Chiswick councillor objects to reappointment of Hounslow chair after he “misled” committee

Image above: Entrance to Burlington Lane from A316 blocked by barrier which will now become a permanent fixture

“Flagrant abuse” endorsed by the Labour Pary whips, says Chiswick councillor

Cllr Sayyar Raza has been reconfirmed as Chair of Hounslow Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee at the AGM of the Hounslow Labour Party last night (Monday 16 May).

The councillor has been accused of misleading the committee over the issue of the most recent decision on traffic management in the south Chiswick Low Traffic Neighbourhood. Under these circumstance it is wrong that he should continue as chair, Chiswick Conservative Councillor Jack Emsley told The Chiswick Calendar.

“It is shocking to have a councillor mislead a committee. It is completely beyond the confines of the constitution and what we are asked to do as councillors.

“He is putting party before good governance and for the Labour party to reappoint him as chair it shows they are not taking the Overview and Scrutiny committee seriously.”

Freedom of Information request shows Cllr Raza misrepresented response from residents

Cllr Raza told the Overview and Scrutiny Committee he had received “hundreds of emails saying how good the LTN scheme is.”

Members of the public, including Conservative Party member Joe Hamblin, put in Freedom of Information requests (FOI) to see if this was true. The FOI response revealed Raza received 75 emails on the subject.

The Council has not divulged the content of the emails:

“To provide you with copies of each email received, the Council will need to contact and consult with each resident who has sent an email. This will take a significant amount of time to conduct.”

But Conservative members of the Overview Committee were copied on 74 of those emails, and say only two were in favour of the proposal to make the schemes permanent, 71 were against and 1 was unclear (argued the merits of both sides without a conclusion).

Oversight and Scrutiny Committee “should be objective”

“It is the job of the Oversight and Scrutiny Committee to look objectively at decisions made by the Council” Cllr Emsley told The Chiswick Calendar.

“If you mislead the Committee it is flagrant abuse. Cllr Raza misrepresented what residents had been telling him.

“I am sure the Labour whips would have asked him whether he misled the committee, but they decided to elect him anyway.”

The issue of traffic restrictions is a political hot potato. Conservative councillors have opposed the restrictions introduced in Grove Park, though even they are not united on the issue. Residents disagree, depending on where they live, over whether there should be access to Grove Park from the A316 for people who do not live there.

The traffic restrictions have seen access blocked at Hartington Rd, Staveley Rd and Burlington Lane for all except those with permits, to stop thousands of commuters driving through the residential area. Everyone else driving in from the east has to drive to Hogarth roundabout and along the A4 to enter Grove Park from Sutton Court Rd.

The Chiswick Calendar understands it was not only Conservative councillors who objected to the reappointment of Cllr Gaza as committee chair. We were told his reappointment at the Labour Party AGM was “a close run thing” and he was challenged by another Labour councillor.

Meanwhile Hounslow Council has published the ‘final’ details of the Grove Park LTN scheme, which will now be enforced by a permanent traffic order.