Forum Topics

Labour Party record on environmental issues

It is interesting to see in a recent posting how opposition to this council’s road closures is seen as anti-environmental – emotive phrases like “gas guzzlers” being used, as though this is indeed a “green” policy. What about LBH’s other policies – are they so green? What will be the environmental cost of tearing down Tesco in Osterley and rebuilding it less than a mile away – or Morrisons – or Watermans – or any or the other council-supported acts of architectural sabotage. Is the demolition of fairly modern, and perfectly fit for purpose, buildings good for the people of Hounslow? What about the scrapping of free garden waste collection – how many extra journeys to the council tip, and tonnes of carbon dioxide, has this generated – another “green” policy? Or what about LBH’s woeful record on recycling – this website ranks this borough as 21st out of 33 London boroughs, or 297 out of 345 in England, for the amount of household waste being recycled – an appalling failure. Labour administration has clearly failed completely in its responsibility to environmental issues – it’s time to get rid of these dinosaurs from the last century and elect people fit for the challenge of 21st century life, with honest policies that will actually benefit all of us – rather than the LTN lies and relentless over-development that we have become used to.

Graham Thorpe ● 68d7 Comments ● 61d

The unaccountable council

With the local elections coming up I thought it would be a good time to try and understand the perceived unaccountability of Hounslow council and the decisions it 'forces' upon residents.I am a resident of Orchard Road and I along with many other residents are dealing with the unilateral decision of the council to close the Orchard Road carpark. I understand that this situation doesn't directly affect many residents in Brentford but the way the council have acted throughout the process should concern everyone in the borough.The loss of a carpark so close to Brentford station was going to have a huge impact on the local resident parking. The council started with the usual consultation process with residents. After voicing concerns through the consultation process the council decided to ignore those concerns and push ahead with the closure and redevelopment of the parking area. At this stage residents were forced to fund raise for a specialist consultant to engage with the council regarding its plans. The consultant managed to get some conditions attached to the planning approval regarding the loss of parking in the area.So far the council have not met with those conditions (though they dispute this) and have not provided the appropriate replacement parking solutions that were promised. One 'car space' that was provided was an extension to an existing parking bay of 3.9m when the minimum requirement for a car space is 4.5m. None of this matters because the council are essentially marking their own homework and declaring that contrary to the evidence provided by residents, they have met all the planning requirements and have gone ahead and started the redevelopment.This was a community resource, used by local residents, visitors and of course provided parking for people using Brentford rail station. What right does the council have to take this resource away? in my opinion it was not theirs to take, it was owned by the local residents.What is the point of consulting residents when the council just ignore the findings of said consultations? They have also decided to leave (after further consultation) the current CPZ times and restrictions in place. So for roads surrounding the station we are now finding that on weekends and after 1730 weekdays it is becoming almost impossible to find a car parking space.There really does seem to be no accountability from the council to residents. They do a box ticking exercise (consultation) ignore the outcomes and push ahead with what they want anyway. As local residents it feels that we are absolutely powerless in these types of situations.To be clear the residents were never against redevelopment we only ever asked to be compensated for our loss of parking with a suitable replacement proposal.

Jeremy Weekes ● 68d23 Comments ● 62d

Hounslow Friends of the Earth asks all candidates to divest Council pension fund from fossil fuels

Hounslow Borough Friends of the Earth have been campaigning for Hounslow's Pension Fund to stop investing local workers’ money in planet-wrecking fossil fuels.Investing local pensions in fossil fuels is fueling climate change and air pollution, contradicting local, national and international commitments to tackle climate change. It is also putting members’ pensions in jeopardy as fossil fuel investments now pose a dangerous long-term financial risk to investors.Instead, to move toward a zero-carbon future we need to phase out the use of fossil fuels. This means we need to limit the extraction and production of fossil fuels as part of a managed and just transition. There are already far more known fossil fuel reserves than can possibly be burned to stay within globally agreed targets for limiting global heating yet the fossil fuel companies that our pension funds invest in continue to expand.Institutions, such as local government pension funds, can take practical action by moving their direct and indirect investments out of the fossil fuel industry.We think this election is the perfect time for our council to take their impressive climate leadership plans to the next level by committing to stop investing in the biggest polluters in the world, and plan how this money can be invested in the local economy instead.More than 300 candidates have signed the UK Divest pledge in all 3 nations. Support has come from across the political spectrum with candidates representing the Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Green, Plaid Cymru and Scottish National Parties.How many candidates from the borough of Hounslow will join these 300 candidates?Hounslow Borough Friends of the Earth is calling all candidates to publicly back the following pledge:“If elected, I will do all I can to ensure the council pension fund ends investment in fossil fuels and invests in a just transition to a zero-carbon economy.”Candidates can register their pledges here: Hounslow borough residents who want to support the campaign and call on candidates to pledge to divest the pension fund from fossil fuels, can find all the resources they need here:

Mariette Labelle ● 68d1 Comments ● 68d

Boston Manor Park Canal Footbridge closed.

