Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert
Good new and bad news after tackling Hounslow Highways
Gosh, seems like weeks ago that I had my (very helpful) meeting with Hounslow Highways. Time flies when you’re having fun.
So, Highways. The bad news is that they still have not released their programme of resurfacing etc beyond this year and, Layton Road aside, there are no plans for this year that have not already been done. The good news is that the roads in general are in a much better state than they were a few years ago and that this is a matter of fact rather than opinion because the roads are assessed in accordance with the relevant national standards. Though of course people like me (and every resident of Brentford) mainly notice the roads that look a mess.
I was pleased that they take the moans I have about street cleaning seriously and are, I think, making serious efforts to improve matters. Where I have suggested extra or larger bins, they have generally acceded to that and in my experience that makes quite a big difference to the mess. They plead guilty to a problem on the A4 and say they are looking to upgrade equipment so they can sweep the pavements and cycle tracks mechanically – that lets them cover 6 times as much ground in a shift than a man with a barrow can manage.
I enquired about an app, but they say there is none available that interfaces with their back office system so for now we have to report stuff on their website. This is OK and works, but a bit of a pain for us saddos who cruise around on a bicycle looking for trouble. I had a good example of how efficient they are with flytipping: about 10pm on Friday night I reported a flytip behind the Cathja shop. By 10 am on Saturday they had inspected it and by midday on Saturday it had gone. So, folks, if you see flytipping or graffiti or a blocked drain or a bent road sign or an unlit bollard – do report it online. I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised how well it is dealt with. If it isn’t, you know who to call!
Friday evening we were out door-knocking up in the Clayponds area. About 10 of us on this occasion and we managed to cover quite a few roads. You rarely hear a bad word about Ruth, who people realise works so hard for her constituents. If you’ve been following ‘They Work For You’ you’ll have been astonished by how often she speaks in the Commons or is otherwise active at Westminster when she’s not lurking around the constituency talking to locals and dealing with the 20,000 emails she’s had in 2 years. And I moan about mine!
That was the story of my weekend, really. Saturday I was out in Hounslow Heath ward with Corinna Smart and on Sunday in Syon with Theo Dennison and Katherine Dunne, as well as various local members. The Church Street closure definitely comes up in Syon and generally (though certainly not exclusively) people don’t like it. Councillors have to take a lot of awkward decisions and this was one of them: it weighs heavily in some people’s minds but most can see that there are bigger things at stake in a general election, where the fear is that if the country allows an unfettered right wing Tory government we could see irreparable damage to our NHS, schools and social cohesion. Having people like Ruth in parliament is a pretty powerful check on these trends, even if we end up still in opposition.
On the way back from Heath, I chanced upon musicians in the Brilliant Market Place. Turned out they were celebrating the canal clean-up that had happened that morning, yielding (amongst other things) a lot of plastic and an elegant supermarket trolley. There are plans to repeat this every few months and it was clear everybody doing it had had fun as well as doing something really good - you can see a little fillum of them at it (cleaning, I mean) on my Twitter feed.
More action in the Marketplace on Sunday, with the Air Quality Brentford team promoting electric cars though with the Tesla on show starting at an attention-grabbing £77000 I shall be sticking with my very superior old gas guzzler for the present. Other solutions are available.
Lots of campaign activity all round and I spent Monday morning in the Labour office in Chiswick, talking to a potential council candidate, helping with some printing and envelope stuffing (always therapeutic) then being caught in a Chiswick rainstorm delivering some of said envelopes (NOT therapeutic).
In the afternoon, two meetings in the civic centre. The first is a big meeting in the council chamber with the aforesaid American students presenting most impressively on their project to regenerate Lots Ait, with various community, educational and business starter options in discussion. They have done a very thorough job and have clearly been well supported by council officers, their university mentors, and the community. The trick now will be not to lose impetus and get some at least of these ideas from concept to reality.
The second is a presentation from Ballymore and their waterside architects/consultants on the emerging waterside strategy. I had already had some feedback from river users: they had previously been very worried but were most reassured by Ballymore’s approach. I think all of us councillors were impressed also and we will likely go and have a look at what’s been achieved in some of Ballymore’s other developments.
In the evening I had to miss a member development session on child protection because it was the www.thamesbank.org AGM. Our credit union is doing pretty well, and we were able to approve a dividend for members for the second year running. It was also heartening to see a better than usual turnout of members though very annoying that the £100 raffle was won by Councillor Tony Louki, though to be fair I believe he was the very first member of the Credit Union so I suppose he could argue it was about time!
Tuesday I hosted my fellow councillors for a cup of coffee and a discussion about ward matters then spent most of the day trying to catch up with email which seems to have gone a bit mad, before a brief session at the Labour office.
Wednesday morning some Ferry Quays estate business, then a visit to the civic centre for a session with Steve Curran to discuss what happens over the next 12 months. In the evening, Ruth’s campaign launch in Hounslow, followed by some health food (hot dog and chips) in the astonishingly economical Moon Under Water in Staines Road. Four drinks and change from a fiver (admittedly one was tap water!).
April 28, 2017