Added 29 October 2021
OWGRA Planning Officer needed
OWGRA has been operating without a Planning Officer for the last year. We have been receiving some help, but the current situation is not sustainable in the longer term. If you have some experience of planning or know someone locally who does, and has an hour or two a week to spare, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org. This is an urgent and important need, as planning is at the core of OWGRA’s work.
Added 31 October 2021
Air quality at Gillette Corner
Since early July this year Breathe London have been continuously monitoring nitrogen dioxide and PM 2.5 particulates levels at this busy road junction, to add to their expanding network of measured locations London-wide. Eventually this data will be merged with the established London Air Quality Network (LAQN).
Do visit https://www.breathelondon.org then click on the map, reference point (1) to view the last seven days of real-time data for Gillette Corner. Interestingly, there are a significant number of school locations on the map, many of which show reassuringly modest air quality improvements from times past.
Also view the graphs of Gillette Corner’s data from 22nd - 29th September. Alarmingly, on that same Wednesday (22nd) the World Health Organisation announced a huge reduction in its guideline limits for air pollution, stating that this reflects the large body of recent evidence of the deadly harm to people caused by much lower levels than their scientists thought.
Viz: AIR POLLUTION LIMIT VALUES (micrograms per cubic metre)
Pollutant UK/EU Current Old WHO NEW WHO
NO2 40 40 10
PM 10 40 20 15
PM 2.5 25 10 5
Of course, this chimes well with the urgent need to massively cut carbon emissions (much of which is transport-linked) in order to slow the rate of global warming. In other words, cutting emissions will help improve air quality, (but it is not the only solution). Even electric- and hydrogen-powered vehicles produce clouds of particles from brakes, tyres and the road surface, the smallest of which are the most harmful to health. Recently-developed technology, however, can dramatically reduce what gets dispersed from moving traffic, so it is to be hoped implementation on all vehicles can be fast-tracked.
The effect of the newly expanded ULEZ is expected to lower carbon and nitrogen dioxide levels within it, and at least initially result in fewer moving vehicles and some reduction in suspended particulates in the air. However, until government incentivises a much faster shift away from fossil-fuelled transport, continued traffic congestion and the accompanying air pollution is likely to affect routes outside the ULEZ borders.
Added 11 November 2021
Armistice Day Act of Remembrance at the Borough Road War Memorial
OWGRA took part in the Service of Commemoration at the Borough Road War Memorial on Thursday 11 November 2021 at 11 am. This war memorial commemorates the students and tutors of Borough Road College who died in the two world wars 1914-1918 and 1939-1945.
OWGRA Chairman, Cliff Assi, laid a wreath on behalf of OWGRA. Wreaths were also laid on behalf of Hounslow Council, Isleworth & Syon School for Boys, Green School for Girls, Green School for Boys, Ashton House School and First Osterley Scouts. The commemoration was presided over by Rev Elis Matthews from St Mary's Church (Church of England) and Fr Mark Leenane from St Vincent de Paul Church (Roman Catholic).
For the history of Borough Road College see
Added 29 October 2021
New scam Hotline 159
A new hotline number of 159 is being trialled for dealing easily and quickly with suspected telephone banking fraud. For more details see https://stopscamsuk.org.uk/159 and https://www.which.co.uk/news/2021/09/can-the-new-159-anti-fraud-hotline-stop-impersonationscams .
Added 23 September 2021
Weekly community litter picks kick off in Osterley in cooperation with Bolder Academy and Hounslow Highways
OWGRA in partnership with Bolder Academy and Hounslow Highways has finalised a community project that will see up to 20 Bolder students on weekly litter pick outings in the Osterley area along with accompanying teachers and volunteering local residents.
Hounslow Highways have provided all the equipment needed such as gloves, litter pickers and green bags and they will be collecting the litter after every outing.
The project is part of the school’s Duke of Edinburgh awards program and the litter picks will be carried out every week over a period of 36 weeks during the school year.
