Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert
Trying to stay positive despite continuing to test positive
I’m afraid the lurgy lingered. Although I felt mostly fine after about Thursday, I keep getting that frustrating T line on me Lateral Flows, doctor. Makes me think of an old Ronnie Barker sketch about Cockney rhyming slang. He was complaining about a pain in his Newingtons. I will convert that to a more brilliant version and say (when I have, at the moment I don’t) I have a pain in my Brentfords. My Brentford Butts. Guts.
Any road up, with a continuing lurgy I was unable to attend the first meeting of West London Waste Authority under the new administration, which is a pity, because WLWA is important to our environmental improvement ambitions. On the other hand it involves going to Harrow Civic Centre.A picture containing sky, outdoor, road, way
This is feted by Wikipedia with the description ‘the ultimate municipal monolith’ but it’s not the building that offends me, but the getting there, either a congested car journey or a polluted and scary bike ride (my regular reader may remember me raving against the scenic route I once took, which involved scaling Horsenden Hill, which I rechristened the Alpe d’Horsenden).
Anyway, because I was feeling OK and had 3 or 4 hours awarded to me, I was able to catch up with my commitment to ride 300 miles in June for Cancer Research, a target I have now achieved. Also, thanks to my great sponsors who have overshot my fundraising target.
Saturday was, of course, the Canal Festival. With my continuing lurgy I was in no position to marshal, and I confined myself to hanging around the fringes, masked up and warning people not to talk to me. Even from this limited viewpoint I could see what an outstanding success it was. In 45 years working and living in Brentford I have never, I think, seen so many people on the High Street and by all accounts it was greatly enjoyed by one and all. I met one of the organisers outside The Verdict on Sunday and asked if he could please arrange the event to run every month. He gave me what is described as an old-fashioned look and observed it would take the organisers 12 months to recover. A big shout out to Brentford Voice, who made this happen!
Other than a couple of local forays and a bit of solitary cycling I mainly confined myself to barracks on Sunday, missing events in Isleworth (centenary of the war memorial) and Heston (celebration of the community garden).
On Monday morning a Zooting© with the council CEO. I believe he is doing likewise with all councillors just to establish, or in my case re-establish, a relationship. We talked of various matters, mainly around the Lampton companies and the GLA grant for buying back ex-council homes which we thought was going to go to the company but will end up going to the council itself for legal reasons. Whatever, it’s great to get funding to provide 550 new truly affordable homes for people on our list. Buying homes in the market has been a huge success led by Lampton and this will move it on a giant step.
In the evening we had our first councillor surgery for Brentford West in the Library (as opposed to the joint surgeries we have already inaugurated in the Digital Dock on market days). Lara couldn’t do it and I was slightly dubious – my NHS app says I’m free to mingle but I’m still testing positive – but decided to do it anyway, masked up.
I had two customers, one with neighbour problems in Boston Manor Road and one (well a couple actually) who took the trouble to come and thank me for a bit of casework I had done on their behalf. Being appreciated is much appreciated, thank you!
On Tuesday morning I was supposed to be going to Cranford School for a Hounslow’s Promise meeting. I decided I should not go to a school whilst testing positive only to hear that the person I was supposed to meet also had COVID. There’s a lot of it about, to put it mildly – 10775 in Hounslow according to my JoinZoe app.
I did go to Boston Manor Road to see the man with neighbour problems and knocked up an address in Boston Gardens. They are after a play street there but there are issues. Nobody answered so I left a note.
In the afternoon we had Lampton Group Finance and Performance committee. It is always heartening to hear a finance director talking about setting aside contingency and I heard this in Lampton for the first time. There are plenty of worries, mind, such as severe inflation of Lampton’s own costs and also concerns about whether people will sustain gym memberships, currently growing strongly, as the cost of living crisis bites into household budgets.
Wednesday morning my regular Network Board with Hounslow Highways. This is where we update various matters and take them to task about services which we are unhappy about – at the moment the main one is weed clearance. They are still struggling with the challenges of removing weeds manually without using toxic chemicals, but as this is the third year we expect them to have mastered the problem. On the plus side, we are expecting good news shortly on the LOTAG report, where we have been assessed as having the best roads and footways in London for the last 3 years. The report is delayed but expected in July.
In the afternoon I am run through the plans for the Heston Village circular economy pilot. This is an ambitious experiment, funded partly by ReLondon (the London wide Recycling and waste authority) to see how we can improve repair, reuse and recycling in a tightly defined area. The idea is we will use this as a pilot for Hounslow, for London and for other areas and it’s quite an exciting initiative. We hope to start implementing later this year and monitor it over the next two years to understand what works, refine and learn lessons prior to promulgating more widely.
After this, I go on my evening constitutional – a bike ride to Twickenham, Hammersmith and back, taking in Turnham Green Terrace, where I’m pleased to see that the sink hole that had closed the road for a few days has been fixed, and the road reopened. I talked to some guys on site on Sunday, who said they would finish on Monday.
But when I went on Monday Thames Water were busy clearing out a section of drain which had collapsed. The guys thought they would be in for a long evening. Anyway. Looks like they got it cleared and I understand they used some new technique to reseal from the inside – I had feared they would have to dig up the whole street. I’m pleased with TW and Hounslow Highways for dealing with this quickly. I’m not sure whether me pressing them for urgent action made a blind bit of difference but I’m always keen to claim credit, whether deserved or not.
Yet another Zooting© in the evening, this with the Friends of Watermans Park. I have to be careful with my typing, they are definitely NOT the Fiends of Watermans Park. The park is looking great and musical events start on Saturday 9th July – here’s the programme!
Thursday morning, another Zooting©, this one with Future of London, and it’s about rethinking community engagement. Councils are conscious that we don’t get enough public input to our plans and we’re all struggling with how to improve that, especially how we engage with those who we rarely hear from. Lots of enthusiasts from around the country, with a lot of different ideas, sharing their experiences.
Then an update with the Hounslow Director of Environment, who’s just back from a stay in a different environment – some mountains in Spain. We have lots to do over the next year or three and it’s heartening that we see things from a similar angle.
Well now, Thursday’s rather got away from me. Off to Isleworth this afternoon -they have a photo competition I hear.
Cllr Guy Lambert
June 30, 2022