20 - 24 February
Monday 20 February
Yesterday [Sunday] saw me out and about canvassing at the weekend alongside Councillor Theo Dennison and supporters around Brentford Dock.
This is always a pleasant affair and it was great to say hello and chat to many residents while we were there. Later I met with residents in Osterley who have been working with Councillor Tony Louki, ward councillor for Osterley & Spring Grove, with regards to persistent problems with fly tipping and other anti-social behaviour.
We are working hard on stamping out fly tipping and will take the strongest action possible against those who do this. We also need residents to report it to us. You can report it HERE
Today, I met with a resident in Chiswick to talk about taking forward the Dukes Meadows masterplan and what we would need to do if we went down the road of setting up a trust. We also discussed what governance arrangements would look like. This afternoon I met with Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime in London, Martin Hewitt, Assistant Commissioner [Territorial Policing] and Raj Kohl, Hounslow Police Borough Commander, to discuss crime priorities for our borough.
We work closely with the Metropolitan Police Service [MPS] on how we can continue to reduce crime across Hounslow and we discussed proposals for the restructuring of the MPS in London. It was a very constructive meeting.
I would like to take the opportunity here to welcome the appointment of Cressida Dick as the new Metropolitan Police Commissioner. I will be extending an invite to Cressida to come and visit us here in Hounslow. I would also like to thank the police in Hounslow for the excellent service they provide for residents in our borough, often in difficult circumstances.
Later I met with representatives from L&Q London Housing regarding a development in Isleworth, near the fire station. Once again it is pleasing to see affordable housing being built here in the borough. It is one of our main commitments we made to residents when we were elected in 2014.
This evening we had the Labour Group meeting.
Tuesday 21 February
This morning, I went with a planning officer to meet the proprietor of a car wash business in Feltham. There had been some problems with noise levels with residents living near the business and I am pleased to say that the car wash has invested in new equipment that will reduce those noise levels and resolve this situation for nearby residents.
I followed this with a series of one-to-one meetings on council business.
I then met with a resident living near the proposed site for the Green School for Boys in Isleworth, opposite the current site housing the Green School for Girls.
Residents, quite rightly, are concerned about access for both vehicles and pedestrians to the site and we have agreed to discuss this further with our planning officers.
Later I met with representatives from BT [British Telecom] to discuss and explore new innovations on digitalisation that can be used to improve the lives of our residents. There will be more on this at a later date.
I then had my regular weekly one-to-one meeting with Chief Executive, Mary Harpley.
This was followed by a meeting with the Hounslow Scout movement, about the possibility of developing new housing on the site they currently use. We discussed what options could be available for a new venue for the scouts if this was to take place. This is in the very early stages of discussion and no decisions have been made.
This evening, we had the most important Borough Council meeting of the year, setting the budget for 2017/18.
See PRESS RELEASE for all the details of the budget and Council Tax.
The opposition group made some challenging comments about our budget, all of which was much debated.
Before the meeting had started, I met with young people who were demonstrating in regards to the future of the youth services in our borough. I welcome the opportunity to meet with them and the adults that were with them.
I confirmed to them that a decision had not yet been made and won’t be until the consultation has ended.
We welcome what our residents think and that is why I urge everyone to have their say on the consultation on youth services. The consultation runs until 6 March. No decisions have yet been made and we want to hear from residents.
Myself and some of those demonstrating, were also interviewed by Buzz TV, a local independent channel based in Chiswick.
Wednesday 22 February
A very early start today.
First meeting of the day was with a family in Brentford. I joined a mum and her two children on their walk to school. We discussed concerns about pollution and the A4 Brentford. This is something high on our agenda and we will continue to work on how we can look to get pollution levels reduced for our residents.
It was good to meet the family and, as a parent with children who are now grown up, the walk to school brought back memories of when my children were young.
It was then on to Boston Manor Road to meet with a TfL [Transport For London] officer to look at concerns residents have in crossing this busy A4 junction with Windmill Road. I am pleased to report that the TfL officer took on board the concerns and we look forward to an update on what improvements can be made to this junction so that it is safer for residents to cross.
Later I met with a resident who lives in Commercial Road, Brentford, near the Holiday Inn. The resident has concerns over inconsiderate parking in the road and whether a litter bin could be provided at the bus stop there.
We will be looking at the parking problems with our council service team and will arrange for a litter bin to be placed at the bus stop.
This afternoon I met with Jan Lennox and Lee Dawson from Watermans Arts Centre. It was a really constructive meeting and we agreed to push ahead with discussions - which are at a delicate stage - with London Green Topland on the development plans for the new arts centre on the site of the former police station.
Later I met with a resident representing the Sparrow Farm Residents Association about plans for new council housing and a new community centre for on this site.
Councillor Khulique Malik, ward councillor for Feltham North was also in attendance. There was much to discuss and local ward councillors are also speaking to residents about making the new facilities accessible to residents of all ages living there.
I then attended a meeting with Councillor Katherine Dunne, Cabinet Member for Housing and the Head of Planning here at the Council, plus Brentford ward councillors, to speak with Essential Living, to discuss proposals for the future of the former Morrisons site.
There are concerns that need to be addressed and these were amongst the discussions.
In the evening, I attended the general meeting of the Brentford and Isleworth Labour group. This took place in Isleworth Public Hall and afterwards I shared a pint with regulars in a lovely local pub.
Thursday 23 February
I had a series of meetings this morning, including one with our community safety teams and enforcement teams on improving our CCTV across the borough.
Later I met with officers to talk about the air quality advisory plan and the effects pollution and poor air quality have on the vulnerable, old and young residents. We support initiatives such as the Healthy Streets project, which has been launched by Saadiq Khan, Mayor of London’s office.
Last meeting of the day was with a group of residents in Hounslow West on the problems of fly tipping and littering. As I mentioned earlier in this diary, we are working hard to eradicate this terrible anti-social behaviour, because that is what it is. It was great to meet them and we will work together in improving the environment of the community they live in.
I hope all our residents were able to keep safe and well during Storm Doris. I know our services, Hounslow Highways - who manage the borough’s streets on behalf of the Council - and Carillion, who manage the borough’s parks, dealt with several incidents, including fallen trees.
We are aware that a tree fell on a car in the car park at Brentford Library, but have been assured the people inside the car were not seriously injured.
I would like to thank all our services and the emergency services who dealt with whatever they were called to do, so efficiently to ensure the safety of our residents. PIC
Friday 24 February
Today I chaired the first project board meeting on the transfer of the Housing Planned Maintenance and Capital Works Services into the Council’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Lampton Facilities Maintenance 360.
I would like to remind all our residents that the Department of Transport is hosting a consultation event on the proposals for a new runway at Heathrow Airport this Monday, 27 February.
This takes place at the Civic Centre, Lampton Road, from 11am-8pm. I urge everyone to attend if they can. There are also other consultation events scheduled. SEE HERE FOR DETAILS
It is set to be a busy weekend. My family and I will be hosting friends of ours from Italy. We met them when we holidayed in Ortona some years ago.
It is quite apt that this weekend sees England take on Italy in the Six Nations Rugby, so there will be some friendly banter and hopefully it will be our visitors crying into their spaghetti after the match! Rivalry will cease of course after the game!
Good luck to England and to all our home nations in the competition.
Also good luck to Brentford FC, who face Rotherham on Saturday. I am sure the Bees will be looking to follow on from the great 2-1 away win at Sheffield Wednesday in midweek.
Have a great weekend.