Committed to Dressing Up as a Sausage Roll for His Constituents
Syon & Brentford Lock councillor Dan Bowring reports back on his week
Prior to this week had seen four important meetings, first had been a bunch of allotment holders who occupy a lesser-known plot between Brentside and Robin Grove recreation ground. They have an amazing space that overlooks the River Brent and seemingly grow enough vegetables to fill Morrison’s (that might be a slight exaggeration).
Contractors for the new bridge (more on that later) that will connect Durham Wharf drive and Robin Grove recreation ground, had removed some of the concrete panels in the recreation ground, which had led to some vandals entering the allotment plots, causing criminal damage, and the theft of some rather expensive gardening tools.
An innocent mistake by the contractors - who were unaware of the allotments - which they nonetheless resolved to put right. They re-secured the boundary, and promised to replace all the stolen tools. At the meeting there were three senior representatives from the contractors, who listened to the allotment holders concerns about the new bridge, and explained in detail how the work would be carried out. The replacement tools will be delivered to allotment holders imminently.
The second group I met with was a collection of people who live on boats near Point Wharf lane. They had several concerns, one of which was a lack of adequate recycling facilities. Recycling is a huge priority for the council, and a number of practical issues has made this difficult. An officer from the council attended the meeting and I’m confident he will find a solution for the residents.
Thirdly the Overview and Scrutiny committee had gathered to discuss what topics we will cover this year, the role of Overview and Scrutiny is to assist with policy development and review, as well scrutinising the decisions and performance of the council, and to make recommendations that arise from our work. We don’t set policy, but do have the authority to research areas that need looking at, interview relevant officers and affected residents, and make recommendations to the Leader and Cabinet. The best analogy I can think of, is that it is a little similar to the House of Lords, but that comparison is probably guilty of some delusions of grandeur!
Finally, I had met with a group of residents who have (very valid concerns) about the delivery schedule of building materials for the aforementioned bridge. The access to Robin Grove is effectively a cul de sac, with some tight bottlenecks. Residents are concerned about congestion, and potential damage to properties. We discussed these concerns at length, and I relayed them all to the contractors. A further meeting which contractors will attend, is scheduled to happen soon.
On Saturday I was knocking on doors with my fellow Ward Councillor Katherine Dunne and some Labour activists in the Butts area, talking to residents about any issues of concern, but of course the Bridge kept coming up. We don’t just do this during an election period, but throughout our term of office, actively looking for casework and communicating with residents. After this I attended the Isleworth Bowls club with my children, who got to meet the Mayor, this was a great event organised by Councillor Sue Sampson who represents the Isleworth Ward, and is the Cabinet member for Housing Management and Homelessness, with several Councillors in attendance.
Conversation over email continued about the bridge, with more questions to be addressed. Officers and contractors alike were fast to respond, and I fed answers back to residents. I also chased up planning on two issues affecting the High Street, firstly the highly anticipated return of Greggs, and secondly the proposed mast by Vodafone opposite Verdict. I have reached out to Greggs, asking if they plan to do an official opening, and suggested they may wish to give away some baked goods to residents to mark their return. I have literally told them I am willing to dress up as a sausage roll to make this happen.
The planners are still reviewing the mast, whilst it seems obvious to me that the location is completely inappropriate, there is a process that all applications have to go through. I’m confident that it will result in a refusal, and I have been asked to be informed as soon as a decision is made.
On Wednesday I attended an event arranged by Councillor Harleen Atwal of Heston Central ward, at Hounslow House. Several school age residents took part in some fun activities, met the Mayor, and enjoyed some pizza. I was very impressed by their thoughtful and intelligent questions, the most pressing issue for them was - unsurprisingly - climate change.
On Thursday new Councillors were invited to attend a bus tour of the borough, this was great fun on an old double decker bus with the ‘hop on/hop off’ access at the back. I learned some new things about the borough and had a great time. Afterwards I had a meeting with Councillor Lara Parizotto of Brentford West, where we discussed a range of issues, including our joint involvement on the committees of Overview and Scrutiny, and Planning, and of course our joint interest of Brentford.
On Friday I spoke to an elderly female resident who lives alone, she had concerns about anti-social behaviour. I raised this with the police and the managing agent of her estate, both of whom made a visit, I also raised this as casework, mental health and housing officers may need to be involved.
The weekend was definitely football focused, I took my kids to the Brentford vs Real Betis friendly, which resulted in 1-0 win for Brentford. It was great to spot Councillors Rhys Williams, Marina Sharma, Amy Croft, Lara Parizotto, Shantanu Rajawat and Samia Chaudhary, as well as the MP for Feltham and Heston, Seema Malhotra.
Sunday of course was the Triumph of the Lionesses over Germany, which I watched from home with my family along with millions around the country. Many have commented on what it means and why it is important, but I think Alex Scott said it best; “This is a dream, an absolute dream for every young girl that dreamt of playing football. It’s incredible.”
Cllr Dan Bowring
August 5, 2022