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Look After My Bills Nightmare.

To save people the agony of having to deal with a future nightmare  with Look After My Bills and Utility Point please read their horrendous reviews on Trustpilot.                                  This is an email I received from Trustpilot this week.                                                People are reading your review!Hi Neil Milkins,You recently wrote a review on Trustpilot and it looks like people find it helpful.117 people have already read your review.                                                                                                       LOOK AFTER MY BILLS SHAMBLES.It is now 12 weeks since Look After My Bills without my knowledge or permission changed my energy provider from S.S.E. to Utility Point. Jacqueline Loughman promised me 9 weeks ago that they would resolve the matter within 14 days. A week ago their senior complaints manager Daniel promised me he would phone me on (29-12-20) and have the matter resolved. No phone call and no answer to my emails to him. In the meantime I am going to have a sky high electric and gas bill when this matter is resolved. It is near impossible to get a reply from them once you have emailed and phoned them and it is totally impossible to phone Utility Point as ALL their phone lines have been cut off. I have been on the phone and emailing 19 hours in total trying to sort this mess out. Anyone thinking of going with Look After My Bills or Utility Point please check their horrendous reviews on Trustpilot.

Neil Milkins ● 107d2 Comments ● 107d

The Council WANTS to hear from Isleworth residents

I've posted this on the CW4 Forum but it is important for Isleworth residents too.   You have until Tuesday 12th JANUARY to make your comments known to Hounslow Council, it's earlier if you're attempting to run a Business, that one is Thursday 7th January.Should you be concerned about the traffic issues in our lovely borough, finally HOUNSLOW COUNCIL are ASKING FOR YOUR OPINIONS but you must do this almost immediately after NEW YEAR.The Council has organised a series of engagement meetings online, the link is given below, on the many road changes made so far including one for Businesses in the Borough, the C9 in Chiswick and Brentford, the road closures in the centre of Chiswick and the South Chiswick Liveable Neighbourhood scheme in Grove Park/Strand on the Green.    (Not included are the many additional schemes for further LTN's to come)It’s important that as many opposing voices as possible are heard to challenge Hounslow Council's view that these schemes are well supported.  WE NEED TO RAISE THE DIFFICULTIES THEY HAVE CAUSED.There are four events, allocated by area, anyone can attend.  They are online, book via Eventbrite using the link below. Hounslow Council wants people to submit questions in advance though they can also be asked during the sessions.  More details via the link.https://www.hounslow.gov.uk/news/article/2236/hounslow_moves_ahead_with_next_round_of_phases_1_and_2_streetspace_engagementThe dates are:•    7pm on Thursday, 7th January: BUSINESSES  boroughwide•    7pm on Friday, 8th January: North Chiswick (LBH language for north of the A4 - including C9 in Chiswick and Brentford & the road closures in the centre of Chiswick)•    7pm on MONDAY, 11th JANUARY: South Chiswick (LBH LANGUAGE FOR SOUTH OF THE A4 - incl. Hartington Rd)•    7pm on Tuesday, 12th January: IsleworthPlease circulate this widely to friends, family and neighbourhood groups. It is vital that the other side of the argument regarding the borough’s traffic is heard.Hounslow Council say they WANT TO HEAR FROM US - NOW IS THE TIME TO SPEAK UP, it's our last chance!They have more LTN's planned for us here in W4 too.  So get your voices out there now before they start on the next tranche of misery.

Jennifer Selig ● 117d3 Comments ● 108d

E-scooters and legal use

Reading the report on this sites news page and one wonders if our Council are from another dimension.Have none of these people seen what is already going on out in the streets of this borough?There are E scooter users riding with 2 people, riding on pavements, roads, in the dark, hooded,, no lights. often no refelective gear at all, or safety gear, riding along with dogs. Then riding with ear plugs and by the nature of the design completely unable to use hand signals or look behind them without losing control.70 years nearly of RoSPA and it's come down to this - just to suit a trend wave?Now a shop selling these and marketing towards pre- provisional licence age young people is to open in Northfields Ave.Yet on the BBC a report states that riding these is still illegal.Its so twisted that cameras and  all means of enforcement can be deployed against fully insured and tested road users and yet not for people who clearly break the law, show not road sense for themselves or for others, pedestrians or road users.This current behaviour underlines the fact that users cannot be trusted so clear and effective regulations have to be in place.HGV and PCV drivers go through hell and risk losing their livelihoods if involved with a cyclist accident. They are treated as though guilty before any evidence or investigations are completed.Even when found completely not at fault, they are pilloried on social media.  yet very little ever mentioned of the victim if it was in the event their fault. Or if it was neither parties actual fault.But one is not insured, tested, retested and trained.  The other is not.And those supporting all this remain very deft at avoiding the facts and the real problems and issues.RoSPA , set up to bring safer use of roads for ALL road users has been completely swept aside and this is slamming all the advances and changes that they have brought about. Wholly irresponsible to the point of arrogant stupidity.                

