2 - 6 October
Monday 2 October
On Friday of last week, I mentioned attending a coffee morning at Brentford Dock in aid of MacMillan Cancer Support. I want to thank organisers for inviting me and for hosting this fantastic event for such a great cause. It was great to see many residents attend this.
I caught up with a host of messages and calls this morning.
In the afternoon, I was joined by senior council officers to meet showman residents who live on the Showman’s guild site in Feltham. We discussed the masterplan which includes building more homes to meet demand and the implications this may have on the site. It was a challenging meeting and understandably the Showman community have concerns and are keen to stay on this site, where some of whom have lived all their lives. This will be ongoing and I would like to thank the Showman residents and ward councillors for attending.
Tuesday 3 October
I joined our Chief Executive Mary Harpley to host an All Staff Briefing session. This is something we do regularly to brief staff on what is going on across the Council, updates and forthcoming plans. There is a chance at the end of the session for staff to ask questions. All the sessions have been well attended which has been great to see.
Later in the day I joined senior planning officers about the plans for the new Watermans Art Centre, which is to be on the site of the former police station in Brentford. We are at a delicate stage of the process but the determination is to have a new arts centre as well as providing more affordable housing in the area.
I finished the day by catching up on messages and emails.
Wednesday 4 October
This morning I travelled to meet Sachin Shah, Leader of Harrow Council. We discussed joint development working opportunities between our two councils. I regularly meet leaders of other local authorities. It is a chance to see how working together – whatever political leaderships we have – can be of benefit for the residents we all serve.
In the afternoon, our Chief Executive Mary Harpley, myself and Councillor Amrit Mann, Deputy Leader of the Council hosted the weekly Leaders meeting, with service team leaders from across the Council.
Today I also met with some parents of children at Floreat Primary School in Brentford. It was great to meet them as we look to ensure the permanent school is opened as soon as possible.
This was followed by a series of one-to-one meetings with other council staff.
Thursday 5 October
Today, I had a meeting with Councillor Samia Chaudhary, Cabinet Member for Green Policy and Leisure, as part of regular meetings I have with cabinet members. One of the areas we discussed was our working in ensuring we are a “green” borough and doing everything we can. I know we are amongst the those boroughs in the top 10 for our green initiatives. We have an array of wonderful parks along with a number of historic venues. In addition, we have a fantastic frontage to the River Thames which we continue to encourage our residents to make the most of.
I followed this with a finance meeting with Councillor Theo Dennison, Cabinet Member for Finance and Citizen Engagement and the Council’s Director of Finance and Corporate Services, Clive Palfreyman, to discuss the financial crisis in social care provision, which is affecting the whole of the country not just London. One of the many struggles is being able to pay staff the London Living Wage. I am very proud to say that we as a Council do pay the London Living Wage. It is important to us as an employer to do this as well as to ensure our staff can deliver the service needed for our most vulnerable residents.
Later I attended a meeting with Councillor Tom Bruce, Cabinet Member for Education, Children’s Services and Youth Services, to discuss children’s services and what we are doing to meet targets under severe cuts which are imposed to us by central government.
It is a long and difficult task and won’t be easily achieved, but I would like to thank staff in these services for their hard work and dedication in continuing to provide the service which goes towards changing the lives of children in our borough for the better, on a daily basis.
Friday 6 October
This morning, our Chief Executive Mary Harpley and I met with Seema Malhotra, our MP for Feltham and Heston. It was a catch-up meeting which we regularly have with our MPs and part of the discussion was talking about the masterplan for Feltham.
There was the last in the current round of All Staff Briefing sessions, which again was well attended by staff.
You will be pleased to see the autumn edition of Hounslow Matters being put through your letterbox as we speak. It is also accessible online.
We welcome the news of extra funding for local authorities to build and provide more housing, as announced in the Prime Minister, Theresa May’s, conference speech this week. The funding though doesn’t go far enough and instead of ploughing more into Help to Buy Schemes and such like, it would be good to have more money to build more council homes.
It is the international break in football – England have now qualified for next year’s World Cup following a late winner in their 1-0 win over Slovenia, so well done to them and good luck to the other home nations looking to also qualify.
Tomorrow, Saturday, I am looking forward to watching my son play rugby in Richmond and enjoy a couple of beers at the same time!
On Sunday, myself, Councillor Theo Dennison and Cllr Katherine Dunne will be out about canvassing in Syon ward. If you see us, come and say hello!
Have a great weekend!