A SCATHING attack on council plans to redevelop Hounslow town centre has been launched by a leading residents’ group.
Hounslow Central Residents Association (HCRA) this week accused Civic Centre leaders of failing to consult properly and making plans in secret.
The group described council efforts to draw up a ‘master plan’ for the town centre as ‘farcical’, claiming the document ignored key elements like Hounslow station and the Tesco planned at the east end of the High Street.
The fierce criticism comes just weeks after the council signed an ‘exclusivity’ deal with investment giant Legal & General Property (LGP) to redevelop the run-down car park opposite the ASDA.
It also follows the announcement of £2.75 million investment in the town centre, including £2m from London Mayor Boris Johnson.
HCRA press officer Trevor Timpson said: “It’s no surprise to us that the council decided to open negotiations with LGP in a secret vote (the decision was made behind closed doors at a cabinet meeting).
“The council could do a great deal better where public consultation is concerned. It has shut down the mechanism by which residents’ concerns over Key Site One (the Blenheim Centre, containing ASDA, and adjoining land) could be discussed at regular meetings.
“It has also completely ignored residents’ sensible ideas for the rescue of Holloway Street. The public sessions to draw up a ‘master plan’ for the town centre were rather farcical. From what we have seen of it so far the plan is mediocre, with howlers such as leaving out the railway station and the planned new Tesco.
“It makes no pretence of creating a town centre which is distinctive or has character.”
A council spokesman said: “It’s disappointing the HCRA isn’t as enthusiastic about the much needed regeneration of the town centre as we, and many local people, are. Next week, the master plan will be presented to cabinet.
"This was drafted following an early engagement exercise including the creation of a people’s panel to ensure local voices will continue to be central to shaping the town’s future.
“We are also working to establish a new business partnership within the town centre to represent the views of local retailers.
“We are determined to work with the whole community of residents, businesses and land owners to
ensure Hounslow gets the town centre it deserves.”