Archive for May, 2009

Out and about in Bedfont

May 23, 2009

Do make comments about what appeared in the leaflet.  Picked up a few little things for casework, one of which was the following:

IMAGE_030

Quite a bit of overgrowth of the bushes in Hatton Road (near the junction with Cains Lane).  I will report this and ask if it needs to be cut back a bit for pedestrians.

Alan Keen – ‘we’ve done nothing wrong’

May 22, 2009

Here is the latest from Alan Keen.

You may also wish to check out this.   Click on numerology.

Statements from some Conservative candidates

May 21, 2009

I had a read of this earlier today.  I have sent comments of my own in.  They are as follows:

As one of the London Parliamentary Candidates, I know that there is one issue that has stood out, long before the Telegraph became involved in the way that they have recently.  That issue is London Members of Parliament being able to acquire a second property funded, either fully or partly, by the taxpayer.

The most important single commitment I wish to make to my prospective constituents in Feltham & Heston is that I would continue to live in my constituency and not require a second property, even if the rules allow it.  There is no justification of any kind for a London MP needing a publicly funded second property.

I was on the platform at the 2005 count in Feltham & Heston, along with the then victor, Alan Keen, who promised to explain why he needed a second property in order to enable him to fulfil his role.  It was only this week that we heard from him.  Much of the article will horrify most people, including Labour supporters:

http://www.hounslowchronicle.co.uk/west-london-news/local-hounslow-news/2009/05/20/alan-keen-comes-out-fighting-over-expenses-109642-23675929/

Here is the bit that will offend most hardworking people:

Mr Keen has pledged to stand his ground and argued that it would be impossible for him to do his work and make the 30 minute commute every day.

“People may say they commute into London but there are not many people who work from early in the morning to very late at night every day. It is a very unusual culture,” he said. “It seems unreasonable to some people but they don’t understand the house is active every night of every day, irrespective of whether there are votes.”

If elected, I will commute to Parliament from either Feltham Train Station or Hatton Cross Tube Station.  If the House sits very late and public transport has finished, then nothing wrong with a taxi to get me home to my family in Feltham!

I have always taken the view that no person should go short for dedicating themselves to public service and I would only claim for any legitimate expenses incurred as a result of being the MP.

Finally, the first four bullet points on Ben Jones list are ones I am already supportive of and committed to.

Mark Bowen

Conservative Parliamentary Candidate in Feltham & Heston

Getting to know the Cash Office users

May 21, 2009

Well, I spent an hour or so speaking with residents who came into use the service.  I genuinely wanted to understand whether there were any occasions that there was no possible alternative to a visit at that time in the day.

It was time well spent.  The vast majority I approached were pleased to talk and answer questions.  I even picked up two pieces of casework.

Cash Office at the London Borough of Hounslow

May 21, 2009

A report in the names of both my colleague, Councillor Gerald McGregor and I, on changes to the Council’s Cash Office has been called in by the Overview & Scrutiny Committee.

I have seen the reasons for calling in this decision and they are as follows:

  1. Members have not been consulted on this decision, and have had no opportunity to discuss the proposal in a public forum;
  2. The curtailment of this service will have a more severe impact on those on low incomes (i.e. those who do not have access to the internet)
  3. There is a likelihood that this decision will cause a large amount of discontent amongst residents of the Borough.

An initial response to each:

  1. It is ironic that Labour Members are making this comment as it was a Labour Government that vested these decisions in the Executive;
  2. I totally do not accept this.  This is a red herring as anyone who does not have a bank account can still pay in cash at any Post Office or HSBC Branch.  Also, the Cash Office will continue to be open in the morning;
  3. If Councillors falsely imply that we will deny access to those who do not have bank accounts and internet access, I agree that this will happen.

One of many key points here is that many businesses used to have lots of Cash Offices.  I remember a large network of British Gas Cash Offices.  They are gone.  We cannot stand still in areas like these just because we are a Council.  Any changes will be managed and communicated effectively.  It is imperative that we always search for better bite for buck so that we can continue to keep Council Tax down and invest in truly front line services.

If anyone uses this Cash Office and does not believe any other alternative is viable, please post a comment or get in touch with me.

