Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert
Short but with a flavour of Mogden
Another week, another update. Don’t they just fly by, though this hot weather tends to make fat old councillors proceed at a snail’s pace rather than flying.
Thursday evening was developer presentations for the planning committee (and other interested parties, including the public) for three major developments which will come to the committee formally in the nearish future. Two were in central Hounslow – one concerned with rebuilding Hounslow Town primary school with a lot of new residential, and the other just across the road next to the bus station on a large site where once a new Tesco might have bloomed, but which they sold off when they realised their business was a bit on the wonky side.
The concerns tend to be the same – levels of housing anyone normal can actually afford, proportion of housing suitable for families or the elderly/physically impaired, provision for cars. Both have their challenges and it will wash out at Planning Committee.
The other is a bit nearer to us – the relocation of Grasshoppers Rugby to the ‘other half’ of the old Conquest Club site in Osterley where (perhaps..) the Nishkam school will occupy the other half. Aside from anything else, when this site is discussed my mind always niggles at the idea that Department for Education spent £9.5M on our money to buy this site which in fact has very little value as far as I can see because it is undevelopable for any other purpose being Metropolitan Open Land. Perhaps the DfE know things I don’t and I’m sure the Earl of Jersey needed a few quid to help with the mortgage.
Friday was back to exotic travels, which as any fule kno is the main motivation for being a councillor. On this occasion the romantic destination was none other than the Mogden Sewage Treatment Works in Isleworth. About 10 of us lovers of the high life trooped round all morning taking in the fragrances and lots of facts (mostly in one ear, out t’other). It was of course built in the countryside, between the wars but it’s not exactly countryside now and being a good neighbour is a challenge, to put it mildly. Some of us would look upon it more kindly if it was still owned by us collectively rather than by Australian bankers. The people on the ground are impressive but of course their job, in the end, is to maximise profits for their financier bosses. Anyway, I spent some time talking to the enthusiastic young woman who is their wildlife and conservation officer: I was interested in the many beds of wildflowers which are thriving in Mogden, not dissimilar to what now lines the road in Syon Park, and I’ve started talking to housing officers about introducing such beds into some of the rather sad looking green areas on our council estates.
Friday afternoon a pleasant interlude with residents of the Kew Bridge development, discussing various issues they have (mental note – need to follow up) preceded a pretty quiet weekend. On SaturdayI made friends with my evil bicycle again and ended up going on a long ride (by my standards) and really enjoying myself.
Monday afternoon a Labour Party organisation meeting, then followed by the Licensing committee in the evening. Not reviewing licence applications this time but looking over the year’s statistics and general performance - most things holding steady, but a rise in fixed penalty notices, mainly for unlicensed street trading, following a change in the law. After that a training session from licensing officers and lawyers in an attempt to give clueless councillors some idea about what it is we’re supposed to be doing.
Tuesday a session in the Labour Party office with our MP and the local organiser, talking about plans for the next few months. Then into the Civic – I am on a panel with 5 other councillors interviewing for two jobs as non-executive directors of the council’s trading arm, Lampton 360. 4 very strong candidates, two of them experts in property maintenance and two experts in waste and recycling. The panel, including the Hounslow Chief Exec and Director of Transformation, were unanimous – any two of the four would have been admirable appointments but we all agreed who the two best were, which is always very satisfying.
Rest of the week I’ve been dealing with the usual run of casework. This week’s Top ten includes bin emptying in parks, anti-social behaviour, holes in the road, fountains that don’t gush and bins that fail to materialise and then fail to dematerialise at the allotted time.
Ooh, nearly forgot, in Brentford Market on Sunday someone, who was not as far as I know an ancient mariner, was stoppething one in three and showing them a chalk plan on the side wall of Xavi Estate agents. This shows a bridge running through my very own Ferry Quays Estate, hopping on Lots Ait, and landing in the Kew Gardens Car Park and I am accused of loitering in possession of S106 money which will pay for this. Wizard idea but unfortunately I looked in all my pockets and found them bereft of S106 money (or much else, as it happens) so I have referred him to the very lovely Councillor Dennison who is the one with pockets. I am not sure whether the landlords of Ferry Quays would be happy with this, but I’d be happy to hop over to Panama to ask them if somebody buys me a ticket. I don’t understand why all our landlords seem to live in Panama. Perhaps it’s the hats, but somebody told me it was to do with the low taxis. You wouldn’t think sleek hackney carriages would be much of an attraction but I’m a bit deaf, perhaps I misheard.
It’s a quiet time for council activities and, whilst I’m not going away I’ll be doing less than usual over the next two or three weeks and pretending to be a normal human being, so I may skip a week’s update. Anybody in need of reading matter can always turn to the telephone directory for an alternative good read.
July 28, 2016