Avoiding Being Thrown in the Tower After Meeting Matt Hancock

Brentford West councillor Guy Lambert reports back

Cllr Guy Lambert
Cllr Guy Lambert

April 28, 2023


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Warning: This Article Contains Picture of Me in Jodhpurs

Unfairly Accusing a Local Legend of Being a Fraud

Dealing with the Shocking Handling of the A4 Roadworks

Cycling into Town with My Fellow Green Lizards

Approval on the Ground for New Permanent Road Barriers

Something May Actually Be Happening with the Cop Shop and Watermans

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Friday morning, Lara and I went out to the ward, to hear about a couple of houses there were bought a few years ago on a shared-ownership basis. These are handsome houses from the outside and they are basically OK inside too, but both the houses have had big problems from the start with lack of finishing, some poor workmanship, widespread damp and what look like cut corners. Not surprisingly they are frustrated, and their efforts to get help hadn’t got far, mainly I think because nobody seems to know who should be responding and improving things.

This is a case for councillors to unleash their secret weapon – councillors’ casework – plus use a bit of experience to work out who might be helpful in finding their way through the organisation. I think we’ve made good progress in the last week and I think we’ll find some solutions soon.

Saturday morning a friend of mine, being someone from Norfolk who lives in Northumbria and supports Aston Villa (yes, I know), is down to watch the mighty Bees suffer an improbable draw (of course, they should have won) as part of their training for marmalise Chelsea in their once impregnable citadel 4 days later. Massing up Chelsea was like taking candy from a baby I suppose. I digress. He wanted a quick tutorial on the canal environment in the place I refer to as the New Little Venice, ie our own Brentford. We did the bridge over the gauging lock, down through the back alleys of Ballymore land, the bridge to Brentford’s answer to Texas where I explained we were as welcome as Mexicans in Brentford Lock then made our way to the Black Dog via a circuitous route. I love the hard to unravel canal/river paths of Brentford, and so did my Friend From The North.

Later I had an update with other friends from the North (in this case the part of Brentford North of the A4) which took place outside the Kings Arms as the Brook hadn’t opened yet and the KA was full of some kind of event. It’s pleasing for me to observe we still have 9 pubs I can list in our modest little ward whereas poor old Brentford East only have the Express left after the Chiswick invasion of One Over the Eight and (the anyway closed) O’Riordans. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Brentford Easters. This meet (I was alcohol free – impressed how pleasing booze-free booze is) was with some potentates from Brentford Voice, discussing what’s going on in the town for good and ill. One thing I learned which changed a rumour into a fact was that Ballymore have planning permission to replace the previous idea that they would provide a boat store on the south face of the gorgeous car park with a car showroom, perhaps connected to a certain car business which is currently at the bottom of Catherine Wheel Road. The boat store always seemed a bit improbable and whatever, the cars are welcome to me and even more so if it persuades Ballymore to proceed with the riverside path!

On Sunday lunchtime I headed for Chiswick, where they were revealing the new painting that they had chosen for the ‘4 th Plinth’ on Turnham Green Terrace bridge. They change this regularly and it’s always interesting. There was also an award to a young man who maintains the planters at the junction between Wellesley Road and the South Circular, something that pleases us cyclists whenever we perambulate past!

Ruth Cadbury at the W4th Plinth

The new picture on the plinth (the globe is the old one) is by local artist Christina Schek and is rather evocative – this one doesn’t give the picture the proper presentation but you can go and see it in real life! The award was presented by local actor Sian Phillips CBE ably supported by Ruth Cadbury.

