|Councillor Slams 'Waste Of Money' New Day Centre
Asks why spend £2m in Brentford when Chiswick Day Centre lies idle
A Chiswick councillor has questioned the logic of Hounslow Council spending over £2 million on a new Day Centre in Brentford when he says there is a similar centre lying idle in Chiswick only a mile away.
Councillor John Todd (Cons) says it is nothing short of "scandalous" to build a new centre at Acton Lodge, at the rear of 84, London Road, Brentford while a perfectly modern and well-equipped building with adjacent large car-park in Chiswick remains closed. He was referring to the Chiswick Day Centre which was closed by the Council in late 2011.
"Hounslow’s Corporate Plan 2012/2015 mentions 'spending wisely-every penny counts'. yet this is bordering on a scandal" says Cllr Todd.
Approval was granted for the £2.25 million Acton Lodge centre at the February 7th cabinet meeting but Cllr Todd says he will be asking lead member Cllr Lal to explain this at the next meeting. The permission was sought on the grounds of modernisation of services for people with disabilities.
The Acton Lodge building has been closed for some time and is described as being no longer fit for purpose with its structure and fabric in a poor state of repair and beyond refurbishment. It is located at the back of another redundant council-owned building on the London Road. Access to the day care centre is only available via Hawthorn Road, a narrow residential street. The other building on 84 London Road is expected to be disposed of by the council but Cllr Todd says they have not been told of their proposals.
" It's not been explained why this new building is to be tucked away behind an unusable building when there is potential to develop the whole site," says Councillor Todd.
Amongst other concerns highlighted by the the related planning report are the fact that public transport is poor, a mini bus dropping users needs to reverse into the drop off point via Hawthorn Road; the report also claims that due to the history of the site there is "potential for contamination" and this would be required to be dealt with by conditions which could prove to be difficult and expensive.
The capacity of a new building would be for fifty but Cllr Todd maintains that Chiswick Day Centre has this capacity already. "There is little point in creating effectively a new Day Care Centre, in a difficult-to-access part of Brentford", he says.
During the discussion at Planning Committee Cllr Mel Collins, Labour, and Chairman of the council’s Disability Forum, made the comment that this project was 'like putting a quart into a pint pot’, according to Cllr Todd.
"I will be asking the Lead member Cllr Lal to explain the justification for spending £2.25m on rebuilding the Acorn Lodge Day Centre at London Rd, Brentford, when the Chiswick Day Centre, a mere 1.4 miles away remains readily available for use."