Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert
Watermans Park, Ballymore development and getting my foodbank ban lifted
We had our update about Watermans Park. Progress has been frustrating. It was bad enough before they decided to close Hammersmith Bridge but since then our chums who are responsible for clearing the wrecks have been unable to access with their demolition gear. We are hopeful that this will open up in the near future.
Meanwhile the contractors building the services unit inside the ‘black citadel’ have been affected by COVID so the date for opening up access from the east end of the park has slipped from this month to next. TfL cycleway people are in the meeting as are the Friends group, Hounslow traffic and parks people and it’s good to have all affected co-ordinating. We will meet regularly after this until the job’s done!
On Friday I spent the morning in the Rose Community Centre stacking shelves and filling bags for Hounslow Community FoodBox. Early in the pandemic I was banned by the trustees (of whom I am one) from entering the premises on the basis I was over 65 (even if I still think I’m a teenager sometimes) but that rule has relaxed now and it was good to remind myself how it all works – actually very different from 9 months ago because it is so much busier. A call out to our fantastic volunteers who have been manning the FoodBox at least 5 days a week throughout the pandemic, plus collecting and delivering stuff. And of course to all our generous residents who have donated food, toiletries and money and kept supplies healthy. The centre looks absolutely packed with stuff but there is so much going out it’s misleading – won’t last long unless the donations keep rolling (which, touch wood, they do).
On Friday afternoon I partook of the forbidden fruit and took a frozen walk with a friend of mine around Brentford Dock. We escaped without arrest and proceeded down Augustus Close where I was able to have a look at how the Ballymore development is progressing.
In the nature of these things, not much seems to happen for many months, then there is a huge burst of change – which I reckon is just starting – then not much seems to happen as the internal fitout goes on. Anyway, I reckon that big hole in the ground must be the car park underneath what will be our shiny new Morrisons.
Monday was a catching up day, with stuff in my mailbox about appalling neighbours, the continuing scandal of bad cladding which is causing terrible distress for people in certain blocks (and the recent government announcement is chocolate teapot territory for a lot of them) and the anti-idling campaign. I’ve signed up to the event on 23 February at 4pm. My car being a bit ancient doesn’t have this turn off at the traffic lights technology that new ones often have but most of my emissions at traffic lights are of the panting breath variety associated with vigorous bicycling.
Tuesday my regular one to one with the chair of Lampton. They have just had a session with the Hounslow senior management which seems to have gone well.
In the afternoon we have a catch up with Brentford Voice to discuss matters of local interest including Watermans centre, the Brentford Fountain and the general future of Brentford. Their resident survey has identified the waterside dimension and our thriving arts scene as key things to protect and develop – hurrah to both these.
One of my spies was out on Brentford High Street early one morning (blimey, takes me back to my dad singing this big hit from the 1930’s – can’t find the original)
Anyway, she thought this example of social distancing on the High Street was truly Brilliant and I have to agree with her, making allowances for the two in a support bubble/same household. The number of infections in Hounslow in general and Brentford in particular continue to inch downwards, but we are far from out of the woods yet.
Back to earth, it’s time for the Lampton Group board meeting on Wednesday afternoon. Great progress on the business plans which we will be taking to cabinet in March and an update on the state of the company boards. We are entering the final stages of interviewing over the next few days and we’re hoping to ‘get’ a local GP and an environmental guru. I’m told the standard of applicants remains very high so looking forward to meeting them.
In the evening, there’s a brief meeting amongst Labour group about proposed changes to the council constitution. Apparently we should revisit it often but it has been neglected for a few years and needs updating to current best practice and to reflect how we now actually operate (and think how that might be improved). This is far from my specialist subject but an important debate nonetheless.
Back to Thursday and the morning blogathon. I’ve gone the 26 miles, just 385 yards to go, then I’ll be off on the bike for a less than marathon ride before it starts raining again, allegedly around 3pm. Anyway, I have to be back by 2 for a ‘Cleaner Hounslow’ Community Reference Group, then a planning presentation and the police ward panel later.
Be Brilliant and see you in a week.
Cllr Guy Lambert
February 19, 2021