As of this morning Sat 23rd Oct the footbridge at the bottomof Boston Manor Park across the canal is closed,So anyone hoping to walk across the park from Boston ManorRoad and continue their walk along the canal will bethwarted *.I'm only posting this because the closure only becomes apparent once you reach the foot of the bridge on either side. Where to add insult to injury you're giventhe standard *advice* to use another route. (What elsewould you do ? Remain there in perpetuity/ ) When it would have been nice had someone thought to post notices of the closure at the gates of the Park to save people an unnecessary walk. As it happens all that's wrong with the bridge is that one of the plywood panels that forms the decking has worked loose. A half hour job for a man with a box of screws and a battery powered drill driver.However given the bridge is possibly a shared responsibilitybetween LBE and the relevent Waterways body this probably meansa 3 month consultation process followed by a report recommending that four of the plywood panels should be replaced. Now two men with their drill driver and box of screws taking four hours.Instead of which conultation and report total cost £20,000.Follwoed by 3 years of arguing betwen LBE and the Waterwaysbody as to whis going to pay for the four plywood panelsthe screws and the two mens wages for four hours.* The barriers consist of the standard 4ft brightly coloured plastic jobbies. The cross member across the bottom make them resonably scalable even by a reasonably fit 74 yrs old, Only don't try this at home childrenmichael adams  

Michael Adams ● 256d40 Comments ● 88d

Vote of no confidence rules out of order

Steve Curran Leader of the council made a shock announcement to the Borough Council last night citing health reasons for standing down from the council. Theo Dennison was going to move a vote of no confidence - which was ruled out of order, but said what many of us have been thinking for a long time."STAGGERING ABUSES." MOTION OF NO CONFIDENCE IN STEVE CURRAN DISALLOWED. CALL TO RESIGN BEFORE HE ANNOUNCES HE IS STANDING DOWN BECAUSE OF ILL HEALTH."I would like to request that it be voted on in a secret ballot to avoid any attempts to bully or intimidation of members." – Cllr Theo Dennison.Before Council Leader Steve Curran's shock resignation tonight, Tuesday, a motion was submitted to Hounslow Labour Group. It was ruled out of order by the chair Cllr Sue Sampson. Cllr Dennison decided to resign as a result.Here is the motion:This Group expresses its profound concern at the staggering abuses that have taken place at every stage of the candidate selection process and the actions of the unaccountable cabal who have been responsible for them.We note:• Whip and branch reports being written by people who are candidates with a direct and personal interest in the outcome• Trumped up charges and false allegations about sitting councillors and prospective candidates• Rigged interviews by what should have been independent panels• Spiking people who pose a threat to preferred candidates• The failure to stop people paying membership fees in return for the votes of members in key wardsThese abuses have denied party members a genuine choice of many able candidates and skewed the selection results in a significant number of wards.We express our serious concern at the breach of the trust and neglect of our public responsibilities symbolised by the mockery of holding the Labour Group’s consideration of the council budget just 60 minutes before the council meeting at which it must be determined - yet whipping all Labour councillors to vote for it.In stark contradiction to the our values and principles, the budget contains yet another move to reduce the help we give to some of the poorest residents of our borough via changes in the council tax reduction scheme which will mean a massive hike in their council tax bills and is presented alongside proposals for annual increases in councillor allowances.This is no way to lead a party or a council and we hereby resolve that that we have no confidence in Steve Curran and call on him to resign.

Vanessa Smith ● 126d21 Comments ● 90d

Over-development versus rainwater run-off

I see another large development has been shoe-horned into a tiny piece of land on the corner of Windmill Road and the A4 – where there used to be a small car lot. The development looks totally out of place in terms of its character and size – I’m wondering what people would want to live practically within touching distance of the M4 flyover with the noise and pollution this generates. It wasn’t long ago that Windmill Road and the surrounding area was badly hit by flash floods – it would seem to me a good idea to use this parcel of land as an open area to help alleviate flooding, rather than over-developing the site which will only increase rainwater run-off and flooding. We often see accusations in this forum of those in the council who make planning decisions being in the pay of developers. I’m sure this can’t be true – surely not all of them. But one wonders what their motives are for allowing such inappropriate development – who do they think is being helped by these decisions? Not the poor people who will have to live next to a motorway fly-over, and certainly not the environment. I hope we can all send a strong message in the May elections to get rid of these people who would wantonly vandalise our communities. This is very much the thin end of the wedge – the Tesco and Gillette Corner developments dwarf this one – good to know that the council has ear-mark thousands of pounds of OUR money to fight the objections!

