Hounslow approves Recovery Plan

Hounslow Council’s Cabinet has approved the Council’s Recovery Plan to support the borough over the major economic and social challenges over the months ahead.

Bringing together four months of work with a range of organisations, businesses, voluntary and community groups, academics and residents, “One Hounslow, Forward Together” sets out the major interventions the Council is undertaking.

A report by Oxford Economics, commissioned by the Council, forecasts an almost £1bn hit to the borough’s economy due to due to the downturn at Heathrow, and estimates more than 40,000 jobs could be at risk.

Part of the Recovery Plan includes the Council’s work on leading the call on the Government for an Aviation Communities Fund to support areas heavily reliant on airports and associated businesses, which will be disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

The Recovery Plan was developed by the Hounslow Recovery Board – comprising leading Councillors and senior representatives of major local organisations and business – as well as four taskforces which covered economy and regeneration, social and wellbeing, community and green recovery. It was also shaped by a virtual recovery conference hosted by the Council in September, joined by more than 200 people.

It highlights how the Council supported the borough through the first wave of COVID-19, before explaining the impact of the global pandemic on Hounslow and the emerging social and economic challenges. It then describes what the council intends to do to help the borough thrive over the coming months and years.

Major interventions are based around four themes – renewing local economies, empowering local residents, tackling local inequalities and reimagining local places – and there is strong emphasis on empowering and connecting communities and voluntary organisations, improving engagement and representation, and fostering a borough culture of supporting local businesses and groups.

Cllr Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council, said: “Hounslow’s facing some incredibly tough times ahead, the biggest challenge of our generation. To lead and support our residents and businesses through this, we need to do things differently, we need to come together, knockdown barriers and work with a common purpose.

“Our Recovery Plan – One Hounslow, Forward Together – builds on the fantastic community spirit we saw during the first wave of COVID-19. Its broad range of interventions to make Hounslow a fairer, greener, stronger borough embodies the spirit of collective focus and collaboration, of passion and enthusiasm for the people of Hounslow, that we will need over the coming months.

“Though the Council working together with our communities, partners and businesses can do a great deal to support and empower people, the Government needs to play its part too.

“Thousands of individuals and businesses in communities across the UK reliant on the aviation industry are facing widespread unemployment, deprivation and barriers to securing future work. These communities around airports, so impacted by the crisis, cannot be forgotten. Places like Hounslow need a targeted Aviation Communities Fund to help minimise job losses, support training to help people into new roles, enable investment in infrastructure and ensure a sustainable and green airport recovery.”

The strategy includes plans to introduce a Green Enterprise Zone and develop a pipeline of low-carbon job opportunities; use innovation districts to create and attract new high-quality jobs; support for start-up and micro digital tech, IT, TV, media and production creative sector; deliver a low carbon, 15-Minute Neighbourhood model for Hounslow; activate disused spaces and vacant properties; launch the digital dock in Brentford, an affordable co-work space; and launching a Green Skills Academy.

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