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Plans for Chiswick High Road, not Old Market Place

Plans for Chiswick High Road, not Old Market Place.Monday 10 October, Robbie Williams 2nd night at the O2, but according to local media there was an event held to discuss proposals for Old Market Place at George IV pub, Chiswick High Road.  Robbie was brilliant.From reading the write up, more like minutes, in the Chiswick Calendar, it seems as though some initial decent thought had gone into modernising the area, which is to be welcomed.  It is quite clear that the Chiswick Flower Market has largely been positively embraced. It is less clear, that this is the case for the Cheese market and in particular the Antiques market. In looking back to the 1920s when a street market moved indoors before closing, getting the balance right between street markets and shops needs to be carefully thought through.  From the Chiswick Calendar minutes there does seem to be two points of clear frustration from the write up that stood out.  Firstly, proper inclusive Chiswick wide consultation is required, alternative points of view and ideas need to be heard and acted on.  There is a clear sense from the note that this has not been done yet, but the Resident Associations are willing to help.  A fair question for example is should there be weekends off, or a market every weekend? Second, is that Old Market Place does not exist but for some reason street signs have been put up.  From anyone who attended the event, it would be useful to know where and why these signs were put up?  From the write up it says Cllr Gerald McGregor pointed out that it was illegal to have done so.  At least there is recognition that they need to come down, but evident frustration expressed in the phrase” The trouble with public consultation is that you do get some ludicrous results” and reference to “Boaty McBoatface”.  The same is true if no proper consultation happens ask Liz Truss.  It appears quite clear that proper process needs to be followed.  Why anyone would potentially ignore, not know or want to get round these processes seems very odd.  From reading the report the lesson from the evening is clear: a good start but going forward consultation is important and needs to be done properly and in deference to Robbie’s former bandmates a little “Patience” will be required.

Jonathan Mabbutt ● 118d182 Comments

Susan Engel compares the name "change" (it didn't have a name before) of Old Market Place to what the Nazis did in the occupied territories during WW2 - the Germans sought to assert their superiority by changing the names of streets and putting up oppressive signs such as "Entrance is forbidden to Poles, Jews, and dogs."Susan states that this can be "depressing and dehumanising" to those whose identities are erased in this way.Now some of us might feel that Susan's comparison to Germany's actions in WW2 is inappropriate.  However, in Susan's defence, the names of places "cast their own identity", as she asserts, so any naming or name change is a political act.In this case a car park in front of the Police Station was given a name - before that it was just known as the car park in front of the police station or the fire station.While the sign didn't say "Nur für Radfahrer" - that was the implied meaning for OneChiswick.The name arguably "rehumanises" the area as a place for people - a marketplace - and challenges its identity as a car park.It is still a car park, but perhaps it is less legitimately a car park.  Where once cars were there as of right, the fear is that they remain only by permission.Maggie and others have warned that this anti-dehumanising act means the car park is under threat by markets or other activities that put people ahead of cars.Their own identity politics prefer to dehumanise The Old Marketplace so as to ensure that cars remain dominant and that people don't feel like they own this space.  As they often point out, only car users pay road tax and therefore they own the roads and thus only they can legitimately name a road.For Susan and OneChiswick, this is ihr Kampf against a minority who don't deserve the same access to the roads as they have.  Others have called this minority "cockroaches" on this forum and complain that they secretly control the government as part of an international conspiracy to oppress the majority, which is funny, because they do sound a bit like Nazis there.  Well, not funny ha ha, actually quite offensive. 

Ed Saper ● 103d

It would be useful to go back to the origins of this post and hope that those in the twitter sphere start to appreciate that facts, laws and democracy do matter.  A meeting was held at the George IV Pub on 10 October to discuss the future of markets on Chiswick High Road as it still is.  The event was advertised about the future of markets at “Old Market Place” and reported as such by the Chiswick Calendar. That report clearly set out that there was support for the Flower Market, but less for the Cheese and Antiques market.  There were strong observations that more needed to be done on consultation involving Residents Associations and more, and that Councillor Gerald McGregor pointed out that the putting up of signs “Old Market Place” was both illegal and not smart. The signs have come down for that reason.  From simple research Councillor Gerald McGregor is indeed correct.  Firstly, the area has never been named “Old Market Place”, Chiswick never had a royal charter for a market, Brentford did and to this day has a road named “Market Place”.  For those interested Brentford market Royal Charter was “granted 23 Dec 1306, by K Edw I to Ps and N of St Helen’s, London. To be held at the manor of ‘Braynford’”. You can look up “ye olde” facts in Gazetteers under Brentford.  Secondly, in naming roads etc, or re-numbering great care needs to be taken. A formal process needs to be followed. The Royal Mail, Emergency Services and Ward Councillors along with businesses and residents all need to be formally and fully consulted.  This must be done and cannot be bypassed.  It had not been done. LBHs guidance says “Please note that you are not allowed to erect street signs or nameplates on publicly adopted highway or footway under any circumstance”.  Further, if deemed advertising in contravention of the regulations, a person is liable on summary conviction of an offence under section 224(3) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.  The maximum fine is currently £2500. So as Councillor Gerald McGregor said it is illegal. What is now odd, is that from the twitter sphere, people are implying that the organisers of the markets had renamed the area. They hadn’t - it remains Chiswick High Road.  No official gazetteer has that name on record, no A to Z has that name, no LBH street sign map has that name, no internet map has that street name and all the properties, such as the George IV register their address to Chiswick High Road.  Law is important in a democracy and needs to be adhered to.  As noted, some good work had started on what improvements could look like, with an appropriate reduction in parking from 52 to 44 spaces, but much wider Chiswick consultation is needed on many matters, how many markets and what type and how big are just some. Should the area be renamed, maybe, maybe not and great care needs to be taken and residents and businesses need a say.  There have already been some suggestions and a competition could be run. There is no anger as the people on Twitter suggest, people want a democracy that is adhered to and follows the law.  That is all Cllr Gerald McGregor was saying, as reported by the Chiswick Calendar.

Jonathan Mabbutt ● 112d

Now having done some research on the issue of the naming of streets and places and what are the right names results in essence in the following simple conclusion: you cannot just change the name of somewhere because you fancy it.  There are thorough processes to go through.Reviewing the history of Chiswick is instructive too; from looking at the archives, Chiswick never had a royal charter for a market. Brentford did and has a road named “Market Place” on official maps today.  The Chiswick Calendar refers to ‘Old Market Place” being on Google maps. From checking, this could not be found, but it is irrelevant in any case, as street names must be properly consulted on and are recorded by Gazetteers which inform Ordnance Survey maps.Further research shows that the process of consultation starts in all cases with the Royal Mail, Emergency Services and ward councillors, businesses and residents.  Not doing so could result in misleading signs.  Emergency services for example could go to the wrong place with lives put at risk. It appears £2500 fines could also be issued for illegal signs.Lastly in many cases options in processes for street renaming exist.  This can start with keeping the current, to putting up options that can be voted on.  There may be real issues for Emergency Services and Postal services with a “Market Place” existing in Brentford for something so similar in Chiswick being proposed such as ‘Old Market Place” which does sound dated but never existed. 

Jonathan Mabbutt ● 117d