Consultation on A4 cycle path in addition to CS9
Blimey, time passes. I have to go to the papers to remind myself what was going on at planning. Ah yes, it was uncontroversial except for the Pier House in Chiswick. I cycled down there during the afternoon – I could picture the building vaguely but couldn’t remember how it related to its neighbours. As luck would have it there was an RNLI man on the balcony as I was taking pictures so I asked him if we should allow planning. He said yes. I suggested he had plenty of space but he begged to differ. The lady from the residents association said they didn’t like the building – too big, parking problems, poor design, etc. I thought the size was OK but wasn’t convinced by the design, so I ended up abstaining: I’m sure it’s needed but I just couldn’t quite support it, but it passed anyway. The rest of them were out west and not very controversial, so it was a shortish meeting for a change.
Friday I had a free day but a curry evening with various councillors and hangers-on – loads of them actually – at a converted pub in Cranford. It was good to sit with some councillors from ‘out west’ who I see in committees etc but don’t really get a chance to chat with so although the food might be described as ‘average’ it was an enjoyable evening. Also allowed me to explore the further reaches of the A4 psychopath, sorry I mean cycle path, which I’d say are marginally better out in Hounslow and beyond.
Saturday morning was my surgery up in Clayponds, which I prefixed with a visit to a resident in Carville Crescent. She lives in a small block with a self- closing security door but every time it closes it wakes her up. Of course it needs to close firmly for security reasons but I suggested a DIY fix which I hope will mitigate the noise. This will likely get me hung, drawn and quartered if Housing find out but anyway, I hope it works (must check if she’s tried it). Absolutely nobody showed up for the surgery, which is a tad frustrating! Saturday afternoon I went to a performance by the Alliance Dance Unit in the Hounslow Arts Theatre in the Treaty Centre. The ADU are based in Brentford/Isleworth and are a charity working with young people introducing them to dance. You will be most surprised to hear that I am not a super-accomplished dancer, nor do I attend dance shows in the normal run of events but I must say I really enjoyed this one. The talent and the sheer exuberance of the young people was a joy to behold and I’m proud we have such a group in Brentford. I’ve been working with Mayor Sue Sampson trying to find them a permanent home, and we think we’ve found one subject to some permissions and some fit out money – fingers crossed.
Sunday afternoon I’m back in the Clayponds estate with her ex-worshipfulness Myra Savin on the old door knock routine. You always uncover a few issues doing this and the main one round there seems to be drug dealing. I was pleased to see the police have raided a cannabis factory in Brentford in the last few days but I’m sorry to say that they seem to sprout out again like weeds (pun intended!)
Monday afternoon the Melvinatorio and I attended a ‘coding challenge’ at St Paul’s School, involving a couple of hours with a delightful bunch of 10 year olds trying rather uselessly to help them use some software on laptops to manage delivery of goods from freight depots to Heathrow terminals. I’m not visually impaired like Mel (well, not much) but I couldn’t really see the screens and in any case I had no idea how to use the software! No doubt this is a useful development exercise for the children but as someone who is campaigning against the third runway I couldn’t help worrying that this was a bit of a PR exercise for the airport, especially when the Heathrow man said everybody is well paid there, and we know many employees around the airport do not get paid the London Living Wage.
In the evening we had an extra Area Forum meeting at the Free Church, which was to update on action plans. It was rather thinly attended by the public, which was a pity because it was one of the most interesting and informative meetings I’ve attended for a while. We had a general update from TfL on various projects including one which was new to me – improvements to the A4 cycle path from Boston Manor to Syon Lane. Details are here and I’ve already given my feedback, which wasn’t too complimentary. We had a ‘Young People’s Open Forum’ where a couple of teenagers asked various question on behalf of their peers – everything from litter bins to drug-dealing. There was an update from Hounslow Highways pointed up some excellent progress with road condition across the borough which is now second only to Greenwich among the 32 London Boroughs and street cleaning now in the top quartile, having previously been in the bottom one. It doesn’t always feel that way (I have asked them for the source, which I believe is a London Councils review) and I moaned particularly about the A4: they say they will very shortly get new sweeping machines and make sweeping improvements. Did someone say punning is the lowest form of wit?
We had an update on parks, with major investment making great improvements to Gunnersbury (despite what some say) and Redlees in Isleworth, and with Boston Manor House and park next on the list. There were also updates on traffic and transport and on enforcement and flytipping – we’re really serious about this and the level of fines has increased considerably including 8 fines issued in one day near Boston Manor Station recently. It’s not about raising money, but modifying behaviour.
On Tuesday I’m asked to step in for Cllr Dennison and chair the Consultation Advisory Panel. I didn’t really understand what it was for, but it’s Hounslow’s consultation specialist energising a bunch of councillors to challenge how consultations are carried out. In this case it was about the Great West Corridor, West of Borough and some other planning consultations which are all live round about now. We made a number of suggestions to improve the process – only advisory but I’m sure some at least will be taken on board.
Tuesday evening it’s a Licensing Panel. A Polish shop (run inevitably by a man wearing a turban and clearly of subcontinent rather than Slavic origin!) in Hounslow Heath. This was one of those where there really isn’t a right answer. The person who owns the shop has a spotless record and agrees to all the conditions we ask. There are other shops nearby which also sell alcohol: so on the one hand the area doesn’t ‘need’ another off-licence (but that’s irrelevant to the licensing act) and on the other it won’t really make alcohol any more available. But there is a lot of resistance from residents, who tell us there is already ASB and public drinking in the area. We really have no alternative but to allow the licence – there would be no legal reason not to, and the man’s just trying to make a living – but it doesn’t feel very good when we do so.
Wednesday is a welcome day with no meetings (except the good ole Labour Party in the evening) and gives me a chance to catch up a bit with emails etc, which I’d been losing control of (sorry to anyone who is awaiting a response) and this morning we’re back in Blogonia.
I hope you don’t mind this being a rather long, boring one. There’s been a lot going on this week and I do try to inform!
Forgot to mention that there are two special events on Sunday: at 10.30 am the Friends of St Paul’s Rec will be planting 4000 bulbs in the park. Those who are good at bending down and digging will be especially welcome but anybody can go and laugh at the ones doing the work. When I say laugh I mean encourage and support.
There is a special Heritage walk this Sunday at 2.30 pm starting at the Monument outside the County Court to commemorate the Battles of Brentford (no, not the Morrisons planning application, previous skirmishes). There may even be members of the Battlefields Trust in attendance in ‘appropriate dress’ – nothing too risqué then.
Councillor Guy Lambert
September 15, 2017