What is Infrastructure?
This is a view from my 5th floor flat. We must ensure that this type of structure is not a view that will be common place, the council and its stakeholder partners must take into consideration the well being of current residents and the long term future of Brentford.
Whitton High Street regeneration or accident waiting to happen.
The widening of pedestrian pathways has narrowed the much used road to such an extent that larger vehicles like buses and delivery lorries can't pass each other with a clear safety margin. This must be assessed before a major accident happens.
The bus stop at The Bell in Hounslow.
Once the area has been completed, we can assess if it has enhanced the area and helped people.
What is Infrastructure?
Infrastructure is the fundamental (basic) design around which a community is built or regenerated, it is the design and attention to detail that will make a community work.
The provision of accommodation (flats and houses) in proportion to an area, with access to local shops, hospitals, doctors, dentists, nurseries, schools, youth facilities (well placed play areas for the young etc) day centres for the elderly with transport facilities provided and professional as well as voluntary care available..
Affordable public transport and adequate community parking, reasonable access to larger supermarkets useing roads that are well maintained and fit for use in the 21st century.
Please note my references to: The council promise to build (quoted by the council) is not actually true. The statements made by the council should read; The council will give permission to private developers to build properties for sale (to entice new families to buy in Hounslow). Some blinkered councillors obviously expect us to believe that affordable new housing in Hounslow applies to current residents living on an average salary can or should be able to offord a new build property. I DON'T THINK SO!
Our labour council promised to build in the region of 2,500 new homes in the last term of office and they probably reached that target, I am given to understand that the the council propose to build another 3,000 or more in this term but at what cost? to our community.The blame for over population must fall squarely on this labour council's failure to plan ahead. This council is allowing planners to dictate the future of our communities. We must force the council to act in our best interest.
I think " promise to build" is a politcal dysphemism as it is not they who do the building nor is it the residents of Hounslow who reap the benefit. It is the builder of the property and the new residents (at a price) who gain, the Council only gain a small percentage of the total build (if any) and obviously obtain council taxes according to the size of the property. The promise of new homes should read the Council will allow property developers to build and make huge profits by enticing new families to Hounslow.
What the council neglect to say is that these properties have been or will be built with very little or no changes in infrastructure and that only a small percentage would be designated as council housing for local residents. The vast majority would be for new people who can afford the price of a new build in Hounslow.
I must add that my remarks are not aimed at the new families but directly at the Council who are allowing new builds without infastructure.
All prospective purchasers of properties should be asking what changes in infrastructure are planned as this will impact on their current standard of living and of course the future value of the property they purchase.
The council are looking at how much they will receive as income from the new wealthier residents these properties are obviously aimed at. Is Brentford going to biuld a new marina on or near Watermans (once Wartermans has moved) This will obviously sit well alongside all the new properties that have and and will continue to be built in close proximity. I wait and wonder what local residents will gain from this Marina and what accolade will be courted by those councillors who are backing the new marina.
The new developments in Brentford are a prime example of overbuild with minimal or no change in area infrastructure.
Ways to improve our communities
Ensuring the provision of care is provided at standard rates to all care home residents. Hounslow must not attempt to profit by acting as the service suppling agent by hiking the hourly rate of the in house service provider to profit from individuals who must have extra care.
Sheltered accomodation must be provided as a high priority and maintained to the required standard. We must accept that some people will need the security and safety of a sheltered unit and this need will increase over the coming years. This labour council is reducing sheltered units and is expecting people to stay in accomodation that will ensure a life of solitary confinement.
We only need to look at our roads at the weekend to see that commuters play a big part in road congestion causing weekday community parking problems and air pollution.
We should look at park and ride for commuters on our main approach roads, this would alleviate through traffic pollution and local community parking problems.
Of course there is a cost but some of this would be offset by the commuters who now park for free.
The condition of many residential roads in Hounslow is appalling, we must bring foward the resurfacing programme and ensure that future roadworks by organisations (providing services) are strictly monitored and regulations are in place to put the onus of repair quality on the company! not the residents of the borough.
The school run must also add to pollution, is costly in money terms and very time consuming. We must have more quality local schools. Not just addons that do not meet the requirements of today let alone the future.
Dare I say (off road) cycle lanes, cycle poficiency and cycle maintenance with an emphasis on rider protective clothing and headgear for all riders plus ways of tracing offenders.
The widening of paths in our local high streets has an adverse effect on motorised transport and puts cyclists in danger on the road and then pedestrians in harms way when a rider decides to take to the path.
Assurances that the free travel pass for the elderly will not be scrapped. The freedom pass is a lifeline for the elderly who are able to get out. For some it is the only opportunity to meet other people.
The criteria for the "Blue Badge" must be reassessed to take into account the disability and safety of individuals.
Standardising new build properties, ensuring all new build and refurbished properties are designed to alleviate extensive alterations when access becomes an issue.
A major issue is the width of staircases and external and internal doors and lifts.
Access and forward planning in case of an emergency.
Provision of security, especially door entry and cctv equipment.
Why can’t we standardise all new and refurbishment projects to accommodate easy access for wheelchairs and chair lifts as well as furniture, kitchen appliances and the height of electrical sockets (who needs these 6 inches above the floor) etc. Of course cost will raise its head, but if it’s standardised for the future, running costs will level out, moving people in "need" or excessive expenditure for alterations to properties on health grounds will be minimised.
Why are residents not asked for views on room sizes, access, the positioning of electric lights and sockets, windows, doors etc? We live with architecs mistakes for decades!
Parking is also an ever growing issue! this council will tell us that parking is not a priority but to most working class residents IT IS! Parking restrictions on our residential roads is happening now. We will be forced to pay a fixed yearly fee for a permit that will not gaurantee us a parking space.
This council was elected by us to act in our best interests, lets see our councilors asking us what we want before they dictate what we will get.
These are only my thoughts, I have always believed that residents should have a say in how they live.
I am not saying this will produce utopia, but we must look at how we live now and what we can do to lessen the burden on our communities now! As well as provide a platform for the foreseeable future.
Did you know!
Hounslow has the second worst doctor to patient ratio in England.
Hounslow has closed a large number of day centres for the elderly.
Hounslow has stopped transport facilities for the elderly and reduced school buses.
Hounslow have refused funding to a number of voluntary organisations providing essential services to vulnerable and disabled people.
Hounslow has made big changes to resident participation. Hounslow Council should make it easier for groups to form and flourish not insist on council involvement, they should however assist with venues and basic costs without bureaucratic obstacles to obstruct the good voluntary work by people who do care.