Category Archives: Road works

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

Long awaited improvements at Syon Lane

Looking at the photo archive kept for Syon Lane since late 2014, it is very pleasing that work with residents and Hounslow Council’s Traffic Team is about to bear fruit.

Syon Lane green verges to be protected between Gillette Corner and Macfarlane Lane

Not neglected but in parts worn and suffering from the impacts of limited resources to enforce and repair, funds were sought and now identified to remedy effects of haphazard parking on the green verges.

It’s an association going back to the last time of trying to represent this slice of Osterley and Spring Grove Ward in the 1990s when it was part of the former Isleworth North Ward. One concern then was the environmental impact of the new Tesco store to be built on the former United Biscuits factory. At the time, concessions and funding were won to sympathetically beautify and improve the access to the shops and homes between 38 and 150 Syon Lane.

Scoping the proposed verge protection works on Syon Lane, Isleworth

Later this month, works will begin to install bird mouth fencing around the green areas together with additional lighting, details shered with residents can be seen here and here.

Noting that this will improve the environment of one part of Syon Lane, residents’ concerns still remain for the environment further north along this busy road and these will continue to be pursued.

TL 2.1.2018

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Filed under Hounslow Highways, Neighbourhoods, Osterley, Road works, Wyke Green

Clifton Road: Closure consultation and a little messy history

The charm of Osterley and Spring Grove Ward is that there are many contrasting neighbourhoods developed in different ways these past 400 years, all continuing to adapt to the delights of the early 21st Century.

One of the first meetings I attended during this stint on Hounslow Council was the Isleworth and Brentford Area Forum back in July 2014. On that agenda was an item looking at parking and traffic within the south Spring Grove triangle bounded by London, Thornbury and Spring Grove Roads.

Clifton Road June 2014

Around that time I was approached and met with residents of Thornbury, Clifton and Villiers Roads and Pembroke Place to learn of and assist with tackling other environmental issues. The most annoying was the relentless flytipping taking place behind shops on London Road. Here, for some bizarre and historic reason, Hounslow Highways allowed traders to keep commercial waste bins on Clifton Road that attracted additional opportunist deposits almost daily which the same firm had to collect as flytip.

Clifton Road August 2017

Today, however, this anti social behaviour at Clifton Road is rare but this did not come about without numerous tooth pulling episodes. It was resolved by one of those now common, three way collaborations between determined residents, hard pressed but hard working Hounslow Council staff and this councillor persisting and trying to maintain momentum.

For nearly two years, no flytip went unreported to Hounslow Highways, LBH Enforcement Officer, Ian Mole encouraging traders to revise their commercial waste contracts and my continuous lobbying of council cabinet members to focus on this hot spot.

Culminating in December 2016, the installation of Hounslow Council CCTV watching this corner coincided with the removal of the last commercial waste bin magnets; the rest is history.

There is still much work to attempt to resolve the mess resulting from poor disposal of domestic waste from flats above shops on London Road affecting there and around the corner where Pembroke Place meets Thornbury Road.

Another change for this neighbourhood is a live proposal to close Clifton Road at the junction with Spring Grove Road. This idea came about from residents affected by the impact of shoppers parking at the recently opened Tesco store.

Consultation is currently taking place on this published plan with an explanation why and opportunity to comment described in this letter.

The scheme if agreed, will be implemented during Spring 2018.

TL 30.9.2017

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Filed under Hounslow Highways, London Road, Neighbourhoods, Parking, Road works, Spring Grove, Thornbury Road, Traffic

Wood Lane Yellow Lines: the council would not do it like that

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.

Midway on Wood Lane, Isleworth looking south

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.

TL 17.8.2017

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Filed under Education, Great West Road, H28 bus, Neighbourhoods, Osterley, Parking, Planning, Road works, Roads, Schools, Traffic, Wyke Green

Wardabout on Northumberland Estate with Hounslow Highways – Tuesday 31 May 2016 at 11.00 am to 12.00 pm

The latest in our neighbourhoods mooches took place today on the Northumberland Estate in the rain and with added splash.  We were not deterred, the silver lining was the noting of quite a few pondings and blocked gulleys.

Wardabout on Quakers Lane with Satbir and Ali from Hounslow Highways, James from Hounslow Council, Northumberland Estate residents Sarah, Alan, David and Pia, Councillor O'Reilly and me (behind the lens)

Wardabout on Quakers Lane with Satbir and Ali from Hounslow Highways, James from Hounslow Council, Northumberland Estate residents Sarah, Alan, David and Pia, Councillor O’Reilly and me (behind the lens)

Residents welcomed this Hounslow Highways initiative and their local knowledge helped put issues into historic perspective.  Everyone said they loved the new trees planted in most roads on the Northumberland  over the winter and today they saw them getting a good water.

The list of issues spotted, raised and marked for resolution within 28 days can be found here.

TL 31.5.2016

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Filed under Council Business, Events, Great West Road, Hounslow Highways, Middlesex, Neighbourhoods, Northumberland Estate, Road works, Roads, TfL