Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

Hounslow to get a refund for cladding changes after Grenfell


Guy Lambertguy.lambert@hounslow.gov.uk

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I have bought a new toy bicycle for use whilst Pegasus spends its time in hospital – long stay at the moment – and for when I go out of town. A folding thing that I can put in the boot of the car, and an economy model, not the Rolls-Royce of folders latterly made in Brentford which I can’t afford/justify.  It was only after I got it home that I saw it had a weight limit of 85Kg so when it collapses under me I can’t sue. Anyway I spent some of Friday getting to know it and repaired to the Magpie and Crown, which serves as the office for my hobbyist bicycle repair man, for a progress report on the patient: responding only slowly to treatment and awaiting spare parts.

Later I find myself in our new hostelry, the Black Dog Beer House where once there was the Albany Arms. You might think that I spend my entire life in pubs, but a fellow needs to sleep sometimes. Anyway the Black Dog is a very welcome addition to the scene and was doing a decent trade in the middle of Friday afternoon. It has a good range of beer, cider and wine and most unusual and intriguing food so I expect I’ll be back (actually I already have been :-D).

Black Dog Beer House

Anyway all this boozing set me up for the People’s Vote march on Saturday. I’m not much of a marcher but I made an exception for this one. I arrived at 11 am and at 1.45 I was still on the corner of Curzon Street, having not marched an inch, so I made my excuses to the 700,000 other marchers and left, having finally found a station that would have me. So still not much of a marcher, but eternal optimist that I am, I responded to this banner with the comment ‘Not yet he didn’t’.

Putin Won

Monday was a bit of a hectic day by my standards. Started with an informal chat with Hounslow Highways’ director in The Verdict. Then I accompany Melvinator and some residents and officers up by Manor Vale. There is a bit of road on their private estate which needs some tender loving care and they are hoping to get some support from the council. As is the case too often, different Land Registry documents are a little confusing about who owns what bit of the road. Then I’m in the Civic meeting a Heston resident about litter issues, followed by meeting the head of Lampton Investment for an update about his activities both building and buying properties.

Then we have the first meeting of our member task group on waste and recycling. A disappointingly small – but perfectly formed, including The Melvinator, Tony Louki and Bandna Chopra - group of members involved helping with our substantial change agenda. We have several action prongs. Household recycling rates are not bad but we think there’s a lot of scope for food waste – it’s heavy stuff and recycling us saves £100 per ton and is better for the environment – and textiles, all of which have a value and can be reused, provided they don’t get damp and mildewed. But our immediate thrust is to improve the low recycling we achieve from blocks of flats and we’ll be working hard to improve this, starting with a few pilot blocks to work out what works best.

Then I hotfoot it to the Watermans for a trustee meeting. They present (amongst other things) about some work they are doing for Hayes – active participation arts on the streets outside Hayes and Harlington station commissioned by Hillingdon Council. This is loosely modelled on the established and very popular events they run in Bell Square, Hounslow and aiming at getting some arts involvement for a demographic – young, ethnically diverse, modest incomes – who are not typically very engaged. Excellent work and it has been very successful, they say.

Tuesday is a day (partly) off, away having a liquid/solid lunch with old colleagues in Covent Garden. Have to keep some semblance of wits about me though because in the evening we have a meeting of councillors with the people who are working with us to improve our street cleansing performance. Heartening to see every part of the Borough represented, except Chiswick. To be fair, a Chiswick councillor did send comments, mainly about recycling – interesting stuff, if a bit off-topic. After that we have an informal meeting of cabinet colleagues where we have a slightly depressing discussion about budget pressures but are delighted to receive excellent news about the mayor providing £60 odd million to support our social housing programme and the Department finally confirming it will pay back the £1M we spent changing the cladding on one of our buildings after Grenfell. I’m proud of Hounslow in this regard. The repayment was delayed because some councils are waiting to get paid before embarking on this vital improvement, whereas we got the urgency and reacted accordingly. The rest of the talk is about our 140 manifesto goals, and ensuring a lead member is taking responsibility for making each one happen. There’s plenty to be getting on with and we’d have no hope without our outstanding council officers.

On Wednesday we had our Libraries and Parks task group. An update on progress of the bid for funding for the park parts of Boston Manor (house upgrade already assured). Some small changes proposed in library opening hours (no reductions, just making them a bit more logical in some libraries), a strategy being developed for events (as opposed to responding willy nilly to proposals as we used to under Carillion). I checked out what I was allowed to say about Brentford Library. Subject to planning permission (on this listed building) and consultation we will be installing a lift to make the first floor accessible. We will refurbish the existing toilets up there and use the space for Adult Education classes. So pleased to see that this lovely space will come back into use (fingers crossed) and we will restore customer toilets to the library for everyone’s benefit and I hope we will get this lovely building a great deal better frequented. Oh, and Greenspace360 are improving the gardens ready for the remembrance service on 11/11.

I met the CEO of Gunnersbury Park CIC this morning [Thursday] for a chat about various issues and this afternoon I have a meeting with the head of finance, followed by residents and our street cleaning consultants, then Cabinet Question Time in deepest Hounslow High Street. Triple telephone directories down the trousers probably required.

Cllr Guy Lambert

October 26, 2018

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