Griffin Park, Boston Manor Park, housing and Parliament
Where were we… oh yes, Griffin Park. As I said last week, the application for 70-odd houses from 2 to 5 beds was approved. I think it’s fair to say that people think it’s a good scheme in general and the only major issue is the way the houses at the North of the site will relate to New Road, where there are real concerns about losing privacy. There was a thought that the problem could be solved by lowering the ground level, which is higher than surrounding areas, but we were told the cost and environmental impact of taking it away made this impractical.
Anyway it was interesting to sit through the whole planning meeting, albeit just as an observer, which I hadn’t done before. Mel Collins, who is on the Planning Committee, valiantly proposed that the decision on Griffin Park should be deferred (it doesn’t seem too urgent because the Lionel Road stadium is needed before a sod is turned at Griffin Park) but didn’t carry the day. It was notable that the landlady of The Griffin, Claire Peleschka, made an impassioned plea in favour of the scheme on a point nearly everybody in Brentford would agree with – that the town needs more family homes, not more flats (though not everyone who lives in a flat is transient…).
It seems I gave some people the wrong impression last week by joking about being thrown out of St Paul’s church. I was trying to illustrate how hard-working and general wondeSeptember 11, 2015et the record straight, we are privileged to be able to meet for hours in St Pauls for the very modest price of an excellent coffee delivered with a smile by a volunteer. If we hang around past closing time it’s only fair to let them lock up!
The Boston Manor consultation turned out to be about a bid for Heritage Lottery Fund support, which needs to be in by December. There will be further consultation when and if we get the money but I thought the plans looked sensible (and people seemed to agree), except the bit that said ‘executive flats’ which I suggested should read ‘council flats’. I was privileged to have a seminar on the history of the place from Janet McNamara who is clearly a very dedicated volunteer (as are others!)
On Saturday I took the monthly surgery up at Clayponds Community Centre. I only had one resident, with the inevitable housing issue, so I spent much of the time talking to Julie Brooker who does a lot of the work running the community centre, as well as many other voluntary activities. Not for the first time (even this week) I was reminded that Brentford is full of unsung heroes who put endless time and energy into making the town work, just because it needs doing. Sunday I paid a short visit to the Brentford Festival, which seemed to me even more vibrant this year than last.
I spent much of Monday in Parliament, getting the guided tour from our new MP, Ruth Cadbury. It’s an amazing place and especially interesting through the eyes of an insider who can explain one or two of the archaic (some might say daft, though some are pleasingly eccentric) practices of the place. In the evening it was Labour Group meeting in the Civic centre, preparing for a big agenda at the Borough Council next Tuesday.
On Tuesday I was lucky again to be invited up the Brentford Eye with Brentford Chamber of Commerce. Mel was with me, and it’s great to see the views but also to exchange thoughts with local people in a different environment. There was one opinion coming over loud and clear – please, no more flats. Of course, planning law and market forces are driving development but it’s good for councillors to hear people’s opinions and do what we can to get them taken into account. In the evening another round of consultation on the Gunnersbury Park sports hub. Most people seem to be pretty happy that the park will be strongly upgraded, though there are concerns about the impact on Popes Lane residents. Mel and Myra were there, fulfilling the councillor’s role of asking awkward questions: both have a lot of history with the park, sit on some of the committees and are well placed to challenge and make sure the development is done right. Better for newbies like me to keep schtum and listen.
Today (Thursday) all three Brentford councillors will be hearing an update on the Lionel Road Brentford FC development and Mel and I, with council leader Steve Curran, will be meeting the people who operate the marina in the heart of Brentford and want to make sure their interests are taken on board in the Ballymore development which is of course in Syon ward. Myra will be off being eminent and worshipful in her role as Deputy Mayor. Later on it’s the local Labour Party AGM where we hope to welcome some of the many new members that have joined recently (for clarity – more new members always welcome J) and tomorrow not only meeting about how we do housing management but also the Mayor’s annual charity cricket match, plus in the evening the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Mel and Myra are members and I may go along as a hanger on to see what happens. No rest for the wicked.
September 11, 2015