Presentation By Developers About Chiswick 'Curve' Fails To Impress Locals

Local councillor Sam Hearn's blog about his week


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Cllr Sam Hearn who represents the Riverside ward in Chiswick, is chairman of the Chiswick Area Forum. He has written this account of his week as a busy local councillor

Cllr Sam Hearn

Friday 15th January: At Strand on the Green Junior School early in the morning with other governors and staff to brief a few parents on the proposed amalgamation. Phone calls from the Clerk of the meeting making final adjustments to the Chiswick Area Forum including agreeing the running order and requests for members of the public to speak.

Monday 18th January: Back at Strand School to hear Hounslow Officers presenting the case to Junior School Parents for the amalgamation of the two schools. A very high standard of questions from the parents many of which Officers were simply unable to answer. Much of what was said could be encapsulated in a question from a father asking; “Can you just tell me in plain English how these changes will benefit my child and improve her education?” The Officers were unable to respond. I slipped out of the meeting before 7.30pm thinking it was nearly over. It actually finished after 9.00pm. So many thanks to Officers for their stamina. I rushed off to a fundraising event for Zac Goldsmith. He is an engaging and interesting speaker – making London the world’s greenest major city is quite an aspiration. Zac had to leave early as he was launching his campaign at 8.30am the following morning.

Tuesday 19th January: A long evening at the Chiswick Area Forum. The role of Chair is a very rewarding one but absolutely exhausting. The usual fare of called in planning applications, public forum questions, police reports (I apparently have two brothels in my ward) and small grant applications. However the highlight of the evening was the presentation by the developers of plans for the ‘Chiswick Curve’ a 32 storey mixed development on the small island site by the M4 and in front of B&Q. Residents and residents groups were most unhappy. The application goes to the Planning Committee meeting in February. A protest campaign meeting has been organised by the Turnham Green Councillors for next Wednesday evening at the Chiswick Memorial club. In the end there were just too many meaty items on the agenda to do them all justice. Note to self - apologise to colleagues for over-running.

Wednesday 20th January: At Strand School once again with Governors and Head Teachers drawn from almost all Chiswick’s schools to hear the Chair of a Multi-Academy Trust in the East Midlands talk about the mechanics and pitfalls of setting up academies. He also explained the new legislative changes currently passing through Parliament that will accelerate the adoption of academies. He provided a lot of common sense advice and certainly made it clear that academies and multi academy trusts were not without their own problems. There was surprising unanimity (born I suspect out of years of inter schools collaboration and cooperation) that a working party should be established to discuss matters further and report back to governors in the individual schools.

Thursday 21st January: Attended the Isleworth and Brentford Area Forum to listen again to the developers presenting the ‘Chiswick Curve’ again and to gauge public opinion. The meeting room was packed but sadly most of the audience were only there to protest about an experimental road closure. By the time the developers had made their presentation it was 9.30pm and the Chair of the meeting decided that there was a danger that the meeting might overrun. He therefore refused to allow the Councillors to ask any questions and applied the same rule to members of the public. I now understand why the developers chose to do their open exhibition of their project in Brentford (at the Steam Museum) and not at a Chiswick venue. It was a great evening for networking. Hard to believe that I had conversations with so many people; ranging from Leader of the Council, Steve Curran, three other Labour councillors, the Leader of the Green Party, representatives of various pressure groups and my old friend Jan Smith. Perhaps I should try running again in Brentford?

Sign the petition to reject the SotG Schools amalgamation.

Have your say on the proposal to amalgamate the two SOG Schools and also on the Plan for the Great West Corridor

January 23, 2016


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