Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

Parking, planning, pop-ups, Pegasus and pedestrian crossings


Guy Lambertguy.lambert@hounslow.gov.uk

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I had a complaint over the weekend – why isn’t your blog funny any more? My family had a book when I was a child ‘Funny Ha-Ha or Funny Peculiar’. Can’t remember the author. Not Shakespeare. Anyway surely the peregrinations of my councillory life are at least Peculiar even if they may not be Ha-Ha so you’ll have to take what you get on that front or start reading my Tory chums on ChiswickW4.com. They are often good for a laugh, for different reasons. Well, you have to laugh or cry.

So Thursday was a Lampton afternoon. Starting off with a steering board – mainly council officers reviewing how we monitor the various companies from a sole shareholder point of view. This is tricky because we want both to allow Lampton to develop as businesslike entities but also to ensure they remain in line with our shareholder needs and priorities. Anyway, violent agreement is reached and we have a way forward.

Straight into interviews with the two shortlisted candidates for MD of the main Lampton company. Both are excellent but one is clearly a better fit and I agree with the Lampton board members they should offer to him.

In the evening we have planning. We start off with a controversial one about extensions to the Hogarth Club – a health club hiding in the middle of residential roads in Chiswick. There’s a lot of local opposition including Genghis Todd, and it seems to some of us that the proprietors have rather misapplied a previous planning consent given by the Planning Inspectorate after Hounslow refused the application. (A ‘’caretaker’s flat” needed to attract caretakers turned out to be a 4 bedroom house occupied by the club owner, no doubt in his role as caretaker). This was one of those where we probably didn’t have planning grounds to refuse but Todd and I and some others voted against anyway. But it was passed 7-6 or something like that. The other planning applications were uncontentious and we got a relatively early night.

Friday was meeting free during the day but in the evening I was into the Labour party office for an election campaign meeting. I have relinquished my formal roles in campaigning but my mate who has taken over was busy earning a crust by beating people up (he is a professional masseur) so I stood in for him.

Saturday morning I’m off to St John’s Road in Isleworth for the AGM of our friendly neighbourhood Co-operative party. About 20 of us co-operators talking about co-operating in a very co-operative manner, because we’re like that.

Back to the St John’s centre after lunch for Ruth Cadbury’s campaign launch featuring Sir Keir Starmer. I was always a fan of his even before I knew he had anything to do with the Labour party and he gave a great speech. Ruth in good form too, getting better and better as she gains experience as an MP. We are supposed to go canvassing afterwards but it’s hissing down and we eventually decide discretion is the better part of drowning.

Ruth Cadbury launch

Sunday is Remembrance Sunday and the Mayor has asked me to represent him in Chiswick and lay his wreath for him. So I put on my party frock and head for the Chiswick Memorial Club – a place which I have walked or driven or cycled past for these 40 odd years without ever previously entering. It turns out to be very like Brentford’s Inverness Club, which I have started visiting once a year every November since I’ve been a councillor. Anyway, there’s a decent crowd at the club and at about 10.30 a Sergeant-Major barks out ‘Quick march’ to the assembled Sea Cadets, Scouts, Guides, Councillors, MP (technically unemployed former MP until, we hope, she’s re-elected on December 12th), members of the public, stray cats etc and we all trundle around Turnham Green before ending up at the War Memorial. Being the pretend Mayor I’m quite high in the order of precedence so I lay my wreath near the top step. We’re lucky to have John Stroud-Turp representing Chiswick Labour party – ex Army and more medals than you can shake a stick at. 

Remembrance Sunday

In the afternoon we’re out on the campaign trail in Distillery Walk and thereabouts in Brentford. As a councillor you end up talking to relatively few people because your chums point you at the people who have ‘ishoos’ that they think a councillor can help with. Well, occasionally we succeed.

Monday morning I cycle up to Notting Hill to have a look at a ‘pop-up business school’. This is held in the Museum of Brands (no, I’d never heard of it either) which is a very interesting place in its own right – interesting displays of things from my yoof and even further back into pre-history.


