Category Archives: Planning

The 55th Mayor of the London Borough of Hounslow 2019 -2021: Tony’s Tale

The 55th and 56th Mayors of the London Borough of Hounslow

It is exactly a month since passing on the office of Mayor of the London Borough of Hounslow to my colleague, Councillor Bishnu Bahadur Gurung, a member for Hanworth Park Ward.  It is also a couple of weeks since I fulfilled an earlier request to speak at the annual general meeting of the Osterley and Wyke Green Residents Association, on the subject of, Your Councillor as Mayor.  What follows, is pretty much what I said.

“Good evening.

It’s a great pleasure to be here albeit online at the Osterley and Wyke Green Residents Association, an organisation with which I have spent a fair amount of time with when first a councillor in the 1990s and also these past seven years.

Glad you’re thriving and happy to support this continuing.

I have had an interesting and fulfilling two years as the 55th Mayor of the London Borough of Hounslow.  The capital city’s widest borough where I had the honour of wearing the current as well as historic chains one of the three different predecessor councils at each of the 340 rendezvous I was privileged to attend, almost totally within our boundary.

Although, being Mayor of this lovely borough, whatever anyone may say about its politics or sometimes less than shiny and occasional pockets of disdain, I have seen great examples of community, enthusiasm and ambition when visiting from west to east and stopping there and in between at those many engagements.

A few times, I have been asked how I became Mayor and, very recently, there have been some assumptions that I would be standing again for that office during the London Mayor and Assembly elections that took place on 6 May 2021. It doesn’t work like that, all up elections for the London Borough of Hounslow are scheduled for 5 May 2022.

Common with other councils who have a mayor, it is mostly the prerogative of the Majority Group, running the council, to choose from among their selves who the first citizen should be.

I did fancy the role, and made it known that I should like to give it a go and received the support of most (although not all) of my Labour administration colleagues.

My first appearance in mayoral finery, May 2019

Formally nominated and seconded by my friends Councillor Guy Lambert and Councillor Unsa Chaudri, I became the 55th Mayor on 21 May 2019, the first to be inaugurated in the new Hounslow House at a ceremony attended by family, friends, councillors, bigwigs and representatives of the two charities I picked to support and raise awareness and funds for.

I chose a couple of worthy and local charities: Hounslow Seniors Trust and Our Barn Community.

I have supported the development of Our Barn Community since 2014 when I first encountered organisers and participants tending the allotments at Osterley Park and later supported their acquisition of a building there.  At this and other locations, Our Barn deliver activities for people aged 16 and over particularly with autism type diagnoses mainly but not exclusively in sports and other team work which lead to skills for work and life.

As Mayor, I adopted Our Barn Community to help acquire additional equipment for their Buddy Bike project also located in Osterley Park.  The aim was to raise money to at least purchase a Velo Plus bike that is built to carry a wheel chair and also a hand trike.

The Our Barn HQ, Jubilee Lodge in Osterley Park

I was also due to reach the tragic age of sixty that year so decided to support another active local charity, the Hounslow Seniors Trust, to help enhance practical and intergenerational arts, sports, dance and cultural events from West to East.  This charity, run by its borough resident participants, have been delivering the Older People’s Festival since the summer of 1993 and I wanted the Mayor’s Fund to support additional activities at other times of the year.

Having been around enough, familiar with local government and how it operates, I felt pretty comfortable with what I could and could not do.

Unsurprisingly, there were a handful of detractors.  Having taken on the role, I had the odd colleague comrade attempting to compound that they always know better by trying to call the shots.  The Mayor is meant to be separate from the leadership.

One or two other councillors who ought to have known or should have learned to be better would often childishly try it on at one or another of the thirteen the full Borough Council meetings chaired by the Mayor.

It’s spelt Osterley and Homebase is in Isleworth

I was, following the July 2020 planning presentation meeting on the Tesco Homebase proposal, the subject of a formal complaint to the council’s Chief Executive by a Hanworth resident and their out of borough sidekick.  A couple of white men were upset that I said that the Berkeley Homes brochure for the proposed developed appeared racist.  I felt that the publication was aimed more at overseas investors and said so; its illustrations did not reflect the real diversity of the area (nor, it subsequently worked out, the developer’s true ambitions).  Following a time wasting inquiry by an external investigator, I was exonerated.

With Councillor Collins and LBH staff leaving the Mayor of the City of London’s Civic Service at St Pauls Cathedral

Having kept to my word of avoiding a chauffer driven limo, I used the cab account on two or three occasions with the furthest journey to a civic service at St Pauls Cathedral with Councillor Mel Collins who tends to get rowdy when using the Central Line.

With the hybrid Zipcar and the Mayor of London at St Marys School Chiswick

Other out of borough visits only extended as far as Ealing, Brent, Hammersmith and Fulham and Richmond Upon Thames as the guest of their Mayors.  At each, and every other function, I availed myself of the Zipcars located at the council offices, my own 1980 Ford, public transport or on foot.

