Sarah Trimmer Hall, Ballymore, again the 235 bus, and crossovers
On Friday morning I was in the Civic centre for the Residents’ Association Forum, a meeting chaired by Theo Dennison and attended by sundry councillors for all or part of the time. 30 or so residents’ association leaders are in attendance and the main topic is the council’s proposal to update the policy on crossovers (for folk who want to park in their front garden). I turned up on spec and didn’t have the papers so it made it hard to follow but what astonished me was when Theo asked for questions about 29 hands shot up out of the 30 odd present. A lot of very detailed questions answered pretty well by the officer present, but it was clear a few of them he hadn’t really thought about. A good example of citizen engagement in action: we will have a better policy as a result of a lot of volunteers spending goodly chunks of time going through dry documents – power to their elbows.
In the evening the Labour In campaign committee. This is beginning to gather pace now and people, myself included, are getting our enthusiasm up, having been a touch jaded after the London campaign.
Over the weekend the news broke about unspeakable things being done by the developers to the Sarah Trimmer Hall down on the High Street opposite Waterman’s Park. This is a very unique (can you say that?) [No - Ed] listed building and is possibly the only surviving purpose-built Georgian School of Industry in the UK. Not being much of a historian myself, I am indebted to a really useful website I’ve discovered. It’s very good on local news around Brentford. It’s called BrentfordTW8.com, and I commend it to you all. Anyway, a local spotter – Hazel Dakers -noticed that the roof was being removed on Friday and reported it to councillors on Friday evening (and posted on the forum at the same time). Myra immediately fired off an email to planning and as matters seemed to get worse over the weekend we escalated the matter and on Monday both a planning officer and enforcement came to tell them to stop. There’s always a fear in these cases that the whole building will be rendered unstable and have to be demolished, which sometimes suits developers just fine. We’re hoping that we got to this one soon enough to prevent that happening. Anyway, just reinforces that if you see anything dodgy going on, let councillor(s) know and if we agree we’ll do our level best…
Talking of unspeakable, let’s get unrepeatable. The 235 bus is still not running, despite more than one false dawn. I would like to take a variety of people who are stopping it running, hold them by the (Redacted by the editor of this family website) [No I didn't Ed].
Apart from Trimmer, Monday was pretty quiet but Tuesday evening was the culmination of the council AGM so we have new appointments of Mayor and Deputy, a cabinet reshuffle, and changes to committees. The best news for me obviously is that I no longer have to refer to Councillor Savin as ‘Her Eminent Worshipfulness’ and can treat her like dirt, though I have decided that the Eminence of the Eminent Pooch transcends such temporal matters so I shall continue to treat her Poochfulness with due respect. The major change for me is that I will now be on the Planning Committee and the Audit Committee and will be Vice chair of the Area Forum though naturally I will expect Chair Mel Collins to continue to do all the work. The AGM is a very ritualised event with old mayors being unchained and new ones chained up (not in any sense in a John Whittingdale manner) and a lot of speeches of welcome and thanks and boomtime for florists.
Wednesday was a political evening with the local Labour Exec Committee followed by the General Committee. Lively debates as ever and I got myself elected for my first trip to Labour Conference in September. This is up in Liverpool – Liverpool town where I was born, where they’ve got no trees, no scented breeze (I always used to sing that as centipedes), no fields of waving corn, and I’m a bit past it for lots of girls with peroxide curls. But I can help the black and tans to flow free. (is this a bit obscure? Think of a more sophisticated version of Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner). Anyway, that’s where I’ll be in September.
Today, Thursday, was a bit of a run around. Into the Civic for our regular meeting on Lampton 360, where Mel and I had our first meeting with the new guy who will be running planned maintenance on council property. An impressive guy and very reassuring. At midday we were lurking around Green Dragon Lane with an invasion of Yellowjackets aka council and Hounslow Highways officers. The usual list of bits and pieces to report but in truth not in bad shape and we were struck by how good the landscaping looked in the sun with buttercups and daisies everywhere. Then I’m back to the civic centre to get an update on the Ballymore development. We have just completed the sale of some of the land to Ballymore but there’s still a way to go to get the whole site assembled so work can start, which is likely to take another year or so. Very frustrating but Ballymore are committed to making this happen (as are LBH) and are in talks with a major supermarket to take the keynote store in our new brillianter town centre. I am sworn to secrecy as to which supermarket, a secret I will have no trouble keeping as nobody will tell me.
Now I’m girding my loins for the Area Forum. To look at the agenda and papers you’d think it wouldn’t be too controversial but I’m quite a fast learner and I know Area Forums are never like that so I won’t forget to pack my tin hat.
May 27, 2016