Spends the week cycling around greenery and waste
The Hounslow Cycling meeting was really in the Gunnersbury this time so I managed to make it. Good excuse for a beer and talk about matters of concern to cyclists like the new chicane in Syon Park which I enjoy (test of skill) but doesn’t work for cargo bikes, tandems etc!
Friday was a meeting of the West London Waste Authority in the 1960s splendour (?) of Harrow Civic Centre. I really should cycle there because it is horrible to drive to but I’m daunted by the route. Cllr Mik Sabiers, my counterpart from Ealing, does cycle there so next time…
Saturday we had our latest Cleaner Greener Borough workshop in Hounslow House. We were a bit worried nobody would turn up on such a lovely day but people’s enthusiasm for these events is strong so we had about 30 or 40, which is great. Lots of ideas for the officers to work up. Various councillors attending including our very own Corinna Smart, and Chiswick’s answer to Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Opposition Joanna Biddolph. Here Amelia, our snail-fancier, explains her idea to facilitator Paul Probert as the ideas bank builds on the wall.
Then it’s a whizz across the borough to the opening of the Chiswick Oasis at St Mary’s School. A fantastic initiative started by a parent and supported handsomely by the Mayor of London and very modestly by me (and lots of local residents and local businesses) to create the biggest green wall in the universe (or something). I arrive late and miss the fun of the speeches. Goodness how sad. Anyway children putting on a show in front of the wall.
And the usual suspects from BikeHub providing free Bike services. Now that’s what I call a bike with all bases covered.
Then back to Brilliant where I look in briefly on the more low-key summer fair at Our Lady and St John’s Roman Catholic school near the A4.
Sunday afternoon I go down to the Isleworth/Twickenham borders. I’ve been invited to the BBQ they are holding at Cole Park Allotments. Pretty good because I had never even heard of them. Anyway they have a lovely space tucked in by the River Crane with something like 250 allotments so this is a serious place. Nice people and they wanted councillors to hear their story. They want to build a community hut made out of exotic natural materials and they need support to build structures on Metropolitan Open Land (which is like Green Belt). Seems very sensible to me and they have subsequently written to me. Will discuss with ward councillors etc and see if we can help. I decline the sausages but am persuaded to a small glass of Prosecco for politeness’ sake.
Monday morning I cycle out to 2 bridges in Bedfont for the ‘demolition ceremony’ for the old centre there which is being replaced by flats – many of them supported living for SEN residents. Steve Curran remarks that I should have asked him for a lift. He just doesn’t get it :-). I used 500 precious calories to get there. I hope there’s plenty of calories in those bricks because the dinosaur eating them looks like it needs a square meal to me.
Then back to Hounslow House for a meeting with top managers from Hounslow Highways. We called them in because of some serious fails in the weekend service recently. They tell us they have had problems with mobilising sufficient people and have reformed some of their policies to fix this, as well as adding some additional shifts. I have a moan about various issues, and it seems like these may be fixed or at least greatly improved. Fingers crossed.
In the evening feedback from the scrutiny panel who have been looking at reducing flytipping. We are already covering a lot of what they suggest but it’s really helpful to have a slightly more detached perspective and they make some points which we will certainly take on board.
On Tuesday a catch-up with senior officers on the progress of Cleaner Greener Hounslow. It’s heartening to hear our recycling rate is just beginning to inch upwards, news we really need to keep our enthusiasm up. There is so much going on at present and I’m hoping changes will start to be visible in the coming weeks – small changes to many different things which add up to a big improvement.
I go on a decent bike ride in the afternoon and by the time I’m back, showered etc I miss the Brentford Recycling Action Group meeting at the Toll House. But I manage to make it for a beer or three with these nice people in the Magpie. I compare hearing aids with one of them, who has spent £800 on private ones. We put them on the table against my NHS ones which cost me zilch, zero, nada. They are identical. We both agree via lip reading that we can’t hear anything though :-) I am honoured to receive an invitation to dine with the 55th Mayor of Hounslow hisself, the very wonderful Cllr Louki, so we repair to La Rosetta for liquid and solid refreshment. Lovely.
I’m taking a couple of days ‘off’ to meet a friend of mine up in my old home town, Liverpool, so this week’s blog comes from the bedroom of the City Centre Premier Inn. Where once my father had a beautiful showroom on rather splendid Renshaw Street selling Triumphs, Nortons, Kawasakis, Renaults and Opels and where I spent many a happy day the scene has deteriorated over the decades.
Fortunately some of us have not deteriorated at all in 50 years.
Cllr Guy Lambert
July 4, 2019