Politics in the Pub, Missing Trees and Making Hounslow Greener

Chiswick Homefields councillor Jack Emsley reports back

A visit to the pub with some fellow councillors
A visit to the pub with some fellow councillors

March 16, 2024

It’s my turn again to write this week’s Chiswick councillor blog. Luckily, every week as a councillor for Chiswick Homefields is a busy week, so there’s always plenty to write about - contrary to the headline picture, trips to the pub with fellow councillors are a rarity! So, from council committees to Area Forums, here’s what I’ve been up to over the past week.

Politics in the Pub

I popped across to the King’s Arms in Brentford last Friday to have a pint and a chat with our brilliant local GLA candidate Ron Mushiso (and the fantastic new Parliamentary candidate for Brentford and Isleworth, Laura Blumenthal). Ron is an extremely hard working local councillor in Chiswick Gunnersbury, and brings exactly the level of energy and passion for our community that South West London deserves in a representative.

I’m particularly impressed by his commitment to connecting with people across the South West London area, whether it’s through his Politics in the Pub roadshow or in his many trips to community events and places of worship. The most important thing we can do as local representatives, at any level of local, regional or national government, is engage with the people we were elected to represent. Ron does this better than almost anyone, and I’m looking forward to voting for him on the 2nd May and having him as our London Assembly Member.

Making Hounslow Greener

 On Monday we had our final Housing and Environment Scrutiny Panel of the municipal year, where we finalised our recommendations for a report into how to improve nature recovery across our borough. I make this point every year, but I really don’t understand why there is only one committee to cover both housing and the environment - it means that last year, when we investigated the state of empty council homes in Hounslow, we were unable to scrutinise the council’s environmental policies, and this year in scrutinising nature recovery we have not been able to provide recommendations as a panel on the state of housing. These are two of the most important topics facing local communities today, and it’s beyond time the council made time for committees to investigate both at the same time.

Procedural moans aside, this year’s panel has been an important one - we’ve investigated both the state of nature recovery and new rules around biodiversity net gain in planning. The latter is particularly relevant to Chiswick Homefields, where residents in Grove Park are still outraged at the sight of large amounts of felled trees in the playing fields next to Cavendish Road. The loss of these trees to make way for plastic playing pitches is unconscionable, but current Biodiveristy Net Gain requirements make changes like this possible. One recommendation we’re making as a committee is implementing a new Urban Greening Factor in planning decisions, which should ensure that future applications are much friendlier to our shared environment.

On the subject of trees, I asked at a Chiswick Area Forum last year for statistics on the survival rate of the much trumpeted 8,000+ ‘trees’ planted by the council in the last planting season. I’m concerned that this number is fairly meaningless, as the majority of trees planted are whips, which the council admits have a survival rate of less than 50%. Is the council really as green as it says it is? It’s a question nobody can seem to answer, as the Parks department confirmed that they don’t currently have any data on how many trees planted by the council in 22/23 are actually still alive. This is strange, as it’s very unlike this current Labour administration to fudge the stats…

Digital Poverty

 Talking of Area Forums, the Chiswick Area Forum was held last week - the theme was culture and digital inclusion, and the meeting heard several great presentations about Hounslow’s Summer of Culture, the Hounslow Arts Centre, and digital poverty.

In the discussion about digital poverty, Councillor Ron Mushiso was absolutely right to highlight the extreme generosity of Chiswick back in 2022, when locals came together to donate over 1,000 laptops and other devices for refugees and local school children who lived with digital poverty. Here’s a picture of us at Rocks Lane, one of the donation points for the laptop drive - isn’t it amazing how two years as a councillor can age you…

Cllr Ron Mushiso (left) and Cllr Jack Emsley (right) deliver laptops to Rocks Lane

Cllr Jack Emsley


07977 396017



Monday 18 March 2024 at 7:00pm Cabinet

Tuesday 26 March 2024 at 7:30pm Borough Council


6th Floor, Hounslow House, 7 Bath Road, Hounslow TW3 3EB

During weekends, residents can still access council services on-line or via emergency numbers:
To inform the council of an emergency, please call 020 8583 2222


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 joanna.biddolph@hounslow.gov.uk 07976 703446

Cllr Ranjit Gill ranjit.gill@hounslow.gov.uk 07976 702956

Cllr Ron Mushiso ron.mushiso@hounslow.gov.uk 07976 702887

Chiswick Homefields ward

Cllr Jack Emsley jack.emsley@hounslow.gov.uk 07977 396017

Cllr Gerald McGregor gerald.mcgregor@hounslow.gov.uk 07866 784821

Cllr John Todd john.todd@hounslow.gov.uk 07866 784651

Chiswick Riverside ward

Cllr Gabriella Giles gabriella.giles@hounslow.gov.uk 07966 270823

Cllr Peter Thompson peter.thompson@hounslow.gov.uk 07977 395810  

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