Category Archives: Reports

TW3.01 – Tales of the not unexpected

A couple of weeks ago when the Chair of Hounslow Council’s Labour Group released a statement on violence against residents in East Jerusalem, one correspondent on social media asked whether councillors didn’t have any local work to address.

A colleague, Councillor Salman Shaheen responded with a whole rake of items that he had been working on for his residents.  Salman’s retort prompted me to sincerely flatter the comrade from neighbouring Isleworth Ward.

I’m no David Frost, neither can I sing it like Millicent Martin let alone want to like Lance Percival, but here are some highlights from That Was The Week That Was from the currently longest serving councillor for Osterley and Spring Grove Ward.  Fresh out of the 55th Mayoralty, allow me to explain.

Sunday 16.5.2021

A more than an occasional issue at the wee Tesco on Spring Grove Road where delivery cages take up pavement space for often beyond the visit of the big trucks.  Particularly tiresome this time was the storing of these contraptions right up against one of the newly planted liquidambar styraciflua Worplesdon or Sweetgum trees.  This was reported to Hounslow Highways for enforcement via Fix My Street and am assured that this will not happen again … .

Illegally placed Tesco delivery cages endangering newly planted street trees

The Thornbury, London and Spring Grove Roads Triangle had been a badly regulated domestic and fly tipping hotspot for a long time before 2014.  Premises above shops were once accommodation for the family or staff running a business below but for many years the space has been sub divided and often short term tenanted.  This creates problems for household waste storage leading to outdoor mess.  The council’s recycling and waste team issue purple bags for waste from flats above shops and have placed a number of coffers at close proximity for their containment until twice weekly removal.  An improvement but mainly black bags still get dumped on pavements, added to by casual or opportunistic fly tippers; I always report this stuff to Hounslow Highways for removal via Fix My Street.  Occasional placement of cctv cameras does help identify perpetrators who are pursued and fined by the council.

One of many perps caught flytipping on Thornbury via Hounslow Council cctv and subsequently fined

Monday 17.5.2021

Visited Our Barn at Jubilee Lodge in Osterley Park to drop of some items commissioned for them to sell on behalf of the two charities (Our Barn and Hounslow Seniors Trust) chosen to profile and fundraise for when I was the 55th Mayor.  Their garden is looking lovely because members of the community have been busy maintaining it throughout and I got given rhubarb that day.

One of the many raised beds at Jubilee Lodge and source of my rhubarb gift

Following an earlier shout, was at Oaklands Avenue, within the Osterley Park Conservation Area.  Calling on neighbours either side who are concerned that improvement works next door had dragged for more than two years and not entirely as permitted.  The additional impacts of having an empty and unfinished house close by including rodent attraction, disconnected drainage and other fails in the property were getting them down.  A member of the council’s planning enforcement team is pursuing the owner to regularise and is already communicating with residents.

Messy and unfinished ‘improvement’ works at Oaklands Avenue

On Syon Lane with contractors, Hounslow Council and Hounslow Highways back in December 2020, I noted that a pedestrian crossing included as a traffic condition for the Bolder Academy planning permission was missing and suggesting that it was dropped.  No way Joseph! Happy that it was added in April for safe pedestrian access although it seems that the solar powered Belisha beacons require sunshine, reported but with the proviso that no trees are damaged in order to facilitate.

The nearly uninstalled zebra crossing on Syon Lane

Wednesday 19.5.2021

I was the guest speaker at the annual general meeting Osterley and Wyke Green Residents Association talking about my time as the rollover Mayor of the London Borough of Hounslow.  Tales of two years, some of the 340 events attended, 13 Borough Council meetings chaired, two Remembrance Sundays each at 10 war memorials, still making time to do casework and to try to represent my residents.  It was also a good reminder of the longevity of OWGRA with which I first developed a relationship during earlier planning events on the then United Biscuits site as well as working together on nonsense ambitions for other land in the Ward.

Thursday 20.5.2021

An alert of potential incursions in the Ward got me down to Wyke Green where I examined the integrity of the posts and padlocks surrounding the space, took pictures and reported to the council’s parks people and Ward Police team.  Osterley and Spring Grove Police Safer Neighbourhood Team were on duty, Saturday night, responding to my request to go look and discuss with the neighbour who raised it with me.

One of a few gaps potentially allowing vehicles on to Wyke Green

Friday 21.5.2021

A flurry of discourse on a social media site that will not be named resulted in a few visits and chats with residents the previous week with copious amounts of pictures taken, reports made to Hounslow Highways via Fix My Street and emails to the Director of Environmental Services.  The director, Mr Wayne Stephenson, already familiar with the issues rendezvoused for a whistle stop to locations from the Northumberland to Thornbury Road.

