Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

Hope springs eternal for consensus on Boston Manor Park


Guy Lambertguy.lambert@hounslow.gov.uk

tel 07804 284948

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The meeting about Boston Manor Park was lively, much as I expected. As a non-expert, I figure that if our own council parks people, Heritage Lottery, Historic England, landscape architects, professional ecologists come up with a plan after a lot of consultation, it won’t be far wrong but this is not always how people see it. I’ve worked quite hard over the years to try and improve engagement between the bevy of experts and local people who often have a different perspective and deserve to be heard.

It’s apparent that there’s a disconnect in BMP, but I’m hoping the increased public engagement (and reacting to public views where appropriate) plus the park looking better as spring growth revives it, will help bring about a meeting of minds. Of course, not everyone will be satisfied, but I’m getting a few quiet appreciations of the changes amongst many protests.

On Friday we had the official quarterly West London Waste public meeting. Everything is going OK operationally but we remain (as a country, never mind a borough) a bit stuck, in that recycling percentages are improving only very slowly, whilst the ambition is really challenging. We need government action, and at last they’ve released their consultations on Deposit Return Schemes and Extended Producer Responsibility. If you’re a bin-fancier you have until 4 June to respond!

In the afternoon we had the latest chapter in the Swyncombe Avenue saga, explaining where we are in a meeting with residents. We think we have a conclusion in sight but it will still take a few weeks.

Then a trustee meeting for Hounslow’s Promise and I was set freeeee for the weekend (to sit at home and catch up with emails and watch lots of sport on TV, interspersed with a few bicycular forays).

In the last few days big changes have taken place at Ferry Quays where I live, where what was once the ‘butterfly garden’ has been flattened and replaced by a lot of rowboats, some shipping containers and a mesh fence. This patch of land is owned (or was) by a mysterious Isle of Man company. Some people are quite upset by all this and I’m not exactly delighted myself, though I’m all for the river being used for more watersports. I remonstrated with some of the volunteers building Stalag Luft Ferry Quays on Saturday and referred the whole thing to planning. Whether they actually need consent I don’t know, but there’s a history to this site and I want it available again for community use (as it has been for 20 years or more) if I can do that.

Fenced off row boats

Monday afternoon we had a (not really) meet and (not really) greet session with all our new non exec directors of Lampton. They are really quite a dazzling crew – among them a CEO of a large local authority, former board director of a household name plc, head of Europe Middle East and Africa for a well known sports brand, a well-known academic ecologist, a local GP. All in all, a dazzling group that really make me feel humble. They are all greatly enthused about our companies and it augurs so well.

In the evening our Labour Group pre-council meeting which was quite short and very comradely.

On Tuesday I suddenly caught up with an email which said there was a tree planting to take place in York Road. I read this at 11.03 and the planting was set for 11.00 so I whizzed up there. The tree had been organised by residents of York Road to commemorate Eric Dicker, who was a former Scout leader and by all accounts very well-loved by one and all. There should by now be a plaque as well but it wasn’t ready when the tree went in. A lovely thought and many thanks to Hounslow Highways for their support.

Eric Dicker Memorial Tree

Then I was back to West Middlesex for my next ectomy, this time the dodgy mole the doctor found on my back when liberating my earwart. A weedy little thing about the size of a grape pip (when grapes used to have pips) and all over in a few minutes. Never really felt a thing and the staff were so kind.

In the evening we had the second (for me) in a series of ‘tackling race inequality’ meetings and we will now split into two subgroups for the next stage. Then straight into Borough Council, where it seemed that our beloved opposition had decided they didn’t want to play. They refused to honour or obey the Monitoring Officer (which is an absolute no-no), refused to respect the chair (another no no). They probably knew that there was no Serjeant-at-Arms available and even if there was he could hardly remove them from their own homes. Then they threw a lot of untrue accusations about before one of them used unparliamentary language and all of them went in a sulk. It was like being in school when the bloke who’s got the cricket bat says if you’re going to get him out he’s taking his bat home. They never cease to astonish me.

A free day on Wednesday up until the planning committee starting late afternoon and going on well into the evening. The main thing was the redevelopment of Chiswick Health Centre to provide 50-odd council flats and a bigger, better health centre. I had to declare an interest as this is where my doctor lurks. There was some opposition from a neighbour but it was in line with planning policy and delivers lots of good things so we approved it. Then it was for a football training ground. Now, this must be strictly entre nous and whatever you do don’t tell The Melvinator because it was for the despised (Shepherd’s) Bushmen from QPR. Personally I thought it an act of charity to let a second rate football club from Hammersmith and Fulham invest a lot of money in our borough. Perhaps a bit of Hounslow magic will stick and one day they’ll be fit to be compared to the Mighty Bees. Oh, I forgot to say, don’t tell Tony Louki what I said about QPR either or I’ll likely be super-hooped. Anyway, approved, as was a plan for a 100+ bed hostel for young people run by a charity in central Hounslow.

On Thursday I’m booked to take a friend of mine on a cycling tour of the Borough. Blind leading the blind and so I’m doing this Wednesday night. Naturally it’s supposed to turn chilly and damp tomorrow but at least the puncture I had this morning won’t repeat. I hope.

Spring is coming this week (sadly not so much tomorrow) but what a delight it was to be up with the dawn on Tuesday.

Spring dawn on the river


Cllr Guy Lambert

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April 1, 2021

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