Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

Classic cars in Syon Park and being the bowls club villain


Guy Lambertguy.lambert@hounslow.gov.uk

tel 07804 284948

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Well now, this has been a week.

I move on from my lark-like blogging to an Economist webinar about the Global Liveability Index, a subject which I find very interesting. However I didn’t find this talk particularly enthralling and I confess it didn’t hold my attention throughout, a bit like so many lessons at school and (particularly) Law lectures at North East London Polytechnic, my alma mater. It was Barking Regional College of Technology when I started there, courtesy of the Ford Motor Company and the Road Traffic Industry Training Board, but rapidly polytechinicated itself and has now become the super-prestigious University of East London. Stop laughing. For the plebs, the quad of Merton College Oxford, built in the 1270s. For the privileged few like me, a half-converted Kensitas factory in Stratford E15.

I digress. At lunchtime monthly update with my Exec Director and chums. Services continue to perform well but there is (not surprisingly) still far more volume of domestic waste than we have had to deal with traditionally and this puts extra strain (and cost) on both collection and disposal services which the team are having to manage very carefully. I’m always nagging at Hounslow Highways, who have done much better with weeds on main roads this year – getting used to life without nasty chemical weedkillers – but still a way to go on residential roads. They published a weed clearance schedule here but it runs out in mid June so I’m on their backs to update it!

In the evening, planning committee, so I cycle into Hounslow House. Social distancing makes it difficult to see everyone and to hear what they say but at least we have a full committee. The real item under contention is the reuse of the bowling green and clubhouse in Gunnersbury Park as a commercial putting facility. I am absolutely the villain here because I called it in to committee and ended up voting in favour of the change. The committee was split, with The Melvinator, Tony Louki and John Todd voting against and one abstention but it was narrowly approved. There were obvious arguments for retaining the bowling green, but in the end I was persuaded that the putting facility would serve a lot more people and bring some more liveliness to the park. I did not expect that to be a popular view (at least amongst the more vocal) and I wasn’t wrong about that. However, I’m elected to make difficult choices and I can’t shrink from them.

Almost incidentally, because there was very little opposition, we approved two applications to build council homes in Feltham, a total of 116 new homes for people on our housing list.

Louki and I partook of a late night snack in one of his favourite curry emporia on Kingsley Road, which set me up for an early start, heading for Harrow Civic Centre for a formal West London Waste board meeting. I hadn’t spotted that Harrow enforce a ‘negative test within 24 hours’ policy for all they who cross the portals of their Palace of Administration. I could get a test on site but had to get there for 9.15 for it to work and like a fool decided to drive. It was sheer hell all the way from Kew Bridge to Harrow and would have been much quicker by bike, but there are hills and the roads are very scary on a bicycle. Anyway it all worked out, I waxed lyrical about allowing pedestrian and cycle access to Household waste centres (like Space Waye) as I believe the health and safety concerns that currently prevent this are exceedingly overblown. Coming back I was eager for an egg and chips lunch and ended up in the Brentford Café. Quite packed, and decent basic nosh for a decent basic price, as ever.

Despite appearances (from this blog and my ample figure) I don’t spend all my time eating, though following a Hounslow’s Promise meeting and a spell knocking on doors out Clayponds way with my MP, Ruth and I ended up with pizzas in Siracusa – excellent as ever and I was delighted to see it heaving with customers.

Saturday was quite a complicated day by my simple standards. In the morning I saw a complaint on social media about loud music in Gunnersbury Park, not for the first time. Not for the first time I went to Gunnersbury Park with my ears open but it was silent apart from the twittering of the birds and the dog walkers, and the chirping of happy children. So I carried on to Heston Park, where the wonderful HAGs were planting 5000 bulbs. My timing was perfect, as they had just finished when I arrived so I was able to join them in the pub to help them recover from their exertions. Various mounds like this one will be bedecked with flowers when the bulbs sprout, or whatever bulbs do when they’re at home.

Heston Park

Suitably refreshed I headed South towards Isleworth, but blow me down there was a show on in Bell Square organised by the Watermans centre. I caught the eye of a couple of Watermans people I knew and decided to stay for the show, which was a dance troupe. This is not something I go for in normal circumstances, but this dance was really riveting in the sunshine and a lot of people stopped to watch. What a lovely surprise!

Dance troupe

Next stop was Syon Park for the London Classic Car show. One day my old banger, if it escapes the grim reaper, will become a classic (like me, obviously). So many to admire… I tried to make a collage but no skills/tools so you get 4 pics. I think I’ll go for that red Maserati or maybe the maroon and chrome Delahaye if somebody wants to give me a couple of million. I watched one of my favourite films Badlands the other day, starring Sissy Spacek, Martin Sheen and a black Mercury Coupe just like this one.

Classic car


Red classic car

Rear of classic car

Maroon classic car

A quick whizz to Chiswick on Sunday for an unveiling of the W4th plinth. I remain public enemy #1 in Chiswick, this time for being party to reopening Devonshire Road and closing the bowls green – plus ca change, it used to be closing Devonshire Road.

On Monday I stay local, encouraging Hounslow Highways to clear the mess outside the Old Fire Station and to remove a dead tree in Isleworth (she was actually waggling it but I can’t get video to work).

Old Fire Station Rubbish bin

A person standing next to a tree

Somebody has complained about the black wooden fence somebody has just erected outside the listed building on the estate where I live so I’ve raised it with planning to see if it’s OK with them.

Black wooden fence

In the afternoon, the Lampton finance etc committee – some real financial pressures from too much work in recycling and too little in Coalo - but everybody’s working to stay on top of things. Then a Labour group meeting in the evening.

Tuesday turned out to be meeting free despite what my diary said. On Wednesday a TfL webinar about returning to using public transport: numbers are up on both bus and tube, no evidence of transmission on the network (and a lot of feedback about how clean everything is and inspections failing to find the virus anywhere on the buses or in the stations). It’s busy at peak hours but loads of capacity at other times.

Then a short session about hiring a new Chair for Lampton group, an update on Streetspace and the the Thomas Layton Collection. Still not exactly clear whether we can find a permanent home (we’re hoping Gunnersbury Park) and some discussions about trustees after next May when they can’t have the 3 Brentford councillors any more because there will be 4 of them – two in Brentford West, 2 in Brentford East.

Thursday morning we’re out in Haverfield launching the new bin housings with the art from Green Dragon School children making them look lovely. The Melvinator stands to attention whilst some very confident children talk to microphone and camera.

Melvin at Green Dragon School

Then I’m off to Kew Bridge arches where Active360 – our paddleboard and kayaking friends – have won another award from TfL for good use of their arches. Cllrs Hanif and Shantanu are in attendance, together with Paul from Active360 and Lee from the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust.

Active 360 Meeting

Then back to Blogsville Wisconsin to finish this off.

Oh. By the way. I may have misled you last week by saying about football, and the Germans win. I blame Gary Lineker.

Cllr Guy Lambert

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July 2, 2021

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