Posts Tagged ‘John Howliston’

Feltham Arena

September 8, 2010

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
permission?

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:
http://democraticservices.hounslow.gov.uk/Published/C00000237/M00005370/AI00046307/$FelthamArenas.doc.pdf
 
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.

Active weekend

June 14, 2010

I took my family to the Carnival at Blenheim Park on Saturday afternoon.  I caught up with a number of people I have not spoken with for a few weeks and I also saw former Councillor, John Howliston.  Without people like John, maybe there would not be a carnival?  He is a good man who is already missed on the Council.  There is no doubt about how much Bedfont and Feltham mean to him and I have a lot of time for that.

I went to the BA Clubs in High Street, Cranford for the first England game.  This World Cup is not the same for me (it has not since 1958 when Wales last Qualified) and whilst I am supporting England, I look forward to my son playing at the 2030 World Cup for Wales (wonder what odds I would get for such a bet?).

Yesterday afternoon, I took the children to the Brentford Fountain as the pool at the Airparcs is currently closed but this closure will be worth it as I anticipate a really nice new facility in the next month.

Local election results

May 11, 2010

As I have said on a previous posting, the big surprise in London was that the Labour vote did not collapse despite many predicting that it would.

One of the outcomes of this, and the Local Elections being held the same day as the General, is that Labour did very well in London Local Government.  They now have control of Hounslow, Ealing, Harrow and Brent amongst others.  In Hounslow, Conservatives did not lose a single seat – in 2006 there were 23 Conservative Councillors returned and this figure increased to 25 last week.  However, every single other Independent and Lib Dem lost their seats and were taken by Labour.

I am thrilled that we have added Liz Mammatt and Colin Botterill to our Group.  Liz is simply one of the best people I have ever met.  Genuine, very hardworking and kind.  Colin is keen as mustard and I predict a big impression in both Feltham West and on the Council.

The Council lost some very good and intelligent people such as Peter Hills, Linda Nakamura, Phil Andrews, Paul Fisher, Genevieve Hibbs, Jon Hardy, Shirley Fisher, Caroline Andrews & John Connelly.  All except Genevieve lost their seats at the election (she stood down before and looked really well last Thursday, which was great to see as she has had health problems).  Every single one of these people worked so hard for their residents and on the Council and I will miss them.  Andrew Dakers, John Howliston & Drew Morgan-Watts are no longer Councillors.  The latter two stood down.  Drew is a very nice guy and John made a big impression in Bedfont and clearly had a personal following.  Andrew Dakers, like me, stood in both elections.  I was able to win in one and he was not so fortunate.  Again his conduct was so impressive and he can rest for a period in the knowledge that he made an impressive mark at the Council.

One of the less pleasant features of politics is that you sometimes see people you like losing their seats, not necessarily from the same Group or Party.  The six who lost in Isleworth and Syon were especially gracious in defeat.  They will always have my respect, reinforced by such dignified behaviour in what are difficult circumstances.  Former Councillors, Shivcharn Gill and Sukhbir Dhaliwal (who stood in Feltham North) were always very courteous to me and I wish them the best for the future.  I would like to thank my three Labour opponents in Feltham North for standing on the platform for the formal declaration of the results.  This was my third election in Feltham North and the first time I have experienced the Labour candidates standing on the platform for the declaration.  I wish them all the best.

A number of people have contacted me expressing surprise at the local election results, especially considering the performance regarding Council Tax, improved local parks and massive removal of graffiti.  Naturally, I am really sad that we cannot continue the work that we started, as we never promised we would crack everything in four years.  Peter Thompson was simply a superb Leader of the Council and so well suited to the position.  It was a privilege to have been his Deputy in administration for four years and for two years in opposition before that.

Some have expressed concerns that the days of Council Tax increases will return.  But we should all take comfort in promises made in most wards by Labour at the election.  They will deliver:

  1. Action on crime with 100 uniformed officers on the streets in this area and CCT in crime hotspots.
  2. Extra cash for local schools to improve standards and new school places to give parents a better choice.
  3. A new business partnership with local businesses and housing associations and build 2,500 affordable homes to rent or buy.
  4. A 24/7 team of Grime busters to tackle graffiti, litter and dumped rubbish-and a direct dial telephone number for immediate action.
  5. A fresh war on waste and a council tax cut for all residents.

If they deliver all the above, and do not compromise recent improvements or front line services at the same time, I think that we can all be very pleased.  There are people who say that some of the above are impossible to deliver.  My view is that the promises have been made so Labour deserves the chance to deliver.  I congratulate Labour and wish them well in delivering the above.  When I get some spare time, I will scan the web to see if any other new administration has made such exciting promises?