Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

What is Chiswick Police station worth as real estate


Guy Lambertguy.lambert@hounslow.gov.uk

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Thursday Evening it’s the Audit Committee – rather thinly attended with none of the conservatives bothering to turn up to give us the traditional hard time. It’s down to deputy mayor, award-winning chair of the Pension panel, prominent rotarian and most-pictured person in all of Hounslow Cllr Mukesh Malhotra to ask most of the questions even though he’s not on the Audit committee these days. A couple of dumb questions from yours truly and the meeting went off without any major alarums.

Friday we have the first meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny task group on air quality. Again a bit thinly attended but we have an excellent officer leading us (I’m just the dumb chair) and we set out our stall for this fairly short study. We’re hoping to engage with the experts from Air Quality Brentford and their tame professor from King’s College and the main idea is to have an independent look at what LBH is up to and see if we can identify things that could be improved by consulting experts and looking at what other places are doing.

Saturday I have a credit union seminar in the romantic surrounds of a Heathrow Premier Inn. Bizarrely, our loan book is reducing at a time when household debt is astronomical and I learn that this is true of credit unions in general. I suspect people are falling for the excruciatingly expensive rent-to-own deals from High Street specialists and of course to the dreaded legal loan sharks, as well as all these PCP car deals. My father, who was in the motor trade, was nearly bankrupted by the 1960s version of PCP – Contract Hire – when he started getting all these lovely Vauxhall Victors back at a time when the used car market had collapsed. Hope that doesn’t happen this time, but I’m anxious.

Sunday we’re out door knocking in Clayponds Avenue and thereabouts. A nice afternoon and not many people coming to the door – probably out in the garden – but I pick up bits and pieces of casework. I am told to urgently go and knock on a door where someone else knocked – problems with recycling, apparently. When I do so, man says ‘Oh no, it’s all fine now – we had problems when it started, that’s all’. My emails about recycling and waste are now down to one or two per week, which is a great relief to me (and, no doubt, to everybody who is now not having to write to me!)

On Monday I go to the Civic to attend the Residents Association Forum. Theo Dennison, who normally chairs, is not present (probably off redesigning the world at the Labour Conference) so Dominic West of the St John’s Residents Association chairs (admirably). The main topic is heritage and we’re furnished with a full list of all the ‘locally listed’ (IE not formally by Historic ngland, but listed by the council) buildings, of which there are quite a few in Brilliantville. The heritage officers are reviewing the list, as well as Conservation areas and you can give your views on both.

Tuesday I go up to the big city to meet some old colleagues. It’s always a pleasure to go into Wetherspoons’ establishments. I go to buy a round for 5 of us with a £20 note and one of my chums gives me a tenner to contribute. I am almost in profit, because the round comes to £11.40. I contemplate an evening at the Chiswick Area Forum, spying on how the other half lives but decide I’d be better watching Liverpool marmalise Spartak Moscow, which of course they do. Except in terms of goals scored and conceded.

Wednesday evening it’s back to the Grand Old Civic Opry again for a session with the police. This is about their plans to close further police front counters, specifically Chiswick and you can tell this gets the public’s pulses racing by the fact there must be at least 10 people from around the borough and one councillor in attendance, together with the Borough Commander Chief Supt Raj Kohli and the Deputy Mayor for Policing Sophie Linden. Apparently they get an average of 8 visits a day to Chiswick cop shop and running the service costs over £300K per annum so when you think that every report there costs about £100 (and that £300K would pay for about 5 police officers) it’s pretty hard to argue against the plan, when the government are insisting the Met need to save another £400M pa to make a matched set with the £600M pa they have already saved. I suppose someone has to pay for corporation tax cuts and tax avoidance by the wealthy. A lot of the debate ended up being about what Chiswick cop shop is worth as a piece of real estate (though actually flogging off the building is not on the immediate agenda). It should be sold (if at all) for a price reflecting its size and prime position, and so say all of us.

So the wheel of fortune winds around to blog day aka Thursday. I spend a chunk of the morning on Ferry Quays matters and lunchtime on a bit of Hounslow Highways fact finding in the Express Tavern – as near as you can get to no man’s land as my interlocutor is a lay assessor from Chiswick, and obviously far superior to anything on the other side of the South Circular.
This evening it’s IBAF down in Isleworth at W Thames College with a pretty lively agenda – Cycle Superhighway 9,  Great West Corridor Plan and local Heritage update. All welcome from 7.30 in the Music Room at Spring Grove House TW7 4HS with Tony Louki conducting the orchestra and citizens’ choir.
Special tip for cyclists: don’t park in the rather cool looking bike park on London Road. Your bike will be locked in and you’ll be getting the bus home 😊 (if last time I was there in the evening is any guide).

Councillor Guy Lambert

September 15, 2017

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