With Sergiy Diduk Vicar of All Saints Church Hanworth and members of the National Association of Blood Bikes at the Ace Cafe Stonebridge

Due to circumstances, I and some of my counterparts had the unique honour of maintaining the Mayoralty for an additional year, offering the rare experience of insight, knowledge of process and the confidence to deliver this favoured position.

Unfortunately, however, the opportunity to extend was borne of the health disaster affecting so many of our compatriots as victims but also as saviours and supporters of our fellow citizens.

The pomp of office has been nothing compared to the sacrifices made by the borough’s key workers in health, emergency services, refuse collection, road maintenance, public transport, education, carers at home, carers in other settings, parks maintenance, public protection, child and family protection.

The innovation, effort and effectiveness of ordinary citizens, some already retired, others cruelly discarded, many just wanting to do something to help relieve the non health impacts on families, lonely neighbours, those homeless.

Not even a third of the foodbank stock at St Pauls Church Hounslow West

Already addressing hunger, poverty and other impacts of austerity, the humbling by food banks, impromptu open kitchens and the establishment of new charitable enterprises by (extra)ordinary people turned what could have otherwise been a disaster into an example of unrealised humanity.  I was privileged to meet the good people of the Chiswick 7th Day Adventist Church Foodbank, Feltham Foodbank, St Pauls Hounslow West Foodbank and the Brooks of Life Foodbank as well as those stalwarts running and volunteering for the Open Kitchen on Jersey Parade.

Fed well by the Millan Women’s Group at Isleworth Public Hall

I won’t be there to see it in the same way but I look forward to learning that the good and generous ladies of the Millan Women’s Group, the 55th Mayor’s first event, who meet at Isleworth Public Hall, will reconvene.  Theirs was my first community event and unexpected but impromptu cash collection, the almost literal widow’s mite.  The Singing for the Brain folk of St Mary’s Osterley will be back in fine voice.  The volunteers and supporters of Chiswick Age Concern will be putting on another Christmas dinner for the 80 or so older members there in Oxford Road North.  The borough’s firefighters may even deliver another one of their non stop runs to raise money for emergency service charities as they did last summer at Feltham Fire Station, organised by Isleworth’s then station officer, Lucy McLeod-Cook.  All events that I had the honour to be invited to and attend.

Birthday cake at the Osterley Lions Carers Event, Indian Gymkhana June 2019

During the Mayoralty I was honoured to celebrated my birthday on event days, with cake on each occasion.  The day of my 60th in 2019, a Saturday and prior to a family celebration, coincided with an official engagement with the Osterley Lions who arranged the carers’ thank you at the Indian Gymkhana.  Downhill from there for the 61st with residents and staff at Atfield House, St Johns Road.

Gifting geraniums at Atfield House, St Johns Road June 2020

I went there to Gift a Geranium, a way to help recognise the importance of care settings not just during Covid but throughout the year.

There is plenty more to follow up with that initiative so that we, as a community, can better appreciate carers wherever they deliver a service.

About to sling the Ivybridge School Council out of Hounslow House, too clever by half

I was most chuffed to have spent time with schoolchildren in the borough.  Highlights included, an in tune performance of Aladdin by the Drama Club at Oak Hill Academy Feltham was particularly impressive.  There were great discussions on separate occasions with the School Councils of Grove Park Chiswick and Orchard Road Hounslow at theirs and Ivybridge Primary in the Mayor’s Parlour.

The 55th Mayor with members of the Victoria Road School Gardening Club, Mr Rob Antill and other Feltham in Bloomers

I helped honour the Feltham winners of the London In Bloom Competition as the guest of the Victoria Road School Gardening Club.

2019 Christmas card – Waterclour pencils and gouache by Stefania Pantaza of Kingsley Academy

Thanking, again, the young artists and staff from both Kingsley Academy and Bolder Academy Schools for offering me choices for the Mayoral Christmas cards for both 2019 and 2020.

With the borough’s RBL branches representatives and Deputy Lieutenant, Mr Paul Kennerley at Hounslow House

I helped support, along with the borough’s Royal British Legion branches and the Greater London Deputy Lieutenant, plan two years of commemorations at the ten local war memorials.

The accomplished Mrs Vera Ward and me at her 103rd birthday celebration in 2019

Time, tonight, prevents me from elaborating on the many Centenarian plus birthdays I attended, such as the celebration for 103 years old Vera Ward.  Mrs Ward, who in the early 1980s, came out of nursing retirement first to work with refugee Vietnamese Boat people at Campion House and to later care for sufferers of AIDS at West Middlesex Hospital.

