Macmillan, Isleworth Calendar Girls, Morrisons site
Last Thursday I was pleased to meet with people from Hounslow Housing who explained plans they have to make improvements – which some will say are well overdue – to the way services are delivered to residents. I can’t go into detail but I was encouraged by the plans.
Friday was a succession of brief interludes – first of all to a very lively coffee morning for Macmillan on Brentford Dock – lots of people there including MP Ruth Cadbury and Hounslow Mayor Nisar Malik plus of course all the McMillan volunteers who work so hard to lay these events on. In the afternoon, down to old Isleworth to visit the art gallery where the originals for Isleworth’s very own version of Calendar Girls featuring amongst the tasteful dozen portraits of the artist herself, Lesley Miller, and Councillor Sue Sampson. All jolly fun and this time I missed Ruth, who apparently opened it and had to engage with the enemy (Conservative Councillor John Todd!)
Then off to the Watermans where the Urban Ambush exhibition was running. This is the output from the summer activities Watermans puts on for local children. Looking it up on Google I find that Netmums, despite giving the right address as 40 High St Brentford, have to headline their entry as ‘Watermans Arts Centre in Richmond’. I hope they’re good swimmers. I thought this exhibition was really good, especially the two short films that were running and the cartoon with great facial expressions. No shortage of creativity amongst our young people and you can see for yourself until October 20th, free gratis and for nothing (I think, though the website isn’t ultra clear!)
On Saturday I looked into the mini-festival (don’t know what it was called) in old Isleworth. I was fancying a German hot dog but they all seemed to be a foot long and I decided my appetite wasn’t up to it. Still, a nice down-home event.
On Monday evening it was my first engagement with the Pensions Panel – where we oversee management of the pension fund for Hounslow employees, past and present. This is a very complicated activity of which I have a little experience from previous lives. A long and fascinating meeting, with various advisers and fund managers being grilled and in some cases basted.
On Wednesday Mel, Myra and I had one of our regular get-togethers to update each other on actions. Mel is very pleased at present because in the last week he’s managed to get a satisfactory outcome to two long-standing housing problems, so congratulations to him and the housing team. The main thing that has arisen in the last couple of weeks is the purchase of the freehold on the Morrisons site by a company called Essential Living, who are in the business of developing private rental accommodation. Of course, the Morrisons site is in Syon ward so technically in the remit of the Syon councillors, but it goes without saying that Morrisons is an important part of life for those who live in Brentford ward! The site is ‘zoned’ in the Local Plan as 75% retail and we’re all agreed – as is Ruth Cadbury who has written a letter to the new owners’ consultants on the subject – that the retention of Morrisons or a similar supermarket on the site (and adequate parking) is essential. This includes the necessity for a supermarket to operate throughout and we would oppose any idea that Morrisons could be knocked down and a new supermarket built ‘later’. We’ll be watching and looking to influence developments (no pun intended) here closely.
As a break from council activities I have been helping my daughter to buy an old banger over the last couple of days so she can get to her teacher training course without spending 3 hours a day on buses. Finally achieved on Wednesday evening, just in time for me to report to Labour party headquarters in Chiswick to bid farewell to our election agent, James Swindlehurst. He has decided to get a life by giving up his (theoretically) part time role here to dedicate more time to being a councillor in Slough, and learning the saxophone. James is a top guy, and was a huge help to a political ingénue like me during my election campaign, as well as having helped the wider council elections a year ago and of course Ruth’s successful parliamentary campaign. He’ll be missed.
October 2, 2015