Growing Concern About Proposed Council Tax Rise

Local councillor Sam Hearn writes a blog about his week


My Television Debut And 'Wardabouts'

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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Councillor Sam Hearn

Friday 14th October: A trip out to deepest Bucks on a beautiful sunny day to check out a venue for a big anniversary celebration in October 2017. The owner of this historic property is happy to provide the venue free of charge for a charitable event and the caterers are suitably impressed by the facilities. Back home via the Civic Centre. I continue conversations with colleagues about next week's Borough council meeting and the Council's medium term financial strategy (MTFS).

Saturday 15th October: Once again it is my turn to run the Councillors' Surgery at the Library. A small queue has formed by the time I arrive. GLA Councillor Tony Arbour is already there and provides some moral support. It is a busy morning and we overrun. There are concerns about plans for a mobile phone mast, a family in temporary accommodation is being forced to move from Hounslow to Hayes, two Hounslow Housing tenants from different properties come to complain about harassment by aggressive neighbours and a Hounslow Housing Leaseholder is in dispute over proposed maintenance charges.

Sunday 16th October: I browse through the papers for the Thomas Layton Trustees' meeting. Good to see the report on the Heritage Lottery funded project but I am not sure I understand the numbers. Cllr Thompson is not going to be able to make the Group meeting so I run through the papers for the Borough Council thinking about what the Conservative Group will need to focus on. The MTFS and the proposed council tax increase loom large in my thoughts. I notice that there is a petition from the residents of Dukes Road who wish their pavements to be properly paved and not tarmacked.

Monday 17th October: I run through the agenda for the Group meeting during the morning and talk to Councillor Todd about some concerns that we share. The meeting is sparsely attended but we have a good discussion and two interesting presentations by Lead Members from the Labour Group.

Tuesday 18th October: At Borough Council there are a number of noticeable absences from both sides of the Chamber. The Lead Member responsible for the Hounslow Highways Contract, Cllr Mann, kicks the petition from sixty Dukes Road residents firmly into touch. The Conservatives make it clear that they cannot support the proposed increase in council tax. The Labour Group have identified less than half the cost savings required for a balanced budget so it is hard to agree to anything. Cllr Todd queried the lack of an efficiency statement without which Government funding would not be forthcoming. Apparently it is an oversight that this had not been included with the MTFS. Cllr Mann was unable to answer my formally tabled question asking how much of the plastic waste collected by the council's contractors is contaminated and has to be taken to landfill or incinerated. He tells that this statistic is not currently tracked by LBH but that this will now be done.

Wednesday 19th October: I take the time to re-read all the emails from a persistent complainant who lives elsewhere in the Borough. He is convinced that all is not well in the way that the Council monitors the activities of certain Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) and the way in which they convert properties into Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs).

Thursday 20th October : The trustees' of the Thomas Layton Collection deal with the items on their meeting agenda with admirable efficiency. There is concern that as yet LBH has not identified a new home for the amazing Layton book collection when Hounslow Library moves out of the Treaty Centre. I promise to take this matter up with the LBH Chief Executive. Several of us adjourn to the La Rosetta Italian Restaurant, one of Brentford' best kept secrets. Ask for the liver, it's offaly good.


October 25, 2016

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