A post-election return to business as usual
So we’re back to full council business, starting with the first IBAF under the new management of Cllr Louki. There was a bit of fun during the meeting because we had found out it was Tony Louki’s birthday and, knowing his enthusiasm for candles at the IBAF meeting someone (I suspect Mayor Sampson) had conjured up a well-candled cake causing a bit of embarrassment for the chair and great mirth for the members (and some of the public).
The main topic was a presentation from senior officers on the new waste and recycling scheme. Some concerns were expressed about handling of the new recycling boxes by the elderly or infirm, and there were various queries about shredded paper (put it in the food caddy as it can’t be recycled) and batteries (take them to a supermarket – most have battery recycling) but this was not a heated discussion. I think people are prepared to wait and see. The only item with any real controversy was about the hours of a CPZ in Osterley. I had taken a look at it and formed a view but in truth I think most of us thought this should be a matter for the ward councillors. As it happened two out of three of them spoke up for a relaxation of hours so it was easy for the rest of us to go along with it.
On Friday, following various toing and froing, I decided to take a bike trip up Boston Manor Road to see how the repairs to the gates were getting on following not one but two sets of gates being attacked by angry lorries related to the Junction 2 festival the previous weekend. There is obviously some gremlin in the air – perhaps it derives from the garage or grime or whatever-it-was music at the festival- because not only are lorries caused to have arguments with gates but exceptionally cool bicycles belonging to councillors are caused to shed their chains in a way that completely immobilises the darn thing. I managed to get it into scooter mode and scooted down to Evans in the High Street. Helpful chap in the shop managed to get the chain off (it was a bit like a tug-of war – me pulling the bike in one direction, he the chain in the other) but none of us had the skills to refit it (given there was obviously a problem) and it turned out their mechanic had gone for 2 weeks in the Bahamas. In my day it was Southport or if you were going for the exotic, Morecambe. This almost made me miss the shopping opportunity at Hen Corner – I had ordered my very first breads from there – but I made it just in time, and very good they were too.
Anyway I trundled down to Moore’s in Isleworth on the train on Saturday and it was duly fixed, together with a funny noise which apparently was related to my bottom bracket. I never realised my bottom had a bracket.
All this made me a late arrival at the big picnic in St Paul’s Rec. This was part of the set of events which marked the anniversary of the murder of Jo Cox MP called the Great Get Together and to record that there is more that unites us than divides us – as Jo said. A perfect day (well a bit on the too warm side for some of us) and a good turnout in our lovely Rec, which looked very good (apart from the graffiti – more casework!)
Sunday was Ruth’s ‘thank you’ party in Chiswick. Of course as I said a blog or three ago, we didn’t know when we set this up whether we would be celebrating or drowning our sorrows so the outcome was great and fortunately someone had conjured up a couple of gazebos to stop the cream of Labour frying. Does cream fry?
Monday, ridiculous car goes into hospital at Capital Motors for its MoT and annual service. Unfortunately there is no NHS for cars and elderly patients need a lot of care, but my other elderly thing of the day was nipping down to W Middlesex for a new hearing aid. Absolutely fantastic service as always. In the afternoon it’s the Steam Museum (which was steaming hot!) for the first exhibition on proposals for the B&Q site. As B&Q is for posh people its site is a little bite of Chiswick taken out of the flank of Brilliant but it doesn’t stop us being interested. I am disappointed to hear that this relates to just the B&Q site, with the old bank site in front of it still separate. It seems rather daft, but the sites have different owners with different ambitions. I won’t comment on the B&Q proposals, other than to say I’m increasingly convinced that we need to improve the public transport (especially) infrastructure BEFORE some of this development goes ahead. Whether that can be achieved, I don’t know.
In the evening it’s credit union board. I relate a truly disgusting tweet I’ve seen from a payday lender (interest rate 997% APR) starting a fund for Grenfell Tower victims to show what caring, sharing people they are and no doubt to seek business for new clothes/furniture etc. Our lending is down, not sure why, and that’s a problem because we have too much money in the bank doing not much, but at least we are now trading consistently profitably.
Tuesday morning a visit to Watermans with the Melvinator to see a first go at new plans for the Watermans and Police station sites. They have reduced the size of the proposed buildings on the Watermans site, which is a step in the right direction. Melvinator and I agree to differ about our preferences in brick colour. This will have public exhibitions and is likely to come to Planning November/December.
A ‘lessons learned from the campaign’ session with Ruth in the afternoon then compulsory planning training - it seems Lefty Lee is standing down from planning which might reduce both the time spent and the entertainment – and later on, the Licensing Committee. It seems Hounslow is totally bereft of licensed sex shops and establishments, which is probably a blessing!
In a week full of meetings, Wednesday is the Audit Committee. In effect we are auditing the work of the internal auditors. The internal auditors employ external internal auditors to do internal audits, and I suppose the internal auditors audit the external internal auditors. We discuss whether, when Lampton 360 employ internal auditors (who will likely be external) whether LBH internal auditors should audit the extrernal internal auditors of this external outfit. It’s a laugh a minute on the Audit committee.
So now we’re back at Thursday. Morning is a visit to the dentist (always a special joy) and in the afternoon I will be helping assess candidate investment companies who have bid to manage part of the LBH pension fund. This could well be a lot worse than the dentist. In the evening we have Planning Committee: the agenda is both long and controversial (I have had dozens of letters) so it could be a long night!
June 22, 2017