Sian Phillips at plinth

On Monday lunchtime I had an update Teams meeting with my key council officers. Lots going on as ever, and a big time for our waste services, awaiting the final approval from GLA, having had a rather glowing report on our original submission. We also have been shortlisted for an Oscar in recycling, which will take me to the Grosvenor in a couple of weeks with perhaps a Kardashian presenting the awards, or perhaps not. We are also starting our recycling promotion ‘No Time To Waste’ – there must be a poet in the council coming up with these names. We issued nearly 600 fines, mostly heavy ones, via our Special Waste Service across last year. The vast majority are paid and more important this activity has had quite a dramatic impact on fly tipping, down over 20% compared with previous years and more reduction to come!

In the evening I had the privilege to have dinner in the House of Commons with our two MPs, Ruth Cadbury and Seema Malhotra. Pretty good nosh and probably a bit more Merlot than is probably good for me and a fascinating evening. Not everything is perfect – the first face I recognised was Matt Hancock and going down the stairs John Redwood was coming up. A professional hazard I suppose if you’re an MP. No pics because if I took any I would end up in the Tower.

On Tuesday afternoon the cabinet and the directors at the council got together at the Musical Museum to review where we had got to in the first year of this administration, and to look at our plans for next year in particular, to keep the progress going at a time when the challenges are unprecedented. Quite a tough meeting, and we are under no illusions about what we need to achieve.

During the day I went past our local food factory, known as 27 Ealing Road. I have concerns about the impact of this place on Ealing Road: On this occasion, 2 bikes parked on Double Yellow lines, one just arriving to join them, and a car park half on the zigzag area for the zebra crossing and half on the narrow pavement. They clearly had no interest in responding to what I said at the planning meeting!

parking at 27 Ealing Road

Lara and I met on Teams to plan for a walkabout we are having shortly with some people from the community team. When I looked at my email there were a lot of ones from people who live in Brook Lane North and thereabouts who had been given one day’s notice that where they park their cars will be not available for a long period whilst development of new houses is progressed. Not surprisingly, they are livid (and they are not the only ones). Not sure how we can solve or ameliorate this – frustrating.

Wednesday evening was the Boston Manor Residents Association AGM attended by me, Ruth Cadbury, and a posse of Councillors from Ealing/Hanwell where most of the residents live. A good meeting and inevitably I picked up some casework. It was held in the local boxing club, but I didn’t see any fisticuffs. Finished with the association secretary tracing the route of a river somewhere in Ealing and ends up under Brook Road South giving it a name!

Thursday turned out to be very busy, meaning here I am on Friday morning doing my Thursday duty. First of all, agreeing where we will put hire bike spots across the three Brentford wards, then a trip to Mogden for an update with the people from Thames Water. I was intrigued why it was called Mogden – seems to be it was what the place was always called, though the bit that isn’t a ‘farm’ is now known as Ivybridge. Anyway lots of stuff from the TW people, of which I understood at least 4%

One thing, is when my bike ride was troubled by Thames Water road wors (I assumed replacing a water main) turned out to be them installing a gas pipe, connecting methane derived from the ‘products’ they treat in Mogden to provide a bit of gas for the gas mains. I guess we can all do what we can to create plenty of products for them to process.

I liked this little story they showed about rain. In case you didn’t notice, February was wet!

rainfall charts

Next was a Teams meeting with Hounslow Highways, about the state of the Thames Path in Strand on the Green. I often criticise Hounslow Highways but I was really impressed with the detailed research they had carried on on this path, which has been causing concerns locally. They have done a fantastically detailed review of the river wall with hundreds of pictures, and coherent conclusions. I think the woman from the residents association was impressed and reassured. I certainly was.

The evening was at West Thames College, when we had an Area Forum, preceded by a show where various voluntary bodies and many council services were represented. It was good to see them there and a very good turnout of people, many of whom stayed for the Area Forum. Presentations from the police (which I missed whilst I tried to sort out a problem with my bank account which is being repeatedly compromised by a fraudster – he doesn’t get anything but keeps coming back for more – Kudos to Nationwide Building Society who spot it and saves me each time) Hounslow Highways, Housing etc, many questions from the floor. A lively evening!

Councillor Guy Lambert

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