Raymond Havelock ● 136d7 Comments ● 134d

Fighting to save bowling in Gunnersbury Park

A great many of you were disgusted at the appalling way CIC treated the Gunnersbury Park Bowls Club and expressed your support for our fight, so here's an update. Putt in the Park, with the backing of the CIC, put in a planning application, which would involve destroying the bowling green in order to turn it into crazy golf and use the pavilion as a restaurant/cafe. The first application was refused. They have now put in another application. Since the project remains the same, if there were a level playing field this application should also be refused. But who knows what's going on in the background...Our task now is to make sure the Planning Committee know how much we value the bowling facility and want it to continue. Our objections should be sent to planning.objections@hounslow.gov.uk under the email title :Bowls Green and Pavilion, Gunnersbury Park, W3 8LQ (Ref: P/2020/3080) by 30 October 2020. Bowling is an almost a century-old tradition in GP, it's excellent to maintain physical health, to promote wellbeing and good mental health, to help combat obesity, to prevent loneliness and isolation in the older community. It should remain in the park as an amenity for posterity, costing the councils not a penny as it would continue to be maintained and looked after by the members as it has for so many years. If we win our fight, anyone can come along on their own or with friends to try bowling. We can provide free instruction to get you started and also the free use of equipment. You'll really enjoy it! So send in your objections and let us safeguard bowling in GP!

Bela Cunha ● 191d16 Comments ● 151d

Hounslow Labour Councillor abuses Pensioners 4th November 2020.

A 69-year-old pensioner has been abused and publicly slandered by a serving Isleworth Councillor, who until 2018, served as the Borough of Hounslow Mayoress.The 69-year-old was sitting watching a European Football match in a community club in Isleworth when Councillor Sue Sampson aggressively approached (uninvited) and demanded the pensioner leave the club.  Ms Sampson seemed agitated and uncontrolled and her spoken broadcast was made (loudly) in front of several dozen people.  It was embarrassing.  The encounter went like this: -Councillor Sampson “You have got to leave this club now”.Pensioner (after being taken aback) “Oh, why is that?Councillor Sampson “Because you are being investigated by the police for identity fraud”.Councillor Sampson “and, you have heard from my Solicitor”Pensioner “I have never heard from your solicitor”Councillor Sampson “It doesn’t matter, you have to leave this club”.Pensioner “I’ve just told you I have not heard from a solicitor”Councillor Sampson “You can’t speak.  You have to leave this club now”.At that point, the pensioner (me) left the building feeling absolutely humiliated and confused.I wrote to (and emailed) Ms. Sampson two days later and requested the Police Crime Reference she alluded to and that ‘her solicitor’ clearly spell out what this ‘fraud’ was.  Not heard a word from her, the police, or any solicitor.This encounter was distressing enough but I’ve been contacted by and 80-year-old woman and a 64-year-old man who have confirmed Ms Sampson abused them shortly after I left the club that evening.Needless to say, a full complaint is being prepared and will be submitted to the appropriate authorities in due course.

