12 – 16 February
I had the pleasure of watching England beat Wales in the Six Nations on Saturday, it was a close-run match, but well done to England.
On Sunday, I spent the day canvassing in Brentford Dock with fellow ward councillor, Cllr Theo Dennison.
On Monday I met with the Vice Chancellor of the University of West London (UWL), Peter John, and the Leader of Ealing Council, Julian Bell, to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Gunnersbury Park. The scheme is a joint project between Ealing and Hounslow Councils, involving investment in new state-of-the-art sports and leisure facilities which are likely to cost around £14m. UWL has committed to providing £2m so that their students can also benefit from these great facilities.
In the evening, I attended a special Labour Group meeting to discuss the forthcoming elections. Don’t forget to register to vote by 17 April, and to vote at the election on the 3 May. You can find full details here.
On Tuesday, I had my usual round of meetings, including a one-to-one with Mary Harpley our Chief Executive, and Leader’s Meeting with Deputy Leader, Cllr Amrit Mann, CE Mary Harpley and senior officers, followed by a finance meeting.
BBC London News then came to interview me about the announcement that Floreat Primary, Brentford will close its doors in July. We were given the opportunity to explain that finding a permanent site for the school is the responsibility of the school sponsor, Floreat Education Academies Trust, and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). We are responsible for considering the planning application for the permanent site which we had identified at Layton Road car park, but unfortunately, one wasn’t submitted. We are also doing everything we can to support the parents/carers and children affected, and help them find new school places in the borough. Read our press release here.
Later I had a telephone conversation with Paul Grainger of the UCL Institute of Education, who is researching into the impact of area based reviews on further education across London. I chaired the review for South West London.
On Wednesday, I spent the morning in a round of meetings, and later met with Valerie Shawcross, Deputy Mayor for Transport, along with our Head of Traffic and Transport, Mark Frost, to discuss the new orbital rail link.
Thursday began with a meeting with 3Fox who are responsible for organising the sponsorship for my trip to MIPIM, an international property event. In these uncertain times, because of Brexit, we need to ensure that businesses still want to come to Hounslow so we need high quality office space and new homes. We’re competing against other London Boroughs, especially east London and nearer to home, Kingston, Ealing and Slough. The trip is entirely paid for through sponsorship.
I then went to our Housing Maintenance Depot in Ashmead Road, Feltham, where I met Colin Gallagher, the new CEO of FM360, and the team. They are doing a great job in ensuring our wholly-owned company is providing excellent services for our tenants and leaseholders.
I followed this with a telephone interview with Radio Jackie, who were keen to provide an update to listeners on Floreat Primary School, and we discussed what we are doing to support parents to find new school places for their children for the new school term.
Over lunchtime, I was interviewed by staff in our finance and corporate services division, who are undertaking a survey to find out how they are performing internally.
I then met my Head of Communications, Debbie Bacon, to discuss media issues for the week, and forthcoming events and campaigns. You should start to see stickers going on our street litter bins shortly, advising people that dumping waste on the street is fly-tipping and carries a fine up to £400.
These will be followed by lamppost banners and waste truck panels, to make sure the message gets seen and there’s no excuse.
In the afternoon, I attended the regular Housing Zone advisory board meeting. We have two Housing Zones, at Feltham and Hounslow, which will provide much-needed new homes for the borough by 2025/26.
In the evening, I met with parents and carers of children attending Floreat Primary, Brentford, to give them an opportunity to ask questions to help them understand why the decision in principle was taken to close the school, and the support available to help them find new schools for their children.
I then went on to the AGM for Brentford Dock Limited. This is always an enjoyable and interesting evening.
On Friday, I attended our ‘demolition’ event in Brentford town centre, with Ballymore who are redeveloping the site. We saw the first building start to be demolished to make way for our regeneration to start. We are excited by the work which will reinvigorate Brentford town centre as well as celebrate the town's heritage and waterside location.
On Saturday, I will be holding my usual monthly surgery with local residents in the Community Rooms in Brentford Dock from 11am.
I wish the Bees the best of luck away against Sunderland tomorrow.