Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

My first corporate freebie and a plethora of Christmas trees

Work progressing at Watermans Park
Work progressing at Watermans Park



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Went on my Thursday evening stroll and decided to go to Chiswick. Starting by going through Watermans Park where the works are proceeding apace. You can even see inside ‘The Citadel’ from some angles and there were a lot of Hi Vis beavering about in there. The park itself is taking shape visibly day to day and I can’t wait to see it complete and reopened.

Proceeding in an Easterly direction I decided to walk up Stile Hall Gardens and past my old home in Oxford Road South. I was a bit surprised to see a mature couple in a smart Audi blithely ignoring the no entry signs (and all the clues in the road layout) and driving out of Stile Hall onto the South Circular. My ineptitude with the camera has fortunately succeeded in obscuring the number plate. I also noticed two cars on separate occasions turning into Stile Hall from the northbound side of the S Circular. The signage for that is very poor, to be fair, and I have mentioned this to the head of traffic. Though the Audi, and the many people who ignore the enormous yellow signs in Hartington Road, suggest to me that signage is not the issue. A bit like when I get on a bus or train – as I do regularly at the moment – there is no shortage of YOU MUST WEAR A MASK OR BE CLAPPED IN IRONS signs, yet anything between 30 and 60% of passengers ignore this.

Audi goes through No Entry sign in Chiswick

There is a fab picture on the Chiswick Calendar website illustrating how not to wear a mask, reproduced with permission from them and from the photographer Danny Louki via his Uncle Tony

Man with mask over eyes

On Friday morning I was out at Herings Hall Close with Lampton360, Steve Curran and Katherine Dunne and the builders Ecoworld. This is the development of 19 new council houses on the former Acton Lodge site and very handsome it looks, though I personally don’t like the grey bricks on the part that faces London Road. Walking home, I came across Katherine with the new living Christmas tree that has been planted outside the corner emporium formerly known as Goddards but now largely blanked off as a builders office. It’s a bit meagre at this stage but will no doubt grow to be a mighty thing in due course!

Cllr Dunne with Christmas Tree

In fact it was a Christmas tree day all round because later The Melvinator and I were chauffeured by a kind person from Brentford Voice up to the Great West Road where Legal and General, who own the site where Firestone once proudly stood, have put up a Christmas tree at the top of the preserved Firestone steps after some prompting from Mel, Tony Louki (it’s in his ward after all) and Brentford Voice. Perhaps we can revive to some extent the tradition of Christmas trees along the Golden Mile. There was mulled wine and mince pies and a speech from Mel, pointing out his daddy had worked at Firestone for 38 years. He then turned the lights on, and unlike Boris Johnson he flicked the switch properly and they stayed on.

Mel Collins with Christmas Tree

I suppose that was a small freebie, but later on Saturday I had a big one – Ruth Cadbury offered me a ticket to go and see Brentford FC from the directors’ box with a 3 course dins thrown in (plus some liquid refreshment and dinky steak and mushroom pies at half time). Luvverly. Aside from the Council of the Year shindig that I think is the first real freebie I’ve had in 6 ½ years as a councillor, contrary to what many people think! Anyway, my regular reader will recall that most of the booze at the Council event was courtesy of Bridelux and gatecrashing doesn’t count.

The match improved as it went on, and improved sharply after about 89 minutes when the score moved from 0-1 to Watford to 2-1 to Brentford. I later heard rumours there had been a bit of trouble down by Kew Bridge but Ruth and I walked home up a blissfully peaceful Green Dragon Lane together with a club official who is staying in the Novotel whilst he finalises his move south – he used to work for Man United. This is not a good pedigree in the eyes of a Liverpool supporter but does rather show Brentford are in the big time!

View from the directors box at brentford

After all that excitement the weekend was quite quiet. I went to the next tree event in Brentford market on Saturday afternoon but the rain was dampening everyone’s spirits and if there was a choir it was hiding somewhere (and I am somewhat deaf). A friend came round later and we had excellent pizzas (as ever) from Siracusa and watched A Fish Called Wanda on iPlayer as I failed to get Netflix to work. Gosh, it’s 33 years old but the hammy acting is still funny.

Sunday, of course, was Brentford Market. I lingered for a while and enjoyed the music and bought some bits and bobs. There was a little girl dancing who was brilliant fun to watch – really talented.

Monday I had the regular Network Board with the honchos from Hounslow Highways and their parent company. We have been grumbling mightily about (mainly) weeds and latterly leaves, though when I go elsewhere in London I find leaves in residential roads are a problem everywhere. It is increasingly difficult to hire people, permanently or temporarily to do manual jobs. This problem is apparent in Recycle360 as well as Hounslow Highways. It is also, of course, affecting hospitality employers though that problem may have been temporarily resolved by Omicron, though hardly to be welcomed ☹

On Wednesday morning I walked up to Chiswick again to see a physiotherapist at Wellesley Road Doctors’ surgery. When I explained my predicament, she explained she could not do anything without instructions from the fracture clinic, which is a bit of a problem because I have heard nada from the fracture clinic. Between her and my doctor I’m hoping there will soon be some action stimulated on that front.

At lunchtime a Zooting© with our new Community safety officer and the ward police (plus councillor colleagues. This was to focus on areas of concern for public safety, primarily crime and anti-social behaviour. In truth they are mostly dormant at present. It was useful to compare notes though and it’s good to have someone in post who can coordinate actions when needed.

Then I had a brief Zooting© with the chief Exec and deputy about futures, though in truth everybody is pretty focused on COVID in present circumstances.

This segued into Lampton Leisure board. One of our non-exec directors, a doctor, also happens to be clinical lead for COVID vaccinations so as you can imagine, sleep is a distant memory for him. The issue with this dramatic ramp up in vaccination ambitions is the availability of staff. The NHS is understaffed at the best of times and the people the service does have are really worn out after nearly 2 years of this. They are trying to get volunteers but of course volunteers need training and are probably not much use in the short term. A lot of the trained volunteers are being diverted to big venues like Wembley which is not much help locally. Anyway, he always seems to be cheerful and committed to finding the answers – respect.

Of course our friend Omicron is also causing alarm at Lampton Leisure, with people increasingly reluctant to go to gyms and swimming pools. A lot of members had dropped out during the pandemic and in recent months Lampton have doubled the membership across the borough, which is impressive, but no surprise given how well the leisure centres are being run. There is also an enormous investment going in right now to dramatically reduce the centres’ carbon footprint (and energy bills) with air source heat pumps and solar panels going in at all 6 centres between now and March. There is also a hugely impressive programme around public health which should have a big impact on the fitness of all of us across Hounslow. Financially it is all terribly difficult and uncertain, but I was really impressed by the team there – very committed and very talented.

Thursday I will be out to Munster Avenue in Hounslow Heath for some discussions with residents, then the Lampton Development and Investment Board. But you’ll have to unwrap those stories with your Christmas shopping as I have a briefing paper to review by tomorrow. Oh and it’s 582 pages of A4 so might keep me a bit occupied.

Cllr Guy Lambert

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December 17, 2021

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