24 - 28 April
Early collection of Council Tax instalments
I would like to start my blog this week by saying we would like to apologise to everyone affected by the early collection of some residents’ direct debit payments for council tax instalments.
Due to an error in the payment collection system of our contractor, Liberata, direct debit payments for council tax instalments that were due on 1 May 2017 were taken early, on 28 April instead of 2 May.
We are working with Liberata, to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
Residents who may have been affected by this and have suffered financial loss as a result should email the Customer Experience Team
Monday 24 April
I hope all our residents who celebrated St George’s Day on Sunday had a good day.
I spent the weekend in sunny County Kerry in the Republic of Ireland visiting family. I caught up with relatives who live across the world including Australia and Canada.
My dad was born in County Kerry and came over to England in the 1950s. It is a lovely part of the world and it is good to go back and see family every now and then.
I have continued to receive nice messages from people in regards to the tweet sent out by Raj Kohli, Hounslow Police’s Borough Commander
Thank you to all who have sent in a message. I then read that the actor Tom Hardy – known for his roles in the Mad Max: Fury Road and The Revenant films – was involved in a similar situation earlier this week, perhaps Tom and myself should team up!
Back to today, my day consisted of a series of one to one meetings with council staff.
Tuesday 25 April
This morning I chaired the West London Skills and Employment group, where we discussed a review for Further Education.
This group meets to make sure the voices of our young people particularly are heard, that the skills agenda and targets are met and provide the right support to our young people in gaining the right skills training and employment opportunities.
Later myself and the Deputy Leader met with John Miu, a businessman who met the Deputy Leader during the MIPIM event in Cannes, France in March.
At this event the Deputy Leader and senior council officers had met with other London council leaders and other leaders and staff from across the country. It is a major business, conference and networking event attracting businesses from all over the world.
We met with John today to talk about his interest in investing in Hounslow and what opportunities could be followed up.
I then had my regular monthly meeting with the chair of the audit committee.
This was followed by my weekly one to one meeting with our Chief Executive Mary Harpley, and the regular Leaders meeting, hosted by Mary and myself.
Wednesday 26 April
Today I attended an area review meeting at City Hall with other council leaders.
I then joined a fellow councillor to meet with 25 residents from Commerce Road in Brentford.
They want to set up their own residents association and we as a council, are fully behind this as we are with all resident associations across the borough. We will do all we can to support them.
We met the residents at the Holiday Inn, Brentford and I would like to thank the manager, David O’Connor, who is also the president of the Brentford Chamber of Commerce, for the hospitality we received.
Thursday 27 April
This morning I attended the Skills for Londoners event, at South Thames College, following an invitation from The Mayor of London.
A skills taskforce has been put in place to boost training skills for Londoners, tackling youth unemployment and equipping London workforces so they can plug skills shortages.
I then returned back to the Civic Centre, to meet up with a fellow councillor to discuss youth services and feedback from the recent consultation.
This was followed by my regular monthly meetings with the chairs of the planning committee and the overview and scrutiny committees.
Later, senior council planning officers and I met with representatives from Reef Estates about development on the B&Q site in Chiswick.
This evening I attended the Housing and Environment Scrutiny Panel meeting where parks and leisure, housing and enforcement was on the agenda.
I would also like to add my congratulations to all involved in the School Long Service awards which took place last night. It recognised commitment and dedication of staff from across schools in the borough and our Council staff who work in that area.
Friday 28 April
I was at One Over The Ait in Kew Bridge, Brentford, today at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding agreement between Hounslow Council and the Port of London Authority [PLA].
The agreement sets out an arrangement for both organisations to work together and provide mutual support towards a common goal of developing the riverside in Hounslow. We are lucky to have the River Thames running through our borough and should take more advantage of this for the benefit of our residents.
We are grateful for the support of the PLA and in particular, their Chief Executive, Robert Mortimer.
I later met representatives from the A2 Dominion Housing Association at the Ashford Road site in Feltham, to look at developments there.
We were given a demonstration of a new building technique, for thermal installation, which enables the building to be constructed quicker, helps to reduce facility costs significantly and increase sound proof. It was very interesting.
It is just over five weeks to the General Election on 8 June. Residents who still need to register to vote can find all the details on our website
Remember, your vote is important, so make sure you are registered.
Good luck to Brentford FC this weekend, they face a short trip across London to face Fulham. I am sure after the 3-1 win over Queens Park Rangers last week that the Bees will be hoping to chalk up another victory over fellow London teams.
I hope as many of you as possible get to enjoy the May Day Bank Holiday weekend. The Civic Centre is closed on Monday [1 May] and you can check here on all contact details for emergency and out of hours services and your rubbish collections.
In advance, as always, a big thank you to all those council staff and emergency services who continue to work across the Bank Holiday weekend.
Have a great weekend.