Christopher Devlin ● 160d9 Comments ● 153d

Punch-ups at Hounslow

‎Brentford TV‎ to Brentford Today & TV: #Debate Not Hate#7tSponhsodaregd · OPEN WARFARE ERUPTS ON COUNCIL: VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE IN STEVE CURRAN PROPOSED BY CHISWICK CONSERVATIVES. A degree of antagonism is to be expected between councillors but the recent traffic schemes have stoked it to a new high, going from smouldering to red-hot. It has now crossed a line and got up close and personal. It has turned from mere hostility into undisguised fury, a state as close to open warfare as councillors can get without carrying arms.At the heart of the matter are the changes on Chiswick High Road, Turnham Green Terrace and Devonshire Road. It is not just their physical implementation, good or bad. It is about whether the Labour Council – with overwhelming Labour votes from Brentford to Feltham – really cares sufficiently about the relatively well-off Tory bastion on its eastern fringe. Backers of Cllrs McGregor and Biddolph believe it doesn't, that consultation has been minimal to non-existent, and that all this is evidence of political malice and class warfare, aggravated by a cultural chasm. It is Chiswick v the Rest.At first glance there seems little chance of the motion passing – Labour has a big majority – but it could trigger a process in the Labour Group itself to vote on Cllr Curran's leadership. The Group meets on Monday, the day before the Council meeting. When elected to his position, Cllr Curran won by one vote. Other Labour councillors could now offer themselves to the Group as an alternative – and there are a number of possible contenders: Amrit Mann, Katherine Dunne, Tom Bruce, Shantanu Rajawat. This is what happened in the Ealing Council Labour Group in similar circumstances recently, also centred around traffic changes – and their leader, Julian Bell, only just scraped home. The Hounslow Group doesn't have to follow suit but it could if it chose to do so. At this stage, it would look disloyal to step forward but the option remains open. If that happened, Cllr Curran would need to round up and secure support with various promises. He is a strong personality who loves his job and he would not give it up without a hello of a fight. He sees himself continuing for a number of years.The council debate itself offers a platform for the Tory rump to put the blame where they believe it belongs: on Cllr Curran and his Cabinet colleagues. They argue that he has used the current crisis to ram through major changes without the need for discussion and against the wishes of many locals. They will stake their position ready for the next council elections – under Cllr McGregor, an old bruiser – hoping that voters elsewhere may join them in their opposition to Cllr Curran's style of leadership. In response Cllr Curran will no doubt say the new restrictions were brought in at the behest of the Tory government, are on trial and will be independently reviewed in time. The Tories will say the High Road cannot wait, that he is "destroying Chiswick".It's the sort of row which would best be relished in the Council Chamber itself, where others can join in with a bit of shouting and jeering. Instead it will be online and not so entertaining. On the other hand it will be accessible and there will be many, not just in Chiswick, who might tune in for the big fight and savour the thumping even if there is no chance of a knock-out.

Vanessa Smith ● 167d4 Comments ● 164d

Swyncombe Ave to be blocked off

Informed yesterday that borough engineers have been measuring up for the blocking off of Swycombe Ave.This is being claimed as a direct fallout of the LTNs in Northfields & Boston ManorTheres no doubt it is a bit busier and for longer. But then Windmill road and the section to Northfields is far busier and taking an age on the E2 even at usually quiet times of the day.But the LTNs have been installed in very quiet localities.I think the extra traffic is more down to the major roadworks in South Ealing Road and Culmington road/Church lane with huge diversions which feed to Northfields and Little Ealing Lane plus the Road works in Boston Manor road Half Acre leaving Swyncombe Ave. as an only through route for local traffic.A bus route uses the road for students only and yet for 70 years even London transport have been refused permission to operate a bus route through the road, even a hoppa type was refused in the 1990sBut in all honesty, Swyncombe has always been a busier road even when at school in the 1970s it was a bit of a race track and had long queues.Residents concerns were dismissed as long ago as 1971 when Gunnersbury School was planned to move to the locality and expand by 200%.  There were though more schools locally then but in recent months a new school has reopened at the bottom of the road. But then there were two thriving sports grounds which had traffic all weekend. That's gone now so it's actually quieter. But closing it?   That will be as damaging as the LTNs and divide a community up even more.The real losers will actually be the residents of Swyncombe Ave as they will have the same problems inflicted as those in LTNs are experiencing now, especially the further isolation of elderly, less able and infirm.This is the result of meddling where it was not needed. Creates a problem that did not exist, and spawns another problem in the next street. and on and on.Hounslow ought to be leaning on Ealing over the LTNs without consultation, not looking to expand on an already ineffective imposition.It has to be accepted too that it is the Key local link route for emergency services. The Ambulance Station is in Boston Manor road and is already badly affected by the LTNs.For this reason and that it is also the route to a rehabilitation hospital, that there are no speed humps to allow safe transit of frail patients.And the wisdom of closing Occupation lane is still rather poor as that is causing patient transport issues especially for volunteer tranpost who do not have the benefit of air suspension vehicles.It could be anyone of us,family, friends or colleagues that might need that facility at any time.But certainly something to calm the speeds of road users. It's one of the few roads where the 20mph is less observed.

Raymond Havelock ● 187d30 Comments ● 164d

Transport Secretary admits new cycle lanes are leaving roads backed up.

