Paving Problems Resurface!

Local councillor Sam Hearn writes a blog about his week


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My Television Debut And 'Wardabouts'

Council Meeting Cancelled Due To 'Lack Of Business'

A Mini Roundabout Sign That Can Only Be Seen By Pedestrians

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Councillor Sam Hearn

Saturday 18th March: A constituent wishes to discuss his options before appealing a planning application. The seven day period in which a councillor would be able to “call in” the decision has passed so there is nothing that I can do. We have a nice new shiny booklet on how the planning process in Hounslow works which is actually quite useful. A great piece of work by officer Marilyn Smith and her reduced team of planning officers.

Sunday 19th March: Residents are unhappy about the new pavements being laid in Grove Park Terrace. Historic kerbstones have been removed and modern ones inserted in front of a row of grade two listed houses. It seems odd that owners that must comply with strict regulations protecting every brick in their front garden walls whilst Hounslow Highways can rip out the old pavements immediately in front of them. Around the corner in Riverview Grove I am still baffled as to why Hounslow Highways when replacing the pavement have left the last few metres untouched.

Monday 20th March
: To the Overview & Scrutiny Panel as an observer. As expected we had to sit through a long and tedious run through of pages and pages of new charges for Council services. Amongst the lighter moments was a discussion on what the difference between a “purchased” and an “unpurchased” burial plot is. In future there will be no charges for child burials. A decision that whilst humane and thoughtful is without any serious financial consequences. Although not officially a member of the Panel the Chair, Cllr Chat, allowed me to make suggestions about its forward work programme relating to areas of the 2017/18 council budget for which little or no detailed support has yet been provided.

Tuesday 21st March: More email exchanges with residents about the removal of historic kerbstones in Grove Park Terrace. Hounslow Highways and Officers now engage with the issue. There is a degree of urgency since the work continues and kerbstones are no longer on site. Received a complaint today from a Chesterfield Road resident about the state of their road surface and the failure of Hounslow Highways to take potholes and spalling seriously.

Wednesday 22nd March
: In the evening I go to hear Toby Young, son of Labour peer, at an event run by Chiswick Homefield Conservatives. Toby, an academic late starter, was talking about how he became involved in the free school movement and just how successful the local free schools have become. It was refreshing to hear the case put so forcefully. Everything he said was supported by copious references to research papers. Who knew for example that over four-fifths of free schools are located in areas where there had previously been under-provision of school places and that two-thirds were in areas of social deprivation. After this event I rush to catch the end of a women’s wine tasting evening in my own ward.

Thursday 23rd March: At the Civic Centre to consult Members' Services, catch up on paperwork and drop in on a few officers (to say thank you). To the Watermans Art Centre in Brentford to see a digital broadcast of the National Theatre’s production of Amadeus. A nearly full house for what was not a live broadcast but a repeat/encore showing. My old colleagues at the National Theatre will be pleased. Good news for residents of Station Gardens. They may soon have an acoustic barrier to block noise from the adjacent heavily used tennis courts.

Friday 24th March: I attend the Residents Association Forum at the Civic Centre in the morning as an observer. Strong words were said about enforcement. Officers put up a case for how active and effective LBH now is with its planning enforcement but many Forum members remained sceptical citing both anecdotal evidence and ways in which LBH manipulated its performance statistics. Forum members are my heroes and heroines. If only half of Hounslow’s councillors were as well informed and articulate as the Forum members. In the evening more interviews of potential candidates for the 2018 local elections.

March 29, 2017

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