We met at Albury Avenue and on behalf of colleague Councillor Unsa Chaudri, who is currently engaged with residents on the state of pavements there.  The footways, a victim of pavement parking but moreso HGVs and skip lorries delivering on this narrow crescent these past 30+ years, will be focussed on as a result.

A drive in my motor via College Road to show Mr Stephenson the loss of integrity of half its 1992 vintage speed tables since a new road coating a couple of years ago; raised by a resident who scientifically measured and compared the differences.  On the ones affected by resurfacing, the current and previous speed limits were easily busted, the matter is, therefore, still live.

On to Borough Road where the previous week, more pictures of marked and unmarked road and pavement defects had been submitted after residents had been in touch.  I had visited in response to folk writing, some had been fixed but wanted to show the general state before a proper response from council officers managing the Hounslow Highways contract.

There are pictures of Borough Road surfaces but here’s an in situ and locally made gully grate there.

Quick visits over at Thornbury Avenue and The Grove to look at other surfaces reported and then to Weston Gardens, a cul de sac with a dozen properties and equal number of defects.  I had found with St Mary’s Crescent that the more a road’s potholes are reported and fixed, the further down the list a road goes for complete resurfacing; done now but it took five years since the first promise.  I introduced Wayne Stephenson to my resident contact there and agreed that while the space currently appears messy, Weston Gardens is very likely to get the full treatment soon, what little pavement and carriageway it actually has.

Messrs Atar and Stephenson at Weston Gardens, laughing at me

Our last stop was at Banksian Walk, part of the former carriageway to Spring Grove House, nicely planted with an avenue of yews but currently suffering ivy creep over neighbouring boundaries and the resident had been in touch.  Mr S agreed, more pictures taken and submitted with a service request to Hounslow Highways to manage the landscape plus one other to remove some graffiti on the wall there.

Ivy clad yew on Banksian Walk

Saturday 22.5.2021

Sidmouth Avenue and Crawford Close, near where Thornbury Park meets the railway and a neighbourhood that has sought council support for their projects and ambitions since 2014; residents, naturally, receive my assistance.  Excepting 2020, Saturday’s was the sixth annual neighbourhood tidy up and in seven years we’ve gone from a beyond brim skip to just 15 or so sacks of picked including from beyond these two roads, no longer any long term fly tips.

Skip being taken away from Crawford Close after the first community clear up back in 2014

On the way home via Kilberry Close to check, on Councillor Chaudri’s behalf, the occasionally abused estate based recycling facility there where the council’s Recycling and Enforcement Teams have been making efforts to “educate” and “encourage” residents and managing agents alike.  It’s Unsa’s case so I took pictures for her to share with the council teams.

This is a private site at Kilberry Close where LBH teams are encouraging owners to clear

Tuesday 25 May 2021

There.  Done for now.  Plenty more not to bore readers with but will be back with TW3.02 before too long.  I will, naturally, welcome comments from Osterley and Spring Grove residents.

TL 25.5.2021

© Tony Louki 2021 – No reproduction of any part without permission

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Filed under College Road, Hounslow Highways, Leisure, Middlesex, Neighbourhoods, Osterley, Parks, RAs, Reports, Road works, Roads, Schools, Spring Grove, Thornbury Park, Thornbury Road, Traffic, Wyke Green

A letter to my constituents: 4 years in and still so much to do

Good morning

I hope you don’t mind my writing to you, just a few hours before the polls open but it has been a hectic few days and I am a little behind, a bit of casework outstanding too.

I think that we have been in touch before either via Councillor casework, a meeting I have held to discuss one of the planning applications, the London Road, our train stations or a traffic matter; along with others, you may have petitioned me. I might have knocked on your door whilst out campaigning or checking on local issues with Ruth Cadbury MP.  You may have seen what I do or found out what interests me from my Tweets or read the odd item here on my sometimes neglected website.

Moving to Isleworth the day after the storm of October 1987. Linkfield, Parkwood and now living on London Road. I did a couple of stints as councillor for Isleworth North in the 1990s, battling Tesco and the Earl over their development ambitions even doing the same with my then council comrades and our Chief Executive, the then plain Bob Kerslake, over the rebuilding of Marlborough School.  As a councillor since, I have met many of you and worked in all neighbourhoods to address residents’ issues and concerns; have even caught up with some old faces from back in the day.