Come back soon to see how the students are getting on and for our ‘Before/After’ pictures.
On behalf of the local community OWGRA takes this opportunity to thank Bolder Academy and Hounslow Highways for the essential parts they are playing in this project.
If you would like to help on one of these trips, please contact OWGRA at email@example.com
Added 3 September 2021
TESCO EXTRA OSTERLEY NOW RECYCLES SOFT PLASTICS
Good news that our Tesco Extra Osterley is now recycling soft plastics, Including food and pet pouches, any plastic bags and wrappers, any plastic film, and crisp packets. The collection point is inside the store beside the checkouts and near the toilets.
Added 3 September 2021
CLOTHES AND SHOES RECYCLING
The Salvation Army has placed collection bins for second hand clothes and shoes in the Tesco car park near the pedestrian entrance beside MacFarlane Lane.
Added 3 September 2021
ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone)
The ULEZ is being extended from 25 October 2021 from Central London to include the area within the North and South Circular Roads,
This could affect quite a few OWGRA members. If you have a diesel vehicle you should have already received a letter about this. If you are not sure if your vehicle meets the required standard to enable you to enter the extended ULEZ you can check here: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/check-your-vehicle
A practical example is that if your car does not meet the required standard of emissions, if you drive to Kew Retail Park or Mortlake Crematorium, which will be inside the extended ULEZ, you will need to pay a charge of £12.50 per day, or a penalty charge of £160 (reduced to £80 if paid within 14 days).
There will probably be a lot of publicity about this in the local media in the run up to the start date of 25 October!
Added 1 February 2021
Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) in the Osterley and Spring Grove (OSG) Area
The Government and TfL have provided funding for councils to install low traffic neighbourhoods in areas such that drivers can only use major routes other than for access – effectively turning many side roads into cul-de-sacs. Not every London borough has taken this up, but Hounslow has. The way of implementing these would be by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) like in the cul-de-sacs round the Nishkam School, or by planters blocking off the roads.
The effect on Osterley and Spring Grove is that there are seven LTNs planned for the area, of which 3 only cover cul-de-sac vicinities like the Wyke Estate. The key ones are therefore the top four.
- LTN 22b Whole of main Osterley Village area up to Wood Lane
- LTN 26a Osterley St Mary’s Church and Spring Grove area (called Isleworth North)
- LTN 26c Burlington / Spencer Road area plus a couple of cul-de-sacs off Thornbury Rd to the West
- LTN 26d Northumberland Estate
- LTN 66 Sidmouth Avenue
- LTN 57 Wyke Estate
- LTN 56 Oaklands Avenue
You can see a map showing these by clicking here.
The current state of play is that none of these has actually been implemented yet, and our local Councillors tend to support the option of ANPR rather than planters. The Osterley Village LTN is further back in the implementation timetable than the Isleworth North one and neither are now likely to go ahead before the London Mayoral election this May and there should be far more consultation than previously, especially with regard to the Osterley Village one, as instructed by the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
Survey conducted by OWGRA
OWGRA ran a survey in the autumn of 2020 to see how much support there was for the LTNs in the area, with the following results (summarised version thereof)
The results of the OWGRA survey were as follows:
General Principle of LTNs:
Other Response: 6.5%
Clearly this is an anti-LTN majority. Comments included – ‘if residents support then yes‘, and ‘it depends on the proposals’.
Method of LTN enforcement:
Planter / Blockage: 22%
Various comments included ‘No monitoring‘ and ‘They shouldn’t be‘ and other similar negative comments – one of the more positive ones included ‘More speed humps and speed cameras‘ and suggestions of using better road signs so that people are not confused. One pro ANPR comment said that residents should have free passage through.
These responses effectively confirm that people want ANPR access to their own area and planters are unpopular.
The repeated theme is for ‘rigorous consultation‘ with several respondents taking the opportunity to say again that they don’t want it.
