Checking up on the progress with Junction 2 planning
There was a good turnout for the Residents’ Association Forum and the main agenda item was a presentation from Chief Exec Niall Bolger about his feelings after around 6 months in Hounslow and his plans for the future. I was asked about the Pothole pledge – people are wondering what’s happening. We gave people a decent window to report/complain about roads that aren’t getting fixed and we have been waiting for Hounslow Highways to come up with costings for the ones residents tell us are most urgent. We will be ‘doing’ about 20 roads across the borough this year, starting around August/September and announcing which ones they are in the next week or two. Pleased to give a sneak preview that at least one notorious road in Brentford will get the treatment.
Further discussions about Lampton with the leader and chief exec and we agreed the way forward. In the evening I had agreed to go to a Hounslow Cycling meeting so missing out on Brentford’s Voice. I turned up at the Gunnersbury pub but it was full of young people having fun so that wasn’t it. The email said locations vary – check the website. The website was silent. Nothing for it but to go for a bike ride :-)
On Saturday I’m sitting sipping a cup of coffee in my negligee when I get a phone call “why aren’t you at surgery?” “Because the Melvinator is doing it.” “No he isn’t, he’s away, you’re supposed to be doing it.” “Gulp.” “OK, give me 10 minutes”. I perform a perfunctory toilet (I got that expression from reading a James Bond book when my mother – who thought such racy stuff most unsuitable – wasn’t looking. I was about 14). I then whizz up to the Mission Hall where 3 punters await – 2 whom I’ve seen before and one new entry in the charts, pop-pickers.
It’s an old cars racing around weekend so after surgery I’m off to Thruxton, down near Andover. It’s a nicely amateur place with an old-fashioned feeling and, as ever, I’m drawn to the cars which really should never be seen on a racetrack like this lumbering Jag (it didn’t last long).
Talking about lumbering Jags that don’t last long, whizzing home along the A303 the temperature gauge in my ridiculous one suddenly heads right to the top and warning lights come on. I stop and ring my breakdown service that I have smugly chosen as half the price of the well known ones. Lady says my policy doesn’t cover coolant loss. I ask her how she feels about working for thieves. She doesn’t answer. I call the RAC. 2 hours and £175 later a man comes, says he can’t fix it, will arrange a recovery lorry. To take it to Brentford or Chiswick is outside my policy and will cost an additional £110. OK take it to this specialist in Farnham, I can get a train home. After various unanswered phone calls , one lasting 35 minutes, one 45, eventually man with truck turns up and I arrive in Farnham about 2am. No trains. Taxi home. Leg removed to match the already removed arm. Man phones me on Monday – have fitted a new radiator and some other stuff. Another limb goes. “It’s just a flesh wound”
Anyway, all this is good for my fitness because I have to cycle everywhere and obviously I missed the second day at Thruxton and its inevitable Hot Dogs.
Not much in the way of meetings on Monday but I meet up with Brentford Voice leader Martin Case to run over a few things at the Black Dog. I hear later that the marvellous Air Quality Brentford people, who Martin also works with, have now agreed to put planting in the area at the front of the Housing Coop opposite the Premier Inn on the High Street – a project they have been working on for ages. We’re so lucky to have such committed community groups in Brentford and this will really lift the High Street – look out for the planting next Thursday!
During the day I hear that Councillor Raj Bath – one of the ‘uncles’ at the council who received freedom of the Borough for long service a couple of years ago – has passed away suddenly. He was a lovely man and had been unfailingly kind to me since I have been a councillor. I’ll miss him a lot.
I’ve missed all the excitement over the weekend at ‘The Brentford Project’ aka Ballymore but I go and have a sniff around the site (looks great) and get a report from local artist Wendy at the Brentford Recycling Action Group on Tuesday evening. Apparently there were loads of people there and big queues so people were nipping in to the Brewery Tap for (unfree) drinks rather than queueing for a free one. We hear sad news at the BRAG meeting that our local Canal and River Trust man, Sam, who lends the group the Toll House for our meetings, is being made redundant, which is a blow to all who know him. Lively drinks follow in the newly re-feathered Magpie.
On Wednesday I have the very onerous task of going on a boat trip from Tower Pier to Tilbury Dock. This is arranged by the Future of London group who do a lot of informative stuff for councillors and other interested parties, and not surprisingly this is about London as a port and the Thames as a resource for transport, leisure etc. Apparently, London is still the second biggest UK port and gets 53M tonnes of stuff each year. But they also showed us the Tideway tunnel depots, which are essentially storehouse for sewage – nice. But actually, nice, because it will prevent 50M tonnes of it being discharged in the river every year. Good to see the balance of payments – we import £53M of goods in London and export 50M tons of…
Strange what you get out East – the place where I started work in September 1969 and a company I work with 50 years later, all next the Thames in Essex.
Then back to Brillford, for a walk round the site for Junction 2 in Boston Manor Park with the Melvinator and Alice, who is our key contact with the organiser. I have to be careful what I say here because Junction 2 is not everybody’s cup of tea and certainly causes disruption to Boston Manor locals, but I find Alice and her colleagues most professional and that they really are trying to do this right.
We asked them to avoid single use plastics and not only are they getting rid of disposable cups and water bottles, but also using reusable toggles rather than disposable cable ties.
In the evening I dine in the Caspari restaurant with Ruth Cadbury MP, chatting about Brentford issues, mainly the town centre. It’s a while since I’ve eaten there but the gnocchi I had was lovely – give it a whirl, folks, we need to support these local restaurants.
Grand opening of the new Enforcement HQ today in Trimmer Walk, then a meeting with the people who’ve bought the Morrisons site – L&Q
Cllr Guy Lambert
June 6, 2019