It has be a great pleasure to have been your, the only, Labour Councillor for Osterley and Spring Grove Ward, these past four years. Not only have I tried to represent the largest and still greenest ward in Hounslow but I have succeeded, I think, in bringing people together to work on interests common in their neighbourhoods.

March 2017: Crawford Sidmouth Clean Up III

One of my proudest is, after having been invited to join a local environmental clean up in October 2014, was to support and encourage the residents of Crawford Close and Sidmouth Avenue in an ambition to pave and light a muddy but well used route to Isleworth Station. Three years and two clean ups later, works have started and a proper residents association has taken off. Funds for this came from the section 106 developer money I jad bid for.

Thornbury Park, Isleworth

Another success is, after many years of disinterest by the previous, Conservative, councillors, we have begun to improve Thornbury Park with the support of an enthusiastic Friends Group not to mention £80,000 of funds secured from the council. In 2015, the same amount was accessed for long overdue improvements to Jersey Gardens and the end result was the award of its Green Flag last year.

Another early achievement was to set up the Osterley Sports Network where I brought together Osterley and Spring Grove’s numerous sports clubs and grounds, schools, council and external funders to work together to promote their facilities, healthy pursuits and memberships.

January 2016: Former Borough Road College lighting not serviced for 10+ years until I was approached by residents for support and a long search to find out who should fix (was not LBH)

I could also go into detail about the number of flytips I have seen and reported, potholes I’ve requested to be fixed, graffiti removed, abandoned vehicles taken away and the rest of the environmental atrocities but this is bread and butter stuff. I would prefer, and I have encouraged, residents to do so their selves.

The reason I highlight these few accomplishments is that after over 25 years of Conservative councillors here in Osterley and Spring Grove, I have started to reverse their possibly preferred neglect of our neighbourhoods. I say that because it is easy to ignore and, not report and let any mess prevail in order to blame the rival political party in power.  That way, when it’s election time, all you have to do is accuse carelessness in order to get the votes.

May 2014: Neglected Jersey Gardens space left after gate stolen at St Mary’s Crescent now fixed following my bid for resources

That modus operandi does not and should not work anymore. You get elected, you embrace the role, you see something broken so do your best to fix it or refer it to someone who can.  No denying, Osterley and Spring Grove Ward, is  improved and  better cohesive because the people here have had a working and commited Labour councillor with no hidden agenda.

Former Telephone Repeater building on footpath to Osterley Station: owner pursued and fined under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Recently cleared of “squatters” following continued Hounslow Council enforcement.

From day one, I picked up and resolved long term issues that previous Conservative councillors either ignored or didn’t (and still don’t) follow through on, such as,

  • prosecution of the owner of the troublesome illegal dwelling on Spencer Road footpath
  • clearing and fencing of the Earl of Jersey’s notorious dump on Braybourne Drive
  • removal of trade waste bins from Clifton Road and a clean up behind the London Road shops, making this almost flytip free
  • securing cash to create safe routes and access to Isleworth and Syon Lane Stations
  • chasing Hounslow Highways and successfully reducing its backlog of repairs across the ward.

January 2015: Bins at Clifton Road

In short, I have worked hard with residents, the council, police and other local partners to reverse Conservative neglect and disinterest to make sure we have a ward we can all be proud of. I want to continue this, and I hope to do so with two more Labour councillors who can support us with this goal.

This is what I have been doing since May 2014 and should like to do it again but with a full team of doers, alongside Labour Party candidates Unsa Chaudri and Richard Eason. These two are energetic, enthusiastic, bright and waiting to get started. I would even go as far to say that they are twice as good as me.

Tony Louki, Richard Eason and Unsa Chaudri at Spencer Road recently

You have a choice to make. You will decide who will be your Osterley and Spring Grove ward councillors for the next four years. You can vote for three Labour councillors who will be hardworking and committed to ensuring that your voice is heard in the council.

  • Unsa works in developing community services in local government, as a previous candidate in Osterley and Spring Grove, she brings a wealth of experience working within the local community. Unsa serves as a governor for two local schools.
  • Richard is an experienced finance and projects professional who has spent the past decade championing community and voluntary sector activity and involvement.

Nationally, the headlines each day show just how big a mess the Conservatives are making in Government and their only ambition is to save their own positions.

Locally, Labour are getting on with running the Council, making steady improvements despite huge cuts in funding from the Government. The contrast between us could not be more stark.

