Brentford residents are a cut above the rest
The area forum was relatively calm, with the usual lively debate about Church Street closure. There was some evidence provided about the time taken by buses going down the Twickenham Road which on the face of it seemed to show that the closure has had little effect. However it was comparing February to November so (as was acknowledged by the officers) it’s not clear whether the comparison is valid and we’ll have to wait for more data. Passionate speeches from residents, one for, one against and members of the public in the Free Church seemed fairly evenly divided, not that that means anything at all. Small Grants were voted through in support of (amongst others) the Friends of St Paul’s Rec and restoration of the War Memorial in Brentford (and the one in Osterley, for which Cllr Tony Louki spoke up, as ever).
The three local councillors are worried that there are a few local issues, mainly on the Haverfield estate, where we are not making the progress we’d like so we’re going to put our heads together and try and find new approaches
On Friday I met with the project manager for Ballymore who are going to redevelop the south of Brentford High Street. Of course this is in Syon ward and thus outside my ‘patch’ but of obvious interest to Brentford ward residents. People will be aware that they have commenced some demolition of empty buildings (encouraging a brief holiday let for some travellers who have now decided the weather is better at Chiswick roundabout – plus obviously, we’re much nicer in Brilliant Brentford ward). The legal etc issues drag on and it seems unlikely they will commence any actual building until 2017. The first phase comprises the area south of the High Street from St Lawrence’s church to (opposite) Martin’s newsagent, down to the river, plus some of the bit opposite Morrisons, which will include car parking and boat storage. The Church and the Magpie and Crown will be retained, to suit all tastes.
More immediately, up by the A4, demolition of the old New England Pub by York Road has commenced. I believe they are going to replace it with 24 affordable flats (exactly how affordable, I’m not clear, but we certainly need truly affordable units)
Saturday was not one surgery but one and a bit – taking over from Mel at the Mission Hall then rushing up to Clayponds. Mission Hall produced nobody for me – they were all members of the Mel Collins fan club so made sure to visit when he was there. Clayponds was a housing issue (no change there) which will be hard to resolve (as ever) and a street light issue – less critical, though still important, and easier to deal with.
On Sunday, canvassing in Hounslow Central with various councillors, Ruth Cadbury MP and Siobhan McDonagh, MP for Mitcham and Morden. Quite a number of South Londoners turned up but none of them bit and indeed, some of them could communicate quite effectively. Monday a much smaller and perfectly formed crew off Boston Manor Road in The Ride and Manor Vale. Much better on my home patch as I get to meet locals and hear local issues (and of course Brentford residents are a cut above), but Manor Vale is always a bit of a nightmare because you can’t get in the front door unless somebody invites you and this is difficult via intercoms which appear to date from the Napoleonic Wars.
Tuesday was more or less a day off (though there’s always some correspondence going on, including many fruitless -so far – attempts to get the 235 running again) and Wednesday was the Crematorium board down in Hanworth. In truth, there is very little for the board to get involved with as it generally runs very professionally but there is always some fascinating discussion about the mechanisms of a crem and all that goes around it. This time it was about pollution control equipment: turns out that the crem in Sunderland which uses the same system as us caught fire in the air cleaning bit and we definitely don’t want that.
In the evening a Labour branch meeting. I was delighted that in a bit of spooky synchronicity the TW8 editor put up a story about Thamesbank Credit Union and Fair For You on the very day we were due to present them to local labour members. It made my task a lot simpler.
March 11, 2016