Posts Tagged ‘Feltham Arena’

Feltham Arena Carpark

January 21, 2013

On 7 January, I wrote to enquire as to when the Feltham Arena car park would be cleared as it had previously been indicated that this would happen.  I received the following last week:

“With reference to Feltham Arena name Shakespeare Avenue car park you are quite right in saying that we are in the process of acquiring fixed price quotation for these works.

The Christmas break has delayed the return of these but I anticipate they will be with me by the end of the month. An anticipated start for the works to be during the 2nd week of February.

I will confirm a start date when I have it.”

If I am not aware of this being done by 16 February, I will chase the matter again.

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Investigatory works at Feltham Arena

December 11, 2012

I received the following yesterday:

“We are writing to let you know about investigatory works planned for the Feltham Arenas site in Feltham North ward.

We have engaged the firm Waterman to assess the physical stability of slopes on the site, to test the upper soils chemically, and to give an external expert opinion on the site’s safety, with regard to slope stability and the chemical quality of the soil. This is being done in order to ensure that future works on the site can be designed to leave it in an appropriate condition. Waterman will be on the arena site for three days- the 17th through 19th December. They will employ a cable percussion rig to undertake testing of ground conditions at depth and a JCB style digger to construct trial pits for chemical testing.

We are informing you of these works so that you are aware of what is happening if asked by residents. If there is interest from residents we would encourage them not to approach the works onsite for safety reasons and because they are contractors fulfilling their brief who will not be in a position to field questions. If residents have further questions please ask them to contact either leisure services or land quality on leisure@hounslow.gov.uk, landquality@hounslow.gov.uk or through the call centre on 0208 583 5000.

The latest official word on the wider progress on the site is the following statement by Cllr Ajmer Grewal, cabinet member for leisure, sent to us from our press officer “We have worked to secure the site, and are clearing up the car park area to improve its appearance. We are also looking at a range of exciting alternatives to bring the site back into active use.” Other works will be taking place in spring to improve the playing surface, and we remain in contact with the football club about their involvement with the site.””

I sent the following query:

“Thank you for letting me know about this.  Whilst I have no problem with this at all, I am concerned that the following has not already happened:

“to assess the physical stability of slopes on the site, to test the upper soils chemically, and to give an external expert opinion on the site’s safety, with regard to slope stability and the chemical quality of the soil.”

Or are you stating that the above has been done internally but now external opinion is being sought?”

And I received the following response today:

“Some chemical testing has been done on the site in the past. These are additional works by a third party consultancy following re-working of the site over the summer.”

£100k Feltham Arenas Master Plan

October 31, 2012

I welcome this probable decision being taken next week.  See here.

My hope that it is possible to produce a scheme that learns lessons from the past 15/20 years, including the past few, is welcomed by residents and is self financing, as per my previous posting about Feltham Arena.

On a related matter, I heard that lorries were recently visiting the Arena and there were queries raised on one of the facebook groups.  I have today been informed:

“With reference to your enquiry regarding lorries removing topsoil from the site. I can confirm that it was agreed with the developer to remove the type 1 stone from the site but not top soil.

We will be installing new security measures i.e. extra bollards and repairs to all gates and barriers as from the 7th November 2012, which will ensure the safety and security of the site.”

Mo Farah and Feltham Arena

September 27, 2012

I refer to this article that appeared in the Chronicle last week.  Much of it is sensible.  One resident has commented on my silence having read the article.  I can confirm that the Chronicle did not ask me for a comment.  She also queried whether I had done anything about this since the Public Meeting that was held last year.  Some of this can be answered by clicking on the ‘Feltham Arena’ tag on this blog.

I have read some cynical remarks about the interest of the Labour Administration in this matter.  Whilst their near silence on Feltham Arena between 2002 and 2006 is something I would mention (see 6h of these minutes), I would make the point that now is a good time for the administration to be really looking into this, now that Feltham Football Club have merged with Bedfont.  I also support the proposal for scrutiny to look into this and offer any learning points.

Whatever proposals do come forward, it is important that amongst a number of lessons that need to be learnt from the previous attempt, with which I was associated, is the need for consultation from the Council, especially with residents in streets such as Shakespeare Avenue, Ruskin Avenue & Burns Avenue.   I delivered my own leaflet to those streets but official Council consultation will be required.

One lesson I still cling to is the belief that a model whereby the Council being responsible for maintaining a major asset just will not work or be sustainable, partly because the money simply is not there.  That model got us to the problem in the first place and I recall the condition of the Arena when I first moved to the Borough in 98.

