All lit up like a high-rise brothel
Roll up, roll up, it’s bargain time in Brentford’s closing down sale – everything must go. You are already too late for any planning policy – that all went the other night.
Never mind, Brentford will soon be even more brilliant – lit up like a brothel.
Last Thursday, June 14, Hounslow’s sustainable development (planning) committee approved the installation of illuminated signage on the top of Boulton House, one of the six 65-metre (23-storey) residential tower blocks in Green Dragon Lane. These buildings are owned by the council and managed by Hounslow Homes.
This decision was taken (6:5) despite objections from several residents groups, English Heritage, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the London Borough of Richmond and from individual residents and in spite of the planning officer’s clear recommendation for refusal.
Paris is apparently the town planning role-model – the advert-strewn blocks of the northern approaches were invoked by the developer as an appropriate model for Brentford.
I was not aware that the banlieue of northern Paris was known for engendering a sense of place.
What next you may ask? Why not an M4 by-pass snaking above the Thames from Kew to Windsor?
Apparently the M4 and the Golden Mile are to be the defining features of our borough used to set the context and character of all neighbouring areas.
Any building that can be seen by motorists travelling on the M4 is an ‘appropriate’ site for placing illuminated advertising.
Perhaps one of the six towers on Green Dragon Lane could advertise itself, ‘Hounslow Homes – nice places to take Ad-vantage of’.
It certainly gives a new meaning to affordable housing.
If it is necessary, in these difficult economic times, to derive income from these towers, why not install solar panels – a truly sustainable solution?
My plea to the committee on Thursday evening emphasised the harm that permitting illuminated signage on one or more of the tower blocks would do to the character and visual amenity of sites within the borough and further afield.
These included sites of London-wide, national and international importance – including the World Heritage Site of The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.
Such signage would compromise the regeneration of Brentford and of Gunnersbury Park – two of the important regeneration projects being undertaken by the council.
I concluded by saying: “The London Borough of Hounslow has the good fortune to enjoy a wealth of natural and architectural assets, including those associated with the Thames.
“This richness should be celebrated and the potential of these assets harnessed in order to retain and, wherever possible, increase the borough’s attractiveness for residents, workers and visitors alike.
“It is thus vital for the borough to protect these assets from damage by inappropriate development.”
My plea fell, alas for us all, on ears more attuned to the siren song of advertising revenue.
Vice-chairman, West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society
Help is still there for cash-cut clubs
Your article, ‘Old folk fear cash cuts will leave them housebound’, gives the impression that these clubs are being left unsupported when what we have done is correct a situation where they received benefits unavailable to other similar groups.
As was said in the article, these historical arrangements were an anomaly that gave preferential treatment to just six local clubs, which was unfair on hundreds of other clubs across the borough.
We consulted with, and have listened to, the concerns of the clubs affected, and are putting in transitional arrangements to help them.
They are all able to access the community transport scheme used by other clubs, and we have also deferred the changes for a year for all six clubs to give them more time to adapt.
CLLR GURMAIL LAL,
Cabinet member for adult social care
Borough has not rejected Airtrack
Your recent article (Borough denies giving support to revised Airtrack) somehow managed to turn a decision that hasn’t yet been taken on a proposal that is not yet concrete into something we oppose.
I hope you will allow me to set the record straight.
In principle we would support any public transport scheme which helped lessen congestion on our roads and made it easier to get to and from Heathrow for our residents, either as passengers or workers.
This has been our position for all the past Airtrack schemes, which proposed to link existing railway lines to Heathrow Airport in order to relieve pressure on the Piccadilly line and on our roads.
The latest idea, to use the Hounslow loop as part of a train line from Waterloo to Heathrow, would seem to be in the interest of residents and as such, if it becomes a possibility, we would be interested in it being developed further.
Hounslow Council will be working with partners, including other local authorities, BAA, the rail industry and the Department for Transport to help shape what we would hope to be a joint proposal.
A formal process of adopting any future scheme into council policy would follow in due course.
There may be much to support, but we also must ensure that our primary aim is that the maximum potential benefits of any new scheme are for Hounslow residents and businesses.
CLLR COLIN ELLAR
Deputy leader and cabinet member for environment
London Borough of Hounslow