Chiswick Homefields councillor Gerald McGregor reports back on his week
Cllr Gerald McGregor
Continuing the weekly series of report backs from your Conservative Group Councillors who represent Chiswick.
Robberies, Drug Dealing, and collecting stolen property
Residents across Chiswick are complaining about robberies from vehicles, about drug dealing on the leafy streets of Bedford Park and the general state of the local environment.
Hats off to the Manager and Staff at Turnham Green Station
The picture below shows the consequences of such activity. The property left behind included high visibility jackets and contractors’ workwear.
The matter was reported to the London Underground station team who could not have been more helpful and I was able to contact the contracting firm concerned. Within twenty-five minutes of the call a contractors van pulled up outside my home to recover the two bags now refilled which I had collected off the road and gutter.
The driver assured me that the jackets with the London Underground logo were particularly important as there were strict rules about their use to protect the travelling public from risk.
Property taken from a London Underground contractor dumped in Bedford Park
Drug dealing Homefields Ward
The green area at the corner of Woodstock Road and Priory Avenue has become a venue for buying illicit drugs. Police are apparently aware of this through their Drug Intelligence system. I am asking for regular police patrols from Acton to counter this ghastly activity. The bench backing onto the War Memorial is now a problem area, as is the foliage surrounding the memorial. To further limit this problem I am working on a solution involving a CCTV camera and also proposing to ask Hounslow Highways to move the bench from its’ present position as at night it is in a secluded site ripe for wrongdoing. Any views from residents or congregants of St Michael and All Angels Church on this proposal of CCTV and re-siting would be most welcome.
Warm Welcome and Heat Bank: A successful Launch in Homefields
Public spaces throughout the borough have started opening their doors to offer a Warm Welcome to local residents and support them during these difficult times. It is pleasing that Hounslow Council has been keen to offer support for these ventures.
The Church of England is in the forefront of community support in Chiswick. From Last Wednesday (the first event) onwards the historic parish of St Nicholas Church in Chiswick is offering their Heat Bank scheme every Wednesday, to continue throughout the winter months. Their warm church, is open every day from before 9am until around 5pm, and on Wednesdays is offering hospitality and companionship and a lot more~ a free soup lunch, hot drinks and kitchen facilities, free Wi-Fi and phone/device charging points, free clean pre-loved coats and duvets for those in need.
Volunteers are available all day for a chat with guests, the Chiswick Cross-light team is available for debt counselling for part of the day and Hounslow Community Solutions team has scheduled visits on the last Wednesday of the month between 9.30 - 11.30am to provide further support and re-assurance to those who are enjoying the opportunity.
The Church is easy to get to. It is in Church Street, just to the south of the Hogarth Roundabout and is situated close to the River Thames. It takes less than 15 minutes to walk there from Chiswick High Road.
Could you help? The St Nicholas team need more volunteers on the Heat Bank team! Please e-mail email@example.com for information about volunteering and to make yourself known. It is hugely worthwhile venture, providing an opportunity to take part in this supportive and well organised community gathering
The Chiswick Vision or Not
A vision is usually associated with the experiences of medieval and renaissance Catholic saints. The Chiswick Town Hall has like so many saints lost its lustre and its glory and was therefore a very appropriate setting for this public event which proved anything but lustrous or glorious.
Hounslow Council asked residents to come and see an exhibition on its vision for the future of Chiswick’s town centre. What they meant was an exposition with glossy printed leaflets (mine was printed verso so every second page was upside down) and staff giving visitors a leaflet and a 12-page questionnaire where proposal 4 was the title for three separate proposals!
What is it ?
The Chiswick Town Centre Vision was adopted by the council earlier this year after being developed during 2021. It was designed to be a framework for action, to enable the town centre make a recovery following the downturn during the pandemic and it is partly based on a number of earlier surveys held with residents. The downturn was of course deepened by the actions of both Hounslow and Ealing Councils closing roads and constructing cycleways of no value to the majority of taxpayers and residents and no evidence of any cost benefit analysis.
The vision thinks it can help tackle local challenges which include, but are not limited to, increasing shopping footfall and spending, improving the local leisure offer and allowing the Town Hall to become a focal point of community initiatives.
The Hounslow: Prosperity and Place document, which sets out the Council’s approach and framework for the regeneration and economic growth across a number of town centres in the borough was approved by Hounslow Cabinet on 11 January 2022 and the council says that it is already being used to guide its work. What the council thinks Chiswick has in common with the western part of the borough is a continuing myth (not a vision) perpetrated by crazed ideologues.