At the Hounslow borough Kids in Care Awards with my minder for the night

Or the Mayor’s numerous community events, connections with the borough attractions such as Kempton and Brentford steam museums, Chiswick House and Gardens (where I remain a trustee)the Musical Museum, Watermans Christmas Light Parade, Jack and the Beanstalk at the Paul Robeson, the classic car show at Hanworth where I chose the worthy 1960 Mini as winner, being very well looked after at the properly choreographed Kids in Care Awards, apple tree planting (a Feltham Beauty) at Gunnersbury, Rotary London Music Concert at the Royal Festival Hall, various Jack Petchey events for young People.  Plenty, plenty, plenty more, I’ll produce a list another time.

With Deputy Mayor Councillor Raghwinder Siddhu

I had a great comrade and colleague, Councillor for Bedfont Ward, Raghwinder Siddhu who as Deputy Mayor gave unstinting support, filling the voids and standing in when I could not attend events and a lovely Mayoress, Talia Louki.

I feel that I can also say that my residents of Osterley and Spring Grove Ward were not neglected.  I maintained my casework and ward walks reporting the various environmental nonsense and trying to keep it at a low level.  I still responded to residents’ requests for advice and assistance, attended the Ward Police Safer Neighbourhood Panel, Friends of Jersey Gardens, Friends of Thornbury Park, the OWGRA, Spring Grove and St Johns Residents associations meetings among others.

That’s about it.  Happy to take questions and also catch up with more of you in person before too long.

I am still around and will continue to try to represent.

Thank you.”

TL 4.6.2021

© Tony Louki 2021 – No reproduction without permission

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Filed under Council Business, Events, Middlesex, Neighbourhoods, Osterley, Parks, Planning, RAs, Schools, Spring Grove, Thornbury Park, West Middlesex Hospital

Planning application 00819/B/COM1: Telecommunication equipment at Northumberland Avenue

A planning application has been submitted on behalf of Hutchinson 3G UK Limited to erect a 20 metres (65 feet) tall telecommunications pole and associated infrastructure of four varied size cabinets otside the rear garden wall of 27 Roxborough Avenue, Isleworth.

Proposed location of telecoms pole and four cabinets at Northumberland Avenue to the rear of 27 Roxborough Avenue

Residents are invited to examine the proposal; all the application drawings can be found here.

Proposed telecoms kit at Northumberland Avenue includes a Huawei APM 5930 equipment cabinet

Directed by the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, local authority powers are limited on these specific matters apart, mainly, from the visual intrusions and their impacts on the character of an area.

Pole on Great West Road opposite Ridgeway Road

Government policy, passed down to planning authorities practically encourages collaboration to support the installation of new technologies.

Following that directive, Hounslow Council’s own policy, supported within the Hounslow Local Plan 2015 to 2030 (Policy EC4, page 225), also describes its approach on infrastructure for high speed broadband and telecommunications.  This does not, however, necessarily mean that all applications of this kind are approved.

Telecommunication utility cabinets on Great West Road are a magnet for graffiti, never addressed by their operator.

Residents opposing would be advised to respond at least for those reasons rather than on health grounds which, as things stand, would not be a planning consideration in this context. Neither would citing any impacts of radio waves nor perceived present or future skulduggery of foreign governments.

Pole on Great West Road from Jersey Gardens

Some folk on social media have recently been saying there is no point in making any comments because applications like these always receive permission; not so.

Three recent applications to install new equipment at locations on Great West Road, two in this Ward, were refused planning permission because of their potential visual impact on the character of the area and these are listed below.

Summaries of these applications are shown below but more detail can be found via this link using the location postcode or P reference numbers.

P/2019/2703  Great West Road opposite Ridgeway Road  – Installation of a 20-metre monopole mast, twelve aperture antennas and equipment cabinets, following removal of the existing 14.7-metre monopole, three aperture antennas, redundant equipment cabinets and ancillary development. Refused Planning Permission 17/09/2019

P/2019/1582  Great West Road opposite Penwerris Avenue and West Court –  Prior notification regarding Installation of 17.5m high monopole with 3 no. antenna within upper section of shroud. Proposed 2 no. radio cabinets and 1 no. electrical meter cabinet to be located at ground level along with ancillary development.  Refused 12/06/2019

P/2018/3235  Great West Road corner of Vicarage Farm Road –  Installation of a 15m monopole with three antenna which includes the replacement of one existing cabinet, installation of three equipment cabinets and development ancillary thereto with one equipment cabinet to be removed.  Refused 11/10/2018.

Happy to receive questions from residents of Osterley and Spring Grove Ward.

This is my own brief submission to the planners; to comment yourselves, please write to planning.comments@hounslow.gov.uk

TL 19.7.2020

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Filed under Great West Road, Health, Middlesex, Neighbourhoods, Northumberland Estate, Osterley, Planning, Spring Grove, TfL

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