Tesco Homebase Syon Lane – what’s really going on?

 

Homebase, Syon Lane from the steps at Firestone

Lately, the Conservative candidates have been giving or residents false doorstep assertions that, should they  be successful here in Osterley and Spring Grove Ward after Thursday’s council election, the Berkeley Homes Tesco Homebase proposals will be turned down.  Sadly, this would not be the case.  It’s nonsense and gives cruel, false hope.

Since May 2019, no other candidates have done more to battle the development proposals than Councillor Tony Louki, Councillor Unsa Chaudri, Aftab Siddiqui.  We have faced derision and criticism and attempts made to prevent our participation but we have persisted and pursued in a way that no other local politician (actual or wannabe) aiming to represent our Ward has..

This will never stop and, the three of us shall continue to encourage the Secretary of State do dismiss these out of place and overbearing developments.  Should he do the right thing and the developer decide to apply again, we will advocate for and pursue humane, socially viable and environmentally appropriate developments in Osterley and Spring Grove.  Not just on Syon Lane but also elsewhere in our Ward.

There will soon be a change of leadership at Hounslow Council and, by having three provenly independently minded Labour Councillors representing you, residents would be assured that our influence would be fully maintained in a most likely majority Labour Council, after Thursday.

Together, we have been behind our residents, 100%, and have played the active part that our constituents have come to expect in all Ward matters here, and not just planning.  We have shared intelligence, given advice, called public meetings, questioned the developers, challenged decision makers, sought information, spent many hours in meetings and, even during a busy election campaign, continue to participate at the Planning Inquiry.  Despite their assertions, the Conservatives have been notably absent from the nitty gritty and the fights.

In a recent campaign leaflet, the Conservative Party candidates say that they will work closely with residents to oppose the Tesco Homebase development.  There has been little sign of that close working over three years of the campaign.  Two of them have separately turned up to a couple of demonstrations against the development; one held a placard for half an hour and left, the other passed the time chit chatting, the third was nowhere to be seen.  The Labour Councillors have been a part of the campaign, attending meetings, and demonstrations, along with speaking and writing on the issue.  We also note that one of the Conservative councillors on the Planning Committee bizarrely supported the Tesco development but not the Homebase one.

The following, however, is our record.

20 November 2019 – Labour Ward Councillors appraised 100+ residents of the Berkeley/Tesco/Prudential proposals at St Francis of Assisi Church which we organised and paid for.

21 January 2021Councillor Unsa Chaudri forensically challenged council leader Curran and planning boss Matthews at formal scrutiny of a proposal to buy 164 properties off plan at the as yet unapproved Homebase scheme.

8 April 2021 – All Labour Ward Councillors, Louki, Chaudri and Eason represented their residents at the Planning Committee.

12 April 2021 – Councillors advise OWGRA to start its petition to higher level decision makers.

12 May 2021 – Councillor Tony Louki accompanies OWGRA and the 4,332 signatures petition to City Hall for presentation to the Mayor of London.

2 September 2021 – Councillors attend and lobby the London Assembly Meeting at City Hall.

28 September 2021Ward Councillors write to the Secretary of State asking for a Planning Inquiry.

13 January 2022 – Ward Councillors submit their case to the Planning Inspector.

15 March 2022 – Planning Inquiry commences and Councillors and candidates participate, present and represent.  Watch Councillor Tony Louki and watch Aftab Siddiqui.  Read Tony Louki’s script here.

At all times, these past three years of this saga, we could not be further away from being NIMBYs.  We know that the borough needs housing but it should match the housing  need (just 14% of the proposed units are three bedroomed),  be appropriate for the location and on a humane scale.  We are with our residents and remain staunch despite the efforts of others to prevent and curtail our continued proven success in representing here in Osterley and Spring Grove Ward.

Crocodile tears though, as usual from the local Conservatives.  Since former Chancellor George Osborne’s Slums of the Future planning “reforms” of July 2015, Conservative legislation has put developers into a stronger position against councils and it is increasingly difficult and costly to refuse poor applications to develop. They say nothing of that in their literature, nor of property developers’ regular and hefty contributions to Conservative Central Office; Russian oligarch proportions.

