Working with Lara and Keeping an Eye on Ealing Road

Brentford West councillor Guy Lambert reports back

Cllr Guy Lambert
Cllr Guy Lambert

November 3, 2023


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After I sent out the blog last week I realised I had not said anything publicly about my fantastic ward colleague, Lara, who had resigned from the Labour party. She found herself obliged to resign because she says the party it is no longer aligned with her values on racial justice; specifically she says Labour councillors were advised not to take part in the March for Palestine at the weekend, and she no longer feels she can support the Labour Party as a result.

She is an excellent, energetic, compassionate councillor and one of the most supportive and warm-hearted people I have ever worked with. Obviously, her no longer being in the Labour party will have an effect at times on how we work together but on the vast majority of issues which we deal with as councillors, we will continue to work closely together and do our best for our residents. I salute the courage she showed in making a very difficult decision.

Well, enough about Lara, what about me? Well, the first episode in my week was attending our surgery together at the library on Saturday morning so we agreed it should make little difference to how we work together, confirmed when a resident appeared and we talked jointly with her.

Last week I heard (thanks for the tip off from a resident) of a new closure of Ealing Road just North of the A4, obviously what the local transport system really wanted! It turned out it was essential work (isn’t it always) by SSE to improve the electricity supply to the small industrial estate just to the East – where Screwfix. Topps Tiles and other companies are. It was timed for the half term (which makes an enormous difference to traffic levels) but I was visiting every day to make sure they were actually working and likely to meet the plan to reopen before next Monday. By Friday it looked like this, which I found reassuring if they were working over the weekend. They were, and all was good on Monday.

Over the weekend I cycled down to Hammersmith and back through Chiswick. One of the changes we’ve made over the last couple of years have been to try and eliminate purple bags used for waste disposal for those who live in flats above shops by providing ‘grit bins’. Mostly this works well but sometimes there is not enough capacity. Like here!

On Monday I responded to a request for an interview with Savanta – the polling company – who are doing some work for TfL. I had completed a questionnaire a week or two go and they asked for a personal interview, which I was happy to undertake. They are interested in what we - well, I – think about working with TfL, how we work together etc. I have generally a good relationship with TfL and their willingness to engage has improved enormously since I’ve been a councillor. They sometimes frustrate me – partly because everything seems to take a long time, and their ability to respond is hampered both by the need to comply with complicated regulations (see: the Ealing Road roundabout) and the lack of funds and the need to work with national agencies like National Highways (see: the campaign I have been working on for literally years to get decent street lights under the M4 viaduct. What were left were turned off by National Highways whilst they work on the support structures. TfL are looking to replace with LED lights but in the meantime they are trying to persuade NH to provide an interim solution).

On Monday evening we had a ‘Member Development’ session about Rail, which was very informative. These links may be of interest to some of you!

The Community Rail Partnership mentioned various activities, one of which sticks in my mind. These elegant wooden fences, no doubt designed by an award-winning architect, have been subject of sporadic complaints from me, suggesting their elegance would be further enhanced by removing graffiti and replacing broken panels (we are not allowed to touch them as a council because we would apparently make the railway unsafe if we painted it).

I am now getting close to the operation that I have been waiting for to fix my right shoulder, which is supposed to happen on 14th November. So I’m starting various interviews with nurses to determine more about my health etc, starting with a telephone call with a nurse where she asked a lot of question and then scheduled a visit to Charing Cross (which happened on Thursday and involved a lot of tests) and a call from the anaesthetic next Thursday. I think they have to work out how much stuff they will need to deal with my size!)

In the evening we had the formal cabinet, followed by an informal one which was largely about my emerging special subject, health and social services integration.

On Wednesday a team meeting with the Director of Finance who is now looking after the contracts we have to do with the Watermans Park Marina, which seems to be taking an awful long time to happen! He is quite new to it and I was able to fill in some of the history which I hope will help him to move the project on speedily.

Wednesday was busy with a Health Integration session on Teams. We are making progress on this but I find I have to dedicate more time to it. There were more than 200 pages of stuff to try and master, largely on things I know little about despite being one of the NHS’s best customers. Anyway, we collectively – 8 councils from W London as well as the NHS and others – now have an agreed plan and can get on with implementing it! Any rumours that Boris Johnson fixed all this a couple of years ago might have been just a tad premature.

After that it was a Lampton Group Board, unusually on site in Hounslow House. Lots going on and everything is going in the right direction.

During the week (in case you didn’t notice) there’s been quite a bit of rain. This has led to some flooding (everybody says it’s because the grids are blocked: occasionally true but the real problem is too much water for the drains to cope with) and in particular in Chiswick Mall where there has been an additional problem with failure of the river wall. I believe this is OK now but on Tuesday it looked like this so joint work from Hounslow Highways and Thames Water was needed to get it fixed.

Thursday was clearer, though I had to go to Charing Cross for my tests and later attended a meeting on Teams to do with the project about the Mercury House Garages. We are looking to demolish them and replace with a car park and some green spaces, but it is controversial and we are working to find a consensus.

Finally, I had an update on Teams with Lampton Homes. The Chair was supposed to be there but his service on BT was destroyed by the weather where he lives down South so it was just me and the MD. I have to be careful not to overplay Brentford concers,

That was my week!

Councillor Guy Lambert




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