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Update from Connect  Plus

They are contracted by National Highways to "fix" the M4 supports. They appear, via dozens on inter companies to be subsidiaries of Balfour Beatty - a very large construction company.I have been chasing them for updates on the construction and disruption of Windmill Road. Bearing in mind the work was supposed to be finished in May until for obscure reasons it was stopped for the coronation. Apparently the costs of this stoppage are alleged to be £400K, this will be paid for by Connect Plus, no doubt out of the directors' pocket money rather than via the majority of their revenues that come from the UK Taxpayer.When they restarted a few weeks ago they promised Windmill Road would only be closed at night, and the whole works would be finished in November."Thank you for your emails regarding the ongoing M4-A4 concrete pier repairs. Connect Plus Services works on behalf of National Highways and Connect Plus to manage, operate and maintain the M25 and its linking roads, as well as the Dartford-Thurrock River Crossing. I note your comments about the closure of Windmill Road and I’d again like to apologise for the inconvenience that this is causing. As you have observed, whilst this area is closed due to work on surrounding piers, we have put in place welfare facilities for our operatives on site. Having facilities in this location means that they are nearby for operatives, therefore negating the need for them to leave the area, reducing the time operatives are away from the site and therefore increasing production. With regards to the possibility of re-opening Windmill Road, we are aiming to have this crossing re-opened by 9 December 2023. Please be assured any change to this date will be communicated to you. We’ve assessed a number of different options here to allow us to speed up the delivery of these works, which included using overnight closures, but have found that working in this way would not be feasible in terms of either working safely, or delivering a suitable standard of repairs. Our works remain on schedule to be fully completed as planned in December 2023, as per the progress tracker sent in our most recent update to you of 29 September 2023. The original date proposed for completion includes a certain amount of delay/risk allowance, this is something that is very common within construction programs in order to allow for any unforeseen risks that may arise. It is due to an unforeseen risk that we have had to carry out additional works to piers. Although initial surveys were carried out previously to determine the level of works required, further areas of delamination were discovered during the Hydrodemolition process used to remove the effected concrete. These areas have increased the amount of works being carried out on some of the piers therefore increasing the duration of completion. Although this has lengthened the time of some of the elements of the program, we have been able to mitigate some of this time by working weekends, installing additional temporary welfare facilities, such as those at Windmill Lane, and increasing resource. This has allowed us to utilise the time/risk allowance and not exceed the overall completion date. Furthermore, I note your comments about the finances involved with the removal of our works in April, in advance of the coronation of King Charles. Whilst I’m not at liberty to discuss the costs in detail, I would like to assure you that this was paid for out Connect Plus’ own resources and not with funds from the public purse."When I'm back from a short holiday I will communicate further to Vonnect Plus. This will include my response here and anything else you would like me to inform them of.

Guy Lambert ● 69d3 Comments ● 68d

For N V Brooks

I remember you raising this, NV, and I have raised it with TfL a couple of times, and finally have a respons:"Thank you for contacting us regarding the traffic signals at the junction between the A4 and Boston Manor Road. An engineer has investigated your enquiry and looked into the operation of the traffic lights at this location. The traffic signals here operate under an automated traffic control system called SCOOT.  This utilises detection to monitor the number of vehicles and then uses the information to vary the green signal time on each approach to the junction.  During our investigation, it was found that part of the detection at this junction is faulty, meaning green signal times on street not being based upon real time traffic demands. While we wait for the fault to be fixed, we have updated the operation of the junction; these adjustments provide a longer green signal time for Boston Manor Road and have been observed to improve queues on Boston Manor Road.The A4 westbound receives a short green signal while all other approaches are held on red. This is to hold eastbound traffic heading into central London in order to reduce congestion and blocking of the junction at Boston Manor Road. If the eastbound was to run for this additional period of green signal time, then it would block the junction of the A4 / Boston Manor Road, preventing Boston Manor Road from moving when it does receive a green signal due to the A4 eastbound traffic blocking back."

Guy Lambert ● 69d3 Comments ● 69d

A fundamental flaw in Hounslow's Parking Strategy

If you look at the two documents that the council is currently consulting in it is hard not to be taken aback by the difference between the rhetoric and the reality.While it is a perfectly laudable aim to discourage car use and encourage sustainable transport measures, this is hard to achieve if you have a huge vested interest in encouraging people to drive which Hounslow does because it operates the largest number of car parking spaces in the borough.These are concentrated in the Hounslow town area which is also very well provided with privately run car parks so there would be a limited impact if the council were to get out of the car park business and bring much needed funds to its coffers by selling the sites for development.However, the 'strategy' is to upgrade the existing car parks and provide more when they deem demand requires it.The kerbside strategy on the other hand is to squeeze space even further with more parklets, EV chargers, bike hangers and cycle lanes. All of these are laudable, and some may even be necessary, but the report acknowledges that there are already parts of the borough where demand for residential spaces already outweighs supply.This includes Chiswick which already has the lowest level of daily car usage and pays more that the rest of the borough put together in permit charges.Chiswick's main car park at Sainsbury's is under continued threat of development and even that provides a fraction of the space available if you want to park in Hounslow. Squeezing further the limited available space will achieve almost nothing in encouraging people to switch modes of transport but will further reduce footfall on the High Road.

