Peter Thompson Didn't Expect To Be Like Arnold Schwarzenegger

New leader of Hounslow Conservatives explains his decision to return

Cllr Thompson (centre) with two of his colleagues

As the 2018 local elections loomed I made the decision that, after 20 years on Hounslow Council, it was time to call it a day. I had worked hard for my community, as representative, caseworker, provider of scrutiny, Council Leader, and in countless other ways. Getting the work/life balance right as a teacher, husband, parent and councillor had always been a challenge. It was time to let someone else have a go, pursue other interests, develop some new skills and have a bit of time for reflection. Like most people I didn’t give Hounslow Council too much thought – the bins were collected, the streets around me were usually clean and it was good to know that someone was making sure that our restaurants adhere to the correct health and hygiene standards and that social care was going to those in need. I was conscious of and thankful for the vital role council staff were playing in helping defend our society from Covid-19 as they, like many of these of us who are key workers, stepped up to the plate. But, unlike Arnold Schwarzenegger, I never thought “I'll be back!”

So why did I decide to stand again for election to Hounslow Council? The main reason was the decision by the London Borough of Hounslow to implement a Low Traffic Neighbourhood in South Chiswick despite huge opposition from those of us who live here. I was staggered by how residents and Ward Councillors were poorly consulted and their views were simply ignored. The Council’s reputation locally was in tatters. We saw in action a ‘Hounslow-knows-best’ approach, where decisions were taken in Hounslow and not in the communities that are being impacted by these schemes. The entire ongoing saga could surely be a case study for some future research on “how not to make a council decision!” During the local election campaign, virtually everyone I spoke to had their own story of how the scheme was not working for them. And for the record, these were not climate change deniers, anti-cycling lobby members, aggrieved 4 X 4 drivers who have shares in fossil fuels! They are normal folks who want a greener world for their future and cannot see how having to make extended car journeys helps to achieve this. I am not so cocky as to think that I can single-handedly sort this one out – but I do hope that my background and experience with the schemes can bring some common sense to bear.

With this in mind, I am looking forward to seeing Cllr Shantanu's plans to improve how the Council engages and consults. Residents need to feel that their conversations with the Council will have a real impact and that their voices will be heard – something which certainly has not been happening in recent years. One step in the right direction was Cllr. Shantanu’s invitation to me to join his cabinet meetings. Residents were clear during last month's election that they want a council that listens to communities and that works together to make things better across the borough. We are committed to acting as constructive opposition, and I am looking forward to now being able to also play that role within cabinet meetings. Having someone whose job it is to ask uncomfortable questions; to make sure that information is in the public domain, and to give a voice to those who might have been shut out of decision-making can only lead to better local government.

If a week is a long time in politics what has changed at Hounslow Council over the past 4 years. Well, firstly I am trying hard to stop talking about the “Civic Centre” as that has been demolished and we are now based in “a modern comfortable, ergonomic work environment that supports modern ways of working and staff wellbeing” that is "Hounslow House". I will take some getting used to the new flexible Council chamber space which lacks the solemnity of the previous chamber. However the excellent energy-efficient, and therefore significantly reduced running costs of the new building, means that I will learn to put up with this! At both an officer and councillor level there are loads of new faces for me to struggle to remember. Cllr Guy Lambert has done a good job in trying to confuse me by growing his hair long in what must be a tribute to the 60s and 70s counterculture? (Sorry Guy it’s the jealously of the follicly challenged talking here!)

What hasn’t changed are the issues that are already coming my way – residents in overcrowded housing, potholes, fly-tipping. So I am back, refreshed after a break, motivated by the one thing that unites all Councillors regardless of their party politics - the desire to improve local people’s quality of lives.

Cllr Peter Thompson

Chiswick Riverside ward


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 Forum


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 13, 2022