19 - 25 November
The John Lewis Christmas advert has arrived and now it truly feels like the festive season is officially here – far too early for my liking. Opinions are split on the advert and I must say, I wasn’t that impressed this year!
Earlier this week you may have noticed our twitter feed was monopolised by #OurDay – the Local Government Association social media campaign to capture a day in the life of council staff and volunteers. It was a great way to showcase the work that goes on behind the scenes in the council. We had appearances from a range of services from housing to social care, and even Nala the corn snake made an appearance alongside our Greenspace 360 education staff!
On to the highlights of my week. I am delighted that we’ve been able to start work on improving the pond at Feltham Green with the support of local residents, in particular Angela Parton and the Feltham Ponds Clean Up Volunteers group. This is an excellent community asset in Feltham, which needs a bit of TLC. We started by clearing the island which looks fantastic and now we are looking at whether we can remove the silt from the pond and restock it with fish, as well as make improvements to the public realm surrounding the pond. We’ll keep you updated on further progress.
I was accompanied by Hounslow Mayor, Cllr Samia Chaudhary, to the funeral of our former Deputy Lieutenant Maria Pedro, held in the Chapel at the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth. It was a very moving occasion and her husband Philip was stoic when he gave a eulogy of their life together. It brought many people to tears, including myself. Hounslow was also represented by Cllr John Todd, ward member for Chiswick Homefields, Cllr Sue Sampson, Cabinet Member for Leisure Services, Seema Malhotra MP and many former councillors and staff who worked closely with Maria over the years. I was also pleased to see our former Borough Commander, Chief Superintendent Raj Kohli.
In the evening I attended Cabinet, and the highlight of the meeting was a report presented by Cllr Tom Bruce, Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Youth Services, on the recent Ofsted Inspection of Local Authority Children’s Services. I’d like to thank Cllr Bruce for his leadership, Alan Adams, our Interim Chief Executive, Jacqui McShannon, Director of Children’s Services, and all of her staff who have worked so hard to ensure we received a good result.
Although we’ve been celebrating our good result, I was sad to learn this week that Alan Adams has decided to leave the council after a magnificent five years. Under Alan’s leadership, Hounslow’s services are now very good quality, well integrated with health services, and possibly the best value in the country. I would like to thank Alan for his commitment to Hounslow over the past five years, and for his support both to his fellow officers and staff but also to me, my colleagues in the Cabinet and ward councillors. I am sorry that Alan has decided to leave but wish him well for the future.
Later in the week I attended the launch of our Great West Corridor Master Plan review workshop with landowners, in Brentford. The plan sets out the council’s vision and opportunities for good growth in the area over the next 15 years, which will transform the area and deliver much needed jobs and homes for the borough. Landowners had the opportunity to comment on the draft proposals for their site and for Great West Corridor Opportunity Area.
I also attended the WoW (West of West London) conference which brings together over 200 senior decision makers from local authorities, private sector developers and housing associations, responsible for bringing growth to west London. There, I met other council leaders to discuss the impact of the third runway - both the positive and negative aspects of the proposed development. I also delivered a speech at the event, which touched upon how we can work together to benefit from infrastructure changes for both residents and businesses.
England had an embarrassing start to their game against Japan last weekend, let’s hope they pull their socks up and get ahead in the game against Australia on Saturday. As always, good luck to the Bees who will be playing against Middlesbrough.
Next week, Deputy Leader, Cllr Lily Bath, will be holding the fort while I'm away for a few days, but I’ll be back in the saddle before you know it!
Have a great weekend all.