Transport Secretary admits new cycle lanes are leaving roads 'backed up' with trafficGrant Shapps warns he is 'not prepared to tolerate' badly designed closures and cycle lanes, imposing 'sweeping changes' to communities. The Transport Secretary has admitted too many cycle lanes are being left “unused” with traffic “backed up” as a result of his green transport revolution, The Telegraph can reveal.In a strongly worded letter sent to councils, Grant Shapps has warned he is “not prepared to tolerate” badly designed road closures and new cycle lanes which are imposing “sweeping changes” to entire communities.And in a move that will infuriate cycling and green campaigners, he has declared the Government is not anti-car, explaining: “No one should be in doubt about our support for motorists.”Mr Shapps announced a £250 million Emergency Active Travel Fund in May intended to promote walking and cycling as the country emerged from lockdown. Councils were invited to apply for the cash by drawing up projects intended to entice people away from their cars and take more active forms of travel.However, critics have complained that badly designed road closures and new cycle lanes have in fact increased traffic and pollution on main roads, as well as reduced the number of people visiting high streets at a time when small businesses are desperate to recover from lockdown.Private residents have even launched legal action, claiming that because the schemes were introduced under emergency Covid powers, disability groups, local residents and businesses were not consulted, and consequently, normal local democratic procedures have been ignored.Meanwhile, so-called ‘Low Traffic Neighbourhoods’, where bollards and planters close off residential streets to traffic, have resulted in delays to 999 emergency response times as police, paramedics and fire crews encounter newly shut roads.The letter, sent on Friday to local authority transport bosses and local highways authorities and seen by The Telegraph, warns how a “notable number of councils used their funding poorly and were simply out of step with the needs of the local communities.”Mr Shapps continues: “I saw or heard from the public and parliamentary colleagues about far too many instances where temporary cycles lanes were unused due to their location and design, while their creation left motor traffic backed up alongside them; of wide pavements causing unnecessary congestion in town centres; and other issues that many have, rightly, reacted angrily to.”He explains how he had ordered his staff to “engage” with those councils where he had “concerns”, because badly thought out road closures and cycle lanes had been introduced.“Since then, numerous schemes have been scaled back and revised,” he wrote. “I am pleased with this, but the work will continue where local residents continue to have concerns.”He warns the second round of funding in the scheme could see some town halls receiving “considerably less” money if they fail to “embrace good design” or “consult their local communities”.He adds: “We all want to see the benefits that active travel brings to be realised, but poorly implemented schemes will make no friends for the policy or more broadly for active travel…“The crucial test is, does it deliver for the community it serves, and has it been done with their consultation.“Schemes must balance the needs of cyclists and pedestrians with the needs of other road users, including motorists and local businesses.“Only authorities which have passed these key tests will receive the funding they have asked for.“I want to be absolutely clear: we are not prepared to tolerate hastily introduced schemes which will create sweeping changes to communities without consultation, and ones where the benefits to cycling and walking do not outweigh the dis-benefits for other road users.”With The letter comes after thousands of people have held demonstrations and signed petitions forcing some town hall bosses into a series of humiliating U-turns after they introduced schemes with little or no public consultation.Last week, the Telegraph revealed how some councils were making hundreds of thousands of pounds in fines from motorists driving on newly closed roads.Projects in some parts of London have proven so divisive that planters have been daubed with graffiti and bollards ripped from the concrete. In one West London borough, opposition has been so vehement that police have had to attend to support council workers as they installed planters and bollards to close roads.So far, a total of £42,102,454 has been secured by 111 councils in England, including many London boroughs where opposition has been most vocal.https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/10/17/transport-secretary-admits-new-cycle-lanes-leaving-roads-backed/

Bernard Allen ● 183d8 Comments ● 171d

Hounslow's answer to Dominic Cummings?

