High Street closure, Ballymore and Brentford's waterside
This has been another rather quiet week, though I’ve been busy on various non-council matters including two visits to our still shiny new local hospital – one to pick someone up after a minor operation and one to get my hearing aids fixed.
A nice balmy summer day so I cycled down to W Middlesex. This is not necessarily a good plan for one of my girth when visiting an audiologist who remarks (slightly fiercely) that the reason I have problems with my hearing aids is because they are rusty, and they are rusty because they are damp, and they are damp because you are sweating. I thought that was most indelicate: as my Auntie Mary used to say, and as everybody knows, only horses SWEAT. Gentlemen occasionally perspire and ladies merely glow.
I was supposed to be going door knocking up Ealing Road on Friday but with delays at the hospital I didn’t make it so our trusty MP did the hard work together with a few volunteers. If you live in the bottom end of Green Dragon Lane don’t answer the door Friday evening or you may be confronted by a councillor or his acolytes looking for a victim to talk to.
Other topics this week: well, first of all, I suppose, the High Street closure. First I heard of it was on Friday when a resident helpfully emailed me, having read the matrix signs which at that point I hadn’t seen. Nobody had told us local councillors what was going on and it wasn’t easy to find anybody who knew. Then when it didn’t happen on Monday as warned we wondered what was going on. It eventually emerged that it is an emergency issue with a sewer and that Thames Water decided to do it in a hurry to complete it before the schools go back. They eventually started on Tuesday so here’s hoping they’ll finish on time unlike other holes in the A315 I could mention. (PS avoid the High St East of McDonalds, Ealing Road, Green Dragon Lane if you can – situation pretty bloody..)
The Planning committee comes up next week but rather surprisingly there is nothing at all in Brilliantville – nearest being Power Road in Chiswick and the Master Robert Motel site. I did visit a house in Strand-on-the-Green at the behest of a resident – that’s at planning so it’s good that I properly understand what’s proposed.
I received a very comprehensive report [which can be read at Brentford Chamber, Ed] from a collective of the people who live and work on the river and canal in the heart of Brentford. They are concerned about the impact the Ballymore development will have on their lives and work, because the details of how the new development will work with the waterside have yet to be worked out. Whilst I’m no expert, and there are quite complex issues of ownership and Hydrodynamics and other things I can’t spell (and of course all of this is in Syon Ward so I’m just an interfering busybody) I am wholly supportive of the principles they are promoting. Aside from the desire to protect industry, jobs and homes, it seems to me that a cornerstone of Brentford’s history and its future must be relating to its unique ‘2 rivers and a canal’ waterside assets. It would be nice if we can retain a quirky blend of Brentford’s slightly eccentric character with well-designed modern redevelopment: in fact I think it’s essential. As to progress with the Ballymore scheme itself, I understand we will have a big update at Borough Council on 13th September. It is proceeding, albeit at what seems like a snail’s pace because of the very complex ownership of the site – the land as well as the riverside – which Ballymore are trying to put together with the council’s support. Steve Curran will make a ‘single member decision’ on proceeding with Compulsory Purchase Orders on 1 September, though obviously Ballymore have been trying to -and will continue to try to - resolve without taking this step.
We had a licensing panel on Tuesday. Only one item on the agenda which was a pub in Feltham where our Licensing Enforcement Officer (and the police) wanted some restrictions on their licence. As ever I won’t go into details other than to remark that the panel was chaired by none other than Cllr John ‘Genghis’ Todd who lost no opportunity to put the other humble panellists – myself and Cllr Steve Curran – in our place.
On Wednesday I had an unmissable meeting with the managing agents of Ferry Quays so I was unable to accompany Mel and Myra as they joined a posse with Hounslow Highways and the LBH enforcement team, swaggering along Challis and Whitestile Road and the A4 around Adelaide Terrace (I think – wasn’t there!) looking to round up a few varmints.
The whole issue of parking on the Haverfield and Green Dragon estates, never very far from our minds, has come to the top of the in tray again this week. Following further discussions between Hounslow Housing and the transport department the council is hoping to start an official consultation in September. This whole issue has taken an excruciatingly long time and us councillors have felt as impotent as the residents have felt infuriated. Still a way to go, but at least we’re making measurable progress.
August 26, 2016