22 - 28 October
I had a busy surgery on Saturday at Brentford Dock mainly talking to residents who are facing housing difficulties due to the huge rise in private rental costs. The housing situation across London is chronic and we are doing all we can in Hounslow to tackle the growing need for more homes for local people. Keep up to date with our housing pledge here.
On Sunday, I travelled with both Cllr Ajmer Grewal and Cllr Pritam Grewal, ward members for Hounslow Central, to Paris via Eurostar with representatives from Transport for London (TfL). The purpose of our trip was to meet with staff from Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP) - the equivalent of TfL in Paris - who gave us a tour of underground bus garages, with residential, commercial and educational facilities built on top. The use of the space enables brownfield sites to be used more efficiently. As you all know, land is very scarce in London, and Hounslow is no exception. We’re continually looking at innovative ways to make use of the space available.
I could only visit one garage as I had to leave early to chair the Capital Ambition Board meeting at London Council’s in the afternoon.
On Tuesday, I kick started the first of three staff briefings along with our Interim Chief Executive Alan Adams. We had a very frank discussion with staff about the budgets and the financial pressure we are under because of austerity. We also discussed our recent Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills) inspection of our Children’s Services, as well as our move to Hounslow House, the council’s new headquarters, due to open in March 2019. The rest of the day was filled with meetings with staff across the council.
On Wednesday I had my usual Leader’s meeting and in the late morning I visited the newly built Fulham Reach Boat Club with Cllr John Todd, ward member for Chiswick Homefields. The club specialises in providing rowing courses for all children in Hammersmith and Fulham through their schools – something not a lot of children would normally have access to. We’re hoping through our work at Dukes Meadow, we will be able to build a new boat house.
I was back in the office in the afternoon for another staff briefing, followed by my last meeting of the day with senior planning officers, where we discussed the major planning applications due over the next few weeks.
On Thursday, I held another staff briefing and then attended Cabinet Question Time, giving residents the opportunity to quiz Cabinet members about council services and local matters. The next event will take place on Wednesday 28 November – we hope to see you there.
Today, I went out with housing officers in the morning to visit a couple of sites, and for the rest of the day I’ll be doing my usual rounds meeting with residents in the borough.
Some of you may already have attended our series of film screenings in celebration of Black History Month this week. The final screening of ‘Selma’ will take place later today, 7pm at the Civic Centre. There’s still time for you, your friends and family to come along. Book your tickets here and don’t forget to pick up refreshments on the way in!
A big congratulations to Hounslow’s cycling group Biking Belles, who were awarded ‘Highly Commended’ in the London Cycling Campaigner Awards for the ‘Best Family Friendly Event’ category. The Biking Belles initiative is run by Fatima Ahmed with a little help from Hounslow Cycling Campaign and the London Bike Hub. The group meets for twice-weekly cycle training at the Civic Centre, where more than sixty people have been taught to cycle. Great work!
Tomorrow (Saturday 27), I’ve been invited to the opening of Chiswick Rugby Football Club’s new 3G pitch. The council worked closely with the club to secure funding from the Rugby Football Union (RFU) for this new pitch which will benefit the local community.
It has been an unlucky week for the Bee’s, with a 1-0 loss against Bristol City and a 4-3 loss against Preston. I’m hoping they’ll pull a win out of the bag against Norwich City at the weekend! If you haven’t seen the new ground recently, take a look at the picture below, things are developing well, it will be a fantastic venue when it’s completed.
Don’t forget, the clocks go back on Sunday so enjoy the extra hour in bed!
Have a great weekend all.