For those familiar with the saga of the cladding/painting houses on two estates in Isleworth and the unhappiness of tenants and neighbours over the chosen colour on some homes, the role of the planning department in this was also being questioned. Advice from an independent source was that no planning permission was required and the work could have been done under permitted development.A Freedom of Information request to ascertain why Hounslow's housing and planning departments had gone down this road was returned with an answer that confirmed that our advice was indeed correct, but still did not answer the question as to why this was done. We pointed out that the information in the FOI was in fact incorrect so therefore there was no need at all for planning permission and we again asked for an explanation of their actions. Having gone round in ever decreasing circles and still not getting the courtesy of an straightforward answer I wrote to one of the Isleworth councillors, copying in the cabinet member for housing who had previously poo-pood residents complaints and asked that they personally asked planning and housing for an answer. Today I am told that our queries are being treated as a Stage 1 complaint, as we had not asked to go down this route I asked why this was happening without our agreement? The answer staggered me:"I have asked firmly and frankly for answers to these questions multiple times. I have also made my opinion very clear on this colour scheme. Peter Matthew has been very clear he will only deal with further questions and concerns as a Stage 1 complaint." So, an elected member is letting a council officer, a paid borough employee dictate what he will and won't do, since when did we elect officers? We elect councillors to act as our representatives and advocates not to stand for this nonsense. I find this absolutely outrageous, and it is clear that this officer will use the council's appallingly slow and ineffective complaints process as an opportunity to keep kicking this matter into the long grass. There have been many justified comments about how our P.M. is having his plonker pulled by one Dominic Cummings - well here we have the Hounslow version. What is wrong with the people we elect? It is quite simple - why did the housing department let planning persuade them they needed planning permission for work that could have been carried out under permitted development? Why did the affected homes have the removal of their permitted development rights inserted as a condition of the planning permission? Why were planning officers allowed to dictate the external colour scheme without any consultation?

Vanessa Smith ● 186d1 Comments ● 186d

Another nail in the coffin.

Wards: Brentford – Isleworth – Osterley and Spring Grove - SyonItem Address Ward Ref. No. Case officer details2 Syon Park, London Road, TW8 8JF Syon 00707/E/P116 rupinder.dhoot@hounslow.gov.ukProposal Creation of a one-way link road between Syon Park and London Road, including associated engineering operations, earthworks,drainage and landscaping.No. ofsubmissions:Summary of objections (x7)- Will negatively affect the existing quite cycle route linking Syon House to London Road.- Cuts through a Grade I listed landscape to sacrifice this for commercial gain is unacceptable.- Extra traffic will only add to delays and pollution.- Would create an urban intrusion into a local, national and internally valued rural setting.- No realistic assessment has been given of volume of vehicle movements.- Left exit into London Road with increased usage of Syon Lane off London Road.- With no future use of the Wyevale premises or a master plan predictions are not possible to ascertain potential maximum traffic flow.- If the gates are left open, as suggested, at the busiest hours of the day drivers would inevitably be tempted to ignore “no entry” signage andenter via the proposed new route.- No preventative measures are indicated to deter usage by lorries/large vehicles.- Proposed gates and signage would clutter an existing rural setting.- Loss of grassland.- Fails to preserve the character and appearance of the parkland and conservation area.- Fails to preserve or enhance both the setting and special architectural and historic character of the Grade I Listed landscape.- Very special circumstances of the proposed have not been demonstrated.- Archaeological survival potential is assessed as “high”; therefore, ground intrusion from proposed tree planting and subsequent root actionwould remove or severely disturb any archaeological remains at the planting location.- The planning application provides insufficient information on public benefits to offset what may be the “less than substantial harm” to aheritage asset.- Negative impact on biodiversity and Archaeology.Summary of support (x8)- Allowing vehicles to come off the main road will reduce congestion and pollution.- Closure of garden centre has led to a drop in visitors to the park the proposed road will help bring back visitors.- New egress will aid in cars being able to leave the site without having to use Park Road.- Will improve access to nursery.- Will help businesses and residents of Brentford.General comments (x4):- Closing Church Street was a terrible mistake19Wards: Brentford – Isleworth – Osterley and Spring Grove - Syon- Reopen Church Street with traffic calming measures.- Suspend all parking on Park Road on event days.- Opening Church Street would have prevented the closure of Wyevale Garden Centre.Summary of reasons for approval- Less that substantial harm to listed park outweighed by public benefit.- No harm to highway and pedestrian safety subject to safeguarding conditions.(Please note that this item was previously added to the week 11 list recommending refusal, since then further information has been submitted toovercome the reasons for refusal).

