Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

My ridiculous car turns into a ridiculous boat during the flooding

Guy's car flooded in basement
Wading through the 'water' that had come up through Thames Water's drains


Guy Lambertguy.lambert@hounslow.gov.uk

tel 07804 284948

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Well like I said I had quite a complicated Thursday afternoon, starting with a briefing from our traffic team and TfL about the proposed new Experimental Traffic Order for Cycleway 9, of which more anon.

Then a workshop with Lampton360 in all its guises about their performance reporting, which has come on apace recently but still has room for improvement.

Planning in the evening. Only three items, of which the first was an application to build 10 Housing Association properties on a garage site in Feltham. There was some concern from neighbours (as there almost always is) about overlooking and overcrowding but in fact this seemed a pretty sensible approach to a rather dilapidated brownfield site. My grumble, as so often, is that I would prefer more larger properties. I have people every week looking to move on from overcrowded properties, and I tend not to hear from those who are completely homeless. I have to trust the housing team who can see the whole picture but I will always push for larger – 3 or 4 bed – properties.

The second application was a rather complicated one to do with Dukes Meadows in Chiswick. This was an update to previously approved applications about clubhouses for football and rugby clubs. As someone who regularly passes by my main concern is to get an improvement to the public realm here and I wanted a condition for them to tidy up the currently hideous access point – the picture was taken on one of it’s better days!

Entrance to Chiswick Rugby Club

Finally, Cllr Siddhu wanted a bigger back porch on his house in Bedfont. I always try and give Cllrs a hard time about their personal applications but unfortunately I couldn’t find any reason to object to this.

On Friday morning I attended the regular meeting of the team who are moving forward the Brentford Arts Trail event which will happen in early September. It’s been great to watch this plan evolve over the weeks and we now have LBH Comms people involved as well as both the museums on the route, Watermans, Johnsons Island, Duke of London. Should be quite an event.

No more meetings for the day so I beat the bounds of my parish on the bike, partly to check up on the cleaning – Hounslow Highways fortnightly ward clean was the day before. In general the cleaning was very good, though of course the Great Brentford Public or - more likely - interlopers from Ealing or Syon ward are perfectly capable of dropping a McDonalds bag or a face mask 5 minutes after the cleaners leave. The weeds are bad in certain residential roads especially North of the A4 and I have been following up Hounslow Highways regularly to ask them to fix these (not done yet as of Friday). A lady in Whitestile Road gave me an old fashioned look as I took pictures of weeds (not her) and sent them to FixMyStreet so I explained myself to her and we had a brief chat about weeds, cleaning, life, the universe, and everything, as you do.

On York Parade (next to the garage on the GWR) I have fought a lengthy campaign against flytipping. We have recently deployed bins there to provide a place for the people living above the shops to put their waste and this has partly solved the problem, but for the second time recently I found a massive professional flytip there. The previous time a Hounslow Highways crew were already dealing with it when I spotted it but this time I reported and asked for enforcement action.

Flytipping York Parade

To soothe my soul I then headed for the river in Chiswick and my secret riverside path from nowhere to nowhere. Lovely jubbly.

Barnes Railway Bridge looking toward Brentford

In the evening Ruth Cadbury and I led a team door knocking in Clayponds Gardens. This estate always looks pretty good, with excellent caretaking and people seemed quite content though Ruth warned me to expect extensive casework from one resident – I’m waiting…

On Monday afternoon we had a Member Development session on Corporate Parenting. It is one of the responsibilities of councillors to ensure our looked-after children are, well, looked after. As a local member it’s not easy to engage with this because frankly we don’t get to know the children (and nor, probably, should we) but there are particular challenges when they leave council care at 18. A lot of work goes into supporting them but I think councillors would be eager to offer their support as benevolent uncles or aunts, as it were and we discussed this a bit. There were three such care leavers on the call and they were each very impressive, in different ways. Proud that we (not that I have much to do with it personally) have helped these young people become great citizens.

In the evening a call from daughter. Can she come round to see me as there is a fire near her flat and she’s worried. She arrives, drenched, on her bike and we decide to drive back round to her home in Chiswick. I go down to the basement car park and, gulp. The ridiculous car has begun to turn in to a ridiculous boat. So back up the stairs (lifts naturally are history) to change into shorts and beach shoes to paddle through dubious ‘water’ which is bubbling up through the drains to extract said car from the flood. By the time we got to Chiswick the fire was out, though I noticed the Richmond branch of the District Line was out of service until yesterday .

On Tuesday I had a number of emails from people affected by the flooding in various places including Boston Gardens, Windmill Road and Orchard Road. People think the problem is blocked gullies, and sometimes it is, but the fundamental problem is that the drains themselves lack capacity, which is a matter for Thames Water. According to Wikipedia, currently TW’s largest shareholders are Canadian pensions group OMERS  (23%),  BT Pension Scheme  (13%), the  Abu Dhabi Investment Authority  (9.9%), the  China Investment Corporation  (8.7%) and the  Kuwait Investment Authority  (8.5%). You might think it would be better if our water infrastructure was publicly owned rather than by a collection of mainly overseas investors, but I couldn’t possibly comment.

Tuesday evening I had to go into Hounslow House for the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, because I wanted to hear what was being said about the new Experimental Traffic Order that cabinet will be asked to approve for Cycleway 9. Fundamentally this is to update the scheme to deal with some of the issues that have arisen with the current experimental scheme, and you’d think people would welcome it. There was a lot of stuff from the OneChiswick pressure group regurgitated by the Chiswick councillors and it was good to hear Cllr Biddolph assert very clearly that she is not a member of this group, though she used to say the same when OneChiswick said she was. All terribly confusing to simple souls like me.

Jo Biddolph and OneChiswick

Anyway, once we had got through the political posturing, both Sam Hearn and Gerald McGregor as well as our Labour councillors such as Tony Louki whose family seem to run half the small businesses in Chiswick made some helpful points, which is what this committee is supposed to be for!

On Wednesday morning I was called into service for Hounslow Community FoodBox. As I said last week (I think) they are getting very short of drivers so the ridiculous car, restored to dry land, did a turn round Isleworth and Heston delivering a few parcels. The Circuit app, which was news to me, is very efficient at planning routes -try it. Better still, volunteer for FoodBox and try it on an important activity.

The afternoon got very busy as I had a Lampton Community Services Board and a Streetspace meeting (from which I skived off) and a meeting about arrangements for Brentford Community Stadium (which I attended) at the same time.

Community Services have heaps of things on across the organisation and it was a very interesting meeting, and I was pleased at the attention that is being paid by council officers in traffic, environment, licensing etc and the police in preparing for the inevitable challenges the new season will bring.

This morning, the regular West London Waste meeting and a meeting with council officers about longer term aspirations for the Lampton Group.

Cllr Guy Lambert

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July 16, 2021

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