Following the construction of the Great West Road in the mid 1920s a significant amount of commercial and residential development began and in the Heston area many new housing estates sprang up. An area, which had previously been basically rural and indeed agricultural, with market gardening the principal activity, began to take on an urban feel.
The developments seem to have been ongoing ever since, with the added impetus from the presence of Heathrow, with certainly more to come in the future
With the attraction of work, many people moved into the area, settling into their new properties. With this “explosion of population” in the local area came the requirement for services, schools, health, recreation and so on, the need for a supportive infra-structure..
The outcome of change and the expectations and demands of the new residents was the creation in 1928 of Heston Ratepayers’ Association, now of course Heston Residents’ Association, .the people’s champion, their representative
The Dedication attributed to the Association is basically the same now as it was nearly 90 years ago “to the preservation of our heritage and the maintenance of an acceptable standard of the environment for all residents.” It may have been massaged a little but it stems from the same need.
The quality of life is as important now as it was then, perhaps even more so.
Now, just as in that pre Second World War ll period, this Association continues to associate itself with change and as in those early years there is a continued necessity for Hounslow Council to be reminded of the needs and expectations of its residents. It has a responsibility!
Today, there is a huge demand for housing about which we are constantly being reminded, New Heston Road, Lampton Road and Hounslow Town Centre are examples of both current and future developments and there will be more; there simply has to be.
There has however for many years been an ongoing problem, the failure, I believe, of the local authority to put in place the local infrastructure which meets the needs of the increase in population, education, health and so on; Hounslow’s population is projected to grow from 255,000 in 2011 to 315,000 in 2030, an increase of 23.5%. There is of course also the invisible element, that is not accounted for and which eludes the system.
There is a target for the ten years to 2025 for over 8,000 new properties to be built in the borough, we are quite simply becoming hemmed in. Added to this are the many hundreds of developments to existing properties, both legal and illegal, which are occurring in every street in the borough. The strain on the services is quite simply enormous, the system can no longer cope.
The structure of the local population has changed, is changing, it will continue to do so, putting even greater strain on the local economy. Hounslow is of course not unique, but it does have significant differences, demographic and otherwise, within its boundaries, which were unimaginable in 1928.
We are constantly threatened with the possibility of development on Green Belt land, on Metropolitan Open Land and Local Open Space, which are vital ingredients in securing a quality of life, a breathing space for residents. The simple answer, and that of many architects and developers, to meet the demand and also of course to achieve the best return on investment, is quite simply to build up. We are confronted with this prospect with every major development.
There is therefore an ongoing challenge for associations, like HRA, to do all they possibly can to safeguard the interests of the local people, winning is difficult, witness the approval of the Nishkam School in Syon Lane, despite a lengthy battle by local residents. There will be other such instances, for example on the Great West Road.
Cranford Lane is to have a new Health Centre scheduled to open in early 2019, but that is not without its problems in as much as it will become home to 4 practices instead of the present 3, but there only be 32 car parking spaces! There is an article in the April RAM.
We are in the middle of being provided with a new Waste & Recycling Service, now in the hands of the Council’s own Lampton 360. But it is already stuttering with residents suffering in not having a satisfactory waste disposal service at Space Waye and the new Materials Handling Facility in Southall Lane with the construction work already falling behind the scheduled programme, as is the introduction of new recycling containers and of course the planned fortnightly waste collection service. The latter will probably not worry too many residents.
In the foregoing I have tried to highlight some of the problems and challenges we are confronted by today, nearly 90 years on, if not different they are certainly far greater.
To other matters, our monthly magazine RAM, I am pleased to record continues to attract favourable comment as does the work that the Association does in the local area. Our presence at various meetings and the contribution that attending members make is noted and our views are sought. We work with other Residents Groups through G15+ and the Residents’ Association Forum.
In conclusion, my thanks to the general membership for its support, to Committee Members, to RAM distributors, particularly Clive Burnett, and also to all of our advertisers who support RAM to make known their services.
I must single out once again Vivienne for her valuable support and to Lyn Streather, who puts RAM together. To Mercolour Graphics who have printed the magazine for many years. The contributions made and the membership support is vital, it acts as a stimulant to carry on with the work which commenced so many years ago.
D R Blackett, Chairman, Heston Residents’ Association