23 - 27 August
I hope you and your family and friends are well.
Coronavirus cases have been steadily declining across the Borough. However, in other parts of the UK this varies, particularly as many travel to UK destinations for their summer break. As we all recognise, the virus remains among us and there are people yet to be vaccinated. This means we must continue to act with caution. Please play your part to reduce the spread of the virus by having a test twice a week and taking the vaccine. It is extremely important to have both doses for maximum effectiveness against serious illness from coronavirus. You can find more information on the Council’s website for Coronavirus - advice and updates.
The Government’s review of travel restrictions on 24 August meant some countries were added to the ‘green list’, with others remaining on the ‘amber’ and/or ‘red’ lists. If you’re planning to travel, please remember to check the Government’s guidance and follow the rules: Travel abroad from England during coronavirus.
Many of you will have seen the tragic scenes in Afghanistan over the last week. Those will have been distressing for many residents in Hounslow who are worried about family and friends at this time. It’s been difficult to see the difficulties faced by so many desperately trying to leave Afghanistan because of the humanitarian crisis they face. Our thoughts are with everyone affected.
The Government has announced that councils in England, Scotland and Wales will have access to a share of £5 million to help provide necessary housing and support to Afghans under the ARAP scheme. This will help councils meet the costs of renting properties for those that need them, including larger homes for families. All who have fled Afghanistan are also being offered the COVID-19 vaccine on arrival.
As a Council, we have a strong history of supporting refugees and welcoming them to Hounslow. We have updated our plans in conjunction with London Councils, the Mayor of London, the Government, other statutory agencies, charities, and the voluntary sector to ensure the right support and resettlement measures are in place for vulnerable families and individuals. You can read more in my statement: Hounslow on standby to support Afghan refugees.
At the weekend I was pleased to join the litter pick at Hanworth Park organised by the Friends of Hanworth Park House. They had support from Feltham Rugby Club (who do a great job of keeping an eye on what’s going on in the park and, of course, playing rugby! Keep it up!) as well as volunteers from the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity that provides lifelong support to serving men and women and veterans from the British Armed Forces and their families or dependents). It is great to see the community spirit across the Borough. Hats off to everyone who came out to volunteer and make a difference in their community for the benefit of everyone.
Cllr Bishnu Gurung, Mayor of Hounslow in the centre (wearing his mayoral chains) with Cllr Hina Mir, Deputy Mayor (to his right) and volunteers fundraising for one of the Mayor’s chosen charities; SSAFA - an Armed Forces charity supporting Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and their Families.
A special thanks go to Richard Griffiths, Chair of Friends of Hanworth Park House, and committee members Sarah Houghton and Mariana Sutherland for putting the event together and for their success in winning a small grant from Hounslow Council towards the work they undertake in their local community. And it would be remiss not to mention the wonderful cake baked by Mariana for the BBQ held at Feltham Rugby Club.
It’s really a piece of cake - Please don’t litter! Dispose of your rubbish in a litter bin and if it’s full, take it home with you!
It was great to catch up with Robert Clasper and Steve Cox from JCDecaux on Tuesday, with Mandy Skinner, Hounslow Council’s Assistant Chief Executive. JCDecaux are a longstanding partner of the Council, with their beautiful Art Deco headquarters on the Great West Road. They are passionate about making positive changes for the Borough and committed to adding value to their local community. They’ve also been a great support to our Brentford Bridge project from the very beginning with many of their staff spending time volunteering to litter pick and cutting back overgrown vegetation at the canal embankment, come rain or shine! Thank you for all your support!
Rob on the left from JCDecaux and volunteers from his team at one of the litter picks in August 2020.
In the afternoon, I was delighted to meet Mike England, Tony Middleton and Jeremy from Lampton Property 360 with Cllr Guy Lambert, the lead member for Highways, Recycling and Companies. We visited some properties in Hanworth that have recently been added to the Lampton Property 360 portfolio, taking the total to 230. Our first stop was at 110 Main Street in Hanworth; newly refurbished to a high-quality standard with council tenants expected to move in at the end of August. We also visited property being refurbished in South Road by our maintenance company, Coalo. We had the pleasure of meeting tenants at Conway Road, Oliver Court, and Jasmine Court in Hanworth. all of whom have benefited from refurbishment work which provides them with better standards and facilities.
At the end of the day, we went to Two Bridges, a Lampton 360 Development Site due to complete later this year, with ten homes purchased by Lampton Investment for local people. I’m very proud of the work Hounslow Council and our wholly owned companies, Lampton Property 360 and Coalo, are doing to achieve our council housing growth strategy. Delivering new developments and investing in existing council properties in the borough will go a long way to meeting the needs of our residents and creating a Borough they are proud to call home.
