Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

How the invention of the word Zooting will make my first million

Three Hounslow Councillors with beer
Three councillors celebrate Bedfont's draw



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On Thursday I had a Zooting © (I get bored with saying meeting, then making it clear flesh was not involved, so I have invented a new word – remember you heard it here first and I will expect lavish royalties) with the movers and shakers behind the Creative Mile aka Brentford Art Trail.

We had extensive feedback from the artists involved and the venues, plus the results of a wider survey of participants, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive, but some useful points made about how to improve it next time. My feedback was that it was great for Brentford to see the buzz it created and is an important part of re-establishing Brentford’s place on the map. Absolute kudos to those who came up with the idea and put many hours (and a lot of creativity) into making it happen so successfully.

After that it was a meeting of the Lampton Group board – the last one under the interim chairmanship of Tony Middleton, who is the longest serving and highly respected Lampton Board member. Our new chair is joining imminently – indeed I will be mention Zooting © him later in the blog as part of his induction. Straight from that into a wider meeting of Lampton directors as they were preparing for a meeting with council officers which took place on Tuesday. Not one I attended but the feedback is very good.

Friday I thought I had Hounslow’s Promise things but they didn’t materialise, so I cycled off to Bedfont to see Bedfont Sports play in the 3 rd preliminary round of the FA Cup. Lovely sunny ride but a marked absence of FA Cup fever. After a bit, it occurred to me that FA Cup fever is more commonly at 3pm on a Saturday rather than a Friday, so I carried on down to Teddington for a nice ride back by the river. Twerp.

My next engagement was in the evening – to see a movie at The Troxy in Stepney with a friend of mine who had a freebie from her friend, the bass player of The The (a band I confess I had heard of but not actually heard!). Anyway this was a great adventure for a person who doesn’t get out much, at least not out of Borough and who hasn’t been to a big gig venue for – well, years. It was a very fun evening.

On Saturday, FA Cup fever was reignited but given the fact it was bucketing down I drove to Bedfont. The (Bedfont) Eagles were 3-0 up at half time, with me predicting a cricket score, so naturally the full time score was 3-3. I have never heard of Sholing, the opponents, but it seems it’s part of Southampton, and the fans were smugly observing that Bedfont wouldn’t relish a Tuesday evening engagement.

Bedfont vs Sholing

No doubt the three councillors in attendance were worth a goal apiece, but I’m not sure for which side.

I am delighted to report that the Eagles won 2-1 away so now enter the 4 th preliminary round where they face the Kidderminster Harriers. I observe that Eagles eat Harriers for breakfast and I expect them to sweep Kidderminster under the carpet.

So then it was Sunday and after my usual hilarious Zumba session my daughter decided she wanted to go and see the London Marathon, so we went up to Buck House to catch the runners near the finish. We thought we might catch a certain R Cadbury, but sadly Ruth had come down with a cold and has postponed her heroics for 4 weeks. Anyway, nice to get out there, lovely day, lovely daughter.

Guy Lambert with daughter

After that I went up to Chiswick Flower Market, which was winding down by the time I got there (drenched, because of a 9 minute downpour neatly encapsulated within my 10 minute ride there).

Lovely to see the ‘drape’ on the now disused police station. A fantastic effort led by Abundance London who say on their website “ With the assistance and participation of all of you we launched our lovely new art installation on the wall of the police station at Old Market Place on Chiswick High Road. 3,000 butterflies and flowers, hand-painted by local people have been attached in a glorious drift of colour and art.” Daughter had mentioned that one of the students in her class at the Swan Centre at Strand-on-the-Green School had painted a US flag on his flower and there it is, in a good visible spot.

Butterfly wall in Chiswick

Monday was meeting-free, but I have plenty of casework at the moment including a lot of housing-related ones. These are rarely easily solved and are the ones that often really worry me because not having a decent, secure home is such a blight on somebody’s life.

On Tuesday I met some behavioural specialists the council has employed as part of our efforts to eliminate fly tipping. They are planning a series of events with officers and others as they design campaigns and approaches, and wanted some input from me. I consider myself a bit of an expert on fly tipping, but pointed out the real experts are the ones who do the actual work of picking up mess, investigating to find culprits and fining or otherwise deterring the ones they identify.

Later we had a short session about what we should be concentrating on for next year’s elections and we hope for the succeeding 4 years, followed by our Cabinet Briefing, where we discuss matters leading up to the Cabinet meeting which will be taking place in public on 19 th October. Nothing for my portfolio this time but important stuff about management of Houses in Multiple Occupation, a key interest of mine because of various issues we have locally.

On Wednesday I attended a webinar with Future of London where their 6 of their Future Leaders – including one young officer from Hounslow - presented their ideas about how to improve public space in London. Plenty to mull over, some of it very affordable and I’m really keen that we get communities more involved in improving their environment with support from the council. The more we can encourage and support people to take care of their environment, the more they are likely to value and protect it. Later, we had our regular update on the Streetspace programme, though we will be reviewing this at Cabinet next week following some input from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

In the evening I cycle into Hounslow House with my best bib and tucker in my pannier because it is the awards ceremony for the One Hounslow Community Awards. We are all rather gobsmacked (in a nice way) by the transformation of the 6 th floor of Hounslow House – usually the sober environment where council meetings are held – into quite a glitzy environment for our local Oscars.

A huge number of people who live and/or work in our lovely Brentford are short listed, including Philip Jones of FoodBox, Sara Ward of Hen Corner, Mark Pearce of Creative Mile, Alliance arts (formerly Alliance Dance Unit), Rob Antill of Feltham in Bloom (who also helps Brentford bloom), Nicola Erdpresser of Air Quality Brentford, Jacquie McBeth of Stir it Up, Speak Out in Hounslow, and JC Decaux the outdoor advertising group for their work in the community. They all deserved to win, and being short listed is a win in itself and I was delighted to see all these recognised. Particularly pleased to see Jacquie and Rob win their category, also the Heston Action Group whom I know very well and offer such a role model to others, also a winner.

Hounslow Community awards

The event was compered by former rugby star and world cup winner Matt Dawson and I was called to the stage to announce the winner of the Cleaner, Greener champion award. He had previously been boasting of his exploits tackling the late NZ rugby legend Jonah Lomu (Matt ended up in W Middx hospital) remarking that Jonah as well as being 19 stone could run 100M in less than 11 seconds. When he saw me arriving on stage he remarked that I looked like Hounslow’s answer to Jonah and I responded that I too could run the 100M in less than 11…minutes.

Matt Dawson tackles Jonah Lomu

This morning, Thursday, it was the unveiling of the Victorian water fountain in St Paul’s Rec, refurbished and resupplied with water at considerable cost following lobbying from The Friends of St Paul's Rec, The Melvinator and me, and LBH and heritage funds putting the money together, coordinated by Steve Curran. A nice ceremony, with some messages (and water bottles) from the pupils of St Paul’s School, some fabulous singing from Brentford School for Girls’ choir, speeches and a prayer.

Jonah Lomu is on the far left of this picture, and Samia Chaudhary did not attempt to tackle me.

Councillors by Brentford Fountain

After that, an hour’s Zooting © with Martin Cresswell, the aforementioned newly-appointed chair of the Lampton Group, the first time we’ve ‘met’ since his interview. Really pleased to have him – he’ll be a very worthy successor to Gill Steward.

That’ll do for now – plenty for me to do this afternoon.

Cllr Guy Lambert

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October 12, 2021

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