Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert
A painful encounter with a not so smart doctor ends in West Mid A&E
It’s a good job I did write last week’s masterpiece before heading off to the big city, not because I came home pie-eyed, but because I came home pie-legged and pie-armed, having had an uncomfortably close encounter with a doctor and more particularly the Smart car he drove across my path.
One minute I was cycling along nicely on Hammersmith Road the next I was lying on my back groaning and moaning whilst various concerned passers by attempted to haul me back upright. Doctor did the concussion test on me. I said it’s 2021 but I think I am concussed because I’m thinking Boris Johnson is Prime Minister and that can only be a bad dream, surely?
I decided riding home was not realistic so enrolled Mr Uber but later in the day noticed my arms were hurting and ended up in West Middlesex A&E. I had talked to 111 and they told me they had booked an appointment in A&E but they were ‘avin’ a larf and when I arrived I saw the wait time was 5 hours. Actually it was about 3, during which I was x-rayed and diagnosed with fractures to left wrist and right elbow. I had visions of leaving the hospital encased in plaster like The Invisible Man but as it turned out I had just a splint on my wrist and what I’d call a sling but the hospital calls a collar and cuff (matching I assure you) for my elbow.
So the Beaujolais remained undrunk, which probably made me more coherent when I attended an update Zooting © about Charlton House etc which seems to be going smoothly. The residents are enthusiastic, we’re told, and on the face of it it looks a big improvement but there are some objections from neighbours so it will be interesting to look closely when it comes before planning. This was before my wrist got bothersome – my hospital adventures were the late evening and early morning.
Next morning a Zooting © with a company who claim to have better solutions for engaging the public. Too often our engagement is with quite a limited pool of people, often older, often middle class, often white. This cadre are all very engaged with local matters and their involvement is incredibly helpful, but we really would like to engage with a wider and more diverse group. Whether this company’s tools will really help I don’t know, but I commended the Deputy Chief Exec to take a look and she is interested.
Afterwards I hopped on a 237 (or was it a 267?) to attend the Labour party office in Chiswick. I wanted to get hold of the feedback we’ve had from the many leaflets we’ve been distributing around the borough, and I came home with a weighty wodge of documents, which I haven’t had time to review yet.
Saturday morning it was surgery time again. Three punters on this occasion (is it politically incorrect to call them punters? Certainly, but you know what I mean) the first being a certain Mr Melvinator Collins of these parts. He thought council officers were coming to assess our safety but that has yet to be arranged. Still, we have various cases in common which we could update on. Then there was someone with concerns and ideas about how we can reinvigorate Brentford as the various developments progress – some very interesting thoughts which I will feed into the ‘system’. Then a gent from across the border in Syon ward with some neighbour and road issues, which I will raise as casework, though not really my patch. Heaven help whomever is elected in Brentford West ward after next May when people who live in West Brentford will assume they live in Brentford West, when of course Brentford West is the more westerly bit of eastern Brentford, whilst central and western Brentford are obviously going to be in Syon and Brentford Dock ward. The genius of the Electoral Commission is something for us all to celebrate. Sorry to be a broken record on this matter, but it is truly quite bonkers.
Late afternoon it’s Carville Hall Park South for the vigil for poor Ali who was murdered a few days ago. It’s a very sad event but good to see that there are a lot of people there from all walks of life, It is moving, and I’m proud to be part of this community, for all its imperfections.
I was supposed to be going to a dance event in central London, but with my recent trauma I didn’t feel like an event like that, so my friend and I repaired to The Brook for some liquid refreshment of the hoppy sort and some very nice food with especially generous portions – just what a chap who can’t do his normal exercise needs! It’s the first time I’ve eaten there and certainly won’t be the last.
Sunday morning a Zooting© of the trustees of the (sometime we hope to be approved) Good Consumer charity. As it happens there were only three of us on the call and two were together in Hexham. One is a Villa Supporter with Newcastle as his local squeeze and the other is a Bees fan so we spent our time discussing what fun Newcastle 3 Brentford 3 had been to watch (they in person) and how gracious of Liverpool to help out Villa by lending Steven Gerrard to sort them out. I had not got very far with the very complicated spreadsheet I’m supposed to fill and apparently we’re getting a revised spreadsheet soon.
