Sign the 235 petition and don't forget to vote!
Friday I was back on the envelope stuffing, and had news from planning enforcement that they have put a Temporary Stop Order on Works at Sarah Trimmer Hall. Good. They can’t touch it now until the order is lifted and they have a substantial fine hanging over them.
The other good news on the day came from my daughter: she is coming to the end of her teacher training and she has been rated as outstanding. I am so proud of her – she has worked so hard having struggled at the beginning and will make a Brilliant teacher. In Briliant City? We can but hope.
Saturday was a lovely day and I thought it was time for some R&R. So I took my bike out for a ride down to Teddington Lock. On the way I passed the Isleworth Riverside fun event. I was really surprised how lively it was there and it took quite a while to negotiate a path through it. I feel a bit nervous making any comment about Isleworth because to look on the TW8 forum everything seems to be politically charged, so I want to say clearly that I’m not commenting about whether closing Church Street is a good idea or not – that experiment always was, and still is, going to be reviewed in due course and I’ll form a view then. But in the meantime let’s enjoy what’s going on: I didn’t linger but it looked a rip-roaring success to me.
Sunday was a bit more time in the office followed by a canvassing session in Albany Road and thereabouts. This, of course, is over the border in Syon Ward but I feel pretty safe there, which on the whole is a good thing because it’s also where I live. On the walkway at Charlton House we met a species that as far as I’ve seen is rather threatened in Brentford (and probably Syon too) – a Brexit fan. He was known to Kath Dunne who asked him if he was an outer… how did she know? Was it the Union Jack T-Shirt? Perhaps, but I am a passionate Remainer and also the proud owner of a Union Jack T-Shirt, though to be fair the sight of me in a T-Shirt in whatever pattern is something best restricted to consenting adults in private.
The sun shone on our canvass and I prepared to cycle up to Clayponds for the 235 meeting. I then remembered I had some leaflets to deliver to Lionel Road so took the car instead (note to Hounslow Highways and council monitoring officers -Lionel Road rather impeccable so the litter gatherers have clearly had another go and the flytippers are dormant). This was fortunate because there was a major downpour: luckily, when I got to Clayponds it had finished and the folks came in – about 50 of them. Everyone very exercised by the Loch Bus Monster – it is said to appear every few years but many doubt it exists at all – but Steve Curran had had a fruitful discussion with Barratts (something that I imagine might also have been unsuitable for children to listen to) and extracted a promise of a guard to cover any barrier problems throughout the bus’s operating hours, for a 3 month period whilst TfL sort out a better solution. We talked about what alternative routes might work for people and we’ll be testing them with TfL over the coming weeks. Exactly 50 people signed the petition and Julie Brooker – who chaired a rather passionate meeting with great aplomb – asked me to try and sort out an online version. I got that going yesterday (Tuesday and as of Wed it has 24 signatories – let’s make it a million, or 100 at least – sign it here: Fix the 235 bus petition)
Monday was the AGM for the estate where I live. As a director I spent the morning with the managing agent preparing for the AGM, held in the evening at the Watermans Centre. It all went quite smoothly: people have various grumbles but they can’t get too vocal or they’ll have to sack the directors. And then they’ll have to get in the unpaid hot seat!
In the midst of all this I hear the promised Loch Bus Monster has sunk to the bottom of the lake again (actually it hadn’t surfaced) so I got a lot of (understandably) irate emails and had several phone calls with Steve Curran, who relayed the message on to Barratts. Anyway, by early afternoon the barrier was fixed and Barratts have confirmed their pledge to not allow any more interruptions for the next 3 months. Time will tell…
Tuesday, an attempt to catch up with paperwork, a meeting with a resident I’m trying to help, preparing for a benefits interview on Thursday, and in the afternoon the first session of one of my new committees, the Audit Committee. Not a formal meeting but preparing for the official one in a week or two. Much needed because the Audit Committee role is quite specialised and one I haven’t done before.
Wednesday morning I slogged round my own estate and a few outlying areas posting Ruth Cadbury’s report and some Labour IN leaflets in all the mailboxes. This took a lot longer than anticipated and confirmed one of the leafletter’s mysteries – that some of the addresses which clearly exist on the Electoral Register appear not to exist in the real world. Are they in another dimension, or underground? Are they like the lost socks that could form a pair with 17 odd ones in my drawer?
I spent the rest of the day preparing for various things tomorrow – a meet with Shepherd’s Bush Housing Association in Holland Gardens, the aforementioned benefit interview, an employee appeal against disciplinary action by the council management and my first session of the planning committee. I remember how annoyed people get when planning members appear not to have done their homework so I decided to spend the afternoon visiting all the places which we’re discussing tomorrow – everything from large developments in Bedfont to house extensions in Chiswick. I wasn’t certain this would be worth it, but it certainly was. My knowledge of Bedfont is, ahem, sketchy and whilst I know Chiswick very well, looking at the individual house in question doesn’t half improve your sense of things.
Oh, just to finish, as I was leafletting this morning, a gent approached the mailboxes in one of the blocks. I asked him his flat number and found I had nothing for him, so tried to give him an IN brochure, but he explained that he did not have a vote, being half-Swiss. He was born here but has a business in Switzerland and prefers to vote there. I asked him about Brexit and the Swiss experience and he told me he thought the UK was quite mad to be even thinking about leaving, if only because of the hikes in prices we can expect. He was also quite clear that major international banks would soon leave, at least in part, and the same with overseas manufacturers like BMW, Nissan and Honda. He was reluctant to intrude on my private grief until he got going, but once started the message was crystal clear. Everybody is confident London is heavily for remain but this is far from the case everywhere. Do please go out and vote folks (even if you’re a Brexiter). We must have a big turnout and (I sincerely hope) a big win for Remain.
June 16, 2016