Jeremy Parkinson ● 82d5 Comments ● 78d

Forthcoming Community Meetings - 13th and 18th September

Two forthcoming community meetings have been organised by Brentford Voice. The subjects of both meetings have an important bearing on the future of our area.The first will discuss the ongoing consultation by Hounslow Council on the Emerging Brentford Master Plan. It is taking place on Wednesday 13th September at 6.30 p.m. at Brentford Free Church. Boston Manor Road and is open to all.Council officers and their consultants will present the context and content of the Masterplan. There will be ample time to comment on the Masterplan and to ask questions.The following Monday 18th September at 6.30pm there will be a community meeting at the Holiday Inn on ideas for the future of Brentford’s disused railway embankment, which runs immediately to the west of Commerce Road. The meeting is open to all.At the same venue in January 2023 there was a similar event, at the same venue, which was very well-attended. Brentford Voice was seeking the community’s views on whether it should go ahead with the commissioning of a Feasibility Study on the future use of the embankment. The almost unanimous view was that it should proceed.With grant funding from Hounslow Council, Brentford Voice appointed consultants to prepare a Feasibility Study. Adams & Sutherland (A&S), architecture, landscape, and urban design consultants were selected to produce the report. At the meeting on 18 September A&S will present their first ideas. This will be followed by questions and answers and a general discussionAny questions or comments about both of the meetings can be emailed to information is available here -

Jim Storrar ● 92d11 Comments ● 85d

Thames Water incompetence

A month or so ago, I noticed a TW worker painting marks and symbols on the tarmac in our cul-de-sac at 358-372 Lionel Road North. I asked what was happening and he said something about a leak and they would need to close the road and dig up the appropriate pipes etc for repair. I asked how long the work would take and he replied that it should be done in a day. I told him that there were several disabled, elderly, seriously ill people in the road so that they should maintain access for emergency services.  A week or so later, the residents received a letter from Thames Water saying that work would commence on 22nd July and would take 4/5 days. We rang Thames Water to remind them of the issues and waited with some trepidation for work to begin. 22nd July arrived and no activity. In fact no activity and no communication from TW for the next week. Then on Saturday 29th, workmen arrived, closed the street (trapping several of our neighbour’s cars) and started work. Phone calls to TW resulted in them telling us that the work would be completed and the road reopened either later that day or, at the latest, on Sunday 30th July. On Sunday 30th a little more work was done but the road remained closed.  A team did come along and resurfaced a small hole in the pavement but ‘forgot’ to fill in the main hole in the roadway. On Monday, despite more phone calls and messages to TW no progress was made and we were told that we could not talk to anyone higher up in the organisation. Again on Tuesday the same lack of any result. This morning (Wednesday) all the residents had to lug their dustbins and recycling boxes to the top of the road as the lorries couldn’t access the road as they would normally do.Any ideas about how we might get this situation resolved???

Mick Brent ● 131d8 Comments ● 130d

Billions of pounds of taxpayers' money wasted on 'active travel' schemes, says watchdog

I’m sure we’re all interested in liar-Lambert’s musings on the future of car ownership – a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy given that his deeply unpopular policies of closing roads and taking parking spaces will surely force some people to give up their cars. We’ve all seen in the last few of weeks how the combination of road works on Windmill Road and the A4 have caused gridlock in the whole of Brentford and this was made 100 times worse by the unnecessary LTN road closures. We’ve all experienced more congested, dangerous and polluted roads and longer journey times – all created deliberately by a council who have no interest in supporting the needs of the majority of its constituents. Interestingly there has been a report published by the National Audit Office that confirms what we all knew – that the LTN schemes were a massive waste of taxpayer money that have achieved precisely NOTHING. There’s a link to the article below but, in summary:“Billions of pounds of taxpayers’ cash has potentially been wasted on ‘active travel’ schemes such as controversial low-traffic neighbourhoods, according to a report.”“Despite an estimated £3.3billion being spent on delivering such measures between 2016 and 2021, cycling and walking rates fell over that period, the National Audit Office study found.”“It said many were imposed on residents without proper consultation and poorly planned ones have subsequently been scrapped.”Could we hope that LBH will see sense and roll back these horrible schemes? Could individual councillors be surcharged to recover some of the money that has been wasted? We live in hope.

