Tag Archives: Hounslow Council

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

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

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

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

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

“Good evening.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My first appearance in mayoral finery, May 2019

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

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

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

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

The Our Barn HQ, Jubilee Lodge in Osterley Park

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

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

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

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

It’s spelt Osterley and Homebase is in Isleworth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gifting geraniums at Atfield House, St Johns Road June 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With Deputy Mayor Councillor Raghwinder Siddhu

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

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

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

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

Thank you.”

TL 4.6.2021

© Tony Louki 2021 – No reproduction without permission

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

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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Local stations news

At Monday’s (24.8.2020) Labour Listens event, a resident asked of progress to complete level access to the three stations in Osterley and Spring Grove Ward. This item includes updates sought from Hounslow Council’s Traffic and Transport Team

Syon Lane Station lift commissioning

Platform 2 at Syon Lane Station October 2016

The 2012 planning consent for extensive development of Sky Campus at Grant Way yielded £1m for improvements at Syon Lane Station, implicitly to improve the flow of peak use commuters and achieve step free access.

New lift and additional footbridge at Syon Lane Station August 2020

Nearly complete in March 2020, the final pieces of construction were disrupted by COVID.  Works are expected to recommence in September for up to six weeks.  An accurate handover and operation of the new lift and footbridge will be subject to Network Rail inspection; a firmer date should be available by October 2020.

Osterley Station lifts completion and commissioning

Soon after Boris Johnson became Mayor of London in 2008 he reduced the tube stations step free access programme begun by his Labour predecessor; plans for lifts at Osterley Station for the benefit of the disabled and less mobile were in the throes of approval but then abandoned.

Osterley Station, Great West Road

Johnson, however, began to reveal a proclivity to spaff Transport for London money on vanity projects such as the unrealised Garden Bridge, overheated and overpriced toy buses and that cable car from nowhere to nowhere.

Osterley Station lift on eastbound platform under construction March 2020

Following his election, new Mayor Sadiq Khan in 2017 resurrected the lifts programme. Approved and already under construction before the lockdown, the lifts, to each platform at this famous Grade II Listed building, were due to be delivered and commissioned by the end of 2020.  TfL have confirmed that all its step free programmes paused in April have not yet restarted and are expected to be opened six months after construction recommences.

Isleworth Station

Often with its own resources or by securing S106 planning gain, Hounslow Council has a track record back to the late 1980s (Hounslow West Station being the first) for improving level access to stations across the borough.

Where local funds are not identified, the council’s transport team promote the priorities of residents and councillors and bid for funds when opportunities arise.

Isleworth Station forecourt, London Road

A range of lift locations designs for Isleworth Station were developed by previous franchisee, South West Trains and have laid fallow since 2015.  Optimism, however, has been buoyed since the 2019 Department for Transport announcement that Isleworth is on the list of stations for an Access to All programme upgrade.

Isleworth Station, behind Platform 2

Although some disruption togetting this project going has occurred, Network Rail have continued to develop plans for the station and Hounslow’s transport officers maintain dialogue with them and South Western Railway to agree options for step free conversion down to London Road and nearby.

New information on our stations will be shared when available.

TL  27.8.2020

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Filed under Great West Road, London Road, Middlesex, Neighbourhoods, Northumberland Estate, Osterley, Public transport, Sky, Spring Grove