The Continuing Need for Feedback and Listening to our Residents
The Conservative group in opposition have tried very hard to help in setting agendas at the Council, supporting our dedicated Covid 19 public health team, liaising constantly with the senior management team at the council and giving support and enthusiasm to our colleagues on the front line and fellow supporters in different neighbourhoods in Hounslow.
The continuing issue for the public is that when watching Ealing and Hounslow councils in action they get no sense of any consistency in feedback or constructive engagement. We have learnt a huge amount about this in the May election campaigns and the constant iteration on the doorstep that no one cares and no one listens to voters and to the population in general.
The Street Environment
Highways and streets management is a continuing feature of the work we do and the progressive policies we wish to introduce. Chiswick councillors keep a constant liaison with Hounslow Highways reporting flagstones and pavement problems, potholes and poor construction and signage which are an irritant to residents. Recently, due to the raised profile of traffic and transport issues we have commenced surveys on street space and scheme impact. Councillor Hearn has produced a searching report and will be responding to the latest news about new closures and abandonments of experimental schemes in Chiswick. Another issue that crops up is the question of waste management and the scourge of fly tipping and dumping. In Chiswick we ask all residents to report issues immediately to the council for remedial action. We are told that in practice quick and speedy clearance actually limits the total amount of dumping that might take place in a specific location , but not removing some fly tipped waste merely encourages more copy-cat bad behaviour. The Chiswick councillors are out and about across the area and can often be seen taking pictures of any missed rubbish or dumped material. Councillor Ron Mushiso organises a litter picking activity centred on Turnham Green held regularly at the end of each month. If you would like to assist him please make contact him with him (details below)
Housing and Homelessness
On the Housing and Homeless front, as a group, we are responding to the growing number of cases involving poor maintenance of council owned homes and consequent health issues. Estates across Chiswick need to be surveyed and inspected on a regular basis, and sometimes it would appear that essential maintenance schedules need to be re-instituted.
The Planning Environment
Planning is a good example of engagement but with the difficulty of remote access to Zoom or Teams getting in the way of good communication. Another difficulty with planning is that access for objectors is covered by planning rules and boundaries that many ordinary residents are unable to comprehend without access to professional help. The original national planning legislation was meant to provide access, not prevent consultation. Our policy programme now includes bring planning meetings back to local areas across Hounslow starting with the Chiswick Area Forum.
The Local Economy
The Chiswick Shops Task Force headed up by Councillor Jo Biddolph has produced a comprehensive survey of Devonshire Road retailing taking comments from traders, shopkeepers and restaurants in this valued and important part of Chiswick. The financial and economic environment has proved very tough and the restrictions on access have proved a real pain.
Barclays Bank has reviewed the status of the long-standing Chiswick Branch and has decided to close operations in August. This comes on the heels of other Barclays closures in Brentford and Acton.
Obviously there must be financial implications for the bank in maintaining its branch network, but the drop in business traffic during the Covid-19 pandemic could soon be remedied after the lockdowns are fully eased. Conservative Councillors are consulting on how to change the decision and prevent Barclays having absolutely no representation at all in the Eastern part of the Borough of Hounslow. Alternative branches in the Boroughs of Hammersmith and Kensington are a very long way from our area.
(Let me declare an interest, I have an account at the Bank and I consistently find the staff to be pleasant and courteous (and up to now happy); their future is not great.)
Another Traffic Issue Devonshire Road
Be warned Hounslow Council is placing closed circuit cameras covering traffic entering this access only road. Expect PCN’s to follow. Someone isn’t listening to the residents of Chiswick.
Contacting the Councillor Team
Please continue to contact your local councillor team in Chiswick directly, if you are getting no satisfaction from direct contact with the administration. (details are below)
The Opposition Conservative Party has an absolute certainty that in future we can do better than this.
We make it clear; The only way to properly deliver local government is to listen at all times and learn what people need, and understand residents’ cares, provide moderate and progressive responses and deliver changes not just promises, that are supported and delivered after proper consultation.
Gerald McGregor Councillor