Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

Finding out what became of the drummer from Hawkwind

Steve the drummer from Hawkwind
The mystery of what happened to the drummer from Hawkwind solved


Guy Lambertguy.lambert@hounslow.gov.uk

tel 07804 284948

Brentford folk like transport changes or at worst not bovvered

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On Thursday afternoon we had the regular meeting of the Cleaner Community Reference Group. Just like last time, there was a disappointing turnout from the community – something we need to understand as these were very popular at the start. We had a comprehensive update about the improvements we’re making to recycling, with the big push still on food waste – especially in blocks of flats but also with houses. Still, far too much food waste ends up being incinerated.

By the way, I want to stress for the umpteenth time that none of our waste ends up in the sea. It is either sold for real money to real recyclers (why would you pay for something you’re going to throw away?) or sent for incineration. Stories keep circulating, often put about by our political opponents, to the effect that it’s not worth recycling. It really is. At a minimum, as well as helping our carbon output, it saves around £100 per tonne for the council tax payer. For plastics the saving is around £270 per tonne and for aluminium nearly £1200 per tonne currently, though what recyclers pay fluctuates wildly. For example with textiles, for nearly a year we could only give them away but by April they were realising nearly £100 per tonne.

Rant over, but please recycle all you can

After that, I had the Lampton Development and Investment board meeting. They are busy buying mostly ex-council properties to help us house people who need accommodation and for whom there is no council-owned accommodation available in the short to medium term. Lampton have about 150 of these with another 20 on the way and hundreds more likely to come over the next few months. Lampton make a small surplus, the accommodation is good quality and affordable even to those on Universal Credit, and whilst tenants don’t have quite the security of a council home they have a long term, stable home. 19 council houses are about to be handed over by the development arm in Brentford – more later.

I had to miss the planning training because it clashed with an informal meeting of the cabinet. I am therefore on the planning naughty step and have to go through the training presentation offline or I won’t be allowed to serve on the committee.

Friday morning was a trip to Space Waye. Simon, the manager there, is retiring after 24 years. He told us he joined when he saw an ad for a weighbridge operator. He knew nothing about weighbridges but needed to get a job on PAYE. I asked him what he did before and he looked a bit shifty, but someone spilled the beans. It turns out he used to be the drummer for Hawkwind – so I’m hoping he can be the third member of Mel and my boy band.

I wimped out of cycling there in view of the hurricane blowing on Friday morning.

Talking of cycling, I had a complaint about last week’s blog. Someone wrote to me that the blog “ contains inaccuracies, one of which you know not to be the truth.” This was when I described Cycleway9, designed, consulted, redesigned, reconfigured as a temporary scheme, announced, paid for and with construction managed by TfL, as a TfL scheme. Apparently it’s a Hounslow scheme. I am happy to correct that.

In the afternoon a short Hounslow’s Promise meeting, looking for someone to lead production of a funding bid. Sadly I have neither the skills nor the capacity!

Monday was a housingy sort of day, first at Herings Hall Close on the former Acton Lodge site. I mentioned to Katherine Dunne that the name seemed a bit fishy but she told me there were good historical reasons for the name and I’m quite sure she’s right. Which is fortunate because when I Googled it all I could come up with was a German porn star of the same name. Anyway, what’s there, and due to be occupied very soon, are 19 council houses with 2,3 or 4 bedrooms (though I reckon you could fit in a fifth in some of them) which I think look really good and which are excellent inside too. Something for Lampton Development to be proud of.

New Council Homes

Straight after that we have the ‘official launch’ of the improvements to Brentford Towers. Apparently residents would like the estate, including the towers and what I know as Haverfield, to be known as the Green Dragon Lane estate. The towers really look great now, as does much of the landscaping around them, which will only improve as the flowers and shrubs develop.

There was a good turn out including The Melvinator himself and the three women who are the driving force behind the Brentford Towers Residents Association charity. They have made such a massive contribution to the improvements on the estate and it has been a great privilege to work with such passionate (and fun) people – thanks to you all.

Melvin with members of the local residents' association

We also had a Johann Cruyff representative to talk about the brand new Cruyff Court, one of only 8 in Britain and 3 in London.

Cruyff foundation pitch

In the evening we have a training about ‘Affordable Housing’. If the government had tried hard to make life confusing they would have come up with the definitions of ‘affordable’ that they have. Perhaps that was precisely their intention. Actually ‘affordable rent’ by the government’s definition is 80% of open market, which I reckon would be £312 per week for a three bed flat. An awful lot of families couldn’t afford that. London Affordable Rent, set by Sadiq Khan, is genuinely affordable.

Affordable rent chart

It seems we are likely to beat our target of 1000 new council homes during this administration but fall a little short of our 5000 target for all homes. Lockdowns have not helped with that, but I’m very pleased we have succeeded in providing council homes beyond expectations, and (at last) well ahead of those we are losing through Right to Buy, and if we add the Lampton Investment homes that really helps with finding decent places those who are poorly housed, of whom there are still far too many.

On Tuesday my regular one to one with the Lampton group chair. In the afternoon, the Brentford Voice sponsored Brentford Heritage Trail discussions meant I missed an introduction for councillors to the Environment Champions programme. I think we will rerun it and get some more councillors along – not everybody can make daytime meetings.

In the evening, a meeting with the leader and with Raghwinder Siddhu, who has been appointed my cabinet assistant. We agreed he would take on three tasks – improving alleys behind shops, which are often a haven for flytipping and general environmental mayhem and very hard to control; making sure businesses are dealing with their waste properly – there’s quite a bit of evidence that some don’t, putting their burden on the rest of us. Plus he will undertake ad hoc inspections after Hounslow Highways ward clean days to make sure they are up to muster.

Wednesday was free until the evening, so I had the choice of listening to the next chapter of the demolition of any idea that Boris Johnson either has a clue what he’s doing or gives a stuff about anybody but himself, or going for a long bike ride. I decided a trip around Heston, Cranford, Feltham and the Hamptons was preferable, though sadly I couldn’t see my way to get to Barnard Castle.

The evening was the latest in the series of engagement events about Boston Manor Park. This was mainly about security. We had about 20 members of the public and some very pertinent questions to members of the team including our very own ex-DOCO* Sergeant Jim Cope, who gave a very interesting presentation. Anyone who wants to offer their services as a CHIS should apply to Jim not me.

  • Design Out Crime Officer.

This morning, my monthly update with me Exec Director and Director, where I get to grumble about things that I don’t like, almost always because I want more pace. Of course everyone has been a bit distracted about government orders, counter-orders, disorder this week. You might think officers are getting used to it by now, but they still have to divert from doing useful things to accommodate the new orders, then reverse what they did earlier. This would not happinate the Dalai Lama, but they are a cheerful bunch.

So that’s that. I shall be ‘Tackling Inequalities’ shortly then an informal cabinet briefing. Seem to have missed out on a ride, this unusually warm and sunny day. Maybe an evening one, taking on extra protein from the midges down by the river. Not sure how a vegetarian can ever be a cyclist.



Cllr Guy Lambert

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May 28, 2021

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