Hounslow Council


Agenda and minutes

Venue: Brentford Free Church, Boston Manor Road, Brentford

Contact: Kay Duffy on 020 8583 2067, email  kay.duffy@hounslow.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

53.

Apologies for Absence, Declarations of Interest and any other Communications from Members

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from councillors Bains and Carey and from Barbara Lawrence (Co-opted member).

 

Members made the following declarations:

 

Agenda Item 6 – Update on S106 funding:

All members declared receiving correspondence on in relation to this item.

 

Agenda Item 7 – A4 Pedestrian Surveys Update:

Councillor Reid declared a potential prejudicial interest in this item, having close family relatives living in Church Road and an interest in the property.

54.

Policing Update - Inspector John Partington pdf icon PDF 185 KB

Minutes:

See submitted report from the Sector Inspector, Agenda Item 3.

 

Insp. John Partington reminded members that he was the sector inspector for both Chiswick and Isleworth & Brentford and as a result would only be able to attend meetings when available to do so. He suggested that it might be better to get his sergeants to address meetings, as they were the report authors and would be more able to respond to questions. Should members request it crime figures and sector maps could also be included in the reports. The Chair asked that the additional information be emailed to members via the Clerk.

 

Insp. Partington advised members of a local gang called the MDP (Money Drugs Power) gang, though he assured those present that they should not be unduly worried about this gang.

 

A number of members discussed their involvement in local Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNT), which provided them with regular contact with key individuals in the local community and advance notice of trends. Ward panels were also deemed the best forum for sergeants to meet with local councillors. Insp. Partington confirmed that non-members of the SNTs were welcome to attend meetings as observers. He stated that SNTs were no longer to be ring-fenced strictly to their individual wards but that resources should be shared across the area (in the case of Isleworth & Brentford across the 4 wards). He confirmed that SNT officers had been and would again be deployed to central London duties as required. The Brentford Town Centre team would now be based at Chiswick police station, but assured members that residents could expect the same level of policing as Chiswick.

 

Councillor Mayne acknowledged the current difficulties experienced by police colleagues. The recruitment freeze had now been lifted but resources had to be deployed differently. One positive outcome of the recruitment freeze, however, was the rise in the number of special constables. The Borough Commander was dedicated to keeping neighbourhood policing in some form on the borough.

 

Councillor Cadbury highlighted the issue of burglaries from underground car parks in the area and asked how involved the police were in designing out crime, particularly for the new residential developments in the area. She asked whether it might be possible to visit the burglary hotspots with the Secure By Design officer to review the current standards and assess whether they were fit for purpose. Insp. Partington agreed to email Councillor Cadbury and arrange a meeting with the Secure By Design officer and to report back to this Area Committee on the outcome of that meeting.

 

Emina Trozic referred to a number of break ins and thefts of bicycles from her building and the fact that SNT officers had told her that bicycle frame numbers were no longer being recorded due to insurance issues. She also queried why individuals reporting stolen bicycles were not being referred to Hounslow police station to check if their property was being stored there. Insp. Partington confirmed that bicycle frame numbers should be recorded by when reports  ...  view the full minutes text for item 54.

55.

Capital Revenue Report: Update - Robert Meldrum pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Robert Meldrum sought members’ questions on his submitted report, Agenda Item 4.

 

Christine Diwell addressed the meeting from the public gallery to query the accuracy of the funding amount quoted for environmental improvements to North Street/ Swan Street and Shrewsbury Walk. She indicated that Suresh Kamath had agreed to make up the shortfall from his own budgets at a subsequent meeting and asked that this be recorded in the minute of the meeting.

 

When asked for a progress update on Occupation Lane  Nick Woods, Head of Traffic, informed members that this was still under discussion. Councillor Dennison indicated that a report on the Authority’s capital strategy would be brought before the Executive. He suggested that there were plenty of other schemes which needed focus and cautioned that any unspent funds could be ‘tidied up’.

 

Councillor Ellar asked for more specific information about the youth service proposals. He queried the completion timescales on the North Street scheme (1st quarter 2011). Referring to the Brentford High Street scheme he asked for further information on what was to be done. Although Robert Meldrum was unable to comment on the details of the proposed schemes, he confirmed that the inclusion of ‘youth services’ should have been removed from the document prior to publication and reported that ‘1st quarter 2011/12’ referred to the period of April to June 2011. Nick Woods informed members that he would refer their questions on Brentord High Street and North Street to John Reynolds for a response.

 

Councillor Mayne asked when the funding had been allocated to Spring Grove Road/ Thornbury Road and for details of the proposed scheme. He noted concern at the length of time taken to install the speed activated signage on South Street and sought confirmation of the actual completion date. In respect of Grove Road junction he asked why only £118 appeared to have been spent when £11,000 had been allocated to the now completed scheme. In response Nick Woods informed members that one change was proposed to a pedestrian island on Spring Grove Road. He added that an alteration to a pedestrian island within Central Hounslow had not been pursued. In relation to the South Street speed activation signs Mr Woods noted that John Reynolds would be best placed to explain why the scheme had taken so long and confirm the completion date. He noted the need to replace existing lamp posts with stronger posts that would be able to carry the weight of the signs. The invoice for works to the Grove Road junction had not yet been cleared at the time of publication.

