Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert
Dreaming of bringing home the Brentford fountain
Well, blimey O’Reilly, I said the Green Dragon Primary School sounded like fun but the reality far exceeded expectations. It was pure joy from beginning to end. Some of the children are clearly very talented and the most uplifting part was how every one of them looked so happy. Corinna gave a short speech congratulating and thanking everybody. The school should be very proud and Brentford should be proud of the school.
I whizzed off to attend the High Street traders/Brentford Voice meeting at Verdict but it was just breaking up as I arrived. Good to meet the organisers anyway: I’m pleased the local businesses are showing leadership and the council will play its part. Returned to the Black Dog to share a celebratory pint with the Green Dragon people (well, strictly speaking I didn’t share my pint with anyone).
Various social things I was looking forward to over Friday and the weekend were postponed due to ill health (well, that was their story) so I was the saddo doing solitary bike rides round Gunnersbury Park assessing the impact of Lovebox/Citadel. I was surprised how little sound was escaping – I really couldn’t hear it at all in Popes Lane or the north end of Lionel Road North or Gunnersbury Avenue. I could hear it near Lionel School, by Chiswick roundabout and on the Clayponds Lane footbridge but it wasn’t loud anywhere, not even when I sat in someone’s garden in one of the nearest houses in Lionel Road to the main stage.
Various people were nevertheless troubled by it – I think it may be absorbed by trees etc at ground level and they were higher up. When I got home to Ferry Quays I could very clearly hear Kew the Music. Actually it was pretty loud – many times louder than anything I heard coming out of Lovebox – though it didn’t worry me (after all I am used to planes which are even louder and a lot less tuneful!). Of course the levels might vary throughout the day and I had a complaint about noise made by the organisers late at night, plus somebody told me there was an assault on Lionel Road. There were many police and stewards on Popes Lane and Gunnersbury Lane but little or none elsewhere.
I did try this year and will redouble my efforts for any subsequent event to get better coverage of those roads that the organisers don’t want to bother with. Anyway, I did bike rides each evening around the park at different times and I didn’t see any trouble at all – lots of worryingly young, happy-looking people. One of the nice things (this is a standard feature of riding a bike) was bumping into various people on my travels.
On Sunday afternoon we had our annual Barbecue at the Labour HQ in Chiswick High Road. I forgot to take my bottle of chocolate flavoured red wine (won in a previous raffle) and probably as divine retribution for this none of my raffle tickets came out of the hat but we got to listen to an excellent speech from Hilary Benn MP, introduced by Ruth Cadbury.
Monday was meeting-free until the evening. There has been discussion - perhaps a fantasy – about bringing the Brentford Fountain home to Brentford. I learn later that it was actually given to market traders when the old Brentford market was closed and they were relocated to Western International Market out near the airport. Anyway, I had seen it before but decided it would be nice to go and have another look at it. Not the most scenic cycle ride but nice enough on a sunny day. The poor fountain sits on an unloved and unkempt junction, anomalous and uncared for, all a bit sad. It is also spectacularly huge. Getting it fixed up and back here would be quite an undertaking (plus it seems we don’t even own it) and I don’t know where it might go, but it’s still a nice aspiration.
Afterwards I met with the Chiswick resident who had complained about cleaning of the footpath which leads from Wellesley Road to Chiswick Village (I thought all of Chiswick was a Village, shortly perhaps to be devastated by a cycle path wreaking destruction the Luftwaffe failed to achieve). This was the chap I missed a week or two ago. Anyway, we agreed the path is now spick and span, other than that the netting which is supposed to deter pigeons under the M4 flyover, doesn’t because it falls down. I suggested he follow this and any other matters through with ward councillors, though I’m happy to help if that proves not fruitful.
Tuesday was one of my Future of London events, this one looking at regeneration of London Docks. Google maps told me that to cycle there would take nearly 2 hours, so I decided just to cycle to Chiswick station. We crossed the Thames on Boris Johnson’s second (I think) most costly folly, the laughably-named but fun Emirates Airline. Spectacular views.
Then 3 sticky hours tramping round dockland in the afternoon sun with people from the development corporation, Newham council, developers LendLease – who are converting the enormous and listed former Spillers flour building - and the architect of the Thames Clipper terminal they are about to open there. I took one look at this chap and thought “architect”: was it the heavily orange-rimmed spectacles or the blue and white patterned sneakers, or a combination? Anyway the design of his pontoon looked great in the pictures. The piles are already there and the actual pontoon and bridge are being fabricated in the Netherlands, shortly to be shipped here and craned into place for soft opening in September. We ended up in a large park right next to the Thames Barrier, imaginatively named Thames Barrier Park. I’d never seen the barrier up close and personal.
Back for the consultation event with Mercedes-Benz. They had assembled a lot of their managers to explain the expansion they propose to their premises and the changes they have come up with to try and deal with residents’ and councillors’ concerns. It will come again to the next planning committee.
I was supposed then to go to the Thomas Layton trust meeting but I was already late and actually whacked out so I gave it a miss. Corinna told me later that it was not quorate, which is a pity but no critical business.
Wednesday morning I met with Katherine Dunne and officers to consider how we take forward our ‘Greener’ initiative which sits alongside our ‘Cleaner Borough’ plans. Particularly urgent as we have just declared a climate emergency and we agree a set of things to do and bring down the time allowed to do them. More soon.
In the afternoon I had volunteered to be a ‘Pitch Advisor’ for the National Citizens Service. We listen to 11 groups of 16 year olds presenting their proposals for Social Action Projects, decide that they all merit at least a ‘pass’ and pick 3 for the podium positions. All good stuff and if all 16 year olds were like these, we’d have little to fear for the future.
This is the 200 th blog I have written – doesn’t time fly – as a councillor and I manage to dig out the very first. Back then I said: “I’ll try and keep these updates coming, hope people find them readable and informative, and invite any comments to my council email email@example.com or to my phone 07804 284948”. Well, I succeeded in keeping them coming and I hope with the other aspirations also. Still happy to get any feedback.
STOP PRESS: It’s Parks Week. Join me and the Friends of St Pauls in a cleanup of St Pauls Recreation ground and roads thereabouts (according to how many turn up!). Special stop press – I am supposed to be getting some pint-sized litter pickers for pint-sized apprentice clearers-up. Fun for all the family! 10am Sunday at the entrance near the school/junction of St Pauls and Lateward Roads.
Cllr Guy Lambert
July 18, 2019