Smoke without fire. Contingency planning exercise at The Paragon Thursday 21.10.2021

The London Borough of Hounslow Contingency Planning Unit has shared details of a London Fire Brigade exercise scheduled for Thursday 21 October 2021 at the University of West London site close to where the A4 and M4 meet Boston Manor Road in Brentford.

The Paragon, Brentford

Under the Civil Contingencies Act (2004), Category 1 organisations such as the council and fire service have a statutory duty to “test the effectiveness of their emergency plans by carrying out exercises”.

This exercise planned for from 1.00 pm, tomorrow 21 October 2021, will last approximately three hours and involve 12 or more LFB appliances as well as smoke machines to practise high rise fire and evacuation procedures. A briefing may be found here.

The event will therefore be very visible to the public, potentially from some distance away, including people of Osterley and Spring Grove Ward. Residents should be reassured but, obviously, if in any doubt the advice is to still call 999 who will appropriately field calls.

The organisers have worked with the council’s traffic team and Transport for London to put in place arrangements to minimise any traffic disruption with the large number of Fire Brigade appliances taking part.

The LBH Contingency Planning team will be at the exercise with LFB on the day assisting with coordination of some volunteer students from West Thames College who have kindly agreed to be ‘evacuated’ from the building and testing some of the council response arrangements on site.

TL 20.10.2021

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Filed under Neighbourhoods

Pothole Pledge 2021 Programme Continues in Osterley and Spring Grove Ward

The Council’s Pothole Pledge for 2021 has completed the initial first phase of 14 roads across the borough, four of which were resurfaced in Osterley and Spring Grove Ward during August 2021: The Grove from Harvard to Spring Grove Road, Thornbury Road from London to Spring Grove Road, Weston Gardens and Thornbury Avenue.

The Director of Environment meeting my resident at Weston Gardens May 2021

Hounslow Highways is gearing up for 50 days of continuous work between October and Christmas to complete another 34 roads, five more in our Ward: Wood Lane north of Great West Road, Borough Road, part of Grove Road, Ridgeway Road North and Osterley Avenue.

Weston Gardens, Thornbury Avenue, Borough Road, Wood Lane and Osterley Avenue were earmarked because residents raised matters with Ward Councillors or contacted the council direct. The surfaces of most of those and of Ridgeway Road North, Thornbury Road and The Grove (not my preferred part) have also been the subject of numerous of my FixMyStreet reports to Hounslow Highways.

On a resurfaced Thornbury Avenue September 2021

The full list of roads completed and those to be treated can be found here.  All roads will be closed to vehicles traffic for the duration of the works.  Some will be completed in a day; longer roads may take up to 4 days.  Closures will take place from 08.00 and 17.00 each day the highway crews are on site treating the roads.

Wood Lane and Ridgeway Road North are part of the H28 bus route and London Buses will arrange bus stop closures and diversions for the days in question.

Current state of Ridgeway Road North

Residents on affected roads will be written to, advance warning signs put up two weeks before works start, and cones and barriers put out the day before.  Resident entry or exit at the closed areas, will be marshalled through the site by an operative at a maximum speed of 5 mph.  There will be approximately an hour where no traffic will be permitted when the new surface is laid down.

Whilst all of the borough’s roads are not perfect, the Pothole Pledge has dealt with the roads that our residents and citizens nominated as needing treatment and has built on the work of Hounslow Highways over the years of their contract.

Borough Road to be fixed following residents’ approaches to their ward councillors

For the second year running Hounslow’s roads have been independently assessed, by the London Technical Advisors Group (LoTAG) as the best in London, see the report here.

Road surfaces do deteriorate and, when noticed, potholes can be reported to Hounslow Highways via FixMyStreet.

TL 1.10.2021

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Tesco Homebase: Ward Councillors’ Letter to Michael Gove

The Right Hon Michael Gove MP Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Minister for Intergovernmental Relations

Councillors for Osterley and Spring Grove Ward have not stinted in their efforts to try to represent their residents nor to advocate for this, the largest and greenest in the whole of the London Borough of Hounslow. At all times when there have been pressures on our delicate environment in this part of Isleworth we have never neglected our responsibility to attend and advise at residents’ action planning meetings putting our people’s interests forward.

