Take Care on the High Street and More Morrisons Annoyance

Brentford West councillor Guy Lambert reports back

Cllr Guy Lambert
Cllr Guy Lambert

November 24, 2023


Attending a Demo in Support of Something Beginning with 'P'

Foodbox, Next Year's J2 Festival and Reducing Methane Output

Working with Lara and Keeping an Eye on Ealing Road

An Unpleasant Surprise in the Post After Morrisons Shop

Avoiding Parking Scams and Remembering Eileen Sheridan

Why There are Definitely Not Too Many Flats in Brentford

The Ham Proves To Be Recurring Theme of the Week

Matching the Achievement of Brian Lara

Mixing Up Imitation Tea and a Welsh Prog Rock Band

Hounslow Foodbox, Ferry Quays and Coveting Barbie's Bike

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Looking back a week (as I do) I find Friday had a scheduled telephone conversation with a supplier. I remember nothing whatsoever about it, so either my memory has failed me in a more spectacular way than it normally does, or I never got the promised phone call. A bit odd because the chap had been chasing me for a call for several weeks. Oh well. Anyway, something else on Friday was actually properly cancelled so I had a free day and also a pretty free weekend.

I find other things to do, one of which is about traffic and development matters in Brentford. Thought you might like to see what it looks like within the Heidelberg development next door to where I live. Not terribly interesting but the best I can get from within my block – thankfully at the other end from where I live, so I miss the noise etc.

The picture barely shows any of the three trees I tried to save from the drought last year: in any case it was a bit academic because when the developer arrived it turned out that the trees were largely on land actually owned by Heidelberg (as was) and which the whole area is due for development, including new green areas on the riverside.

I was interested in Heidelberg and what they were up to because adding to all the challenges on the High Street was them not using the planned entrance to the site (as I think I already reported here, but I certainly told the planners). Miraculously the trench and the other junk that looked to have closed the Sump Alley entrance was miraculously reinstated at the beginning of this week so everything is back on track. Doesn’t stop deliverers to Morrisons doing it from double line areas on the High Street (or sometimes on the newly-laid pavement) rather than the delivery area carefully provided for them off the street. Grrr. That, combined with the continuing problems with the car park which people are raising with me do not represent our local supermarket doing itself any PR favours! Several people have told me they will never darken their doors ever again, though it seems to be busy whenever I visit.

The other thing at that stage was two serious (I think) accidents on the High Street or London Road. The first, on Thursday afternoon, is reported on TW8, not that there’s much update, but the other was on Friday evening. Not sure where I picked it up but it is near where I live and I went down to see if there was anything I could learn or help with. Very hard to say what really happened and nothing for me to do. The High Street was blocked off by the cops but they didn’t know if anyone was injured, except it clearly involved a 267 and a pedestrian, probably looking to use the blocked off zebra crossing there. People, whatever you think about the works in the High Street, be extra careful whilst walking there.

As I said, it was a quiet weekend apart from that, but on Monday morning I was in Chiswick dealing with a complaint by someone who lives there and told me that he was living in a toilet. He was very abusive (a bit unnecessary) but I went there with the Head of Hounslow Highways and met three residents (not the abusive one!). We had quite a long meeting and explored a couple of roads there, in a very smart part of Bedford Park (my toilet is not like that). They are concerned about trees – some that are large and they worry about them being stable, some drop an awful lot of leaves and Hounslow Highways don’t have the capacity to clear them as often as everybody wants. We had a very affable discussion and told them a deep clean of their street is planned for January. It’s always instructive to have these discussions. They are actually good people and they are doing a lot of maintenance of their road themselves – there are a pile of Hounslow Highways bags they have filled with leaves – and we will support them as best we can. Naturally, our friends from Thames Water were in the street very noisily digging a deep trench for some reason or another. But this is Britain in 2023 and what has a severe shortage is the commitment from the government to provide the money to support the public realm. We do our level best but there is not enough resource.

To emphasise that, we have had a lot of talk about saving money this week, starting with a meeting of our Labour Group. That was mainly about informing our comrades about plans to save cost, particularly among management, at the council, which was presented by the CEO. We also did a bit of preparation for the Council meeting which takes place next week.

