London mayor gives up most of her executive powers
London's first directly elected female mayor has given up most of her executive powers, less than six months into the job.
Rokhsana Fiaz, the mayor of Newham, took over from Sir Robin Wales following May's local elections.
She has agreed to delegate executive decision making to her cabinet of senior councillors.
Ms Fiaz said: "This scheme of delegation essentially moves all the decision making that is held by one person, me, to the entire cabinet, which includes six members.
"It is all part of the process of bringing good governance, better decision making and transparency to the way in which we do business.”
Nando's drops plans to turn 'Trade Union Library' into chicken restaurant
Local Democracy Reporting Service
Nando's has dropped plan to turn a historic East End Library where one of the UK's largest trade unions was born into a restaurant.
Canning Town Library, which is Grade II listed, hosted famous Left-wing political speakers such as trade unionist Keir Hardie and suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst.
After a meeting there in 1889, Will Thorne formed the National Union of Gasworkers and General Labourers, which later became the GMB. Thorne also helped organise the London Dock Strike of the same year.
The chicken restaurant was in negotiations to transform the first floor of the library into its latest branch, after plans were recommended for approval by Labour-led Newham council.
The GMB fought the idea, saying it was “bird-brained” calling for the building into offices for its staff.
Warren Kenny, GMB regional secretary for London, said: “We’re delighted Nando’s has seen sense and shelved this proposal before it hatched.
"There is a time and a place for chicken, but a historic library that forms part of the fabric of Newham’s community was never it."
At a meeting last week, the borough’s planning committee deferred the plan until a later date after almost 40 councillors and both Newham MPs, Lyn Brown and Stephen Timms, signed a letter against it.
The council argued the building was costing “£2,000 per week to maintain” and said Nando’s was its “preferred occupier”.
A spokesman for Nando’s said: “It has become clear that the history of the library building and its deep association with certain groups in the community means there are very strong feelings about how it should be used.
"As a result of these unique circumstances, we have decided not to proceed with our application.”
Newham Council cancels £661,920 grant for new sports pitch
Newham Council has cancelled a grant of £661,920 for a new sports pitch in West Ham.
In the first cabinet meeting since new mayor Rokhsana Fiaz replaced long-serving Sir Robin Wales after the May elections, the council decided to review "big money decisions" made by the previous administration.
Mayor Rokhsana described the decision as "unjustifiable".
She added: "The decision by the previous administration to carelessly allocate more than half a million pounds to a project with no clear benefits for the wider community is unjustifiable.
"Any proposal agreed in future will ensure it is truly about improving the health and well being of all our residents and diverse community."