New charity for Brentford, old cars, air quality and parking
The council is just beginning to wind up again after the summer lull though of course we had our last Bank Holiday until Christmas on Monday.
Before the weekend I spent an interesting morning at Waterman’s Park. No, not the green bit but the red brick bit. Commonly referred to as Max Factor. I’d recently heard that a charity had taken a lease on this large building and was invited to take tea and (excellent) cake with them. The charity is called SUFA (meaning Stand Up For Africa) but they are working quite a bit in South London and have now started in Brentford supporting local charities and community groups without (as far as I can see) any particular African flavour. They have a lot of good quality riverside space available and are certainly worth contacting if you have a need for it - for long term accommodation or for an event etc. I’ll happily put people in touch, or you could just rock up at the door!
Amongst other things at the weekend I had another Old Car thing – this time they were static - at Blenheim Palace. There was everything from veterans to 1990’s Ford Escorts including some rather wonderful American behemoths, but what took my fancy were a wooden bodied 3 wheeler based upon a Citroen 2CV and a miniature Batmobile based on a Mini Metro. I wonder whether other countries possess the heroic eccentrics who put thousands of hours (and ££, no doubt) into creating such splendid but ultimately pointless contraptions. I chatted to ‘Batman’ who was very modest about it and apologetic about flaws in the paintwork. Makes me glad to be British (unlike recent votes…)
After this I paid a short visit to the charity fair at Redlees Park in Isleworth and found myself waylaid by various people who want to do a bit of product placement in this update! One of these was Frames by Cathja (firstname.lastname@example.org) which does what it says on the tin – professional picture framing for (I’m assured) a highly competitive price with most of the proceeds supporting our local Cathja charity. I was also introduced to a carers’ support charity but showing my legendary efficiency I have lost their contact details – more when it’s in.
Tuesday I made a concerted, if not completely effective, attempt to catch up with all those little tasks that have been mouldering in the torpid heat of a British summer. Many annoying emails went out starting ‘just following up on my email of 14th June, to which I do not seem to have had a reply…’ although naturally enough most of them came back saying ‘I am on Annual Leave until…’. When I were a lad we used to go on holidays and inform the personnel department. Later, we commenced having vacations and informing Human Resource Management (although one company I dealt with called it Family Health). Now, it seems we go on Annual Leave (though most people go several times per year, so how is that annual?) and no doubt inform some department I have (thank the Lord) never heard of.
Wednesday afternoon I met with a couple of residents who are campaigning about Air Quality in Brentford. It was very interesting to meet them and I was taken by their passion to make improvements: we agreed to try and move forward a couple of items which look like they might make a positive impact in a reasonable timescale – cleaner buses, and more trees along the A4. I’m told trees can make quite a big difference by ‘scrubbing’ pollutants out of the air so if we could find a way of getting more of them it might improve air and the visual environment in one fell swoop. Of course, thinking something is a good idea and coming up with a practical, funded plan in these austerity-mad times are very different matters but if we don’t explore possibilities everything will be impossible.
Thursday morning I fell yet again for the glamour of a visit to the Civic Centre so I could hang out with a few celebs like Councillor Katherine Dunne and TV’s Peter Matthew, head of housing. An interesting meeting about various aspects of housing. They are just about to distribute a guide to the housing service to all council tenants and leaseholders which will help people to understand who to contact with various issues. At the same time, following the recent reorganisation of the Housing Officer arrangements, each household will have a specific housing officer dedicated to their section of an estate, and we’re keen for strong relationships to develop between housing officers and tenants/leaseholders. You would be surprised if we had not also discussed parking on estates: three hot spots have been identified in the Borough: Haverfield/Green Dragon; Brentford Dock; and somewhere far out where the buffalo roam in Feltham. Schemes are now being drawn up and consultation will commence shortly. People are rightly desperate for a resolution to these problems and they are now moving forward as fast as is possible, given legal constraints etc.
The rest of Thursday was spent on my traditional ‘day of planning committee tour’ and then, of course the planning committee itself. It was a lengthy one, and my plans to complete this blog after the meeting were thwarted by being unable to keep my eyes open, so it’s late and I will get stick from the esteemed editor.
September 2, 2016