Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert
Visits the glamorous Southall Recycling Centre
Thursday evening it was pre- Planning presentations. One was about Hanworth Park House, which I’ve spoken of before. This is a fabulous building with lots of history, but in severe danger of becoming history. It will cost loads to restore and the only way to make loads is to build new stuff around it. Trouble is, it’s in the Green Belt so building around it has its problems, though it’s generally agreed this makes sense, as everybody wants to save the house. Genghis Todd had obviously had a dream he was Trotsky and laid fiercely into the developer who owns the place, suggesting that he might be trying to make a profit. Welcome to the fold, comrade.
Seriously, it’s tricky because the council owns some of the land, we want the house properly restored for mainly community use and that to be clearly sustainable, a fair price for the land which the community owns and an improvement in what is currently inaccessible, scruffy green belt, and the minimum possible sacrifice of green belt consistent with a viable restoration.
The other presentation broke all the rules because an application is already in. It concerns some home proposed for an underused Tesco car park in Feltham. Some locals don’t like it and we’ll have a decision to make when it comes to committee.
Friday was all glamour – a visit to our recycling place in Southall Lane, the first time I’ve been when it was actually going. There was a journo from GetWestLondon there and we spent several hours watching the processes and interviewing the team. I found it mesmerising and took a load of very amateur videos – available on the Brentford Councillors Facebook page
Saturday I was back there, this time for the guided public tours. I had some interesting conversations and very briefly met two old friends, but I didn’t stay long – even recycling heaven can pall after a while.
I looked briefly in to the Big Picnic in St Paul’s rec and had myself a couple of cool beers – miserable old git that I am, I’m not much into picnics – and it was nice to see a decent turnout on a lovely day. In the evening a birthday party at the Clayton Hotel in Chiswick – tottered home on the trusty bike, just a little the worse for wear.
Sunday lunchtime I met a resident at Brentford market before buzzing off to Gunnersbury to have a look round the museum on its opening weekend. The park was busy and plenty of people in the museum and on guided tours with gardeners etc. Looked lovely with the fountain playing in the Orangery pool and plenty of families picnicking and playing on the lawns. It’s such a big space that, even with the works going on on the sports hub, there’s plenty of space to lose yourself and many features to explore.
On Monday I go to the civic centre to accompany a couple of residents with benefit queries. One had a diary malfunction and didn’t show, but what I hope was a constructive session with the other one – time will tell.
Later on there’s a financial review with Cllr Rajawat our financial supremo. Huge challenges but we’ll face up to them and find a solution, as this council always does.
Then it’s Borough Council, enlivened only by the Conservatives getting their knickers in a twist about a motion condemning modern slavery. First they want to float an amendment, then they withdraw it. Then they get very excited saying what a rotten motion it is. Then they vote in favour of it. Some on our side were a bit peeved at the time wasted, but I think it’s quite sweet how they try to create a shambles to emulate the Whitehall government, though I don’t think any of them had sneaked off to Afghanistan, or even Acton.
Wednesday I have to resurrect my Dickie Bow and Dinner suit to go to an awards ceremony at the London Hilton, whose doors I hadn’t darkened for years, even decades. I’m with our partners, Hounslow Highways and we’re nominated for an award for the best Highways Management in the UK – and guess what, we won it! We have our grumbles with Hounslow Highways and it’s easy to lose sight of the achievements. Coming from nowhere our roads have less maintenance backlog (potholes in other words) than any other London Borough except Westminster, which is equal with LBH.
Thursday morning I’m out with the emerging Friends of Watermans Park and people from Lampton Greenspace 360 and we have a good chat about what will need to be done to put right years – decades – of neglect by Carillion. The Friends group is likely to be formally established in early autumn – if you’re interested let me know and I’ll pass on your details (plus still need somebody to get Carville Hall Park friends going – go on, you can do it, someone, surely?)
Then into the Civic for a LamptonFM360 Board, where I am an observer. This is the one that does housing repairs and I have a very positive view of their prospects.
Does lightning strike in the same place twice? Yes… and no. Yes, I really did have another awards dinner Thursdays night; yes it was at the London Hilton in Park Lane. No, recycle360 didn’t win either of the two categories it was shortlisted for. Give it another year or two.
Councillor Guy Lambert
June 29, 2018