Archive for November, 2009

Hounslow’s highways to benefit from £267million PFI bid success

November 30, 2009

This is great news.

As I have been saying for the past few years, only when the work starts will residents really see the improvements that they want and deserve.

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Gurdwara Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha

November 30, 2009

I attended the above in Martindale Road yesterday morning.  They gave me a lovely welcome.  I said a few words and I think that they were quite well received.  One thing I overlooked (which is unlike me) is asking whether they would consider flying the flag.  As people know, I love the flag and would like to see it flown a little more than at present.

The Labour Party can be critical of me for using the flag as much as they like – they are in a minority on this issue amongst many others.

Back to the Gudwara, it was a very different experience to the visit to Havelock Road in Southall for this was much smaller and the advantage in that is that was much easier to get closer to people.

I would welcome the chance to return or to visit any religious (or non-religious) establishment in the constituency.

Freedom of the Borough

November 29, 2009

This was granted not just once but three times on Thursday.  Possibly one of the most memorable Council occasions I have ever been part of.  I was amongst the bravest and most decent people in this Country.

Very few things are more moving than hearing read out the names  of those who have lost their lives.  It is also worth remembering (as many of us did on the day), that there are others who are not killed but are maimed and can bear very serious physical and/or mental scars.  In accepting the Freedom on behalf of the regiment, the Major referred to these people and he said that as a family those people would be looked after – those words meant a lot to us all.

I was also proud of the speeches that were made by various people, especially the Leader of the Council (Peter Thompson) and the Mayor (Paul Lynch).  Well done to Councillor Jagdish Sharma who seconded the various reports.

A bit like the Freddie Mercury event, we had an example of the boat being pushed out and I am really glad that it was.

I was obviously unable to take pictures in the Chamber but took a few later on.  How wonderful it was to see so many Union Flags being flown by those who came to cheer:

Here is the band setting up:

Fullers were big supporters and put on drinks for the boys (one of the pleasures they missed whilst in Afghanistan).  I have tried to keep away from alcohol this week because I have had some bad mouth ulcers but I was determined to toast the Regiment and the two VCs.  Well done to Fullers for this extremely kind gift:

An amazing week in a brilliant Borough!

Update: Here are some more pictures.

Lower Feltham earlier today

November 28, 2009

Picked up quite a few things on my travels earlier this morning.  The first three are taken outside the School House (next to Feltham Hill School).  The first two are of tagging on the cones and the third is on the brown fence (pic does not capture is too clearly):

The following was taken outside 61 & 63 Shelson Avenue.  I will ask Highways to take a look at the pothole:

The following tagging is outside 103 Shelson Avenue:

The following tagging is in the alley between 68 & 70 Dennison Road:

The following is in Cranleigh Road (but outside 23 Dennison Road):

One of the things I have noticed in the past few weeks is lots of leaves.  I know it is that time of year but I will look into schedules for removal because I have seen quite a few examples where the footway is slippery as a result.  This was taken outside 133 Cranleigh Road:

The following is outside 63 Cranleigh Road:

The following was in Highland Park (junction with Hamilton Road):

The following footway was outside 49 Hamilton Close and I was pleased to see the repair because it was in bad shape before:

The following is the sign in Challenge Road (junction with Ashford Road).   The dots at the bottom are chewing gum.  I like to chew gum but when finished put it in paper and then into a bin.  What was going through the minds of those who did this?

I noticed that there is some overgrowth over the Ashford Road sign (opposite junction with Challenge Road):

I will ask for the following sign to be cleaned:

Some tagging below the sign in the previous picture:

The following is outside 125 Ashford Road:

The following is outside 97 High Street  (junction with Poplar Way):

Will report all of the above on Monday.

Neither Feltham or Freddie were forgotten

November 25, 2009

Yesterday was a day I will not forget for a very long time.  I think that a number of fellow Feltham residents will feel the same for yesterday we met in Feltham Town Centre to pay tribute to the memory of Freddie Mercury and to welcome back his family and Brian May to Feltham.

The event surpassed expectations and everyone seemed to enjoy.  Great to see Feltham also getting such positive coverage on the box.  The day was really well organised and the weather behaved also!

This was the brainchild of Councillor Peter Hills and all of the acknowledgements that he has received are well deserved.  Councillor Paul Jabbal gave a really good speech when he welcomed everyone.  Freddie’s mother, aswell as Brian, gave a very moving tribute to their son and friend respectively.

Here are some pictures:

Here is the tribute band playing (they are really good):

Before the unveiling:

Here is Freddie’s mother preparing to speak, alongside her daughter and Paul Jabbal:

This was taken at the beginning of Brian May’s speech.  He turned to Freddie’s mother and made reference to what a lovely speech she made (one of so many nice touches on the day):

After the unveiling – this is something to be really proud of:

The Lead Singer of the tribute band with me.  He and his fellow Members had come down from Nottingham tp participate:

My ward colleague, Councillor Gill Hutchison getting her Queen Calendar signed by Brian May:

Me with other members of the tribute band:

I was thrilled to see residents I know – who lived near the family in Gladstone Avenue – at the event:

Freddie’s mother and I:

Karline (my wife) and Freddie’s mother:

Brian May and the Mayor, Councillor Paul Lynch:

Neither Feltham or Freddie were forgotten yesterday!

Lansbury Avenue junction in the rain

November 22, 2009

Will ask drainage to look into the following:

The entrance to the Crown & Sceptre and the BP Garage (Baber Bridge) on Staines Road also need to be looked at.

