Councillor To Continue Campaign To Reopen Chiswick Day Centre

Cllr John Todd says he remains convinced it is preferable to spending £2m on a new one

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A Chiswick Councillor has vowed to continue his campaign to prevent Hounslow Council spending £2 million on a new day centre in Brentford when a similar centre in Chiswick is lying idle. Councillor John Todd (Cons) says it is bordering on a scandal.

Permission was granted last February to build a new centre at Acton Lodge, London Road, on the grounds of modernisation.

Cllr Gurmail Lal, Hounslow’s cabinet member for adult social care, said that the Acton Lodge site was more central and was bigger than the one in Chiswick.

“Yes, there is a cost associated in redeveloping the site but Acton Lodge will provide a modern centre for modern times, which could potentially become a health and wellbeing centre that could serve the wider Hounslow community”, he said in a statement.

But Councillor Todd said he has thoroughly researched the matter and he remains unconvinced by this explanation. He said there were many other people, including users and carers, who agreed with him.

"Following my probing LBH now concedes that neither site can be described as'central'. I have also established that both the Chiswick Day Centre and the new, as yet to be built Acton Lodge are the same size."

Other factors in favour of using the Chiswick Day Centre were that it a very short walk from 7 bus routes on Chiswick High Road. Residential density is higher in Chiswick, with more people almost certainly within walking distance said Cllr Todd.

Rebutting the Council's claim that Chiswick was unsuitable due to potential traffic congestion in the area and parking problems, Cllr Todd said the Council could use vehicles that were permitted to use bus lanes to get over this.

"Medium-large minibuses (at least 9 seats including thedriver) are entitled to use bus lanes. “Local buses” (defined as operating scheduled services) can be smaller than 9 seats and still use bus lanes, but unscheduled services have to be 9 plus. Use of bus lanes will counter congestion problem "

However more importantly are the views of users and their valued carers, he said.

"They prefer Chiswick because Chiswick Health Centre is very close to the Day Centre. They provide podiatry, physiotherapy and other forms of treatment valued by users who have great difficulty travelling to get such treatment. This centre is shortly to expand and provide additional, valued services.

"In Chiswick Carers and indeed Users can see a Doctor, get treatment described above, shop, get prescriptions and refreshments. Sainsbury's employ staff with disabilities, an innovative scheme much welcomed. Acton Lodge is a site without any close facilities whatsoever. It will have to close during the rebuilding and the clients will have to find alternative facilities elsewhere.

"Chiswick is close to the boroughs of Ealing, Richmond and Hammersmith and Fulham. Joined -up services are seen as being beneficial. The Chiswick Day Centre is crucial to residents. There are numerous local Care Homes and a high concentration of elderly residents and a high dementia rate."

Cllr Todd said the diminution of Council related services continued unabated in Chiswick.

For example, he said, all the social workers formerly located behind the Town Hall have been moved to central Hounslow and so had Hounslow Homes staff. The Dan Mason Home in Netheravon Rd South was sold off too some years ago and Chiswick Library -the second busiest in Hounslow - was urgently in need of refurbishment.

"To reopen the Chiswick Day Centre and save £2.25m being spent rebuilding Acton Lodge seems to me an utter 'no brainer'."

March 26, 2013