Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

The mysterious case of the large metal plate falling from the sky

Campaigning in Brentford West



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Hounslow definitely isn't boring despite what the psephologists say

Idiocy not Kryptonite proves to be bike thief's undoing

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Life for a councillor goes at a certain pace. I saw my resident about his bus trouble. He was (and probably still is) in serious pain having put his shoulder/neck etc out so I reported it on the relevant customer service department form within TfL (resident has learning difficulties so I am supporting). Very quick response from TfL – nothing to do with us, guv, you need to report it to the bus operator.

I have always thought that RATP doesn’t translate very well from the French. Mind you in a previous life I worked for another French company that took over Honeywell’s computer business. Bull in the UK conjures up a bucolic vision of a slightly scary farm animal (unless you’re a Wolverhampton Wanderers supporter) but in America it signifies something completely different, with a four letter suffix added automatically. I digress, but doncha just hate it when stuff like that happens? I now have to recreate my purple prose from the TfL complaint and send it to the RAT People.

On Friday, Saturday and Tuesday Lara and I were out on the old door knocking stunt again – these sessions rather merge into one, but we’re gradually working our way North – Boston Park Road, Windmill Road, Challis, Avenue, Whitestile and need to come back to a few that we didn’t have time for.

The reception we get is generally very positive, not to say that people don’t have concerns, and we often pick up pieces of casework. However in the main people are appreciative of the good service they’ve had at ward level from me, The Melvinator and Corinna and believe the council is heading in the right direction, which is heartening.

On Tuesday the ridiculous car goes for its annual check up at its GP surgery, Capital Motors in Chiswick who’ve been looking after my bangers for 15 years or more. I find my annual mileage has increased by a thundering 22% and the 1443 miles I have done over the last 12 months have cost about £1 a mile, which is almost as much as the extremely sluggish Lime bike I used to go back and forth from Chiswick to Brentford. I had intended to use My Little Pony – the foldable bike that lives in the car boot and had pumped its tyres up for the occasion. But when I lifted it out the back wheel fell off and I decided it was altogether too much hassle.

After canvassing on Tuesday we met a resident in Church Walk who had had a most alarming experience.

This large aluminium (I think) plate had descended from on high and landed on his roof causing some serious damage. I considered whether a seagull might have mistaken it for food and then let it slip from his beak but decided it was more likely it had fallen from the adjacent Great West House, the only tall building in an appropriate place. Seriously, this is very worrying because if this one has fallen, who knows if others may be susceptible and whilst a roof is repairable I suspect a human being on whom it fell would be beyond repair.


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Another thing about being a councillor is that you regularly come across stuff that you’ve never previously considered and have little clue how to deal with. On this occasion I thought I’d try Building Control in the council and I got an immediate response, which is reassuring. The resident had already talked to the building management at GWH who say they don’t think their building is responsible but it’s hard to see where else it could have come from.

It reminded me of days long gone by, probably the 1980s, when I was in charge of facilities in the UK for Honeyweel, including Honeywell House, the slightly smaller wing of Great West House. One day the wind lifted the entire roof, above our 11 th floor canteen. Fortunately the wind had the grace to put it down again without relocating it to the A4 but one of our canteen staff was pretty shocked (and we were short of a canteen for many months!)

On Wednesday morning I decided to take a coffee in The Verdict and by chance bumped into Steve Curran. As is so often the case with people undergoing nasty treatments, he looks fine but he’s unable to eat anything and he says coffee just tastes like salt. Anyway, it’s good to see him and that he’s maintaining a positive outlook.

Later, I met someone who wanted support with a move away from Brentford into another part of the country. For various reasons it’s difficult for her to remain here and she has been trying to persuade a council in Berkshire to provide her with a home. This has got to the point of legal action and she wanted a letter from a councillor to help substantiate the concerns that are leading her to seek a move. I was happy to oblige by writing to her solicitor.

In the evening, a session in the rather wonderful Studio Flox (in the slightly unpromising lower floor of the old Max Factor building) with the Friends of Watermans Park. The Melvinator has some trouble negotiation the awkward steps on Smith Hill, which lead down to Flox but finally we are all gathered together. The chair, ever-efficient, has a clear agenda which we run through reasonably methodically. First we talk of the park itself, which everybody agrees is looking great despite various bits not being finished. There are three major things left to do – electrical installation to provide power to the cycle way lights and the performance area, water for the drinking fountain and to provide for the extensive new planting, which will need plenty during the summer, and restoration of the boardwalk. Unfortunately for the first two items we are at the mercy of SSE (who are quoting outrageous costs) and Thames Water (who are vague about dates) but at least there is progress with the boardwalk: the structure has been pronounced sound so just a matter of replacing the rotting top boards, though we didn’t hear a date for that either.

As for the marina, there is supposed to be a ‘drop dead’ date for the first part to be delivered which we think is December this year. It is fair to say that the Friends are a bit sceptical about whether this will be achieved. The Melvinator and I, however, are supremely confident. Of course, if things go wrong after May 5th when, God willing, we will be representing different wards than Brentford East, where the park will be, we’ll be able to quote TfL – “nothing to do with us, guv, ask the new councillors”.

On Thursday I had a day out down by the O2. I thought I would cycle to Westminster but the wind was in my face (and I represent quite a lot of wind resistance) and I wimped out at Hammersmith. This was organised by Urban Design London and was fantastically informative. It was a visit to The Design District a new (actually not yet finished) development on the Greenwich peninsula. This consists of 16 buildings, all low to medium rise (to preserve views of the O2 😕) built by 8 different architects to provide diverse space for creatives of various hues – from a dance studio to a PR agency via a ceramics artisan – and various sizes, from a whole 4 storey building to shared space for an individual at £80 per month. Very innovative and really interesting. There were about 30 people on the tour, including the chair of Hounslow’s design panel, whom I had not met before. This will provide masses of food for thought for the next administration if I’m still around.

On the way home I dropped in on a leaseholder in one of our local council blocks who has a persistent damp problem, she thinks due to the tenants above her. She raised this with me months ago and I (and she) thought it was getting solved, but it hasn’t been so I need to apply some mustard to some tender component of the council system.

Oh, during the week someone living in one of the towers and at home recovering from COVID, heard a scrabbling at her door. I’ll use her own eloquent words, “ Yes he was trying to break in by force. I heard a strange noise that sounded like some kind of metallic scratching, I looked through the spyhole and saw a man trying to make himself as small as possible, crouched down right in the corner outside my front door. I shouted at him and asked what he was doing, and he immediately said: what block is this? I said: what block do you think it is and he said 'Wicksteed' [Not where she lives] . I said 'what are you doing, what do you want?' He said: I'm trying to gain entry. I told him that wasn't going to happen, I asked where his ID was, he said in the van downstairs. Anyway, at no point did he stand up and show me his face. I was extremely shocked and upset.” Be vigilant out there.

Cllr Guy Lambert

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April 22, 2022

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