Since first revealed in May 2019 and before the debacle that was the rushed and badly choreographed Planning Committee of 8 April 2021, to Councillor Tony Louki’s recommending a petition and presentation of its 4,400 signatures to the Mayor of London at City Hall on 12 May 2021, attending, staying and participating at the demonstration outside the Recovery Conference at Holiday Inn Brentford on 22 July 2021 and the lobbying of the London Assembly on 2 September 2021, we have sought reviews and reconsideration of these ill thought, overblown, out of character and harmful schemes.

The councillors for Osterley and Spring Grove Ward, should like, for and to add to the record, the sharing of their letter to the minister who is in the uniquie position to call a halt and order a more humane proposal for this put upon part of the capital city.

Our letter

Dear Secretary of State

Request to Call In – Homebase, Syon Lane [00505/H/P19] and Tesco, Syon Lane [01106/B/P137]

We are Councillors for Osterley and Spring Grove Ward in the London Borough of Hounslow and have arranged meetings, followed, pursued and worked with individual residents, residents’ associations and amenity groups since sponsors of the two developments publicly revealed their intentions in May 2019.  By that time proposals appeared to have been well advanced with numerous pre planning discussions with senior staff and leadership at Hounslow Council alone and not communities.

In terms of public consultation, what followed, under the cloak of lockdown, was a series of scant and motherhood and apple pie letterbox brochures misrepresenting developer and council intentions.  There were also mostly misleading social media surveys where results were never revealed at Planning Committee, mainly because the non phony responses vastly outweighed the bona fide and analytical from genuine respondents with locus.

Councillor Tony Louki with OWGRA when showing their scale model and presenting the petition to the Mayor for London

The developer promised scale models but these were never delivered thus leaving it to the Osterley and Wyke Green Residents Association to spend its meagre resources on commissioning an accurate piece.

For those who have taken a close interest, those who properly know and represent local communities in this part of the borough, feel that they have seen no more than 0.00095% change in the proposal since the applicants’ delayed and shambolic Planning Presentation event in July 2020.

We have tried to comprehend the hurry to approve these schemes, particularly because these applications are the largest we have ever seen in such a relatively small geographical space, anywhere in the borough.  But also, the developer and council jumped the gun before the ink on the draft revisions to the Hounslow Local Plan are hardly dry and, we believe, the Secretary of State has yet to appoint an Inspector to lead the public inquiry.

The virtual Planning Committee meeting on 8 April 2021 was rushed, premature and questionably chaired with comments made by officers presenting appearing, as many since described, as professionally compromised.  The balance on presentations for and against the developments were one sided with no opportunity for opponents comment on officer explanations because these were not delivered at the outset.  Neither the same with the applicant because they were allowed the last word without challenge.  Ward Councillors were given five minutes each, totally inadequate on such large scheme proposals.

Like residents, Ward Councillors are not averse to development in this area but we do have numerous concerns with these two, naturally linked planning applications.  We have serious questions and genuine worries about infrastructure, traffic, transport, housing heights, size, mix and design and felt that we made it clear but the long running ‘we need housing’ mantra at whatever cost prevailed for the misinformed and blinkered that night.

Transport and infrastructure are significant concerns for this site.  We understand that it is within an ‘opportunity area’ and welcome some form of development but the balance in this situation is askew.

We know that Transport for London have assigned a Public Transport Accessibility Level rating of just above 1 in Osterley, compared to above 4 in Feltham and 6 in Hounslow.  The planners’ report wrongly stated most of the site is at PTAL 2 and will at best after many unfunded and descoped projects be a 3.  With regards to the vaunted West London Orbital, TfL has no money and this scheme featured in no election manifesto.  The proposed Southall Link to Crossrail also has no money and the time frames set out are clearly pie in the sky.  With such proposed density, we would not, in the least, regard this a sustainable development.  The number of cycle spaces are all well and good but apart from fairly average tracks along the Great West Road, the road is not safe to cycle on through well used and already dangerous junctions with poor air quality to boot.

