|The Unsung Heroes Who Created Chiswick House Gardens|
Local councillor Sam Hearn's blog about his week
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
Saturday 23rd January: Out to Cranford Ward to canvass with our council by-election candidate Sukhdev Singh Maras along with our indefatigable GLA Member Tony Arbour. The enthusiasm of Sukhdev and his team was infectious and there is always a lot to learn by watching an “old pro” like Tony Arbour in action.
Sunday 24th January: Look at the papers for next week’s meetings. The Borough Council papers run to 170 pages. I confess that I have not read them all. The Pension Board agenda was a bit of a struggle to put together and I am still not happy that we have got it exactly right. The Association Chair from Feltham reports on the excellent progress in the council by-election. Time is short. The election day is February 11th.
Monday 25th January: A rare afternoon meeting at the Civic Centre. I chair the second meeting of the Hounslow Pensions Board. I am struggling with just how we are meant to fulfil our responsibilities with only two meetings a year. The Group meeting in the evening is poorly attended for various reasons but we have a good discussion about all the items on the Borough Council Agenda.
Tuesday 26th January: Arrived later than intended for the meeting of the Area Forum chairs. The traffic was particularly bad. The idea of Ward Forums is still on the table. Reassurance was given that funding would remain for additional Area Forums if these were needed. The small grants funding has been removed from the Area Forums but may still be available centrally.
Borough Council went pretty much to plan. We had decided as a Group to abstain in the vote on the Leisure and Culture Strategy report. Lots of fine words but little that was concrete enough for anyone get their teeth into. Cllr John Todd impresses with his question to the Lead Member for Housing asking why £9m of section 106 money paid to the Council in 2013 and 2014 to provide affordable housing remains largely unspent. John Todd then went on to call for the loss making Lampton 360 Ltd (the council’s foray into capitalist trading) to cease trading because it lacks a business plan and has failed to report the Cabinet. Cllr Tom Bruce’s carton video clip showing a day in the life of a child carer (i.e. children looking after sick parents etc) raised a tear in the eye of several grizzled old councillors.
Wednesday 27th January: It should have been just a pleasant evening at the back of the George IV pub celebrating the first year of Chiswick Calendar and socialising with a cross section of Chiswick’s makers, shakers, quakers and fakers. But somehow I also had to attend the Stop the Chiswick Curve meeting at the Chiswick Memorial Club. Fortunately the two venues are only a couple of hundred yards apart. Both events were packed out. Residents need to register their comments as soon as possible with Hounslow Council about the planning application for a “mahusive” nested set of buildings including a thirty two storey Tower of Babel on Chiswick Roundabout. Do it is this weekend via the Council Website?
Thursday 28th January : To St Nicholas Church to hear Val Bott “spill the beans” about the Gardeners of Chiswick House. Val’s natural curiosity and verve is infectious. She breathed life into the fragmentary stories of a succession of largely unsung heroes from all over the UK who created the gardens that have come down to us today. Many of us who were there will find it hard to forget the image, lurking in the background of a portrait of Lord Burlington, of a mysterious kilted and cross-gartered figure holding a large pineapple. Then there is the story about the giant fennel!
January 29, 2016