Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert
Talking rubbish and drafting the Labour manifesto
This week II went off to the big smoke to meet a man about a Credit Union. An excellent meeting, further improved by bumping in to an old work friend. Amazing how often you bump into people at random in these small towns like London.
Back to the Civic Centre for a meeting of the parks and libraries working group. Everything seems to be moving along nicely, with the people transferred from Carillion now ‘back’ and in Greenspace360 – the council’s subsidiary company. We hear (Shock! Horror!) that a PO has been issued to rebuild the gateposts and gates at Boston Manor Park.
So to the Planning Committee. It was a long agenda, mainly because a lot of fairly minor domestic applications, mainly in Chiswick, had been called in by ward councillors. It was also a long meeting, because there were speakers on a number of the applications, including Lefty Lee’s final farewell tour, arguing against wicked capitalists and for council houses all over Chiswick, as is his wont. Perhaps I exaggerate. The only Brentford one was the plans to have a major refurbishment of Boston Manor House. This is good news, with serious money coming from the Heritage Lottery Fund (we hope) but we’re conscious that we need to keep the Friends properly engaged, particularly as the proposed new café might be a threat to the café they run there. For the first time in living memory, we followed the officers’ recommendations on every item.
Friday morning I spent a little time up in Boston Manor Road, having a look at the current chaos as the cycle lane is built. These things are a pain in the neck for residents and we are pressing Hounslow Highways so that the development is happening faster than scheduled. There is inevitable disruption whilst it is going on, but there have also been some issues with waste and recycling. These are not inevitable and I’ve been in frequent contact with the team to try and get these fixed by better cooperation between Hounslow Highways and Recycle360. The cycle track is gradually emerging and looking good.
On Saturday morning I was one of the lucky 160 who got a ticket to for a tour of the Southall Lane recycling depot. I had seen it before but without any rubbish in sight (anybody who suggests I caveat that by excluding my fellow councillors is very rude indeed) and this time it’s well in operation. The picture at the top of this item shows what your plastic recycling looks like after it has been ‘baled’. The bale will now be sold off to somebody who wants to recycle it as will all the bales of cardboard that were at the depot – their trip to Yorkshire has been delayed by the snow, but I’m sure it will be very picturesque for them when they finally arrive.
The recycling investment has become a political football but I’m personally proud that the council has invested in this facility: it is state of the art, will last for at least two decades and provide the basis for an economical and effective recycling regime.
On Sunday Corinna, Myra and I patrolled the St Paul’s conservation area looking for unsuspecting Labour Members and supporters to sign our nomination papers, all done and dusted I’m delighted to say!
Monday I spent much of the day at Labour HQ, messing about with this and that as I do and doing a bit of envelope stuffing to give our eager volunteers something to keep them occupied. In the evening it’s the Pension Fund Panel – the last one before the election. The fund has done extraordinarily well during the tenure of Mukesh Malhotra as chair, guided by our exceptional officers and the fund is now 90% funded, which is really outstanding, as anyone who knows about pension funds will confirm. Mukesh does not currently have the nomination in any ward and it will be a great pity if we lose him as a councillor after May unlike some of the rest of us, who some of the public, especially the denizens of the BrentfordTW8 forum, will be only too pleased to see the back of.
Anyway, to have a chance of being re-elected, we need a credible and deliverable manifesto. As a latecomer I wasn’t involved in the manifesto last time round, though I’m proud we delivered on every one of our pledges. The pledges for this term have been set, and you’ll hear about them soon enough, but as a sneak preview, one of them pledges no cuts to older people’s care, no library closures and no building on local parks or greenbelt. In the evening we had an excellent meeting (I missed the first bit due to Pension Panel) fleshing out the manifesto with ideas from members.
On Tuesday evening I was at the Watermans for an update on the Gunnersbury Park development. I have to say this was poorly advertised, and I doubt there were 30 people in the theatre, including nobody at all I recognised from Brentford. Anyway, the new café is already open and the large mansion nearly there. The Melvinator and I had a tour on Thursday and it’s looking pretty wonderful (also – the café is also a restaurant – worth a try I’d say judging by the sarnies we were served!) .
On Wednesday I met Gail from the London Sustainability Exchange. They are shortlisted for a grant from the Big Lottery Fund for a project called Brentford Together aimed at bringing people together via local activities. They are working in partnership with Hen Corner, The Friends of Cathja and Cultivate London. Fill in their survey here and let them know what you’d like to see.In the evening, it’s the last Labour branch meeting before the elections in May. A lively debate following a wide-ranging talk from journalist (amongst other things) Shaista Aziz about Trump, xenophobia, the government etc. A bit of brain oil in the Swan afterwards and then we’re round to today’s visit to Gunnersbury. Myra, sadly, is missing because earlier in the week she had a fall while out being walked by The Pooch and has painfully broken her wrist, poor thing. We’re going to really miss her work in the weeks up to the election because delivering leaflets and writing letters is difficult with one hand and she works so hard for residents, colleagues and party. I’m sure everybody will wish her a speedy recovery because as well as being useful she’s been a great friend to the whole community including me personally
Councillor Guy Lambert
March 15, 2018