Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert
Regular cycling mishaps and a selection of flytip and overgrown greenery
Not a lot happened at the tail end of the New Year Week, but I did visit the Thames Path in The Hollows – between Kew Bridge and the now seemingly defunct O’Riordan’s pub. I’ve been trying for years (literally) to resolve the unsightly waste facilities and attendant flytipping here (plus the hoarding someone had put across the road unlawfully). We have now more or less resolved all this but in the autumn, whilst awaiting meeting someone, I strolled down to the towpath and reported some mess and a lot of overgrown vegetation, which our chums in Hounslow Highways duly attended to. However it seems they were a touch over-enthusiastic and cut back some clematis etc which had been lovingly nurtured by a local resident and overhung a wall. I will try and get some partnership working going between residents and H Highways.
I decided to take a recreational bike ride down to Richmond but going down the Ducks Walk there was loud clanking and the pedals wouldn’t move. On inspection I found the gearset had fallen off and wedged itself in the back wheel. I don’t believe W Heath Robinson would have come up with bicycle gearsets as they are far too improbable a design to have credibility in a cartoon, unlike this anti-litter machine (Hounslow Highways – one for you to consider).
Anyway, as luck would have it I was near to a bike shop who managed to fix it and I had no broken spokes. But the bike had a wobbly sensation so I took the wheel in to be tightened up.
On Monday I had the first of what will be regular meetings with the new MD of the Lampton Group. He is getting his feet well lodged under the table and we will work together to get the various bits of Lampton working at their best. Actually they are all OK but there is a lot of potential for improvement and we’re in a good place to really start making progress with a new MD and Chair providing renewed impetus.
In the evening, a session in the Black Dog with the chair of Brentford Voice, chewing over a number of local matters. Brentford Voice have made a serious impact for good in their first year or so of existence and I encourage everybody to join/get involved https://brentfordvoice.co.uk/
On Tuesday I was in the Black Dog again at lunchtime, supposedly meeting a Credit Union colleague – well, no longer a colleague as I’m no longer involved in the Credit Union – about strengthening the service the CU offers the council, but I got stood up. Story of my life. Anyway I extracted a serious grovel so honour was satisfied and a pint and a bowl of loaded fries eased my heartbreak.
In the evening we have cabinet briefing where we preview the agenda for the public cabinet meeting on 21 January (all welcome, though few actually attend). Quite a big agenda and a few difficult decisions, as ever.
As my bike is wheel-less I decide to use My Little Pony to get to Hounslow House but when I go to her stable I find someone has nicked the saddle! So I go in by car and when I get home late on I take another look and find the saddle, somewhat damaged, actually present but very tightly wedged in the cable lock of another bike on the stand. I spend a good 5 minutes wresting with the darn thing to release it and a good hour puzzling what on earth all that was about.
On Wednesday I am asked to phone the doctor for a review of my recent regular blood test – a welcome innovation as it saves me a journey and her a bit of time. Apparently I’m not dying of anything very immediate, though, as Private Frazer would say, I’m Doomed, I tell you, Doomed. But then, so are all of you.
In the evening I meet a resident with an alleged benefit overpayment which he says is a mistake. He has copious evidence to support this and is, quite rightly, angry at a system which causes stress to him and his family as he is repeatedly asked to pay something he asserts is not due. I will take that up with the benefits people later today – it’s a pity that some of these matters need councillor involvement to sort, and I worry about people who don’t know how to get support. And of course there is the absolute scandal of disabled people, some with terminal illnesses, being denied the benefits they need on the basis of highly dubious assessments by private contractors, many of which are overturned on appeal. But the appeals take months or years to come around and some people die in poverty waiting for them, and many suffer severe stress.
Later we have a Labour party branch meeting. We discuss the recent election, which went very well locally but very badly nationally. We are in the throes of choosing a new party leader (and deputy leader) and it’s striking to me how many minds are open, like mine, as to who is the dream team.
Today we have the formal opening of the CCTV centre in Brentford, then I have a meeting with the lady from the NHS who is doing ‘social prescribing’ and is looking for spaces to work with people.
Planning this evening so I will need to engage with that agenda. Things are hotting up after the extended break.
Cllr Guy Lambert
January 9, 2020