27 February - 03 March
Monday 27 February
I mentioned in last week’s diary that my family and I were hosting four Italian friends from Ortona, who we met on holiday some years ago.
Yesterday [Sunday] we enjoyed some sightseeing in London in the morning, then in the afternoon, it was on to the Rugby Six Nations at Twickenham to see England take on Italy.
It was a very interesting game with our Italian friends very confident at half time, but glad to say that common sense prevailed in the end, although England must take more notice of the laws!
I would like to congratulate the Royal British Legion Hounslow branch on the occasion of its ninetieth anniversary.
It does a fantastic job for the veterans and men and women currently on duty from our borough and what a milestone to reach.
Today, I was in and out of the office.
We held the first of our All Staff briefings of the week. This is when our Chief Executive Mary Harpley, myself and Deputy Leader, Cllr Amrit Mann update all staff from across the council and invite them to ask any questions they have.
Always good to interact with staff and there were some challenging but really good questions to answer.
At lunchtime, I met with a residents from Devonshire Road, Chiswick, who are concerned about tarmac put down by Hounslow Highways on behalf of the Council, instead of paving stones. This is not a conservation area but is of significant interest.
In the evening, I chaired the Dukes Meadows stakeholder’s group meeting, where we brought everyone up to speed with our masterplan for Dukes Meadows. We also updated on the work we are doing with national partners such as the FA [Football Association], RFU [Rugby Football Union] and others in cricket, hockey etc.
It was a very positive meeting and there will be more to report on at a later date.
Tuesday 28 February
Shrove Tuesday today, but didn’t have any pancakes, another sign of getting older!
In the morning I attended a meeting with officers for the West London Alliance to discuss the set-up of the West London Skills Commissioning Group, following on from the Further Education Area Review work, which has now been completed.
It’s so important we give our young people the opportunities to gain the skills and knowledge that can lead to sustainable jobs, including apprenticeships.
Speaking of apprenticeships, the Council is marking the tenth anniversary of National Apprenticeship Week - next week - with a raft of useful and practical events until 10 March aimed at getting the borough’s residents into local apprenticeship placements.
The Council has recruited 168 apprentices into this award-winning programme over the last 10 years, with apprentices representing people from different backgrounds across the borough. Read more
Later I met with the West London Turkish group who have many members in Hounslow and wanted to talk to us about the possibilities of using community centres for meetings.
We’ve said we will look into this for them. They’re keen to integrate within the community, especially for young people while at the same time maintaining their Turkish culture.
In the evening, I attended the Housing and Environment Scrutiny Panel. We are on schedule for meeting our target of 3,000 affordable homes in the borough. 400 of which will be at social rent level. We also discussed the Housing Zones for Hounslow and Feltham
My last meeting of the day was to sit in on the licensing panel. We only had one item to discuss, as the other applicants had pulled out. The application – for a new off licence in the high street, Hounslow - was refused by the panel. Read more
Wednesday 1 March
It does feel as if spring has made an appearance. It’s lovely to see the daffodils and crocuses around the borough.
Today is also St David’s Day, so best wishes to all our Welsh comrades!
It was a very early start this morning as I joined staff of the SEN (Special Education Needs) Transport team for a shift.
We met at the Bridge Road depot where they’re based and I went with them as they picked up and transported many of our young people with special educational needs.
We’re launching an advertising campaign to recruit new drivers and attendants for this service shortly. It’s not a glamorous job by any means, but from talking to the staff, definitely a very rewarding one – so do look out for the information and apply if you’re interested. The relationship that the staff have with the children, young people and their parents and families is great to see. They do an amazing job and it was fantastic to meet and speak with them, as well as meet many of the young people and their families.
Cllr Steve Curran meeting staff at Bridge Road depot
After saying goodbye to everyone at Bridge Road depot following the end of the shift, I returned to the office where I went into a series of back to back meetings.
In the afternoon, we had another of the All Staff Briefings and I then had some time off in the evening.
Thursday 2 March
This morning I attended a round of meetings before the next All Staff Briefing session.
In the afternoon, I met with representatives from Topland & London Green on the ongoing developments of the former police station and Watermans Art Centre in Brentford.
It was a positive meeting and it is good that everything is on track.
Later I had my regular weekly one to one meeting with our Chief Executive, Mary Harpley, followed by the weekly Leaders meeting which we both hosted along with Councillor Amrit Mann, Deputy Leader, with several heads of services from across the council.
Friday 3 March
This morning I joined Councillor John Todd, ward councillor for Chiswick Homefields to meet residents in Chiswick to discuss heritage street lighting.
We have some difficult decisions to make as to how much we can spend on heritage lighting with all our other commitments and the cuts forced upon us, so a lot to think about.
Later I was one of a small group of people including Chiswick Homefields ward councillors Robert Oulds and John Todd, at a meeting organised by local journalist John Dale on the proposals for a new pedestrian footbridge between Brentford and Kew Gardens.
There are people for and against this and while the Council is in favour of this in principle, we are unable to support it financially.
It was great to see that 93 per cent of Hounslow pupils starting secondary school in September 2017 have been offered a place at one of their six preferred schools, with 63 per cent getting their first preference.
There has also been an increase of seven per cent in the number of secondary applications made on time by Hounslow residents this year. Read more about it
Some residents may have seen this report on the BBC website on the continuing problems of fly tipping.
We are working very hard and putting every effort into stamping out fly tipping. We have a zero tolerance approach to fly-tipping in our borough, it is anti-social and criminal behaviour that blights the lives of our residents – and we want to stop it. We’re regularly issuing £400 fines to those we catch in the act and will continue to do so.
We do need your help on this. The sooner you report any fly-tipping you see the quicker we can tackle it, identify the culprits and take the strongest possible action. Report fly tipping
If any of you didn’t get the chance to come along to the Civic Centre on 27 February to have your say on the proposals for a new runway at Heathrow Airport on Monday, the Department for Transport (DFT) is hosting another this Wednesday, 15 March, at Isleworth Public Hall, South Street, Isleworth, TW7 7BG 11am– 8pm. Please do try and come along to this – there’s a lot of information available on the proposals and you can have your say on these.
Good luck to Brentford FC this weekend, they face Ipswich Town away. Let’s hope they can follow up on the good 4-2 win over Rotherham last Saturday.
Have a great weekend.