The Policy Council

The Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business for in excess of some 15,000 firms [City Business Library] in the borough and the expertise of its members, drawn from businesses ranging from architecture to retail; from lawyers to energy suppliers.  The Policy Council, through the individual specialists sector fora, can help identify areas where the Chamber can lobby for the benefit of business.

One example of the lobby power of the Chamber was when we recently opposed Hounslow Council’s Master Plan and SPD to regenerate Hounslow Town Centre. The Chamber felt the consultation process was too short and not inclusive enough. Members such as Chiswick-based architect Mustapha Erdem of Hans Haenlein Architects (head of the Planning and Transport Policy Forum of the Chamber) and Dr Sabine Lohman of Insight Research (head of the Retail Policy Forum) along with some 25 sector specialists, were able to identify areas in the plan which they felt would not work. The Council is now re-opening the consultation. A Copy of Our Better Vision Can be found here as a PDF

The policy areas (fora) are Retail, Planning and Transport, Tourism, Taxation and Legal, ‘Business for Business’, Education, Communication and Media, Aviation and Community Regeneration (which would be business-led but involve local residents).

RETAIL:

Headed up by Sabine Lohman, the Retail Forum is exactly what it suggests.  Its role is to look at issues that effect the retail sector within Hounslow.  Development,  Rates,  E-Commerce to name but three issues that are current and require Chamber support as we lobby politicians.  For more information please contact Sabine on sabinelohmann@insightsresearch.eu

PLANNING & TRANSPORT:

Headed up by Mustafa Erdem, the P&T looks at development issues across the borough.  It is able to offer specific business focused reflection, opinion and consultation for developers and planners. The P&T have recently offered consultation to the Borough Council on both the proposed Masterplan for Hounslow Town Centre and Brentford High Street South-side. Mustafa can be contacted on mustafa@haenlein.com

BUSINESS FORUM:

Headed up by Geoff Langston (while Lizanne Jakobs is off on Maternity Leave).  The Business Forum is a collective of Business advice specialists, trainers and development professionals.  They are tasked with developing growth programmes of support for businesses and accessing funding while identifying ways in which the local authority, through its economic development unit, can better support business growth in the borough.   Geoff can be contacted on geofflangston@arizion.com

TOURISM

Headed up by Jeannie Shapiro, the group is designed to understand the needs and pressures on Hounslow’s Tourism industry and create strategies and policies that by working together can promote Hounslow as a “destination” of value for residents and visitors alike.  In 2012 the fledgling Forum produced a Tourism Map in time for the Olympics.  It was originally designed to promote the many famous “Brown Sign” sites of the borough.  In the end it became a joint celebration of the many destinations we have to offer along with the numerous film and television locations used over recent time.  As an add on we also included the places in the Borough that have gained reputation through “A” and “B” list celebrities – Freddie Mercury and Feltham, for example!  Click here for a copy of the map via PDF  – Page 1 and Page 2.  You can contact Jeannie on jeannie@jeannieshapiro.com

AVIATION:

The Davies Commission is due to report in 2015.  The viability of Heathrow sits at the heart of the debate.  The future of West London as a commercial centre is very much at risk.  The Chamber Board decided to add a separate Forum for the businesses of Hounslow to investigate the economic impact of growth, no growth or go for Heathrow.  It is currently being populated by specialists.  Current documents can be viewed here. The Chamber CEO will manage this forum.  Stephen Fry can be contacted on stephenfry@hounslowchamber.org.uk

Community and Regeneration – HOUNSLOW TOWN CENTRE

This is headed up by Chris Durkin.  Chris has been responsible for energising the relationship between business and community, while ensuring that the other key contributors from other Policy Fora get to bring their expertise to.  Chris is working closely on the issues of localism and planning with the group and the local authority. Chris can be contacted on christopherdurkin@gmail.com

As we progress further with our experts drawn from the Membership, the remaining Policy Fora will be launched and populated with local businesses experts drawn from all 10,000 firms located in the Borough.

The Chamber will also be closely working with Ashford, Spelthorne and Hillingdon Chambers of Commerce as a Partnership Forum to share expertise and information.

If you would like to be involved or have any issue that is of concern please contact Hounslow Chamber on sallysmith@hounslowchamber.org.uk