Free Half Hour Parking In Chiswick To Remain

Local councillor John Todd 's blog reports on his busy week


A Clapped-Out Car And Decisions About Curtains

Council Meeting Cancelled Due To 'Lack Of Business'

Emails Disappearing Into 'Clutter' Folder

A Mini Roundabout Sign That Can Only Be Seen By Pedestrians

Missing A Riotous Night Out In Eastbourne

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Monday September 19th
Peter my son advises me he's off shortly to Ethiopia to shoot a video. Having been recently invited with his artists to attend the Rio Olympics by the GLA Mayor Sadiq Khan, to entertain the participants, I thought he'd like a break from travelling. I was wrong.

Tuesday 20th
Governing body meeting at Chiswick school. We discussed the recent results which had been dissected in detail by one of our governors who is a professor at Imperial College. We also had an update on the exciting £7m extension currently being built to accommodate the demand for pupil places. This demand is increasing yearly. Parent governors play an important role in the GB and I disagreed with the former education minister Nicky Morgan who marginalised their role.

Later I attended the Chiswick Area Committee held in the Chiswick Town Hall. The hall was packed with regular attendees including resident group representatives and those wishing to participate in three planning items including the proposed cinema in CHR, a hotel in Windmill Road and a garden extension in Barrowgate Road. Both sides, applicant and opponents, speak with great passion and the Councillors present exercise their limited options, namely to recommend that the matter passes to the main LBH planning committee or in certain cases endorse the officers recommendations to refuse the application. Many are unaware that over 95% of planning applications are dealt with by officers. We get a 'pending list' LBH email every week giving details of those case where refusal is recommended and or variations required pre approval.

There were too many items on the Agenda so regrettably some matters were deferred. Including an item I had initiated regarding a proposed 'low emission zone' in Chiswick. Westminster council has one near Marylebone High St. They sought to restrict the huge number of goods vehicles making deliveries. They found, amongst other things, that on some days over 60-70 parcels from Amazon were delivered by separate vehicles to the same business address.

A resident from Stile Hall Gardens gave a graphic description of the current chaos of their car rat-run where residents frequently have to act as traffic cops unraveling the road being consistently blocked by too many cars. Our head of traffic Mark was present and discussed this matter in detail with interested parties at the conclusion of the meeting.

Wednesday 21st
In the evening, an Executive meeting of the Conservative group in the Arts Centre in central Hounslow. James Cracknell joined us where we discussed our campaign to recruit Councillor candidates, our new manifesto and other matters. A good turnout.

Thursday 22nd
I attended a financial scrutiny course in the City run by the Centre for Public Scrutiny. Councillors and officers from a number of local authoritie,s including from Wales attended. Each had different ideas and structures within their overview and scrutiny departments. My table colleagues were from Bucks, Westminster and a Stoke on Trent cllr, also a local arable farmer. Rebecca, our course leader, advises councils in Wales and guided us through her presentation.
In London we also have a multi -borough scrutiny meeting which I try to attend as it's so informative as to best practice and innovation.

In the evening I drag myself into the civic centre to attend a scrutiny meeting which is to discuss the new waste company Lampton 360 recycling Ltd which begins operating collecting waste and recycling on the 31st October. You may recall my concerns mentioned last week about the, amongst other things, the increasing cost, delays and the best value test not being capable of confirmation. Scrutiny members were given what I regarded as a sanitised report of the business plan of Lampton 360 recycling ltd which didn't include what I considered to be material financial data and items involving financial risk, which were included in the identical report presented to the cabinet two days earlier.

I expressed my concerns to both the chair and officers. I then waited what seemed an eternity for the chair to give me, as a non-committee member, a chance to speak and assist another member of the committee who was asking for certain financial details which officers and the lead member couldn't give. I could and did! I clearly hit a raw nerve as the lead member accused me of spreading misinformation. He in my view was eloquent in minutiae and fudged on crucial facts. Of course I want the new service to succeed but not at an uncapped cost given the mention in Hounslow Matters of an impending council tax increase. In many local authorities opposition Councillors chair scrutiny meetings but not in Hounslow I'm afraid.

