Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

Starting with a weird election day and finishing with lunch at The Weir

Candice Atterton with Green Dragon School pupils
Candice Atterton with Green Dragon School pupils


Guy Lambertguy.lambert@hounslow.gov.uk

tel 07804 284948

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It was kind of a weird election day. We couldn’t run our normal ward election centre because of the pandemic – our usual host needed to protect family and in any case we mainly had to be outside, plus a lot of our usual supporters were staying home to protect themselves, or uncomfortable knocking on doors in these times.

The day mainly stayed nice, and in the afternoon our local candidate Candice joined us in the Brentford towers. She and I ‘did’ one of them and I was busy texting and waiting for other people when she disappeared. I went to look, and found her on the platform above, having attracted a small crowd of mums and small and not very scary Green Dragons with her bubbly personality and general niceness. If she could have met everybody in the constituency she would have won by a mile, but that’s a bit of a task with three London Boroughs to cover. Still, this seat, which has been Tory from when it was established, now looks a three way marginal. Next time we’ll pick up some of those pesky Liberals and Bob’s your uncle.

It was also a bit weird not to be staying up half the night at the count, as I had done for the last few local elections, so I really didn’t need to avoid meetings on Friday – but I did anyway.

On Saturday I was admitted to the forbidden world inside the industrial building on the corner of York Road and Brook Lane North. This has been a constant bugbear throughout my time as a councillor, with a horrible mess often seen in its forecourt. Anyway, a local worthy who rents a bit of space inside has taken it upon himself to make the outside respectable, which will enhance everybody’s life a little bit. The email that accompanied this picture merely said ‘progress’. No oil painting but quite a pleasure to behold compared with what went before.

the industrial building on the corner of York Road and Brook Lane North

On Monday morning we had a royal visit. Well, I suppose Niall Bolger, the Hounslow Chief Exec is not technically royalty, but it was great to have him here looking over the Haverfield and Towers estates having summoned by the Emir of Haverfield, Councillor Melvinator. It’s been very frustrating because just as we got to the end of the improvement programme on the estate, our beloved friends Cadent, the artists previously known as British Gas, the Gas Board etc decided it would be improved by digging great trenches in it and surrounding it with garish orange barriers. The idea of these is to protect the Great Brentford Public from falling down a hole. It’s a fab idea but they, like every other utility in western Europe (and perhaps the world) have overlooked the undeniable fact that they blow over at the first puff of wind and create a great deal more of a hazard than that they’re supposed to protect. You’re very aware of this when wandering around with The Mel, as of course his ability to see all of this is strictly limited and with his feet a bit problematic at present he’s in no state to leap nimbly aside, unlike me. Stop laughing.

Whatever, it was good to show Niall around the estates for him to see the good stuff (and there’s a lot of that) and the not so good (still too much of that) and he will I’m sure galvanise some action.

In the evening we had a Watermans trustees’ workshop, looking at how the charity can build on what it has learnt during lockdown and use digital platforms to reach an ever wider audience even after an in person arts centre is (we sincerely hope) up and running again.

Tuesday was Lampton-y with my regular update with the group chair in the morning, then a review of the performance of the property companies around midday.

Later we had a mostly encouraging COVID briefing. Only one COVID patient in the hospital, not in intensive care, but we still sadly had one death in April and one so far in May. Care homes are OK but a couple of schools have outbreaks, especially secondary school age, plus we have a quarantine hotel. We now have full control of test and trace – real progress, and needed as there is serious concern about the ‘Indian variant’.

Then about our return to in person council meetings, as required by law, as a court case calling for the current suspension to be extended has failed. This is all quite difficult, as we do not have a space big enough to accommodate full council meetings with social distancing. Officers are working on this dilemma, and we’ll solve it, but determined to keep live streaming going too as so many more people have participated.

After that it’s a FoodBox trustee meeting, then a ‘virtual walk around’ of our community assts in Brentford ward. A team in the council is looking at how we can get better use of these for community activities.

That was quite a long day, and it happened to be my birthday. Somebody asked me during the day what I was doing and I replied that I was attending a lot of meetings but would be free at 8.15. I was ordered to attend the Globe at 8.30, and to name a list of people (up to 6 total) who would be asked to this ‘party’. This was a really kind gesture by someone who is very busy and really made my week, especially as all 6 turned up at very short notice and we had a lovely evening (well I did, anyway 😊).

Wednesday it was back to Lampton, with the Lampton Community Services board – this is the group that includes Recycle, GreenSpace and Coalo. The first time we’ve had a real drains up with the new non exec directors and a really lively and informative discussion.

In the evening, our Labour party branch meeting, with the highlight some discussions about women’s issues. We agree to put a motion to the Labour women’s conference, though it will go through various iterations before something is agreed.

Thursday morning I cycle out to the Hounslow/Heston border to meet with Raghwinder Siddhu, who has been appointed as my cabinet assistant. Raghwinder sits for Bedfont and is a solicitor, and it’s great to have him on board helping with my portfolio of services. Always helps to have a lawyer on the team and he immediately casts some new light on one or two issues we have been struggling to progress with.

On the way back I cycle down Kingsley Road, Hounslow, which is a notorious flytipping (and general mess) hot spot. Last February ie just before the first lockdown I spent a morning there with various officers going through dumped bags. We opened more than 70 on that road and managed to find evidence for -I think – 6 penalty charges. On Thursday there was not a single item of flytipping in the whole road, which seems a great result for our recently introduced Special Waste Service.

Then it’s a damp but pleasant delayed birthday lunch with my daughter at The Weir – very nice.

Outside at the weir

Later, a meeting of the Lampton shareholder board where we look at a new suite of reports. The highlight for me is that Lampton Leisure have taken on 2000 new members since reopening and they are getting generally great feedback. Their MD is very keen to hear experiences, good or bad, so if you have anything to share let me know.

Then we have a ‘task and finish’ group on our management of Houses in Multiple Occupation. This has been a big issue for me over the last year as several in Brentford are causing upset. Councils’ powers are severely limited, but we have some ideas to improve our management of these.

Have not had a decent bike ride, the evening is pleasant, so off I go. I immediately bump into a newly unmasked local historian, out for her constitutional, so we have a long chat which rather interferes with both our exercise plans. No matter, the evening was young, the conversation was well worth the time, and Man Utd 2 Liverpool 4 was recording away nicely indoors.

One of the huge benefits of cycling as a councillor is you’re always bumping into people. In a car you’d never see each other. All this means I’m spending Friday morning blogging away – better get it in to the Editor pronto.


Cllr Guy Lambert

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May 14, 2021

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