It's about this time that I hear we Hounslow have been assessed as having the third best parks in London.
This one, like Council of The Year, came somewhat out of the blue, although I have been aware of all the investment and iprovement over the years since Carillion shuffled off this mortal coil, including the record number of Green Flag Awards. Particularly heartening to hear that we are overall best in London at supporting nature and at strategic planning. So – best roads in London for the second year running, third best parks, and adjudged Council of the Year: not bad for unsung Hounslow.
On Monday morning a brief Zooting© with the Chief Exec and deputy about future plans for the borough, then most of the day spent on site visits with the Lampton Development and Investment companies. Hadn’t realised that the now quite trusty 235 (remember when it wasn’t at all trusty?) is the direct route to Feltham station – I’d prefer to cycle but needs must – where we met to have a look at the New Road Triangle site and surroundings. Then we did a “before and after” on their investment properties:
Obviously not the same flat but you get the idea. We met a tenant – they pay rent at the rate of LHA which is what is allowed by the government for people on benefits, so it is truly affordable – who was a single mum of two. She had lost her job and her private rented property during lockdown and moved here from a hostel. This makes such a difference to people’s lives.
The ‘before’ flat had been purchased on ‘right to buy’ but then let. There had been 9 people living in this 2 bedroom flat so it’s no surprise it’s a mess.
Later we visited Herings Hall Close in Brilliant Brentford (or technically Stupendous Syon) – the development previously known as Acton Lodge - and met a tenant who was just into her new house there – this one a council house but built by Lampton Development. My dodgy wrists are not up to a sharp magnified picture of a swift brick on the fourth floor wall of a town house, but you can just about see the three little holes. If you are friendly with any swifts I will happily provide directions.
After all that excitement I had a couple of evening meetings – first a Watermans Trustee meeting then a cabinet briefing, so that was quite a busy day but thankfully my arms had more or less stopped hurting so it was all good.
Tuesday morning a Zooting © with an officer from West London Waste. One of the things rather dimly defined in the new Environment Act is what is known as Extended Producer Responsibility – that manufacturers and retailers who cause waste should contribute to paying for its collection and disposal. This is a worthy intention but the devil is in the detail and I will be working with WLWA and the other 5 boroughs to try and come up with an agreed best approach across West London so that we are as efficient as we can be and maximise the benefits of this new policy as it is rolled out.
In the afternoon another Zooting©, the Hounslow Citizens Advice AGM. It was interesting to attend this as my understanding is quite sketchy though we work with them both via the council and via FoodBox. It was heartening to hear the Chief Exec, who has worked with many councils across the country, singing the praises of Hounslow and how well the council works with them.
I had to sneak off before the end though to go to a meeting at the Mission Hall. They have new committee members and a real desire to see this useful hall used more by the community, and they had asked councillors and council officers, plus some community groups like Brentford Voice, to come and support them and exchange ideas. Delighted to see this new energy.
On Wednesday I was hoping to attend the Park Ranger launch in Heston Park but some private meetings and my lack of useful transport meant I ran out of time, but in the evening a meeting with senior police in Brentford Free Church about the recent stabbings. It is so sad, what happened, but we have to look forward and see what we can do to stop these things happening again. Not straightforward, of course. There was a fair amount of anger in the room, which was no surprise. As luck would have it, we have a police ward panel meeting this evening and we will get this on the agenda, and I’m keen we reinforce our efforts to get wider community engagement with this- we have great people on the panel but not enough from the communities which are most affected by crime and ASB.
Also last night we had a Labour party meeting addressed by Patsy Stevenson, made famous by this image from when she was arrested. She shared the stage with Bambos Charalambous, the MP for Enfield Southgate. He was formerly shadow minister for justice, now immigration, and the discussion was about the police and their powers effectively to ban protest, which is a very bad idea indeed.
Cllr Guy Lambert
November 26, 2021