23 - 27 January
Monday 23 January
On Saturday, I held my regular surgery at Brentford Dock. It was a really busy one with residents from across the borough. Main concerns were about housing issues such as overcrowding and evictions.
Today, I was at the official opening of the newly-refurbished Hogarth House sheltered housing scheme in Heston.
This is one of my proudest moments as leader, seeing this wonderful development in use for our elderly residents.
It was just under two years ago that I had my photo taken in one of the diggers as we started the demolition to build the new homes. It was a wonderful moment to see it open and I am thrilled to see residents enjoying living there. I was very pleased to meet two of the residents, Susan Brown and Joyce Smith.
I am very grateful for all the hard work that has been put in to get this development completed, including our own council staff in housing and our partners in this project, United Living.
It is great that we can make our elderly residents happy by providing such a place, in all 40 self-contained flats, all with facilities that will enhance the lives of the community there.
Tuesday 24 January
Today, I had a series of one to one meetings across different council services throughout the day.
Wednesday 25 January
I was very pleased to be invited to The Great Skills and Logistics Challenge at West Thames College by the college principal Tracy Aust.
The event provided young people with advice and guidance on career paths within the fields of logistics, including engineering, motor vehicle maintenance and construction amongst others.
It was tremendous to see so many young people and businesses from the borough there.
Today I attended the ground-breaking ceremony to celebrate the start of the work on 919 homes on the site of the Civic Centre in Lampton Road.
We were delighted to welcome James Murray, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development at City Hall, along with Notting Hill Housing, Linkcity, and Bouygues UK.
The project is in one of the Mayor of London’s first Housing Zones, bringing together councils, housing associations, developers and businesses to support plans for building more new and affordable homes in London.
As part of the three-way partnership agreement, the council is releasing the Civic Centre site for this major residential redevelopment. I would like to thank Kate Davies, Chief Executive of the Notting Hill Housing Group and Fabienne Viala, Chairman of Bouygues and all the staff involved in what is a key housing project.
As I have said before, we as a council are committed to making sure more good quality homes – including affordable homes – are provided in Hounslow, and the fact that half of the homes in this development will be affordable is a huge achievement.
The added bonus of releasing the current Civic Centre site is that we will gain a new, modern civic building in the heart of Hounslow town centre, not only supporting more efficient ways of working and improved services to residents, but delivering a real boost to the local economy.
Later in the day, I attended the HACC [Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee] meeting.
I was there as the representative for London Councils. It was an interesting and constructive meeting.
In the evening, I attended the Chiswick Calendar second anniversary celebratory event.
I would like to thank Bridget Osborne, editor of the Chiswick Calendar for her invitation and for the work that goes into the website that provides news from and for the local community.
Also attending was Councillor Sam Hearn and it was great to see and meet many local residents there.
Thursday 26 January
Today I attended the Hounslow Festival of Business, at the London Hilton Syon Park, Brentford, which we as a council along with the Hounslow Chamber of Commerce support.
Many small and bigger businesses were there, showcasing their companies and organisations via a VIP business breakfast, exhibition, business advice clinics and speed networking sessions.
I was delighted to see many of our thriving local entrepreneurs who do a fantastic job and are the bedrock for providing skills, training and jobs for local people. I was joined at the event by the Mayor of Hounslow, Councillor Ajmer Grewal, Councillor Theo Dennison, Cabinet Member for Finance and Citizen Engagement and Maria Pedro, the Deputy Lieutenant [Queen’s representative] for Hounslow.
I attended my regular weekly meeting with our Chief Executive, Mary Harpley.
We both then hosted the regular weekly Leaders meeting, with several heads of services from across the council.
Later I went to Cranford Community College for the New Year Community Network Reception and launch of Hounslow’s Promise mentoring scheme organised by Seema Malhotra, MP for Feltham and Heston.
Also attending were Ruth Cadbury, MP for Brentford and Isleworth, Maria Pedro, Deputy Lieutenant [Queen’s representative] for Hounslow, Chief Superintendent Raj Kohli, Metropolitan Police Borough Commander for Hounslow and Stephen Fry, Chief Executive for Hounslow Chamber of Commerce and fellow Hounslow councillors.
I then attended the Brentford Dock AGM, my third attendance at their AGM. As always it was an enjoyable meeting and I was able to answer several questions on planning and recycling.
As I can’t be in two places at once unfortunately, I had to send my apologies to the Brentford and Isleworth Area Forum as I was unable to attend on this occasion.
Friday 27 January
Today I worked from home and was also out and about across the borough for different meetings.
I enjoyed a breakfast in between early meetings at my local café in Brentford which was wonderful! I was joined by former Hounslow councillor Matt Harmer.
I was in Chiswick in the afternoon before attending a farewell party for retiring Hounslow Police Sergeant Nathan Fane who is departing after 30 years’ long service.
I would like to wish Nathan well in his retirement from the force and on any new career path he may follow for the future.
He did a fantastic job in the borough especially with young people. He managed the local cadets which my son joined and I know he thoroughly enjoyed his two years there.
I thank Nathan for all his hard work in the community.
Today, we join residents in remembering all those who have suffered during The Holocaust and other genocides across the world.
We will be holding our annual Holocaust Memorial Day service on Monday [30 January] in the Lampton Park Conference Centre, next to the Civic Centre, Lampton Road, Hounslow.
The service is an opportunity to pay tribute to those affected by The Holocaust and genocide, to learn more about it and to try and ensure such horrendous crimes are not forgotten or repeated.
Finally, good luck to Brentford FC who have a trip across London to meet Premier League side Chelsea in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday.
Let’s hope they can pull off a famous win and be one of the giant killers of this famous old competition!
Have a great weekend!