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Council says Brexit poses new challenges for Hounslow

by Marco Cillario Thu 30 June 2016, 5:50 pm

The decision taken by British voters on 23 June to leave the European Union was among the topics discussed at an event in Hounslow, which showcased the fifth issue of Great West magazine about regeneration in the west London borough.

Brendon Walsh, executive director for regeneration, economic development and environment at Hounslow Council

At the University of West London’s Brentford campus on 28 June, senior members of Hounslow Council spoke in front of an audience of more than 80 delegates from the property industry, saying Brexit poses new challenges for the local authority.

It was agreed that councillors and officers will have to work harder, but optimism was expressed that the council is equipped to bring forward its successful story of development and regeneration, working with businesses from all over the world.

Hounslow residents voted for remain by a very small margin: 51.06% to 48.94%.

Councillor Steve Curran, leader of Hounslow Council, said: “Unfortunately this borough is almost 50-50 split, but we will get over it.”

He went on to say: “I am very conscious of the European connections of our developing partners here in the room and they are very important for me.”

He stressed that the council will continue to take part in international property industry conference MIPIM, held every year in Cannes.

“We had a very successful MIPIM this year and we will continue to do that irrespective of the decisions of our government.”

Prime minister David Cameron’s resignation in the wake of the referendum results also meant that the decision on building a third runway at Heathrow international airport has been delayed.

“I do not know where it is now,” said Curran, two days before transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced that the decision was to be delayed until at least October.

However, Curran added that the council will continue to work closely with the airport. “They are fantastic partners and fantastic employers for many of our residents so we will continue to work with them, whoever the prime minister is and whatever he decides.”

He also explained the council’s stance: “I am in favour of the third runway, but the council position is ‘better, not bigger’.”

According to Brendon Walsh, executive director for regeneration, economic development and environment, Brexit means “we have to double our efforts to attract international businesses into our city”.

However, he said he was confident that the borough would continue to attract investors and developers from all over the world through its aspirational schemes, such as the local plan 2015-2030 adopted in November, Hounslow town centre, Brentford Football Club’s new stadium, Trinity Square, Chiswick Roundabout, the upcoming Crossrail station in Southall and the two housing zones announced for the borough – Feltham and Hounslow town centre.

He said: “If we provide that sort of opportunity our confidence will return and we will attract those businesses.”

“We remain an aspirational borough regardless of what is going on in the world. We want more opportunities for our people and I think Hounslow is a great place and will be a great place.”

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