Holding his begging bowl out for charity
Actually the Area Forum was quite a calm affair with the main issue being about the demolition (or otherwise) of the fence that divides the Mill Plat footpath in Isleworth from Silverhall Park, and the ivy thereon growing. Great passion in evidence from those who wish to keep the fence and the powers that be are going along with that and seeking discussions/consensus but that didn’t stop us having a decent barney. Inspector Steve Edwards gave the police update as usual and remarked that the ward forum in Brentford was a bit dysfunctional, mainly because it lacks a chair. This is the cue for Muggins, who offers himself as interim chair until a more suitable piece of furniture can be identified. We have a meeting tomorrow (restricted to existing members, as there is a little bit of vetting, I believe) but I’m very keen to get more community representatives on the panel. It’s not onerous – meet for an hour or two every month or two in Brentford – and there are lots of people concerned about crime and ASB round here. C’mon, Brilliants, (wo)man up and join our club.
‘Quite a calm affair’ would not be the term I’d apply to Friday’s meeting in St Paul’s Church. A big turnout (250, somebody said) and plenty of passion, to put it mildly. Talks from the developers, Friends of St Pauls Rec, BCC, St Paul’s School and Theo Dennison as lead member for citizen engagement. Admirably chaired by Andrew Dakers, though in truth it was an unchairable meeting, with passions very high. In theory, the meeting was about the proposed developments at Watermans and the Police Station sites as well as Morrisons but in practice it was 90% about Morrisons because that is where there is a clear planning application, with the others still being formulated. As I’m on the Planning Committee I have to be restrained in my comments so I will merely say that, whilst I am mindful of people’s concerns and wishes (there are other views around than those vehemently expressed on Friday, and I’m still keen to hear from people, whatever they think) I have no option but to vote for or against the development on planning grounds. There are useful contributions in the forum threads which clarify what might qualify as planning grounds.
Delighted that Brentford library reopened on Saturday, though in accordance with Sod’s Law, every time I try to go there I pick one of the days when it’s closed. As an aside, here’s one RANT ALERT
This is not really directed at LBH but at the general use of this expression, which was used about the library closure. This blog post from some years ago sums up my view though I must say I find it irritating rather than irritable, but then maybe I’m a pedant (as well as a peasant).
This might be a bit naughty but it’s in a good cause. I have decided to take part in Unicef’s Fast 24 on 23 February. There is of course an argument that I should fast for 24 months rather than 24 hours but Rome wasn’t built in a day. Anyway, if anybody feels like making a generous donation to help Unicef save some starving children http://www.justgiving.com/Guy-Lambert6
I spent Saturday at a Coop party event at the Coin Street coop development near Waterloo. This was called ‘In Our Interests’ and focused on building an economy for all. A lot of fantastic speakers and a very thought-provoking day – one of those where you came away buzzing but not sure what to do next. I have a little book from the event which I’ll read in due course and formulate my master plan.
Monday morning I attended the Holocaust Memorial Day event at the Civic Centre. I haven’t been before, but boy, am I glad I went to this one. As regular victims of this blog will know, I’m not usually one for speeches but the speech here – from Susie Barnett, who emigrated from Hamburg in 1938 as a baby – was utterly riveting and, I’ll wager, not a dry eye in the house. I happened to be sitting next to Genghis Todd and had to keep looking in the other direction. This story would have been very affecting at the best of times but today, in the heat of Brexit and Trumpery which to me feels like the worst of times, it was doubly powerful.
This is one of those weeks where I’m out every night. Obviously I’m usually clubbing later on, but early(ish) evening it’s the Labour group on Monday, Borough Council on Tuesday, Labour Campaign Committee on Wednesday, Ferry Quays AGM on Thursday and Police ward panel on Friday. I’m not complaining, but it does make for a rather odd lifestyle especially as I’m generally fairly uncommitted during the day (other than Thursday mornings when I’m busy creating drivel).
Anyway nothing too momentous from any of this. The Borough Council was astonishingly short. Even the one that I thought might bring a fight – our call to the government to protect funding for our schools which under current plans will be cut by nearly £16M or a gobsmacking 428 teachers – was agreed by our Conservative colleagues, or comrades, as they prefer to call themselves.
We also had a meeting of the Area Forum chairs and vice chairs, which I attended as vice chair, Mel (the chair) being engaged with football supporters trust business. Just thinking about how to improve the area forum format, and I have some thoughts that I want to discuss with his lordship.
Yesterday Steve Curran wrote a really strong letter to Chris Grayling, our ‘esteemed’ Transport Secretary, suggesting that he forthwith cancel, kybosh and bazooka the bonkers plan to build road tunnels coming up in Carville Hall Park and deposit yet more congestion and pollution on Chiswick roundabout, the N/S circular, Brentford etc. The very lovely Chris was on Radio 4 today this morning and said “Heathrow has committed …. not to increase, beyond today's level, the number of cars accessing the airport”. If it was anybody but CG, one might conclude that an immediate kybosh is a racing certainty. Given that it’s him, perhaps he’ll achieve improved traffic flows by banning cycles, pedestrians and public transport which all get in the way of cars.
February 3, 2017