Graham Thorpe ● 181d24 Comments ● 149d


Is now happening. Yesterday evening at about 6pm there were at least 20 cars queuing along Whitestile Road and back up Junction Road in an attempt to get out onto South Ealing Road. This meant that anyone who had turned left into Whitestile Road from South Ealing Road was unable to drive along Whitestile Road - it was blocked by the oncoming traffic.  Traffic was queuing up South Ealing Road as far as the eye could see and barely moving.Not the first time this has happened recently.I am guessing that this was traffic trying to bypass the roadworks and traffic lights on Windmill Road or people trying to bypass the queue down the A4 to the new traffic lights at the roundabout at the Ealing Road/A4 junction.The Windmill Road works seem to be never-ending and are causing huge tail-backs.  If you are driving north from Brentford and want to get across the A4 junction you have to sit through several green phases before there is enough room in Windmill Road to clear the junction safely and not get stuck in the yellow box. The same thing is happening to traffic turning left into Windmill from the A4.The new traffic lights at the Ealing Road/A4 roundabout are causing lengthy tailbacks along the A4.  They are also affecting traffic turning left onto the A4 from Windmill Road because even if the lights at the Windmill Road junction are green there is not enough room on the A4 to make the turn.  This then also holds up traffic coming down Windmill Road which wants to go straight ahead or turn right.As others have said, the old traffic lights at the South Ealing roundabout worked perfectly well. I've been driving round that roundabout for the last 20 years (don't take that literally!) and never encountered or witnessed any problems.  You just had to make sure you gave way to traffic already coming round the roundabout, even if lights were green in your favour.  At least the traffic kept moving.The other problem locally is the roadworks on Kew Bridge Road which are causing tailbacks to the County Court. There has been some suggestion that these are not due to the construction of the Cycleway but because of gasworks being carried out at the same time.So, 3 points/queries:1. When are the Windmill Road works going to end?2. Please can we return to the old traffic light system at the Ealing Road roundabout.3. When are the Kew Bridge Road temporary lights going to be removed so that we can have a normal traffic flow once again?The gridlock which is now a daily occurrence around here at the moment does nobody any good - whether you're a driver, cyclist or pedestrian.  I was walking down Whitestile Road yesterday evening and it was horrible.  So was South Ealing Road.

Alison Robins ● 172d8 Comments ● 171d

Fact checking Lambert’s latest ramblings

Incredible how those in positions of power and influences can say something that’s patently not true. Lambert’s latest ‘amusing update’ contains his thoughts on car ownership and parking in London. He said this:‘By the way, before the tabloid picks this up and says ’Lambert trying to ban cars’ I’m not and none of this is nobody’s policy, just me musing.’Well, it is somebody’s policy, that of the London Cycling Campaign of which he and other Labour councillors are members. Lambert’s musings echo the speech given to the Labour conference last year by the LCC chief executive Ashok Sinha, who said:“We need to free people from the burden and tyranny of owning tons of metal that sits unused 90 percent of the time,”I’m not sure that most car owners see it as a tyranny and a burden, although they might view the policies of Lambert and his colleagues as exactly that.Anyone who looks into the strategies and aims of the LCC will recognise its direct influence on policies pursued by Hounslow, Ealing and other councils in London. Low traffic neighbourhoods, cycle lanes, reducing parking spaces, etc, are all part of the plan. Make owning a car as expensive and inconvenient as possible to simply force people off the road.They’d have you believe that car owners are singlehandedly responsible for all the problems in London, yet car ownership in the capital has actually declined in the last 20 years, despite a massive increase in population. London is unique in that in the UK.Congestion is caused by blocking roads, whether that’s due to roadworks, an accident or lame-brained traffic management policies that funnel all vehicles onto fewer roads. Yes, there are peaks where volumes are higher but most of the time most roads are pretty quiet.Inevitably Lambert will brand me a car lobbyist (which I’m not) and a Tory (which I certainly am not). I simply think that people should be able to make their own choices, not be dictated to by a self-interested minority.Lambert advocates car clubs, but doesn’t even consider that vehicle ownership is often a key to economic activity for many. Does he think those ubiquitous Ubers are anything other than privately owned vehicles? Like most utopians he thinks most of us are sitting at home deciding which leisure activity to pursue next. Simple minded, no?Ironically Lambert has a nice shiny new car and presumably a nice secure private parking space in Brentford. He doesn’t ‘need’ a car, so why does he have one? Surely he and others should practice what they preach?!

Simon Hayes ● 179d27 Comments ● 174d