15 - 19 February
I hope you and your family and friends are well.
As rates of COVID-19 infection in the Borough reduce, in common with all areas of the country, the important consequences are that fewer people being infected, fewer people are seriously unwell and admitted to hospital, and fewer people dying. In January over 190 residents in our Borough died after testing positive in the previous 28 days. Although there are still deaths every day, the number is lower, and we need to keep this trend going. As the vaccination programme progresses, over 80% of people in priority groups have been vaccinated so far. We need that number to increase so that more are protected. The first dose reduces the risk of serious infection, the second will afford full vaccine protection. The programme is now targeting priority group 6. That includes carers and people with underlying health conditions.
I ask you, please do not be complacent. Yes, rates of infection are reducing, but they can just as easily increase again, so we need to get on the front foot as we prepare for an end to lockdown. Remember we all need to follow Hands, Face and Space.
If you have symptoms of Covid-19, get tested and isolate. This is very important if we are to break the ongoing spread of infection.
The route out of this pandemic is through following the rules and getting vaccination, so, if you are in a priority vaccination group, please get vaccinated. I know that people still have questions about the vaccine and need reliable information to reassure them before they get vaccinated. If this applies to you, or a family member, please visit https://www.hounslow.gov.uk/vaccine-faqs, contact your GP or email the Council Public Health Team on firstname.lastname@example.org who will direct you to reliable information , so you can make a decision based on accurate evidence about whether to get vaccinated.
We are still in a national lockdown and I urge residents to keep following the rules set out in the Government guidance.
Please visit the Council’s website to access the wide range of help and support available; https://www.hounslow.gov.uk/coronavirus. Residents can also seek support by contacting our Community Hub for help with food supplies, clothing, financial and other community support.
Businesses in the borough can play their part in reducing the spread of the disease by taking up the Rapid Test offer for themselves and their staff. The test is quick and free, plus having a rapid test every few days will help to contain the spread of the virus and protect you and others. Rapid tests are available to book online or walk-in at any one of the at the sites below. Book here: www.hounslow.gov.uk/rapidtest or call 0207 084 9697
- Heston Library (New Heston Road, TW50LW) - 6.30am-7.30pm (Mon-Fri) or 8.00am-4.00pm (Sat-Sun)
- Hounslow House - 7 Bath Road, Hounslow TW3 3EB - 8am-4pm (Mon-Sun)
- Isleworth Library - Twickenham Road, Isleworth TW7 7EU - 8am-4pm (Mon-Sun)
- Staines Rugby Club - Snakey Lane, Feltham TW13 7NB - 8am-4pm (Mon-Sun)
If you employ more than 50 people who cannot work from home, you can access workplace testing. Visit https://www.gov.uk/get-workplace-coronavirus-tests to find out more.
Members of the community who do not have COVID-19 symptoms should also book a rapid test. This is an extremely effective way to reduce the spread of the disease in Hounslow.
Residents who do have COVID-19 symptoms, such as a high temperature, a new and continuous cough, a change to, or loss of, smell or taste, should self-isolate and book a ‘PCR test’. You can book an appointment or order a home testing kit via the Government’s website www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test, the NHS COVID-19 app or by calling 119.
I would like to remind residents about the Hounslow EU settlement service. All EU, EEA and Swiss citizens (and their families who were living in the UK before 31 December 2020 can apply via the UE Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after the 30 June 2021. The deadline for applications is 30 June 2021. You can apply online gov.uk/eu-settled-status. Anyone who is vulnerable or may have other questions can contact the Hounslow Citizens Advice for free and confidential support. You can call 08082787830 or email email@example.com
I would encourage you to sign up to receive regular updates from the Council on a range of topics for residents, community groups and businesses. It’s an easy way to keep in the loop on lots of important information on services, advice and support available.
As many of you will know, the Cycleway 9 scheme was temporarily implemented and opened in December 2020, providing a segregated cycling track alongside Chiswick High Road, Heathfield Terrace and Wellesley Road in Chiswick. Following claims that the Council acted unlawfully when approving the TfL scheme, it has been subject to legal challenge. We’ve now had confirmation from the Judge the final hearing in the high court will be in June 2021.
In Hounslow, we are committed to making improvements to walking and cycling and to air pollution levels. We must all make changes if we are to make a real difference. We are also committed to listening to residents, community groups and businesses, and working with them to make Hounslow a cleaner, greener borough. You can read more in the statement here: Cycleway 9 High Court hearing
I was delighted to meet virtually Cllr Ian Edwards, the new Leader of Hillingdon Council this week, with their Chief Executive and ours, Niall Bolger. Cllr Edwards recently took the position and I wish him every success in his role. I very much look forward to working with him as we are adjoining boroughs and we have much by way of mutual interest. One area we covered at our meeting was how we could improve air quality in and around the A4 / M4 corridor as it runs through Hillingdon, Hounslow, Hammersmith & Fulham, etc.
Next week, I’ll be hosting the virtual Budget Question Time along with Cllr Lily Bath, Deputy Leader of the Council; Cllr Shantanu Rajawat, Lead Member for Finance and Corporate Services, and Cllr Candice Atterton, Lead Member for Adults, Social Care & Health. We will be there to answer questions about the proposed budget for 2021/22. I hope this will be an opportunity for residents, local businesses, and community groups to ask their questions directly about the proposed budget plans before they are presented to Borough Council on 2 March.
There's a lot of information and news about business in Let's Talk Business and a really good piece about Hounslow's regeneration. You can read that here.
I would like to mention that it was a real shame to see Brentford FC lose two games on the bounce, and especially disappointing for Brentford fans to lose to local rivals QPR for the first time in a long while. I’m sure it’s just a temporary blip!!
It was equally disappointing last weekend when London Irish lost to Exeter. Commiserations to the team! However, I’m sure they’ll have better luck this Sunday 21 February when they’re up against Bristol. Wishing them all the best!!
Good luck to Brentford FC as well. They are away against Coventry! Come on you Bees!!!
Have a good weekend everyone. Stay safe.
Cllr Steve Curran