Avoiding Parking Scams and Remembering Eileen Sheridan

Brentford West councillor Guy Lambert reports back

Cllr Guy Lambert
Cllr Guy Lambert

October 20, 2023


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On Friday I started with an update with the Chair and acting group MD of Lampton Group. Lots going on and general steady progress whilst people in the council are busy plotting out how we want the work of the companies to progress.

Then a session regarding improving the availability of parking and simultaneously improving the environment around Glenhurst and Orchard Roads. The new houses built on Windmill Road to very high standards – in particularly to be ‘zero-carbon’ - look like they are nearing completion. These will provide substantial homes to people who are either on the housing list, or existing tenants who need a bigger home. We will be proud of these handsome houses, and when we improve the parking situation and environment I think it will be widely appreciated.

In the afternoon I was up in Uxbridge: someone has suggested it would be good to update my kitchen, which is gradually falling apart in various minor ways but I was shocked about how a replacement would cost. Gulping and thinking again.

In the evening I was up at the Hare and Hounds for a ‘goodbye’ event for our political assistant who has to retire for health reasons – her joints are giving out. She has been a great friend and help to all us councillors and we’ll miss her very much.

I probably bore you with these pictures but I was especially delighted about the river on Monday morning – this view often sets me up for the day, and I loved the mist shrouding the mirror-like Thames.

After that it was rather peaceful until Monday afternoon when I was up in the old County Hall building opposite parliament, where one Ken Livingstone and many towers of local government in London lived, until Margaret Thatcher got peeved with them. This event was for ‘Sustainable Ventures’, an event linked to this week being Circular Economy week. This was an event addressed by eminent people like Ann Pettifor – author, academic and adviser to governments around the world – and a minister from the Lords (Lord Callanan – no, I hadn’t either) and the Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy Shirley Rodrigues. I also talked to various people who do practical recycling things like making furniture out of waste materials and run a Library of Things. I always come away from these things with thoughts buzzing through my head, but making these things happen is a more complicated matter!

Tuesday was Lampton Leisure. It is still a big challenge to run a set of leisure centres but they are a particularly important service at a time when their contribution to physical and mental well being are particularly crucial. The business is doing well and making an impact, with a steady growth in the number of people we reach and sharply improving customer satisfaction. But the numbers don’t lie and running these centres are a financial challenge at a time when council finances are more difficult than anyone can remember. We continue to insist on paying people a living wage – I hope this will become the law, maybe even next year – but private gyms don’t have this commitment and that, combined with a commitment for Lampton’s services being affordable make it a real challenge to get the sums adding up. We’re getting there, but it takes a lot of hard work and takes time.

In the evening we had formal Cabinet with quite a heavy agenda covering a lot of different things. The urgent thing is that Serco, who’ve been running our parking enforcement since the parking was of horses and carts (perhaps I exaggerate) have decided they can find a more lucrative job harassing immigrants and providing PPE etc to the NHS, so they are cancelling traffic contracts all over the place. The traffic team are working flat out to get a replacement into place by the end of November. Someone asked me if she could not renew her permit but I assured you we would find a way of ‘encouraging’ her.

Talking of parking, a scam came to my attention yesterday.

I’ve been scammed and I’ll get the money back but it happened trying to pay for Hounslow parking! The bank tell me parking fraud is now common

I’d be interested to know if the parking people had come across this before…

There was a large cardboard notice on the meter saying everyone had to register with the app even if they didn’t have to pay parking… I wonder if that was put up by the scammers!

The transport team hadn’t directly come across it but they know it’s out there

’This we take very seriously and I have explored this with our service provider PaybyPhone immediately.  They have responded swiftly and made us aware that if a customer went to a webpage that claimed to be PayByPhone and was instead a fraud site it could result in such an experience.

They have stated and have confirmed that the PayByPhone apps and official website are secure and are not in any way comprised. They are as PCI level 1 complaint payment business, and have not been hacked. 

If the customer searched PayByPhone on a search browser they may have clicked on one of the sponsored websites that pretend to be official but are used by scammers – Customer need to ensure and look for;

1) The secure padlock at the top of the page to show it’s a legitimate page

2)  The branding, which would also be different to the PaybyPhone website.

Unfortunately, criminals try lots of ways to scam people of their details and this fake payment website seems to be the current way.  PaybyPhone have been sharing information on how to stay safe online across their social media platforms and are also focussing more on our online adverts to try and ensure PayByPhone always shows at the top but that’s not always possible.’

As the Sergeant used to say on Hill Street Blues (about 50 years ago) be careful out there.

On Wednesday I went on safari up to Day Aggregates on Transport Avenue. I had seen their lorries around and had been corresponding with James Day, the MD, about some issues they have on Transport Avenue. He invited me to come and see him and have a tour of their site, which was fascinating. They are quite a big business – much more than I realised – and have 19 sites across the south of England. They bring in aggregate – coming from quarries or for recycling after they come from construction sites and sand and related stuff – mostly via train, which actually runs along the road in their site. The stuff goes onto an overhead conveyor belt, is sorted and sent out, I think mostly on lorries to local sites for construction, buildings and the bottom layer of roads etc. The material they process in Brentford amounted to 650,000 tonnes last year, the equivalent of 500 trains, which if made by lorry would mean 5.5 million lorry miles and a lot of pollution!

I spend too little time with local businesses and this was an eye-opener, both informative and enjoyable.

In the afternoon I went to Isleworth. It was a 100 year birthday, though to be fair, the star guest couldn’t make it, having to passed on to somewhere better even than Isleworth. This was in honour of Eileen Sheridan. I confess I had never heard of her but she turns out to have been someone very notable as a professional cyclist, having loads of records, five which have yet to be beaten, including the London-Edinburgh record of 20h 11m 35s, set in 1954. Turns out she lived in Isleworth, appropriately on that cycling Mecca, Church Street and there’s a plan, backed by the Isleworth Society, to erect a memorial.


That’s what I call a cake.

Later, I was supposed to go to a Ballymore online update, but the link didn’t work and after I faffed for a bit I was off to Chiswick Cinema for a film, something I do too rarely (and my first visit to the ‘new’ cinema.

Thursday morning was my COVID jab. Somebody asked me how many I’d had – couldn’t remember. All smooth at the chemist in South Ealing Road. In the afternoon it was Lampton Homes board. It’s a bit more tricky than it used to be because we are trying to buy properties to let on rents that can be afforded by people on benefits. But the rents allowed by the government have been frozen for several years whilst market rents have gone through the roof and the cost of borrowing has done likewise. Rarely viable now at affordable rates so we’re trying different approaches.

In the evening, Brentford Voice AGM, and that was my week done. The cross is misleading in my case, though the notoriously holy Melvinator was amongst the ‘congregation’.

Councillor Guy Lambert




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