While the developers may talk about low level car parking for their sites, the sheer number of units combined with the poor PTAL will force occupiers to park in neighbouring streets impacting on existing residential amenity.  It is neither acceptable nor correct that current residents should have to experience long hours controlled parking zones in a few years’ time because of poor planning today.

Reviewing the traffic studies, the report talks of much longer queues to access sites and the Great West Road than observed at present and suggests that the impact on the local road network may be significant.  We cannot really call this a green recovery when greater congestion will happen if this scheme is approved, the responses from Hounslow Cycling seems to agree.

This is also one of many issues with the traffic element for the proposed replacement food store on the Homebase site and it is more than worth telling that TfL do not believe nor trust the developer on their suggested number of servicing trips for this site, leaving us with potentially illegal and dangerous on-street servicing of the store.

The developer speculates that Covid outcomes may reduce transport usage.  TfL already predicts transport numbers to be in excess of the pre-Covid baseline in 2025; that this scheme, if approved, would start to occupy at that point yet the planners’ report to committee did not consider this modelling.  Yet on the flip side, the significant increase in driving has not been adequately modelled

Our Ward currently has just over 13,400 residents, this combined, proposal will almost increase this by 50% without the required capacity to cope.  The developments are too big, the equivalent of landing something with a population the size of Bagshot here in Isleworth.

Travelling by tube in a normal year from Osterley or indeed Boston Manor, commuters are familiar of waiting at the platform trying to board London bound Piccadilly Line train, with each one passing at full capacity.  Now imagine that base line with an increase of 4,000 people trying to get on; similarly, travelling towards Waterloo from Syon Lane.

A more than 15 minute neighbourhood

We accept some form of development at these sites however, we have not been presented with any idea of the infrastructure required to support these large scale developments.  The developer cites the 15 minute neighbourhood without any proper nor researched evidence.  Osterley tube 22 minutes away, Boston Manor 32, the nearest doctors 25-30, the nearest dentists 18 and these are all over subscribed.

In 2025 we would not honestly be able to tell our constituents why they cannot get a GP appointment or school place because this inadequate scheme was approved without the proper infrastructure.  The planners’ report relies on the goodwill of the developer to provide a surgery at some point, something neither offered or guaranteed.

The developer proposes and planners accept the significant under provision in communal amenity space at the Homebase site of just at 4,928 sqm, significantly below the benchmark standard.  This huge under provision is considered acceptable purely because of the need to fit in a supermarket.  Too much in too small a place, to the detriment of future occupiers.  2,370sqm of play space should be provided for 240 children, yet just 500sqm less than that.  To add further insult this is not proposed for on site.  The developer considers it acceptable and planners agreeable to make up provision over half a mile away on the other side of the railway track, and into Brentford in the Leader of the Council, the lead member for Planning’s Ward.

We should also add that there has been absolutely and bizarrely no discussion with Osterley and Spring Grove Ward Councillors nor our residents on any amenity or suggestions for legally agreed community provisions arising out of these developments.

Even after the Hounslow Council and Mayor for London determinations, the report submitted still shows that this scheme is not right in its current form.  The Secretary of State should insist that the developers and authorities have to make the time to go back and get it right, most people are now in the market for bigger units to allow for working or recreating from home.  This proposed scheme was developed long before this shift in work life.  To date Hounslow Council has not published verifiable data for housing need nor numbers of accepted homeless.  The proposed high density at this location needs to be justified and balanced in the context of recent new builds and pipeline approvals elsewhere in the borough.

Public transport use at present is at a record low, and more people are driving, please send this back to the applicants and get them to truly engage with the community.  The planning committee were urged to place a Grampian Condition, similar to other large development proposals such as at the Old Kent Road sites which cannot be fully built out until the Bakerloo Line extension starts, this was discussed by planning committee members because it was not commented upon by the council’s planners or traffic professionals.

In terms of gestation and the size of these schemes, these have seen less pre decision making exposure than the Ballymore Brentford Project which, in itself, is a bona fide regeneration plan, long in discussion and consultation.  It is bigger than the Brentford Community Stadium scheme and its associated blocks but with fewer local facilities and impacting more established residential neighbourhoods.  Drawings and ideas for this part of our Ward were shared with planners, council chief officers and council leadership a number of years ago but only came to light in 2019.