Anyway this pop up business school is a kind of anti-business school, rebelling against the normal approach for start up businesses (write a business plan, go to a bank, get a loan, spend the next 100 years in debt) in favour of using your own resources or those you can beg or borrow to just get on and do it. Quite inspiring and a healthy set of students – young and old and all shapes and sizes. These Business School events are often sponsored by local authorities or local businesses so I’m exploring whether there’s any chance of doing one in Hounslow.

Pop Up

On the way back Pegasus grinds to a noisy halt, and when I inspect it I find the rear gearset has managed to get itself tangled in the spokes of the back wheel. So I can’t fix it, can’t ride it, and can’t even wheel it because the wheel is jammed. I’m near Latimer Road station and I work out I can get a train to Turnham Green via Hammersmith and let Mr Fudge sort it out. But of course that assumes I have my Freedom Pass, which I don’t. In fact, I have omitted to pack my wallet and have about £8 in change. Eventually I work out that’s enough for a single tube ticket to TG and to walk home from there. The joys of cycling.

We have cabinet in the evening and I decide to drive there and park in Corban Road in Hounslow. I have suggested we rename it as Corbyn Road but nobody is listening. The set piece of cabinet is about new parking arrangements in Dukes Meadows in Chiswick. A deputation from Chiswick, mainly Labour Party members, is against this idea, which the council says has been heavily consulted on and which has planning permission from many months ago. They speak eloquently enough against it but I struggle to see the downside and can see plenty of advantages so we resolve to go ahead. For me, the main topic in the rest of the meeting is our waste and recycling plan, which we have to submit to the Mayor/GLA, and this is approved.

Tuesday I have a meeting with a resident with council tax arrears. We are hoping to meet with a council officer but there has been a diary SNAFU and anyway the said officer is unwell and not in so we agree an alternative course of action. Afterwards I have my regular monthly meeting about finance with the council accountants, concentrating this month on the Lampton companies themselves rather than the general council budget.

In the evening, up to Chiswick Town Hall where we are having a ceremony to bestow freedom of the Borough on a lady called Pat Davies who has an astonishing story, starting when she was one of the ‘Bletchley Girls’ in WW2. She already had the Legion d’Honneur from the French Government but obviously Freedom of Hounslow is far more impressive, plus I believe she can drive her flock over Kew Bridge for free. She remarked that a friend of hers has the Freedom of Lancaster and this entitles her to graze her cow on the marsh. Nice speeches from various councillors including Sam Hearn who proposed her, and moving stories from a couple of our Labour females, Unsa Chaudri and Candice Atterton. Read all about Pat here.

Pegasus was back in action now, but if anyone has seen a glove in the vicinity of Chiswick Town Hall…

Wednesday morning I’m out on the A4 with various TfL and LBH traffic people, discussing the odd pedestrian crossing arrangements at the junctions from Boston Manor Road through to Clayponds Avenue. The crossings are not linked in with the junction lights so from time to time drivers, particularly those turning left onto the A4, go sailing through a red light assuming it doesn’t apply to them. We witness one or two people doing this at Boston Manor but I’ve never heard of this happening at Windmill or Ealing Roads and indeed we don’t see any there, nor at Clayponds which is where I think the biggest problem is. Apparently they have 40 odd of these junctions around London and have not had any serious accidents. They will work on the timings and signage and try and manage out the problem that way, though myself I’d like to see the Clayponds Avenue rat run eliminated.

In the afternoon into Hounslow House to discuss the development of the ‘Street Captain’ role which we talked about in our manifesto but haven’t really put into action yet. We have a young graduate researching how other councils do this and she will be writing a paper about how we should be taking it forward, very shortly. We resolve to try and get this set up in time for next spring’s Great British Spring Clean.

Then I have a FoodBox strategy meeting followed by a rather boozy dinner with a friend of mine. So if this blog is even more incoherent than usual blame alcoholic French peach cocktail. I’ve got up early and probably still a bit sozzled because I have an all-dayer today (Thursday) in a ‘Recycling behaviour change workshop’ at the College in Spring Grove.  

Cllr Guy Lambert

November 14, 2019

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