By No Single Criterion Can I Be Deemed Hare-brained

Brentford West councillor Guy Lambert reports back

Cllr Guy Lambert
Cllr Guy Lambert

February 22, 2023


Approval on the Ground for New Permanent Road Barriers

What’s Happening in Brentford (and Not Happening)

Various Forms of Torture and the Reanimation of Ferry Quays

Catching Up on My Backlog of Local Photos

Boston Manor Park, Flytipping and the Brentford High Line

Something May Actually Be Happening with the Cop Shop and Watermans

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These Thursdays come around fast these days. I am quite sure that Thursdays used to come around at most once every two weeks but now they come relentlessly each week. I know we have a big issue with inflation but this is ridiculous.

Whatever, in my current health time, having been squirted with an injection on Thursday – yes, there was a Thursday last week - I inevitably came to a Friday of Physio. Physio is only mildly painful, and cycling to Hammersmith the straight way and back around Dukes Meadows on a decent winter day is pretty good for the soul.

When I got home there was plenty of concern about trees falling on the Heidelberg site. It seems there were 3 felled at the front, one of which may have been supposed to be retained. This may or may not be correct, but I was particularly concerned about ‘my’ trees at the back, along Timber Wharf Walk. Well, the good news is that they are all OK, for now, but it turns out that they seem to be planted on ground which actually belongs to Heidelberg. In the plans, they’re for the chop (the ones actually by the river are OK) and they then will be replaced with more trees. It would be much better in my mind to replant the healthy ones that are still there rather than start from zero, and I’ll be making that point. To be fair, spending an hour in Boston Manor Park getting taught by Vanessa does not yet make me a fully-fledged arboroculturalist, in the same way Tony Hancock never bothered to qualify as a doctor.

Anyway, I’m not a road engineer either but that didn’t stop me moseying up Boston Manor Road to check on a pothole which was causing concerns with the neighbours (noise and vibration). It has now been temporarily fixed, and perhaps a final job done today. But I have yet to make any progress on Greggberg.

This glamorous pile has started daily (I think) to colonise the rather handsome pavement on the North side of the High Street. Well, not handsome in my book with this mess added and I’ve put work in with environment and enforcement people to (I hope) send it to Rwanda, or somewhere similar.

This happened whilst I was doing (off and on) our collective surgery in the Digital Dock. Despite it not exactly Barbados weather there was a steady stream of residents coming in to talk to councillors. I got a bit paranoid as none of them wanted to talk to me!

I spent a bit of time on Sunday trying to reinvigorate the ‘charity’ (we did not yet convince the charity referee) I tried to start a while ago, which is intended to make it easier for people to buy the things or services they need from someone who is ethical in one or more criterion (I may be the only person left on the planet who remembers that ‘one criteria’ is just wrong. But pointing that out has become wrong. I am getting to be an old curmudgeon on these matters but I normally hide behind a rock and sigh). I got a sort of positive response, but it was along the lines ‘ah, you should contact x, who will be interested (ie, first contact isn’t interested). I will persist. Is this another version of people who don’t want to talk to me?

Bit of good news on Monday morning (and bad news for a professional fly tipper). For a couple of years (it takes that long to get a culprit to court) we have been pursuing a professional fly tipper who plagues Church Road in Cranford.

flytipping cranford

As you enter this road you might think it’s a pleasant country lane, but the trouble with pleasant country lanes some people think ‘ah, nobody much goes here so in my cage tipper which may or may not be on false plates can unload what I have without any danger of being overseen’. On a relatively good day, further down Church Road it frequently looks like this. So we have been investigating and on Monday I had good news: “We have had a successful prosecution for the fly-tipping of waste, including garden waste, on Church Road. Mr Crawt was fined £4181, in line with the application made by the Council, and has also been given a Community Order to carry out 250 hours of unpaid community work which is arranged with the Probation Service. The case was heard at Uxbridge Magistrates Court, following an investigation by the Neighbourhood Enforcement Team.”

Making things happen involves a lot of work over a long period and it’s good when they come to an important result. We would have preferred £41,800 (the max is £50,000) or a bit of time at His Majesty’s pleasure but there will be a powerful deterrent.

Later on Monday I attended a Lampton session where they were revealing an early prototype of their business plans for 2023/24. These will become official during March and presented to cabinet and other interested parties.

In the evening I had a formal meet with a council officer who is working with the cabinet about how we will work most effectively with senior officers. Following that, we had a brief Cabinet meeting discussing (the usual subject) the budget, how we will save some money and what will we stop doing, or doing a different way to save money.

Tuesday was free of meetings but plenty mail to get on with, including a follow up to a very abusive letter. I’m not actually hairbrained, though the nature of being a councillor means that you make choices that some people disagree with. I’m happy to meet anyone at a surgery or outside that by arrangement, but sending me emails full of insults is not likely to get a constructive response or if it’s bad enough, no response at all! I find these keyboard warriors have no interest in engaging, just hiding and shoving out abuse – not very nice! Fortunately, I have quite a thick skin these days.

On Wednesday I had my first meeting with a Cranial Osteopath. It reminded me of a meeting I had with a back pain expert many years ago, which solved my problem in a few sessions. The osteopath took a look at my back and suggested I had had a serious trauma when I was small. The only thing I could think of was when my family boxer dog knocked me over because he came running towards me: I stepped out of his way, but into the route he was planning to take so I flew in the air as he took my legs away. Anyway, I have no idea how this works but with my injection last week and a but of cranial osteopathy my arm has improved sharply.

In the evening I was planning to go to a talk to be given on the history of Watermans Park and its predecessor, the Brentford Gas Co and Brentford Gas Company 1820 to 1988. The Gas works was not around when I discovered Brentford in 1977 so what happened between 1963 when I believe the gas works closed and 1988 is something for extra research. Anyway, I had to cancel this commitment as I had to work, talking to the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee, mainly about the budget we need to set for 2023/4.

Thursday morning I set out for Kingston for a hearing session at Boots, but it got cancelled whilst I was on the way, so I had only a meeting with Cllr Giles and the new chair of the Strand on the Green Association about the SotG footpath. We met at Hounslow Highways and they explained the state of the footpath, which is OK but overdue for a thorough examination by external experts. One of those meeting where I learn quite a lot but emerge with no illusions that there is still a load of things I still don’t really understand.

I noticed somethings worth a picture during my perambulations – a floating palace under construction at MSO.

Floating Palace at MSO Brentford

Heidelberg building gradually disappearing, but a set of conference chairs looking well worth a bit of recyling

Heidelberg Brentford demolition

And an atmospheric foggy morning on the Brent

Ah, I’m reminded of a lovely letter from our local history guru, Janet. She has fitted my stock of pictures of the councillors over 100 years ago. These councillors from 1894 look a bit louche to me in the Victorian times, but apparently “The main ones I remember are Mr Woodbridge the secretary. He’s the one with the beard sitting on the floor with Mr Clements who eventually was the Charter Mayor at the amalgamation.” Apparently recognise Mr Layton. I don’t want to be controversial but he looks to me that he’s keen to hold hands with the guy with a bushy beard sitting next to him. I think we should be told.

Louche Victorians


Councillor Guy Lambert

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