Special council meeting to discuss riots

Published 11 August 2011

Residents and businesses affected by the riot are being encouraged to attend a special meeting of the full Council.

Council's executive director of environment and customer services speaks to crowds of volunteers

The meeting has been called specially to discuss the riot and will take place in the Council Chamber at Ealing Town Hall at 7pm on Tuesday, 16 August.

The borough's police commander, Chief Superintendent Andy Rowell, will address the meeting and councillors will discuss plans to help the borough recover.  There will also be a minute's silence in memory of Richard Mannington Bowes, the Ealing man who died after he was attacked during Monday's (8 August) riots.

The council has praised volunteers, local businesses and the emergency services for their resilience and community spirit following the riot and is encouraging as many people as possible to come along to the meeting. 

More than 200 volunteers turned up to help with the clean up in Ealing Town Centre and calls offering help flooded the council’s switchboard on Tuesday morning (pictured).

Cllr Julian Bell, Leader of the Council witnessed the disorder first hand as he toured the streets of Ealing Town Centre as trouble broke out.  

“I saw first hand the disgusting behaviour of the mindless groups of young thugs who rampaged through our normally peaceful streets.

“I watched from the Town Hall steps as a heroic thin blue line of officers attempted to secure the Town Centre from these thugs.  

“The violence and carnage that I saw left a man fighting for his life in hospital, people homeless after their flats were destroyed by fire, dozens of cars torched and damaged and businesses damaged and looted.”

As trouble began the council’s teams immediately assisted the emergency services’ response, CCTV cameras were used to support the police’s tactical operation and collect evidence for use later.  

By midnight the council’s highways teams were mobilised and once the police gave them permission they started to clear the streets of debris, with much of it cleared by early morning. Street cleaners were out in force removing broken glass and rubbish from turned over bins.  

Burnt out cars were removed from Ealing’s streets by 11am and work started to dig up and repair roads that had been damaged by fire.

Businesses, colleges and members of the public, from young to old, came forward to offer help and support to those affected by the trouble. Council officers visited 800 businesses in the area with all affected businesses getting a visit by 1pm.

Engineers carried out structural surveys of 53 buildings and classified 14 as dangerous structures, the worst being the local supermarket on the High Street, Ealing Green. By the afternoon scaffolding was erected to make the building safe and the next day the building’s listed turret was carefully removed and put into safe storage by the council so that it can be put back once the building has been rebuilt.

Following a request from the police, councillors visited shop owners to ask that they shut up shop early on Tuesday evening and help the preparations to keep people and property safe. Over the following days police numbers have been greatly increased and officers have been out in force on the borough’s streets.

Martin Smith, the council’s Chief Executive, said: “I simply cannot comprehend why anyone would want to do this to any part of our wonderful city, but the hours following the trouble revealed the true character of Ealing, the borough and the council.

“Rather than being approached for help, our telephone contact centre was contacted by large numbers of local people offering it. Many offers of help were also received from the council's partners and commercial suppliers.

"All of this tells me that local people are proud and protective of our borough. This community spirit is not expressed that often but when it is, it's extremely powerful. Ealing is, and will remain, a great place."

Council officers are visiting affected businesses again today to give advice about how to access support.  

Watch video footage of special council meeting