Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

Goddards' self storage facility on The Ham gets approval


Guy Lambertguy.lambert@hounslow.gov.uk

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So to planning. There is a large crowd outside the Civic Centre urging us to stop development in Feltham, where there are outline plans for very substantial housing development in the town centre. The most controversial element concerns a site where show people – the ones who run travelling fairgrounds etc – live, some in mobile homes, some in houses, all with extensive space for storage of their rides etc. This is not up for debate tonight, but a neighbouring site comprising a car park, the old Labour club etc, is. The demonstration is all polite and peaceful and when we get inside we pass the development proposal – our target is about 16000 homes over the next few years and putting some on an underused site next to a train station is pretty difficult to oppose.

There is a long debate about plans for Gumley House School in Isleworth to move a door in their listed wall, hotly opposed by the Isleworth Society. I’m slightly incredulous that it’s come to this and it’s not really clear what purpose is served by moving a door forward a couple of feet. I oppose. Outvoted.

Personally, I don’t like the Goddards development on The Ham, though it has the merit of being better than the junkyard that they maintain there at present (now without Brentford’s answer to Elon Musk – © Theo Dennison – in the shape of a van atop two containers). It is for a self-storage facility – about as dead a use for a piece of land as it’s possible to imagine – employing, apparently, 3 people next to a picturesque canal not far from the heart of Brentford. Apparently this counts as industrial – not in my book. The Melvinator moves approval in line with the planners’ recommendation. I am a practically lone voice against so it’s passed. Not so often that we disagree.

Friday is a sort of day off and I go up to Covent Garden to meet old work pals from 15 years ago. One of my project managers is now the Archdeacon of Loughborough (seems to be something like the Bishop’s operations manager) and still as lovely a person as she ever was. Too late (and probably not in a fit state) to visit the Green Dragon Primary School fair on my return but I’m pleased to hear later that they raised nearly £1500 – well done.

Saturday I go to the Labour office to pick up a table for our stall celebrating 70 years of the NHS outside Waterstones. Unfortunately nobody mentioned that I was supposed to pick up the leaflets etc as well so our start is delayed. There’s another stall next to us supporting Palestine and a very tall young chap with an infant on his shoulders begs to differ in a rather noisy manner. I also hear (but decline to visit) a Tory stand down the road claiming credit for an NHS that they have always opposed and sought to damage, on the basis that Winston Churchill once argued in its favour in 1942. The truth is not so creditable http://spartacus-educational.com/Lhealth48.htm


Then I was zooming off to Hanworth Park House for the old car show etc. Didn’t stay long but good to see the old house well attended and everybody having fun. Some people like Corinna are bedazzled by expensive Rollers but geeks like me prefer the mundane like these old Austins.

In the evening, the Mayor’s Inaugural Ball is held in the Clayton Hotel in Chiswick (formerly the Moran, formerly offices, formerly probably a fruit farm!).

In 1969, being the proud possessor of a new driving licence and on old Ford Anglia DeLuxe, I happened with my mates, mostly motorcycle mounted, at the Farmers Arms at Kelsall, near Chester. I don’t think the locals approved of us, because one strapping young farmer asked me what I was looking at. I told him I was admiring  his sweater, and asked whether his granny had knitted it. He seemed to take exception to this question and told me to clear (he used a different expression, unsuitable for a family blog) off or he’d clock me one. Discretion being the better part of valour, I retired swiftly to the car park with my mates, followed by sweaterman and his equally strapping chums. Fortunately the Anglia started without a push, for once, and we made our escape with just a few bangs on the roof etc.


Why am I telling you this gem from the archives, you may ask? Well, I think that was the last time anyone offered to clock me one until the occasion of the Mayor’s Inaugural Ball when I was fixing to take a picture of the collected Conservatives who were posing for the official photographer. At first I though he was joking, but apparently not so, and when one of their number offered to clock me I ceased and desisted and took this nice picture of the excellent dancers instead. A much prettier picture all round.

The Melvinator tells me he had his name in an Albert Hall programme at the weekend for his part in singing there for charity. He’s hoping I’ve forgiven him for Goddards (nothing to forgive) and I salute him for all he does, for locals and for charities. Oh, and for his singing voice, which is startlingly good.

Monday afternoon we have a meeting of the Hounslow Community FoodBox trustees, and in fact that aside I have had a very quiet week for meetings etc and with Pegasus still in the bike hospital I find myself spending time in the gym (stop laughing) to get a bit of exercise  and driving around to keep tabs on the ward, plus visiting various other places around the borough which have problems of flytipping or weeds or potholes etc.

I was hoping the bike would be finished on Wednesday, but not so, and as I write I am still becalmed. On Wednesday evening I headed up to Central Hall Westminster for a meeting of The Left Against Brexit, combined with communal footy-watching. Short speeches by Catherine West MP, Billy Hayes, Ann Pettifor and Caroline Lucas MP (all good) followed by questions. During the questions multiple TVs showed the start of the match with commentary muted and polite debate continued until about the fifth minute when a very cerebral question was interrupted by an enormous ROAR as a few hundred lefties decided what was really important last night!

When it came to extra time, there was no money to pay for the hall (the event was planned before anyone knew about the football) so I made my way home via the tube, with the Grauniad’s Minute-by-Minute updated regularly at those places where the district line surfaces. Probably a blessing in disguise.

And so to Thursday: blog this morning, followed by lunch at GSK with the people from the Spark! Charity, then we have Great West Creatives at the Watermans Centre. Later on, councillors get a first view of Hounslow Council’s new home, the romantically-named Hounslow House.


Councillor Guy Lambert

July 12, 2018

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