Chiswick Homefields Councillor Gerald McGregor reports back on his week
I was re-elected Homefields’ Ward Councillor for the London Borough of Hounslow on 5th May 2022. I would like to thank all those who took part in this major exercise in democracy which recognised the importance of a local voice for so many of the issues that face all our residents.
Homefields elected a new Councillor Jack Emsley (see picture above) and he has worked diligently throughout his induction but has yet to have a proper chance to address all his fellow councillors in debate. Regrettably the pandemic and then the climate emergency have prevented meaningful political council meetings about many local concerns including the state of the roads and the dangers of walking on pavements and the collection of rubbish and, of course, the general inability of people to easily make contact with the people in charge at the council. The working from home brigade is now deeply entrenched in the culture of Hounslow and response times to enquiries are slipping.
The annual meeting of the council on May 31st was the only major council meeting since the 2022 Budget setting meeting on March 1st. Our next main council meeting is now scheduled for 20th September. The regular cancellation of meetings (and therefore scrutiny) is not a great tribute to our council. Apparently we were Council of the Year in England in 2021, but obviously not when it came to meetings.
At an earlier cancelled meeting we had prepared questions about an unseen unsatisfactory Ofsted report on the boroughs SEND provision, the continuing hassle factor of traffic schemes and the excessive number of empty council houses. I echo Councillor Todd (see picture above) as the answers remain unreceived and the problems for response raised seeming to be unsolved. Proper Leadership, Governance, Accountability, and Public Transparency are clearly wanting.
State of the pavements
Not a third world picture, a residential street in Bedford Park, Chiswick and this is not the worst example
Residents are having problems when pushing infants in prams, and the dropped curves mean pedestrians are now at risk to collision with powered scooters and electric bicycles. What used to be a nice area without too much aggravation.
The London Borough of Hounslow won the Best Council in England Award in 2021, but obviously not when it came to street management!
What are the rest like? Here is another of many examples after the recent rain.
After the recent rainfall, we have seen an explosion of weeds on pavements which were laid just over 18 months ago
Traffic Works in Chiswick Update
Councillor Jo Biddolph has been working hard with residents to get information from TfL.
The final costs for the sections between Goldhawk Road and Chiswick Lane are currently being finalised. The budget for these works is £3,300,000. Estimated costs for the section between Heathfield Terrace and Chiswick Lane is approximately £1,000,000.
Up to the 31 March 2022, the total spent on Cycleway 9 was just short of £13,000,000. This includes all the design related works (meaning replacing poorly designed and dud stuff), public consultations, construction of Kew Bridge, Wellesley Road, Chiswick High Road, and the approach areas in Hammersmith.
The Budget holder for the project is the Healthy Streets team within the Investment Delivery Planning Directorate of TfL. Currently the project is being funded using Active Travel Funding via the Department of Transport. The figures are huge and the cost/benefit analysis woeful.
When will the decision be taken on making it permanent or removing it?
The decision will be taken by LB Hounslow before the existing experimental traffic orders for Chiswick High Road end (January 2023) and will follow their standard decision-making process and will take account of public engagement and traffic monitoring data. (The number one council in England has a poor record of public consultation in this matter).
Abandoned Hire Cycles Update
More issues from businesses in Chiswick High Road with further complaints about cycling on pavements in areas with shops and traders. This issue still continues unabated. Blind Association representatives have consistently highlighted the real danger to their members by this ’significant and hazardous safety risk’. Cllr John Todd is still waiting for traffic officers to consider policies that prevent this.
Compulsory Purchase Orders
In Case Working with residents and officers in Chiswick we find that planning and housing are the two areas of most conflict. London Borough of Hounslow is very keen to bring unused property and empty housing back into use.
I am now looking at two properties in Chiswick with a view to a Compulsory Purchase Order to enable more than just boarding up the property and stopping the verminous impact of feral animals on neighbours, not to mention that a neighbouring property might become unsaleable
Hospitality in Hounslow
Many people in this country would have recognised the anniversaries on August 14 and August 15, celebrating the creation of Pakistan and the independence of India.
The Pakistan community invited me to an evening of celebration in Feltham attended by a representative of the Pakistan High Commission and a large number of guests who took part in cultural events, music, dance, speeches and congratulations to the community for what they do in the UK and the very strong links between Pakistan and Britain
Heavy rain pounded much of Pakistan after the government declared an emergency to deal with monsoon flooding it said had affected more than 30 million people.The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) that more than 900 people had been killed this year — including 34 in the last 24 hours — as a result of the monsoon rains that began in June. Officials say this year’s floods are comparable to 2010 — the worst on record — when over 2,000 people died and nearly a fifth of the country was under water.The Pakistani community in Hounslow has moved quickly to commence support and provide relief to the huge number of people affected by the Indus River floods.
