IBAF, planning, S106, Hounslow Highways and more planning,
I was just thinking this had been a quiet week – and contrasting it to last week where I was dead busy and contrived to forget to mention my very enjoyable if short visit to the fun day at Clayponds Community Centre - when I remembered that last Thursday was quite a day, with our continuing working group on management of housing repairs and development in the morning, and what you might call a very full evening at the Isleworth and Brentford Area Forum, at the Free Church.
This started with a lengthy discussion and passionate evidence for and against the experimental closure to traffic of Church Street in Isleworth (think London Apprentice). As Paul Fisher mentioned in the forum, this is the kind of issue that is a real pain for councillors with (judging by my postbag) about 60% of people passionately in favour of the proposal and 40% just as passionately opposed. So whichever way we decide about half the population will characterise us as grasping, corrupt, self-serving bandits (all true of course). Anyway, under the admirable chairmanship of Mel Collins, all sides were heard and we voted unanimously to go ahead with the trial.
The rest of the (very looong) meeting was mostly concerned with planning stuff: the area forum has no jurisdiction over planning but Mel thought – and I agree with him – that it would be good to have the issues aired in public. The three planning matters discussed were retrospective approval for the Floreat primary free school which has opened in Trico House, GWQ; the detailed application for the Brentford FC development at Lionel Road; and an application for the Nishkam ‘Sikh Ethos’ free school, already temporarily established in an office block on London Road Isleworth, to develop a large new ‘all-through’ school on the Metropolitan Open Land known as the Conquest or White Lodge Club near Tesco in Osterley. Longish debates on each none of which could be said to be universally popular and I won’t go into detail. Each will have their day in planning.
I decided to have the weekend off from council related activities. On Saturday I took a friend of mine – a Brit now living in Vienna - to the air forces memorial at Runnymede. His enthusiasm for going there seemed out of character until he pointed out that he’s Jewish and the heroics of allied air forces very probably saved his whole family from being wiped out. A salutory thought. I spent the rest of the weekend working on the draft business plan for Thamesbank Credit Union, an activity I have been putting off for months so it was a good feeling to get something ready for discussion by my co-directors.
Monday’s main activity was a meeting with Hounslow Highways at their depot, together with a very helpful council officer, for them to explain to me how they decide which roads and pavements should be resurfaced and which merely patched up. They really pushed the boat out with a number of their experts and a detailed Powerpoint presentation and I learned quite a few things I didn’t previously know. I’ve been mulling over the presentation since then and asking supplementary questions, but a couple of things stand out. Firstly, the impression that I (and I think a lot of others) had that all roads and pavements would be resurfaced was never part of the plan. Second, Hounslow has risen from 24th to 4th place for road condition amongst London Boroughs, as measured by the Department for Transport. Not a lot of people know that.
Later on Monday I moseyed round the Novotel for the exhibition about the plan to turn the Alfa Laval tower into a Hyundai showroom. I was driving for a change and was struck by another cache of new Mercedes in the underground car park. There are still dozens of them in the flats where I live and they’re beginning to rival Goddards vans for ubiquity around Brentford. Maybe the pressure from Mercedes parking on Clayponds Avenue and thereabouts has reduced? Somehow I doubt it. I was I think only the third visitor to the exhibition (special agent Collins was the fourth I believe) so the six people hanging round were very eager to talk, though Myra Savin reported that someone had gone to see it only to find it closed. Seems a good use for the tower but we’re concerned about access and parking.
Tuesday morning, the three Brentford councillors meet with Theo Dennison at the Watermans to talk about S106 money and ideas for Brentford in the next round coming soon (any ideas welcome – email me or Mel or Myra) .
Wednesday afternoon, another tricky housing issue and in the evening my first meet with the Boston Manor Residents Association.
This councilloring is small on quick wins (though street light 11 in Lateward Road is now working, hurrah) but the bigger stuff takes a long time and dogged determination. I can’t claim any big successes but it was great to see Mel bringing a long-standing housing problem to resolution this week, and somebody actually thanking him.
September 24, 2015