One particularly cynical commenter observed that there should be no ‘cherry picking green propaganda‘
- At least one person is in favour of the council car reduction and active travel policies
- Several people say the area is ‘already low traffic‘ and thus the LTN is not needed.
- More than one respondent expresses specific concern about the prospect of queues tailing back on Thornbury Rd at the junction with the A4 if that becomes the only way through the area. During the past year the traffic on Thornbury Road has reduced, unsurprisingly, such that, about 5pm one day in the summer, there were hardly any cars in the queue, whereas when Osterley Road was closed for safety works, the queue was tailing back to Church Road. Of course, if people in the Isleworth North LTN could all get out through Osterley Rd, that would make life easier for them specifically.
- Several people suggested speed humps on St Mary’s Crescent possibly because it could provide a route through the Osterley Village area to avoid having too many cars going past the shops and Osterley Park gates if Jersey Road is permitted as a through route.
- At least one respondent mentioned the lack of public transport in the area as underlined by the poor PTAL (Public Transport Accessibility Level) rating. Another person mentioned that improving public transport should be part of a wider strategy to reduce car use rather than just the LTN method on its own.
- The disastrous fallout from the Northfields and Hanwell LTNs has not gone unnoticed by Osterley residents, with more than one respondent mentioning we need to beware the kind of design that has bedevilled them.
- One respondent does mention the prospect of the LTNs only operating during peak periods – this would reflect the School Streets approach.
- The Northumberland Estate LTN does get a specifically favourable comment
4. LTNs outside Osterley and Spring Grove
The only actual implementation of this type of restriction in the broader Isleworth area is the closure of several roads near West Middlesex Hospital to through traffic going from London Road to Twickenham Road to enable more walking and cycling. These are the parallel roads Teesdale Gardens, Teesdale Avenue, and Amhurst Gardens. That means you can’t drive down these roads from London Road at one end to Twickenham Road at the other unless you are accessing someone’s home or business premises, such as the Tesco Express car park. From Osterley, you thus need to go down St John’s Road or down to Busch Corner to get to Twickenham Road. This is despite relatively heavy footfall round the London Road and St John’s Road shops and the train station, and round the two Green Schools at Busch Corner. At least one Osterley resident has said that this increases their journey to work at West Middlesex Hospital. The roads are set up to be policed by ANPR so that the residents themselves can come and go from both ends and drive round the block. This helps reduce any traffic queues from the type of worst-case scenario that residents in Hanwell and Northfields have seen in their LTNs (in Ealing).
5. Scrutiny Committee Review within Hounslow
Such were the concerns of Chiswick Councillors and our own Councillor Richard Eason, amongst others, that the Council’s programme was taken to the Scrutiny Committee of the Ccouncil on November 30th, 2020.
The grounds for the call-in were:
- Inadequate consultation with stakeholders prior to the decision;
- Inadequate evidence on which to base the decision;
- The action was not proportionate to the desired outcome;
- A potential human rights or equalities challenge.
The Committee considered the grounds for call-in and made the following recommendations:
- There had been inadequate consultation prior to the decision. The Committee considered that Ward Councillors had not been consulted properly nor had stakeholders, people who are digitally excluded and people with protected characteristics.
- There was inadequate evidence on which to base the decision. The Committee believed modelling should have been done prior to the decision.
- The action taken was not proportionate to the desired outcome. Based on the evidence, the Committee found that in the design of Phase 3 local need and impact should have been considered.
There were grounds for a potential equalities or human rights challenge. Based on the evidence they received, the Committee considered the equality impact assessment was inadequate.
Further details of the Committee’s decision can be found via this link
6. Implications of recent court case relating to black cab access to Bishopsgate (in the City)
Recently a court case found that the general principle of these LTNs could be regarded as discriminatory towards people with protected characteristics. The specific findings of the case, providing TfL are unable to successfully appeal, are likely to mainly benefit cab drivers, which may include Uber or minicab drivers in the suburbs. However, if individual borough pressure groups have the same kind of success in local court cases against Councils, the LTN rollout may be halted.