Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert
Risking life and limb on the A4 for a bacon roll
On Thursday evening we had a Labour party zoom meeting. When the world is ‘normal’ I go out most weeks for a session of door knocking to try and pick up people’s concerns and issues but for obvious reasons I haven’t been doing this since about February.
Most communication these days is via the ether which is not that satisfactory and does limit who you interact with to those who contact you. Of course I’m frequently waylaid when out on my bike (another positive for that way of getting around) and that is welcome, but it tends obviously to be only people I know.
Apparently we’re allowed to door knock (or were until Tier 3 kicked in) but I very much doubt people would welcome it in the current circumstances so I’m not about to restart. So if you want to indulge in a bit of councillor interaction you’ll likely have to initiate it by email, phone or hailing me as I pass by.
On Friday I visit Brentford library. Closed of course as it is on Fridays but the Melv and I get a guided tour and, whilst there is still work to do to get it finished it’s taking shape very nicely indeed. The rooms for adult education have been created and the floors beautifully renovated. Upstairs a bunch of librarians are diligently dusting books that have suffered during the renovation work (to be fair, quite a few were probably dusty from being on the shelves for years before all this). Still work in progress but definitely getting there.
On Saturday I went to Gunnersbury Park. It’s always a pleasure to visit and it’s now moved on a stage with the sports hub open and all the horrible Heras fencing gone. The ‘Duck Pond’ market is thriving. Sadly I am poochless so, tempted as I am to avail myself of organic paw and nose balm, I fear it would be lost on my paws and I don’t want to take any risks of my nose taking on the habits exhibited by doggy noses, especially in a pandemic.
Sunday is Brentford market(s) and I am also aware the good burghers of Brentford FC including Buzz Bee and Buzzette are stinging people outside Morrisons for a bit of food for Hounslow Community FoodBox. Actually they can keep their stingers in reserve because people are so generous and so many – some of whom don’t look like they have a lot of cash to spare - come out with an extra bag or a few tins etc in the top of their bag without further prompting. It reminds me what a lovely place Brentford is, for all its imperfections – it’s the people that make it brilliant.
I spend a bit of time in the market, bumping into the ubiquitous 55th Mayor and many other local stalwarts, but run out of time to visit the Blue road action.
Monday morning I set the alarm for 5, as I’m invited to join the MD of Coalo for her ‘Santa run’ to thank our excellent recycling and waste crews, and the Greenspace team up at Southall Lane and Western International Market respectively, where they hang out. It’s worth remembering that they have been out every work day throughout all this and delivered an excellent service throughout, despite personal risk. Respect. It takes about 40 mins to cycle up there in the dark (it would be much the same in the light!). Together with a fair few other cyclists and contrary to rumour I stick to the cycle lane on the A4 except where it runs out (Gillette corner is especially scary at 6am – in the dark and with cars moving rapidly along a near-empty A4). The lengths some people will go to to get a free bacon roll.
In the afternoon a Teams meeting with housing colleagues and Brentford Towers Residents Association. Housing have decided that fire precautions compel them to stop residents using the sheds that many of them have access to within the towers. Not surprisingly, this has caused some dismay and it seems some residents have complained to the residents association volunteers as if it was their doing, which of course it was not. Communications about this could have been better and the housing team will be working to get things back on an even keel over coming weeks.
Later we have an all-member update on the imminent move into tier 3 (disappointing but very necessary, I think) and the work in the borough on test and trace (now working much better as it’s largely in the hands of local professionals rather than random untrained low paid call centre staff) and the start of vaccinations. Light at the end of the tunnel? We can only hope.
The Santa run on Tuesday was a lot more civilised. The Coalo people based at Coates Walk and Harvey House start pretty early, but not at 6.30 am and anyway this is a 4 minute rather than 40 minute bike ride. We meet a young man with 4 daughters who had been unemployed for some time before starting a temporary job with the grounds maintenance team. He is now a permanent employee, loves his job, and his compadres are full of praise for him and he’s so happy to be able to support his daughters properly with a decent job and the London Living Wage. I see him sloping off carrying an evil-looking piece of kit (a petrol powered hedge trimmer I reckon).
After that it’s a very teams-y day, with West London Waste – lots of talk of the circular economy, and how we can use that to create jobs as well as get greener – an update with the Lampton chair, an update on the continuing works on the Haverfield estate and a Lampton finance update. Then in the evening we have a meeting about the Hounslow corporate plan which need to be updated next year. Phew, a varied but rewarding day, but cycling/exercise a bit neglected, though I did manage a quick trip around Dukes Meadows/Chiswick High Road on a gorgeous afternoon. It was a good day for tides and I think the gorgeousness may have been lost on a few who parked in Chiswick Mall ☹.
Wednesday was more relaxed, with a free morning to catch up a bit, then a meeting of the Cleaner Hounslow Community Reference Group. I had a personal (zoom!) engagement which meant I was a bit late joining but I was delighted to hear from the new person who is leading on recruitment and coordination of our Environmental Champions. We started this idea off before the pandemic and it’s been delayed far too long but this new person who has only been here a week or so seems to really have the bit between her teeth. It was nice to hear one of the members of the public making a point of praising the leaf clearance team who had done her street in Chiswick, both for their hard work and for being friendly people.
After that the Mel and I had a presentation from some developers who are proposing a scheme which is planned to redevelop the army surplus store on the High Street and quite an extensive area of semi-derelict ground extending behind the Jet petrol station (I didn’t even know it was there). Inevitably this is more flats but I thought they had done a decent job with their proposals. Of course there’s a long way to go before anything gets finalised/approved/built but both Mel and I appreciated being informed. They will start consultation publicly shortly and I was able to point them at various community groups who will have an interest.
An empty Thursday morning. The sun is shining and nothing in my calendar until 4pm when we get first sight of the Lampton360 Business Plans which will be going to cabinet in the new year. Old Father Thames, or at least the dry bits down his sides, beckons.
Cllr Guy Lambert
December 17, 2020