Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

Work seems to have stopped on Alfa Laval site


Guy Lambertguy.lambert@hounslow.gov.uk

tel 07804 284948

twitter logo @guylambert

Facebook /BrentfordCouncillors

Sign up for our Brentford newsletter

Comment on this story on the

Well the boiler got fixed, after the inevitable panic about having arrived at 12.03 for the 12-2 window and the equally inevitable arrival of the engineer at 1.59. He wasn’t very complimentary about the kitchen installation, which reminded me how sceptical I am about Checkatrade and Trustpilot and the like.

Then a chat and photo session about some marginal pavements and troublesome neighbours in Carville Crescent and a drop in at the Free Church where the Great West Corridor plans are on display. Plenty of people there and some deep discussions going on. I get waylaid by some of the Green Party who have subsequently written to me about zero carbon buildings and how they would like the council to adopt a more challenging approach. Policy in these areas is always tricky because standards – ecology, amenity space, accommodation, design, affordable provision – go on one side of the scales against the God-given (or government-given) right of developers to make a 20%+ net profit. If we push too far, the Planning Inspectorate is lurking in the wings waiting to overrule us at great cost both in lawyers’ bills and influence on what is developed. At the very least, I am now better informed and will be able to raise these issues in committee armed with a better understanding.

On Friday I’m up in Harrow for a meeting of the West London Waste Authority. Lots of discussion about pilot schemes and experiments we are carrying out across the 6 boroughs to try and increase recycling. The Hounslow ones are mainly about recycling from flats, which is very low, and we’re gradually targeting large estates. We also need to count it properly, something that involves a lot of weighbridges and about 250 truckloads of stuff a week in just one borough, plus all those little caged tippers from Hounslow Highways, Greenspace 360, Hounslow Housing etc etc picking up waste from parks and street bins and flytips and housing estates. I’ve been campaigning for better data and we’re making progress – ever so slowly, and our Recycle 360 is taking the lead role in trying to unravel all this for the 6 boroughs. There’s also a very complicated government paper just published, plus a GLA paper, and questions about whether measuring by weight is the right thing (plastic weighs very little but pollutes like mad, whereas the best use for heavy garden waste is composting it in your garden!)

It’s probably my age, but I’m undergoing a lot of light doctoring at present, with a routine blood pressure etc test, a verucca problem (these gyms are SO unhealthy) blood tests etc. Anyway, everything seems rather surprisingly to be on course.

On Monday I have a nose around the Alfa Laval Tower. Somebody says they have stopped work on making it ready for Hyundai, and it turns out this is true. The door is open so I invite myself in, and after a bit a couple of Hi-Vis men approach me and ask me what I’m up to. I whip out my councillor badge and they confirm that work has stopped, other than making the site safe. Sounds like there’s a falling out between Hyundai and the landlord, but that’s just me speculating. Nobody really knows what’s going on, though ominously they have again applied for a monster advert- similar to the one we’ve been battling against for years and which was finally kyboshed by the Planning Inspectorate last year. Or perhaps not finally.

Alfa Laval

Later we have a Watermans Trustees’ evening out, at the always convivial La Rosetta. I feel a bit out of my depth with these cultured types but I have a number of interesting conversations and a fair amount of the ole vino rosso. In the spring a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of Brexit and far too much of our conversation was about that – one thing I hadn’t thought of is that Watermans have suspended bookings for overseas acts until it’s a bit clearer about whether they’ll be allowed to come!

Wednesday is a full day, starting in the frozen wastes of Carville Hall Park (South). I am always struck by what a beautiful place this is, despite being stuck practically underneath the elevated M4. Of course it’s at its worst for pollution from noise and exhausts in winter because the trees lack leaves. We have a sum of money from previous exploits to spend on improvements but it’s not obvious how to improve it. We settle on fixing problems in the fences, benches, bins etc and clearing much of the poor quality vegetation and general mess which obscures the sight of the pond (plus the old footballs, lifebelts, fairy liquid bottles etc which lurk amongst the reeds but are hard to get at).

In the afternoon (after a visit to the gym, he says smugly) we have a session in the Civic Centre about apprenticeships. We have a challenging pledge to ensure there are 4000 new ones across the borough during this administration and we need to build capacity to measure progress as well as support businesses – particularly smaller ones – who would be happy to play but are put off by the bureaucracy. Good progress, starting with some recruitment and some revisions to HR within the council to ensure we’re doing the right thing with our own (and Lampton’s) apprentices.

Then it’s our cabinet briefing, which on this occasion amounts to 567 pages of A4. I kid you not. I have read every word and memorised whole passages. I kid you. Most of this will be coming to Borough Council shortly and includes the 2019/20 budget, corporate plan, residents’ survey results and the very weighty transport Local Implementation Plan. Oh, and naturally, planning for a bonkers no-deal Brexit which would have the potential to create major problems in all sorts of areas. You will be reassured that we have not as yet paid over £13.9 M to a barge company with no barges, no experience and no port but this is a huge distraction for the council, as it is for the whole country. You might say this is perverse, but I sincerely hope we are wasting loads of money planning for no deal.

We then have a chat amongst ourselves about ward boundaries. The Boundary Commission is ‘minded’ to agree that we stay with 60 councillors across LBH (as we recommended) but ward boundaries are clearly going to have to change. Brentford is already nearly 50% bigger in population than any of the Chiswick wards and projected to be around double their size by 2024 and Hounslow Central is even bigger. We have local knowledge, better than the commission or council officers, and need to try and get the best compromise on boundaries to make coherent communities, not easy. You can make your own remarks or submissions on that website.

So, a bloggy morning followed by a meeting with Hounslow Highways this afternoon – formal meeting of the ‘Network Board’ with officers and senior management and of course the Isleworth and Brentford Area Forum at the Blue School in Isleworth this evening. A big agenda tonight, including a presentation by Ballymore – details here.


Cllr Guy Lambert

February 1, 2019

Bookmark and Share