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Interview: Aled Richards at Hounslow Council
Tue 2 December 2014, 11:22 am
Hounslow Council's assistant director of environment, regulatory services and community services, Aled Richards, catches up with Great West magazine.
What three developments or enhancements would most benefit Hounslow?
There are numerous schemes which will have a huge beneficial impact on Hounslow’s regeneration. I have gone for three in terms of geographical diversity.
The first is the Golden Mile which will create a thriving business destination and a hub for employment and innovative design. This will have a knock-on regeneration effect across the whole borough.
Secondly, the recently approved Brentford Waterfront application will have a huge impact on the regeneration of Brentford town centre creating excellent links with the Thames and enhancing the public realm.
Finally, the Feltham masterplan will have a crucial role in regenerating the west of the borough and enhancing Feltham as a centre.
Hounslow is an exciting borough to work and invest in and the above developments – among others – have afforded Hounslow the reputation as one of the most dynamic boroughs in London. Testament to this is the huge number of cranes concentrated in Hounslow, which can be seen on the London skyline.
What makes developers good partners?
Developers are the conduit of regeneration. Without them the borough’s ambitious plans will not be realised. At Hounslow we seek to take away as many bureaucratic hurdles as possible in the cumbersome planning system and are very conscious of the commercial pressures affecting developers. The ethos of the planning department is to facilitate development by working closely with developers to overcome planning constraints.
We form partnerships with developers and help them liaise with local communities to develop and implement high-quality schemes to deliver approvals in the quickest time possible. Hounslow is among the best performing councils in the UK in delivering high quality planning decisions quickly and delivering regeneration – a huge step from our position two years ago, and a testament to the proactive ethos of the planning team.
And finally, which book, film, piece of music or sporting occasion has had the biggest influence on your life and why?
Jack Kerouac’s novel, On the Road, inspired me to take a different approach to life and travel and work extensively in the most obscure countries of the world. Even though it was written in the 1950s, its impact on readers is still powerful today, engendering a feeling that diverse experiences in life are more important than material wealth.