Something May Actually Be Happening with the Cop Shop and Watermans

Brentford West councillor Guy Lambert reports back

Cllr Guy Lambert
Cllr Guy Lambert


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January 6, 2023

I’m a politician, therefore obviously I can be economical with the actualites. I told you last time that I was done for 2022 and that was not true. In fact, I had a Teams meeting on 23 rd December, when normal people are out getting drunk and pretending they’re buying last minute presents. Well, this was about what is known in the Planning cognoscenti as Albany Riverside but amongst uncouth types like me as ‘what’s happening with the Watermans and the ruddy cop shop’.

If you’ve been paying attention, you might remember when Steve Curran, then a naïve youth was cutting his teeth as a leader, we approved a plan to move the Watermans Centre into the Brentford’s pride, the cop shop, get rid of the rather horrible Watermans/Max Factor building and replace the latter with private flats and build a lot of social rent flats above the new Watermans.

This scheme involved players like a complex John Le Carre spy story (anyone catch Tinker Tailor on BBC4 just now, repeated for the 217th time, as I did?) including developers – perhaps from Czecho - very British Civil Servants from whatever the Department for Housing, Communities and Piss-ups oops I get confused that was no 10 what I’m thinking of Housing, Communities and Levelling Down but no difference. Whatever, this is what it used to be. But there was an extra dimension in the role of the Royal Palaces who poor lambs have to live across the river from all this. Not that they actually live there, and probably never go there, but that’s beside the point. Somebody told me that the reason that the very industrial building which now houses the Steam Museum looks like a country house, is to make sure it didn’t cause a prince across the Thames to have an attack of the vapours at the sight of something so smelly-looking.

Anyway, most uncharacteristically, I have digressed. The people on the fifth floor at the Circus (ie that eminent department) decreed a public enquiry and yea and behold they decided the idea was jolly splendid. But the idea was hatched when I was in short trousers and the market is a bit different today. Whatever, it is taking a long time, which has been a cause of nerves amongst Thespians (though everybody is less nervous as they got rid of me as a trustee and got Rhys instead). Yet nothing is concluded but there seems now to be a good prospect this will happen much as originally expected and quite soon. Whether I will get a step free riverside access across Smith Hill (where Ealing Road becomes a stairway and goes to meet old father Thames) is another matter. As will the funky concrete bit on the side of the cop shop which both a certain Melvinator and the late Myra were determined it should be saved, for something or else.

I do go on, but I have 2 weeks to fill without much content.

For the next 10 days I spoke only to family and friends and was only out alone on 27 th to help (well, watch) friends of Waterman Park plant bulbs in some of the grassy bit and the 28 th to see the physio, a habit that appears to be addictive.

Watermans bulb planting

I also spotted a lot of new planks which must be our new boardwalk poised on our old one, perhaps to finally deliver the coup de grace, I did not until a later day that they have also given the coup de grace to the central reservoir between the bike bit and the pedestrian thing at the Kew bridge end of the twin pathways. I did not take a picture because I thought it might upset delicate persons but they had better restore it or they will have someone less delicate to deal with.

Watermans boardwalk work

Amongst all this my bike found new ways to cause problems, so I finally concluded that when I paid £140 to fix something that only cost £160 when it entered my stable as a second hand bike of mature age, and which went wrong again the next day I decided to have a lovely brand new one to give myself a late Christmas present as the bloke in Fudges recommended (he must be sick of the sight…) Hasn’t come yet but all excited.

Then, of course, when I wasn’t watching, all again we were into another year, and my attempt to convince myself that I’m still in my 20s seems to be a little harder to sustain.

Anyway on the 3rd I had a coffee with my cabinet colleague Sue. We were discussing a person who lives locally and is, on the first hand very vulnerable, and, on the other, some horror is trying to evict him. Sue is on the case and it’s always good when you’re on the same page as your colleague. We also talked about another more strategic idea, which will take a bit longer to develop.

After that I had a very virtuous meet at the Griffin, where me and my near neighbour and former Conservative councillor in Chiswick Riverside had a teetotal chat. I always liked and respected Mike when he was a Councillor (except he decided to run in Brentford West, the rotter) and he was a particularly Good Thing when he was on Planning – one of those of us who used to make our own decisions based on what we believed.

Then it was Wednesday evening and we were clearly back in the groove, being in Hounslow House with the cabinet and senior officers, preparing for the Cabinet meeting coming on 17th and with quite a meaty agenda.

Today I had to go to St Mary’s hospital for a ‘fracture clinic’ on my shoulder. Once you get there it’s very efficient – 3 minutes when they update my X-Ray and about 2 minutes with a doctor who said everything in my left shoulder (the left) is going well and sympathised and determined a treatment for my right shoulder. This is technically undamaged but it has something he confirms is a frozen shoulder and sometimes hurts plenty. I hope his new idea will fix it, because it is becoming a serious bore. For those of you who are short of glamour in your life, here’s the inside of a Fracture Clinic.

fracture clinic at st Mary's

Later I had teams updates on Charlton House – everything is going on OK but we think we need to communicate better to residents. We talked also about a number of sites in the ward where we want something to happen, but it seems to take a long time (see cop shop, above!).

Also a Team with the MDs of the Lampton companies – this will become I hope a regular and concise update.

Walking home I saw this new concept.

Anima restaurant Brentford

What was once a humble Poppadums has transformed itself into (as my tweet earlier said) is what is now the unconscious feminine aspect of a Jungian person, an Indian restaurant or a chip shop? It will be revealed sometime, or it may be another passing moment. Who can say?

Finally, before all this disappears, let nobody forget that Brentford can be very Brilliant indeed down in my neck of the water, even if one of the stars had been away and hadn’t turned their lights on. Magical.

Brentford canal at night

Finally finally, if you’re young (even younger than me and or know someone) get along to…

Brentford Youth Voice Leaflets

This is one of Lara’s many new ideas. Wow, these young people can move things forward fast- it’ll happen next week – write to or phone her!

Councillor Guy Lambert

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