The developer of new homes on London Road agreed to my request that the location be called Samuelson Place after the founder of Worton Studios and the blocks after directors who filmed there

With your support, Labour will continue to invest in improving services for residents. I’ve been working hard to do just that for the past four years. Unlike the two Conservatives I have just shared my term with, I bid for, and won, an additional £470,000 cash for the ward, for its parks, for improving amenity areas, for heritage, including the area’s film legacy, and for the Borough Road War Memorial. With a full team of three Labour councillors in Osterley and Spring Grove we would do so much more.

Osterley Library opened by past Labour strongman Alf King 52 years ago. Still operating despite the almost ritual quadrennial scaring and government austerity funding cuts

We will be able to,

  • continue the work begun to improve our parks and playgrounds
  • maintain Osterley Library, it will stay open, the Conservatives’ closure scares is a 30 year old broken record they have played at the last 8 council elections
  • work with and promote our local sports facilities
  • maintain pressure on Transport for London to improve the condition of the Great West Road, its pavements, cycle lanes and make safe the junctions at Gillette Corner, Wood Lane and Thornbury Road
  • keep pressing South Western Railway to improve the trains service and stations at Isleworth and Syon Lane.

Jan 2018: With OSG Dedicated Ward Officer PC Carl Scully noting another find of spent nitrous oxide charges

We will always support and campaign for more police; there were six looking after us here in 2014, now we’re down to just three officers; sadly, the Met has suffered swingeing austerity cuts too.

This election is important, in 2014 residents took a chance on me and I do not think I have let you down.

Tomorrow, I hope you will, even if you have never supported Labour before, lend your three votes to support my team, so we can fully maximise the service our neighbourhoods get from Hounslow’s Labour Council. If by 2022, we have let you and the Ward down, you can have them back but as many have been saying about me, so far so good.

Thank you

Tony Louki

Labour Party Councillor for Osterley and Spring Grove Ward

 Vote from 7.00 am to 10.00 pm and if you have not yet completed your postal vote, please do so and deliver it to any of the polling stations in the London Borough of Hounslow.

 Hounslow’s votes will be counted at Hounslow Civic Centre from 10.00 am on Friday

TL 3.5.2018

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Filed under Council Business, Education, Events, Great West Road, Hounslow Highways, Housing, Leisure, Licensing, London Road, Middlesex, Neighbourhoods, Northumberland Estate, Reports, Roads, Spring Grove, Thornbury Park

Notes on a Conservative leaflet

Am grateful that while Unsa, Richard, our supporters and I have been talking to Osterley and Spring Grove residents at their doorsteps, one of our people has sat down and attempted to analyse the latest Conservative Party leaflet that started doing the rounds last week.

It’s a folded A3 colour sheet with a combination of local pictures and a few from internet stock. You do not need to have it in front of you to match what you read but please drop me a line for a copy if you live in the Ward and I’ll email one.

The supporter has written this in sequence and uses the word Tory or Tories, I prefer Conservative because that better describes a more narrow view on matters.

Here goes:

1: A new deal for Osterley and Spring Grove

  1. It is claimed that the Tories would “vastly improve” local services. Easily said. The deep cut by the government to the Council budget (now over £70m per year on the 2014 grant, and another £20m on the way) is not mentioned. There is no costing anywhere in the leaflet. The claims are hollow.
  2. The leaflet speaks of a Tory “master plan” for the area. Where is it? We have never heard of such a plan and, frankly, doubt that it exists.
  3. The Tories promise better roads, parks, libraries, youth services and waste collection without a costing in sight. This is to take the public for fools, expecting us to respond to any promises without asking any questions about how they will be paid for.
  4. They promise to end “waste and overspending” but give no idea of the scale or nature of the alleged overspending.
  5. They promise to “massively improve air quality” without a hint as to how this would be achieved.
  6. They promise an accessible Council which will listen and respond. Councillor Louki has been fulfilling that role as many residents are aware. It is one thing to moan and another to get things done.
  7. Councillor Sheila O’Reilly claims that for 46 of the last 50 years Labour has allowed the borough to fall into disrepair. A look around Osterley and Spring Grove makes it difficult to understand her claim. (The picture of The Grove in the leaflet shows anything but decay. It looks very pleasant.)
  8. The leaflet mentions a Tory Plan to revive the borough. Where is it? Why do they not give a link to it so that people can judge for themselves?

2: Wipe out waste

It is claimed that Tory financial management would save “millions”. How many millions? How it would be done? How does it compare to the £70m of government cuts the borough has endured?

It is claimed that the £28 million on a new waste and recycling centre has been entirely wasted but no argument is made to justify this claim. As the new service develops we think that residents will see for themselves how vacuous this claim is.

