Black Lives Matter: Brentford 28 June 2020

As the Mayor of the London Borough of Hounslow, I was asked to attend and speak at the Black Lives Matter event taking place today at Market Place, Brentford today but during the current health crisis, I did not feel confident keeping physical distance. Had I have been there in body, what follows is what I would have said,

Welcome to the politically significant town of Brentford, because this is where, until the early 1800s, elections for the county of Middlesex parliamentary seat, covering 734 km2 from Staines up to Potters Bar across to Tottenham and down to Westminster, would take place.

At the 1820 General Election, only around 7,500 property owning males from a total population of around 1 million in the county took part in the vote.

It wasn’t until 1929 that anyone over the age of 21, male, female, poor had won (because we know it was fought for) the right to vote, an entitlement to participate.

Although, by then, the establishment, hierarchies and elites had begun to consolidate their own infrastructure, which in many respects is still maintained; access to it by outsiders remains pretty well regulated.

One of the highlights during my time as Mayor was early last October learning about the achievements of (the late) Jessica and Eric Huntley with the Friends of the Huntley Archive at a Black History Month event at Brentford’s Gunnersbury Museum.

Eric Huntley at Gunnersbury Museum, October 2019

The West Ealing based Huntleys not only pioneered improvements to black children’s learning through supplementary schooling but also founded the Bogle-L’Ouverture publishing house and a bookshop off the Uxbridge Road in W13 which was attacked with regularity by racists.

Mr Huntley after one of the regular late 1970s racist attacks on the Bogle-L'Ouverture Bookshop at Chignell Place, West Ealing
Mr Huntley following a regular late 1970s racist attacks on the Bogle-L’Ouverture Bookshop at Chignell Place, West Ealing

Their first publication in 1972 was, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by Dr Walter Rodney.  At that time, this was a rare modern perspective on the legacy of the four hundred years old imperialist sacking of that particular continent.

My own view is that progress can be made and lives can be changed if people want it to.  To this effect we need to be equipped with a confidence that comes from knowledge.

I would expect, that a large number of people here today have, since the death of George Floyd or the removal of the late 19th century statue of the mid 17th century slave trader Edward Colston, have been conducting their own research, learning stuff never previously considered.

Many have seen criticism of Black Lives Matter protests, some of it appearing selectively focussed on sensation, small pockets of affray and violence.  This is not what I have deduced (nor would I condone) because people of even just my generation have seen lazy reporting, on similar occasions, particularly on many matters of race during the past forty odd years of my own social and political awareness.

Not being there, I cannot tell how many citizens are present but would encourage peace, safety and comradeship here, now and beyond. Demonstrating for something you believe in is no shame but please keep a physical distance.

From Dr Rodney’s book, I leave you with my personal perspective on why I believe, today, that black lives matter too,

“to move slowly while others leap ahead is virtually equivalent to going backward”.

Dr Walter Anthony Rodney 1942 – 1980

Don’t go backward.

Thank you all for attending and am particularly grateful to Brentford’s Sharidin Mumuni for her effort in encouraging this awareness. Have a good afternoon.

TL 28.6.2020

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Filed under Brentford, Events, Middlesex, Neighbourhoods

Adini Building, 891 Great West Road: now up for sale

891 Great West Road, Isleworth

 

Following previous meetings with residents when the company emphasised its commitment to Isleworth should its planning applications come to fruition, the building, with planning consents for both commercial and residential is up for sale, with planning permission.

From the marketing site for the Adini Building, 891 Great West Road

Asking price is £6,000,000.

 

TL 20.5.2020

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Filed under Great West Road, Middlesex, Neighbourhoods, Northumberland Estate, Planning, Wyke Green

Work commences on former petrol station site

A twelve year wait for any sustainable action on the former Syon Gate Garage site at the corner of Syon Lane and Great West Road is about to end as owners, Access Self Storage, are about to implement the permission granted by Hounslow Council Planning Committee on 2 May 2019.

The site looking south east

This will be a maximum six storey, storage only development as opposed to earlier ambitions for something more than twice the size including residential.

