23 - 27 July
I hope you’re enjoying the glorious weather we’ve been having. With the heatwave in full force and in light of the increase in number of grass fires, I would like to remind residents and visitors to Hounslow that barbecues are prohibited in all Hounslow parks and open spaces. Stay safe and help protect our parks by reading the LFB’s recent advice and top tips.
I had a very busy surgery at the weekend with lots of residents popping in to discuss their concerns, mainly to do with housing.
On Monday I worked from home in the morning and then had an appointment at University College London Hospital for a check up on my latest hip replacement. All went well in case anyone was worrying!
On Tuesday I was joined by Cllr Guy Lambert for a meeting at Gunnersbury Park with Cllr Julian Bell, Leader of Ealing Council, and Deputy Leader Cllr Yvonne Johnson. It had been a while since I last visited and I was really impressed with the refurbishment of the main house and the new café. We were there to discuss the governance arrangements for the management of the parks.
In the early afternoon I went to see the Hounslow High Street market. I have received several complaints from shopkeepers and residents that the standard of the market has deteriorated. I also noticed that the pavements are blackened with chewing gum. We will be working with Hounslow Highways to get the market and surrounding area cleaned. If we catch people littering and spitting out chewing gum, we will issue an £80 fine.
Later in the day, I met a delegation from Indonesia who had been invited to the council by Cllr Gerald McGregor. I was asked to speak about local government and the pressures we are facing as a local authority. After some interesting discussions around local government and our challenges, Cllr McGregor and I presented the delegates with a shield of the borough.
In the evening I attended the Borough Council meeting where the Labour Group put forward a motion to support our manifesto and the commitment we have made to our residents to deliver it. For further details of the motions raised at this meeting, please see here.
On Wednesday morning I had my weekly leader’s meeting with Chief Executive Mary Harpley. Our Deputy Leader Lily Bath could not attend the meeting but before going away for the summer, was pleased to promote the St Mungo’s service we use for people who are sleeping rough in the borough. The council’s ongoing work with the charity is going from strength to strength. If you’re concerned about someone who is sleeping rough, you can visit the St Mungo’s website for help and advice.
My last meeting of the day was the Electoral Commission Review to discuss Parliament’s the number of councillors we should have in the borough and/or the size of the wards. At the moment we have 60 councillors and 20 wards.
In the evening I attended a reception hosted by the Army Engagement Group. It was a pleasure to meet Major General Bathhurst CBE and other senior officers. We were joined at the reception by Hounslow councillors, our Mayor Councillor Samia Chaudhary, Ealing Mayor Councillor Tejinder Dhami, and other councillors from west London. We have a very special relationship with the army which goes back many years because of the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow (dating back to 1973!) where the Irish Guards are currently based.
On Thursday I met with Cllr Katherine Dunne, Cabinet Member for Communities and Workforce, and the recruitment consultants we are using to select our new Chief Executive, as Mary Harpley is leaving to take up the Chief Officer role at City Hall. There is a thorough process to go through which will include assessments, meeting our main stakeholders and voluntary groups, meeting with members and then a final interview panel scheduled for Tuesday 4 September. I then had my favourite appointment of the day - at the dentist. No fillings for me this time!
In the afternoon I met Basil Mann, Chair of the Citizens Advice Bureau and its Chief Executive. There has been a huge rise in people seeking advice recently. Later in the afternoon I chaired the quarterly meeting between the council and FM 360, our wholly owned maintenance company. In the evening I attended a fundraising dinner on behalf of Seema Malhotra, MP for Feltham and Heston.
Today I will mainly be out to meet residents in the Syon Ward.
The weather is looking like it’s set to cool down a few degrees over the weekend. Please make sure you stay up-to-date with the Met Office advice to keep safe during the heatwave.
Have a good weekend all.