Former Hounslow Council Leader Steve Curran dies

Image above: Steve Curran in 2023

Former Council Leader dies after battle with lung cancer

The Former Leader of Hounslow Council, Steve Curran MBE, has died after a battle with lung cancer. Those who worked closely with him in LB Hounslow have said he will be “greatly missed”. His colleagues praised his achievements as Leader and his commitment to making Hounslow a better place to live.

Current Leader of Hounslow Council, Cllr Shantanu Rajawat, said:

“It is with great sadness that today we learnt of the passing of former Hounslow Council Labour Leader, Honorary Alderman Steve Curran MBE, after a long battle with cancer.

“This is a devastating loss for his loved ones, his colleagues who worked closely with him and the Hounslow community in which he took such pride. He had a sharp political mind, and when it came to redeveloping the borough he was a force of nature.”

Image above: Cllr Dunne and Cllr Curran

“He wanted what was best for Hounslow”

Among the tributes coming in since news of his death broke this morning, the current Deputy Leader of Hounslow Council Cllr Katherine Dunne, who worked closely with Steve as a member of his Cabinet and as a fellow ward councillor, told The Chiswick Calendar:

“It was a pleasure working with Steve as a ward councillor and his Cabinet. He wanted what was best for Hounslow and had the determination to achieve it. He will be greatly missed by family and friends.”

Ruth Cadbury MP

Ruth Cadbury, the MP for Brentford and Isleworth told us:

“I will miss him as a friend but also he was a great Council Leader and left an amazing legacy to Hounslow that he was proud of and that his family continue to be proud of. My sincere condolences to all of his family”.

Cllr Peter Thompson 

Chiswick Riverside ward councillor and Hounslow Conservative Group Leader Cllr Peter Thompson, said:

Steve “was committed to making our Borough a better place. All of us who knew him will be saddened by the news of Steve’s death after his long illness.

“Though we were on opposing sides in the Council Chamber I always found him to be a man of principle who was committed to making our Borough a better place.

“He led the borough through the pandemic and leaves behind a legacy of improvements that will stand the test of time.

“He worked tirelessly to regenerate parts of Hounslow, especially Brentford, and to bring investment into the borough. Our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends at this difficult time.”

Image above: Cllr Steve Curran at press conference outside Hounslow House during the pandemic

Leading Hounslow through the pandemic and financial crisis

As Leader he faced probably the biggest post war challenge local authorities have had to deal with, in dealing with the pandemic. More than 500 people in Hounslow died in the pandemic. Hounslow Council set up community hubs to deliver food parcels to people who were shielding.

“I was pleased at the way everyone came together” he told The Chiswick Calendar at the time; “it brought everyone together and we were all rowing in the same direction.”

When we interviewed him in April 2020 he told us:

“What keeps me awake at night is the thought that we might miss someone.”

READ ALSO: “What keeps me awake at night is the thought that we might miss someone.”

At the time, Steve said the collaboration the Council built up with the NHS and the police over that period created partnerships and introduced ways of working together that will last. He was very critical of the way in which the government handled Covid, in particular the way they dealt with local authorities on the front line of providing support.

READ ALSO: Government “risks lives” by not communicating with councils says Steve Curran

Image above: Cllr Katherine Dunne and Cllr Steve Curran breaking ground on a new housing project

“Thousands of families now have new homes”

Steve first became a councillor for the Labour Party in 2010 for Syon ward and served as the Cabinet Member for Education and Housing before becoming Leader in 2014. When he was awarded his MBE we asked him what he was most proud of, and he told us it was the creation of thousands of new council houses in the borough:

“Thousands of families now have new homes”, but he was also proud of his team’s record on the Council’s management of their finances during the years of austerity and financial crisis since 2010. At a time when other boroughs are worried about the treat of bankruptcy, Hounslow still has substantial financial reserves.

During his term as Leader the development of Brentford town centre began to take shape, Brentford FC planned and moved into their new stadium and Hounslow town centre saw a new development of housing and a new entertainment complex. In Chiswick he got the development of Dukes Meadows sports facilities under way, helping the Chiswick Rugy Club to acquire all weather pitches.

Deputy Leader Cllr Katherine Dunne told The Chiswick Calendar she thought Steve Curran would be remembered for the amount of development in Hounslow.

“He liked to get things done” she said. “I didn’t always agree with him, but once he’d made his mind up you just had to get on with it.”

“One of the last things I did with Steve, the day after his leaving party when he was not very well at all, we went to mark the breaking ground of Block D in Brentford town centre. There is an inscription with his name on and I think it is the thing he is most proud of.”

Chiswick Calendar editor Bridget Osborne

A man of conviction

“Steve would always tell you what he thought, and would always be happy to explain his decisions without hesitation” said editor of The Chiswick Calendar, Bridget Osborne.

“He was old school, he didn’t need a team of PR consultants to ‘manage’ what he said. He would always be happy to take my phone calls, or he would ring me back to give me a quote and explain the thinking behind a decision. He answered questions, didn’t dodge them, which is rare in politics these days, and it’s because he was clear about his reasons for taking the decisions he did.”

When he stood down as Leader in 2022 the news came as a shock to his colleagues. He announced he had made the “difficult” decision to stand down as leader before the 2022 local elections to receive cancer treatment.

READ ALSO: Councillors react to Steve Curran’s shock resignation

He dominated Council meetings with the force of his personality, aided by a quick wit. In the Council meeting at which he resigned, Chiswick Councillor Ron Mushiso thanked him for the advice which was given to him over the years especially when he first got elected, to which Cllr Curran quipped to laughter:

“Yeah but you didn’t take it though…”.

In 2023, Steve was awarded an MBE in King Charles’ first New Years Honours List for his ‘services to Local Government and to the community in Hounslow’, and just a week ago he was honoured with the title of Alderman of Hounslow, which his son Samuel picked up on his behalf.

READ ALSO: Former Chiswick councillor Paul Lynch honoured by being made an Alderman

Under his leadership, Hounslow was awarded the title of Council of the Year in the Local Government Chronicle Awards.

Before his career in local politics, Steve worked in the NHS for 39 years. His last role was Head of Facilities at Great Ormand Street Children’s Hospital.

Image above: Cllr Katherine Dunne and Steve Curran at Chiswick Flower Market in 2023

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