Before and after - a refurbished Council home in Hanworth.
I was thrilled to visit Dukes Meadow on Thursday to mark works which will begin soon to build a new footbridge for pedestrians and cyclists from the Thames Pathway into the site in Chiswick. I was joined by Cllr Samia Chaudhary, (lead member for Leisure Services), Cllr John Todd, (ward councillor for Chiswick Homefields), council staff and contractors.
Dukes Meadow is a much-loved open space, well-used by residents of the Borough and visitors alike. The new footbridge will provide a continued route along the Thames, which would otherwise be severed by railways as it meets Barnes Bridge. This means pedestrians and cyclists will no longer have to come away from the Thames path and use the narrow tunnel under the railway to access Dukes Meadow and/or Barnes Bridge Station.
I’m sure that - once built - it will not only look magnificent, but will provide a much safer, enjoyable experience for everyone. The bridge is part of the Dukes Meadows Masterplan to improve the park’s facilities for sport, transport and access. With cross-party support for this project, I would like to give particular thanks to Cllr John Todd for all his help. Read more in my joint statement with Cllr Chaudhary: a ‘stunning’ new route into Dukes Meadows
Left to right: Cllr John Todd, ward councillor for Chiswick Homefields, Cllr Samia Chaudhary in the cab, lead member for Leisure Services, and me.
Cllr Samia Chaudhary and me with Cllr John Todd, joined by Council officers and contractors Knights Brown. The makeup of those in the picture is interesting as it matches the diversity of Hounslow. In the team are people from Hong Kong, Nepal, Columbia, Ireland, and all parts, north and south.
Artist impression of Barnes Bridge – a beautiful new walkway taking users over the water and under the railway bridge until it re-joins the Thames pathway. If you want to keep an eye on what’s going on, visit Knights Brown | Dukes Meadows Footbridge
After extensive engagement and independent review, Hounslow Council has announced it will make the borough’s School Streets trials permanent. The aim - to restrict motor traffic near schools and reduce the use of private vehicles on the journey to and from school - has been very popular with parents, pupils, and residents. School streets improve road safety for pupils, parents, and teachers on their journey to and from school, as well as promoting walking, cycling, and reducing air pollution in the area around schools. Read more in Cllr Hanif Khan’s (lead member for Transport and One Hounslow) statement: Hounslow Council makes School Streets permanent | London Borough of Hounslow
Remember, there’s plenty to do across the Borough this Bank Holiday weekend. So check out the new visitor website to explore what’s on offer in Hounslow. Let’s keep the Hounslow pound in Hounslow!
That reminds me of the Raji Bhaji event on Saturday. A Bollywood festival organised in memory of Raj Dhiman, a much-loved character and well-known hairdresser in the community who sadly passed away suddenly last year. The profits of the Raji Bhaji will be donated to Hounslow Community Food Box, a cause close to Raj’s heart. Raj often organised his famous Raji Bhaji parties for friends and Talia, a former X Factor contestant, was keen to keep the tradition going.
If you can’t make to the event in person, perhaps you would like to make a donation which I’m sure will be very much appreciated by Hounslow Foodbox and go a long way to support their work to help individuals and families: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/rajibhaji
It’ll be another nail-biting watch for Bees fans tomorrow when they’re away to Aston Villa in the Premier League. Wishing the team all the very best from everyone in Hounslow Council and across the Borough.
Come you Bees!!
Don’t forget to vote for your Community Heroes. There are many community members who deserve to be recognised for the role they’ve played helping others in our communities with extra support throughout the pandemic. So, take a moment to vote for your community hero!
Before I go, I would like to mention the Council’s cash boost scheme for households and local businesses. It is one of our initiatives to recover from the impacts of COVID on our local economy. Hounslow is one of the first local authorities in London to offer every household a £20 voucher to spend in over 200 participating local businesses. We hope this will encourage residents to return to their local shops and town centres rather than shopping online. It’s not just about keeping the Hounslow pound in Hounslow. It is also about helping many people retain jobs, enabling independent traders to stay in business and helping our high-street thrive once again. Read more in my joint statement with Cllr Shantanu Rajawat, lead member for Finance & Corporate Services: Covid cash boost for households and local businesses
I hope you have lovely bank holiday weekend. Whatever you’ll be doing, please stay safe!
Cllr Steve Curran