Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

Back to work with a focus on Christmas rubbish


Guy Lambertguy.lambert@hounslow.gov.uk

tel 07804 284948

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On Thursday, as predicted, normal service began to resume, starting with my regular updates with Steve Curran, followed by ditto with the lead officer I work with. Talks range from Ballymore, where we’re looking for them to follow through on their promise on better communication (signs positive in the week since), through other development matters in Brentford (everything seems painfully slow but we expect to see action soon) to the Christmas waste service and our work trying to improve the street scene. We have really important agendas on all this and plenty of new things happening in January. My impression of the town over Christmas was that it was in good shape – I didn’t see an overflowing street bin, nor serious rubbish accumulations and the waste services seem to have run very smoothly. I did a fair amount of driving across London over the holiday and I thought our streets were looking a lot tidier than most – interested what other people think.

On Friday I was due for a lunchtime meeting with one of our Hounslow Highways lay assessors in the Bell and Crown but there was a diary malfunction (not on my part, for once) so I was stood up. As it happened, my daughter was at a loose end and only lives round the corner so we ended up sharing a spring roll or two. As happens when you’re a councillor I bumped into somebody in the Bell and Crown – in this case the chair of the Thomas Layton Trust and his (very) good lady. Lucky, as we quickly resolved a dilemma about a film the trust is making.

Monday was a meeting-free day but a heavy phone call and email harvest so I spent it glued to the laptop on my kitchen table, together with a spell making myself even more super-fit at the gym.

It was good to see my neighbours getting tanked up to keep them warm during the cold snap ahead:


Tuesday marked my first formal engagement with LBH’s new Chief Exec Niall Bolger, together with Steve Curran and various chief officers. This was to introduce Niall to the Lampton companies and discuss various strategic concerns and initiatives.

Then it was our task group on waste and recycling. Christmas collections have gone generally well and the number of problems reported down 10% on last year (itself much better than historically). There are loads of initiatives going on and I am pressurising the poor officers: there are not that many of them and they are working so hard on so many fronts. They are working on improving garden waste scheme admin; researching options to remodel our bulky waste scheme ‘Tidy Town’; new initiatives to encourage better behaviours on the streets with funding won from the Local Government Association and parallel activities with Keep Britain Tidy; work to provide better waste solutions for the very tricky flats above shops; and to improve recycling from blocks of flats. Phew, that’s quite an agenda and of course we now have a new and very comprehensive government paper to consider, though it will be several years before anything is actually implemented from that.

After that we’re straight in to cabinet briefing with discussions about council home rents (they are going down 1%: this is the result of one of George Osborne’s cunning stunts to make it more difficult for councils to build council homes – really vindictive and counter-productive). We also discuss HMO licensing – renewing and perhaps improving our local scheme and a potential investment in early intervention for children who seem to be going off the rails.

This is one of a local authority’s big dilemmas. We have extreme budget pressure caused by the government relentlessly outsourcing austerity to us so they can carry on doling out money to ferry companies with no ships and bribes to Northern Ireland. Children start misbehaving and there is good evidence that intervening early, when they are young and poor behaviour has not become embedded, will nip many problems in the bud. These often otherwise turn into really serious problems with financial consequences for the council, police and health service and a blight on the area. If we put some extra resource into this, it will actually save money but the results won’t feed through for several years and in the short term, what cuts do we make to pay for the investment? Decision later.

Wednesday morning I’m out in Green Dragon Lane meeting a lady who’s having trouble with her housing association property, then a meeting of the Hounslow Community Foodbox trustees. New website is coming along nicely and we should be launching it soon, plus we have quotes to extend the premises a little to provide more space for our growing need – everything points to this service, which we really shouldn’t need at all – continuing to grow indefinitely. Anyway, my proper bike is now restored to good health and it’s a pleasure to be cycling the ward again and looking very slightly less ridiculous. To fill in an unforgiving half hour I go on cycle patrol along Whitestile, Enfield etc roads and find flytipping in some of the usual places including this one in the Brook Lane North footpath:


I don’t know whether that Bees (or just maybe Oxford) fan was responsible for the flytip, or just a bit of casual littering. Either way, he/she is not helping our town, to put it politely.

Then I’m in to the Civic Centre for a catch up with the MD of Lampton 360. Whilst I’m waiting I espy through the glass doors of the Labour room, Genghis Todd working at the printer accompanied by his constant companion, a yellow Labrador. She comes sniffing at our door and Councillor Louki goes and opens it a crack and asks for the pass-bark. Dog barks ‘Oh, Jeremy Corbyn’, is pronounced a good citizen, permitted to enter our holy of holies and have a bit of a sniff round and receive various pats and strokes before trotting off to rejoin daddy with instructions to carry out a bit of re-education. A useful meeting ensues. (NB, I cannot vouch for the usefulness of the meeting between Cllr Todd and said pooch – I’m talking about my meeting with Lampton). Lampton concentrating on operational improvement and preparing to take over management of Space Waye and things are generally on track.

In the evening we have the first of the next round of consultations on the Great West Corridor local plan review. A decent turnout of councillors from the affected areas and a lively debate about many aspects of the proposals. These will be out for extensive public consultation over the spring and summer and we plan to submit proposals to the Planning Inspectorate in September.

Apart from a splendid home made muesli bar I hadn’t eaten all day and we were late for the Labour Branch meeting so Cllr Louki and I decided that on this exceptional occasion democracy would be better served by a wee snack in Albany Spice. Unfortunately the place was overrun with some undesirables who we identified as members of the Green Party having their Winterval  or Winter Solstice or whatever Greens call it Feast. Obviously they are The Enemy as they stood against us in the elections but they are such good people it’s hard to be hostile!

Tonight we have a particularly heavy planning agenda with plenty of controversial proposals which have been populating my email box so I’m getting ready for a long evening.

Cllr Guy Lambert

January 10, 2019

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