Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

In blog number 300 the mystery of Brentford Towers' unreliable lifts is solved


Guy Lambertguy.lambert@hounslow.gov.uk

tel 07804 284948

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Another Thursday comes around and another tick is added to the Blogometer, and I find this is number 300 in the series, which is quite a lot. I have been doing this for 6 years with just a few weeks off, and have mostly enjoyed it, though occasionally it feels like a chore.

Whatever, last Thursday afternoon there was a brief zoom about Feltham in Bloom. Doesn’t have a huge amount to do with me but a Brentford local whom I know well and greatly respect is leading on this and I try to support him, as do the Feltham councillors.

No planning committee (or anything else of note) on Thursday evening and no meetings on Friday – bliss.

Passing through Chiswick on my daily bikestitutional I noticed a new restaurant had opened where once was the Windmill pub, once Balans and various other iterations. I was struck by what it said on the sign

It’s amazing the impact the Chiswick Flower Market has had on the town centre in just a few pandemic-affected months and things like this are surely the way forward for suburban high streets – making them destinations for recreation as well as just shopping. I understand takings in local retailers are sharply up when the flower market is on, and it’s no surprise because the place is buzzing, as well as getting double page spreads in the national press.

I visited on Sunday and it was very busy, despite the day starting with a downpour (which didn’t affect relaxed risers like me).

We need parallel – but different – things happening in Brentford and I’m excited by what the likes of Brentford Voice and the Brentford Arts Trail, our exceptional and quirky pubs, museums, Brentford Market and – yes – Ballymore will bring over the coming year or two. Our town centre has great assets which have been hidden for far too long. They are becoming more visible already and very soon will really blossom.

Talking of museums, On Sunday as well as the flower market I looked into the Musical Museum, which was having a well-attended open day.

Musical Museum wurliter

London to Bristol Milestone

Brentford Thru My Lens display

Mighty Wurlitzers and a lot of weird and wonderful instruments, including many in the course of restoration, a lovely display from the ever-welcome Brentfordthrumylens, and an old milestone were highlights.

On Monday morning I cycled over to our Ashmead Road depot in Feltham, the HQ of Coalo. They had organised a photo shoot of senior staff and directors, and hangers-on like me. I was able to meet one or two of the directors in the flesh for the first time, and see what they look like from the neck down. They were wearing trousers: I will withhold judgment as to whether they do for Teams meetings.

In the evening an informal meeting of the cabinet, where we discuss upcoming matters, especially those which will come forward at the ‘official’ public meeting on 20 th July.

Tuesday morning it’s chapter 32 of my efforts to persuade a bank to open an account for Hounslow's Promise , Seema Malhotra’s charity where I’m a trustee. Eventually I manage to convey all the trustees’ home addresses, dates of birth, nationality, preferred holiday destination and inside leg measurements (I may be exaggerating mildly).

After about an hour on the phone I am told I have hit the jackpot and that they will now be sending me an application pack. I report back to Seema and the other trustees that I feel I have now reached base camp and am readying my crampons and oxygen cylinder for my attempt on the North Face of Lloyd’s Bank.

After a short lie down I am ready to attend a webinar from the Urban Design Group where they are rating London Boroughs for healthy streets. They score on a variety of categories: Hounslow scores well on school streets and cycle lanes but poorly on some other categories including pedestrian casualties. A lot for our transport team to mull over, though I’m sure they mull these things every day.

In the afternoon I visit a family (and their near neighbour) who live next to an unruly House in Multiple Occupation. They have been subjected to numerous problems over the last year or more and are rightly frustrated that the council and the police have been unable to resolve their problems. The powers we have over these things are quite limited, and it makes me angry that good people have their lives badly disrupted. I pledge to make further attempts to find a resolution.

Then I meet via Zoom with various people from 8 Kew Bridge Road, One Over the Ait, Fullers and the landlords St George. There are concerns about the impact of Premier League football and Premiership Rugby on their hitherto quiet enclave, piazza and pub. The discussion was quite constructive but lacked representation from the police and the football clubs – I will be following this one up.

Then a regular meeting with the Brentford Towers Residents Association. They are pleased with the new signage and landscaping, though they are awaiting ‘phase 2’ of the latter. Meanwhile the lifts are unreliable (that’s lifts for you, but when there are 23 storeys that’s a huge issue) and the council team are experimenting with improvements in the worst blocks to see if they bring about the required improvement. Turns out they are not as unreliable as they seem: somebody on the 18 th floor blocks the door to herd children/sofas/recycling and somebody on the 6 th floor reports the lift not working. Engineers come to investigate and find all is now fine. Plus if you block the door long enough/often enough that in itself causes faults.

I have to butt out early, as does Corinna, to attend a FoodBox trustee meeting, leaving The Melvinator to hold the fort. Not much to report about FoodBox, except that volumes continue to rise and we are now getting a bit marginal for volunteer support, especially drivers.

That’s all this week. Quite a complicated afternoon coming, and planning this evening.

Oh, and not only the Germans, but also the Ukrainians and the Danes. And, in due course, the Italians. Or not. Roll on Sunday.

Cllr Guy Lambert

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July 8, 2021

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