The Hidden Poverty That Lies Within Affluent Chiswick

Cllr John Todd's blog outlines some of the deprivation that exists in W4

local councillors at election count
Cllr John Todd and councillors Jo Biddolph and Gabriella Giles, during the election count


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Case work continues at a pace.

A family rehoused post a fire in their council flat were having difficulty in accessing their property because of health and safety reasons. I persuaded officers to change their mind and grant access. Two residents who for what I regarded as valid reasons wanted to challenge the planning departments decision to indicate in its ‘Pending List’ that approval for an adjacent property was recommended. I exercised the London Borough of Hounslow (LBH) Call-In procedure which caused the application to be heard by the planning committee later this year.

The LBH Energy Manager has produced a Cabinet report asking for authority to spend £6.2m to procure electricity and gas from the current supplier for a number of years. I’ve challenged the contents of this cabinet paper and established that a local SME located in the Chiswick business park can offer better value and sustainable energy.

I’m grateful for the Council Leader who has deferred this cabinet item pending me making a credible case. I’m on a big learning curve absorbing the detail but VFM sustain my case. Savings as much as £250-300k a year I believe may be possible.

Residents of the Edensor Estate await to hear if LBH will go ahead and build a number of flats on the roof of the current housing blocks. Additional soil samples taken late last year are still being examined and the related report is awaited.

I’m pleased this potential development has led to the forming of a Residents Association with strong and effective leadership. We conducted a comprehensive examination of the estate grounds and found a number of defects and matters requiring either repair or replacement. I’m now advised by Hounslow Housing that the remedial work required will commence shortly. It’s clear this estate has not been previously maintained to an appropriate standard. Working with residents we will actively monitor this matter.

I was really delighted to hear from the hard working Chair of the Hogarth Youth Club Fred Lucas of his successful fund raising operation and the expansion of their valued work touching on Chiswick in the community.

Government data on deprivation in Chiswick mentions pockets of extreme poverty hidden from view. When I led a campaign to save the club last year I was having a coffee in a café opposite the La Trompette Restaurant when a young boy came in asking for left over rolls and bread. The owner explained they come in every day. I met families in the club who were clearly struggling and so valued its existence and aims.

I was reminded of the café incident pre Christmas when with an employee of IMG we delivered on behalf of the Hounslow Community Foodbox huge trays of diverse food etc to a number of
residents in W4. One lady hadn’t left her small flat for over six years because of weight issues.
Another hadn’t spoken to anyone for days. Both were so grateful for this unexpected visit and the scheme that delivers such valued and needed products.

Its budget time again. In February we’ll see the accounts justifying the increase again in council tax. If we increased our current atrocious recycling rate of 31% (high rise flats only 7%) we would save a considerable sum in waste disposal costs and reduce the current budget deficit.


January 18, 2020

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