Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

Towers get new fire doors and Heathrow wax lyrical


Guy Lambertguy.lambert@hounslow.gov.uk

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Only me and the Melvinator for the door-knocks so we decide to go up a tower: despite it being a lovely day the towers are more manageable with a small group. No casework, unusually, but a lot of good chats on the doors about this and that, particularly about plans for the estate. It was heartening to see very handsome new fire doors being fitted to all the flats. Aside from the obvious need to upgrade fire safety, these really improve the look and feel of the lift lobbies.

fire Door
The towers will not now be reclad, but there will be extensive repairs to the concrete, new windows throughout and big improvements to the external environment. I think they will also have some new coloured exterior treatment to protect the structure and improve the look. These things take time, with the need for thorough tendering for what will be a very expensive programme and it’s good to see things already starting.

In the evening we’re surprised and heartened to see a good turnout up at the Clayponds Community Centre for the Isleworth and Brentford Area Forum. Major topics for discussion included the Future Borough Strategy – I was hoping to get to one of the workshops on this but they are in the evening and evenings are pretty difficult for us councillors.

After that we had some words from Heathrow about their ‘surface transport strategy’. They wax lyrical about how they want to reduce car use but they didn’t seem to like my idea that they should close a few car parks and make getting from a train or a bus to the check-in desk easier than getting from a taxi or friends’ drop off point. In fact they seem to think that parking is a good thing because it means you only drive there once and drive away once. You might think that is delusional but I couldn’t possibly comment. And of course the cunning plans being cooked up by Highways England to support Runway 3 with multi-lane highways are nothing to do with them, they will merely pay for messing with the M25 to avoid car/jumbo jet interface situations occurring on the runway.

A presentation from our new train operator SW Railway (what will they call it next time the franchise changes – SW Choo-Choos? Or how about British Rail -Ooh Jeremy Corbyn). Anyway, generally positive with even our tame train driver Ed ‘Hogwarts’ Mayne not baying too loudly.

Isleworth MemorialThen a brief presentation from Sue Casey about the Isleworth 390 project, commemorating in detail the 390 people from Isleworth who died during WW1.

On Friday Mel and I take a guided walk around GWQ with a man from A2Dominion. There have been some really difficult issues with the development and I’ve been trying to bring together a meeting of residents and the various companies involved in managing the estate (which reminds me… need to get on with it) but it was good to get the perspective of someone who has lived with the issues from the start and resolved some of them.

For the weekend I had rather rashly agreed to attend the London Labour Conference. Write out 100 times ‘I don’t much enjoy conferences’. Of course, some excellent, impassioned speeches notably from Diane Abbott and Emily Thornberry and some excellent workshops including a EU-focussed one with Ruth Cadbury, but the actual conference sessions leave me cold (this is true in all known conferences and probably due to some brain defect!)

Anyway it kept me out of trouble until Monday when we had our regular Labour Group meeting ahead of Borough Council. Some healthy full and frank exchanges of views on various topics but we part as friends and resume cordial relations down the pub. Well, to be fair, cordial does not in this case mean orange squash.

Tuesday is Borough Council with a mayor’s reception beforehand where a modest portion of strong liquor is available (ie a glass of wine or a gottle of geer).  The announcement that the management of the parks is coming back into the council (strictly speaking, this is likely to be Lampton 360, our subsidiary company) triggers the nervous system of the Horror of Homefields (aka Cllr Gerald McGregor) who unleashes his by now well-rehearsed stream of invective which seems to be about the hideousness of anything in the public sector compared with the lush pastures of services managed by private companies. I will allow those who have experienced the joys of libraries and parks under Carillion to draw their own conclusion.

We also have the usual rant about everything being Gordon Brown’s fault. The fact that the deficit which George Osborne said would be history by 2016 is now planned to extend until at least 2030 is conveniently ignored. Now if Gordon and Alastair Darling had been allowed to continue the recovery they had started we might already have earnings back in positive territory rather than the steady decline into poverty for the majority (and especially children) that this government so callously celebrates.

Wednesday is a day mainly for non-council stuff, with an interview with a prospective Credit union Director in the morning (excellent) and a meeting about plans for the Ferry Quays estate in the evening. Why do I get myself into all these complicated and difficult scrapes – perhaps it’s that brain defect again?

I’ve just heard that the Labour party candidate selection process for Brentford kicks off in early December. As a resident of Syon ward I don’t even get to vote against myself but no doubt there’ll be plenty to fill the gap.

Councillor Guy Lambert

December 1, 2017

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