Walk down Uxbridge Road (as the rain came)

November 22, 2009

Took a walk earlier this morning.  A few things to report.  In Hampton Road West, I saw some tagging on the phone box:

The following was near 125 Uxbridge Road.  A door missing and some tagging (and leaves need clearing):

Difficult to see on this picture but there is some tagging on the glass/plastic – it is outside 120 Uxbridge Road:

A broken bin outside 153 Uxbridge Road.  I will ask for it to be replaced or repaired:

Some weeding needed – this is near to 136 Uxbridge Road:

The following two pictures at the entrance to St John’s Ambulance (next to 154 Uxbridge Road):

Finally,  the following sign is going to be replaced, along with two others in Feltham (one on the High Street and one in Hounslow Road in Feltham North).  I will ask for an update on by when this will be done?

Will report tomorrow morning.

Heston earlier this morning

November 22, 2009

Before taking my children to see Santa at Harrods this afternoon, I spent the morning in Heston.  Quite a few things to report.  The first was taken outside 26 Almorah Road:

The following is in Almorah Road and near the junction with Broad Walk.

The following was outside 12-20 & 15-23 Almorah Road.  Some branches need to be removed:

Bit of a sweep needed near 1 Adelaide Road:

As I have posted previously, one street in each ward has participated in the Micro-Asphalt pilot.  There appears to have been a very good job in Broad Walk:

Rubbish bags out early near 1 & 2 Broad Walk:

The following is in Broad Walk (near the junction with Great West Road) – (i) tagging and (ii) door has come off:

Sweep of leaves needed near 1 & 2 Broad Walk:

The following is outside 39 Broad Walk.  Part is already marked out for repair but this area needs to be inspected again, as there are some further defects:

The following is outside 57 Broad Walk – needs to be inspected as it is very bumpy!:

The following defect outside 1 Shenley Road has been marked up for repair:

The door is coming off the following.  It is in Shenley Road (side of 80 Vicarage Farm Road):

The following cracks are outside 54 Greencroft Road:

The following is outside 60 Greencroft Road:

The following is outside 76 Greencroft Road:

The footway needs the leaves to be removed.  The following is outside 25 Greencroft Road:

The following potholes are outside 40 to 60 Greencroft Road:

Light tagging on the following outside 320 Great West Road:

Finally, the following was dumped outside 346 Great West Road:

Will report on Monday morning.

Update in Beavers

November 20, 2009

I recently reported an unacceptable accumulation of rubbish (it was posted on the blog).  Here is the latest:

Reward and Recognition Ceremony

November 20, 2009

Last night, I attended the annual Reward and Recognition Ceremony at the Council, where many of its High Achievers are acknowledged for what they do. It is the fourth one I have attended and I said a few words during the second half. I was keen to make the point that it was important to reflect on where we are and compare this to the baseline of May 2006 (when this current Council – run by the current administration – began). I gave a few highlights from each area of the Council:

  • The Performance Improvement Programme (PIP).  It was this Change Programme that has enabled the Council to freeze Council Tax throughout this period and at the same time improve so many services.  No change programme is perfect but if there is a more successful one in Local Government, please let me know;
  • Finance.  It was the expertise from this area that kept us on track – in financial terms – during the PIP;
  • Planning Enforcement.  I do not think that this function has as high a profile anywhere in the country as it does in the London Borough of Hounslow;
  • Community Environment Team.  A perpetually difficult role and sometimes perpetually impossible job.  They get a lot of casework from me and it is important that I acknowledge the great job that they do.  I was thrilled that the Officer responsible for the West Area in the Borough was nominated for the Members Award for Excellence award.  A very nice man who genuinely gives his all;
  • Leisure. Again, the turnaround with the local parks has been astonishing.  I am quick to point out on my blog where I do not think standards are good enough so no one should really question my objectivity.  But overall the turnaround in areas such as this has been massive;
  • Adult Social Care.  One of the best examples of an area that has managed to constantly deliver better value for money whilst not impacting front line services;
  • Housing. Hounslow leads London in raising the profile of Houses in Multiple Occupation.  We now have an Additional Licensing Scheme that will deliver better standards in some wards that would have been seen otherwise;
  • Children’s Services and Lifelong Learning.  Brilliant news about the recent Ofsted Inspection.  And, superb news about the massive improvements at Feltham Community College;
  • Corporate Services.  We have seen a massive turnaround in the area of Complaints Management and have been very successful in resolving complaints earlier – Officers in Committee Services, Customer Services and Legal Services have all played a massive part;
  • IT. The Council, thanks to a brilliantly run project that was recently closed, now has a purpose built Data Centre and this matters because it has removed a large amount of risk from the Council – a risk that could impact on all service areas and the clients they serve. Again, I was thrilled to see someone I have got to know very well receive the Individual Award for Outstanding Performance – really well deserved and I am so happy about it.  The word ‘Extra Mile’ was used frequently last night and it applies to him as much as anyone else.

Of course, the danger with highlighting areas is that there is a real danger of missing people out.  There are lots of other areas that do vital work – Highways, Registration Service, Democratic Services, Trading Standards and others who have some brilliant people.

This is certainly not a case of believing my own hype as I acknowledge that there is a long way to go (there always will be and there always should be) but I certainly was pleased to celebrate last night (and to have a couple of drinks in Feltham with my father afterwards).   I bat for my constituents and never hesitate to complain when I feel a constituent is let down but at the same time, I am objective.  I would certainly have taken where we are had that been offered to me in May 2009.  The Officers present last night have made such a positive difference.

The turnaround over the past three and a half years has been massive. Value for Money, Pride, Civic Pride, Best Practice, Tough Decisions, Meaning Business.  No longer is Hounslow London’s Forgotten Borough.