Could the New 'Listening Council' Actually Be Listening?

Chiswick Gunnersbury councillor Ranjit Gill reports back on his week

Jack Emsley (left) with Cllr John Todd and Cllr Gerald McGregor

The election is over, however the task of a councillor continues with case work and attending various meetings and training programmes arranged by the council for new and re-elected councillors. The great prediction of a total wipe-out of the Conservatives did not happen. The residents of Chiswick know that their councillors listen and work very hard for them.

New leader, new roles

The week started with our AGM which was held on Monday. The main agenda item was the election of the leader. In addition, there was the election of the chairman and vice chairman of the Chiswick Area forum and the selection of members of the various council committee.

The group elected Peter Thompson who was recently elected as one of the councillors for Chiswick Riverside ward. Peter was leader of the Conservative Group for 16 years including four years as leader of the council – more experience than the new Labour leader of the council. Cllr Gerald McGregor was not re-elected leader but I would like to thank him for his time as our leader and taking us through the pandemic.

Traditionally in our group, the leader chooses the deputy leader, the chief whip and the deputy whip who will be announced in due course. In the meantime, Cllr Ron Mushiso was elected chairman of the Chiswick Area Forum and I am the vice chairman. Cllr Jack Elmsley (newly elected for Chiswick Homefields ward) is secretary of the group and I am treasurer for the group.

A seat in cabinet for the Conservatives

The following day, Tuesday, the full borough council met for the first time in this new term. Cllr Shantanu Rajawat was confirmed as leader of the council and immediately made three pledges signalling a change from his predecessor: that our streets would be swept after waste and recycling collections; that every household would have one free bulky items collection a year; and that the leader of the Conservative group would have a seat in cabinet to contribute to, but not vote on, policy discussions.

Challenging the new listening council to listen

Cllr Katherine Dunne was confirmed as deputy leader of the council and, as cabinet member, takes on an additional portfolio: transport. I had a brief chat with her about the transport schemes in Chiswick and hope to arrange for her to meet residents to resolve the issues that are not favoured by many residents. My Cllr colleague Joanna Biddolph had already written to her, and Cllrs Guy Lambert (highways portfolio) and Salman Shaheen (parking portfolio), asking them to widen the scope of the current consultation on Devonshire Road. Only residents and business owners along the top of Devonshire Road have been asked for their views; Jo asked these three cabinet members to meet those residents and business owners as well as residents of the Glebe Estate and others affected by the scheme. Cllr Katherine Dunne has answered more positively than expected


The first borough council meeting is notable as the occasion when the new mayor is installed and this year it is Cllr Rajwinder Siddhu, cllr for Bedfont and a solicitor. As is becoming traditional, we proposed a candidate for mayor who was duly rejected – it was me. I knew there was never any hope of being elected but it’s always good to put up a candidate. I was pleased to be proposed by Cllr Kuldeep Tak (re-elected for Feltham North ward) and seconded by Cllr Ron Mushiso (re-elected for Chiswick Gunnersbury ward) who referred me to as ‘the lion of Punjab’ after my namesake Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the famous ruler and fighter of Punjab.

No bunting, plenty of fun, much Pride

We are currently celebrating our dearest Queen’s 70 years on the throne. The Platinum Jubilee celebrations and a four-day weekend have given we councillors a bit of much-needed down time after the relentless pace of the election and the busy start to the new term. Today Friday I am off to the care home to visit my partner but it’s also to join in to enjoy the Jubilee celebrations at the care home. I am looking forward to it. Some residents have complained that Hounslow council did not put up any bunting to mark this very special occasion.

This blog will be published after the Chiswick Flower market, but I do hope many of you joined in with its additional events to mark the Jubilee.

It is also Pride month. I understand from a reliable source that a special event is being organised by the West London LBGT group to coincide with the next Chiswick Flower market. More information on this event will follow.

Back to business as normal

For those of us who were re-elected, the flow in of requests from residents for help from councillors not only didn’t stop but also increased. We are very glad to be asked so please do get in touch if you need the help or support of a councillor.

Councillor Ranjit Gill

Chiswick Gunnersbury ward

07976 702956


We are back to our usual routine of holding face-to-face surgeries in Chiswick and in Gunnersbury. Chiswick: Every Saturday from 9.30am to 10.30am at Chiswick Library (the eight Conservative councillors take this surgery in turn). Gunnersbury: First Saturday of the month from 10am to 11am at The Gunnersbury Triangle Club, Triangle Way, off The Ridgeway, W3 8LU (at least one of the Chiswick Gunnersbury ward councillors take this surgery). 


Tuesday, 14th June at 7pm: Borough Council (special meeting to confer the Freedom of the Borough on two people)

Thursday, 16th June at 7pm: Planning committee

Tuesday, 5th July at 7pm: Cabinet

Tuesday, 19th July at 7pm: Borough Council

Tuesday, 1st September at 7pm: Overview and scrutiny committee

Tuesday, 13th September at 7pm: Chiswick Area Foru


Chiswick Homefields ward

Cllr Jack Emsley 07977 396017

Cllr Gerald McGregor 07866 784821

Cllr John Todd 07866 784651

Chiswick Riverside ward

Cllr Peter Thompson

Cllr Gabriella Giles 07966 270823

Chiswick Gunnersbury (was Turnham Green) ward

Cllr Joanna Biddolph 07976 703446

Cllr Ranjit Gill 07976 702956

Cllr Ron Mushiso 07976 702887

Like Reading Articles Like This? Help Us Produce More

This site remains committed to providing local community news and public interest journalism.

Articles such as the one above are integral to what we do. We aim to feature as much as possible on local societies, charities based in the area, fundraising efforts by residents, community-based initiatives and even helping people find missing pets.

We've always done that and won't be changing, in fact we'd like to do more.

However, the readership that these stories generates is often below that needed to cover the cost of producing them. Our financial resources are limited and the local media environment is intensely competitive so there is a constraint on what we can do.

We are therefore asking our readers to consider offering financial support to these efforts. Any money given will help support community and public interest news and the expansion of our coverage in this area.

A suggested monthly payment is £8 but we would be grateful for any amount for instance if you think this site offers the equivalent value of a subscription to a daily printed newspaper you may wish to consider £20 per month. If neither of these amounts is suitable for you then contact and we can set up an alternative. All payments are made through a secure web site.

One-off donations are also appreciated. Choose The Amount You Wish To Contribute.

If you do support us in this way we'd be interested to hear what kind of articles you would like to see more of on the site – send your suggestions to the editor.

For businesses we offer the chance to be a corporate sponsor of community content on the site. For £30 plus VAT per month you will be the designated sponsor of at least one article a month with your logo appearing if supplied. If there is a specific community group or initiative you'd like to support we can make sure your sponsorship is featured on related content for a one off payment of £50 plus VAT. All payments are made through a secure web site.


June 5, 2022