Hounslow Council

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 4, Ealing Town Hall, New Broadway, Ealing, W5 2BY

Contact: Carol Stiles Tel: 020 8583 2066 or email:  carol.stiles@hounslow.gov.uk 

No. Item


Apologies for absence, declarations of interest or any other communications from Members


Apologies for lateness had been received from Councillor Adrian Lee, who expected to arrive around 7.00 p.m. It was understood that Councillor Mel Collins and Councillor Myra Savin were on their way.


Carole Stewart and Bridget Gregory of LB Ealing sent apologies.


Councillor Ed Mayne, Lead Member from LB Hounslow, attended as a guest.


The Chair noted that the meeting was not quorate, with three Ealing councillors but without a LB Hounslow Panel member present. However, she suggested that they begin with the police item as the officers were present and it was expected that Councillors Collins and Savin would arrive shortly.


Park Operations and Park Security - for discussion


PC Dinesh Pillay and a colleague attended the meeting to update the Panel on current police operations in the park. He explained that there had been a meeting in respect of anti-social behaviour in the park between Inspector Edwards, the Brentford Safer Neighbourhood Team and representatives of St Mungo’s charity, to consider the rough sleepers in the park. PC Pillay explained that it was a large park and consequently hard to police with a team of three. He explained that it would be helpful if staff, members and park users could narrow down areas of the park, when reporting problems, to help them police more effectively. He gave an example of a successful arrest of drug dealers on the Haverfield estate where they had been able to target resources specifically. PC Pillay explained that problems with drug dealing, anti-social behaviour and alcohol arose in all parks but were easier to address in small parks. In the case of Gunnersbury, it would be helpful if anyone reporting incidents could advise whether this was happening near a specific exit or a specific building, to help narrow down the area. Also the information to the police was often received after the event, possibly even two days later. What the police needed was rapid information.


The Chair enquired about the situation with officers on site during the building works and the opportunities for responding. Jonathan Kirby explained that Quinn, the contractor, used CCTV with a live monitoring feed and speaker systems around the construction site. They also had patrols. However, this did not cover the wider parkland.


PC Pillay explained that a further problem was residents emailing Ealing police rather than Hounslow. Although there was contact between the two forces, this led to delay. He gave the Brentford Safer Neighbourhood Team email address – Brentford.snt@met.police.uk


Councillor Joanna Dabrowska advised that residents on the north side of Popes Lane had tried to email the Brentford Safer Neighbourhood Team but with no response. PC Pillay confirmed that he would give Councillor Dabrowska email details to email directly.


Councillor Patricia Walker asked about drug use and what was done to collect litter in the park. She reported a particular incident with a very young child finding drug use detritus in the area where the cricket pavilion had been.


Jonathan Kirby advised that he would take back the point about patrols and schedules to Chris Bunting and ask Chris Bunting and Chris Welsh of the Maintenance team to report back.


James Wisdom noted that in the past there had been recognised places where there had been evidence of drug use, such as previously the Stables and the sheltered bench along the side of Lionel Road. He suggested that if litter pickers noted where they found such detritus, it would help to pin down areas where there was a problem.


James Wisdom noted that there had been comment about an increase in complaints. He asked who received the complaints. David Stockdale explained that complaints were received within the staff  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.


Minutes of the meeting held on 16 October 2015 pdf icon PDF 89 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on 16 October 2015 were confirmed. There were no matters arising from the minutes.


Sports Hub - verbal update


Jonathan Kirby, LB Ealing, informed the Panel that the LB Hounslow Planning Committee had approved the application for the Sports Hub. There had been further feedback from the Friends and the community on the proposals. The approval had been with conditions on a range of matters, particularly trees, parking and a strong condition on the materials to be used to construct the Hub. The application had now been referred to the Mayor of London for final decision.


Mr Kirby explained contributions to the business case. Bids to Sports England and other external bids were pending the determination of the planning application. Procurement of the main contractor would be a 6-9 month process. They were opening the tender to award the contract in July, to mobilise in the summer and be on site in September, to complete by the end of 2017, to coincide with the completion of the heritage works.