Despite Member consultations on the development of the Hounslow Local Plan Review where the consensus was no developments higher than six stories by established 1930s developments or more than 10 stories within the Great West Corridor proper.  The final publication was a bulldozered draft unrecognisable from the expected outcome.  This does not appear to be a new idea and a number of critics have suggested that the recently submitted Draft Local Plan for the Great West Corridor was tailored to help pave a path for this and similar applications.  We would hope that, as a new Secretary of State, you will be your own man and agree with what many other ordinary folk do that very high buildings do not make for sustainable and peaceful communities.

It has been suggested the Community Infrastructure Levy will help pay for the services required to compensate for shortfall in transport, health and recreational provision over and above the meagre elements offered within the applications.  This is nonsense.

At paragraph 11.5 of the Homebase site report, the CIL amounts quoted for are, £11.1m for Hounslow and £4.2m for London.  Never, ever enough to pay for a safe, healthy and sustainable neighbourhoods.  The second report quotes an estimated £21.2m for Hounslow and £9.3m for London for the current Tesco site but this will be piecemeal and not guaranteed.

How ever presented, these developments would be an adjunct to the Northumberland Estate, Syon Lane and Oaklands Avenue, not the eastwards facing Great West Corridor as, because of its largely residential nature, it has little in common with the rest the stretch to Chiswick Roundabout.

The published documents were not user friendly, perhaps a symptom of the rush to get them to committee although there is no explanation for this imperative apart from wanting to obfuscate.  Each report contained at least 175 pages, none numbered, making it difficult for members of the Planning Committee to follow references.  Paragraph 8 of the Homebase report had 501 sub paragraphs.  There are numerous comments and objections from a number of parties from paragraph 6.5 onwards, all themed, but not grouped nor appear to have been or shown to be fully assessed.  The report did no justice to the 830 residents individually writing in.  There were no comments from the London Ambulance Service which uses Syon Lane to the Hospital nor, despite numerous requests, Hounslow Highways.  There was complete disregard for the comments from Historic England and all other heritage organisations that took time and made effort to put their professional cases forward.

At paragraph 6.5, Transport for London maintained its reservations on both, but particularly the Homebase scheme.  This was highlighted to the committee by objectors but not clarified by transport and planning officers on the night suggesting only one other blinkered imperative.  The developer proposed cleaning the Gillette Corner Subway lights as an enhancement which is no substitute for pedestrian safety and convenience that residents and workers at Sky HQ have clamoured for safe surface crossings here for years.

The report at paragraph 8.163 appeared to brush aside Hounslow Council’s independent Design Review Panel’s assessment, critical of both, not least the Homebase scheme, even having looked at it twice.

They said to planners, “we are still certain that the footprint of Tesco is compromising your ability to provide public realm that is good enough in character or scale for this quantum of new housing.  We would have liked to see a clearer vision for the two sites and commitment to delivering the at grade crossing, which is the first essential piece of the wider masterplan.”  They maintained their concerns about limited and unmanageable amenity space and safety, particularly concerned with how potentially unsafe these cut throughs between blocks are likely to be.

Half of semi dual aspect must be single aspect

The Design Review Panel also spotted the strange description of “semi dual aspect” flats, but half of dual is one, resulting in no through draught in a location where in summer it will get hot.  More than 27% of the units on the Homebase site would have this feature; just one window on just one aspect, whichever way it’s looked at.  The second aspect would be towards a solid brick wall.

We are very concerned about the existing 20 properties at Northumberland Gardens, opposite Homebase.  Each maisonette will be overshadowed and each will have windows affected, all by at least 20% and some by as much as 40% and over.  Along with limiting light to more than a quarter of potential new properties, the height and bulking of this development will darken the living rooms and bedrooms of our existing residents.

CONCLUDING

There could be alternative and more humane schemes to submit but these have not been considered by the applicant nor suggested or encouraged by Hounslow Council.

