Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

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Manor Gardens, Chiswick


Guy Lambertguy.lambert@hounslow.gov.uk

tel 07804 284948

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This has been a quiet week for meetings, which makes writing a blog a bit daunting given that what I usually write about is I met such and such or went somewhere so if I don’t do so much of that you’ll think I’m slacking.

Anyway I was out early on Friday heading for the gym and took a detour to look at Manor Gardens in Chiswick. It looked quite sweet after its overnight resurfacing and the lady I met with babe in arms said it had been very noisy for a while but baby slept through it all, and she was pleased it had been done.

My main task over the weekend was political. I had to go to Labour HQ in Chiswick to fill the ridiculous car with about 7 million leaflets from Sadiq Khan and then try to persuade various people that what they really wanted to do in the rain and cold was tramp about the streets delivering them. I succeeded in getting rid of the vast majority, leaving a few bags hanging around the back seat. Only those who have done it will appreciate what a horrible and pervasive smell a large haul of leaflets gives off. By the way, it only felt like 7 million.

Of course, Saturday morning began with the disappointment of our England boys being mildly marmalised by Springboks. Meanwhile the afternoon and evening saw the extremely lucky Manchester City coming back from a goal down against Southampton and the supremely talented, unimpeachable, good looking, high principled Liverpool lads getting their just desserts against the Villa by scoring a winner in the 94th minute. The boy Lewis done well on Sunday too, but the late, great Jim Clark will remain my hero no matter how many World Championships Mr Hamilton clocks up.

Back to business on Monday and I’d been thinking I might give our training on Civil Resilience in the evening a miss until I was told it was compulsory. I’m glad I went, because it was very thought provoking with a former senior fireman leading the talks and the leader of Barking and Dagenham council explaining what he, council officers, ward councillors etc did following a fire in a private block – Samuel Garside House - in their borough. 

Samuel Garside House 
They stressed that it was important for councillors to know their ward because we’re really expected to be to the fore when emergencies happen and having built some trust beforehand greatly helps. It struck me how hard it is to build any kind of relationship with the people in private blocks in particular. They rarely have any accessible residents association and only occasionally contact us, usually with a problem with council services. But I worry we might have some potential Samuel Garsides in the area – built by private developers, owned offshore, managed by a private management company, inspected by private building inspectors and passed as safe. Samuel Garside ended up like the picture in a matter of minutes after some bright spark had a BBQ on a balcony. Fortunately nobody was seriously injured but there were a lot of homeless and very nervous people and the council have to ensure they are looked after, dealing with numerous elusive companies whose main interest is to save money and maximise rent! It’s at times like these that people really need someone to have their backs and they expect and trust that this will be the local council. The guy from Barking says we are the fourth emergency service but given my experience with the RAC in the summer I’m not sure I want that mantle.

On Tuesday morning I head off for Feltham to the Ashmead Road depot where what used to be Lampton FM360 and is now Coalo lives, and continues to be the company that looks after council homes. I was the sole shareholder invited to their AGM and we had an interesting discussion about strategy – whether they should look to generate income from small incremental local contracts or mount bids for larger pieces of work in other Boroughs etc.  We also met one of their apprentices who had been shortlisted for an award – a most impressive (and very tall) young man – and reflected on their achievement of a RoSPA Gold Award for Health and Safety. They have built an impressive team and have a very good ethos so whichever way they go I think they have excellent prospects.

Back to Hounslow House to catch up with a few officers, then I get a call to visit a resident in Clifden Road who has a variety of problems, some serious and pressing. I end up with 5 separate pieces of casework.

Later on I join Ruth Cadbury and a few Labour comrades chatting to students outside the University halls, encouraging them to register to vote and where applicable to seek a postal vote. I’m not particularly comfortable accosting people in the street and after I determine there are enough people there and that I’m getting cold, I make my excuses and leave.

I take the opportunity to see if the traditional flood at the foot of the Boston Manor Cycle Lane has been averted. It has, and I’m pleased to see some work has been done preparing for the final link of that cycle lane down to the A4 which will be built early next year. I also hear that we expect the first works on Cycleway 9, improving the Kew Bridge junction, to start this year. The works will last about 12 months and no doubt there will be periods of pain whilst the works progress.

Wednesday is a glorious day for a bike ride so after spending an hour or three catching up on emails my trusty Pegasus wings me upriver to Hampton Court and back. Very good for the soul, if you have one. More soul food in the evening, tramping the Haverfield estate with Ruth and a number of local activists and finding out whether people have heard there’s an election coming (they have) and whether they will vote (most say they will) and vote for Ruth (variable, but generally encouraging. She’s an easy sell).

A heavy day today starting at lunchtime. A Lampton 360 steering board followed by intense interviews of the shortlisted candidates for MD of the Lampton Group and then planning in the evening. I’d better get prepared.

Cllr Guy Lambert

November 7, 2019

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