A special message for the readers of London West from Steve Curran, Leader of the Council at Hounslow Borough Council:

” As summer draws to a close, we now face further challenges in Hounslow with a further steep rise in unemployment and residents applying for Universal Credit as a direct result of the pandemic affecting all sectors of our local economy; business, commercial, construction, leisure and entertainment.

Layered on top of this, we now have the rapid constriction of the airline industry which effects Hounslow more than any other borough in London and the wider West London economy. That said, the Council is determined to lead the way on behalf of our residents and businesses in facing this unparallel challenge. We’ve already set up and have held two meetings of our Economic Recovery Programme board which has representatives from all sectors of our economy from higher and further education, to the construction and development industry (Barratt Plc and Berkeley Group), the NHS, other public bodies and Heathrow Airport Ltd. This board is concentrating on steering the work the Council is doing to encourage further growth and development within the borough and to further stimulate sustainable regeneration. 

Now is the time to look afresh at the types of industries and jobs available to our residents and businesses in Hounslow, how we fill the gap with the lost jobs in the airline industry and one area of particular interest is the Green Economy (whatever that means). There are many discussions taking place at the moment including through the West London Alliance, London Councils, the Mayor of London’s Office and Government to really understand what this means and then how this fits in with the Council’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030. 

With the Prime Minister’s announcement to “build, build, build” and the Governments proposed changes to the planning system, we face further uncertainty. I have never believed that the planning system hinders good sustainable development and growth, far from it I think it supports it. If you look at the track record of Hounslow and another good example, the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham under the leadership of Cllr Darren Rodwell, it speaks for itself. We have to be very careful with these proposed changes to the planning system that we don’t throw the baby out with the bath water, particularly with regard to 106 agreements and substandard sized accommodation which neither meets the needs of the residents/tenants or their local community. You can read a very strong article from Cllr Rodwell, Executive member for Housing and Planning for London Councils in this week’s Inside Housing

We’ve had further difficult news last week with Brentford Football Club losing their playoff final to Fulham!! As they lost their opportunity to go into the Premiership, this too unfortunately has a significant negative financial impact on Hounslow. But the good news is that Brentford Football Club will open their new stadium in September for the new season and they will be joined by London Irish Rugby Football Club as their new tenant at the new community stadium in Lionel Road, Brentford.

On a more positive note, we’ve continued with our Planning Committees during the summer months and we will be holding two planning committee meetings in August which demonstrates our commitment to growth and development. I’m also looking forward to our Housing Development Team submitting our first planning application for five family eco houses later in the year, as part of our commitment to build 1000 new council homes. 

So, all in all there are many challenges ahead facing the Council, but we are determined to do the absolute best for our residents and businesses. “

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