Unfortunately no picture of trying out Zumba for the first time
I met with Gill Steward, the new Lampton360 chair in the evening. She brings a wealth of experience with local authority trading companies, notably Corserv, which serves Cornwall County Council and its residents. I think she will bring new energy and direction to the Lampton companies, which are all now stable and delivering decent service to the council and need to move on to the next phase.
There were no takers for our Planning Development meeting so I got the evening off, and Friday was free of meetings other than a farewell drink for our local organiser who has a new job at Labour Party HQ. In the best tradition of Labour party research and sophistication she had benchmarked the price of a bowl of chips in about a dozen pubs near our Chiswick office, and we ended up in the Packhorse and Talbot on Chiswick High Road. Just to do a little virtue signalling, I partook of no chips, just beer, and not enough to seriously endanger my bike ride home.
A quiet weekend (though not entirely quiet watching England 19 New Zealand 7, nor, for that matter, Wales 16 South Africa 19). My mother was slightly Welsh so my each way bet for the final was expunged on Sunday morning.
Monday was quiet too, excepting that I decided to change the habit of a lifetime and go for an organised class at the gym – Zumba. Don’t laugh – there was enough of that in the class. I have also started cycling to the gym, having decided at the ‘Greener Borough’ event to stop the perversity of driving to the gym. I have tried some local gyms but I get on too well with the equipment at Roko Chiswick to switch – given my delicate commitment at the best of times. Later my geriatricness was confirmed: they have been giving me the free flu jab for several years but now I get a super strong one reserved for us frail seniors.
I might have joined our Borough of Culture jamboree but it never quite made it into my diary so I had to leave it in the capable hands of the team. They all look very sweet, I’m sure you’ll agree, in their yellow T-shirts, but the sweetest of all is Mayor Tony ‘Napoleon’ Louki with his best bib and tucker and splendid titfer. Personally I think GLA member Tony Arbour lowers the tone but I might be biased.
Anyway in my frail way I cycled to Hounslow House for the Labour Group meeting. We were mainly talking about savings plans (sorry if I’m boring you with repetition, but we have no option to obsess about it until we get a sensible government. Oh. A date for your diary. December 12th. You know what you need to do).
On Tuesday we had Borough Council. We started out by hearing a number of tributes to Cllr John Chatt, who passed away recently. I have mentioned him before, so I’ll confine myself to saying it was fitting to honour a man who did great things for Hounslow and was a thoroughly good person. Glad to see his widow, Gail, and old chum and former councillor Dave Wetzel in attendance.
A long agenda was lengthened by Mayor Louki inviting a number of groups to address us. These were a mix of voluntary groups like the redoubtable HAGs who do so much for Heston in particular and our Borough in general. And young people like two young women who have made an astonishing success of their lives after being brought up in council care. They made the point well that they wouldn’t have done it without great support and they worry that the right support is not available to every care leaver, especially after they turn 18. Important food for thought.
I was asked to explain where we have got to in the Cleaner, Greener Borough programme. In truth, there is still loads to be done and we’re just beginning the delivery phase having spent many months consulting and planning (not to say we haven’t done stuff, too!). I’m really proud of the team we have working on this. There’s a huge list of tasks and they are working hard on every one of them, and despite that the main delivery phase is only starting I can already see the difference in cleaner streets – in places, still a way to go – and a recycling rate that is creeping up, albeit at a snail’s pace. Anyway, it was no sweat to talk about it, because I think we’re doing the right things and I’m as determined as the team are to deliver for our residents.
On Wednesday I have to go to the Labour Party office to load a car full of brochures from Sadiq Khan that I need to get out quickly before the formal election campaign starts next week.
In the afternoon I attend the Lampton360 board meeting. There are only two directors at present, but the senior managers who head up the divisions – Recycle, Greenspace, Development and Investment – were in attendance together with Finance people. Great to hear that all the homes we have purchased have now been finished to a high standard and are all now occupied, with the Eden House development ready for occupation in November and work under way at Acton Lodge and the two bridges site. All areas are delivering well though staying within budget is a challenge (that they are rising to). We will be interviewing for a new Managing Director next week and that, together with our dynamic chair, should add extra impetus and urgency.
Later we have a meeting between the cabinet and senior officers to discuss various matters, including the new reality of an impending election and the associated preparations the council needs to make and the restrictions we must honour during the election period.
The very last road to be treated in phase 1 of the Pothole Pledge – Manor Gardens in Chiswick - was delayed from last week because Hounslow Highways could not safely get the equipment into this cul de sac off the North Circular Road. We need approval from TfL to mess with the A406 and they will only let us do that at night. After last week it was decided a lane closure and temp traffic lights were needed and TfL won’t let this happen before 11 pm, which is upsetting for some residents because on the first night it’s extremely noisy whilst machines mill off the top surface. I cycled down there after my meeting to see what was going on but as this was at 9pm, I was unable to experience the worst of the noise etc and I wasn’t up to staying until 11. I’m told it was all done (the noisy bit) by 00.30 and they will finish off tonight, but should be much less disturbing. No fun for residents and rather short notice as it had been postponed from a short time ago. I’m hoping the short term pain will lead to long term pleasure (as John Lennon once rather disputed).
Not many pics this week, but the autumn view from my balcony is pretty special.
Cllr Guy Lambert
October 31, 2019