Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

More Brentford community representatives needed to sustain gains made

One of the many trees in the borough that fell victim to Storm Eunice



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As anticipated in last week’s thrilling instalment, on Thursday afternoon I had the Cleaner, Greener Community Reference Group. We saw slides which recapped progress on the many initiatives we have taken under Cleaner, Greener.

It’s good to reflect on the progress we’ve made. I tend to focus on the things we haven’t done yet, of which there are plenty, and forget all the progress we have already banked. Making these improvements is far from a simple, or overnight job but I’m pleased we have come a long way on a lot of different programmes.

We are now reconstituting these groups to reflect the new priorities that have emerged.

And that means we want some more community representatives. Like you. Be quick. We need 6 in Brentford as there are now three essentially Brentford wards (or will be from May)!

Sorry about this small death by Powerpoint, but this has been important work. Much achieved in partnership with community activists and heaps more to do.

On Friday I was booked for that modern hen’s tooth, a face to face consultation with my GP in Chiswick. I have some lingering issues with various limbs since my recent accident. Given the (at the time) yellow gale warnings I had decided to drive but when I approached the ridiculous car it refused to open on the remote control. I knew it would open on the key but that that would set the alarm off so I postponed and cycled instead. Which was just fine on the way there, with the wind helping me along, but on the way back I could barely keep progressing between Wellesley Road and Kew Bridge and anyway had to dodge no less than three estate agent boards that were lying in the bike lane/pavement. One then relocated to the South Circular road and was promptly crunched by a Transit van. On Kew Bridge Road it got just too dangerous so I got off and pushed. The contractors were busily re-erecting a Heras fence which (usually) blocks off the newly-made eastern entrance. All this gave me a chance to take a proper picture of the new play area, which looks fab even in its unfinished state.

New play area

I had a catch up with my tame exec director in the afternoon but she was in full red alert mode because of all the mayhem caused by the storm so we cut it short after a few of my ritual grumbles about pace.

Over the weekend the trio of storms Dudley (or Dood-lye as it’s known in Dudley) Eunice and Franklin were a huge challenge for Hounslow Highways and our Lampton companies but all of them coped superbly and kept me informed of the issues they were facing and how they were overcoming them in an exemplary manner. By Sunday lunchtime, Hounslow Highways had responded to over 150 emergency call outs in the borough, of which around 120 were fallen trees or large tree limbs. The most spectacular I saw was in Thorney Hedge Road in Chiswick where a huge plane tree crushed an unfortunate Tesla car and would have caused serious problems to the house opposite had it not fortuitously landed in another tree opposite. Hounslow Highways had to hire a specialised 50 tonne crane to deal with it and such cranes were in short supply, for obvious reasons. They managed to get one first thing Monday and eventually all was cleared. By a minor miracle, nobody in Hounslow was hurt in all this mayhem (or I haven’t heard of anybody).

On Monday morning it was time for the Green Partnership Board. This is Hounslow’s component – we are the lead Council in London on “Build the Green Economy” - of the seven workstreams of London Councils’ Climate Programme. This is quite a high-powered meeting with representatives from business, academia, bankers and a lot of specialist areas and the scope of work is very broad and challenging. We review a draft action plan running to over 50 pages which I think will be published shortly.

After that, a residents’ association meeting at our friendly neighbourhood Novotel – the second in a series dealing with a variety of problems being experienced in a residential road. We are mobilising different services to address matters – Hounslow’s property team, local police, enforcement officers from the council, social landlords. Hounslow Highways, our traffic team. As usual, residents (and councillors) are impatient for change but a monthly meeting at least focuses the mind.

In the afternoon, I attend the Lampton Development and Investment board meeting. Everything is on track and there’s not much to report, other than anything that looks like development is very challenged by supply chain delays, shortages of certain staff, and galloping inflation. The Lampton team are rising to these challenges.

Then it’s the Watermans board. Capacity in the cinema and theatre is being gently expanded as coronavirus threats recede. Some audiences are still very nervous (quite understandably) and the centre must go at a pace that people are comfortable with, but in time the number of posteriors planted on the plush needs to increase to make the centre viable. The outlook is certainly improving, but not out of the woods as yet.

The storms served me up a visitor, in the shape of a red balloon which settled on my balcony. I’m a generous sort, so I decided to take it under my wing.

Balloon on a balcony

Tuesday was more Lampton, this time the Community Services board, followed by some more work with colleagues on our plans for the next administration (if we are elected).

Amongst all these meetings (and humanitarian work for balloons) I get on with various casework. An unusual one is a tree that has fallen out of Ealing cemetery, outrageously crossing the border and landing in a Lionel Road garden (in Hounslow). This of course causes great trauma for residents – their garden is seriously affected and it’s scary to have a massive tree across your garden – but resolving it is complicated by the fact that there are two councils involved and the tree services are extremely busy dealing with ones that are blocking roads and pavements. Anyway I liaised with colleagues in both Hounslow and Ealing, then found that Katherine Dunne was on the case too. I’m hoping Hounslow officers have visited today to ensure all’s as safe as it can be in the meanwhile before the problem is resolved properly.

Then Wednesday morning, our Network Board with Hounslow Highways. My job here as the client is to carp and cajole, and I’m never satisfied whatever they do! Having said that, I had to acknowledge their work during the storms, which was quite excellent. They are also beginning to open up a few wildernesses around the borough to turn them into reserves for nature rather than for rough sleepers and fly tipping. There is one near Busch Corner that they have done but I haven’t got around to checking it out, and they are working on one on the borders oh Hounslow and Ealing, out near Hayes Road. All these things are in partnership with some of our wonderful residents’ groups.

Talking of which, we are getting to the time of the Great British Spring Clean, from 25th March to 10th April – back after being confined to quarters with the dreaded Covid. Hounslow (and I) will be taking this very seriously and we’ll be doing a bit of sprucing up around and about – tell me where needs a good spruce and we’ll arrange it.

Later on, yet more Lampton, in this case the Leisure board. The leisure centre recruitment is going really well but we’re still a way off where we need to me to have the service pay its way. The centres are a whole lot better than they were before the pandemic and I urge people to give them a go – they are excellent value, all the staff are properly paid at least the London Living Wage and if they start generating a surplus that will go straight back into improving the Hounslow leisure and wellbeing offerings.

In the evening, the unparalleled delights of the local Labour party AGM, delayed from last autumn because of other priorities and now thankfully behind us for a while!

This morning (Thursday), a nother meeting with West London waste colleagues about the changes which we will bring in over the next few years. Some of these spring form the Environment Act that recently passed and others just from our ongoing developments of the services.

I was very struck by this chart which shows the tonnages of waste produced in West London and the embedded carbon

I don’t know the exact scale, but it’s abundantly clear what the priorities are for the planet – food waste, for which we are increasingly providing a weekly service, and textiles, which we will collect with your recycling, provided they are kept dry in a sealed plastic bag to prevent any mildew. Not a lot of people use this service, because not a lot of people know about it, and it strikes me we should do more to remind people (consider yourself reminded) and if you don’t fancy that I see charity arrangements have been reintroduced in Morrisons Car Park. I’m expecting some good news about Morrisons tonight or tomorrow, i.e. probably before anyone sees this.

Well, that’s been quite a long one. I hope not too boring. See yas next week.

Cllr Guy Lambert

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February 25, 2022

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