Externally there would be astro turf and tennis courts. There had been discussion with the governing bodies of a range of sports. Once the facilities were delivered there would be the opportunity to encourage use of the site. They were working with Brentford Football in the Community and other local clubs such as the Old Actonians to encourage clubs to use the site.


Councillor Myra Savin understood that there had been concerns about the design of the changing rooms. She asked what had been concluded. Jonathan Kirby confirmed that the facilities were compliant with the requirements of all sports governing bodies. On the external appearance there had been feedback from Historic England and precedents had been shown. The feedback had been that although the look was more traditional, there were concerns about the colour and changes in colour on natural timber. Comparisons were made with other historic settings. There was a strong condition in the planning consent to submit details of the materials to the planning authority for approval prior to commencement.


Councillor Mel Collins advised that he had not seen the papers since the Planning Committee but there had been a lot of concern about the external appearance of the building. At the public consultation meetings, the design had appeared to be one shade but that included in the planning application was different. Councillor Collins asked whether there were any conditions on lighting, the height of the lighting and the timing of use on the external courts. He asked what had been done to appease objections.


Jonathan Kirby explained in respect of the exterior of the building that the artist’s impression had shown a lighter material. The material the architect recommended as being better wearing was darker. This would be the subject of further consultation with the Friends group and residents. There was a condition on the flood lighting requiring further detail and information on the lux level. They were working with the appropriate sports bodies, such as the Tennis Association, to meet their specifications.


The Chair sought to confirm that there would be more consultation before building commenced.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.


Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Capital Project Progress Update - verbal update


David Stockdale, LB Hounslow, gave an overview of the project. The works were progressing. Currently repair and repainting and repairs to the roof and rooflights were underway in the Large Mansion. There were also a lot of modern fittings being taken out in the house so new, more sympathetic fittings could be inserted. The historical knowledge was moving on as greater evidence of construction, alterations in the 1830s and surviving finishes were exposed. It was now clear that there had been considerable upgrading of the house when the Rothschilds took it over. Work would be done with what had been found. For example they had discovered a greater use of cast iron rather than timber. This had an impact on cost as it needed to be reflected in future care but at the same time it added to the knowledge of the house. There were also issues about how to strengthen the floors to accommodate loadings and proposals would need to be approved by Historic England.


Work on the old café had started. This would be taken down to prepare for the building of the new café.


James Wisdom commented that the Copland family had the house for 30 years. He asked if they were saying that the Coplands made no changes between 1800 and 1837. David Stockdale clarified that the work uncovered indicated that there had been extensive alteration in the 1830s using cast iron. The information was submitted to Historic England.


Jonathan Kirby proposed arranging a site visit and this was strongly supported by the Panel.


James Wisdom commented on the issue of fitting the historic aspects of the house with the museum. David Stockdale advised that they wanted a museum which was fit for purpose within the legislative framework of people interested in preserving both heritage and use as a museum. They could not let historic house preservation stop the flexibility which was needed to fund its use as a museum.


Councillor Savin noted that the café would be another new building. She understood from Chiswick Park and Gardens that the café was a drawing point to the site and brought in the most revenue. Jonathan Kirby agreed that this business case was a large part of why they went back to the Heritage Lottery Fund to enhance the café via an uplift. The catering report on the site recommended catering in multiple areas so this was an important part of the ongoing plan.


Taking into account the new features discovered, Councillor Collins asked whether there was any worry that the opening date might need to be moved back. He also noted that the new café/carriage room was still only able to house two of the three carriages. He asked whether there were any plans to house the third carriage there or elsewhere in the park.


David Stockdale advised that there was no indication that finding the historical features in the house would cause delay. Jonathan Kirby confirmed that the new carriage room would only be able  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.


Community Interest Company (CIC) and Development Trust Update pdf icon PDF 254 KB


See the update report – Agenda Item 5.


