Monthly Archives: August 2017
I am one of sixty councillors in the London Borough of Hounslow a place with an environment as diverse as its population. Attempting to represent residents of Osterley and Spring Grove, the largest, greenest and, obviously, best of the twenty Wards, a fair bit of correspondence of a certain type is received. Colleagues elsewhere for example, get calls for help from their constituents on council housing matters (there are fewer than 50 Hounslow Council managed properties here) and serious anti social behaviour (more likely to be street drinkers here).
Being what it is, the Ward is fortunate to be the home of many caring residents who, whether individually or together in active residents associations, streets and parks groups, highlight issues for resolution with the council and its contractors. These people, often unsung, make a great difference to the quality of life of others in the neighbourhoods that I am proud to try to act for and help me in the work that I do.
My enquiries tend to be on parking, planning, potholes, pavements and a fair bit on flytipping together with other environmental issues such as litter, trees and the occasional neither clever nor funny graffiti.
This Sunday morning, I spent some time compiling another response to a constituent with whom I have had dialogue these past six weeks to resolve waste storage issues at a block near their home in Spring Grove. They also wanted to be provided, “with some indication about how important the council view [flytipping] and how likely it is that the issue I have voiced concerns about will be resolved.”
I thought it should be shared as an example of the type of stuff I do but also by way of explaining how, in these unnecessarily austere times where government grant to Hounslow has been cut by 60%, residents can assist in reporting anti social acts manifesting near our doorsteps. Some detail has been removed to help anonimise and adjustments made for publishing here.
Good afternoon Resident, thank you for your email.
Sadly, nowhere in Hounslow, let alone the rest of the UK is immune from flytipping so it would not be correct to associate the dumping against your side wall with the other issue of waste storage issues at the neighbouring block.
I have in the past three years, personally noted and reported similar occasional and opportunist events in your neighbourhood to Hounslow Highways via its online portal and encourage others to do so too. Using your photograph, I did the same in your name for the incident you informed me of and have attached the online receipt; you should have also received an acknowledgement via email, please check your junk mail should this not be immediately apparent.
The council’s contractor for flytipping on pavements, among other services, is Hounslow Highways and they are usually very efficient in collecting once reported online. Here is a chart that appeared in Hounslow Matters last year, showing residents who to contact and how for environmental misdemeanours which you may find useful.
The last issue (Summer 2017) also reported on enforcement [above] and this article also describes a recent intervention.
Another example of the council’s activity is shown above and explains how a resident’s CCTV camera captured someone dumping fridges elsewhere in Osterley and Spring Grove Ward from which the council’s enforcement team was able to identify, locate and fine the (Ilford, Essex based) owner of the van by its registration plates.
I do not have details of all prosecutions but from what has been provided here, I can assure you that Hounslow Council believe that these matters are important and pursue when there is evidence to show who the perpetrators are.
With regards to the waste issues at your neighbouring block, I am advised by the council’s waste and recycling officers that this continues to be pursued with the block’s managing agents to whom the offer of bulk refuse containers to replace individual sacks has been made and a response awaited.
I share your and other residents’ concerns in these matters and hope that I can assure you that they are never ignored. Obviously, as its councillor, I think that Osterley and Spring Grove is the most important (it’s also the largest) of the twenty Wards in the borough and do what I can to support and improve its environment. I also encourage and try to clarify to its residents how to do the same so welcome your contact as an opportunity to explain how people can perhaps emulate.
As always, am happy to maintain contact and update you on progress.
Tony Louki, Labour Party Councillor Osterley & Spring Grove Ward
Not remotely close to the Camden Town earthquake described by Charles Dickens in Dombey and Son but one way or another, the rumblings caused by the coming of the schools to Osterley continue to be felt.
The latest wee spat is the yellow lining debacle of Wood Lane, more on that in a bit but first some reminding context.
The Mary McCleod Memorial Academy on Wood Lane is now up and being clad, due to open in a year’s time.