For any major investment, private sector involvement will be needed.  Most investors in any piece of land will want a return on an investment and to get that return they will need to sweat their asset.  If major changes  to the site in terms of access are not made, that would mean a major and long term impact on residents in the streets I mention above.

One of the things I found appealing about the local football team continuing to occupy the land was that I saw the potential between securing a balance between viability and less impact.  Of course, the outcome has not been what I and others wanted which is why I have apologised to residents.  I have never tried to do anything else, contrary to some of the unsubstantiated claims about me on a couple of facebook groups.

There are some who will want a sporting hub and there are some that would prefer for the land in question to be open.  Both are legitimate points of view and I hope that residents are kept informed as much as possible and are given the information that enables them to state a preference.

On 3 September, I received the following:

“I am writing in response to your letter that was received on 28 August 2012, regarding the above named person. Our reference number is 008623.

The information you asked for is as follows :

As the article says we have been approached by several interested parties about opportunities to develop their sports in the Borough.  We are currently at very early stages of discussions and as yet there is no plan or project that has been developed at this stage.”

Of course, the name of the amazing Mo Farah is in the title of this posting because the Chronicle article mentioned him.  I will write a separate article about the Olympics soon.  He referred to the athletics track which I mentioned recently.  I am aware that there are some residents who are working to bring this back into use.  I respect their sincerity and wish them well but my view about an athletics track that:

  • Does not require the Council to spend up front or ongoing tax payers money;
  • Will be sustainable and self financing for at least a generation even with a track in Osterley
  • Does not have a major impact on local residents

..is one where I remain sceptical.  Some will insult me for having that view and some will not care but it is my opinion.  Very few sports are as viable as football.  Even though football is my preferred game,  it is a position I regret and wish it was not the case as I think all sports are constructive and athletics has all sorts of benefits.  It is my view and would be glad to be proved wrong.

A Velodrome has even been mentioned in one place.  I would ask exactly the same questions as I do about the viability of athletics.  For a Velodrome to be a success, there would need to be a massive uptake locally and a lot of people to drive in from elsewhere.

Returning to the question posed by my constituent about my activity on this since the public meeting, I am of course interested to hear of things that I have not done but should have.

Going forward, now that the Administration has made some statements, I will be asking for updates and will share when possible to do so.  I genuinely wish the Council and the Administration well if they proceed with improvements here as this issue does remain the biggest in Feltham North.  As is always the case with me, when they do the right thing, I will say so.

Fire at running track

August 23, 2012

Further to my previous posting, I received the following earlier today:

“I am following on from your email in relation to the fire on the running track at the back of the Glebelands.

We at John Laing are not contracted to maintain this area – I’ve attached a map showing the extent of our area of management for information. I did however pass the area yesterday so popped in to take a look and have attached some photos. It would appear that some type of clearance works have been taking place within the running track area, as there is evidence of branches and vegetation on the middle of the running track.

From what I could see, the area of the fire showed that the grass was scorched but there was no remnants of anything so I can only assume that this was also an accumulation of dried vegetation that was either deliberately set fire to, or a result of a discarded cigarette. I’ve spoken to our Assistant Contract Manager who believes that the Leisure Team may have had another operator working in this area.”

On the relevant facebook group some remarks where made about John Laing that were less than kind so the above maybe of use to some?

I have asked the relevant department at LBH for a response.

Works at Feltham Arena

August 20, 2012

I observed a question about the recent works at Feltham Arena on the relevant Facebook Group.  Despite me not being asked by email (even though I am generally very prompt in responding), I did make enquiries.  Claims have since been made that I have not been forthcoming.

The response I received *today* was:

“With reference to your email below concerning funding of works currently taking place at Feltham Arena, I can confirm on behalf of Leisure and Corporate Property that the London Borough of Hounslow are not funding these works.

Please accept our apologies for the delay in the reply.”

The insinuations made about me in this case were not in the same league as some of the other comments made.  I have not responded to most but may refer to some of these in the future.

On another matter, I found out 20 minutes or so about a fire by the running track and one claim was made at the same time that I am not interested.  An email has just been posted to Laing and copied to the Leisure team at the Council.  I will post the response I receive on the blog.

Running Track – Feltham Arena

August 15, 2012

A few weeks ago, I noticed a few people using the running track.  A few years ago there was signage stating it was not in use (that signage is no longer there).  As there is no signage and I saw others using it, I took a look.  The track is actually pleasant to run on.
I made some enquiries and asked if the overgrowth could atleast be cut back.

