On 11 April, I received the following from Munira Wilson, who was the Lib Dem Candidate at the General Election in this constituency. She wrote the following (it was not confidential and was copied to the Press so I have no problem in re-producing it). It was also Published and promoted by John Howliston on behalf of Hounslow Borough Liberal Democrats – someone I respect and like but he never tabled a single question about this issue when a Councillor. Anyway, here is the content:
“The Feltham Arena site in your ward, which was dedicated to the people of Feltham, is in a shameful, neglected state. Once the pride of the local area, where a local Olympic medallist trained, all that can be found at Feltham Arena today, is dereliction. Hundreds of lorry-loads of waste and rubble have been dumped, unchecked and unregulated by the Council. The former football pitch resembles a muddy lake. Flytipping on the site is rife. Unless you are fit and mobile, it is almost impossible to access the site, and totally impossible for anyone who is disabled.
As you are aware, two planning applications have been approved by the Council in the last few years to redevelop the site. These included an application in 2007 to create a new senior and four junior football pitches, as well as an application in 2009 for a new clubhouse. Whilst permission for some landfill was sought in the first application, what has actually been deposited on the site far outweighs that which was approved.
Local people want to know why, as a councillor for the ward where the site is located, and as Deputy Leader of the Council, you have taken no action to monitor and challenge activity on this precious site.
These are the questions that local residents are asking, to which I would be grateful if you could provide a response:
1. What action have you taken or asked officers to take in order to monitor the content of landfill being sent to the site?
2. Are you aware if any of the landfill includes contaminated waste?
3. How does the depth of the landfill actually deposited compare to the depth that was approved in the 2007 planning
application by the West Area Committee?
4. What have you done to ensure that the site is kept secure from illegal dumping and flytipping?
5. What steps is the Council taking to ensure the leaseholder maintains the site?
6. What steps is the Council taking to ensure the leaseholder undertakes the development for which it has secured
Local people deserve answers to these questions. Clearing and developing the Feltham Arena site for the benefit of the local
community should be one of your top priorities.
I look forward to hearing from you.”
Here is a majority of the response I sent out on 19 April.
“I wish to respond to the letter I received on 11 April. As I have said to a number of my constituents, especially ones who live immediately around the Arena, no-one is more disappointed than me that things have not moved forward faster. Notwithstanding that, such was the seriousness of your claims, coupled with the certainty, in parts of your letter, I needed to discuss this matter again with Officers at the Council. Having done so, my answers to your questions are as follows:
1. The landfill materials and processes involved to enable the construction of the new football pitches have been regularly monitored by the Council and the Environment Agency, who have responsibility for the landfill process, and will continue to be monitored throughout the life of this project;
2. There is no evidence that the approved landfill material contains any “contaminated waste” as you put it and the Council and the Environment Agency would be interested to receive any evidence that such material exists, that is if you have any. It is irresponsible for anyone to speculate about such matters without evidence to support the allegations being made, especially as there is a risk of causing my constituents unnecessary anxiety;
3. The Council has taken the sensible precaution of having a land survey carried out in order to ensure the planning consent is complied with and is satisfied that there is no actionable breach of planning consent as a result of the landfill thus far undertaken. If you have any *evidence* to the contrary I would be very happy to receive it. Alternatively, you could email the Planning Enforcement team direct;
4. The Council is aware that fly tipping takes place on the car park area and this has been a perennial problem. However, such fly tipped waste is removed whenever it becomes significant and on a regular basis. The car park was attended to last week. As you will have seen it is impossible to secure the whole site given its configuration and public access requirements although improvements to security have been put in place;
5. The “tenant” is fully aware of its responsibilities in looking after and securing the site and the Council is in discussion with the developer on a number of matters affecting the site and in particular the slowed progress of the current planning application and the development of an appropriate club house to support the new sports facilities, as well as the condition and safety of the site;
6. The “tenant” is also aware that the Council expects the development of the new pitches to be complete within reasonable time.
I note the reference to the following:
Do you have any link that you could send that shows the date at which this application was approved?”
I never received a response.
Things have changed in the past few months in that works re-started (with the exception of the past few days). There is a meeting with the tenant and local residents tomorrow. It starts at 4pm so have not pledged to be there because it is not usually possible to get there at that time but hope that can.
I will try and make better use of this blog for updates on this matter.