Vanessa Smith ● 192d14 Comments ● 186d

Chaos reigns

Bollards have suddenly appeared on Twickenham Road separating cyclists from the rest of the traffic and thereby narrowing an already overly congested road. And making access to West Mid hospital so awkward for the Ambulance service - there is nowhere for drivers to pull aside to let emergency vehicles pass! They have also placed bollards in Park Rd which has the rear access to WMUH! As far as we can tell no consultation with LAS was done prior to this bonkers and dangerous idea. Apparently this is to promote healthier lifestyles - the fact you might die because an ambulance cannot get access to a hospital doesn't matter! Really healthy!It has now been confirmed that no consultation with either LAS or the West Middx. hospital was done. The cycleway is now to be 'tweaked' with the view to allow easier access for the ambulance service whilst maintaining cycle safety. There is also going to be a road safey audit. Stable doors and horses?I'm not sure what passes for brains these days, but it seems to me that all relative consultations should have taken place before Hounslow went off on one, sticking bollards everywhere. Clearly if you are on a bike you are an exalted being around here - and sod the rest of us. It has also been declared that this is going to happen starting at Brentford Bridge right up to College Rd. Isleworth. I have reached the conclusion that the elected councillors in this borough are totally useless, and are only interested in dictating to the rest of us how we should live our lives, and if one more of them or their bloody officers mentions sodding Covid as a justification/excuse for imposing all this rubbiish on us I will scream.

Vanessa Smith ● 200d19 Comments ● 191d

Well, well, well.

‎Brentford TV‎ to Brentford Today & TV: #Debate Not Hate#5h · COUNCIL'S INTERNAL REPORT EXPOSES "PROBLEMS WITH CORPORATE CULTURE • PEOPLE POLICIES NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE • POOR COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT APPROACH" – As soon as he saw the document, Cllr John Todd took a screen grab. That was fortunate because, when he asked questions, it was immediately removed. It had been written by the senior management at Hounslow Borough Council and was a frank admission of serious performance failings. It declared: ‘Our digital offer is ineffective, our customer service delivery is not good enough (and)…We do not have a single Corporate, systematic way of understanding our customers and their needs.'The report was an Appendix to a recent Single Member Decision in which a Cabinet member sought an additional £500,000 to restructure the Council's Human Resources and Organisational Development Department.The Appendix said: "This is a programme of change, to ensure that the council is at the cutting edge of public service delivery. We are not at the moment…The first phase is to rectify current issues and problems with our corporate culture and infrastructure."We do not systematically look at how we are doing and how effective we are and whether what we are doing is meeting the real, objectively identified needs of our communities."Our people policies are not fit for purpose and our approach to investing and developing talent and rewarding people is inadequate."Our approach to public service reform and public service integration is segmented and very under-developed. Our approach to community engagement is poor. We are stuck in a neighbourhood renewal paradigm that pre-dates austerity."Cllr Todd says: "I posed a number of questions about this report believed to have been written in February including ‘who wrote this section?' and ‘where is the data previously published which evidences the adverse comments in this section?' I received a prompt response. The senior management had drafted this paragraph (italicised above). My second question was not answered to my satisfaction."Cllr Todd says: "My interest in the council's performance was heightened In June 2019 when the cabinet agreed a different way of assessing its performance data, highlighting success rather than failure. Our opposition role is to chase the latter so I met with the Chief Executive and Head of Overview and Scrutiny to express my concerns."My intervention over the HR and OD Report caused the Cabinet Member to direct that the published appendix I had quoted from be immediately removed from the LBH website. A most unusual course of action."The Cabinet member in question was Cllr Candice Atterton and here is the Council proposal she was approving: https://democraticservices.hounslow.gov.uk/documents/s163160/HR%20OD%20SMD%2027.8.20v2.pdf

