Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

Enjoying cycling round the neighbourhood without the traffic


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, don’t these weeks just get more and more exciting? Glad to see that prime minister Boris Trumpson is over the worst of his coronavirus and has managed to make it to his second home in the country (some mistake surely) to convalesce with his current other half and one of his children-to-be. We miss him, because the vacuous content of the daily Pravda briefings are at least a bit more lively when he’s there than when fronted by earnest ramper-upper Matt Hancock, wooden Dominic Raab or mathematical genius Priti “300,034,974,000 tests” Patel. Someone on ‘Have I got News for You’ suggested her face looks permanently like someone who’s just won an argument with her partner but to me it takes me back to schooldays and ‘my dad has a bigger Mercedes than your dad’. Actually, in my schooldays it was a bigger Austin.

So I now have a daily routine, hardly likely to set the pulses of blog enthusiasts racing. Get up. Look at the weather. Have a cup of coffee. Look at my email/Facebook groups/WhatsApp groups/Twitter/various websites. Have a cup of coffee. Look at my email/.... Sometimes there’s a bit of excitement, like going to the Co-op/Sainsburys/Morrisons/somebody’s house to pick up a donation for the FoodBox and on one occasion a movie to star in, talking about the FoodBox and Easter bin collections. Wow.

Being an Englishman (with a bit of Welsh thrown in) though not in any respect a mad dog, I am generally out in the midday sun taking Pegasus for walkies. In an hour or so I go around Brentford and head either East to Chiswick and perhaps Hammersmith/Fulham or West to Hounslow and perhaps Twickenham/Teddington, sometimes venturing across the channel into Richmond. One of the nice things about cycling is that I very often bump into someone I know (not literally, my brakes are OK) and exchange a few pleasantries or get told of issues.

On Saturday (I think) I hear of the fencing off of the Thames path in Watermans Park: necessary, it seems, to prevent the playground being used but blocking off the path is not welcome. Sunday morning I get a message about the shelter of this fence providing an attractive public toilet location (a member of the Friends group has heroically cleaned up the mess). I go and have a look and find the fence is now a bit ineffective as some of it has come down (looks like with some human intervention).

Watermans Park

I’m told that it was not intended to block the path but the fence would be unstable if installed on sloping ground. A touch ironic, given what happened next. Sunday afternoon it is re-erected but Monday morning I get a message that it’s blown down again – officers think some human assistance was again involved. By the time I pass, the whole thing has been taken down, and on Tuesday a new solution with smaller fences around the individual equipment is in place, described rather fancifully by my Friends group correspondent as resembling Yurts or tepees, but certainly a lot better than the first try! As I cycle along Thames Road I’m stopped by an old friend who tells me the fence around Dukes Meadows playground has blown down as well. This one is down to poor workmanship, and I think has been re-erected at the contractor’s expense.


During the last few days our wonderful FoodBox volunteers have opened up our temporary overflow centre in the Rose community centre and we have been receiving an astonishing flow of donations.  This is one from people in York and Windmill Roads Brentford, but we have had similar donations from Burnaby Gardens, Chiswick, from Whitestile Road, Wavendon Avenue to name but a few, as well as some rhubarb from someone’s allotment and generous donations from supermarkets and other businesses.


We are also always in need of face masks (sound familiar?) and it was most gratifying to get these washable ones lovingly sewn by the people from Immanuel Church.


On the other side of human nature, as I cycle round on my exercise I see that fly tipping has not gone into self-isolation and that black bags appear on the streets, completely flouting the requirement to be 2 metres apart. I was in Hounslow Heath recently and saw a large pile outside a shopping parade. As I stopped to take a pic and make a report I espied a gentleman in a yellow T-shirt walking up the middle of the road with a black bag in his hand. I remarked to him that I hoped he was not intending to fly tip, as this is extremely illegal as well as anti-social, and he is liable to be fined. My ability to strike fear into wrong-doers is clearly deficient as he completely ignored me, dumped his bag and walked off without a word. I tried to take a picture of him but managed to make a mess of it. Hounslow Highways continue to do a stunning job of reacting to fly tips you report and clearing them very quickly, so please do report on FixMyStreet – dead easy. Rather to everyone’s surprise, fly tipping does not seem to have increased during the lockdown, and litter has reduced considerably now we have no McDonalds, KFC and Costa to contend with. By and large, people are making a decent effort to comply with social distancing rules, in fact I’d say flouting of them seems quite rare, though I’ve noticed a few carloads of people who I reckon were not from the same household.

I am not completely without council duties – casework continues and I am coming across a lot of financial hardship cases at present, unsurprisingly, especially self-employed people and those who were on zero hours contracts who get little or no support, and none of it quickly. I know Ruth Cadbury and our new Labour leadership are doing their best to press the government on this. We also have a weekly ‘meeting’ with cabinet and senior officers and I’m pleased to say that everything in Hounslow appears to be holding together very well. Our excellent staff are mostly working on, the front line ones out there, the back office mainly working from home. Many have been redeployed to work in the Community Hub and other urgent duties, and we’re just about holding the line in social services and other things that are so important at this time. I understand that crime is down considerably, anti-social behaviour up some, and domestic violence seems to be up very sharply, which is a big worry.

This morning I had a West London Waste teleconference, and we had a new statistic, which I thought was very telling – of our residual (wheelie bin) waste from households, more than 40% is food waste, despite every household having a weekly food waste service. This is really shocking, and such a waste of resources and council tax payers’ money as well, as every tonne of residual waste costs about £100 more to dispose of (by incinerating for electricity generation) than food waste (turned into fertiliser and gas for the grid). So don’t be surprised if you see lots of effort going into persuading everyone to get better at this.

Well, midday and the open road beckons. Very nice cycling on quiet, unpolluted roads though a minority seem to think that speed limits are self-isolating. Who knows how long we will be like this, and I’m hoping that the new normal will be a great deal different from the old normal and we can retain some of this, as well as new-found respect for ‘key workers’.

Two heart warmers to keep you positive – one from the (I presume) children of Ferry Quays, and one from the Huffington Post.


Cllr Guy Lambert

April 24, 2020

Bookmark and Share