Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

Finding out what the Romans did with dead Brentford councillors

This was Brentford before Ballymore



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Thursday evening I attended an event put on by the Local History Society – the Archaeology of Brentford Waterside. This is the work undertaken on behalf of Ballymore by the Museum of London Archaeology unit and was fascinating.

Well, that was even before The Melvinator. Later we had Romans, amongst others, and it seems we have disturbed a grave of someone important.

Apparently a stone sarcophagus was reserved for someone extremely intelligent and well loved. A local councillor I imagine.


19th century floors and roads

Folks, this was a week ago, so don’t expect me to remember everything so go to the link on the website above.

Friday afternoon I had a Hounslow’s Promise Trustees meeting, fairly short and focusing on getting set up for the new work we are undertaking finding mentors to support young people on their life journey. We will need to recruit some ‘proper’ staff – albeit part time - to lead this and we are commencing looking.

After that I met with the local police in Syon Ward, as a resident rather than a councillor, as they met with us on my estate to discuss various ASB issues we have here.

Early evening, another spell of doorknocking up in Clayponds Gardens with Ruth Cadbury. Most people are happy to see us and a few have issues we can take up. If they don’t, we can at least remind them that we’re here to help, and pass on our contact details.

On Sunday I paid a brief visit to the blue road for the Classics and Cakes open day but nothing really caught my eye so I repaired to the pigsty to take in the Flower Market. Seemed to be buzzing as ever, though sadly no longer going down Devonshire Road. I’m proud to have tried to support this initiative from the start, though my contribution has been miniscule compared to the people who organise it, and they have had to overcome a lot of indifference and downright obstructionism from people who really should know better. It has really put Chiswick on the map and been a huge boost to local businesses.

On Monday an update on the StreetSpace programme, preparatory to some public engagement later in the week.

On Tuesday the redoubtable Tony Louki had organised a big online meeting about flooding issues. This involved council officers, Thames Water, Hounslow Highways, the Environment Agency, Ruth Cadbury MP and various of us dumb councillors. I have undoubtedly forgotten someone. People were eager to point out that the flooding in early July – heaven knows when we in my estate will get our flooded lifts back and how much it will all cost – was a very extreme event, with a month’s rainfall happening in a couple of hours. The drainage system simply cannot cope with that amount of water – it is not to do with blocked grids but with what lies beneath. Fair enough, but the people I met or spoke to in Whitestile, Windmill, Boston Gardens, Orchard Road etc still had plenty to contend with including flooded cellars in some cases (oh, me too). If this happens once in 25 years you might accept it, but we have to wake up to climate change – what was once a 25-year cycle is probably now 10 years and will shortly become annual if we don’t do something about it.

On Wednesday we had the Trading companies’ shareholder board, where cabinet members who use the companies’ services, relevant officers and the executives of the companies come together, report back and plan the future. For the first time we were without the group chair who has steered the companies unerringly through the last couple of years, and we missed her, but it feels like we are making solid progress with all the companies at present.

In the evening, the Boston Manor Park steering group with officers, the Friends group and some other stakeholders. Not very well attended but there was some upset about how the park looks in the hiatus before the main landscape contractors start, which is very imminent. Officers took away some actions to improve but I hope we were able to dispel the utter nonsense that we are running down the park so that the improvements look better when they are delivered. Why anyone would believe that completely baffles me. I reiterated that if people think there are problems in the park, raise them with councillors. You will (nearly- we’re not perfect) always get a reply and (nearly) always get some action. We’re passionate to make our parks the best they can be but we can’t visit every park every day and in any case we don’t always see the things that residents do.

Thursday was my lovely daughter’s birthday and she came to mine for brunch – she is quite a cheap ‘date’ especially as she always says ‘no presents’. We had a lovely morning anyway and then it was a very hectic day.

First I was off to Grove Park with a couple of cabinet colleagues to meet with local residents groups and discuss the Low Traffic Neighbourhoods there. This felt very positive and constructive and we are all reminded of the benefits of ‘jaw jaw’ rather than ‘war war’. Everyone is also frustrated by the actions of the Chiswick ‘foxes’ who are continually playfully cutting the traffic counting tubes to shreds with their little Stanley knives. We need data to do the right things and the hungrier the foxes the less data is left in the larder.

Then a photo and video-opportunity at the mouth of Wellesley Road where Cllrs Khan, Dunne and Lambert messed about on our bikes to celebrate ‘ride to work’ day.

Hounslow Councillors on bikes

I had to slope off quickly for a meeting at One Over The Ait with residents, managing agents, publican and Fullers representative about the idea to create some kind of ‘fanzone’ on the piazza there on matchdays. There are a number of hurdles but the theory is that a controlled facility will be better for all parties than an uncontrolled one. We need to find out what locals think and to negotiate some potential legal/planning issues if this goes ahead.

After that I zoomed off to Hounslow House, first for a traffic consultation online, and immediately after that for planning committee, where I have to be there in person. Naturally whoever controls these matters decided I should have a ride to work to remember by arranging for heavy rain to fall throughout the 25 minutes I took me to ride there. It is not particularly elegant to sit in the glare of YouTube cameras in the bedraggled state I was in but then I was never George Clooney.

Planning was relatively uneventful, though I had been a little primed on the matter of the Station House in Chiswick, where locals are rightly eager to secure its future as a pub. The application does ensure this but there’s a concern that it will need a fair lease to remain viable. We need to ensure the landlords understand our determination to keep the pub, so they need to help it succeed to avoid a dead space producing no rent! We also want to try and revive the Grove Park Piazza idea, which has been shelved for lack of funds, and maybe the pub development can help with this.

Phew. After midnight now and quite a busy day tomorrow, including PACKING for my holiday in Greece, postponed from July 2020. I will NOT be producing a blog for the next two weeks as it would just annoy you (and me). I am, as you know, a recycling fanatic and I may therefore recycle my old blog about cycling I wrote a couple of years ago if I can find a few minutes to upgrade it to 5G. Don’t expect any responses to emails in the next 2 weeks, even if they’re about Boston Manor Park, but no doubt The Melvinator or Corinna will oblige.

Cllr Guy Lambert

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August 6, 2021

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