Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

Collecting for Foodbox and carrying on his regular waste duties


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

I’ve done well over 200 of these blogs and until last week had (as far as I can remember) only one complaint, and that was from one of my council colleagues complaining that I didn’t show the council in a good light. But last week’s effort pressed a few buttons, it seems, with one protest on the BrentfordTW8 forum and one in a private email to me.

Generally speaking I downplay the politics in these updates, confining myself to poking fun at some of my Conservative fellow councillors which is generally taken without offence, as far as I can tell. But folks, I’m a Labour and Cooperative councillor. I don’t like the Conservative governments which I’ve had to contend with ever since I was elected, and I especially don’t like this iteration where I find it hard to spot a redeeming feature. I don’t wish ill health on the ‘Prime Minister’ and I’m glad he seems to be recovering, but I have no respect for him and I wish he would disappear from the scene, a sentiment which now seems to be shared by much of the Tory press. Enough, already.

What have I been up to this week? Well, it’s rather the same old, same old. No physical meetings, a few phone calls, a few audio conferences, Zoom meetings, Skype meetings and plenty of emails. A few deliveries or errands for the FoodBox and a daily bike ride. Old Pegasus has been mostly a faithful retainer with no problems, probably because I managed to buy a can of 3-in-one oil and keep his gears lubricated. I have taken to carrying a spare tube and a pump around with me in case of punctures which for a number of weeks seemed to be a talisman against punctures. Just as I was getting used to this, I had a puncture on Sunday. I was inordinately pleased with myself because I managed to get the tyre off the rim without breaking any levers (something that had defeated the expert in Halfords) but then of course I discovered the pump didn’t work, so I had to trudge to a bike shop for assistance (thanks be that we persuaded the powers that be to keep them open). The only problem now is that some of the quieter places I use to avoid the busy places are now getting busy with other people avoiding the busy places.

One of my errands for the FoodBox was to run up to the B&M store in Hayes on Friday morning. They wanted to hand over a donation of actual real – perhaps freshly laundered - cash money, no questions asked officer. I confess I had never set foot in a B&M before but after queueing for half an hour I gained access to the marbled halls and eventually found the manager who handed me an envelope. The treasurer had impressed upon me the need to count the dosh before I handed over a receipt (he is a proper accountant, after all) but by the checkouts in a busy store this didn’t seem an attractive option, especially as the money was, like a Spangle, double-wrapped for extra freshness. Anyway, the young lady who emerged from the office with the envelope insisted on taking a photo at a jaunty angle so here we are.

Cash transfer

That’s not a scarf round my neck but an official Virus mask but you feel a lemon wearing one for a photograph. Afterwards I handed the envelope over to the treasurer while confessing I had not opened it.  I remarked that as far as I knew it could be stuffed with bog roll but we then thought, well, probably worth more than fivers anyway. Many thanks to B&M. It’s just amazing the support we are getting from all over the place, residents and businesses alike.

On Tuesday I had my regular Lampton360 finance update. In fact, finances are so much up in the air at present that it’s hard to get too excited about monitoring them. There are some extra costs in recycling and waste and Greenspace – modest thus far - and some reduced income in the development and investment property arms where we have suspended all development activity (other than office based planning/procurement etc) which rapidly eats up contingency allowances. We also for obvious reasons are experiencing some shortfalls in rental income from those tenants whose income has disappeared and we’ve rightly suspended legal or eviction action against those who won’t or can’t pay. The government keep bandying numbers about with a lot of zeroes on the end but it’s hard to tell how much pain will end up being inflicted on councils, beyond what we were already coping with. The rhetoric has already changed from ‘we’ll do what it takes’ with funding to underpin Local Authorities’ extra costs and reduced income to ‘we’ll share some of the pain’ so this is likely to be challenging both for the borough and, probably, its subsidiaries.

On Tuesday evening we have our regular conference call between the senior officers and the cabinet. Most services are operating OK and the Community Hub is up and running, having contacted (and will continue to contact) all the very vulnerable people on their list and providing food parcels as necessary. It’s clear that the food approach is a bit imprecise because some people have different needs but it was important to get something going and in most cases the food (and the contact) is greatly appreciated.

We’ve identified about 60 rough sleepers in the borough and the vast majority are now housed with a roof over their heads. There are always a hard core of refusers who really don’t want to be housed. Our officers and partners in charities like St Mungo’s work away at them, trying to find a solution they can accept. West Middlesex seems to have COVID numbers under control at present, and whilst we have some problems in our care homes they are not overwhelming  in the way some areas have experienced.

On Wednesday morning I went up to the Coop to pick up the FoodBox donations. I’d thought that the bread and bakeries we’d taken on previous occasions were likely to be excluded because many previously had been rejected because they were a day over their sell-by date so I risked making the pick up by bicycle. As it turned out, they had quite a lot of stuff so I ended up with my pannier stuffed and a bag over each side of the handlebars. Which was fine, until I reached the last leg of the journey and the top half of one of the bags parted company with the bottom half as I cycled along Hawthorn Road. Like Ernie Wise’s hairpiece, you can’t see the join between the top and bottom half of a carrier bag, but turns out it’s there. Fortunately the resulting shower of food was all either in tins or securely wrapped, otherwise the food recycling might have taken a big hit.
As I unloaded, two ladies appeared in a big car and started filling a shopping trolley. ‘Who are you?’ I asked in my usual charming way. ‘We’re just people’ they replied. ‘Yes, I can see you are people but where does all this fantastic donation come from?’. ‘Well, we’ve just been to Tesco’s and we bought it there’. People are so great.

Great people

Later, I saw that the people from the Guru Maneyo Granth Gurdwara in Slough had delivered an enormous donation. https://www.gmggurdwara.com/


Today, Thursday, has been hectic by recent standards. I have made two separate trips to Chiswick to pick up donations in the ridiculous car, between which I had a Skype update from ‘my’ Director mainly about the recycling and waste service – performance even better than normal despite huge amounts of domestic waste and attendance by staff higher than ever. This is in no small part down to all you lovely people who have taken the trouble to thank the crews. It makes a big difference so keep it coming (give them a couple of claps tonight if you’re clapping for the NHS etc). Also some discussion about Hounslow Highways (flytipping remains at ‘normal’ levels and they’re coping, but actual reports are up strongly because so many people are at home and wandering the streets reporting stuff on FixMyStreet). We talked about the forthcoming SWS – Special Waste Service (Who Dares Flytip or generally pollute the place gets the consequences) where our recruitment is held up for obvious reasons (Skype interviews to follow maybe).

Then we have a Lampton Board meeting and a phone call with the Chiswick Herald about FoodBox.

No exercise yet and the blog is already late. Pegasus, get your saddle on.

Cllr Guy Lambert

April 24, 2020

Bookmark and Share