The next Speaker

May 21, 2009

It is not lost on me just how major the Speaker leaving his position is.  I do not believe it has happened for around 300 years.    For me, the biggest mistake he ever made was in not convincing everyone that he had left Party politics behind for good – see here!

It is claimed that the Blogosphere is going for Frank Field MP.  Whilst I am not amongst the big boys in that arena, he is not my choice.  I really admire him and think that the biggest mistake Tony Blair made was not keeping him for welfare reform.  It was such an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy and wrong foot the Conservatives.  He now serves too important a role as a free thinking back bench Labour MP.

My choice is one of Alan Beith MP & Sir George Young MP.  The former has always been one of the Lib-Dems I like most and I think he would be respected and leave party politics behind.  The same can be said of Sir George Young and some of the reasons given against him being the next speaker are silly.  I learnt on Alan Beith’s website that he is a Welsh Speaker, which I find very impressive, though not a factor in selecting the Speaker.

Some of the best things come to those who wait long enough

May 21, 2009

and other things are a profound disappointment after years of expectation.  Alan Keen has finally tried to explain why he needs a second property – funded by the taxpayer – in order to fulfil his role.   Here is the article.  I am possibly wrong about one thing I said – it maybe a struggle to find up to 1% of residents in Feltham and Heston who are satisfied with his explanation.

Cllrs Paul Lynch & Barbara Harris

May 19, 2009

The above are the new Mayor & Deputy Mayor of the London Borough of Hounslow.  I am in no doubt that they will do a brilliant job for the Borough.

The Mayoralty is one of the things I am very proud of since 2006.  Felicity Barwood recovered the position in Hounslow compared to what it had become.  Ever since it has gone from strength to strength.

I will Paul & Barbara – both of whom are good friends of mine – the very best for the year.

Latest on Cllr Virk

May 19, 2009

He has a new seat in the Chamber, suggesting that he has either been suspended from the Labour Group or expelled.  No statement has been released by the Labour Group, suggesting that this is not a huge priority for them.

Will be interested in knowing the decision.

Traffic/Parking proposals in Nursery Close & Fern Grove

May 18, 2009

I have received a couple of enquiries about what is planned.  I received the following remarks (do not know how to upload the PDF but contact me if you wish to see a copy):

“These proposals emanated from the consultation in the area on a possible Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ). You may recall that the majority of respondents to the CPZ consultation opposed such a scheme and the West Area Committee resolved not to progress the scheme. However, because of concerns regarding obstruction to both emergency service and Council refuse and recycling vehicles and also concerns of visibility splays being blocked, the Committee resolved to pursue the introduction of double yellow lines at all junctions in the area.

The draft traffic order for these restrictions has been published and this is what the local resident will have seen in the Chronicle.

After the Committee’s decision not to proceed with a CPZ, all residents in the consultation area were advised of that decision. They were also advised of the Committee’s decision to proceed with double yellow lines at all junctions and that notices outlining the proposals would be erected on lamp columns in the area at the same time as they were advertised in the local paper. Notices in Fern Grove and Nursery Close were duly erected when the proposals were advertised in the Chronicle. These notices and the press notice advised that copies of the proposed order could be viewed on the Council’s website and would also be on display at Feltham Library and at the Civic Centre.

I attach a pdf copy of a plan of the proposals which also includes the existing waiting restrictions in Fern Grove and Nursery Close. The existing restrictions apply to both sides of Fern Grove in from its junction with Hounslow Road and then continue just on the north-east side for the full length of Fern Grove. They also continue in Nursery Close on both sides to the entrance to the garage blocks. The proposed restrictions consist of very short sections either side of the entrances to Derwent Lodge and Coniston Lodge; a section on the south-west side opposite Nursery Close; and a section on the north-east side from the junction with Nursery Close to the cul-de-sac end ( this overwrites the existing restrictions here) . This section of restrictions continues round into Nursery Close, just on the north-west side, to the entrance to the garage blocks. There is then a further section of restrictions at the ‘T’ junction in Nursery Close which continues on both sides along the narrow section in front of nos. 14-24  and around the turning circle in front of nos. 2-12 Nursery Close.

As stated above, these proposals are at draft order stage and have not yet been confirmed.”