June Bulletin from Councillor Matt Harmer

Matt's comments on local issues

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*Lucozade sign*
Many readers will remember the old Lucozade advert along the A4. It disappeared when the building it was attached to was demolished to make way for the new Audi showroom. Even without this demolition its lifespan was limited because of the age of the technology that made it work – hundreds of relays (ask your Dad) all clicking away.

Soon after demolition, I joined a small working party to see if it could be reinstated somewhere else. In 2004, planning permission was given for an extension to a building near the Texaco garage. The extension would carry a new facsimile of the sign on one side and a standard advert on the other. However, the extension never happened and the permission has expired.

Earlier this year I was told that a new site had been found, very close to the Texaco garage, where a freestanding structure could be built. On one side, facing drivers heading to London on the M4 would be the Lucozade sign and drivers heading out of town would see whatever ad the hoarding’s owners wanted to display.

Since 2004, the number of advertising hoardings on the A4/M4 has increased and councillors and council officers have attempted to reduce the number of hoardings. Many go up without permission and are, frankly, eyesores. Because of this, Hounslow planning officers have recommended that the permission for the Lucozade advert be refused.

I have successfully requested that the matter be considered by councillors at Thursday 11th June’s Area Planning Committee. The old sign was a landmark which a number of people have said they would like to see returned. However the advertisement on the other side may not be as welcome. Either way, I think it’s a decision that elected members should make (though not me – my previous involvement means that I will declare an interest and take no part in the discussion or vote).

If you have any thoughts either way, I would be very interested to hear them. Reply to this mail and I will ensure that all replies are passed to the members of the committee and our planning team.

*Updates: A4 and Watermans Park*
The petition calling for safer A4 crossings has successfully led to the junction with Windmill Road being added to the list of schemes being considered for improvements by Transport for London, so thanks to all who signed. There’s still a lot to do but we have support of all councillors and many residents and now we need to make that count. I hope to be meeting engineers on site again soon.

The scrutiny into the situation regarding unlicensed boats alongside Watermans Park has begun, and is gathering information from all the agencies involved. Too early to say what the process will recommend but it’s proving useful to get all the information onto the table.

*Crime concerns*
Readers may know that there have been two serious crimes in the ward in the past few days – an attack with a knife and a serious sexual assault. Whilst we shouldn’t allow fear of crime to take over, we need to ensure that our police are given the resources they need. I have written to the Borough Commander to ask his assurance that this is the case.

I have to say that the willingness of police locally to engage with councillors is first class. The introduction of Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs) has helped very much and we are fortunate in Brentford ward to have an excellent team led by a Sergeant who is serious about making sure that he does all he can locally to tackle the issues that face the police.

If you see one of our PCs or PCSOs walking around, please say hallo. And please report any crime, no matter how low-level it may be, online at https://online.met.police.uk/ or by calling 0300 123 1212. The Safer Neighbourhood Teams can be contacted on 020 8721 2533 or 07881 723891. SNTs meet with a neighbourhood panel to decide priorities and if you have a local issue that you would like them to face please let me know.

*On the Buses*
Anyone using Route 65 may have to face a longer journey in June/July. Thames Water will be replacing the water mains on Ealing Road between the A4 and Popes Lane (north of the A4) and 65s from Ealing will be diverted via Swyncombe Av, Boston Manor Road and the A4 before rejoining Ealing Road.

*History Today*
Or, rather, this Saturday 6 June. There’ll be a Local History Day at Brentford Library this Saturday between 11am and 4pm. The day will focus on the First World War and its impact locally, with particular reference to the war memorial outside St Lawrence’s Church on the High Street. (More at the very interesting Brentford High Street Project site).

It was good to hear recently that English Heritage has said that they have no objection to the memorial being restored and relocated to join the other memorials outside the library. I'm told that work will start soon, enabling everything to be in place for this year's Rememberance Sunday.

If there are other local events that I can mention in future months, please let me know.

*Anything to report?*
As a councillor, my first task is to try and assist residents with problems. Please get in touch if you think I can help, either by emailing me at matt.harmer@hounslow.gov.uk or calling 020 8560 7033. You can also take a look at www.mattharmer.com. In the meantime, thanks for reading and here’s hoping this good weather continues.

Councillor Matt Harmer
Brentford ward Labour councillor
London Borough of Hounslow

contact: 153 Ealing Rd
Brentford, Middlesex TW8 0LF
telephone: 020 8560 7033

June 5, 2009