At this critical stage wherever any embedded political loyalties may be, please maintain the investment of experienced and honest voices speaking up for everyone in Osterley and Spring Grove.

Don’t encourage their nonsense.

Vote for Tony Louki, Unsa Chaudri, Aftab Siddiqui

Thursday 5 May 2022 from 7.00 am to 10.00 pm

Published and promoted by Conor Hill on behalf of Labour candidates in the London Borough of Hounslow, all at 367 Chiswick High Road W4 4AG

TL  4.5.2022

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Filed under Great West Road, Housing, Neighbourhoods, Northumberland Estate, Osterley, Planning, RAs, Wyke Green

Pre election wind up on Jersey Road

Wycombe House Cricket, Tennis and Social Club – new members and participants welcome

 

Told by a respectable local, that a “reliable source” told their spouse, “that Wycombe House has been offered £6m for the site”, I had a long telephone conversation with Mr Kevin Grindrod, Honorary Secretary of this, one of the long established sports and social clubs in Osterley and Spring Grove Ward, also founder participants in the Osterley Sports Network.

I know that all undeveloped space in our Ward, regardless of its mainly Metropolitan Open Land status, is coveted by developers and their mates.  When, as the 55th Mayor, Wycombe House kindly hosted my charity cricket match, one of those mates was keen to learn, “who owns it?”.

To clarify his response to the £6m, I asked Kevin to drop me a line to share with those who had raised this, along with others, and he responded thus,

“Hi Tony,

As per a couple of conversations can I categorically state that no purchase approach has been made to the Club nor has there ever been any intention of selling.

In fact, we’re beefing up our constitution and Trustees to ensure the Club remains as is.  I explained this to you.  Below is a digest of part of my General Secretary report for tomorrow’s (13.4.2022) Management Committee.

“Finally, I had a call from Tony Louki yesterday who had been contacted to be informed that the Club had been sold.  I did assure him that it was completely false.  Indeed, the whole point of the project I’ve just outlined above is designed to ensure we remain an independent, volunteer, not for profit unincorporated members’ club.  Have any of you heard anything similar?”

I hope this puts various minds at rest.  I suspect there’s some pre–election mischief going on?”

Seems like Kevin may have hit the nail on the head.  Some folk must be desperate using the development bogey man at a time like this.

Desperate tactics – Silly Mid On

Our residents already know that their Osterley and Spring Grove Ward Councillors will stick our necks out to always support them against the inappropriate.

TL  14.4.2022

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Filed under Leisure, Neighbourhoods, Osterley, Parks, Sports, Wyke Green

Application to demolish Vine Lodge refused

The planning officer managing an application submitted on 4 February 2022 (reference P/2022/0601), has just published a report explaining their reasons for refusing the scheme.

Vine Lodge from Osterley Lodge.                                   Photo courtesy D Pavett Esq

The proposal was to demolish a prime and liveable house in the Spring Grove Conservation Area, and replace it with a pair of new ones.  Parts of the original property, Vine Lodge, date from as early as 1804, probably the only surviving workers dwelling known within the former Davies Estate.

Whereas the Davies Villas (a number still survive around The Grove) were built for the rich, Vine Lodge was originally a pair of gardeners’ cottages built for those who toiled and their families.

Vine Lodge, Church Road: Refused proposal

The officer’s refusal letter clearly outlines the council’s concerns, saying that the proposal is “bulky, obtrusive and incongruous within the Spring Grove Conservation Area”.  She went on to declare that it would be, “an unneighbourly form of development which would negatively impact the enjoyment of neighbouring properties”.

Thanking the many residents who pursued and made contact with their Osterley and Spring Grove Ward Councillors on this matter.

TL  29.3.2022

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Filed under Neighbourhoods, Planning, Spring Grove, Thornbury Road

Healthy Streets – Hounslow and Brentford: OSG Ward Councillors’ Response to TfL

This is what we sent to Mr Fraser Macdonald, Local Communities and Partnerships Team, Transport for London on 16 February 2022 as a response to the first Healthy Streets consultation for between Kew Bridge and Hounslow Town.  Osterley and Spring Grove Ward Councilors focussed on the London Road (A315) in our Ward.

