arrival tracks for the airport. Maybe if she lived in South Luton she would have a different viewpoint regarding airport expansion. At the moment she seems to care little about other people’s misery.
As for James Taylor – well, he is trying again to be a councillor but – taking a leaf out of Javeria’s book – he has been selected for a seat away from the airport, but which ironically is now suffering from the same airport car parking issues which blighted his old Ward.
The elections in May give the residents of Luton the chance to end the downward financial spiral of Luton Borough Council, with its obsessions that airport expansion is the only way forward for the town.
The current financial abyss will of course still exist and will need careful tackling to stop it wrecking further the service budgets of our town.