Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

Claims to have a life that stretches beyond that of Brentford ward councillor


Guy Lambertguy.lambert@hounslow.gov.uk

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There is a thread on ChiswickW4.com forum entitled ‘Drivers of expensive cars are more dangerous’ and someone I know a little (and is the brother of a rock star whom I revere even if nobody much has ever heard of him) says “So what prejudices can we flaunt today?  I find that fans of Mrs Brown’s Boys, Brexit supporters, people who begin sentences with So, Daily Mail readers, right wingers generally, conspiracy theorists, people who confuse your and you’re, and anyone who disagrees with me, all these people should never be let near a driving seat”.

So, your wrong in thinking I read the Daily Hate Mail but it was important to get that sentence start out of the way, because I know I sin sometimes against the language in this manner. By the way, not dangerous, but am I the only one who has a prejudice against the drivers of huge Mitsubishi PHEVs – they seem to me to cover the same bases as Volvo estates did in the 1980s. Yes, I know, nonsense, I will join PHEVophobes Anonymous and try to kick the habit.

The forum has been compelling reading this week because of Cherrygate – the denial of cherry trees to Turnham Green by Chiswick’s answer to Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Joanna Biddolph. Pleased to see the trees have found homes, some in Heston and some in the Ealing part of Chiswick. Joanna was kind enough to compliment me on weight loss (though she was really having a dig at Steve Curran) in Borough Council and I restrained myself from suggesting I was trying to get thin enough to hide behind a cherry tree trunk, the better to mug someone.

Back to the day blog. Attended the Steering Board meeting for the council’s trading companies on Thursday, chaired by the Director of Finance. A good meeting, and we’re getting more and more confident we have a good model for the companies as we move forward.

In the evening, we had a session with the head of planning, talking about planning constraints and the climate emergency. We’re in a slightly odd position at the moment, because planning is circumscribed by certain established planning policies at national level, as well as the London Plan and our own Local Plan. These have a rather unambitious set of objectives for carbon reduction, much less than we would like now, but we cannot refuse plans on planning grounds if they comply with these standards. Equally, development is rather like a supertanker: proposals coming to planning committee now have been in gestation for many months or even years and rejigging them to be more carbon-hostile would often set them back to square one. As ever, it’s the art of the possible. We will press (hard) for carbon reduction but have to be realistic, and it was very useful to have these factors explained by an expert.

On Friday morning I’m up at Vale Court, on the corner of Ealing Road and the A4, where residents have various problems including bin collection. The bins are collected OK but they are annoyed because the original planning condition has not been respected and they have to pay cleaners to move the bins around on collection day. It’s a difficult one, because the site was split up after planning was granted and the pathway where the bins should live is in the bit that was sold off to another developer, who hasn’t developed. They are also pretty unhappy about the mess on the undeveloped site, which we have been pressing the developer to clear. Not surprising, as nobody really wants to look out of their windows and see this.

Rubbish dump

There follows a testy exchange between me, the developer and the leader of the council. I’m hoping this has now been cleared (can’t see though because they have repaired the hoardings around the site).

On Friday evening I’m in Hounslow House to see a short film produced by young people in the Borough under the guidance of Heston West Big Local. This is about what it’s like being a young person in the Borough and has some good news and some bad – no holds barred! The film is called Hard to Reach: appropriately, because we as a council (certainly as members) do find young people rather hard to reach.

Hard to Reach
Actually the people who engage most with the council are not only not young but in most cases not middle aged either, and this is a problem councils have everywhere. Anyway the film was really good, and some awkward questions asked afterwards. The main things they raised were about fear of knife crime, not enough activities for young people, and mess on the street. Plenty to think about.

On Saturday I cycled to Olympia to take a look at the London Classic Car Show. As ever, I find the Porsches and Lamborghinis pretty dull, preferring Hillman Super Minxes and Wolseley 16/60s. By glorious coincidence though, I ran into a former colleague from Scotland on a stand full of Bristols and discovered he owns an old Bristol. Anyway, this is a BMW from the days when they were rare and distinctive, rather than common as muck.


A bit of blooze (and booze) down in the Brewery Tap in the evening – very good too.

Blues at Brewery Tap

I was sorry to miss the monster litter pick on Sunday morning at the notorious Park Lane, Cranford involving HAGs, the Mosque, locals, local councillors, road closures from both LB Hounslow and LB Hillingdon and lots of support from Hounslow Highways, but contrary to rumour I do have some vestiges of a life outside council activities, and there was a clash.

Litter pickers

On Monday I meet my local resident and friend Philip in his gorgeous flat in Regatta Point, Kew Bridge Road and talk about various things including Brentford Together. Philip suggests Brentford Together organises some cards and/or board games sessions to fill the gap of things that might appeal to blokes of all ages – Philip told me he has recently turned 85.

In the evening I go to the University of West London in Ealing to attend the opening of their new sports centre led by Paralympic medallist Ade Adepitan who gave a most inspiring speech.

Ade Adepitan

The speeches at the Labour group later that evening could not match him for inspiration, worthy as they were.

Tuesday was free until Borough Council in the evening. This was the meeting where we discuss the budget for 2020/21, a meeting which is always a bundle of fun. In previous years there has been criticism from the opposition (after all it’s their job) but pretty often they have endorsed or at least abstained on the budget vote. This time they came up with a series of amendments which were eye-wateringly dull, trivial and pointless, and all roundly rejected. Normally you might expect amendments, if agreed, to lead to the amended budget being supported but I don’t think they had even thought of that. We deserve a better opposition! Having said that, I’m proud of the budget we’ve put together. We’ve made choices, are busy addressing numerous issues and focusing on delivering our manifesto pledges, and we’re on track with all that.

Wednesday another day out at UWL in Ealing, this time at a conference called WOWLondon 2020 which is about economic development in West London and the Thames Valley. We hear from local employers (Sky, Heathrow, Berkeley Homes), from residents, developers and the council (Ealing) behind Acton Gardens – the replacement for the South Acton estate and from council leaders from Hounslow, Ealing and (oddly) Basingstoke. I like going to these events – keeps the brain cell moving.

In the evening Cabinet Question Time in the Free Church. Lots of questions – many from Brentford Voice, from Orchard Road Residents Association, and one from a New Road resident. I attempted to answer her question but she told me she didn’t trust me or believe a word I said, so I told her I wouldn’t waste her time answering her question. Steve Curran then had a go, but she didn’t want to hear from him either, so there we go. I booked a couple of outings with residents, one to check out lighting on the A4 and one to check out pavements outside Isleworth station.

Today, Thursday, I was supposed to go to Hounslow Festival of Business at the Holiday Inn, but I’m troubled by a dodgy knee and decided to give it a miss. I have to go to Hounslow House later though, but in no state to cycle. The ridiculous car will get an outing.


Cllr Guy Lambert

February 27, 2020

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