Dear Mr Macdonald

Healthy Streets – Hounslow and Brentford

Cycleway 9 – Hounslow to Brentford whole route

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to Transport for London’s proposals for cycling and walking in the part of the borough that includes Osterley and Spring Grove Ward.  London Road in the Ward runs from Isleworth Station to Thornbury Road at the Milford Arms and, unless indicated, our comments will focus on that length of the A315.

Subject to final proposals, following this and the next consultation, we do not have any whole scheme objections; considered change to infrastructure, however, is important.  Whilst supporting improvements for safe cycling, our observations focus on pedestrian safety and access, reducing bus travel delays, car access to shops, active consideration of green infrastructure.

Thus far, there is no discernible Equality Impact Assessment within this initial consultation but a thorough report of such analyses would be expected at the next stage.

Pedestrian safety

Unprotected pedestrian crossing: Sainsbury’s Junction at London and St Johns Roads

A long-held concern for many residents using the shops and other services on London Road is that there is a need for a full pedestrian phase crossing at the St Johns Road junction (Map 8).  Widening of the junction would not be sufficient to compensate for westbound, left turn, blind spots but, if addressed, would negate the requirement for a dog leg pelican crossing by 489 and 466 London Road.

Cycleway 9 Isleworth Station and St Johns Road

The sheer numbers of unregimented school students, (Isleworth and Syon, Gumley, Green Girls, Green Boys) at home time, using this location, particularly westbound, needs to be carefully examined.  Isleworth Post Office users attempting to meet last collections adds to the melee.  London Road bus boarders from College Road/Isleworth Station and St Johns Road should be re-examined with a view to offering either an alternative design or a route around the shops.

Hounslow Council is about to implement its long-proposed cycle route from London Road, through Isleworth Station Car Park to St Johns Road and this would act as a safe substitute to what is proposed between 459 and 489 London Road.  The proposal to relocate the current Isleworth Station bus stop to outside Isleworth Post Office at 477 London Road would, therefore, not be necessary.

Bus routes efficiency

Removal of bus lanes from London Road would limit the ability of buses on the five routes, through Isleworth to Brentford and Hounslow, to catch up from delays caused elsewhere.  The taking out of these important priority devices would affect people in low paid jobs who rely on buses for long commutes, bus borne residents, those naturally less able to cycle or walk the distances between centres.  The next consultation should quantify journey time impacts of removal of bus lanes as well as justify any lack of alternative approach to their retention.

Trees

It is not clear as to how many mature London Plane trees from the whole of the area in focus would be proposed to be removed along the route and these should be astutely detailed at the next consultation, preferably explained to neighbours even earlier.  Removals should be avoided with infrastructure and cycle lanes safely built around specimens wherever possible.  Replacement trees should be the largest size available for planting in order to achieve maximum impact from the get go.

Shopper parking

An effort to recognise vehicle usage to access businesses on and off London Road, including the last remaining bank between Hounslow and Chiswick at number 468 is appreciated and, subject to local consultation, we would suggest that alternative shopper parking bays be installed on College Road, Avenue Road and Thornbury Road to compensate for those which may be removed locally, elsewhere on the A315.

There is an older demographic in Osterley and Spring Grove Ward who do and would walk to patronise services in the neighbourhoods around the London Road.  However, a number of our residents also have carer responsibilities and also chauffer less ambulant friends, neighbours and family members to appointments and local shops; we would want them to retain this liberty with sufficient car borne access and facilities.

Residents and businesses, locally would wish to be listened to and very much considered when designing this next phase of Cycleway 9.  As Ward Councillors, we would be happy to support as well as facilitate wider discussion and also meet Transport for London and local traffic professionals to walk the London Road in Isleworth.

Yours sincerely

Tony Louki, Unsa Chaudri, Richard Eason

Labour Party Councillors for Osterley and Spring Grove Ward

Copied to:  Mr Jefferson Nwokeoma, Assistant Director of Traffic, Transport and Parking, London Borough of Hounslow

Added by TL  1.3.2022

 

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Filed under Hounslow Highways, London Road, Neighbourhoods, Public transport, Roads, Spring Grove, TfL, Thornbury Park, Traffic

Rothbury Gardens: Retrospective planning application

Back in the mid 1990s, when people were less enthusiastic about growing their own, the then Acton Housing Association, predecessor of monolith A2Dominion, were permitted to build eight proper family houses on the western part of the privately owned but Hounslow Leisure Services run allotments at Rothbury Gardens.

