Hounslow Council

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Chiswick Town Hall, Heathfield Terrace, Chiswick W4 4JN

Contact: Kay Duffy Tel: 020 8583 2067 or email:  kay.duffy@hounslow.gov.uk 

No. Item


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

Apologies submitted on behalf of the Gunnersbury CIC. 


Apologies had been submitted from councillors Samantha Davies and Yvonne Johnson.  In Councillor Johnson’s absence, Vice-Chair Councillor Myra Savin chaired the meeting.


Councillor Samia Choudhury, Cabinet Member for Green Policy and Leisure, was present at the meeting.


There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes of the meeting held on 7 July 2017 pdf icon PDF 137 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on 7 July 2017 were agreed and signed by the Chair as a correct record.  


Matters Arising:


Minute 3: Heritage Progress Report (Paragraph 4):

David Stockdale provided an update on the floor testing in the Large Mansion, explaining that the landing area at the top of the stairs had been tested, due to the fact that the landing would be used by people to access other areas of the museum once opened.  He confirmed that it had passed the test.


Minute 7: Project Issues and Workstreams:

When asked for an update on progress on the marketing of the Small Mansion, David Stockdale noted that consultation was ongoing and that colleagues were in contact with Historic England.


When asked what the nature of the consultation on the sports project was, David informed the Panel that periodic Project Update meetings were held to discuss both the heritage aspect of the project and, more recently, the sports hub.


Responding to Councillor Walker’s enquiry on the lack of recognition afforded to the Friends of Gunnersbury Park & Museum group for their financial contributions to the project, James Wisdom confirmed that, due to the fact that the Friends had not been publicly recognised as per the conditions of its funding, he had written to Bridget Gregory at Ealing Council and withdrawn the conditions.  He added that it had taken three months for a letter of acknowledgement to be drafted by Ealing officers to the Friends and that this failure on the part of Ealing officers had brought into question future collaboration on the project.  Councillor Walker described the matter as regrettable.


Heritage Works Progress Update - David Stockdale (LBH) and Bridget Gregory (LBE) pdf icon PDF 601 KB


See Heritage Phase 1 Works Summary of Progress for Gunnersbury Advisory Panel September 2017, Agenda Item 3.


In response to questions David Stockdale noted that the Project Board would be responsible for deciding on what cutbacks were necessary in the project in light of the projected funding shortfall expected to be confirmed at the forthcoming Heritage Lottery Fund Board in December, but sought to assure the Panel that the expected opening date would not be extended. 


Members discussed suggestions for securing further funding for smaller projects.  Examples included Ealing ward forum meetings and Councillor Dabrowska’s suggestion that energy provider SSE could be invited to contribute external funding in return for permissions to lay cabling under the parks footpaths along the boundary walls and asked David Stockdale to look into the matter.


David advised that CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) funding could not be secured from Hounslow developments, as S106 funding had already been awarded from the borough.  Councillor Dabrowska asked David to investigate whether it might be possible to seek advances in CIL/ S106 funding from Ealing developments, as Ealing had not yet adopted CIL. (ACTION: David)


James Wisdom declared an interest as governor of Capel Manor and referred to the fact that some works had been removed from the Heritage fund, such as the fact the small restocked zoo could not now be opened because the works required to the access gate had been removed from the project. When asked what other works had been removed from the budget, David referred to the fact that some parkland structures had been removed from the original costings, as their renovation was now being funded from elsewhere.  David was asked to investigate the matter and report back to the next meeting of the Panel. (ACTION: David)


James noted that the Friends had contributed £1,130 of the £3,000 local community donations listed in the submitted report towards the purchase of the Dawson enamel panel for the Museum collection.


Councillor Collins requested that members of the Panel should be invited to attend the opening of the Mansion, anticipated towards the end of March, but drew attention to the timing of the forthcoming local elections in May 2018 and the fact that councils would be in Purdah for a period immediately before the election when specific restrictions on communications activity are in place.


Sports Works Progress - verbal update from LBE


David Stockdale updated members that the tennis courts would be completed soon.  The Sports Project planning discharge was required by November 2017.  Work was progressing to appoint the contractor for the major works by November 2017 with a view to beginning works from December 2017.  Five firms had been shortlisted following the tendering process and it was anticipated that major works would be completed on the sports hub by 2019. 


