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Welcoming customers back to the high street

CLLR IAN EDWARDS

Leader of Hillingdon Council


IN my first column for The Hillingdon Herald, I would like to share some of our recent projects. But firstly, I’d like to begin by wishing everyone at the publication the very best of luck with this new venture.

With all business sectors operating again, we are supporting town centre retailers to build back better through a grant from the Government’s Welcome Back Fund.

This autumn, we will be helping to breathe new life into Hillingdon’s high streets by organising promotional events to increase footfall, supporting businesses with online trading; launching a marketing campaign featuring town centre landmarks and views encouraging people to explore them; and introducing temporary street furniture to welcome back customers safely and support outdoor eating.

To complement this, our town centre improvement programme continues, with the parade of shops and streetscape along Kingshill Avenue, Hayes, currently undergoing a £420,000 revitalisation to boost footfall and enhance its appearance. Improvements are also set to continue this autumn in Hayes town centre, where Network Rail’s upgrade to Hayes and Harlington Station is now complete. A new light and sound feature is being installed at the Blyth Road underpass and public realm improvement works will enhance the station area joining it with the town centre to encourage further footfall.

Ensuring residents have access to high quality leisure facilities remains a priority and during the summer we opened four brand new outdoor gyms with five more on the way and invested £370,000 to heat the outdoor lido at Hillingdon Sports and Leisure Complex so it can operate all year round.

We are also continuing to provide high-quality new homes for local people. New homes were completed in Yeading and properties are being built in Cowley. Hillingdon First Limited has also created properties in South Ruislip, with work starting recently on a second development in Cowley. Additionally, residents of Hayes Town Centre and Avondale Drive estates voted overwhelmingly during the summer in favour of redevelopment proposals to create more than 700 new homes, with the council scheduled to submit a planning application in November.

Protecting the environment and meeting our climate action targets are also important. We have introduced a new tree sponsorship scheme, Trees for Streets, to increase the number of trees in our communities and improve air quality. Additionally, our wildflower planting and long grass scheme during the summer were successful in boosting local biodiversity and reducing emissions.

Last month, we marked Recycling Week by encouraging more residents to recycle. While our rates this year have increased to 42 per cent and we are seeing a reduction in fly-tipping, we want to continue to step it up.

During the summer the council introduced a separate food waste collection service to increase rates and last month we launched an enhanced textile recycling service to make it even easier for residents to give unwanted clothes a new lease of life.

Finally, coronavirus hasn’t gone away – to help keep Hillingdon safe this autumn you should continue to get tested regularly and I encourage residents to have both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. If you’re also offered boosters and flu vaccinations please take them.

To find out more about the council’s work, visit www.hillingdon.gov.uk or follow our social media accounts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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