Graham Thorpe ● 117d10 Comments ● 112d

Hounslow Cllrs Misogyny & Blatant disregard of our Democratic process

Attending the recent  Council’s Public meeting held last Thursday in Brentford, I was constantly interrupted by Cllr Tony Louki when given the opportunity to put forward my question to the Panel.  Cllr Tony Louki was  Chair at the meeting. His behaviour became increasingly aggressive when he left his seat to storm directly towards me and snatch the microphone out of my hand. Previously in attendance before their premature departure were 2 Policemen and 2 ladies from Ivybridge Anti-Domestic Violence Community Support Team who’d been invited by Hounslow Council to partake. The silence from the Panel  witnessing this misogynistic assault & blatant disregard against public participation  speaks volumes and most disturbing when there had been female Cllrs on the Panel, one a former Mayor; Cllr Sue Sampson the other a vocal campaigner  of Womens Rights and Cycling advocate Cllr Katherine  Dunne. Cllr Tony Louki had possibly felt emboldened to attack me as the Policemen and Ivybridge  Womens support group against Domestic Violence  had left, and considered his actions would be acceptable  by the Labour Councillors present. It was very intimidating not only to myself but also to the other women present in the public gallery and risks deterring their Democratic right to participation. My  question to the panel was to ask whether the Council was aware of the higher incidents of injuries and death  in Holland of cyclists and that rolling out a “Mini- Holland “ in Hounslow would invariably lead to higher incidents of Death and Injuries to Cyclists, particularly Children. Clearly it had struck a nerve.

Philippa Auton ● 142d9 Comments ● 127d

Disappointing from the Greens again

Yet another flyer from the Green Party. So many local serious issues and they turn out a piece of utter whimsy.  No evidence of any sort of pragmatism or common sense reality.This time on Boston Manor Parks pathways.If they stopped and thought for a few moments, it might occur to them why paths are being widened.Cleaning is mechanised, from sweepers & litter to leaf clearance. Cyclists use the pathways, so do pushchairs and wheelchairs and mobility buggies.Take one walk around Lammas park or Ealing showcase park to see how Bikes and cleansing trucks - even small ones have churned up all the footway edges into mud. Much of it is a complete mess slimy in winter and concrete hard and devoid of grass in dry summers.Plus the need for emergency service access.  In the 'olden' days paths were narrower simply because most maintenance was not mechanised and vehicles were much narrower and in the case of Ealing's Parks Adult cycling was not permitted . In fact, from 12 upwards. ( I was regularly thrown out for cycling by Parky) Stephen Clark, to be taken seriously needs to get some common sense rather than putting out stuff and nonsense.Din not see him kicking up a fuss about the loss of a Bowling green complete with herbaceous borders or the derelict lumps of Concrete in Gunnersbury Park. Or the completely unworkable paths in most of the southern half of that park. Rendering it inaccessible for so many.Surely Greens can do better than this - and publish flyers where one can ask a question rather than just agree?

Raymond Havelock ● 131d4 Comments ● 129d

Thanks a bunch Steve!

"Jenny Steen, sales director at Irish property developer Ballymore – which has several London projects – said she has noted increased Middle Eastern buyer interest in non-traditional areas such as West London’s The Brentford Project." – Arabian Business."Close to Heathrow airport and next to prestigious areas like Chiswick and Kew, Brentford offers people the chance to buy into great growth opportunities,” she said. “It’s an unusual place that is home to natural spaces, as well as proximity to great schools and employment opportunities at a lower price point. Middle Eastern buyers are looking at opportunities for growth in West London, which still have parks, green spaces and access to water in an appealing price bracket,” she said. “The Brentford Project appeals to owner-occupiers who would also like to rent out if they decide to.”MULTIPLE PURCHASES. Arabian Business also reported: "According to Barratt London (which is developing Hounslow Town Centre) 12 multiple property purchases were transacted in the last six months from Middle Eastern family offices, compared with one in the 12 months before. Between six and 10 apartments is the average number per transaction with purchasers. While typical purchase values are between £460,000 and £600,000."The property firm has seen a move towards Gulf investors purchasing more affordable outer London homes, which offer rental yields of around four percent – higher than central London at 3.6 percent."

Vanessa Smith ● 146d11 Comments ● 135d