Covid-19: Going into Tier-2
Councillors attended a meeting on 27 th November with senior council officers to discuss the latest national and local guidance with regard to Covid-19. Tier 2 comes into effect on Wednesday 2 nd December. Like the last lockdown, pubs and bars may only operate as a restaurant and serve alcohol via table service but this time they can stay open until 11pm, although last orders will be at 10pm. Libraries and places of worship may resume their services but weddings and funerals are restricted to 15 and 30 attendees respectively.
Face coverings will continue to be common practice; expect to be refused entry to any shop if you don’t have one. Enforcement of the rules will be shared by the Council, who will focus on businesses, and the police, on individuals. Please see the latest government advice here .
The Vaccines: a personal plea from me to all residents
At the meeting council officers stressed how important it was that as many people as possible take the vaccine as this would build our collective ‘herd immunity’. There will likely be two doses of a vaccine, which will require enormous discipline on our part. I therefore urge all of you not only to take the vaccine but also to encourage your friends and relatives do so.
How to have a Covid-Ready Christmas
Between 22 nd and 27 th December the Government will allow people to establish bubbles of up to three households including their own. These must remain the same; you can’t form bubbles with two households on Christmas and then with two different households on Boxing Day. There remains a danger however and the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has recommended postponing Christmas to next year. SAGE has recommended keeping windows open and against playing boardgames. If you do plan an online meeting with relatives, I highly recommend this site ; one person can share his/her screen on any of the media platforms and everyone works together to complete the quizzes. Codenames is also great fun online.
We are fortunate in Chiswick to have so many opportunities to meet friends where we can socially distance safely. Chiswick House Gardens remains open to the public over lockdown with an outdoor kiosk selling mulled wine and other necessities. Kew Gardens is open too but you need to book in advance. There is an excellent children’s play area there and a new Woodland Walk opened in 2017. Only registered disability assistance dogs are allowed.
Don't miss the Museum of Water and Steam in Brentford. The museum opened briefly before the second lockdown and I had a chance to visit. The museum has taken special care to raise awareness of social distancing with clever signposting and one-way systems. The museum's courtyard features an impressive interactive water miniature pumping station which delights local councillors and young children.
Over Christmas, Artists at Home are holding an online auction in support of the Upper Room, a charity supporting West London's homeless and vulnerable people. The auction ends on Sunday 29 th November at 9pm so get in quickly! Local artist Alice Brooks has produced a beautiful Christmas Card in support of the Tommy Hollis Children’s Fund, a charity that supports of underprivileged, sick and orphaned children.
Hounslow Planning Committee
I am a member of the Hounslow Planning Committee and have a vote on planning applications across the borough that get called in. You can attend these meetings live via the Hounslow Monthly Meeting Calendar. I attended two meetings since my last blog and for the first time since I have been on the committee, councillors went against the officers’ recommendation for approval, a handy reminder that councillors are entirely independent of the officers. This application concerned a side extension to a house in Chiswick that involved building a brick wall on a boundary that would be one metre higher than a neighbour’s existing fence. Although the dimensions of the planned extension sat within the residential extension guidelines for Hounslow, as with all planning applications following the Council’s Covid-19 rules, the planning officers had not been able to visit the site. I attended the site prior to the meeting and could see that the proposal would both cut out a significant amount of sunlight and create an enclosure for one of the neighbours, two things that the guidelines particularly warn against. I therefore persuaded the committee to defer the case which gave the applicant the opportunity to improve the application with glass replacing the brick wall; this was accepted.
Consultation on the Station House Pub
There is a new planning application to change the internal layout of the Old Station House in Grove Park. Cllr Sam Hearn called in the application to the next Chiswick Area Forum (see dates below) and together with me and Cllr Gabriella Giles would like to know your views on the matter; you will be able to view the application on the council’s planning pages. Please send any emails in support or against the application to firstname.lastname@example.org with the reference P/2020/3154. There is a chance that the application will be decided by planning officers, in which case we will call it in to the Planning Committee. Letters will go out to immediate neighbours and all those who raised objections to the previous application.
Trial Scheme for access to Hartington Road from the A316
There is a proposal to introduce a trial restriction on vehicular access for six months on the access to Hartington Road from the A316 with the aim of stopping traffic attempting to reach the A4 along this route. Access will be controlled via an automatic number plate recognition camera. However residents will be able to continue to use the A316’s entrance to Hartington Road but you will need to register your car’s numberplate here . Unfortunately deliveries and residents’ visitors will not able to use this access. A date for commencing the trial has not yet been confirmed but will likely be soon. C9 works will recommence on the 5 th December and Kew Bridge will be closed the night of the 10 th December.
The government is committed to halving rough sleeping by 2022 and ending it by 2027 through the work of national and local government. The council advises that, if you believe that you have nowhere to stay, you should immediately call them on 020 8583 3942 or by email at MyIndependence@hounslow.gov.uk.
I continue to engage with residents and attempt to resolve their issues sometimes with the assistance and advice of council officers. Recent casework includes contacting Hounslow Highways, a company that works on behalf of the Council, to restore street lighting on Elmwood Road and to fix a number of broken pavements and walls that I and residents had seen. One resident complained about residents’ cars overhanging on driveways and blocking the pavement, presenting a particular problem for those who use wheelchairs. The council took action to issue enforcement notices on the offenders and clarified the rules. If a car is overhanging even if the wheels are on the driveway, the car’s owner can be liable for prosecution under the Highway Act 1980. This does seem appropriate, although I do have some sympathy with those whose driveways are simply too small to accommodate a car. If you do see cars overhanging on the pavement please get in touch with me and I will ask the Council to take action on your behalf.
Upcoming local sports fixtures
Under Tier 2, sports events may reopen albeit at 50% capacity or 2,000 attendees, whichever is less/fewer. Upcoming matches are:
- Saturday 19 th December: Brentford FC v Reading – 3pm kick-off
- Sunday 20 th December: London Irish v tbc –
- Tuesday 22 nd December: Brentford FC v Newcastle – 17:30 kick-off
Please note that Strand on the Green School will not be available for match-day parking.
Councillor Michael Denniss
Chiswick Riverside ward