Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

In praise, selectively, of flyposting and graffiti on Sunley Island


Guy Lambertguy.lambert@hounslow.gov.uk

tel 07804 284948

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On Thursday morning we had the Army. In my last conventional job I was plonked temporarily in an office which normally housed a member of staff who was off serving in the Territorial Army in Afghanistan. He returned before my permanent office had been constructed so we had a short engagement before I conceded the desk on the basis I continued to occupy the table. I’m not sure that such constructive arrangements were made in Helmand Province.

irish guards dog

What’s he on about? They ask. Well, said part time soldier became a full time one and is now the Lt-Colonel who looks after army liaison in our part of London. We used to see a fair amount of them when they were in the barracks (now vacated and about to be redeveloped see last week’s riveting episode) and the Irish Guards had a fantabulous regimental pooch, much missed, though I can think of better dancing partners. We don’t see so much of the army these days but it’s good to know they are there in the background and have helped enormously during the pandemic. Let’s hope we can keep them helping out domestically and not having to rush off to wars.

An update with my relevant director and assistant director. Lots going on which I won’t bore you with but everything more or less on track including some sizeable projects.

In the afternoon I attend a meeting of the people looking to arrange a ‘Brentford Arts Trail’. I think this is an excellent idea and I just wanted to show some support. The team are working on arrangements and timing – probably the late summer or early autumn, bugs permitting.

In the evening a lively meeting about the changes to Boston Manor Park. There is a lot of disquiet about the changes there and it was important for the project team to talk to concerned local residents. It was pretty well-attended and conducted constructively so I hope people were to some extent at least reassured, though I’m well aware that concerns linger. I’m urging officers to make public as much as is possible of the ecological advice which is an important factor in the changes, and we will have further meetings as the work progresses.

Friday morning I try and fail to attend a meeting about Holly House, the rather ludicrously-named proposal to build a new block of flats on the old NatWest bank site on Chiswick Roundabout, ie latest descendant of The Pinnacle, The Citadel, The Octopus, Chiswick Curve. Maybe not as daft a name as The Octopus but it’s a close call. Anyway, details and videos are here, for anyone interested. My initial take is that it’s better than the last several but that ain’t saying a lot.

In the afternoon a trustee meeting for Hounslow’s Promise. Good to hear we have delivered 280 donated refurbished laptops to school children who have been let down by the government, and that an anonymous donor has just given us £10,000 to carry on with this. Our annual return has been lodged with the Charities Commission, the mentoring programme for school children continues and is popular (more mentors eagerly sought) and all’s well for now, though we will get round to serious fundraising shortly (bug permitting)

On Saturday mixed business with pleasure with a bike ride. Normally I’m against graffiti and flyposting but I couldn’t bring myself to complain about these, which have been posted to the unprepossessing ‘Sunley’s Island’ where Lionel Road meets the A4.

Sunley Island flyposting

Sunley Island Grafitti

I have (again) reported the flytipping within though.

Monday morning, a short planning meeting for the induction sessions we will be holding for our new Environment Champions during the week, then a session with the developers about their revised plans for Griffin Park. We actually liked the planning application that was approved a couple of years ago and there are things we like about the revised plans, and some other things we don’t like. The three ward councillors make their comments, some friendly, some feisty. The proposals will be consulted some more with locals before coming to planning, I think in the summer. Whether they take any notice of us or the wider community, time will tell!

Then it’s the Thomas Layton Trust trustee meeting. I’m a bit of a broken record as I’m always harping on about the lack of diversity amongst the trustees, though I can’t fault the work that’s being done. There seems now to be a decent prospect of the collection finding a home in Gunnersbury Park, which would be fantastic. We’d heard rumours in the past but things seem to have moved on considerably. I miss the Corporate Parenting workshop which clashed with this but it was good to catch up with the good Tommy before going to a Labour Group meeting in the evening – our regular meeting the day before Borough Council.

Tuesday, the first induction session for our Environmental Champions. Only about a dozen for this daytime event but we have around 100 people signed up across the borough. We want lots more – sign up here. This was a really enjoyable meeting with people who are keen to work with the council to make their neighbourhood cleaner and greener.

In the evening our annual set piece, the budget-setting Borough Council Meeting. Normally our revered and esteemed Conservative opposition spend a couple of hours whinging about the budget then abstain, but this year they had what they comedically called an alternative budget. It had all those old Tory favourites – cut wages, raid reserves to pay for current expenditure, flog off assets to property developers to pay for consultants. The Horror of Homefields, Leader of the Opposition Gerald McGregor, appears to have a new scriptwriter because the wind that blew over the virtual council chamber had a distinctly different flavour to that to which we are well used.

After about 5 hours of knockabout comedy everything was passed, but folks there are bigger laughs available on alternative channels. Fortunately I had braced myself for the evening by taking a sunny ride down to Twickenham on Wednesday morning. I love my rivers at all times but on a sunny day, when the tide is in and the wind is subdued the sight of the river really satisfies my soul. It was especially gorgeous at Church Street Isleworth, and I always find Richmond bridge very handsome.

Wednesday was a different sort of day and I was persuaded by my daughter to help her move flat so the ridiculous car, which is even more ridiculous as a removals truck, did a stint from Wandsworth to Chiswick. I go out on my bike practically every day but I was more cold and soaked doing this than I ever am on a bike. Well, colder anyway, soaked on a bike is an occupational hazard.

Late afternoon a session about ‘Tell us about your neighbourhood’ with consultants Allies and Morrison. This was an online consultation event and, whilst I found it interesting it was clear that a lot of attendees were confused about the purpose and frustrated by what they saw as excessive input from the presenters. In the evening a Labour Party branch, mainly talking about how we respond to the changes in ward configurations which rather mess up our branch boundaries.

Thursday morning a “achieving Net Zero seminar” to allow a little respite from the blogging and there you are. Another couple of pages of the outpouring of a deranged consciousness. Now back to try and catch up with the ruddy emails and I hope fit in a ride before more environmental champions in the evening. Toodle-oo

Cllr Guy Lambert

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March 4, 2021

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