Do drivers read traffic signs?
This has been a relatively quiet week, except of course on Brentford High Street/Kew Bridge Road which has featured a world class display of how to do a 3 (or 33) point turn after ignoring signs saying the road is closed. I did manage to get Hounslow Highways to improve the signage after a resident pointed out a problem (to add to a couple I had seen myself) but may as well not have bothered. Of course, not helped by SatNav showing it nice and uncongested and we must obey our electronic chums. As I write (Thursday morning) I hope it is now cleared: they had finished it yesterday but had to leave time for the jelly to set due to Brentford’s tropical weather.
Saturday morning was the monthly surgery up at the Clayponds Community Centre. A nice sunny day which was quite handy because despite having 27 keys I couldn’t work out how to open the shutter. Anyway, not a single resident showed up, though I had a few conversations with passers by as I sat on the bench. Up in Clayponds it’s the 3 L’s – Litter, lights and louts whereas in the rest of Brentford it’s more usually the three P’s – Parking, potholes and poo (doggy type). Meanwhile I field various mournful phone call from Mel who has more customers than he can fit in the allotted time in his surgery at the Mission Hall. People around here are getting cute and are voting with their feet as to which councillor to seek out.
Saturday is Ealing’s Brentford Festival. I spent most of the day manning the Labour Party stand, interspersed with wandering around the place – swanning, as our MP puts it, though in my case there’s not much going on below the waterline. A splendid array of foods from around the world and I love the exotic, so I settled on a sandwich all the way from Germany – Hamburg, to be precise. The beer tent had about 8 different types of real ale to choose from but by mid afternoon they were out of 6 of them, which shows Brentford residents have their priorities right. Anyway, it was good to be out there and I had some interesting chats on subjects diverse – recycling, birds, heritage street lamps, trees, cycle lanes, whether I’d like onions on it, etc.
Tuesday morning I arrive at the Costa by Kew Bridge to disturb the Tory Party at prayer, in the shape of Cllr Sam Hearn reading the Daily Mail. He lays it reverently to one side and in due course we are joined by 2 from TfL, one from the LBH transport department and my two fellow ward councillors. The previously eminent pooch didn’t like the look of the weather and had stayed home to snarl at the neighbours, as pooches do. We are discussing plans TfL are developing to improve the junction here. This is separate to the alleged Final Solution to Lake Kew Bridge, which is supposed to happen early in the New Year, and the intention is to improve the functioning of the junction especially for pedestrians and cyclists. This is not easy, but I was delighted they took the trouble to come and talk to us on site, to get our perspectives on things, including a few hobby horses of mine they were not very aware of.
On Wednesday another trip to the Civic centre, this time to meet with Cllr Richard Foote and various officers and councillors looking at one aspect of how the council will find a way to make another drastic reduction in spending, without overly impacting services. These discussions are no picnic because whatever we do now will have some kind of unpopular consequences. No doubt people will say we should put council tax up, but as I have noted previously we would have had to triple it to cover the savings already made, and this is another heavy tranche of cuts to central funding (quite apart from the manifesto promise to freeze council tax!)
This still feels like the calm before the storm and I’ve been continuing to try and catch up with stuff that has been around for a while. I have a really heavy week of meetings next week including Borough Council, Audit Committee and the Isleworth and Brentford Area Forum. This is on Thursday evening at the Free Church, where amongst other things we’ll be discussing the plans for Floreat School and other developments in Layton Road. Do come along, Mel is very keen to sign a few autographs for people.
September 9, 2016