20 - 24 March
Monday 20 March
On Saturday, I met with residents of Hartham Road in Isleworth who have concerns over parking issues, including not being able to park outside or near their homes. A request for CPZ [Community Parking Zone] has been put forward and a number of options are being looked at.
I also held my regular surgery at the Community Centre, Brentford Dock [Saturday]. It was very busy as usual and great to see all those who came in.
Topics included a CPZ for Brentford Library, Housing issues and access to buildings in the borough for community use.
Later on the same day, I attended the London Irish rugby team’s St Patrick’s Day game against the Cornish Pirates at Reading FC’s Madejski Stadium. It was a good way to celebrate St Patrick’s Day [the day before] and London Irish were the clear winners at 39 to 10. I would like to thank London Irish for its wonderful hospitality.
This was followed by watching England lose to Ireland in the Rugby Six Nations. This was so predictable after securing the championship title! They [Ireland] spoilt the party again!
My commitments to all things rugby on Saturday, meant I unfortunately had to miss out on joining my council colleagues in celebrating the birthday of Councillor John Chatt, Feltham North ward councillor.
I know many councillors attended and they all had a good time.
On Sunday, I was out canvassing again in Syon Ward, around Brentford Dock, which is one polling district in its own right. Residents we met were as engaging as always.
Back to today, Monday.
This morning I had a meeting with Stephen Marks, CEO of French Connection, the company that runs the Dukes Meadows Tennis and Golf Centre a golf and tennis club here on Dukes Meadows.
We are set to receive a planning application soon for a building to replace the current “dome” that the club operates out of on the site.
Stephen has done a lot for grass roots tennis in the borough and I know of at least two children from the borough who have made it to England national level at different age groups.
In the afternoon, Councillor Ajmer Grewal, Mayor of Hounslow and myself, had the pleasure of welcoming His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester and representatives from the Richmond Virginia Indian Tribes, to unveil a plaque in commemoration of Pocahontas.
The plaque is on the site of a former villa where Pocahontas and her family once lived, opposite Syon House. It was designed by local ceramic sculptor Claire Ireland.
We were delighted to be joined by children from local schools, who all took part in an art competition as part of the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the death of Pocahontas. Read all about it here
I then followed that event by meeting residents who have concerns around the planning proposals for The Green Boys School at Busch Corner. Marilyn Smith, Head of Development Control at the council, was also present. It was a useful meeting and we will be contacting those residents again further.
Tuesday 21 March
I was at London Councils in central London for most of the day.
The first meeting was a Labour Group Leaders’ meeting, followed by another where we listened to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, speak about issues such as devolution, and how boroughs could best work with the Mayor. There was also discussion on the cuts to the police and school budgets, and how they affect London residents.
We then attended a Leaders’ committee meeting on the future of devolution in London, followed by the West London Economic Prosperity Board, where transport, adult learning and business rates were on the agenda.
In the evening, we had the Cabinet meeting. We have had to make some difficult decisions.
Due to drastic cuts to budgets and grants, the Council has to withdraw its funding of a school crossing patrol service in order to achieve a saving of the Council’s revenue budget of £160,000.
We remain committed to working with our schools to source alternative funding to provide this service. Our traffic service is also continuing to work with the police including Hounslow Police Borough Commander Raj Kohli, on traffic issues to make our roads even safer.
But we all – the Council, schools, parents and guardians, police – have a collective responsibility to ensure our children get to and from schools safely. Read our press release here.
Also at the Cabinet meeting, Councillor Tom Bruce, Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services, gave a report on schools and the fantastic news we have had from Ofsted. Read our press release here.
Education services for children and young people in Hounslow are amongst the best in the country, according to Ofsted.
Government inspectors have judged 96 per cent of all Hounslow schools as good or outstanding, up from 74 per cent in May 2014.
Primary schools have also been judged good or better to 98 per cent, up from 67 per cent in May 2014.
So congratulations to all our schools, parents and guardians, pupils and governors.
Wednesday 22 March
Today, London, including Hounslow, stands together in the face of adversity following the shocking attack in Westminster this afternoon.
Read my statement – it goes without saying that our thoughts are with those who lost loved ones and those injured.
Officers from the London Borough of Hounslow Prevent Team are working with Metropolitan Police colleagues and visiting places of worship to offer reassurance and support.
We are proud to say that Hounslow is a diverse borough and we must all stand together as one community.
Such incidents put things into perspective but of course we must all carry on and the rest of the afternoon included a meeting of the Dukes Meadows Programme Board.
We looked at and discussed progress on the masterplan and how we are working closely with clubs and businesses who use Dukes Meadows, plus how we can support and improve this use.
We are also talking to external partners such as the F.A. [Football Association] and the RFU [Rugby Football Union.] to secure significant investment to support improved sports facilities at Dukes Meadows.
Later I attended a meeting for the Green Belt Review, before going on to the Brentford and Isleworth Labour party meeting.
The last event of the evening was the launch for this year’s Hounslow Business Awards.
The awards will be held on Thursday 12 October 2017. Details of this will be out over the next week or so, but for more information, visit the Hounslow Business Awards Website
Thursday 23 March
This morning I had a series of one to one meetings with council staff.
In the afternoon, I chaired the Housing Zone Advisory Board. We discussed the housing zones for Hounslow and Feltham, for which we have received significant funding from the Greater London Authority.
This includes the site at Lampton Road, where by 2022, we will have over 900 new homes, 50 per cent of them affordable housing.
Tonight I attended the Isleworth and Brentford Area Forum, where a decision was made to agree to a permanent closure of Church Street. It was a very difficult decision for councillors to make, and I am grateful to the people who attended. It was always going to be a contentious decision, but on balance I believe the one we made is right going forward.
Also this evening, residents met to discuss the future of the former Morrison supermarket site. As I was at the area forum, I was unable to make this one, so Councillor Theo Dennison, Cabinet Member for Finance and Citizen Engagement attended this to explain the Council’s position on this issue.
Friday 24 March
Today I met with Councillor Guy Lambert, ward councillor for Brentford, to discuss cross boundary issues.
There is some confusion over what areas ward councillors cover across Brentford - they don’t cover all of it. Unfortunately, it is something out of our control as the ward boundaries came into being before we took office. But we had a discussion on how we can resolve issues on this going forward.
The rest of the day saw me attend various one to one meetings.
No match for Brentford FC this weekend due to the internationals that are being played. As always good luck to England and all our home nations in their World Cup qualifiers.
I hope everyone has a good weekend – stay safe and vigilant but also stay calm. Hounslow is an incredibly diverse borough and at this time we must all stand together as one community in the face of incidents, such as the one that took place this week in Westminster.
If you see anything that causes you concern or raises your suspicions, please don’t hesitate to call the Counter Terrorism Policing number: 0800 789 321 - or in an emergency 999.
Have a great weekend