Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert
Judging a 'beauty contest' and my final word on Steve Curran and Paul Slattery
People have been complaining on that luvverly Brentford TW8 forum about me not engaging with the legal case relating to Paul Slattery and Steve Curran. I have explained my position on the forum and copped the expected insults, so I don’t see much point in saying any more. I refer my honourable friends (and dishonourable enemies) to my forum post.
Last Friday we had a beauty contest involving 4 councillors, various council officers and fund managers. No, stunning as all councillors are, we were not the participants but the judges and the contest was from bidders to manage some of the council pension scheme funds. I have had feedback from somebody that talking about the employees’ pension fund in this blog is inappropriate. I hope others don’t feel the same: my perspective is I write down all the news that’s fit to print from my role as a councillor but I’m always more than happy to get feedback. Anyway, I always have difficulty finding anything very beautiful about fund managers but like traffic wardens (or CEOs as they are now confusingly called) I suppose we have to acknowledge we can’t really do without them. It was a constructive meeting with a high level of consensus across all the groups and across party lines, though the final decision is for those with much more commodious brains than mere back bench councillors.
Later in the day the three Brentford councillors met at the Watermans for a couple of photos to go on our summer newsletter, which we will be distributing around the ward shortly. There are various blocks we can’t get into (we can’t afford to pay postage so rely on ourselves and our volunteers!) so if any residents of Holland Gardens, GWQ, Paragon or the St James development would like to help us get in to deliver (or deliver on our behalf!) that would be more than welcome.
Saturday I went to my first Cooperative party meeting over in a part of Cranford I’ve never visited before. I joined the party earlier this year because it seems to share both Labour values and those of the Credit Union (www.Thamesbank.org is in fact a cooperative). Turns out that I knew virtually everyone at the meeting from Labour party or council events!
In the evening was the new Mayor’s inaugural ball in aid of her chosen local charities, the Alzheimer’s Society and the Hounslow Association for the Blind. Apparently this raised £5000 which is pretty good and it’s always a pleasure to see councillors polished up and squeezed into monkey suits. Well, perhaps a laugh rather than a pleasure but the distaff side all looked very glamorous.
I am disturbed from my writing by some contenders in Brentford’s noisiest seagull competition. And some people complain about aeroplanes. Our friendly neighbourhood herons look on in serene silence, though they will not look either friendly or serene to any fish that decides to take a constitutional down Brent Creek at low tide.
Monday morning I embark on an expedition to the Big Smoke with councillors Louki and Christie, and have a long and informative meeting with various people from TfL. Some highlights – the 235 will have new Euro 6 compliant diesel buses from January. These are much cleaner than the current ones which are subject to intense daily maintenance and cleaning. Apparently the hybrid buses are no good – they spend more diesel energy (and pollution) lugging around heavy batteries than they save by being electric at times. Also, I hear that the 235 is the busiest single decker bus in all of London. The various routes we suggested as alternatives to entering GWQ seem to be impractical and the option of a bus stand on Ealing Road is being fast tracked for construction, likely to be the spring next year. There are major improvements scheduled for the junction at the top of Kew Bridge (as well as a plan to sort out the lake, expected January) details when they are in. Gunnersbury Station will get more frequent trains when the District Line signalling is upgraded. This programme has been regularly delayed but they tell me it’ll be here in 2 or 3 years, not 2100 as I suggested. We actually covered a lot of ground and that’s just one or two highlights – you’ll find more on Councillor Louki’s excellent website.
In the evening I had to miss the Thomas Layton Trustee meeting to chair a credit union board, which was a great shame, especially after, over the weekend, I had finally caught up with the exhibition of a few of his books currently in Boston Manor House.
Tuesday I decide the Clinical Commissioning Group AGM needed a healthy living role model. Nevertheless, I went along just to give a graphic show of where unhealthy living can get you. Very interesting and all the speakers gave a good account of themselves. Of course I am no expert but I came away feeling that our local services are in the hands of people who are doing their level best to provide a good service.
In the afternoon an exhibition at the existing Floreat school in GWQ of the plans for the new school which they are hoping to build in Layton Road. Aside from the disruption of the actual construction, the main concerns I’m picking up are about density of development and traffic management, plus a perception that the school will not serve Brentford residents. The head tells me that most of their current pupils are from Brentford with a few from Isleworth and 2/3rds of the September intake are also expected to be from Brilliant families. We’ll have to await the detailed scheme at the planning committee, in September I think.
Borough Council in the evening. I was hoping it would not go on too long but we ended up with a lengthy debate on a motion deploring hate crime. The Conservatives wanted to amend the motion to include a paragraph against those who don’t share our values but us Labourites felt this would take away from the message of solidarity with those who have been victims of an alarming spike in such crime after the Brexit vote. Some of our councillors talked passionately about their experiences as victims of such crime in the past. In the end, Labour supported the motion, with those Conservatives who had bothered to stay around for the vote abstaining. All a bit sad: I respect the Conservatives’ point of view as expressed very well by Cllr Sam Hearn but I didn’t want to diminish the message.
Wednesday – another day, another developer exhibition. This was Essential Living about the Morrisons site. Their scheme will provide a fair amount of public amenity space and needs to be scaled appropriately and of a good quality, plus everybody is keen to see a local supermarket retained in some shape or form during the development phase. They are planning to come out for a second public consultation in October, prior to submitting for planning permission in December.
This was after a bleary eyed morning gig outside Brentford station, encouraging people to sign up as registered Labour supporters in time for the leadership election. I doubt I can claim credit for all of the 185000 who signed up but nobody can prove otherwise.
That’s your lot for this week, folks. Time for me to chill out a bit. Well, maybe not chill, but at least it’s cool enough to move today without melting.
July 22, 2016