New Council Charge Could 'Push People Out Of Chiswick Housing Market'
Cllr Gerald McGregor's blog criticises proposed 60% CIL increase
This week Cllr Gerald McGregor writes a blog.
This has been another interesting week with a typical range of local issues to deal with.
Local authority expenditure
One long term issue, about expenditure on a road improvement near Turnham Green station, has achieved no result whatsoever at an enormous cost to the taxpayer. Drivers of the wonderful 94 bus find it very difficult to swing round the mini-roundabout at the junction of Bath Road and the top of Turnham Green Terrace. Our request for a change to the layout resulted in the wrong side of the junction being changed. I raised this at the Chiswick Area Forum on Tuesday, deploring the wasted expenditure and asking for the correct action to be taken. It remains on the issue tracking list – a system by which we can keep important items on the agenda so they don’t slip through the net.
Helping a constituent
Another long-term issue, supporting a Chiswick resident who is trying to get justice (or at least a satisfactory answer) concerning an NHS medical malpractice, and who has been waiting at length to have a meeting/interview with a local MP to discuss the case.
How long does it take to transfer a property under leaseholder enfranchisement legislation? I am now dealing with one group trying to buy out a freehold from Hounslow Housing and another applicant waiting in the wings. The legal team acting for Hounslow Housing (Hounslow Council by another name) appears to be delaying every element of agreement with the leaseholders despite high-level acceptance of the proposal. Perhaps they have never done a conveyance?
Other Chiswick leaseholders are now getting no change from the same organisation with regard to improvements to the common parts of a property, including enhanced security and sound-proofing. I am now advising them to buy out the council freehold to ensure their interests are protected.
The financial record of the current tired bunch of has-beens and never got theres who make up the Labour administration in their new £65 million headquarters in Hounslow centre is sickening. Budget targets missed, deficits at the end of the last financial year carried forward despite promises in February not to do so … it looks like Venezuela-on-Thames. The council reserves look very sick.
What will happen after Hounslow council’s proposed hike in the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)? It will create more housing cost inflation in the borough – and especially in Chiswick. This levy is applied to developers of large properties specifically to fund the operation, maintenance, improvement or provision of local infrastructure. The council proposes to increase CIL, priced per square metre, from £70 to £75 in Zone 3 (the west of the borough); from £110 to £160 in Zone 2 (the central area) and from £200 to £320 in Zone 3 (Chiswick and Brentford). That’s a hike of 60% here in Chiswick. This will undoubtedly push up prices of homes making it even more difficult for people to get on the housing ladder – and will price the less well-off out of Chiswick. Ours is rightly a mixed community and should remain so. This change is wrong and I urge you to make your views known and respond to the current consultation.
The last round of the selection of the new leader of the Conservative Party has provided what, for me, is a clear-cut choice. Locals may disagree but I believe we have a choice between two great candidates both with a broad big-picture vision and strong records of public service. This is democracy at its best with a mandate to serve the nation and the people at the end of the process. A chance to end dispute and heal division is in sight.
Back to Hounslow
Meanwhile, as a councillor of 14 years’ standing, delivering solutions and providing support continue in casework of various types involving, as examples, housing need, parking issues and retailers needing relief just to stay in business. So, while Labour maladministers a borough – a picture repeated from the ill-managing London Mayor downwards into local councils across London promising a socialist ideology rather than answering to the needs of local people - it’s more business as usual for me.
Cllr Gerald McGregor
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July 1, 2019