Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

Keeping the faith on the Boston Manor Park works

Ruth Cadbury out canvassing
Knocking on doors with Ruth Cadbury and Martin McCloghry



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Thursday afternoon I had a real life meeting in Boston Manor Park with ‘my’ exec director, exec director’s dog, 3 concerned residents of the human persuasion and 2 of the canine persuasion, the latter element largely unconcerned other than with others of their persuasion.

The works in the park still split opinion and there were some pungent views expressed. It certainly does not look at its best at present with three separate contracts running – one on the house, one on the buildings near the café, one on paths within the parkland. I retain faith in the outcome of all this, and in the spirit in which the changes were undertaken – to arrest the historic underinvestment and make the park fit to serve the local residents for a generation to come – but the perspectives of very engaged local people and park users are important and must inform how we move forward.

After that I attended a Zooting © (this was actually on Teams but Zooting © is a generic term as the alternative using Teams as a stem could be misinterpreted) about looked-after children. The sub-team I have been following is about identity and the recommendations are about respect for, and being mindful of catering for, diversity. This not only covers race, gender, religion, sexuality etc but also the diverse circumstances which young people have experienced in their earlier lives, and perhaps differing experiences today.

On Friday it was the official launch of the refurbished Brentford Bridge. This happened in and around the Holiday Inn and dress code ranged from 3 piece suits (senior people from Hounslow Highways) to a shirt and shorts (me). I was the only person – or at least the only technically adult male – in shorts and this prompted what might be described as an old-fashioned look from the Leader of the Council who was taking the role of MC/Mother hen. Lots of people have been involved with this, which is a lot more than painting pretty pictures on the bridge, and I was good to see Hounslow Highways, The Canal and River Trust, JC Decaux who provided a number of volunteers and by no means least the Green Schools for Boys and Girls, plus many others who have helped with this.

Brentford bridge ribbon cutting

Later I was out with Ruth Cadbury and our friend Martin McCloghry in The Ride, knocking on them thar doors. Most inconveniently, Martin has a husband who has Spanish citizenship and they have decided to Brexit themselves to Malaga and become purveyors of superior ice cream. Even more inconveniently someone has agreed to buy his house in Lionel Road North so he is likely to be going soon. I will miss him both as a friend and as an outstanding Labour supporter and activist.

Someone in The Ride reminded me of stories about GSK selling their playing field, which backs onto The Ride, perhaps to the council. We also got into the general GSK story, of which more anon. but this prompted me to ask our parks people whether there was anything to report about the playing field. Not as yet, there are discussions with GSK, however.

I liked this sign I found in a café in Kew on Saturday morning. Whether either action is advisable is another matter.

Expresso and puppy for unattended children

Sunday morning I tootle off to the Park Road allotments to meet a couple of luminaries of the allotment holder group and hear their side of the story prior to planning coming up on Thursday.

At lunchtime, an update session on the new charity I chair (not yet registered) known as The Good Consumer. Unfortunately the leading mover and shaker here has got himself a dose of COVID – I’m hoping not too severe – so not much moving and shaking. Meanwhile the Charity Commission, to nobody’s great surprise, has not met its deadline to process our application. This is Brexit Britain and any funds found lying under the couch must be channelled to those who run pubs frequented by cabinet ministers or those who recycle the money into the Conservative party coffers. Public services that don’t deliver a service through lack of resource can go hang.

I myself had contracted a bit of a lurgy, thankfully not COVID and was not at my best on Sunday, but had been asked to go see the people from The Mulberry Centre themulberrycentre.co.uk at Brentford Market. This is a charity that has managed to get itself registered and they work out of West Middlesex Hospital to support those affected by cancer, whether they are patients, carers, the bereaved or whatever. I hear plenty of good things about them and they were the mayor’s charity a year or three ago. They badly need financial (and no doubt volunteer) support – do help if you can.

Mulberry Centre Stall

On Monday morning I cycle down to Kingston for a follow up appointment ref my shiny new hearing aids. The audiologist turns up conversation in pubs and turns down background noise a notch, admonishes me for not sorting out insurance, and tells me to come back in 6 months. Sadly I don’t have a switch to turn them off, unlike Mrs Richards of Fawlty Towers fame.

Mrs Richard from Fawlty Tower

Later we have a training session about One Hounslow Community Solutions. This is the service that has developed out of the Hub the council ran under COVID and is designed to be a ‘one stop shop’ for people with complex difficulties. The website is here and I think this will be a very useful service. I have already referred one resident with a variety of different problems to it.

On Tuesday afternoon I’m off up to Gunnersbury Park for an event to mark the start of the ‘Wild’ exhibition there. Can’t stay for the talk but manage to grab a samosa and a glass of lemonade and talk to a few residents and officials. These things where you open a window to reveal a secret image appeal to children of all ages, from 3 to at least 69, though some of the lower ones are a bit of a stretch downhill for the oldsters.

Gunnersbury wild exhibit

Then it was home for a Zooterview © for the post of group Finance Director of the Lampton Group. This was between two internal candidates and as ever it was hard to make a decision, but we agreed as a panel after some discussion.

Wednesday was the Lampton Community Services board meeting. There are real strains on their businesses at present, most acutely the HGV driver crisis, which recycle360 are handling but not without a lot of stress and considerable additional cost. Construction and building maintenance is also badly affected by supply chain issues and spiralling cost of some things: it’s not unusual for prices of products in shortage to double overnight. Good time for a few days break in Marbella to avoid any awkward questions and fortunately as he’s so strapped for funds it looks like he might be getting a freebie in his mate’s caravan.

In the evening a Boston Manor Zooting © with the steering group – the friends, Spartans FC, a few interested residents and various arms of the council. Nothing much more to say after my previous comment about the park. Some people are unhappy whilst it’s in transition, the builders found dry rot when they started messing with the roof of the café (did any builder ever not?) and the next thing to happen is the temporary draining of the lake whilst it’s cleaned out etc. The Swans are off on holiday somewhere (not believed to be Marbella) whilst this work happens as are the little fishies and sundry feathered and scaly friends.

So there you have it. Another week in the life of… Later I have another Lampton Board Zooting © (Development and Investment) and then into Hounslow House for a Planning Committee. Not a very long agenda but it includes the one about Park Road allotments, about which I have been intensely lobbied (by both sides, but primarily objectors) so I doubt this will be a short meeting. At least one of the others is hotly contested too.

This tranquil scene from outside my gaff should soothe.

Brentford canal view

Be careful out there.

Cllr Guy Lambert

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October 15, 2021

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