Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

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Guy Lambertguy.lambert@hounslow.gov.uk

tel 07804 284948

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This weekly update has now reached the age of 65. Unfortunately it has not been paying any National Insurance so it is not entitled to a pension, so it will just have to go on blogging away and annoying the population indefinitely.

Saturday morning I accompanied Mel at our regular surgery in the Mission Hall, leaving Myra to tackle the unruly mobs at Clayponds Gardens single-handedly (I believe she got 1 customer on this occasion, which is an advance on the 0 that we frequently get). Mel and I had a few, with topics being perennial issues – parking in the Haverfield estate (we hope that will be resolved by the CPZ which is currently under consultation), rubbish in Albany Road (an ongoing issue which frustrates councillors and residents alike) and various housing maintenance issues (the Melvinator won’t rest until they are fixed).

In the afternoon, the latest consultation on the redevelopment of the police station and Watermans site. People’s reactions are a mixture between some who are fundamentally opposed and some (I think the majority, but it’s not easy to tell) who welcome the principle but have issues with how it will be implemented (that includes me).

Monday morning was a bit traumatic. First I took my ridiculous car to a body shop to have its various scrapes attended to: I bid farewell to the car for a few days and a large consignment of folding stuff for ever. This was followed by a visit to the dentist where two bits of my mouth with which I have enjoyed a 60-year relationship were traded in for a big hole in my gum and a lump of plastic. I was told to go and lie down in a dark room whilst I recovered from the second part of this trauma, which I duly did.

Tuesday morning was spent with Hounslow Highways together with the Lay assessors. As I am not really a lay assessor any more, I feel a bit of an impostor at these events, but there is nobody else covering Brentford or Syon. If anybody is interested in doing a bit of voluntary monitoring of H Highways, let me know and I’m sure they will be delighted to take you on (it involves a couple of hours of training then as much time as you want to devote to it). We learnt a bit about their verification regime: when they undertake a project, the work is inspected by a third party expert from a consulting firm. We went and attended whilst a man from Atkins inspected a couple of resurfacing schemes in Hounslow Central. Interesting (if freezing!).

In the afternoon up to the Premier Inn on the Great West Road where, protected by a resident, I spoke with the operations manager about improving the landscaping outside their hotel. This will make it look nicer for everybody, help to scrub a few nasties from the air, and make their hotel more attractive. She agreed with us, but told us landscaping was the concern of their landlord and that she’ll take the matter up with them (which reminds me…).

Later on, yet another exhibition about developments in Brentford – this time Essential Living who are the developers for the Morrisons site. Well attended, and with people I think cautiously welcoming the development, though everybody is worried about the possibility of Brentford being a supermarket-free zone for an interim period whilst the development is being built. The developers are aware how strong feelings are about this and are trying to work some alternatives.

Little robots

I decided to take in a spot of culture for a change and popped in to the ‘Technology is Not Neutral’ exhibition at Watermans Arts Centre. Lots of interesting stuff but obviously as a half grown-up schoolboy I was particularly taken by the moving robot toys. The exhibition is well worth a visit even if you’ve only got 10 minutes to spare.

Wednesday I was allowed a day out of school and, together with Mel, travelled up to the Big City to meet the Port of London Authority. This is about the pontoon at Kew Bridge which is a valiant attempt to open up the river to more public participation, but seems to be misconceived and is used little if at all (other than as a mecca for geese to make little geese and create guano), mainly because of safety concerns. This was a large meeting with nearly 20 people attending including residents, houseboat residents, river sports people as well as PLA representatives, the developer (St George – not the Saint personally, but his representative) and councillors. There was a consensus that the pontoon as is does not meet its intended purpose and we would like it to go. The problem is that it would cost quite a bit to dismantle and may or may not have some salvage value. There is also the question of replacing it with something more appropriate, because the desire to promote use of the river is still there. It was agreed to set up a small working party to try and understand options, though progress is likely to take a while, not least because we need to find someone to pay for it. People who know what floats my boat (no pun intended) will not be surprised to hear that I took the opportunity to enquire about why they have still not approved the riverside walkway outside 41-2 Brentford High Street (the new Bellway Homes block opposite the foot of Ealing Road). They seem to think they will approve it (perhaps in 2027, who knows?). I also observed that it would be nice if they could find a way to update their website for current applications (last done in 2014!)

In the evening, a Labour party branch meeting with some interminable internal elections (win some, lose some). This is the part of politics I do not relish.

So we’re back round to Thursday. A rare day free of meetings other than a chat and a coffee with a resident of the spectacular Regatta Point. He takes pity on me, poor waif that I am, and slips a slug of Jack Daniels in my coffee to keep me warm against the storm. I spend the rest of the morning distributing invitations to Ruth Cadbury’s forthcoming coffee morning around Kew Bridge Road and Clayponds Lane, having done some other bits of the Haverfield yesterday. I pick up the inevitable bits and pieces of casework (bins not collected, central heating not working) along the way. Later on I will get my shiny new (old) car back and everything in the garden will be lovely, though it looks like I will be soaked getting to the garage.

Guy Lambert

November 11, 2016

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