The Potential Collapse of Public Engagement and Scrutiny

Chiswick Homefields Councillor Gerald McGregor reports on his week

Cllr Gerarld McGregor

January 17, 2023

My colleague Cllr Ron Mushiso (Chair of Chiswick Area Forum, Conservative Member for Chiswick Gunnersbury) has released a statement regarding changes to the frequency of area forums:

“The decision taken in December by the Cabinet Member for Communities to adopt a change in the number of Area Forums that take place – reducing them from five times a year to four, is unconducive to the process of public scrutiny and democracy.

Area forums have proven to be a useful platform for residents to not only understand more about what the council is doing in their local area, but allows residents a direct platform to be heard by policy makers.

Looking back at the last Chiswick Area Forum where there was a record turnout of concerned residents who wanted to hear directly from the Deputy Leader of the Council about Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and Cycleway 9 and from senior officers charged with implementing these policies.

This exercise of public scrutiny and accessible democracy is something we need more of and not less of – especially considering the incredible number of cancelled council meetings we have had during this past municipal year.

I hope the Labour Administration will reverse this decision and enable more public participation at all levels (especially area forums).”

Councillor McGregor writes in support

The Conservative Group on Hounslow Council has real concerns about the continued cloaking of schemes that are controversial, where consultation is at a minimum level or as in the case of traffic limiting schemes such as Hartington Road and Staveley Gardens do huge harm to local residents and who now need permits; or where the interests of cyclists in Chiswick High Road involves spending tens of millions of pounds of taxpayer money or gathering tens of millions of pounds in fines (PCNs) from unwary motorists without feedback being acknowledged. These schemes are spreading across Brentford and Isleworth and into the west of the Borough with the same pattern of behaviour by those in authority.

The Labour Group and its spokespeople are all of a piece…”People will get used to it…” but a loss of freedom is a loss of freedom and no mantras about doing people good and forcing health issues via polluting schemes and dangerous road architecture can ever be justified.The Conservative group who hold weekly surgeries at Chiswick Library all tell the same tales of residents fighting to understand what is happening to them whilst the group tries to hold the Labour perpetrators to account through scrutiny and publicity.

Councillor Jo Biddolph was reporting back last week.

She attached a slew of advice and information for residents about council activity


Here is more information about how to engage the council with regard to planning from Cllr McGregor.

This week there has been a big concentration by all councillors with training and development on how to guide people objecting to building applications and development plans so here are some of the things that can be done in presenting a case and keeping tabs on the progress of an application:

Consultation “What to do when objecting to a planning proposal” Step 1 Get advice and talk to a local Conservative Councillor (see the list below)

Step 2 When objecting to a planning proposal there are a range of issues which can be considered and this relies on a concept of what is material.

Material consideration is a matter that should be taken into account in deciding a planning application or on an appeal against a planning decision.

  • Step 3 Contact the planning department and submit your objection in writing
  • Material considerations for a planning case can include (but are not limited to):
  • Overlooking/loss of privacy
  • Loss of light or overshadowing
  • Parking
  • Highway safety
  • Traffic
  • Noise
  • Effect on listed building and conservation area
  • Layout and density of building
  • Design, appearance and materials
  • Government policy
  • Disabled persons' access
  • Proposals in the Development Plan
  • Previous planning decisions (including appeal decisions)
  • Nature conservation
  • However, issues such as loss of view, or negative effect on the value of properties are not material considerations.
  • There is no set list defining material considerations, your Local Planning Authority will decide what is deemed to be 'material'.
  • West London Planning Authorities are contactable as follows:
  • ( )

What to do if you want to follow a case in Hounslow

Searching planning applications in Hounslow covering Chiswick Riverside, Chiswick Homefields and Chiswick Gunnersbury:

This internet service allows you to view the details of planning applications that have been submitted to the Planning Department.

You can:

  • Monitor the progress of an application
  • View online the drawings and associated documents submitted since January 2009, with details of determined applications gradually being added.
  • Submit comments about an application
  • Search a list of applications validated or decided each week
  • View whether an appeal has been lodged and any appeal decisions
  • View recent officer reports and all Decision Notices.