These developments are still not ready and if, as applied for, are not refused on grounds of non compliance with the current and operational National Planning Policy Framework, Local Plan, amenity, impact on neighbouring properties, inadequate and unguaranteed traffic and transport management; no direct contribution to rail improvements; lack of amenity and inadequate alternative space, then they should be.

CONDITIONS

Osterley and Spring Grove Ward Councillors’ proposed planning conditions

Should the Secretary of State be mindful of approving these applications, very much preferably amended, in this very sensitive area more stringent conditions are required, not least in great need for bringing forward the Access Review before any further work is done.

Revisions sought would include,

  1. No occupation of either site until the completion of public transport improvements and renewals in the Great West Corridor Opportunity Area.  We ask that this is tied in to, 1 the Piccadilly Line upgrade, 2 the West London Orbital, 3 Great West Road bus improvements, 4 the Southall Rail Link.  We believe that this will protect our current and future potential residents by ensuring the infrastructure is in place before development is built out.
  1. Installation of TfL and Hounslow Highways junction works at Gillette Corner, Wood Lane, Busch Corner and Thornbury Road.
  1. A Construction Plan which would not disturb residents on Northumberland Estate, Syon Lane, Wyke Estate and Great West Road.
  1. A legal agreement to make an endowment fund of not less than £3m to support an independent Osterley Sports Network CIC, to develop and maintain sports and recreation in Osterley and Spring Grove Ward, significantly absent from these applications.
  1. This development will impact the area like no other for decades to come. It has to be done right.  There are too many clear indications that these developments are inappropriate by a large margin.  Will the Secretary of State wish this on the local population?

As Ward Councillors, we are not against any development, but are against schemes that are not fit for the area or for the needs of the local residents.  We should expect the best for our residents and the future occupiers of these homes.  We should not settle for less, so how can we, you, agree to support a development in a location where the infrastructure is simply not there to achieve it?

Finally, we ask the Secretary of State whether he is 100% sure that as this development stands, it is appropriate?  If there is any doubt, then we ask you to reject or defer these schemes until more suitable schemes are put forward.

Happy to have you over for a closer look, should you have the time.

Thank you.


Yours sincerely

Tony Louki, Unsa Chaudri and Richard Eason

Labour Party Councillors for Osterley and Spring Grove Ward

cc via email

Tom Mills

Senior Planning Technical Officer

Planning Casework Unit

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

2 Rivergate, Temple Quay, Bristol, BS1 6EH

Tom.Mills@communities.gov.uk

Rachael Beard

Senior Planning Manager

Planning Casework Unit

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

23 Stephenson Street, Birmingham, B2 4BH

Rachael.Beard@communities.gov.uk

TL 28.9.2021

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Filed under Great West Road, Hounslow Highways, Neighbourhoods, Northumberland Estate, Planning, Public transport, RAs, Roads, TfL

24 hours left to respond on train timetable proposals

 

 

A big shout to the Windsor Line Passengers Association which, because of the Hounslow Loop rail route between Feltham and Chiswick, has many members across the London Borough of Hounslow.

I recently received a copy of the WLPA’s response to the South Western Railway consultation on timetable changes from December 2022.  They have a number of concerns about the effects of proposed changes, not least scrapping (rather than post Covid lockdown reinstating) the whole loop journey from Waterloo to Waterloo via Chiswick, Brentford, Twickenham and Richmond.

No South Western Railway proposal to reinstate the full Hounslow Loop service

SWR’s proposals also continue to ignore the very long term need for a two trains per hour Sunday service.  A necessary change for getting to matches at the Brentford Community Stadium as well as leisure and shopping further in to London and an alternative to traversing the Ultra Low Emission Zone.

The consultation ends on Sunday 19 September 2021 and the document with method of response can be found here.

The WLPA case can be found here and my response is here; readers are free to copy as much or as little to assist with writing to South Western Railway.

Whether a regular or occasional user of the trains on this route, please consider joining the Windsor Lines Passenger Association.  Membership is usually £4.00 per year but is currently FREE and an application form can be found here.


TL  18.9.2021

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Filed under Neighbourhoods

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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