If you can provide help and support with donations then go to the Pakistani Government website Prime Minister’s Relief Fund Account. The Government of Pakistan has notified the establishment of a flood relief fund, the Prime Minister’s Flood Relief Fund 2022, to provide relief and rehabilitation to the affected population due to torrential rains and flash floods in many parts of the country. The fund shall accept donations/contributions both from domestic and international sources for the aforesaid purpose. The fund will be administered by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) while the Auditor General of Pakistan will maintain accounts of the fund.
Moving on in Politics
Whilst Hounslow Labour Party has lacked political activity since the elections with few council meetings and a growing sense of inertia and purposelessness the Conservative Party, both locally and nationally has enjoyed the hustings that provide a new set of critical policy discussions and an optimism about the future. Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have both addressed meetings large and small and canvassed opinion here in Chiswick and across Hounslow in support of their campaigns for leadership of the Conservative Party.
As you can appreciate a councillor can meet so many people in their role of support for the community. All new encounters continue to bring a fresh perspective to Chiswick and Hounslow. It is a major privilege to be elected to this position.
Cllr Gerald McGregor
SURGERIES IN CHISWICK AND GUNNERSBURY
We are back to our usual routine of holding face-to-face surgeries in Chiswick and in Gunnersbury.
Chiswick: Every Saturday from 9.30am to 10.30am at Chiswick Library (the eight Conservative councillors take this surgery in turn).
Gunnersbury: First Saturday of the month from 10am to 11am at The Gunnersbury Triangle Club, Triangle Way, off The Ridgeway, W3 8LU (at least one of the Chiswick Gunnersbury ward councillors takes this surgery).
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
Tuesday, 1st September at 7pm: Overview and scrutiny committee
Thursday, 8th September at 7pm: Planning committee
Tuesday, 6th September at 7pm: Cabinet
Tuesday, 13th September at 7pm: Chiswick Area Forum
Tuesday, 20th September at 7pm: Borough Council meeting
CONSERVATIVE COUNCILLORS and CONTACTS
Chiswick Gunnersbury (was Turnham Green) ward
Cllr Joanna Biddolph email@example.com 07976 703446
Cllr Ranjit Gill firstname.lastname@example.org 07976 702956
Cllr Ron Mushiso email@example.com 07976 702887
Chiswick Homefields ward
Cllr Jack Emsley firstname.lastname@example.org 07977 396017
Cllr Gerald McGregor email@example.com 07866 784821
Cllr John Todd firstname.lastname@example.org 07866 784651
Chiswick Riverside ward
Cllr Peter Thompson email@example.com 07977 395810
Cllr Gabriella Giles firstname.lastname@example.org 07966 270823
Like Reading Articles Like This? Help Us Produce More
This site remains committed to providing local community news and public interest journalism.
Articles such as the one above are integral to what we do. We aim to feature as much as possible on local societies, charities based in the area, fundraising efforts by residents, community-based initiatives and even helping people find missing pets.
We've always done that and won't be changing, in fact we'd like to do more.
However, the readership that these stories generates is often below that needed to cover the cost of producing them. Our financial resources are limited and the local media environment is intensely competitive so there is a constraint on what we can do.
We are therefore asking our readers to consider offering financial support to these efforts. Any money given will help support community and public interest news and the expansion of our coverage in this area.
A suggested monthly payment is £8 but we would be grateful for any amount for instance if you think this site offers the equivalent value of a subscription to a daily printed newspaper you may wish to consider £20 per month. If neither of these amounts is suitable for you then contact email@example.com and we can set up an alternative. All payments are made through a secure web site.
One-off donations are also appreciated. Choose The Amount You Wish To Contribute.
If you do support us in this way we'd be interested to hear what kind of articles you would like to see more of on the site – send your suggestions to the editor.
For businesses we offer the chance to be a corporate sponsor of community content on the site. For £30 plus VAT per month you will be the designated sponsor of at least one article a month with your logo appearing if supplied. If there is a specific community group or initiative you'd like to support we can make sure your sponsorship is featured on related content for a one off payment of £50 plus VAT. All payments are made through a secure web site.
August 27, 2022