Local Anger Vented At Hounslow Highways
Residents frustrated by lack of response to their complaints
Hounslow Highways has come under fire for its record on street cleansing in Chiswick and its tardiness in responding to complaints.
Councillors and members of the public at the Chiswick Area Forum last night (March 18) took a team from HH to task for its performance on litter, lights and customer services since being awarded the £800m 25-year PFI contract over a year ago.
Cllr Adrian Lee said that levels of litter and detritus in Chiswick had got worse since HH had taken over.
A petition of 25 signatures from local people was presented stating that large piles of rubbish were being left on Chiswick High Road and connecting streets for days on end. Numerous complaints about this had been made by residents but the problem was not resolved.
Top issues for complaints to Hounslow Highways were potholes, street lights , litter, asphalt and lack of timely response to complaints.
Forum co-optee Tracey Szwagrzak, said in the past year there had been "outrage" over the new street lights and she sharply criticised the HH customer service system and lack of response to complaints by people in Chiswick. This was echoed by representatives of residents' groups in various areas of Chiswick including Bedford Park, Gunnersbury and Grove Park.
Sarah Rayner Asst Director, Supply Management accepted that HH had been below standards on street cleansing in some ways. It was not that fewer resources were allocated but the method of litter collection had been changed from routine sweeping and was now varied depending on the requirements for an area at a particular time. The public could help by reporting hotspots for detritus or flytipping.
A Hounslow Highways spokesman said they were aware that black bags and commercial waste were a problem in Chiswick. The £1m extra for litter recently allocated by the Council would go towards more infra red cameras and CCTV to combat flytipping and 'alleygating', installing a gate in problem alleyways would be considered. Since December 2013 there had been 33 fixed penalty notices issued in Chiswick High Road for littering.
Hounslow Highways had visited 76 commercial premises on CHR, Devonshire Road and on Devoshire Mews to advise on the correct disposal of commercial waste. There continued to be issues with residents in flats above shops placing waste out incorrectly or on incorrect days. Black bin bags containing rubbish were being dumped on the pavement within 30 minutes of the SITA crew clearing rubbish. A 'timed collection' scheme similar to that used by other councils would be trialled this year or next year.
Jacqui Hurd of Customer Relations ( LBH) accepted that last summer communications in relation to street lights had not been good and said they had improved ways for the public to get in touch. Rob Gillespie HH Services Director ie said the company were notifying residents in advance about pavement works. They had not done so on street lamps in the past due to the fast moving nature of the project, but would review that in future.
LBH Lead member Cllr Colin Ellar was questioned on the brightness of the street lights and whether they could be controlled. He said the lighting would normally be dimmer in residential areas and brighter on main roads. This was a road safety issue.
Each light on the computer could be controlled and a dimming programme would start soon and go on into the summer. This would be mainly based where people had complained of brightness and it would be possible to change the levels if there was no road safety issue involved. Some people were happy with the current level of lighting and others had complained they were too dim.
March 19, 2014