29 - 03 December
It was with great sadness that I learned of the sudden death of Councillor Javed Akhunzada on Monday, 29 November. This has come as a tremendous shock to everyone including Cllr Akhunzada’s family, friends, and fellow councillors, as well as the residents he proudly represented in Bedfont ward. Since becoming a councillor in May 2018, Javed served our borough and his ward diligently. I know he will be greatly missed. On behalf of the Council, I would like to offer my deepest condolences to Cllr Akhunzada’s family and friends, colleagues, and the community.
The Late. Cllr Javed Akhunzada, ward Councillor for Bedfont.
While we are living with COVID-19 as part of everyday life, it remains a risk to public health and our communities. Particularly as we learned recently of a new variant, Omicron. At this moment little is known about this variant.
It’s a stark reminder that this pandemic is not over. We cannot take our eye off the ball and we must continue to work together to prevent the spread and mitigate the impact of coronavirus as far as possible.
In response to the identification of the new COVID-19 variant Omicron, the Government has announced the following changes to the national COVID response:
- Face coverings are now mandatory on all public transport, in all shops and there is changed guidance for the use of masks in educational settings
- Anyone who is contacted by Test and Trace because they are thought to have come into contact with someone with the Omicron variant, must self-isolate regardless of their age and whether they are fully vaccinated or not
- All travellers arriving in the UK having been to Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola, South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia will be required to quarantine in a government designated quarantine facility for 10 days.
- Everyone entering the UK (other than those coming from the Common Travel Area that covers the Channel Islands and Ireland) will be required to take a PCR test by the end of the second full day after their arrival and self-isolate until they have a negative result.
We can all play our part in managing the spread of the virus by taking measures designed to help keep us all safe:
- have a rapid lateral flow test regularly or a PCR test if you have symptoms and self-isolate for 10 days if you test positive – find out where to have a COVID-19 test
- meet people in open spaces
- social distancing and keeping windows open for good ventilation when meeting others indoors
- wash your hands regularly
- use the NHS COVID-19 app
- if you haven’t already, get vaccinated and take COVID-19 Booster vaccine and Flu vaccine if eligible.
We must be particularly cautious ahead of Christmas. We know this time of year brings additional risks to those most vulnerable and puts extra pressures on our NHS. Let’s all keep doing the right thing, play our part in stopping the spread of the virus and protect our communities and the NHS.
It was good to meet representatives from our local partners JCDecaux, Holiday Inn Brentford Lock, Sky, GlaxoSmithKline, and West London Business in Brentford on Monday. We started our meeting with a walk along the Grand Union canal path from Great West Road to Brentford Lock to look at what improvements we can make to make it more environmentally friendly and a more pleasant place to run, walk or cycle. The area does need some TLC. So, I’ll be setting up a project group to start taking this forward. I’ll keep you updated on our improvement plans for the Brentford Canal Project.
From left to right: Andy (JCDecaux), Tom (LBH), Nicola (Sky), me, Teresa (GSK), Damian (Holiday Inn Brentford) and taking the picture, Bill (West London Business).
I was delighted to make the welcoming speech at the Heathrow Area Transport Forum (HATF) on Tuesday held at Hounslow House. The event was an opportunity to hear from Val Shawcross, Chair of HATF, as well as representatives from Heathrow Airport Ltd, the Department for Transport, TfL and other strategic partners. We heard updates on the work the group has been doing this year, Heathrow’s plans for a two runway Surface Access Strategy and Sustainable Travel Zone, as well as an update on the Elizabeth line and the potential for rail growth in the Heathrow area.
As many of you will know, Heathrow plays an important part in the borough’s economy; many of our residents are employed by Heathrow Airport Ltd and others linked to its supply chain. So, it’s important we continue our strong working relationship with them and our wider partners to ensure any new approaches will benefit our residents, businesses, and visitors alike.
The Heathrow Area Transport Summit at Hounslow House
It was great to meet up with Chief Superintendent, Sean Wilson, recently appointed as our MPS West Area BCU Commander. Sean has an extensive history of working in the police, formerly the Operational Command Unit (OCU) Commander in Aviation Policing and previously Strategic Firearms Commander within the MPS Firearms Command. He has also spent four years in East London as part of the first BCU in the East Area. Sean brings a wealth of experience to his new role as BCU Commander for Hounslow, Hillingdon, and Ealing. I look forward to working with him and his team.
Chief Superintendent, Sean Wilson, MPS West Area Borough Commander
I was pleased to join the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, Tom Copley, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development and Seema Malhotra, MP for Feltham & Heston, in Hounslow town centre on Wednesday as the Mayor launched his annual Winter Rough Sleeping fundraising campaign. The Mayor has called for the Government to “wake up” to the danger that hundreds of Londoners are at risk of having to sleep rough on the capital’s streets this winter. It’s tragic to know so many young Londoners having faced homelessness have had to turn to the streets, as they’ve been worst hit by the pandemic and the downturn of the economy and Government cuts to housing, benefits and other crucial support services.
The Mayor’s fundraising campaign last year successfully raised more than £100,000 which saw the mobilisation of a homelessness hub in Hounslow which takes referrals 24/7 for anyone facing homelessness or sleeping rough. The hub was set as up a direct result of the Mayor’s fundraising campaign and the work of charities and local authorities coming together. Although this is a great step forward in supporting anyone rough sleeping, we continue our efforts to find the root cause of the issue and make it a priority to end homelessness.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Tom Copley Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development and myself in Hounslow High Street - the QR codes on JCDecaux digital signs are an easy way to donate to the Mayor’s fundraising campaign.
I’m here with the Deputy Mayor, Mayor of London, Seema Malhotra MP and two young Londoners who have accessed support from the homelessness hub in Hounslow, funded by the Mayor’s fundraising campaign last year.
Together we can help a young person facing a crisis this winter. If you can, please donate online at TAP London. You can read more about the Mayor’s visit to Hounslow and his campaign to help young London rough sleepers; Mayor of London joins Hounslow Council leader to launch rough sleeping campaign.
It was a pleasure to be invited to the Heston Residents’ Association Christmas meeting on Thursday. The HRA was founded in 1928 by a group of residents and has since celebrated its 90th birthday in 2018 and received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service last year. It’s clear the association members have done some fantastic work in their community and have provided support to many residents. They have adapted to many changes over the years and supported the Council through challenges like the coronavirus pandemic. I am grateful to the HRA and other community groups who do so much in their communities to help others. I would like to thank them for their commitment to Heston and the wider community of Hounslow.
I would like to congratulate any Barbadian residents who live in the borough on becoming a republic this week as Barbados officially parts ways with Queen Elizabeth II. The country's prime minister has described the move to become a republic as a "seminal moment" which will see Barbados fully leave its colonial past behind. You can read more in the BBC’s article about the constitutional changes and Barbados becoming the world's newest republic; https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-59470843.
Congratulations to Barbados!
As Christmas fast approaches, I would like to highlight the fantastic work of Hounslow Community Foodbox, and their Christmas appeal this year supported by Brentford Football Club Players and Fans. If you would like to be involved or donate, you can find information on their Christmas Appeal | Hounslow Community FoodBox.
Good luck to London Irish for their match against Newcastle Falcons on Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.
C’mon the Irish!!
All the very best to the Bees for their match against Leeds United on Sunday, kick-off at 2pm.
As always, c’mon you Bees!!
Have a great weekend. Stay safe.