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COMMUNITY ACTION, COMMUNITY POWER!

 

 

LATEST NEWS - ICG to contest local elections on 22nd May 2014.  Please watch this space for further information...


Welcome to the website of the Independent Community Group (ICG).

The ICG was formed in January 1994 to give our local residents a voice of their own in the affairs of our own community.

Unable to make any headway with the politicians who claimed to represent us or with the soulless bureaucracy they presided over at the London Borough of Hounslow we decided to engage them under their own rules by contesting local elections, fielding community candidates who were independent of any political party.

In 1998 we won our first council seat, in Isleworth South ward, by the slenderest of margins (two votes).  In 2002 we took all three seats in the new Isleworth ward with large majorities, and in 2006 we won six seats - in Isleworth and Syon wards - with similarly impressive totals.

Our achievement in 2006 meant that for the first time in 35 years Hounslow was under No Overall Control, and we assumed office as part of a coalition administration.  At various times during the 2006-2010 period the ICG boasted four members of the Council's Executive, one Mayor, two Deputy Mayors, several Area Committee Chairs and Deputy Chairs and many other major portfolios.

The Community Group's priority as part of the governing administration at the London Borough of Hounslow was to open up local government, decentralise the decision-making process and empower communities.  We led the successful Hounslow Homes Management Review in 2006, amending the Management Agreement to put an end to the political closed shop that had formerly operated within our tenants' movement.  We launched the Rainbow Project and Project Empower, directing millions of pounds of our tenants' own money that had been sitting dormant in the bank into community projects on our estates.  We found huge amounts of grant funding, internal and external, for community groups and community cohesion work.

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Most importantly of all, through our dominance of the Isleworth and Brentford Area Committee (usually working in partnership with a progressive and independent-minded Liberal Democrat councillor) we fought hard to bring active local residents' groups to the decision-making table - a process that was fiercely resisted by senior council officers, our opposition and our coalition partners alike - and to involve them in the process of everyday local government in the Isleworth and Brentford areas.

In 2010 the local elections fell on the same day as the general election, bringing out literally thousands of extra voters who had previously shown no interest in local government or the management of the communities in which they lived, and naturally most of these voters turned out to support the big parties in the national poll. Unsurprisingly, they followed through by voting the same way in the local elections. As a result, despite the ICG receiving its highest ever vote we lost all six of our council seats, restoring the local authority to Labour rule.

In spite of this reverse the ICG enjoys the same level of popularity and support as it has always done amongst active local residents and we continue to work for the benefit of the community. Recently we have played a leading role in a successful residents' High Court action against Thames Water for its negligence in the management of the Mogden Sewage Works, causing misery to tens of thousands of neighbouring residents. Appallingly, both the local authority and both the major politcial parties have opposed and obstructed the community in its work on this massive local issue.

We were the first local group to call publicly for the sensitive and human scale regeneration of Brentford High Street, at a time when local politicians were prepared to accept the first planning application that came along.

We have also, working in close co-operation with residents' associations and amenity groups, organised two massively attended marches in protest against local authority plans to close Isleworth Library and the St. John's Community Centre respectively. Both campaigns, thus far at least, have achieved their stated objectives. 

In terms of its relationship with the local authority the ICG is carefully considering all its options, but any strategy we decide upon will be with the community's best interests at heart, and any decisions will be taken from a position of strength.

We hope you enjoy our website. If you would like to contact us, ask us a question, criticise us, join us or donate to us, please do not hesitate to get in touch.


 

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