It can seem from the outside that the operations of the council are opaque and hard for residents to work with. However there is actually a lot of good information available and various meetings that residents can attend and see the council and councillors in action.
Contacting the council / getting information
The preferred method for contacting the council and/or getting information is via the Council’s website (https://www.hounslow.gov.uk/site/ ). This is packed with information and also allows you to request services / report problems / etc. The council recommend that wherever possible you use this route to interact with them.
Alternatively there are a number of phone numbers you can use to contact them, which are listed here (https://www.hounslow.gov.uk/info/20158/customer_services/1708/contacting_hounslow_council ).
Finally you can visit the council offices in person at their new offices, Hounslow House. Details on this are here (https://www.hounslow.gov.uk/info/20158/customer_services/1710/visiting_hounslow_house ). No prior appointment is needed – you can just turn up on the day and request an appointment.
Contacting your councillors
Our local councillors are also available to help you. Details are available on our website (https://owgra.org.uk/our-councillors/ )as to how you can meet up with them.
Attending council meetings
In addition there are specific council meetings that residents are allowed to attend to see the council in operation. The calendar of council meetings is listed here (https://www.hounslow.gov.uk/info/20044/councillors_and_democracy).
The Planning Committee (https://democraticservices.hounslow.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CId=595&Year=0 ) meets regularly to review selected Planning Applications. Typically these are ones where significant objections have been registered. Residents are allowed to attend these meetings but are not allowed to speak at the meeting (unless they have registered an objection to an application and confirmed in advance that they wish to speak regarding an application). Residents should attend such a meeting where an application they have strong views about is up for decision as the presence of a significant number of people at a planning meeting does help to convince the Planning Committee of the strength of feeling about such objections. These meetings are always held in the council offices at Hounslow House.
OWGRA will warn residents via our regular eNewsletter of any Planning Committee meetings where we are speaking against an application and would welcome residents attending in support.
The Isleworth & Brentford Area Forum (IBAF) (https://democraticservices.hounslow.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CId=576&Year=0 ) is another meeting open to local residents. The objective of these meetings is to “to promote the representative and advocacy role of local Councillors and to provide a sounding board for community opinion to help keep the Council accountable to local residents”. Each of these meetings focuses on a few specific topics relevant at the time and typically consists of a presentation on the topic in question followed by a Q&A session from local councillors and the residents attending the meeting. In addition residents and local groups (such as OWGRA) can submit questions in advance to IBAF to be answered at the meeting. Recent topics consider at such meeting have included the extensive Ballymore redevelopment of Brentford Town Centre, an update on Local Policing and an update on maintenance of local Parks. These meetings are held at different public locations in the Isleworth & Brentford area.