I received the following last week:

“The running track and its surrounding area were not included in the term GM contract.

It has not been maintained regularly since the contract has been let. I have now instructed contractors to tidy up the site and maintain the grass and litter on a fortnightly basis so that it will be ready to vary into the contract held by JLIS at the end of September.

The longer term use of the running track is not yet known but I will get some guidance.

I will look into the signage and see what we should be displaying as this is not a fully maintained track”

I was delighted to see it had been cut back yesterday.  It looks much better.  There some other things that have been pointed out on one of the facebook groups and I will make enquiries about these.

Called out

April 4, 2012

I have been requested to post either on this blog or the Feltham, Hanworth & Bedfont facebook group about some tents at the Glebelands.

I was contacted by a constituent and then raised a reference number with the relevant department (it is 006621).  I received the following response on  28 March:

“Further to your recent request concerning Glebelands Open Space and the old Feltham Running Track, Feltham Arena I can confirm the following :-

Illegal Occupation
There are a group of 3 small tents in the corner of Gleblands OS situated in the woodland planting strip behind the old baseball cage (plan and photos attached). We spoke to one of the people in residence, who with very broken English, indicated they had been there for approximately 2 weeks and had regularly been visited by the Police. They did not indicate how long they expected to be in occupation. JLIS have checked their site inspection records and stated that CLL last formally inspected the site on 12th Sept 2011 (with their next formal inspection due on or about 9th April 2012). Meanwhile JLIS inspected on 31st Oct 2011. The occupation was not noted on either of these inspections. The tents are not highly visible from the main part of the field (photo attached illustrates) so it is understandable why the tents were not spotted by the CLL litter patrol.

As you are aware JLIS have no enforcement power under the existing contract and while they will monitor the occupation they have no power to enforce an eviction.

That being said we (LBH) shall start proceedings to get the illegal occupiers removed from the land. The overall timescale for proceedings is difficult to predict, however, as a rough guide I have been advised that we can expect undefended proceedings to be of at least two months duration.

If the proceedings are defended the timescale will depend on any number of factors such as the complexity of the matter, the defendant’s conduct and overall approach to the proceedings and the availability of Court resources. Accordingly, the timescale for defended proceedings may range anywhere from two months to five years.

Rubbish and Dumped Material
At the time of JLIS visit to Glebelands OS there was a small amount of windblown litter / rubbish etc in evidence which they have instructed CLL to clear this as a matter of urgency. The area of the old running track has a large volume of dumped rubbish (despite inspection of the bags JLIS were unable to confirm from where the waste had come from), litter etc in evidence which requires clearing, unfortunately this area is not covered under the current JLIS contract but we will arrange for JLIS to clear this within the next few weeks.”

I do not think that there is anything to add to the above.

Cabin near the Arena

November 23, 2011

Yesterday, I was asked about a cabin with a window and door (office type) that has appeared on the site of the former running track near the Arena.

I received the following today:

“This area is being temporarily used for filming. This was organised through the Council’s film liaison officer, Jan Henson, using Reel Film Locations who undertake negotiating contracts for filming within the Borough. As I understand it there will be a fee but as this is a documentary this is not a significant sum.
The company filming should be off site by tomorrow.”

Borough Council last night

September 21, 2011

Here is the agenda from last night.  A long meeting that finished at around 11pm.

It was one of those meetings where I was hugely proud of my Group and its performance last night.  Easily won the debate on agenda item 5 (Adult Social Care Consultation Outcome) but did not have the numbers and lost the vote.  The amount of work, research and thought that John Todd, Liz Mammatt & Pam Fisher have put into this has been astonishing and it all showed last night.  Some Labour Members, including Colin Ellar, made considered and non-partisan contributions.  The contributions from the Ed Mayne & Sachin Gupta were unfortunate for their inaccuracy, lack of objectivity coupled with an excessive partisan approach.  Shame that there is no webcast after debates such as these.