 

Members sought clarification as to who would carry out project management of traffic schemes following Jay Gopal’s departure from the Authority. Mr Woods confirmed that Mr Gopal’s workload would be shared between Satnam Sahota and Christopher Deakins. Councillor Mayne wished to record this Area Committee’s thanks to Jay Gopal for his work, stating that he was a well respected colleague who would be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55.

56.

Updates on Jersey Gardens and Brunel University and other sites - Hamish Pringle pdf icon PDF 64 KB

Minutes:

See report from the Head of Leisure & Cultural Services, Agenda Item 5.

 

The Chair noted that agenda items 5, 6 and 7 were likely to take some time and therefore suggested that members take a few moments to consider how they could improve the system in order to minimise the need for such detailed discussions on previously allocated funds in the future.

 

In response to questions about the security of facilities at the Osterley Sports Centre Hamish Pringle, Head of Leisure & Cultural Services, confirmed that there had been two incidents of vandalism (one at night and one daytime), graffiti and a break in. Officers had been in touch with police and the results of the investigation would be reported to members in due course.  Prevention measures were being put in place to protect the equipment such as rolling up the hammer throw netting. Further measures such as increasing the height of the perimeter fencing would require planning permission. The track was now in use at Osterley and an indoor meeting had been held in January. 

 

Mr Pringle predicted that the facility would be best suited to schools/ community level competitions or as a feeder club to other athletics clubs, primarily because it had 6 rather than 8 lanes and the site did not offer sufficient parking for big competitions.

 

Councillor O’Reilly was concerned at the Authority’s withdrawal of support for the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) bid for Jersey Gardens, asking whether Hounslow was currently paying for the park to be secured each night in an effort to prevent anti-social behaviour and vandalism. Mr Pringle reported that the Authority had prioritised Gunnersbury Park and Boston Manor Park for capital investment, but assured members that officers had held a positive meeting with representatives of Friends of Jersey Gardens where they had discussed issues including landscaping and vehicle access to the gardens. He expressed the wish to see improvements in the park but noted that the HLF bid had been based on restoring the original 1928 designs, which would be costly to create and to maintain.  There had been an informal agreement to open and shut the park gates but the contractor had stopped doing this and was unlikely to resume the service. Gunnersbury Park was the only other park in the borough that was locked at night.

 

Councillor O’Reilly pointed to the fact that Friends of Jersey Gardens and the Osterley Library Association had been fundraising for the park and suggested that the Authority was now back where it started 5 years ago on this matter.

 

When asked about the car park in Boston Manor Park, Mr Pringle informed members that he had asked Suresh Kamath to confirm the anticipated completion date. John Reynolds was working on the plans for the car park and work was scheduled to begin in April or May 2011. Nick Woods noted that the Traffic Management Order would be ready by the end of May, after which the car park would be enforceable should the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56.

57.

A4 Pedestrian Surveys Update - Nick Woods pdf icon PDF 107 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Nick Woods, Head of Traffic, introduced the proposals drawn up by Chris Calvi-Freeman, Head of Transport, (see attached to electronic agenda pack, Agenda Item 7). He confirmed that installation of SCOOT (split, cycle and offset optimisation technique) had been completed on Boston Manor Road crossings by March 9th 2011 and that colleagues at TfL were looking at detailed costings for the other proposals discussed by members at their 2 December 2010 meeting.  Discussions were ongoing with colleagues in Planning Policy to secure S106 funding.

 

Referring to members’ proposals for a pedestrian crossing near Ridgeway Road and the short right turn filter from the westbound A4 carriageway onto Thornbury Road, Mr Woods drew members’ attention to the draft plans drawn up by Mr Calvi-Freeman, which proposed a staggered crossing at Osterley Road and the removal of the eastbound H91 bus stop at Jersey Gardens. The plans also incorporated the removal of the existing median buildout and the lengthening of the right turn filter at Thornbury Road. Mr Woods cautioned that there would be a need to look in more detail at current bus stop usage.

 

He indicated the possibility that the scheme could be relocated further east towards Ridgeway Road, but noted that the advantage of its current planned location was its relationship with the elongated right turn filter, the location of the bus stops and the need for a south to north crossing for the library. Mr Woods believed a case could be made to justify TfL investment in this scheme. Members gave their support to the officers’ suggestions to discuss the scheme with ward councillors and Isleworth & Syon School for Boys before submitting the proposals to TfL for consideration.

 

Councillors asked Mr Woods to investigate speeding along Church Road, Isleworth, which was allegedly being used as a rat run. Mr Woods assured members that traffic flow problems on Wood Lane were under review and that a scheme was being drawn up proposing waiting restrictions for the area, in order to alleviate this problem in future.