In response to questions the following was noted:

The final submission stage to tender as the park’s leisure operator had just closed and an announcement on the appointment of the new operator was expected by the end of this year.  David agreed to investigate whether the tennis courts would be available to members only, as at Boston Manor Park. (ACTION: David)


Gunnersbury Estate (2026) CIC progress update pdf icon PDF 104 KB


See submitted Report to Joint Advisory Panel meeting 6 October 2017, Agenda Item 5.


Apologies had been received on behalf of David Bowler, Chief Executive of the Gunnersbury Estate 2026 Community Interest Company (CIC). 


The following questions were raised:

·       Members raised concerns that appointments had already been made to vacant posts without them first being informed of when and where the vacancies were being advertised.  A request was made that this Panel should be informed of any future job vacancy advertisements in advance. (ACTION: David Bowler)

·       Who would be replacing the director level posts in both Ealing and Hounslow boroughs? (ACTION: David Stockdale and Bridget Gregory)

·       When exactly would the CIC be taking on the licensing and management responsibilities for the park and when would the last meeting of this Panel be? Officers were asked to provide information on the proposed handover timeline so that users of the park were not left in limbo. (ACTION: David Stockdale and Bridget Gregory)

·       Were plans in place, once the CIC took over the management of the park, for members and stakeholders from both boroughs to continue in a scrutiny role similar to the current Panel?  James referred to a discussion with David Bowler where he had provided assurances that scrutiny would be built into the annual contract between the two local authorities and the CIC.  It should also be noted that, whilst the CIC had no obligation to engage with park users, it would have to submit an annual return to the Office of the Regulator of CICs, which will include reports on community engagement carried out. 

·       James expressed the view that there was a role for both local authorities to subject the contract and CIC business planning to further scrutiny, as there was a risk that further public sector support could be required should the funding model for running the estate fail.

Further to this the HLF projects and associated activity plans will continue to be supervised for a number of years.  It was suggested that the matter required further discussion at the Panel’s January meeting.  (ACTION: Kay)


Operational Issues - verbal update - David Stockdale (LBH)


It was reported that security had improved on the estate since ParkGuard patrols began.  However, it was acknowledged that constant vigilance was required and residents were asked to continue providing any intelligence they had to combat any illegal activities on the estate. 


When asked whether a dedicated team would be available, either full-time or part-time, to secure the park once the CIC took over, David Stockdale clarified that the current ParkGuard service was to patrol a number of parks providing visible reassurance and then to respond on an incident-led basis.  James asked whether there were contact telephone numbers for any park users who might find themselves in distress whilst visiting the park and requested the inclusion of emergency contacts on signage in areas such as the car park.  Members also requested an update to the next meeting on proposals for securing the park once the CIC had assumed management responsibility for the estate.  (ACTION: David Bowler)


In response to questions on illegal fishing on the Potomac Pond, David indicated the difficulties in enforcing this issue, as it was not a police matter.  Physical security around the lake had been improved and CIC staff were also aware of the issue and had been monitoring the area.  As regards the availability of fishing on the lake in future, it was suggested that the best solution for the lake would be a focus on ecology and education rather than fishing for sport. 


In response to questions on anti-social behaviour around the toilets on site, David confirmed that the toilets were now permanently locked, as they had been damaged and were in need of repair.  Individuals from the local charity, St Mungo’s, had made efforts to support the rough sleeper to find accommodation.


Update on 2017 Mela event - where available


Update on the new Gunnersbury Park Neighbouring Residents Association meetings


Councillor Savin noted that she had invited representatives from the newly formed Gunnersbury Park Neighbouring Residents Association to this meeting who addressed the meeting to stress the importance of continuous formal engagement with representative community groups.  Concerns were raised that the park could be sold off for development should the CIC model fail. 


Assurances were given that both local authorities had invested in a multi-million pound project to upgrade the park to a 21st Century park for the enjoyment of the community.  Contrary to allegations that the local authorities were abdicating their responsibilities to the park, David Stockdale stated that the CIC was a specialist company established to manage the park and activities, but which would still be obligated to report back to both local authority and to adhere to annual targets, which would be modified as necessary each year.  He confirmed that safeguards were already in place to prevent the sale of the park, which would remain the ultimate responsibility of both local authorities.


Dates of future meetings

Members are asked to bring their diaries to the meeting so that dates can be agreed for the coming period.


The suggested date for the next meeting is Friday 26 January 2018


Members agreed the proposed date for the forthcoming meeting as Friday 26 January from 6.30pm at Chiswick Town Hall.


Urgent Business

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


No urgent business was raised.