Dukes Meadows Footbridge Project
Contractors have now cleared an area of scrubland adjacent to the Emanuel boathouse for a site for a crane. Trees that were on the river side route of the bridge have been reduced including limbs that were according to the PLA blocking river navigation. Adjacent willow trees need pollarding too. LBH are working with the Wildlife Trust on this aspect.
The cleared scrubland will I’m advised be planted with willow trees post completion of the bridge construction.
The closure of Hammersmith Bridge to river traffic seriously threatened this project. This restriction has slightly eased but there is a significant demand for the slots available. We have now made an alternative arrangement if required to deliver sections to land adjacent to the car park near the golf club.
Emma the Barnes Town Manager advises me she has now obtained funding to conduct a feasibility study for her Barnes Bridge Green Walkway Project. We wish her every success.
Turnham Green Terrace Drinking Fountain
The fountain currently looks rather forlorn surrounded by leaf and rubbish collecting plastic barriers. Regrettably vandals have damaged this fountain on a number of occasions. They endeavour to remove the dome and in doing so cause damage to both the water supply and drainage pipes.
After the last attack we discussed making some minor changes to the fountain’s design namely the widening of the fountain’s neck and the fitting of a collar inside in order to make it more robust and secure.
We still require the permission of the fountain’s owner before commencing any alterations. This has proved difficult for a number of covid related reasons.
We have tried on numerous occasions and now I’m pleased to state have a site meeting shortly.
The restoration was actively supported by others who provided funding. It's a very old fountain one of a similar style found throughout London. It's dated internal construction limits many modern options to secure the fountains parts and prevent further damage
The option suggested by our conscientious fountain restorer is both pragmatic and will I'm sure minimise any further incidents.
Al Fresco dining
Pleasing to note that the Govt. have extended the covid special related licences for another year so they now expire in September 2022. I’ve had a number of enquiries from traders seeking to extend outside their premises.
I’ve attended the following meetings, LBH Main Council, Planning Committee, Pension Fund Panel, Chiswick School Governing Body, reviewing the Send provision at the school, Trustee meeting of Chiswick House and Gardens Trust and the City of London Police Pension Board.
Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) cameras
TfL has started installing cameras for this scheme near Hogarth Roundabout. The new extended zone comes into force on the 25th October 2021. Disabled drivers are exempt until October 2025.
The daily rate is £12.50 for cars whose engines emission do not comply. Failure to register and pay attracts a fine of £160 for every day you drive in the zone.
Covid 19 update
I asked our Director of Public Health Kelly O’Neill to give me a current overview of Covid developments and this is her response:
The roadmap out of lockdown prioritised the return of all our children to school and through the huge effort of our headteachers and school staff children now can resume the important teacher to student classroom based learning with their classmates in a covid-safe environment. This is an important first step to the easing of lockdown restrictions, and the time between this and the next stage of the roadmap on 12 th April allows us to manage any increase in infection rates and increase testing with staff in primary and staff and students in secondary schools now learning how to self-test at home. This means we can identify quickly anyone who tests positive and be proactive about how we manage cases and their contacts.
Most parents have given consent to the testing of their children.
Primary school age children are not being routinely tested, however if you are a parent of children this age getting tested does give an indication if there is someone in the family who is infectious and reduces infection being brought into school inadvertently. It is important if you are a p arents, carers, in a support or childcare bubbles of a school age child that you get tested regularly. You can do this either by collecting a free pack of rapid lateral flow tests so that you can test at home twice-weekly or go to one of the community testing sites.
Rapid Test packs are available to collect from the following collection sites in Hounslow:
- Padstow Walk car park, Feltham TW14 9XU
- Brabazon Road Sports Courts, Heston TW5 9LT
- Stamford Brook car park, Welstead Way Chiswick W4 1NH
Collection sites are open between 1.00pm-8.00pm, seven days a week and there is no need to book. To collect your family’s pack, you must be over 18 years old and NOT have COVID-19 symptoms. Please walk to the collection sites if you can, as parking is very limited at the sites and nearby.
If you’d prefer to get tested at a community testing site there are 4 to choose from: Hounslow House, Staines RFC, Isleworth Library or Heston Library – either book a test through the Council website or just turn up and get tested.
It remains important that we maintain other risk control measures. Each school will have asked parents to help them reduce infection transmission risk by not congregating at school entrances, following one way systems and socially distancing from people who are not living in your home and with whom you are not in a social or childcare bubble. If we are to keep schools educating as many children as possible it needs parents to be supporters of their school community and help to keep it safe.
Rates of infection in the borough are low. Rates in the three wards of Chiswick have been lower than other areas of the Borough. Our rates are below 70/100,000 and at present fewer than 200 people in the Borough have tested positive in the last week. Consequently this has meant fewer people with Covid admitted to hospital, and this has allowed the hospital to start to refocus on resuming non-covid activity and elective (planned) admissions some of which have been delayed as the NHS has had to prioritise their work.
The vaccination programme is about to escalate as an increasing amount of vaccine supplies become available to NW London and our GPs are rolling out vaccination at pace with these deliveries. This is an opportunity to reinforce that if you think you should have been vaccinated, as you are in priority groups 1-4 or aged 56 years and over, and are yet to be vaccinated – please, make an appointment: Book a coronavirus vaccination - NHS (www.nhs.uk) ‘
Kelly O’Neill - Director of Public Health London Borough of Hounslow.
LBH Business Rates Invoices clarification
I've had two businesses in my Ward today complain about an invoice being received from LBH requesting payment of business rates despite the chancellor continuing exemption to later this year.
LBH Finance explained the process which is causing confusion as follows:
Our Business rate billing processes begin in February. Therefore, 21/22 bills are in the process of being sent out. The retail relief element has been removed from the bills for those businesses who were receiving the relief up until 31st March. Therefore, the bills do not capture the announcement made on 3rd March in the budget that retail relief for businesses already in receipt will be extended until June 30th. We have around 1800 businesses in that category. However, in anticipation of any such announcement by the Chancellor we have included a sentence in the bills that if retail relief is extended, we will send amended bills to those who qualify, and that the business owner is not required to do anything to claim this relief.
We did need to begin the process in February as:
• We did not know what the Chancellor was to announce
• We need the April direct debit income for cashflow purposes & most businesses prefer paying fixed amounts, monthly.
We will also email the businesses benefitting from the Chancellor’s announcement to advise them of the above. The amended bills will be sent out as soon as the system is updated with the relevant changes.
Cllr John Todd