Former Syon Lane Allotments sign at Rothbury Gardens

The eastern part of the allotments, behind the garages block by Platform 1 of Syon Lane Station, said to be covering buried utilities mains, were to be left alone.  It was later occupied by the Eco Villagers, displaced from the former Plough public house, Kew Bridge Road by those Berkeleys.

The Villagers, on an annual licence, set about resurrecting, in their own way, a place to grow organically, welcomed residents to tend to mini plots and offered schools projects.  This ended around 2015 when the land was sold, locked up and left to its own natural devices.  Apart from the odd rough sleeper, residents raised very few complaints.

Tree felling contractor resticting access to Syon Lane Station and unauthorised use of resident parking spaces.

On 27 January 2020, quite abruptly and without notice to neighbours or anyone else, a local tree felling outfit arrived.  Blocking the approach to the Station with unauthorised placing of their trucks and began to rip out trees and scrape other vegetation.  What happened to the foxes, no one knows.

Felled trees (allowed as no tree preservation orders nor in a conservation area) January 2020.

Accompanied by a resident, visiting Rothbury Gardens to find out more, we were lied to, as was anyone who asked, that the works were taking place as instructed by “the council” and the disturbance continued.  The tree decimation was cleared as was some but not all of the effects of the eco village.

Rothbury Gardens hoardings erected without planning permission,post clearance in February 2020

Site hoardings were erected, without planning permission but this was later rectified and consent given in September 2020.

On 24 November 2021, some residents again contacted me, very concerned about new extensive works carried out by stealth, without any notice to neighbours or Hounslow Council.

Aggregate lorry on Rothbury Gardens without traffic management and Marlborough Scool students navigating an unsafe route to school.

After the first lorry turned up on 10 December to start laying aggregate, allegedly “to suppress any weed growth”, the council’s planning officers were alerted and a planning enforcement site inspection followed on 13 December 2021.  I was advised that this activity was permitted but then, on 21 December, a neighbour spoke of further disregard for pedestrian and highway safety, shipping containers began to be placed.

Grab lorry inhibiting pedestrians at Syon Lane Station

At one point Police were called and attended when a grab lorry was dumping aggregate over telephone lines at the eastern end of the site whilst at the same time blocking pedestrian access to Syon Lane Station.

Raising this with the Head of Planning Enforcement the land owner’s agents were written to asking for a proper planning application be submitted to the council by 1 February 2021 to allow for a formal assessment whether the containers may be retained on site.

Containers located at former allotment site on Rothbury Gardens late January 2022

Bank holidays excepted, between before Christmas and until 25 January 2022, despite numerous relaying of residents’ almost daily reports and photographic evidence of, often unsafe, activity there, works continued without any commmunication with neighbours, construction management and vehicle access  plan, plus other safeguards ahead of this now retrospective submission.

Unfortunately, this appeared to be an example of interests playing an austerity affected and under resourced neighbourhoods planning system, often and increasingly stacked against communities and less likely to be operating at full capacity over the holiday season.

However.

A planning application has now been submitted, along with accompanying documents.

It is described as a, “Retrospective application for the temporary change of use of the land to open storage and associated works for 3 years.”

The application can be found online via the Hounslow Council Planning pages, and accessed using either System Reference P/2022/0388 or Planning Reference 00965/B/P13, Land at Rothbury Gardens, Isleworth, TW7 5JG.

Documents submitted can also be found, below:

 The applicant’s Planning Statement

Planning application form

Site plan.

 I have asked the Area Planning Manager to ensure that all households in Rothbury Gardens, Hexham Gardens and others nearby in Warkworth Gardens are sent letters offering the opportunity to comment.

After reading the submitted planning documents, anyone wishing to make individual representations on this application please send these quoting System Reference P/2022/0388  to planning.objections@hounslow.gov.uk

TL  10.2.2022

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Filed under Neighbourhoods, Northumberland Estate, Osterley, Planning