Digging on another part of the site for the £9 million minority sports complex has, these past days, literally caused a stink and rumours of more gruesome finds to add to the earlier commotion caused by the removal of ancient hedgerow and trees on Syon Lane.
A couple of weeks ago, approval was given to what someone described as a “delightful” looking building but what many would confirm as another bland box to become the Bolder (might as well call it the Bona) Academy. Why not pay homage to its location? Doesn’t Osterley deserve a name check with all that has been foisted?
Very few people have difficulty in accepting the new Osterley Comprehensive locating on the former United Biscuits sports ground on Macfarlane Lane; hardly touching the green stuff. Uniquely, in these parts, it will not select pupils based on religions, will accept from both gender and likely not to live as far away as those attending St Mary’s.
With some major planning applications, plenty expertise is often developed by ordinary people who at some point are likely to be affected by the ultimate decision. One common thread in all these (costly) free school applications is how the pupils will be delivered and despatched either side of the school day. The key theme in scrutiny of recent and upcoming (Green School for Boys) planning were and will be traffic impacts and should another school receive approval, there will be five schools, each with over 1,000 students within a mile and a half radius of each other.
The problem that is most likely to occur before very long is that with a local public transport accessibility level of almost zero, there will be more than a temptation to bring children to the schools by car via the already congested Syon Lane and Gillette Corner.
In planning terms there’s always mitigation, soft in most cases. School travel plans are often cited as a salve but as can be seen from the June 2017 Nishkam School West London Travel Plan, 75% of their scholars are taken by car. Travel plans often look good on paper, not able to foresee the future but appear to tick planning boxes. In reality, there is no substitute for spending money on infrastructure but this has been scant in Osterley despite the recent demands for its open space.
When the Bolder omies punted their building proposals at the Osterley and Wyke Green Residents Association’s open meeting in December 2016, attended by the leader of the council and the head of planning, a second route from Harlequin Avenue via Great West Road was included, understood and appreciated. Despite later citing Grant Way, by the time it hit planning, the only access to the school site would be from Macfarlane Lane via the already and soon to be more strained Syon Lane. The scheme’s architect gave a less than convincing and more than half assed reason as to why the much diminished route would be optimal.
So, what about the Wood Lane yellow lines that appeared with no warning on 4 August 2017? It. Was. Not. Hounslow. Council.
The pooch was actually screwed by the government quango, the Education and Skills Funding Agency contractor, BAM and installed without any local arrangement or discussion with the council. After the event, BAM’s Nishkam School project manager wrote, “I’m sorry for the trouble this has caused you and hopefully it can be fully resolved through the consultation” or in other words, “we messed up, you sort it out”.
The council’s traffic team were prepared to consult on yellow lines for Wood Lane largely due to recent haphazard parking on this narrow width and paved road, reported by residents but BAM stole their bluster.
Proper consultation will shortly take place on this proposal and until this is complete [to avoid damage to the road] the lines will not be touched but neither will they be enforceable. Residents are encouraged to respond and alternative suggestions will be considered.
More than a year on the stocks and eight months since a formal proposal to build a 14 storey block on the corner of Syon Lane and Great West Road, Hounslow Council’s planners have finally turned down the application.
During 2016, the applicant’s agent hosted a number of exhibitions but declined to arrange, present and explain the concept and plans at a public meeting.
Following the submission of a formal planning application on 5 January 2017, I arranged a meeting at St Francis of Assisi Church Hall later that month. More than 120 residents, Hounslow Council planners and councillors but not the applicants or their agent attended the event. The occasion was previously reported here.
The application was refused for a number of reasons when assessed against current Hounslow, London and national planning policies including its impact on neighbouring properties and the setting of listed buildings as well as the lack of affordable housing. There were more than 80 objections to the proposal.
Full details are in the planning officer’s report here and formal decision letter to the applicant here. Should the applicant decide to exercise their right to appeal this outcome it must be done by 11 February 2018.
The site has permission to be used as a car park until 30 September 2017.