3: Fix the potholes

Hounslow’s streets are maintained under a PFI initiative instigated by the last Tory Council. It was negotiated to run for 25 years and leaves little room for the Council to determine matters. What are the Tories proposing in terms of a renegotiation of the contract? We are not told. Maneesh Singh says that a Tory council would “free up the money” to fix the potholes but he doesn’t tell us where it would be freed up from. The contractor fills and repairs potholes because Councillor Tony Louki reports them regularly, the Tories made just 23 such requests to Hounslow Highways in 2014 to 2017, only three of these in this ward.

4: A new deal for council services

This section repeats the extravagant claims of Section 1 (above) without a hint of costing in sight. This is to assume that residents can be satisfied with political fairy tales rather than grappling with the real problems.

5: Keep Osterley and Spring Grove special

The Tory candidates say that they will look after the special character of Osterley and Spring Grove which has been “forgotten by Hounslow Council for decades”. You wouldn’t guess from this that the Osterley Park conservation area was designated by the Council in 1998, the Spring Grove conservation area in 2001. You wouldn’t guess either that the Council has set up a new and enthusiastic conservation team which is currently reviewing the conservation areas and is doing so in consultation with residents.

The Tory candidates also say that they would work with police and residents to deal with problems of anti-social behaviour but say nothing of the problems of the massive reduction in police personnel and resources due to Conservative government cuts since 2010.

5: News Snippets

Candidate Cynthia Torto repeats the empty promises about air quality and claims that air monitoring in the area has been reduced but doesn’t say where or when.

It is claimed that Hounslow has failed to meet the demand for good schools, but Hounslow’s schools are performing well. The government website shows that the great majority of schools in Hounslow have a good or outstanding rating. So what are the Tory candidates referring to? They also do not mention two large new schools in Osterley and Spring Grove and a significant expansion of Isleworth & Syon School, using local funds.

Chiswick Conservative Councillor Gerald Macregor caught delivering the said leaflet on London Road but walking straight past a flytip

OUR CONCLUSION

We are all for robust debate in politics and welcome a challenge. It is therefore sad to see that the Tory candidates for Osterley and Spring Grove are prepared to produce such poor quality material devoid of facts, full of unjustified claims and empty promises and lacking in any genuine argument. Residents have seen the difference in having a Labour councillor like Tony Louki working for them and taking care of matters long neglected by a Tory Party that has long taken our people for granted.

TL 29.4.2018

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Filed under College Road, Events, Great West Road, Hounslow Highways, London Road, Neighbourhoods, Northumberland Estate, OSG data, OSG documents, Osterley, Reports, Road works, Spring Grove

Gillette South: Tower turned down

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.

The site known as Gillette South

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.

TL 14.8.2017

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Filed under Great West Road, Neighbourhoods, Northumberland Estate, Planning, Reports, Sky

Friends of Thornbury Park

Will meet on Wednesday 26 July 2017 at 7.00 pm by the Outdoor Gym, Thornbury Park, London Road, Isleworth

Grapes and berries in Thornbury Park

Since the reforming of the Friends of Thornbury Park, visitors there will have noticed some better attention paid to this important but occasionally neglected local recreation space.

When we first met in November 2015, there were many ideas discussed and proposed to improve Thornbury Park.  At the time, there was no council resource to help make any of them a reality apart from holding the parks maintenance contractor to their schedules and encouraging the police to up their patrols to address varied anti social behaviour.

I was, however, as a councillor, able to submit bids to the unspent S106 planning gain fund insomuch as historic developer contributions could be applied to a) schemes local to Spring Grove developments and b) for parks type projects.  In 2016 I was teased with an award of £4,200, which, in the scheme of things, was almost not worth getting off the swings for.  Persistence paid off in January 2017 with a second allocation of £75,977 making a total of £80,177 to start to realise some of the November 2015 ideas.

Hounslow Council’s Parks Team and the parks contractor Carillion have now produced proposals and costs for improvements at Thornbury Park over and above the maintenance contract.  Details can be found on the spends spreadsheet here and trees and shrub reduction and new pathways suggestion here.

Readers will note that so far, a proposed spend of only £25,839 has been identified and these are listed on the spreadsheet, leaving decisions to be made for the remaining £54,338 and that is why it would be good to see as many Friends and users of Thornbury Park next Wednesday.

Should anyone be unable to make it to the meeting, please email me with any comments to tony.louki@hounslow.gov.uk

You may also wish to follow Friends of Thornbury Park on Twitter and Facebook.

As always, am happy to discuss.

TL 21.7.2017

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Filed under Events, Leisure, London Road, Neighbourhoods, Parks, Reports, Spring Grove, Thornbury Park