'Let's Cut Adrift From Hounslow Borough' Says Cllr Gerald McGregor
Labour mismanagement results in 'Venezuela-on-Thames'
The big issue over the last few months is the peril that threatens Chiswick over route of Cycle Superhighway 9 (CS9). People in Chiswick have noticed the recent back-pedalling done by TFL, trying to repackage this £70m use of taxpayer funds by giving this bad scheme a new name and pretending that the potential harm and risk to pedestrians is justified by the increased health and mobility of cyclists (who will commute at speed through the heart of Chiswick along the south side of Chiswick High Road).
The idea of large numbers of cyclists using the route to shop in Chiswick has also been quietly refocused (dropped). The London Borough of Hounslow Labour administration appears to be frightened of the Mayor of London and the TFL crew.
The evening cabinet meeting on Tuesday, 3rd September was held at Hounslow House. The matter was brought to the cabinet by the lead member for transport Cllr Hanif Khan. The groups opposing the CS9 project as it stands had the full support of all the Conservative Councillors. Opponents to the scheme are in the main long-standing residents of Chiswick and business owners along the High Road who fear great damage to retailers. These are people who fear that the Labour administration (who have no council representatives in Chiswick) does not have the capacity to understand the true issues and depth of feeling that has led to a most successful campaign culminating in a petition with well over five thousand names (5,452).
The outcome was characterised by the cabinet members acting as pussy cats when dealing with the supporters of the scheme, including the Commissioner for Walking and Cycling (the title sounds like the Nanny State or, worse, a scene from 1984 where nobody has private transport), salaried by TFL who pronounced himself satisfied with the Mayor’s proposals and mentioned not a word about the consequent economic damage to Chiswick during construction and afterwards, or the loss to environment, or the loss of access to the inhabitants of Chiswick. The supporters of the scheme appeared to scoff at the plight of shopkeepers and retailers, mentioning the existing loss of shops as if it were of no consequence and expecting more to fail as a potential price to be paid for the scheme i.e. just casualties, collateral damage. Loss of trees was not taken seriously so the green agenda has gone off the boil again.
Councillor Khan in his introduction added nothing new, merely boilerplating what had been fed to the council by the TFL team. Consultations were, as always, pointed to but the negative overall view of Chiswick residents and business owners did NOT feature in the discussions of the cabinet. The word consultation has always been devalued by the Labour Party, and particularly by the former Prime Minister Tony Blair during his time in office.
What are people in Chiswick to do?
First, indicate your opposition during any forthcoming statutory “consultation” that may happen.
Secondly, consider supporting a legal challenge to the decision of Hounslow Council to proceed in cahoots with TFL by implementing a flawed and unworthy scheme.
Third, ensure that your voice is heard in local media and think about a new boundary, placing Chiswick with Hammersmith and Fulham as a new council area. Boundary change is in the air, let’s think positively and cut adrift from Hounslow. The boys and girls down there are doing us no favours at the moment.
What else is going on?
Well the £65,000,000 recently spent on Hounslow House does not appear to have worked very well with a brand new window frame failing and the sixth floor being rebuilt when the council chamber was found to be too small. The council chamber was actually called multi-function room one, two, three and four but the partitions have gone and the walls have been refurbished … how much did that cost - and who paid?
Who created this nightmare and how did we end up with a building hazardous to passers-by? Cllr Hanif Khan is the man to ask because he was responsible for the fitting out.
Labour appears not able to function at the moment just like the rooms they got rid of. They’ve also just cancelled the next council meeting, just as the Chiswick councillors started asking questions about the sheer cost of the new building … fit for purpose or what – or just not functional?
Local authority expenditure
After frequent requests and reminders by Homefields councillors we have a great result from Hounslow Highways with a greatly needed improvement to Priory Avenue. This road was not completed as part of the original highways contract but has now been repaired to a pristine level. Many thanks and well done to the Hounslow Highways team.
Helping a constituent
Action at last on the request from a constituent with long term issues on health (including possible inappropriate hospital treatment) and housing. We got a meeting with the local MP which has led to some progress.
I’ve been supporting council tenants in various parts of Hounslow and Chiswick over a range of problems. Neighbour disputes are regrettably becoming ever more common, and issues of parking bays and garages on estates are referred to at our regular Saturday morning surgery (starts at 9.30am) at the Public Library on Dukes Avenue
Local politics … Venezuela-on-Thames
More bad news on the financial record of the current tired bunch of has-beens and never got theres who make up the Labour administration in their new £65m headquarters in Hounslow is provoking real concern. Budget targets missed, and only the few positive budget messages being highlighted in the current reporting with deficits at the end of the last financial year carried forward despite promises in 2017 and 2018 and 2019 to get things sorted. Again, it looks as if the words are said but no actions follow.
The council reserves look very sick and the Lampton project gets sicker and sicker. Inexperienced Labour councillors should not try to run a trading company like those involved in Lampton. I fear a budget problem and then chaos. They and the taxpayers would be better off if they did something positive like taking up knitting.
Back to Hounslow
Meanwhile, as a councillor of 14 years’ standing, delivering solutions and providing supportcontinues in casework of various types. So, while Labour maladministers a borough – a picture repeated from the ill-managing London Mayor spiralling like CS9 downwards into the activities of 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.
DATES FOR YOUR DIARIES
Borough Council: Cancelled (was due on 10 September)
Chiswick Area Forum: Postponed (was due on 17th September, new date to follow)
Chiswick: Every Saturday from 9.30am to 10.30am at Chiswick Library on Dukes Avenue, upstairs in a private room.
Gunnersbury Park Garden Estate: The first Saturday of every month from 10am to 11am in the Triangle Club, The Ridgeway, W3 8LN, usually a group discussion but privacy can be arranged.
Councillor Gerald McGregor
Chiswick Homefields ward
07866 784 821
September 10, 2019