'Another Nail in the Coffin of the Campaign to Stop the Third Runway

Local councillor Sam Hearn writes a blog about his week


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Councillor Sam Hearn

Thursday 1 st December: Rushing around Kew for a few hours helping to knock up voters in the By-Election. This evening Attended my first ever Manchester University Alumni dinner. The venue was the amazing priory church of the Knights of St John in Clerkenwell. The key note speech by the University’s Chancellor, poet and author Lemn Sissay was the highlight of the evening.

Friday 2 th December: So, Zac has reached the end of his rainbow and found the Lib-Dems sitting on it. Another nail in the coffin of the campaign to stop the third runway. I am receiving more requests from residents in favour of expanding the Riverside CPZs. The next stage in the consultation process will be launched early in the new year.

Saturday 3 rd December: A pleasant drive out to the County Museum in Aylesbury to attend a talk on the battles of Southam and Edgehill. In the evening it is off to the Indian Gymkhana Club in Osterley for the local Conservative Association’s Winter Ball. The displays of classical Indian dancing have to be seen to be believed. The festivities were filmed by two TV companies – pictures have been published online. MEP Sayed Kemal and James Cracknell sparkled as the joint Masters of Ceremonies.

Sunday 4 th December: Out this morning with friends for a short walk on the North Downs. We dive into a traditional pub for lunch by 1.00 pm. Another resident emails for help in dealing with an anti-social noisy neighbour. The Council must not remove the weekend out of hours Noise Team service.

Monday 5 th December: I attend the Overview and Scrutiny Committee as an observer. The Chairman allows councillors who are not members of the committee (such as Cllr John Todd and I) to ask a few questions. The task for the evening is to consider the report detailing the second and supposedly finally tranche of budget cuts in 2017/18 and 2018/19. It is clear that not all has gone well in the behind the scenes discussions within the Labour Group. Departmental Heads are conspicuous by their absence.

At the Council meeting in February we will be asked to approve a council tax increase of nearly 4%. Council fees and charges have also been reviewed and many will be going up. In certain key areas Council spending in the current year will exceed the budget by a sizeable margin. Councillors have by law to set a balanced budget or face the risk of prosecution.

Tuesday 6 th December : The Conservative Councillors Group assembles in good cheer at the Café Rouge for its Christmas meal. I talk turkey with Cllr McGregor and swap anecdotes with Cllr Lynch.

Wednesday 7 th December: The agenda for next week’s meeting of the Hounslow Cabinet includes a proposal to approve a new Amalgamation Policy for Hounslow’s schools. I pass the ‘good’ news on to fellow Governors of Strand on the Green School. The policy will probably be passed “on the nod” but I will attend to see what if any explanatory remarks are made. I spend part of the evening with the Advent Group at St Paul’s vicarage discussing the third of T S Eliot’s Four Quartets. Anyone else remember the Ballad of Easy Rider by The Byrds?

Thursday 8 th December : Using tickets provided by Cllr Paul Lynch I enjoy my first trip for many years to the Varsity Match at Twickenham. In the dying seconds of the excellent game a young Australian lady, in celebratory rapture, pours half a bottle of white wine over the top of my head. She is oblivious to what she has done. I manage a quick bath and a reality check before heading off to the Civic Centre to observe the proceedings of the Hounslow Pension Fund Panel. The presentation on the new London Collective Investment Vehicles (LCIV) confirms that we are on track to transfer much of Hounslow’s nearly £900m worth of pension fund assets into giant new collective funds administered on behalf of all the London Boroughs.

The Fund Manager’s report on the multi-asset income asset fund highlights how the Hounslow Pension Fund is likely to become increasingly cash negative. This is not a problem unique to Hounslow but with good management and a little luck the down-side risk to Council Tax payers is probably well contained at present.


December 13, 2016

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