Vanessa Smith ● 223d1 Comments ● 223d

Grant Shapps tells councils to stop abusing £250m

Grant Shapps tells councils to stop abusing £250m fund meant for green transport revolution https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/09/05/grant-shapps-tells-councils-stop-abusing-250m-fund-meant-green/Grant Shapps has told councils to stop abusing the £250 million fund meant for a green transport revolution by installing pointless one way systems and barriers that offer “no benefit to anyone”.Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, the Secretary of State for Transport says he will personally intervene to scrap the worst examples where local authorities have ruined high streets and residential roads in an attempt to build cycle lanes and promote social distancincing for pedestrians.His comments come after a series of petitions attracted thousands of signatures from people across the country who fear councils are pandering to the cycle lobby.Campaign groups representing the disabled, small business owners, pollution activists and motorists have criticised the schemes for being rushed through with little or no consultation.Many have claimed traffic congestion has been shifted elsewhere, while pollution has increased and many high street shops are struggling to emerge from lockdown because parking spaces have disappeared.In some London boroughs, planters closing off roads have been vandalised amid concerns emergency vehicle response times have plummeted as firefighters and paramedics have encountered new road layouts.Mr Shapps announced the £250 million scheme to promote “a new era for cycling and walking” at the height of lockdown in May.But today, Mr Shapps stresses how “not everything has worked” and because they are trials and the height of the Covid emergency has now passed there is ample opportunity for councils to consult local residents, businesses and the disabled.In a direct message to council leaders, he says: “Where some councils have abused the cash, my message is clear: speak to local residents, get it fixed or no more cash.”He adds that while some schemes had been “done well”, in the worst cases “a number of them will be coming out soon”.The Sunday Telegraph revealed in July how the minister had personally intervened in his own constituency after being dismayed with the way Hertfordshire County Council had set up a one-way system in the village of Welwyn which was said to have left the high street deserted.He writes: “Some councils have introduced random one-way systems, which don't seem to offer many benefits to anyone.“Some of those plastic barriers that have gone up in town centres to widen the pavements can actually prevent pedestrians, including disabled people, crossing the road.“They narrow the carriageway for traffic, causing congestion and increasing danger for cyclists. They reduce parking for essential visits to the pharmacy or dentist or doctor. And they don't seem to be much used by pedestrians either.”The minister said while many green activists claim the car should “die”, he believes it should instead “evolve” to help save the planet.As an electric car driver himself he added how he was an “electric head” rather than a petrol head, a description for those obsessed with fossil fuelled motor vehicles.He also said it was essential to “keep the main arteries of our economy flowing” at this pivotal time as Britain emerges from lockdown and prepares for Brexit.He adds: “For those who say we shouldn’t be building roads, I say there’s nothing green about standing still in traffic, pumping out CO2 and pollution.”However, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) remained adamant last night that more needed to be done to ease congestion after it had seen members, particularly in London, complaining how journey times were increasing.“We don’t believe that the Government has thought through the practical reality or economic consequences of reducing road space for vehicles,” a RHA spokesman said.“This will only lead to increased congestion and delays to deliveries – all of which increases the costs of moving goods – and somebody’s got to pay for that.“We’re all for a ‘green recovery’ but you can’t do this by clogging up our roads and making it more difficult for people and goods to get about.“On a local level, councils are using Covid-19 as an excuse to circumvent proper consultation about traffic schemes and ignoring their damaging economic and environmental consequences.“We’re hearing from members, especially in London, of increasing journey times and delays. In one instance round trips taking up to 50 percent longer than normal.”

Bernard Allen ● 225d7 Comments ● 224d

Paramedics couldn’t get to patient because of covid-bollards

Paramedics couldn’t get to patient because of covid-bollards blocking roadZoe Drewett Thursday 3 Sep 2020 10:57 amParamedics were delayed from treating a patient by 20 minutes because the road they wanted to take was blocked by newly installed bollards. The man was found unconscious by people living in Leighton Road in Ealing, London, at around 2.15pm on Saturday. Emergency services were called but the medics could not get past new bollards and raised flowers beds installed at the road junction. It has emerged the area is one of ten new ‘low traffic neighbourhoods’, created during the pandemic to make social distancing easier. According to the council’s website, the low traffic neighbourhoods are ‘essential for the post-lock down period where social distancing is needed, and public transport is at reduced capacity’.It is hoped that making the area only accessible to pedestrians and cyclists will ‘prevent increased future rat running’ as people choose to stay away from buses and trains and drive more instead. But London Ambulance Service had not been issued with keys to the new bollards – put up by Ealing Council three days before the man’s collapse. Witnesses said the paramedics were angry they could not get close enough to help the man during the medical emergency. Dominic Small, 53, who lives near the alleyway where the man was found said it took the medics around 20 minutes to park, then they had to walk 40 yards with their equipment to help the patient.He said: ‘The paramedic was really quite cross about the whole situation. In the end he had to park across on the other side of the barriers and walk to the patients around 30 to 40 meters and treat him that way. ‘If they had to get to him for something more serious, it could have been the difference between life and death. They had to go quite a distance and then if they had to trolley someone that far back to the ambulance it would cause a crucial delay. ‘The paramedics said it was a risk to health and safety and we should complain to the council as they can’t. ‘I asked the council why they haven’t removed the barriers given that they now know the ambulance services don’t have keys, but have not got a response yet.’The sick man was treated at the scene and refused to be taken to hospital, the ambulance service said. Ealing councillor David Millican said the bollards caused another ambulance hold-up on Tuesday evening when an elderly resident fell and had to wait an extra 30 minutes for paramedics to arrive because of the new diversion. The woman needed to stay in hospital overnight and is now said to be fine but her husband was worried about the slow response had it been a matter of life and death, the councillor said. He added: ‘I’ve been warning senior councillors and council officers for many weeks that the emergency services would struggle to navigate and pass through the road blocks.'The refuse lorries are also unable to pass through the barriers, meaning it is taking them much longer to complete their rounds, as there are sections of the scheme that their lorry cannot reach.‘If refuse lorries cannot pass through the barriers then clearly fire engines cannot either, despite the assurances we have received.’ Christina Fox, who lives near the new barriers, called them dangerous and said someone could ‘die waiting’ for an ambulance. London Ambulance Service claimed they reached the first patient within their target of 18 minutes for a category 2 emergency call. Category 2 calls are those that are classed as an emergency for a potentially serious condition that may require rapid assessment, urgent on-scene treatment or to be urgently taken to hospital. Ealing Council has been contacted for comment.Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2020/09/03/ambulance-couldnt-get-to-man-who-collapsed-because-of-road-bollards-13216848/?ito=cbshare Twitter: https://twitter.com/MetroUK | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/

