Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert
Back from a Greek island where the sea was not closed
Back in blighty and greeted by 500 unread emails on Monday morning. So good to be back from the sheer hell that is a Greek island with a beach 2 minutes away, every day sunny and the temperature low to mid thirties.
This will be a short one this week, because frankly I have only 3 days’ work to report on and most of that was ploughing through emails. I’m down to about 100 now and I have a target of clearing them all by tonight. Sorry if I haven’t been responding, but I had other priorities .
Monday was pure email, interspersed with a bit of shopping/washing/feeling glum after a holiday, but on Tuesday the trusty bike was called into service for a run down to Feltham station. I was meeting some people from Lampton together with Steve Curran and we were being shown around some of the properties that Lampton have bought on the market or built.
We spent most of the time in Hanworth, where Lampton have a number of flats and houses, all let to people off the housing list. Well, nearly all, because two we looked at were not yet occupied. The first was an ex-council flat which Lampton bought off a previous buy to let landlord. Weirdly it had at some point been let to Hounslow as temporary accommodation which meant the council and/or tenant was paying market rent for a property in pretty shabby condition. By the end of this week it will be occupied by someone moving out of temporary accommodation. The rent will be ‘LHA rate’ ie what the government assess as a fair rent for recipients of benefits and much lower than market rent. The property is newly refurbished to an excellent standard, the tenant has much more security, Lampton will make a small surplus and it will cost the council nothing.
Before and after pics
I’m very proud of what we have achieved with this initiative. We now have 200 homes and we are adding 40 per month at present. They take people from the housing list and provide them with good quality, genuinely affordable accommodation. The scheme makes a small financial surplus and over time the ‘mortgage’ will be paid off and Lampton/the council/we taxpayers will own all these houses and flats outright. And if history is any guide they will be worth a lot more than we bought them for.
Finally we visited the Two Bridges site in Bedfont, where Lampton have been building a small development with their partner EcoWorld. One block will be managed by Octavia housing association and will in part be sheltered accommodation for people with autism. The other block will be retained by Lampton and let at market rates. Looking good and should be ready for occupation around October.
When I got home I had a Teams meeting about Houses in Multiple Occupation. We are trying to improve the management of these in the borough and there are new policies to do with licensing of HMOs and managing waste, which is a constant challenge. This meeting was to review the draft policies, which will go to Cabinet shortly.
After that, our Cabinet Briefing, where we review and if necessary revise papers that will go to Cabinet ‘proper’ next Tuesday. There were two which are ‘mine’ – the Local Environmental Review Programme which brings together a whole load of initiatives we’re taking to improve – ahem – the local environment. And the quarterly performance report from the companies. There’s also one of relevance to the ward, a by-law to do with mooring on Clitherow’s island – at the foot of Boston Manor Park in the river Brent.
On Wednesday morning I caught up with my daughter, who will be starting a new job teaching the Otter class at the Swan Centre at Strand on the Green school next week. Proud of her 😊
In the afternoon our regular update on the Streetspace programme, with many of the initiatives coming towards their final decision. We were able to reach agreement on all the schemes under discussion and announcements will follow shortly.
I had to mis a briefing from Brentford FC due to a private meeting but no doubt The Melvinator will update me on what was said in between crowing about the Bees being ahead of Man City in the league table and 11 places above Arsenal – woo hoo. The team, the club and the new stadium are all getting rave reviews in the footy press, a subject which I need to steer clear of when I talk to Tony Louki though to be fair even QPR are temporarily in the Championship play off places for now.
So now, inevitably, Thursday has appeared over the horizon. Benjamin Franklin said two things in life are inevitable, death and taxes, but he was speaking before the world had discovered Amazon (and sundry others who have moved to Monaco or the Channel Islands for health reasons) and before my weekly blog. I avoided that for 2 weeks but here I am back at it again.
I had a brief update this morning with a project manager Hounslow have just hired to lead on the Green Recovery programme. He tells me he has background working on Thames Water’s sewage Superhighway and on the waterside in Olympic Park, as well as various projects for DEFRA as well as a Masters in Environmental something-or-other so he seems a powerful addition to the team.
Later in the morning I have catch ups with Raghwinder who assists me in my cabinet role and with the exec director who looks after most of my area of responsibility – then there is the Police ward panel in the evening. Bit cloudy, but I’ll fit in a lovely bike ride (punctuated by a few FixMyStreets no doubt) this afternoon, together with clearing the Hot Hundred emails.
Cllr Guy Lambert
August 27, 2021