Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

Still tempted by the Boston Cafe 45 years on


Guy Lambertguy.lambert@hounslow.gov.uk

tel 07804 284948

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So off I went to Fabulous Feltham, by way of the august environs of Kingsley Road. I was there a year ago on an enforcement gig with Hounslow Highways and our civil enforcement team, when between us we opened well over 100 dumped black bags and found only about 6 with any evidence to issue a flytipping penalty charge notice. A couple of months ago I did a photo-opp with the first of our Special Waste Service people, an ex-cop. I think their motto should be ‘Who Snares Bins’. Anyway, they have been concentrating on central Hounslow in their first couple of months and the impact on Kingsley Road – based admittedly on a single observation – has been dramatic. I saw only one dumped bag in the whole street, plus there had been a lot of progress on cleaning out the mucky front yards.

Feltham North was pretty good when I got there, too. There were bits of litter here and there, consistent with messy people over an evening and a morning, a couple of flytips which I reported, together with an abandoned road sign, several potholes and a large piece of graffiti. I was very heartened, in the main, by what I found.

On the way back lunch beckoned, and I found my nose pointing me towards the Boston Café. On my very first day working in Brentford c1977, having survived a threatened assault for parking in front of someone’s house in Church Walk, I sampled one of their dog rolls, purveyed in those days by Ron and Wyn, and found it excellent. The temptation has stayed with me these 45 years and occasionally I succumb, never disappointed. At one point I ran the canteens for Honeywell, including the one at Honeywell House (now known as Great West House) and they were contracted to a firm called Gardner Merchant, part of Trust House Forte (remember them?). I was so irritated by their sandwiches which would have shamed British Rail that I brought to a meeting with their regional director an egg and cress sandwich, packet of crisps and apple bought from our heavily subsidised canteen, and the same items from the Boston Café. The Boston ones were delicious and fresh, and cost me half as much as the horrible and highly subsidised ones from the canteen. We shortly moved to another external caterer who, true to outsourcing form, proposed a Harrods service and delivered Del Boy.

Boston Cafe Brentford

Boston Cafe Brentford

Back in time for my monthly update with environment directors. Extra busy at present with a lot of things happening and all moving forward very well I think. I fed back about Feltham and Kingsley Road, and also about a horrendous fly tip in London Road Hounslow (which had of course been cleared soon after I reported it).

In the evening I had to choose between the public presentation from the Griffin Park developers and the AGM of our flat management company where I live. I’ve missed the last couple and there are a few concerns amongst fellow leaseholders so I attended the latter. They were keen to get extra directors but I examined the T-shirt I retain from my previous involvement and decided to pass on that one. I have enough difficult decisions in my life for the time being.

Friday was a big day out in the car. We were doing a tour of our 7 Leisure Facilities with the directors of Lampton Leisure. Social distancing meant a convoy of cars and I didn’t want to be pedalling like crazy trying to keep up and arriving as a different sort of environmental hazard. I hadn’t been to all the facilities before and I must say I was most impressed with how good they looked. The team have been working like crazy to get them COVID secure, cleaner than they’ve been for years, and looking great and the facilities are much better than I realised, even at Brentford and Chiswick which I thought I knew well. Membership is free until the end of June so give them a try!

Gym equipment

Brentford Fountains Leisure Centre pool

After that it was a Hounslow’s Promise steering group zoom meeting, then a couple of chilly drinks on a boat in The Hollows with a couple of residents with issues they would like me to help with. Weather is weird, feels like spring and the depths of winter at the same time, meanwhile I have to put my coat on to water the half-frozen plants on my balcony.

On Monday afternoon, an update on the Streetspace programme. We are gradually going through interim reviews and feeding back to TfL on Cycleway 9. It’s great to have the section from Wellesley Road to Kew Bridge finished but there are still some bugs to iron out on Chiswick High Road. I was very heartened to see Devonshire Road in Chiswick buzzing with diners on Saturday afternoon, despite them having to eat in their parkas. Our attempts to destroy Chiswick are beginning to bear fruit.

Devonshire Road street dining

In the evening, a meeting of the Watermans trustees, looking at how the charity should respond to the Arts Council England’s strategy for 2021 to 2030 ‘Let’s Create’. I’m no arts expert but I hope I can add some value to the discussions, particularly by making sure the Hounslow and particularly Brentford needs are properly incorporated.

On Tuesday our Network board with the senior management of Hounslow Highways and their parent company Vinci. Some interesting presentations, including on the insurance claims they receive for damage to houses, cars and people. All have reduced markedly over the life of the contract which demonstrates that contrary to rumour the state of our roads, pavements, street trees etc has improved. Claims for damage to vehicles are down by 75% in 2020 compared with 2013, though it may not be quite so positive as some claims take a while to come through.

Afterwards an update with our MD of the Lampton property companies. He has his challenges, as developers always do, but things are on track and he will buy 20 more homes to be let to people on the housing list at genuinely affordable rents in the next month, to go with the 150-odd we have already purchased. This will help mitigate the dramatic increase in the list which has arisen during the pandemic.

Wednesday morning it’s Watermans Park for a meeting with the Friends, parks people, developer and landscape architect. We have a rare visit inside the Citadel where there is quite frenzied activity in evidence. They are finishing off steps which will provide access to the park shortly, beyond the very steep (and temporary) ramp that has already been provided. We are negotiating to restore the boardwalk which was not in the original plans for the marina – a reed bed was mooted – and this will also need planning permission and we think permission from the Port of London Authority. However we all think it will be good to have this feature back.

Round to Thursday and a one to one with the project manager from West London Waste who is trying to make sense of – and react positively to – the emerging proposals from the government to introduce ‘Extended Producer Responsibility’ (roughly, those who make waste pay for its disposal), ‘Deposit Return Scheme’ (return your pop bottles for £££ or ppp) and ‘Consistency’ ie councils move to collecting the same recyclables in the same way. The last one has been delayed without explanation but the Bintelligentsia are heavily involved with reviewing and responding to the first two. As usual, we expect Local Government to be asked to improve services for less money, so the 6 boroughs and West London Waste are trying to identify savings to plug the gap.

So that’s my week. Three different things on later today but you’ll have to wait with bated breath for next week's thrilling instalment. Jesus, Mary and Joseph and the wee donkey, Line of Duty ain’t got nothing on this blog.


Cllr Guy Lambert

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April 29, 2021

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