Part of the delay in building the new, as yet unknown cost recycling depot, was earlier given as the introduction of new fire prevention rules/regulations and the Govts delay in publishing the detail. I found this explanation rather surprising so I did a freedom of information request to the environmental agency and received the following just hours before this meeting,

'Dear John

Thank you for your enquiry which was received on 7 September 2016.

We respond to requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

Please see the response below from one of specialists:

In answer to the Councillor Todd’s question, we haven’t completed any approvals since the new revised guidance came. The process can often take weeks as often there are two or three resubmissions before a fire prevention plan is either assessed finally as meeting the guidance objectives or not. The guidance itself is not new. It was first published in March 2015 and we have been assessing fire prevention plans against it ever since. As part of the publication we undertook to do a review after six months and this was launched late last autumn with the standard three month window for people to comment. During that period the guidance team spoke with various industry sectors and issued a series of e-bulletins detailing progress. It was also widely reported in various trade press. The final publishing date was delayed due to the ban on publishing during the referendum and further obstacles to get over in getting it on to the GOV.UK website. So Councillor Todd is in a position to rebut the claim that there was little early notice of these requirements as they had been around since March 2015.

As and aside, it is not a change in legislation but guidance to the waste management industry. If a local authority wishes to use it to delay a decision that is up to them and not something that we could comment on.

Please get in touch if you have any further queries or contact us within two months if you’d like us to review the information we have sent.

Yours sincerely

Maria Bisby
Environment Agency
National Requests Team
Part of National Operations'

I enjoy researching and sometimes facts cut deep into waffle.

Friday 23rd
Scouring Turnham Green for the missing dog show banner and catching up on case work.

I'm due to meet a senior planning officer on Monday regarding the recently approved compulsory purchase order for properties in Brentford. We opposed this CPO at council as we identified a small business to be compulsorily acquired where the owner wasn't made aware before he received a letter from LBH. His shop in the High St, not in the original approved planning scheme, had been included without his knowledge. It came as a great shock to him and he appreciated our support.

A spin off from that matter was that in speaking to locals a canal expert noted that LBH was, as part of the CPO process, to pay the Canal and River Trust formally British Waterways (BW) certain rights and privileges involving the Grand Union Canal. He told me that. LBH should look at the 'Grand Junction Canal Company Act, 1793. Several relevant sections, both general important ones, as well as specific to the Brent, and to the Brent below Bax's Mill [the Boatman's Institute].

Affirmed as current and binding, not only in my cases but in Swan Hill Developments v BW[where final appeal by BW was turned down by House of Lords]. The Swan Hill case had to do with the right of landowners to build bridges across the canal without licence from BWB.

This case affirmed inter alia that no charges may be made for the use of boats/barges etc on this section, and that no licence for boats is required [it remaining a public navigable river].Riparian rights existing in the 18thC were affirmed as applicable today. That includes construction of wharves, cranes, mooring places, etc, etc, so long as there is no interference with the public right of navigation, nor with the flow of water.'
It seems that this legal precedent may save LBH and or the developer substantial financial expenditure.

I received at last assurance from LBH parking services regarding the free half hour parking concession, much valued locally, which we'd like extended to all of Chiswick High Road.

'Dear Cllr Todd,

The stop and shop scheme has not ceased. The lead member for parking has confirmed that there are no aspirations to make any changes to these zones when the cashless parking scheme has been implemented.

Parking Contract Manager'

Saturday 24th
Off to Wallingford with Abundance colleagues to pick lots of apples apples for their Abundance fruit day on Saturday 1st October I'm looking forward too seeing their recently purchased scratter that consumes apples at great speed to produce wonderful juice.

Sunday 25th
To the Chiswick house dog show, an eagerly awaited event. Ruth has persuaded seven owners of our dogs puppies to come too. They are now about four months old and putting on enormous growth as we note from on -line photographs and videos they send us. All are obviously much loved and cared for.


September 24, 2016

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