58.

Update on S106 funding - Julia Worboys/ Stuart Harrison pdf icon PDF 170 KB

Minutes:

Stuart Harrison, Head of Sustainable Planning, and Julia Worboys, Planning Policy, attended the meeting to present the submitted report.

 

Mr Harrison explained to members that the ideal cycle of reporting began with the annual stocktake, which was produced between June and September that illustrated S106 funding received, allocated and spent. Thereafter members became involved in discussions on individual proposals, which fed into the reports taken to the Area Committee by the various spending departments and in turn fed into the next annual stocktake and the process rolled forward.

 

Responding to numerous queries has taken a significant amount of officers’ resources. Whilst Mr Harrison acknowledged that those members elected in 2010 would not be familiar with the history of every scheme, it was his opinion the creation of a separate S106 schedule didn’t add any value to the allocation or spend of S106 funding. The vast majority of the information included in the document submitted to this Area Committee for example was already included in various existing published reports. Officers also carried out internal monitoring of spending and produced quarterly reports to Michael Jordan, Director of Environment, which highlighted any funds that were approaching their sell by date.

 

The Chair indicated that Mr Harrison had identified the main problem, which was the perceived gap between the allocation and spend of funding. He asked Mr Woods and Mr Pringle for their views on how the system could be improved. In response Mr Pringle suggested the allocation of S106 funding in small amounts made it difficult to spend. It would be better in his opinion to amalgamate funding pots to put towards larger schemes, such as the recently completed refurbishment of St Paul’s playground.  Moving forward he suggested allocating funding towards specific schemes, which officers knew were in the pipeline. The current situation forced officers to find schemes to spend pre-allocated funds on.

 

Mr Woods acknowledged that the current system was much better than previously but agreed that he too was sometimes frustrated by the inability to combine small funding pots. Specific to traffic there was the need to be aware of the timing of other projects such as road surfacing. He supported the introduction of an annual report from each of the spending departments as a logical way forward.

 

The Chair thanked all those who provided questions and ideas on how to improve the S106 system. Councillor Reid suggested that the introduction of the annual spending reports in addition to the stocktake should negate the need for high levels of questions in future. Mr Harrison assured members that restricting reporting was as much about the speed at which projects progressed as it was about the available officer resources.

 

Councillor Curran informed the meeting that he was considering calling the area of S106 in to the scrutiny work programme for the coming year to see how it could be simplified and improved. He added that this could be done in a ‘light touch’ manner before deciding whether it was necessary to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 58.

59.

Open Forum

An opportunity for members of the public to address the meeting on general issues relating to the meeting agenda. Please note that individual cases cannot be discussed.

Minutes:

Ms Diwell wished to note her appreciation for the production of the officer updates on S106.  However, she highlighted a number of inconsistencies in the submitted report, which the Chair asked her to address to the relevant ward councillors for a more detailed response.

 

Mr Dominic West referred members to his request for an update on capital spend on highways at the January Monitoring meeting. He confirmed that he had received a response from officers (Clerk inserted the text of that email as follows: Due to the severe winter weather in 2009/10 we had to carry out extensive carriageway patching to bring the network back to a steady state, and as there were other departmental budgetary pressures mainly due to income streams being reduced as a direct result of a downturn in the economy, we were unable to plan a programme for 2010/11.”) In light of the officer’s response, Mr West asked whether a capital maintenance programme was planned for the coming year. Councillor Dennison indicated that a report was expected to Executive on the matter.

 

Christine Diwell raised the matter of the proposed purchase of the Isleworth Ferry by London Borough of Richmond on behalf of the Thames Landscape Strategy, which would include the acquisition of a plot of land adjacent to the river at Isleworth. Councillor Cadbury assured members that the purchase would be made for the benefit of the partnership. She suggested the reason the purchase was being made by Richmond and not Hounslow could be because Thames Landscape Strategy staff were based at the Richmond Council offices. Councillors Cadbury and Dennison agreed to provide more detail on the matter to members via the Clerk, Kay Duffy.

60.

Minutes of the meeting held on 20 January 2011 & Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 103 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 20 January 2011 were agreed and signed by the Chair as a correct record.

61.

Urgent Business

Any other business which the Chair considers is urgent

Minutes:

There was no urgent business raised.

62.

Date of next scheduled meeting

19th May 2011 at Brentford Free Church, Boston Manor Road.

Minutes:

The Clerk reminded members that the forthcoming May Planning meeting was scheduled on the same date as the Referendum. As a result of this it was proposed that this meeting be cancelled and that the May 19th Monitoring meeting be swapped with the June 2nd Planning meeting, something members were supportive of.

 

Resolved:

·        That the Area Planning Committee scheduled for 5 May be cancelled to avoid a clash with the Referendum.

·        That the Area Monitoring Committee, scheduled for 19th May 2011, be swapped with the Area Planning Committee, scheduled for 2nd June 2011.