As with all these major schemes, permission was given subject to a fair few conditions just being finalised, including the all important to residents at least, Construction Logistics Plan. This suggests a six stage build sequence through to around September 2021 although mostly indoors and describes delivery vehicle routes (Great West Road, Syon Lane, Northumberland Avenue), hours of operation (should be, Monday to Friday 08.00 to 18.00, Saturday 0.900 to 13.00, not on Sunday or a Bank Holiday without council permission) and a fair bit more.

A contractor, Harmonix Construction, has been appointed as has a Project Manager, Troy Hunter, whose email is troy@harmonixconstruction.com and telephone is 079 3950 9552.

Artist impression looking west from Harlequin Avenue

Construction, starting with piling, should commence in mid-June 2020.

I have asked for regularly delivered bulletins for residents, the maisonettes from Northumberland Gardens to at least to Redesdale Gardens and nearby homes on Great West Road. The first issue can be found here.

Will make a change from the unauthorised site incursions experienced by residents.

Finally, the developer has advised to expect an amending planning application looking to increase the height by approximately 1.5m to address a need to increase internal floor to ceiling heights.

TL 20.5.2020

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Filed under Great West Road, Middlesex, Neighbourhoods, Northumberland Estate, Osterley, Planning, Wyke Green

Exhibition this Tuesday 18.6.2019: Revision of Osterley Station flats proposal

Transport for London’s preferred developer, Apartments for London, received a fair amount of stick when first suggesting that a development of 118 flats within up to nine storeys, in December 2018.

Residents learning more about Apartments for London latest proposals at Osterley Station

The latest idea is for 68 units within a development of three to six storeys on part of the Osterley Station Car Park. A copy of the proposal may be found here.

There will be an exhibition of the new proposal this Tuesday 18 June 2019 between 2.00 pm and 8.00 pm at the Indian Gymkhana, Thornbury Avenue, Isleworth, Middlesex, TW7 4NQ where the architects and developer will be present to explain, justify and respond to questions.

If interested, please attend to see the new scheme and make comment. As always, Osterley and Spring Grove Ward Councillors would also be interested to learn from residents what they think, too.

 

TL  17.6.2019

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Filed under Council Business, Events, Great West Road, Middlesex, Neighbourhoods, Osterley, Planning, TfL

Planning update: 481 London Road

There has been a fair amount of interest in the two planning applications for this premises.  The first alert was back in February 2019 when the former Melrose Diner externally lit plain wood effort was supplanted by a more bedazzling number to explain the replacement food concept at 481.

481 London Road, Isleworth

Residents raised this matter, particularly the conservation area planning compliance of the fascia but then on inspection the planning use class activity appeared changed from A3 (restaurant) to A5 (hot food take away).  As previously explained here, the planning acts do allow an operator or owner the opportunity to right the misdemeanour of not running with the correct permission by making a formal application within 28 days of notice being served.  Two separate applications were then lodged on 1 April 2019; an item was published here on 14 April 2019 explaining how people may comment if they wished.

As is normal with the planning process, the applications were allocated to a Hounslow Council planning officer whose role is to assess applications against the law, current local, London and national policy as well as emerging draft planning policies.

The outcome of the fascia change application was an officer delegated (did not go to Planning Committee) refusal on 25 May 2019 and the report on that decision can be found here.

There was a similar fate for the change of use class, refused on 7 June 2019 warranting a more complex analysis and interesting response, considering more recent revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework.  Read the planning officer’s report here.

Whilst permission has been refused for both applications, under the Planning Acts, the applicant does have a right for up to three months to appeal the council’s decision(s) to HM Government’s Planning Inspectorate.

The council also has scope to make early moves to enforce the refusal but even then, the applicant can still exercise their right to appeal to the Inspectorate but by taking this approach, Hounslow Council can reduce any delays.  Hounslow Council’s Head of Planning Enforcement has been written to with a request that this line be pursued.

Readers should also bear in mind that the consideration of appeals made to the Planning Inspectorate are not immediate, they can take time to commence as well as to report and all during this period, the applicant can and is likely to choose to continue to trade.

If and when an appeal date is announced, these details will be shared.

Be assured that this process will continue to be monitored by Osterley and Spring Grove Ward Councillors together with neighbours and the St Johns Residents Association as it has been thus far.

 

TL 10.6.2019

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Filed under Council Business, Health, Licensing, London Road, Middlesex, Neighbourhoods, Planning, Spring Grove