Watermans Park Development and the 235 bus
In fact the Area Forum was fairly uncontroversial (as they go) with the main item of contention being works on the Duke of Northumberland River where some of the locals are concerned (amongst other things) that the changes will increase the risk of flooding.
I spent a lot of Friday in Brentford County Court where there was a Case Management Conference (CMC) on the Watermans Park moorings saga. Having managed to stay a step or two ahead of the law for most of my life I had never heard of a CMC in these circumstances but it was all about how the trial will be conducted, about what evidence will be admitted, document disclosure etc. Barristers for the council and the majority of the boaters, plus three boaters who are representing themselves, fought it out with the judge on a lot of technical legal questions and as I suppose is pretty standard, we won some and lost some. It brought home to me how long this is going to take.
A relief in the evening to be out knocking on doors in Lateward and Clifden etc on the old referendum trail. I didn’t have time to go home and change so I was still in my suit like somebody who takes himself seriously: this is not recommended for canvassing, especially when it’s a warm evening, but our reception was very good again and the evening was capped off with a drink or two in the well-hidden garden of the Watermans Arms.
Then it was the Bank Holiday Weekend. I spent some time down at Crystal Palace indulging the old car thing. Back when I was a boy they used to have a car racing circuit in the park there and my boyhood heroes would appear but it was stopped many years ago because of noise and safety concerns. I hadn’t realised they run a Bank Holiday sprint meeting so it was good to go for the first time and stir up a few ghosts from the 1960s.
Tuesday back to business and I spent the afternoon on the Watermans Park proposals again, attending a meeting with various interested parties about legal and practical plans. I begin to understand why previous attempts to resolve the unauthorised moorings have not come to fruition because it is all extremely complicated but there is a real determination to get it resolved this time.
In the evening a licensing panel. We expected a very contentious application but this was withdrawn at the last minute and we had only one application, for an extension of hours of an existing café/restaurant in Chiswick. We had a no-show and only two on the panel where there are normally three and muggins had to take the chair.
No meetings on Wednesday other than our campaign committee for Remain in the EU in the evening, where we set out our plans up to and including June 23rd.
Two major issues have been bubbling in the background this week and taking up quite a lot of time and emotion. The first is the very unique (whatever the editor says) Sarah Trimmer Hall, where it seemed that the instructions given to the developer by planning had not been followed. A lot of activity by residents (and councillors!) sniffing round what was going on, taking photos, informing planners etc, which culminated in another planning visit on Tuesday and some fairly direct communications. We wait to see what happens next but there is direct engagement in this issue by Council Leader Steve Curran as well as top council officers.
The other (yes, you guessed it) is our old, and frequently lost, friend the 235. After TfL had fulfilled a request from Barratts to (I kid you not) wash the road – something I personally witnessed with a man with an industrial sized bottle of Fairy Liquid and a lot of bubbles, mummy, in the middle of GWQ – the service resumed, and everything in the garden was rosy. This morning the regular as clockwork 7.48 am email – it’s stopped AGAIN. I was wondering whether this was because of a previously unnoticed understain on the road (perhaps they should have used new, biological Ariel) or the ruddy bollard, or some newly-invented reason, when the man from TfL wrote back to me saying NO IT HASN’T STOPPED. Shortly afterwards one of my spies confirms this: it seems that the morning spotter had been fooled by seeing a flock of 235s roosting, like starlings, at the stand behind Morrisons saying Brentford County Court on the front. Oops. Well, to be fair we are all working to the expectation that it will not last long. During the course of the morning we hatched a plan to have a public meeting to get together a petition about the 235: it will be held on 12th June at 5.30 in the Clayponds Community Centre, Clayponds Gardens and so far confirmed attendees are Steve Curran, Mel Collins and myself plus Julie Brooker who runs the community centre and some other very concerned residents. All welcome! Admission Free!
June 6, 2016