Bernard Allen ● 228d14 Comments ● 225d

Secondhand book sale to raise funds for the FoodBox.

Brentford Voice’s recent Plant Exchange and Sale raised an impressive £680 thanks to you, our community. We would now like to try and help the Hounslow Community FoodBox again with your fantastic support.Brentford Voice will hold a secondhand book sale on 13th September 2020 beginning at 11.00 a.m. in the Market Place, High Street, Brentford. The sale will coincide with the regular Brentford Market which is held on the second Sunday of each month.All proceeds from the book sale will be donated to Hounslow Community FoodBox. Only cash payments will be accepted so please come armed with an adequate supply of coins and notes.In the light of current restrictions buyers will have to judge each book by its cover. There can be no browsing or tender fondling of books. Social distancing will be observed at all times, hand sanitiser will be provided, and masks are advised.We would very much welcome any donations of secondhand books. Books suitable for readers of any age - hardbacks and paperbacks, fiction and non-fiction - will all be most welcome. We ask only that your donations are in reasonably good condition.Donations can be dropped off in advance at:20 Avenue Road, TW8 9NS or 46 Lateward Road, TW8 0PLThe Verdict Bakery in the Market Square has very kindly offered to accept book donations in advance of the sale. Please drop off your books at the Verdict during their opening hours (8.00 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and from 10.00 a.m. on Sunday).Alternatively, please bring along your donations to our stall in the Market Place from 10.30 am on 13th September.

Jim Storrar ● 226d0 Comments ● 226d

Rave at 35 Enfield Road

Last night I went to bed at about elevenish and became aware of a lot of noisy activity in the road.  Eventually I looked out of the window and saw a load of youths (male and female) gathering around 35 Enfield Road and going in and out of the property.  They looked as though they were up for a party.  Some arrived on foot, others by private car, some were dropped off by taxi.  The age range was probably late teens/early twenties.At about midnight the noise increased and about twenty (possibly more) people spilled out of the house and into the road where they milled around.  Shortly afterwards a police car arrived and also Hounslow's Noise Team.  There was music thumping away.The police officers had a long conversation with some of the occupants of the property and one of my neighbours and myself came out of our houses and spoke to the officers and also the noise people.  Apparently the back garden of the property was heaving with people - some of whom were smoking weed and taking cocaine.The owner does not live at the property but rents it out - we think he's been doing the airbnb thing.  A similar "event" took place at the property the weekend before last.  He is, apparently, not bothered on the occasions when he's been contacted about what's happened.Police said they were powerless to do anything; noise team said they would be contacting the owner.The party continued for most of the night.  The volume of music increased.  There were continual comings and goings and shouting in the street.  I observed people emerging from the property and urinating/defecating behind parked cars and then going back inside.I also rang the police and was told that they had been contacted by a number of local residents but that, in reality, there was very little they could do.I gather that this sort of thing is fairly common at the moment.  It's horrible for local residents who just want to go to sleep. The party was still going strong at 4am but I managed to get some sleep by going to the back of the house.  Did anyone else hear this event?  What can we do to make sure it doesn't happen again??

Alison Robins ● 240d35 Comments ● 236d