On Tuesday morning I had my latest meeting about Health Integration – this one mainly for the benefit of public representatives who are engaged in this. There was talk about an initiative which is aimed at helping people who suffer from CVD (CardioVascular Disease – one of the challenges is keeping up with the acronyms) which has been piloted in Chiswick and Feltham and will spread elsewhere. I am trying to get my head around this and am beginning to make progress in understanding, but how we can actually convert this into anything that will make Hounslow residents happier and healthier is a bit down the road. There was some interesting survey results which basically in summary was that people were less satisfied with both primary and hospital care than they were a year ago. They are very positive about the people who deliver the service, but not about the outcomes. What would help is more doctors and nurses, but at present despite what booster Johnson used to say, the numbers are going in the wrong direction. I am trying to get more details and I will look to share this.

In the afternoon Lara and I were at Gunnersbury Catholic School with residents, police and school management. The people who live in Clitherow Road (mostly) have had a serious of problems arising out of changes in how the school do physical education since they built a new facility. Some of the development was done poorly, and the behaviour in some cases is no better. We seem very gradually getting to a position where the fences may be approaching adequate – they were far from it initially – and the bad behaviour by some of the students has been acknowledged and I hope dealt with. We have to keep on pressing this, including with our planning team. One of the problems seems to be the diocese manages development things, with the school itself seeming to have very little influence on what is built.

Meanwhile I had a message from Brentfordthroughmylens aka Karen. She told me “ This morning I attended a fantastic event at the GTECH followed by the unveiling of a plaque to mark the place where Brentford FC was founded in 1889. It was at a meeting held in the Oxford & Cambridge Public House (in the area of One Over The Ait etc).” She told me there were a couple of dubious people in attendance and wanted me to circulate a picture of a couple of suspects. One of them is a former councillor and one is some kind of mascot, but as to which is which is beyond my ken.

Mell Collins with Brentford mascot

Wednesday morning I had my quarterly formal contract review meeting with Hounslow Highways. As usual, there are some good things and some less good going on and we have a full and frank exchange of thoughts. I am reasonably hopeful because they take our concerns seriously and we are I think getting better at making our demands. It’s not easy to administer a PFI deal negotiated largely by persons unknown more than a decade ago but there is a will to make it all work.

In the evening we had a formal meeting between the cabinet and the top officers of the council, the latest of a series when we look at the financial challenges we have next year and in the subsequent years. As our income is at best flat, against an enormous level of inflation (the fact it has come down a bit is a long way from fixing any problems) an increase in population and a population that is getting older and less able to look after itself, the challenge is extreme. We will find a way, but there will be big bumps on the road. We are inching towards getting the best plan we can achieve, which we need to conclude in a couple of months’ time.

This morning, a bike ride up to Chiswick to see my GP about various issues mainly around my dodgy shoulder and it was a surprise to be accosted there by someone who I know well from Brentford, off patch like me. Turns out he lived in Devonshire Road when he was a nipper and we reminisced about the first doctor I had in Chiswick, now long retired. I reminisced about his advice about my daughter when she was a toddler and couldn’t settle down when we travelled. He prescribed a bit of gin in her bottle as a remedy, not advice that we found terribly helpful.

After a lunch out with my sister, I returned to join a call with the polling company, Savanta. They had invited me and I think many others to observe a call they had with some young people – about 18 to 25 – who were talking about how the economy was impacting their life. They were all courageous but it brings back to me how difficult it is to be a young adult in the world as it is today. Two charts caught my eye – one which showed how they manage money. Striking how they have saved greatly in most categories other than what is mainly Netflix. It costs, but it costs a lot less than going out.

More stark is how this generation see their future. Only a quarter of them can see a positive future and it has got sharply worse over the last 5 years.

As you can see, there were 1000 people surveyed (fairly normal for a polling company) but there were 5 of them being asked questions about their personal actions, which were equally interesting.

So, Thursday night and tomorrow is thought to be another day. If I’m lucky, tomorrow will have dawn like this one from a few days ago.

Councillor Guy Lambert


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