John Todd & Adrian Lee tabled the following motion to agenda item 5:

Proposed by Councillor John Todd
Seconded by Councillor Adrian Lee
 
“This Council believes that the process adopted to implement the proposed closure of Chiswick Day Centre (CDC) has been consistently flawed and materially misleading for the following reasons:

* The LBH Public ‘Budget Consultation 2011’ Document  (CS 13/15) did not mention ‘Closure’ but ‘reconfiguration of day care services”   Residents were materially misled;

* Initial Consultation with users/carers at the Chiswick Day Centre did not mention ‘closure’ either. This caused much distress and confusion to users and carers;  Dementia sufferers and others with diverse medical conditions were not provided with counselling and guidance or the offer of advocacy

* Attendance figures at CDC have been quoted in various LBH documents, namely December 2010 and May 2011, yet no vetting process for new users has been in operation since September 2010. Since March 2011, residents from Greenrod  LBH sheltered housing were prevented from attending CDC

And in addition

* Council agreed in March to increase the charges by up to 3000% for those attending the CDC and other Centres; CDC Users accept these increases which when implemented would materially decrease the financial obligation of LBH to the CDC costs.  However the Consultation process on these new increased charges have yet to commence.

* Suggested alternative proposed LBH options are not viable or considered  to be  appropriate by the Alzheimer’s Society and others.

* Two subsequent  petitions have confirmed that the Public does not want closure;  National Charities including  the Alzheimer’s Society, Age UK, Carers UK and Chiswick based GP’sand  District nurses are opposed to closure too  as are the Hounslow Deanery Synod..

Council therefore agrees that the suggestion to close Chiswick Day Centre does not proceed.”

The above motion was also lost.

Other items from last night:

Announcements (agenda item 2)
A provision for cabinet members that is not always used within the spirit of the provision, namely to make informative announcements about their portfolios rather than complaining about central government.  Last night Theo Dennison used it to talk about the Boundaries Review.  He asked for cross-party support for the Council expressing a view.  He will not get that as the Labour Party, and any other party, can make submissions.  Individuals can too.  But using Council resources is not appropriate in my view.

Petitions (agenda item 4)
One of the petitions related to Feltham Arena.  I wanted to speak after the presentation but was not allowed to do so.  I followed 90% of what the Lead Member, Theo Dennison, said.  It was the 10% that I did not.  Overall, I do not think he was closing the door on the current tenants.  I hope that he does not and gives an opportunity for things to get moving again.
I would have expressed concerns about some of the wording of the petition and the Lead Member, with whom I have not discussed this, appeared to share these.

Annual Review of the Council’s Complaints Procedures
The Conservative Group were happy to support but I did not speak, as planned, because it was late and the report was not contentious.  I was merely going to welcome the report and acknowledge that the Complaints Panel has been a massive success.  I was thinking of reminding the Chamber that Colin Ellar once said the Complaints Panel would be legally challenged.  It has not been.

Hounslow’s response to the Government’s consultation on their ‘Aviation Scoping document’
Supported cross party.

Manor Lane Regeneration Scheme – Compulsory Purchase Order
The wheels of local government move slowly but we welcomed this and agree with the points John Cooper made about CPO being the last resort.

Confirmation of Establishment of an Alcohol Free ‘Designated Public Place’ Report on Public Consultation
A majority of members supported this.

Civil Enforcement of Moving Traffic Contraventions
The Conservative Group had a Free Vote on the matter.  I was inclined to support it but changed to an abstention as I have concerns about both the partisan response from the Leader, Ed Mayne, and, more importantly that a very moderate motion of mine was rejected by him and the Labour Group.  It illustrates why it changed my vote from supporting the provisions to abstaining on them:

“Proposer: Councillor Mark Bowen
Seconder: Councillor John Todd
 
Learning a lesson from the implementation of the ‘Civil Enforcement of Moving Traffic Contraventions’ report that was agreed by Borough Council on 24 January 2006, and further to the provision outlined in section 3.8, this Council agrees that the following recommendations should be added to this report:
 
* 2.4 That Members be given, in advance, the relevant details of the deployment of CCTV in their wards.

* 2.5 That Area Committees be given the opportunity to offer suggested areas for CCTV deployment.”

The answers to the first two tabled questions were not controversial, indeed the first was helpful and I did not use the supplementary question because of it, but the answer to the third should be headline news.  The question was:

“For how long can the Lead Member guarantee a weekly collection of residual waste in the London Borough of Hounslow?”

The Lead Member could not give any guarantee.  She referred to wanting to increase recycling (as we all do) but I do not think that scrapping the above is the fairest option.  She will know, as I do, that most residents want weekly collections of residual waste.  In her response to the supplementary question, she said it was the previous administration who scrapped weekly collections.  She is not correct when it comes to residual waste.

Well done to all of my colleagues!