A listening Council in 2022
May I start by inviting all residents to join the electoral roll in order to formally participate in our local democracy. Your Chiswick Area Forum is perhaps the last stand in the fight to restore our local democracy. We have pledged that if the Conservatives win back control of the Council in May 2022, your voices will be heard and will be followed with immediate action, and the level of consultation and feedback restored to a proper level for residents and stakeholders in Chiswick.
After all our primary role is to serve our community. The body of our work collectively in opposition as the nine Chiswick Conservative Councillors can be evidenced by our continued attempts to engage co-operatively with the administration on a borough wide basis. We are now ready to present ourselves as the credible alternative to the current administration occupying Hounslow House.
We want to hear from you directly because that’s what local democracy is about. Our next Chiswick area Forum is on Tuesday 18 th January from 7pm and will be held online.
In May 2022 you will finally get to express your dissatisfaction with the current local administration. Time for a change, we can do better. With thousands of angry emails in our inboxes seeking explanations and justification for sudden road closures, fines for driving around the neighbourhood and lack of consultation; we are still counting the cost of Cllr Khan (the lead member for transport at Hounslow) and Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London and boss of transport policy). The reduction in the quality of life emanating from their bizarre schemes is made clear by the millions of pounds being extracted in penalty charges levied for accessing local streets; and interference with the public good in Chiswick alone with unworkable schemes and street space costs now costing the taxpayer millions of pounds more.
The relationship between the proper governance of the council and the people it is supposed to serve is at all-time low. After 12 years in control, the administration has grown overweight, lethargic and arrogant. It has been weighed down by layers of bureaucracy and financial mismanagement. It has developed gluttonous appetite for a quick buck, a TfL scheme, an LTN and repackaging central Government funding into costly initiatives to try and appear benevolent. They have spectacularly misjudged the public anger and frustration. There has been calls within their own ranks for cabinet members to resign. And yet the administration continues to exercise its power over the individual with its whopping 50 seat majority.
Even as an independent report suggested that communities ought to be given more powers to manage their own affairs; this outfit shows no sign of decentralising its authority. It was Ronald Reagan who said ‘No socialist government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size.’ That’s why May 2022 is such an important junction for restoring our local democracy.
The ward boundaries for Turnham Green are changing slightly for May 2022 as is the name. It means that if we are re-elected, Cllrs Biddolph, Gill and I, will have the honour of representing residents on Popes Lane and Lionel Road North. Our ward will be known as Chiswick Gunnersbury instead of Turnham Green.
The name change might actually come with some surprising benefits for residents. I was told that the Autumn and Winter leaf clearing schedule was on the whole carried out alphabetically per each ward. If this turns out to be the case, then our new name will bump us up from the last spot to third. Good news for residents on leafy streets such as Barrowgate Road, Duke’s Avenue, Linden Gardens and the Gunnersbury estate.
A Safer Chiswick
The most immediate concern for our residents in Turnham Green/ Chiswick Gunnersbury is theft of vehicle and theft from motor vehicles. We are currently working closely with our newly assigned Police Officer to increase patrols in the residentials areas that have been the target by criminals in recent months. Council officer have been proactive as well. Cllr Biddolph and I recently met a group of residents alongside a Safer Communities Officer from the Council to discuss the next steps. The following measures, that residents and motorists should consider, were suggested.
- To use steering locks or vehicle immobilizers when your car is parked.
- To keep all belongings out of view in the car.
- To consider the use of Smart Water to mark valuable items in the home and the car.
- To use the Smart Water warning stickers to deters would be criminals.
There are a number of concerns about thefts of vehicle equipment across London, particularly when catalytic converters are being stolen from vehicles. This website has useful information about preventative measure What is catalytic converter theft and how can you prevent it? | heycar.
Police Recruitment Drive
In 2019 the Central Government pledged 20,000 new police officers by the end of this parliament. Currently we are at 12,000 out of 166,615 applications. Of the current recruits, 43% of them are women and 12% from the ethnic minority background.
Last week I met Grace Bernard-Broadreck, the Outreach Team Lead for the Metropolitan Police to explore ways in which can help recruit our forces from within our communities. They are appealing to Chiswick as a civic minded community with webinars ( hashtag #BTheChangeUWant2C,) as part of their drive to recruit 6,000 new officers across the capital by end of this Parliament.
The career in the Met is available for anyone aged between 17- 54 years of age. I was especially intrigued by the Police Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) for some of our young school leavers, provided they have achieved GCSE C grade or above in English and Maths.
Beyond recruitment we also discussed how councillors and residents can build better relationships between young and the Metropolitan Police. We agreed that on whole young people, especially those from the poorer background, did not have a positive association with the Police. That’s why we visited the Hogarth Youth Centre and Rocks Lane courts to discuss how we can best work collaboratively to build better relationship with our youth. Among the ideas we discussed included coordinating the Police Ride Along Schemes and Youth Forums through these local organisations.
A Greener Chiswick
I am delighted to announce that our Chiswick Clean up team will be out in force once again on Sunday 23 rd January. The centre of operations will be at Christ Church on Turnham Green, but we do travel out from there. This is also a good opportunity to remind anyone who is interested doing a Litter Pick a little closer to their home, that we can help organise it for you. Who knows you may even get one of the nine Chiswick Councillors in attendance to get you up and running!
We are always looking for more volunteers to expand our network. So, if you have a passion for doing your bit and giving back to the community, then this is the opportunity to meet with other like- minded souls. Although the act of litter picking is humbling and might seem a small act, the gesture is always appreciated by fellow residents and passers-by.
Meeting Place – Christ Church Turnham Green on Sunday 23 rd January (Entrance at Town Hall Avenue)
Start Time – 2:30pm
End time and refreshment – 3:30pm
Lets keep Chiswick Clean and Green
Cllr Ron Mushiso