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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

Spotted on Facebook

Note: Anyone who posts a defamatory comment does so at their own risk and must take responsibility personally."Terrapin has a superb track record of helping our clients achieve successful planning consents right across Greater London." – Political lobbyist Peter Bingle, The Terrapin Group.SHOULD COUNCIL LEADER STEVE CURRAN HAVE ACCEPTED FOUR DINNERS WITH LOBBYIST PETER BINGLE? WHAT WAS THE BILL? Mr Bingle works for big developers including two currently active in Hounslow Borough – Fairview New Homes (Heidelberg site, Brentford) and A2Dominion (Hounslow West). As Council Leader, Cllr Curran oversees Planning and Regeneration. Hospitality is acceptable as long as Cllr Curran correctly declares it, as he did. But is it a good look?Some might think it would be more appropriate for him to meet Mr Bingle over a desk in Hounslow House where their discussion could be fully minuted. Instead Mr Bingle took Cllr Curran for dinner. Four dinners are declared across two dates, perhaps two of the meals being for Cllr Curran's spouse (who works for Hounslow Council). We are not told. It might have been in La Rosetta, Brentford (low prices). Or it might have been in Mr Bingle's native habitat around Parliament (more swish and expensive). How much did it cost?In his declaration of interests, Cllr Curran does not say. Perhaps he will now tell us the details.In Parliament Labour has been rigorously scrutinising any potential conflict of interest amongst Conservative ministers and MPs, even when it is declared. It seems fair to apply the same scrutiny to our councillors so people can make up their own minds with the May 5 local elections coming up.Recently Osterley & Wyke Green Residents' Association asked: "“Is it acceptable for the Leader of the Council (also Cabinet Member for Corporate Strategy, Planning and Regeneration) to accept hospitality at sports events e.g. international rugby and cricket matches, from developers who are submitting planning applications in the borough?”The Council replied: “Members are entitled to accept hospitality so long as it is declared in accordance with statutory requirements.”What exactly does Mr Bingle do, in his role representing Fairview and A2Dominion and others? His company says: "Terrapin understands the London political scene. Our consultants are experienced advisers who are able to derisk large, complicated schemes at the start of the planning process and then work with clients to ensure a successful outcome."It adds: "The relationship between London councils and City Hall is constantly evolving. Clients need advisers who understand that critical relationship and are able to assist them navigate through a sea of complexity."Terrapin Communications delivers the following services :"Political audits of individual London councils."Targeted political engagement programmes."Stakeholder engagement."Public exhibitions."Strategic advice on planning in London."Terrapin has a superb track record of helping our clients achieve successful planning consents right across Greater London. If you would like to discuss a potential assignment please contact :"Terrapin is a member of the PRCA and is a strong and public advocate for strong industry rules which are ruthlessly enforced. Public affairs is a force for good in the Body Politic. We therefore welcomed the creation of the Public Affairs Board and adhere to its rules. We are also registered with the Office of the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists."Terrapin discloses all our clients on the PAB’s public register and expects our team to act with integrity and ethics at all times."There is no suggestion of wrongdoing. It is a matter of judgment.

Vanessa Smith ● 152d3 Comments ● 147d

Building Brentford’s community?

I may be late to this party, but bear with me…I was watching the news item on the proposed Ballymore development for a 51 storey tower block (with only one stairwell) near Canary Wharf this evening. They included a clip of the 19 storey Ballymore development in East London where a fire took place last May. In the corner of the screen, I spotted a branch of Johns & Co, the same estate agent that opened in the High Street a few months ago. I had a lightbulb moment. A quick Google revealed that Johns & Co was founded by the former international sales director of… Ballymore. I found this: -‘But John Morley is looking to change all that. Previously head of international sales at Ballymore, Morley set up his own management company, Johns & Co, to help take care of the growing number of investor landlords he felt were being dealt a bad hand by the market.One way he set out to differentiate himself was to provide management of the property ahead of completion. “Investors can buy off plan up to three years ahead,” he notes, “so we do a lot of hand holding.” He helps landlords with important decisions along the way to do with finishes, insurance, and tax. Morley also arranges handovers, checks snagging and arranges furnishing, before finding a suitable tenant.Having sold more than 1,000 apartments to buyers in Hong Kong, Singapore and China, Morley had a good understanding of the support those investors needed. Yet while the majority of buyers were once overseas investors, he says the market has changed significantly since 2012, and now around half of buyers in need of his services are UK investors.’ - City A.M. Thursday 12 May 2016Draw your own conclusions, but - unsurprisingly - the notion that Ballymore is striving to build a vibrant community in TW8 rings pretty hollow. It seems to confirm that it’s all about overseas investment leading to transient occupancy and a dormitory town centre. Meanwhile, the Duke of London community - a diverse, organically-grown collection of interesting small businesses (and EXACTLY what the area needs) - is due to be flattened, in order to build yet more flats and unaffordable retail units. In all probability, they will never be occupied. It’s just horribly depressing. 

Tracie Dudley Craig ● 173d5 Comments ● 173d

Gunnersbury Park Debacle Rides On.

Neglected by two boroughs who could not manage to tie a shoe-lace together for decades, handed over in an appallingly formulated way to a Cop-out CIC, then packed out with Cronies of like mindsets and connections, a TfL approach to funding where even a tuft of grass is fiscally overpricedSome good stuff, but from a a lot of grant funding which is unaccounted for and overseen with sort of knowledge that would make an IKEA shelf priced at £2500 plus fitting seem "very reasonable". Much core infrastructure for a public park remains as poor as it has been for 25 plus years. A complete contradiction to 'Community Interest Company " and with not even a freedom of information clause - which needless to say this management wriggled out of. Because it's overseers, both Trustees and Councils, deemed it irrelevant.Even a Velcro shoe strap is too challenging for this CIOC who only know how to bully and manipulate with help from their 'friends'Loss of cheap affordable to all public park amenities and replaced by exclusivity with a patronising faux front of inclusivity.Change is welcome, but that will only be change for the better if ALL the existing league of cronies and those at the trough are not involved in any form.  A completely new broom of more open and honest management put in place properly answerable to the local people of Ealing, Acton and Brentford who seem to be considered as irrelevant unless they can afford it. Community groups must be on the board and as trustees, not just selected politicians and 'preferred' individuals.Local people, not council officers with close connections, or politicians who seem to have failed with Gunnersbury time and time again, need to be far more in control of a Park that was purchased at a knock down price on the premise that it was for the well being of All the local people of Ealing Acton Brentford and Chiswick.Will this be any better? With how things are carried out in our name?I doubt it. It seems more like another move to making it a pay to enter venue like Syon or Kew and not what it is supposed to be, a Public park owned in trust by two boroughs for it's inhabitants.

Raymond Havelock ● 187d4 Comments ● 178d