The Panel were asked to note one amendment to the report. At Item 1 (B) – Charity – it had been stated that the formal charitable registration had been submitted. Val Bott clarified that this was not correct. The registration document was with the lawyers and would be submitted but had not been submitted yet.


The Chair advised that one of her ward colleagues, Councillor Blacker had been appointed to the Development Trust. David Stockdale advised that LB Hounslow had nominated Councillor Smart but she had not yet been able to take up the position.


Councillor Collins commented that he had not seen member involvement in the Community Interest Company (CIC). The Chair clarified that the Panel had discussed this at the last meeting. The borough representatives were the two relevant Executive Directors. She was aware that there had been enquiries from a member of the public present about the route to get involved. It was confirmed that the lead officer on the CIC was Carole Stewart of LB Ealing so she was the appropriate contact for continued discussions.


Councillor Collins questioned how the two boards, the Development Trust and the CIC, would talk to each other. The Chair recalled that the Panel had previously received diagrams to show how they would interact. Val Bott stressed that the Development Trust was not a Council organisation but rather an independent charity registered with the Charity Commission. The Trust was able to work up grant applications which could not go from a local authority. One early application had gone via the Friends Group as the deadline for submission was before the establishment of the Trust. Other bids would be submitted. The Trust was preparing its own strategy which would include building its relationship with the Panel, the CIC and other relevant bodies. The representatives on the Trust were based on the skills the Trust needed, for example, in recruitment, sports, horticulture and cultural activities. The Trust was not an operational body. That role fell to the CIC.


Members wished to clarify what the role of the CIC would be and were informed that it would become the body responsible for the operational management of Gunnersbury Park. All leases would be transferred to this body.


Councillor Adrian Lee explained that the opposition group in LB Hounslow were opposed to this, drawing comparisons with CIP which he considered to have been an economic catastrophe. He was concerned about the CIC element of the proposals, recognising that the Development Trust was different with a different purpose. He was concerned that the CIC was more an arms- length management approach with the power resting with lead officers. However, if anything went wrong, elected members remained answerable. He was concerned about the removal of the democratic element in the day to day management of the site. The park remained publically owned so residents’ questions would be addressed to elected members but elected members would appear to have lost control  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.


Dates of future meetings

The next meeting is scheduled for Friday, 14 April 2016 at 6.30 p.m.


The date of the next meeting was noted as 15 April 2016. Members agreed that if it were not possible to meet in the Park, Ealing Town Hall would be a suitable alternative.




Urgent Business

Any business which the Chair agrees to accept on grounds of urgency.


James Wisdom drew members’ attention to the forthcoming planning application at Chiswick Roundabout, in the context of other applications already approved along the A4 where the height would impact on the feeling of openness in the Park.


The Friends of Gunnersbury Park had objected to the height which was proposed at 32 storeys. The developers’ photographs were not considered to demonstrate the implications for the historic Kensington Cemetery and for the Park. Mr Wisdom explained that when asked about the effect of the building on other Conservation Areas and the park, the architect had judged it as having moderate impact and benefit because of the quality of the building.


Mr Wisdom advised that the proposed extremely large building at the bottom of the park would affect the experience of visitors viewing the open sky. It also needed to be taken into account that there were other plans in the area for 22 storey blocks at Capital Interchange Way and high blocks on the Lionel Road Brentford Football Club Stadium site. It was also understood that B & Q was prepared to leave the site next door, so there was the possibility of further large buildings in the vicinity. Whilst it might not be possible to stop these developments, Mr Wisdom wished members to be aware that it would confine the experience of visitors to Gunnersbury at one end of the park.


Councillor Lee advised of the campaign to oppose the particular application at Chiswick Roundabout which was a 32 storey building called the Chiswick Curve. He advised of a public meeting called by the Turnham Green ward councillors to rally opposition. This would be held on Wednesday, 27 January 2016 at 7.30 p.m. in the Chiswick Memorial Club, Bourne Place W4. He stressed strength of community feeling to oppose this development which was seen as damaging to the area. The consultation ended on 3 February.


Councillor Collins declared an interest as he was a member of the Planning Committee in LB Hounslow.