Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

Literally a warts and all account of what he has been up to


Guy Lambertguy.lambert@hounslow.gov.uk

tel 07804 284948

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Thursday morning, interspersed with the usual stream-of-consciousness blather, I have a call with someone who’s in the Electric Vehicle filling station business and has designs on various sites within the borough, including one in Brentford. This is something which is suddenly extremely topical and he alerted me to some features I hadn’t really thought about, mainly the challenges of keeping electric taxis and local delivery vehicles going during their working day.

In the afternoon/early evening, a meeting between the cabinet and lead officers about the One Hounslow programme, this one focused on neighbourhoods and communities. We are trying to tease out ways to work in a more integrated way with local neighbourhoods and this is really trying to understand what a neighbourhood actually is and what it needs locally to thrive.

Friday morning I have a telephone consultation with my doctor. I have a sort of warty thing on my ear, of which I have sent her a photo. She says the photo is not good enough. I say it’s the best I can do. She says you’d better come in then, so I do and she takes a picture herself. She says “Oh, that’s no better than the picture you took”. It’s rather an unassuming little warty thing that keeps its light hidden under a bushel (why a bushel – “ a measure of capacity equal to 8 gallons (equivalent to 36.4 litres), used for corn, fruit, liquids, etc” - not a bush?) so it’s hard to get a picture. Anyway it now spends it’s life hidden under a real bush known as my lockdown hairstyle. She needs to refer me to the wartologist at West Middlesex and apparently wartologists demand pictures. Years ago I had something similar on my finger and a previous doctor chopped it off right there in the health centre but times has changed.

In the afternoon a session with the MD of the Lampton Development and Investment company. Herrings Hall Close nears completion and will be populated with council tenants rather than oily fish in the spring, as will their other current development out in Bedfont, though that is mixed tenure with quite a lot of supported living places for disabled people. The big topic at present is New Road Triangle in Feltham where a sizeable scheme is soon to go to planning, plus he is back in the market buying ex-council properties back for social renting, a programme which has been highly successful so far.

Saturday I commence my exercise ride and am proceeding in a westerly direction along Brentford High Street when who do I spot lurking on the pavement but Genghis himself, aka Councillor John Todd from Chiswick, no doubt gathering evidence, as is his wont. We exchange pleasantries (a d I get (quite rightly - sorry) beeped at by a 267 for stopping in the bus stop ) then I proceed upon my way, only to bump - not literally - into him later as he joins the wonderful cycle lane on Chiswick High Road on his bike.

Monday is meeting free until the evening, when we have the Labour Group AGM, where we have elections for committees and the like. The only one I’m up for that is ‘competitive’ is planning but I think I have to keep mum about the outcome until it is all discussed at Borough Council on 18th May.

Tuesday is my regular one to one with the chair of Lampton Group. Plenty of challenges but everything going in the right direction. Now if we can just get those leisure centres open – fingers crossed for 12th April – we’ll really feel we’re up and running.

From 3pm it’s solid meetings. First off we meet with some ‘save our trees’ activists related to Boston Manor Park. Some trees have gone and even if we wanted to we couldn’t unchop them. The ecologists advising the council believe there’s method in what some people see as madness. We agree, if nothing else, that communication could have been better and commit to engaging more deeply as the project progresses. Of course there is a public meeting focused one ecology next Thursday – do come if you can, get your tickets free here.

Then it’s an update on the plans to redevelop Charlton House and some neighbouring buildings which has just been overwhelmingly approved by the tenants and leaseholders in a ballot. We now have a 12 month haul to get detailed plans together to go before planning committee, with next March the target.

After that it’s a webinar from the Thames Landscape strategy group. I didn’t know much about this but I had an invite and since I love the Thames (here’s a bit of why)

A view of the Thames in Brentford

I had to accept. Not sure I learned much, except that they are doing various things to try and protect nature and wildlife, and to protect domesticated life – ie you and me, though you’re probably more domesticated than me – from being inundated with floods. I think my ward colleague Corinna sits on this group so I must pick her brains for some more info.

The last thing for the evening was a session on tackling race inequalities. We are building on the work of a small working group that has been examining the council’s record in this regard and looking for ways to improve. It’s great to engage with this subject in a cross-party group. Lots of thoughts and ideas, and down to others to turn this into an improvement programme, though we all want to play our part.

Wednesday we had an update on Watermans Park and the works going on there. Apparently they have now been allowed to refloat some of the wrecks rather than cut them up on site, which seems a lot more sensible to me – great expert that I am on these matters – and they will do so every week or two when they can secure slots to navigate Hammersmith Bridge. Meanwhile work continues withing the Black Citadel – it was good to see a concrete mixer half-blocking Kew Bridge Road during the week – and we should have stepped access to the East end of the park restored shortly. Disappointingly step free access will have to wait a bit longer but at least that feels like progress. Great to have the Friends Group in attendance and it feels like we are making progress in this complicated programme that involves more actors than we’d like.

Then I attend the Finance, Risk, Audit and Performance committee of the Lampton Group. Quite a mouthful for somebody on a diet. The way the group manages itself continues to evolve. I had to miss the Health and Safety committee which followed because we had the councillor session on reimagining Brentford Town Centre with our consultants, which was not one I was going to miss. Lots of food for thought. I have come to love this place and its people and I really want to do my best for it.

In the evening, a meeting of Labour members to discuss updating the council constitution, one of a series. This is not really my specialist subject so at one point I dodge out onto my balcony for a minute and take a couple of pictures of the sunset. One towards the Thames (above) and one towards the town centre (below). Lovely.

Sunset by the grand union canal

Thursday arrives and with it the plaintive cry of the lesser-spotted daughter. She has fully moved home now and has a resulting pile of crud to be disposed of by someone with a car, ridiculous or otherwise. Hers has recently been consigned to the Great Motordrome In The Sky and she will not be replacing it, at least any time soon. As it happens, I’ve lived in this flat for 7 years and have a pile of crud of my own so I make a booking at Space Waye – surprisingly easy – for tomorrow and go and pick up her stuff. The car will get two walkies in two days, it is wagging it’s tail with enthusiasm, though it would prefer to be going overland to Italy (or something).

Quite a short one this week, you’ll be relieved to hear. I have just had a call from the wartological service and have to toddle off to W Middx for an earectomy or whatever.

A bientot

Cllr Guy Lambert

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March 18, 2021

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