I am pleased to report that nearly 90 years after its inception, HRA continues to be acknowledged for its participation in local matters, particularly with safeguarding the environment and the quality of life for local residents.
Planning and Environment issues remain top of the agenda.
We continue to wait for the Government’s delayed decision on possible expansion at Heathrow and the outcome of the Public Inquiry held in June 2015 which would affect the future of the Cranford Agreement.
Locally, HRA has associated itself with a number of major proposals including the use of Green Belt, MOL and Local Open Spaces for both residential and educational developments and also the West of the Borough Plan.
Rectory Farm remains high on our agenda, with a Public Inquiry in September pending following Hounslow Council’s refusal to approve in April 2015 a planning application submitted in March 2013 to extract gravel and sand, construct subterranean commercial units and provide a new public park, privately managed. We await a new application for Rectory Farm in the next few months again seeking permission to extract gravel and sand by a subterranean procedure, which would be more environmentally friendly and develop the opportunity for beneficial commercial use as well as retaining the important open space for public use.
HRA continues to monitor planning applications on a weekly basis and enforcement notices, the majority being associated with residential development, principally with ground floor rear extensions, roof extensions and outbuildings and inevitably the Rogue Landlord. H R A regularly challenges the Local Planning Authority regarding the conditions applicable to the development and use of such structures.
We have engaged in extended and in depth comment and we believe justified criticism of the management of the abolition of the Planning Enforcement Sub Committee and the replacement procedure which we consider lacks credence, transparency, democratic procedure and certainly fails to appreciate the concept high on the Council’s agenda of Citizen Engagement. In addition, HRA has questioned the management of the planning and accounting procedure relating to S106 funds, and again the lack of transparency.
The many changes in Hounslow are regularly reported, the pressure on services, the need for more houses including affordable units, for more school places, the demographic changes, growth in the size of family units. All of these have a significant knock-on effect on the infrastructure and essential services.
Local Government is big business, it may not have share holders, but it has a responsibility to thousands of residents. It is estimated that Hounslow’s employment
level will increase by 14% to 166,000 between 2011 and 2036. London’s population will rise from 8.2 million in 2011 to an estimated 10.1 million by 2036 (23%). Hounslow’s population is projected to rise from 254,900 in 2011 to 314.8 million in 2030 an increase of nearly 60,000 or 23.5%.
There is a need to retain the integrity and the character of specific areas within ward areas. The Heston and Cranford areas are witnessing change, currently illustrated for example by the developments in New Heston Road.
Another significant change affecting the community has been the introduction of the Wheeled Bin, which will become a fortnightly collection later in the year. The weekly kerbside recycling is to be retained following a decision not to introduce a co-mingling wheeled bin collection and the new fee paying collection of garden waste and all this under the umbrella of Lampton 360 from November 2016. A new dry-recycling depot is to be developed on the old Western International Market site for which a planning application has recently been submitted.
Financially, as you will see from the Accounts, the Association is extremely sound, the balance sheet benefited from a surplus in 2015 of £892 and now stands at a healthy £24,802.
The strength of any organisation is dependent on its membership and whilst the membership declined slightly in 2015 to 585, it remains healthy and despite some losses we continue to attract some new members.
HRA Officers and members continue to attend Planning Meetings and the Heston & Cranford Area Forum and HRA plays an active role in the G15+ group of Residents’ Associations and Amenity Groups and is represented at The Hounslow Residents’ Forum.
Our “house” magazine RAM continues to flourish providinga both local and postal members with news of local, principally Council business, of our activities and endeavours and I trust other interesting and informative features.
I should again like to thank RAM Editor, Lyn Streather, for her sterling efforts during the last twelve months and also Mercolour Graphics Ltd for their continued support.
My thanks to all the members who distribute RAM each month and to the Advertisers who continue to support Heston Residents’ Association
In conclusion, my thanks to all those who have supported me as Chairman, with a particular mention for Vivienne for both her contribution as Secretary and at times a more than useful sounding board. Thanks also to those who have regularly attended the monthly meetings, your presence is greatly appreciated.
Once again, I have very briefly, tried to embrace and provide the membership with a resume of what the Association has been engaged with since the last AGM. We will continue to make our voice heard and our views known.
By doing that we can continue to try to ensure that the quality of life for the resident is respected and upheld.
D R Blackett