Benchmark of Success and Failure to Understand Chiswick
There is no evidence that the projects which are already happening are having any impact (what is the benchmark?) but the council apparently wants to work with community and business partners to further understand their priorities. Key priorities are stop building stupid traffic schemes, leave Chiswick alone, spend the council tax raised from Chiswick (no taxation without representation, no taxation without value spend) in Chiswick
Two engagement sessions were held at Chiswick Town Hall on Tuesday 1 November. The sessions were put on by enthusiastic officers from Hounslow who were swiftly overwhelmed by the number of people who wanted to complain about failures across the board of the Number One Borough Council in England. The teams ran out of questionnaires (poorly designed, repetitious and without benchmarking, background information or measurable and realistic objective outcomes) got more photocopied as a stopgap but did not even have a stapler to hold the finished responses in a single document. Not their fault but an eye opener to a reflection of the councils’ abject failure at every level since 2020 in understanding Chiswick.
Quick Wins i.e. Normal Service
The vision document includes a number of ‘quick wins’ that could be implemented such as more street cleaning and maintenance. I suggest that the council contacts their opposite numbers in municipalities in Germany, Austria, The Netherlands and Switzerland to understand what cleanliness, waste management and control of litter actually means in terms of standards and delivery. Quick wins are a reference to already poor standards and benchmarks employed as a pretence for proper positive public policy delivery. After all, if you are abjectly poor at doing something any improvement, however limited would be a win
The vision talks about including cutting back overhanging foliage (leave Chiswick alone) and more support for community-led events and festivals taking inspiration from the Chiswick Flower Market. This is generally welcome but there are specific issues attached. The Borough actually interferes for example when available car parking for shoppers behind shops in Chiswick High Road is suspended during the market days and has done nothing about the experimental cycle lane which is a barrier to access.
It is also proposed that a freight, delivery and collection strategy is developed for the town centre to consolidate journeys and encourage use of electric vehicles, cargo bikes etc. How this is to be achieved is not fully explained. Beware of strategies, they are like Soviet five-year plans, remote and doomed to failure.
Public servants generally talk about baskets of measures and strategies when they themselves have not got a clue what to do. Using bicycles for deliveries went out in the nineteen fifties. Many people regard it as a regressive use of labour and economically unsustainable as the payload delivery weight/ time/cost of labour overall means lowering wages and productivity and stalling economic growth.
Road Access and Traffic
Longer term projects include exploring how Turnham Green could be used to host more events and improving access around Chiswick, north and south of the High Road. So why did Hounslow and Ealing attempt to close a B road, Turnham Green Terrace and close north south access in Fishers Lane? The hypocrisy is breathless and breath taking.
The document mentions the development of the Post Office site which the council would be supportive of, saying that it could be part of a 'civic cluster' in the centre of Chiswick which would provide linkages between the library, the Town Hall and the Church on Turnham Green.
The pity, of course, is on the north side of Turnham Green where we are threatened by the overlarge development of Empire House and its surroundings: likely to turn this part of Chiswick from a recognisable liveable town into the sort of concrete jungle beloved by Labour politicians since T Dan Smith.
The Chiswick Vision (part of an exercise visioning the whole of Hounslow) can be regarded as worthy if we all knew what it meant, but it is worthless when the specifics are not measured or measurable, when the realities of commerce and capitalism are not encountered, when achievement is not quantified and the timescale is a fuzzy envelope of horizons yet to be envisioned.
In short no objectives are set and therefore no objectives are met.
It smacks of the London Borough of Croydon’s attempt at a commercial house building programme which led to its bankruptcy (another Labour Borough, Number one in financial loss making)
A New Political Vision on an old theme
Several residents of Chiswick whom I met at Chiswick vision alongside other available Chiswick colleagues voiced real concerns about what the local councils have recently got up to and saying that there was also a desire for change. This matches other conversations which I had during the election campaign last May with electors asking about restoring a local proper identity and coming out of Hounslow and Ealing in the not too distant future.
Do make an effort to attend the Chiswick Area Forum on 22nd November (7.00pm at the Town Hall). The conservative group will be there to share your views and answer your questions .
Cllr Gerald McGregor
Our Current Service Support to Chiswick
We are now routinely 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 takes this surgery).
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
Tuesday 8 November 7:00 pm Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 14 November at 7.00pm: Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel
Tuesday 15 November 7:00 pm Cabinet
Wednesday, 16 November at 7.00pm: Health and Adults Care Scrutiny Panel
Tuesday 22 November 7:00 pm Chiswick Area Forum
Tuesday 29 November 7:30 pm Borough Council
CONSERVATIVE COUNCILLORS and CONTACTS
Chiswick Gunnersbury (was Turnham Green) ward
Cllr Joanna Biddolph firstname.lastname@example.org 07976 703446
Cllr Ranjit Gill email@example.com 07976 702956
Cllr Ron Mushiso firstname.lastname@example.org 07976 702887
Chiswick Homefields ward
Cllr Jack Emsley email@example.com 07977 396017
Cllr Gerald McGregor firstname.lastname@example.org 07866 784821
Cllr John Todd email@example.com 07866 784651
Chiswick Riverside ward
Cllr Peter Thompson firstname.lastname@example.org 07977 395810
Cllr Gabriella Giles email@example.com 07966 270823
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
November 5, 2022