This service allows you to view the details of planning applications that have been submitted to the Planning Department.

The Database History: Note you can normally only search for historic applications received since 1st January 1991. Occasionally, there are short delays in making application documents available for inspection at the start of the application process, but they are usually visible to the public as soon as neighbour notification letters have been sent out.

Traffic and Transport

Road Debris Across Chiswick

A pavement board left outside St Michael and all Angels church in Bedford Park in close proximity to a pedestrian crossing in Bath Road.

It has been there a considerable time

Road Debris Across Chiswick

Gunnersbury Ward; Chiswick Back Common

Close up on Chiswick Back Common

Road Debris Across Chiswick

And the Roadside on Chiswick Back Common

Road Debris Across Chiswick

Chiswick High Road Being dug up by the council on behalf of TFL for the fourth time……Who did the consultation?

Road Debris Across Chiswick

If you are a shopkeeper, when is it going to end?

Who asked what they or the residents of Chiswick thought?

Bikes just left abandoned on the streets of a conservation area (of course picked up from the pavement before photography)

Better Things

From Debris to Delivering Awards for Chiswick

The Chiswick Calendar party at the Boston Room in the George IV

The party last Thursday was packed out. After a two year gap from the last event
a 2023 birthday bash, part networking event, part AGM, part social, with drinks and live music from jazz guitar and combos.

The aim is still to connect people in Chiswick who are working to make it a better and more interesting place to live. It gives an opportunity to meet and chat to all sorts of people who organise things in Chiswick, from the Rugby club to the Book festival and for worthy recipients to receive rewards sponsored by Chiswick’s own Distillers, Sipsmith.

The Chiswick Calendar describes itself as a 'celebration of life in Chiswick'. As a Community Interest Company (meaning whatever surplus or profit it makes is ploughed back into the website for the good of the community) the mission is to always build the community and engage socially and politically with the daily life of the area. This means making a mark, supporting and informing Chiswick, and helping to establish the area as good a place to live in as we can make it. This means publicising the fantastic range of events that happen, promoting independent local businesses and providing a reliable source of local information. The party also provided a chance to hear about Chiswick Calendar plans for the coming year; Tremendous fun, and Bridget Osborne ably accompanied by Jeremy Vine acted as MCs for the award ceremony.

Chiswick Library Surgery Report Saturday 7th January

The surgery was busy with people from start to finish.

Helping with form filling and advising on how to negotiate a council demand

Helping with an appeal because the post failed to deliver a letter from the council

Dealing with a payroll deduction problem in a Borough Council Subsidiary

Having two phone sessions with different people unable to get to the Library

Following up on case work already in place

Library staff as helpful and nice as ever, so wishing them well in the New Year was a pleasure.

So a gap of a few weeks before my turn comes round again


Thursday 12 January at 7:00 pm: Planning committee

Tuesday, 17th January at 7:00pm: Cabinet

Tuesday, 24th January at 7:30pm: Licensing Panel

Tuesday, 31 January at 7:30pm: Borough council

Thursday, 2nd February at 7:00pm: Planning Committee

Tuesday, 21st February at 7:00pm: Cabinet

Tuesday, 28th February at 7:30pm: Budget Setting Meeting Borough council

Thursday, 2nd March at 7:00pm: Planning Committee

Tuesday, 14th March at 7:00pm: Chiswick Area Forum

Tuesday, 28 th March at 7:00pm: Cabinet


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). 


Chiswick Gunnersbury (was Turnham Green) ward

Cllr Joanna Biddolph 07976 703446

Cllr Ranjit Gill 07976 702956

Cllr Ron Mushiso 07976 702887

Chiswick Homefields ward

Cllr Jack Emsley 07977 396017

Cllr Gerald McGregor 07866 784821

Cllr John Todd 07866 784651

Chiswick Riverside ward

Cllr Peter Thompson 07977 395810  

Cllr Gabriella Giles 07966 270823 

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