Wednesday, 26 May 2010

New ROWE Committee will safeguard estate funding

Tonight I had the honour once again of chairing the Annual General Meeting of Residents of Worton Estate (ROWE).

Despite the fact that on the association so much work has throughout the ages tended to be done by so few, my frequent canvassing forays onto the estate suggest to me that it is well supported and respected amongst residents, and those who are able to lend it their time have always managed to do a darned good job.

At this evening's meeting Kim Dobson (above left), who took over recently as Chair, was re-elected to the post and will be ably supported at the top table by Anita Churchill (Secretary) and John Williams (Treasurer), as well as by several other volunteers who between them comprise the new team for the coming year.

One of the decisions that the new Committee will need to take is how to spend the £419,000 that was made available to the estate as part of the agreement to develop Worton Green some years back.

This money belongs to the residents and it is vitally important that it remains in their hands.


Anonymous said...

It has been suggested on TW8 earlier today that some of this 419 grand is spent on an adventure playground in Redlees Park.

Your comments please Phil.

Phil Andrews said...


It is an interesting suggestion, but it is of course just that.

The £419k was allocated to be spent on Worton Green. A Variation was required to ensure the money could be spent throughout the estate. If any of it were to be spent in Redlees Park instead then I would assume a further Variation would be needed.

The suggestion is not without its merits. Redlees Park is close to the estate and is of course used by many estate residents. It could be argued that to use the money to improve the Park would be beneficial to a significant section of the Worton community.

However the bottom line is that this money is there for Worton estate residents and it is ultimately for them to decide what is to be done with it.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Isleworth Bowling Club will want a slice too ?
I bet their green's looking a bit worn now it's being trampled by ICG jackboots !

Anonymous said...

Joking aside now Phil, if there's a reluctance for this money to be made available (suggested by the seeming lack of progress), wouldn't a revised budget allocating funds to other local projects be more favourably received ?

Phil Andrews said...


As I see it there are two rather major flaws in your case.

Firstly, the money has been made available by a developer to offset the negative effects of a specific development on the Worton estate. That is how Section 106 works. The developer's permission would be needed before any of the money could be spent anywhere else, and the further away it drifts from its original intended purpose the less likely that is to happen.

Secondly, if there is a reluctance to progress this spend then there is no reason to assume that spending the money somewhere else will lead to it being handled any more quickly. From where I am sitting there is no connection whatsoever between the two.

Anonymous said...

Well, it was only a suggestion and in view of the fact that LBH is currently sitting on a whopping £4million worth of unspent Brentford & Isleworth S106 money, it's not unreasonable to suggest that perhaps the 'rules' could be re-examined/re-evaluated.
Cllr Harmer has also conceded that, shamefully, there is a long history of S106 money being 'forgotten about' and thus not made available.
Nett result - residents supposed to benefit from such funds rarely see a penny of it.
Almost criminal when you consider the staggering amounts of cash involved.

Care to comment on the fact that LBH is currently sitting on £4million pounds worth of unspent Brentford & Isleworth S106 money ?

(Source: Hounslow Chronicle 9 Oct)

Phil Andrews said...

For what it's worth I largely agree with you, except to say that the rules governing S106 spend are not the council's to re-examine. We are dealing with national legislation here.

If the developer was prepared to agree moving the spend to somewhere else then it would be permissible to do so (I say this without expressing a view as to its desirability as the idea is yet to be tested). If not, it wouldn't. Either way this would, as I see it, have a neutral impact on how fast the money was spent. The question of how expeditiously the money is released is a different one entirely.

I saw the article in the Chronicle in which Councillor Harmer "discovered" the scandal of the unspent money. All I can say is that he must have been asleep for the past two or so years because ICG councillors raised this on a regular basis at Area Committees at which he was present throughout this period. The minutes of those meetings are published online on the council website and should bear this out.

Unfortunately although we and a number of residents (such as TIS) tried to get something done about this we were not well supported by our partners who frankly had little interest in community issues, and the Environment department took advantage of this lack of support and led us a dance right the way up until the day of the election.

If Councillor Harmer and the new administration can succeed where we didn't then all power to them.

Anonymous said...

Yes indeed, journalism as only the "Chronicle" knows how.
Present Matt Harmer's second-hand expose' as if it's an original exclusive scoop and then fail to ask why none of the £1.8million earmarked for spending has been released.

Perhaps they should just stick with the squashed hedgehog stories !