Born in 1952 I lived with my parents in Chiswick, West London for 19 years and for most of my life, apart from a year in the early 70's whilst I was playing rugby.
I live with my wife, son and granddaughter in Charlton House Brentford.
I have been a member of the tenants association since 2002 and was the elected Chairperson of The Charlton House Residents Association for some 10 or so Years.
Early in 2019 I decided that I could no longer devote enough time to the T.R.A as I had been elected as the Unite Union representative of Hounslow Heath bus garage and from 1st May 2019 I stood down as T.R.A chairperson to allow someone else to take the helm.
As of the 23rd November I once again accepted the vacant position of Chairperson of Charlton House TRA.
I am currently the "Unite Union" representative in Hounslow Heath bus garage. But this does not stop me having a view on local issues.
As the Chairman of The Charlton House Residents Association, I must remind you that everything you read on these pages are my personal thoughts, observation and experiences, any statistics quoted are fact and can be obtained from various sources on the internet.
My thoughts, observations and my personal experiences dealing with Hounslow Council.
Some of my statements below may sound contradictory but I hope you understand where I am coming from.
Our local councillors face the same problems as our elected MP's in central government.
A vast amount of voters believe that these elected representatives know everything!
At hustings (pre voting forums) candidates are questioned on numerous and vastly diverse subjects as well as current media fuelled headliners!
These prospective candidates don't know everything, most first time candidates will answer with a personal honest answer, but the seasoned candidate know what is required and will be much more area conscious and subject. The one question we should all ask is " Are you going to follow the voice of your electorate" Far to often ordinary people take office and forget about democracy (the voice of the people) and follow the party line (or the bully or loudest voice). Who wants controlled parking? who wants wider paths and less roadway? who wants 20mph on our roads? do we want more parking for local residents without paid permits? do we want our local roads fit for purpose? I could go on!
The london mayor (who's father used to be a "bus driver" as we are all reminded every time he is interviewed) needs to take his space suit off and start thinking about people living inside the M25. Why can't we have park and ride on major aproaches around the M25? Why can't we use canals to move heavy goods around/through London? Londoners need to take note of the people he serves not an astronaut without a rocket.
On a note much closer to home, why can't "this ex bus drivers son" see that "bus drivers" need a ruling from him to order TFL to follow the Loughborough report on driver fatigue.
Back to Local Issues
We believe our elected representatives act on a perceived personal knowledge and expect them to act on a consensus gathered from residents when deliberating the future interests and welfare of residents living in Hounslow.
Direct resident involvement can help to advise on changes.
Some voters say they expect an elected councillor to act in our best interest.
Most people have learnt not to expect anything from any prospective councillor until he/she comes up with the goods.
Who are the decision makers? Is it Our "elected" representatives or the bureaucratic system behind the scenes.
Representatives may raise valid reasons for new or alterations to current policy but these are always subject to alteration by the bureaucrats and our representatives have very little sway on design, the end results are not always recognisable when viewed with the initial concept. Most of all they are rarely in the best interest of residents/tenants once the faceless well paid bureaucratic system have altered the concept.
Changes to any concept are always driven by cost, liability, responsibility, current legislation and many more bureaucratic and out dated local legislation.
The bureaucrats ensure councillors have most answers at the ready when questioned about current subjects, but you will always know if an area is not covered as the standard reply is "I'll take the details and get back to you"!.
Many people have a perception that councillors know everything! Of course this is not true, the people who come up with the figures, legality, answers to awkward questions, current legislation and anything else that councillors debate, (argue for and against) and eventually endorse and implement, is recommended and produced by the vast amount of well paid people (bureaucrats) who are employed and in situ no matter which political party are in power.
Why don't we (the residents) feel or believe that councillors are listening or acting in OUR BEST INTEREST?
Because most of the time our ward counillors are bullied coerced and at the very least shouted down by those who have the loudest voice and are in a position of authority backed by council legislation passed to allow the chairperson to pass anything he/she wishes without consultation if needed.
Some councillors are very good and do their best, unfortunately there are some who have an eye on a future further up the political ladder (obviously helped by those faceless bureaucrats).
No names mentioned, but one inparticular has a facade of grandeur accompanied by ingratiating waffle and an ability to twist and turn a subject to sound attractive to the general public, this person has been known to bully and belittle councillors. This very personal view will give you the general picture of my total lack of faith and why this particular councillors lack of respect for his fellow councillors and Hounslow residents tarnishes the reputation of his position. It is unfortunate that those councillors who do their best are often bullied into submission and tarred with the same brush.
There is a saying “The end justifies the means” BUT AT WHAT COST TO THE RESIDENTS OF HOUNSLOW.
We are all aware of the financial climate and I am sure most residents acknowledge the council's duty to be prudent (careful in providing for the future). Please note: Council not Councillor’s
The residents of Hounslow should expect our elected representatives to have our interests and wellbeing at heart. Councillors should act on a collective knowledge gained from the people they represent not on personal opinion, aspirations, targeted personal bullying or by using the old political whip system to ensure alterations in current policies or completely new legislation formulated by the bureaucrats are forced through the legislative process.
A few cases in question:
1: The ever increasing adoption of controlled parking introduced by Hounslow Council.
2: The widening of high street paving which cuts down the width of roads, causing bottle necks.
3: The continual resurfacing of major roads to the detriment of side road resurfacing.
4: The construction of new properties without basic infrastructure. I am talking about building properties to bring new families into Hounslow when we can’t cope with the resident population already living in Hounslow.
No new doctors, dentists, hospital places, school places (I know that a few more are being added to some schools) as well as some new schools, public transport, fewer parking spaces with more parking restrictions to name but a few. Lack of parking in and around Hounslow High Street is a prime example of councillors not acting in our best interest, nor is in the best interests of local traders.
Our council must enhance how information is received and collected from residents.
Our ward councillors must not obstruct, alienate or believe they are better than the people who put them in a position of perceived trust. They should not pass incomplete fanciful or questionable information to representative bodies who give their time freely to represent residents, or individuals who question council actions.
We should also ensure future local councillors reside in a permanent place of residence in the borough throughout their term of office.
I am sure there is more to come.