A Magnificent Market, a Feisty Forum and Good(ish) News on Windmill Road

Brentford West councillor Guy Lambert reports back

Cllr Guy Lambert
Cllr Guy Lambert

December 22, 2023


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Well now, nearly at my 9 th Christmas as a councillor and my 9 th Christmas ‘message’ just coming up. When I was a kid my Aunty Betty insisted that we all listened reverentially to the Queen’s Christmas message, plus 9 times out of 10 I was also dragged to the Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. And none of us were Catholics and none of us were only religious in a CofE way – only weddings and funerals - though I was chased off to a service at least once, usually twice, every Sunday at school. It’s hard for teachers to think up things to keep the boys out of trouble if they’re at a boarding school.

What’s this got to do with being a councillor in Brentford West – the ward located just to the east of Brentford, you may ask? Very little, but it’s Christmas and I’m allowed to go slightly off piste.

Back to the piste: Friday morning I was up to the vampire I mean the doctor’s friendly nurse who took some blood out of my arm which led to me later in the week to get some incomprehensible communications about tests, no less of 6 of them all equally incomprehensible. I saw that one of the tests was not suitable when pregnant so I reckon I had a lucky escape there. As far as I can tell I am still alive but not any younger than I used to be.

My next date was via Teams with TfL who were telling us about changes to pedestrian crossings in Hanworth, where a rather intimidating A312 separates one park from another and there’s a difficult junction just up the road where an incredible number of educational institutions (17 if I recall) within half a mile have a lot of children crossing. Lots of people (me including) moan about TfL but they do make serious efforts to engage and also I just realise, things need to be done for safety and convenience and they truly know what they are doing. This is such a case: this stuff is pretty difficult and I salute their professionalism and expertise.

In the evening we had a Labour councillors social – the first of a series of celebrations in the last week! The next event I attended was Brentford’s Christmas Market, led by Brentford Voice but with cooperation from other local organisations including Ballymore. The result was a really vibrant event with lots of people, a couple of reindeers and a number of canine friends.

market place sign

reindeer in Brentford

Christmas lights in Brentford

I omitted my camera (well, forgot to use it) and pinched pictures from other locals.

On Monday I combined a very overdue one-to-one session with the leader, Shantanu , with a rather wonderful lunch at Sam’s, my first visit. The food and service were outstanding but it’s a bit on the pricy side for me. When I was in business, customers or my employer would stump up for these delights but I am no longer in that league financially and the two of us went Dutch. But I was delighted to seeing how busy it was. We are blessed with good food and drink in Brentford and it’s getting better all the time. Even the ones that looked sad a few years ago now look to be pretty prosperous, whether they are in the Sam’s or the Capri Café sector of the market.

In the evening we had the Brentford and Syon Area Forum in St Paul’s church. This is a very welcoming and well set up place, but it was a bit of a nightmare for me because I had great difficulty hearing anything. Fiddling with my phone, that controls my hearing aids, made little difference and on a couple of occasions I became aware people were looking at me. My colleagues, Lara and Marina, stepped into the broach and wrote things like ‘Floods’ and ‘Lights under the M4’

This allowed me to answer – essentially floods in Brentford are not to do with blocked drains but simply because there is insufficient capacity in the drains. If you notice, the sometimes bad floods nearly always disappear on the next day, and when I look the drains are not at all blocked. I had a spat with Brentford TV a couple of weeks ago because they made a completely misleading comment about floods by Kew Bridge. I remember I had been moaning about ‘Lake Kew Bridge’ outside the Costa café from way before I was even a councillor, and having been told by Hounslow Highways and TfL that it couldn’t be fixed without extensive re-engineering of the drains under the road, because the sluices which stop the Thames invading at High Tide don’t (or didn’t) readily let water out. That problem has mainly gone, but lights under the M4 are a continuing problem, not helped (as I have now found out) that the lights are down to TfL but they are hung on the M4, owned by Highways England.

I keep banging about this and also the unlit bridge over the railway in Brook Lane North. I heard this was about to be fixed and today I heard “There were delays with the specialist supplier. They actually started on site this morning and have completed the bulkhead lamps on one side. They will be finished by tomorrow”. I had a look this evening (Thursday) and couldn’t see anything, but to be fair it was dark when I looked and, hmm, there are no lights.

The rest of the forum was mainly about traffic, and quite fierce. Some of this I agree with (Ealing Road in particular) but the awful traffic in the last few days which people think is about the cycle lane (which is a factor) is actually because my best chums Thames Water decided to do a big excavation outside the artist previously known as Heidelberg. I’m told this will be history by tomorrow – I certainly hope so!

I was also fiddling with my phone because I remembered my conversations with the landlord of the old Morrisons, L&Q. I sent a quick email saying ‘any update?’ and before long I got one. It’s a secret who it is, but they are passing over keys to a new tenant in February. I can confirm that it will neither be Harrods nor Fortnum and Mason, shame.

My next lunch out was in the more traditional environment (and prices!) of the Kings Arms. It was the Christmas lunch of the Brentford Recycling Action Group – not quite as active now as it once was, and I like to think this is because we have made a huge amount of progress on recycling. But they are a lovely bunch of Brentford (mainly) people and it’s a pleasure to spend an hour with them.

Then I was off to Hounslow House for a farewell gig for Victoria Lawson who is off to be CEO of Islington. I will miss her greatly as a colleague and a friend and she will do I am sure a great job for the local lefty John Lewis customers who live there (hmm, people like me).

Then we were back at Thursday, and an online meeting with my favourite road mending outfit, National Highways and their chums at Connect Plus. The bloke who misled me back at the start of the recent phase on blocking Windmill Road finally had the grace to admit he had misled me due to a misunderstanding of what they were doing (impressive for a project manager). So the good news – which I’d already heard – was they will not to be back by Windmill next year but they are now saying they will return in 2025, because the treatment hasn’t worked. They say they may have to block Windmill again. If they do, I will be tempted to glue myself to the M4 and create a bit of mayhem for them, assuming I have managed to free myself from Ealing Road in time,


A ‘friend’ of mine had had a go of creating my blog in ChatGPT

Here’s an extract of what he prepared for me:

Dear Residents of Brentford West,

I hope this message finds you well. As your representative in the London Borough of Hounslow, it's both an honor and a privilege to serve as your Councillor. My commitment to this vibrant community remains unwavering, and I'm excited to share some thoughts and updates with you.

Building Stronger Communities Together

One of the core values driving my role as your Councillor is the belief in the power of community. Together, we can achieve remarkable things. Brentford West is a diverse tapestry of cultures, experiences, and stories. It's this diversity that makes our community vibrant and dynamic.

If you prefer that version, it will save me a lot of time each week.

Anyway, he also sent me a lovely pic taken from Watermans Park

River view from Watermans Park

Councillor Guy Lambert


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