Chinese fine dining in Grove Park

I have long lamented that there isn’t a really good Chinese restaurant in striking range of where I live, so was delighted to be invited to the home of Jet and Eugene in Grove Park where they offer an authentic, home cooked Chinese meal for paying guests.

I wasn’t sure what to expect but there were eight of us seated for dinner – an English engineer, a couple of bankers, a gallery owner and some Chinese friends of Jet and Eugene, who mostly had an interest in China and were good company as we set about this banquet, this feast of eleven courses ranging from vegetarian to fish, lamb, beef, pork and chicken.

Each dish offered a variety of flavours and textures, from the Pork and Chinese mushroom pancake starter, to the Sichuan spicy chicken (the only really hot dish) to the Spare ribs Wuxi style and the Stir-fried vegetables with prawns. Before eating there I would have told you that I wasn’t fussed about Spare ribs, but these were like no others I’d experienced, with far more meat on them than the name suggests. Every course was delicious and having Jet and Eugene to chat to about the food and about life in China made the experience even more memorable.

Their next ‘at home’ will be on Saturday 9th June.  Suggested minimum contribution £30 per person. To book, email Eugene at jetskitchen2015@gmail.com

 

Sample menu

Appetizers

Pork and Chinese mushroom pancake

Soup

Lamb and vegetable soup

Main Course

  1. Shredded potato salad
  2. Sichuan spicy chicken
  3. Spare ribs Wuxi style
  4. Mu Shoo chicken
  5. Slow cooked lamb and Chinese sauce
  6. Stir-fried vegetables with prawns
  7. Braised aubergines
  8. Steamed sea bass

Steamed rice

Dessert

Sticky rice balls and fruit

 

Old Meadownians FC under threat

The future of Old Meadownians Football Club is under threat as a result of development plans for Dukes Meadows. The 89 year old club, formed from the former old boys of Chiswick School, fields ten adult football teams. Their pitches are also used by youth teams and by Chiswick School.

Hounslow Council has plans to regenerate the area but negotiations with the Football Club have reached a stalemate. The club currently pays a peppercorn rent and under a Management Agreement they undertake the day to day care and maintenance of the grounds, which to date they estimate has saved the council half a million pounds. Now they say the council intends to charge them £10,000 per annum, which they cannot afford.

 

Double whammy

The club shares the Management Agreement with Chiswick Rugby Club and to make matters worse the Rugby Club, which currently uses 32% Riverside Lands area, has written to the Council requesting use of 50% land. The rugby club has done well from the redevelopment because the RFU have agreed to £1.3m worth of funding for an artificial all-weather pitch. A similar deal for the football club with the FA under the Parklife programme was considered but the football club turned it down because they had serious concerns about the proposed costs and the uncertainties over funding.

Where this becomes really murky is that exactly which 32% should be available to the rugby club is not defined in the Management Agreement. The London Borough of Hounslow has now issued the rugby club with a new lease and the football club is considering suing them over its legality, as the Management Agreement is supposed to be in place until 2027.

Chiswick Rugby Club has already started work on its refurbishment and the resulting rubble now covers two junior football pitches, according to the football club. Old Meadownians FC says it has already lost revenue from the rugby club’s development works because access to their pitches is being affected. Having reached this impasse, they say the Council is now ignoring requests for further dialogue: ‘LBH have declined to communicate further’ said Edward Glover. I’ve asked the Council for a comment. The rugby club has declined to comment. The football club say the future of their hitherto thriving club – they are one of the largest and most successful amateur clubs in the London area, at a time when there is a significant decline in adult male 11-a-side football – is now under threat.

For a redevelopment which is supposed to encourage active participation in sport, it appears to be something of an own goal.

Heathrow – MPs to vote soon

MPs will soon be given the opportunity to vote in parliament on whether expansion at Heathrow should go ahead. The campaign group Chiswick Against Third Runway (CHATR) believes that the true costs of a 3rd runway at Heathrow have not been disclosed to the public. A recent Freedom Of Information request has revealed Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) figures that show at least 2.2 million people will suffer noise blight when Heathrow is expanded.
Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling claimed in October 2016 that an expanded Heathrow would be quieter in 2030 than today. This claim was not repeated in the revised draft consultation on the Airports National Policy Statement (NPS), which conceded that 92,700 additional people in the area around Heathrow would be exposed to noise as a consequence of a third runway.
CHATR reveals that, following an FOI request for noise data contained in the CAA’s economic analysis, a new figure has now emerged of 972,957 households who would experience greater noise by 2060. Based on CAA assumptions of 2.3 people per household this gives a figure of approximately 2.2 million people – and this is the best case scenario, assuming that improvements in technology will have reduced aircraft noise. The CAA has conceded that realistically, in a worst case scenario the number is probably more like 3 million people.
“In Chiswick alone, the 3rd runway brings an extra 35,000 people under a new flightpath with planes anticipated to be at c.2,000 feet, noise levels of 55-75 decibels, every 90 seconds for up to 16 hours a day. This life-changing prospect is causing great distress to local families, many of whom put down roots in the area to avoid being blighted by flight paths” they say in their press briefing.

Institutional bias

CHATR also makes the case that Heathrow has over the years developed a close relationship with the DfT and alleges that this is having a significant bearing on the biased way the case is being presented to MPs. “This close relationship has in part developed because of the movement of staff between the organisations over many years”. A recent example, they say, is Simon Baugh, previously Director of PR at Heathrow and involved in the launch of “Back Heathrow”, a pro Heathrow expansion lobby group funded by Heathrow, who has been employed by the DfT as its Group Director of Communications. “We believe this bias contributed to the early narrowing of the options to Heathrow – despite this being the option will impact on the largest population and has the most harmful environmental and public health impacts”.

Impact on local infrastructure

There is then the question of who will pay for the additional infrastructure around and connecting to the airport. Heathrow have offered £1bn but thinks the government should pay the rest. TfL have estimated these costs as between £15bn and £20bn.

Guerilla Gardening Awards

It’s funny isn’t it how creating an image on a public wall is considered vandalism but planting an area of public waste ground merits an award. ‘Guerilla gardening’ is all the rage and there’s quite a lot of it about in Chiswick.

Stile Hall Gardens

In 2016 Abundance London decided to create an award for the person or group that had done most to improve or create an unofficial garden around the Chiswick area.

“Guerrilla gardening” includes tree pits, small dilapidated areas, and also ‘gardens where the local community has asked permission from the council or landowner and taken responsibility to create something of worth – beautiful and biodiverse – that could create pleasure for passersby and maybe a tiny habitat for wildlife’.

They invited people to send in nominations, some of which you can see on The Chiswick Calendar website. The winners will be announced next week.

Featured image by Banksy

‘Behind you!’ … ‘I do’

The UK divided on Saturday between those who wanted to watch The Wedding and those desperate to avoid it. I was in the former camp in the vicarage garden at St Paul’s church with pints of Pimms flowing, tasty burgers and fabulous cakes.

I was on a stall mid way between the screens and loud speakers relaying the service to my left and the children’s entertainer to my right. A surreal experience.

‘And there’s Meghan Markle making her way down the aisle’ murmured Huw Edwards reverentially. ‘Behind You!’ yelled the children’s entertainer. “There’s power in love. Love can help and heal when nothing else can” enthused the Chicago preacher Michael Curry. ‘Booooo’ yelled the children. “I do” said Meghan, at least I assume she did as the kids exploded with laughter and high pitched squeals of delight at the very point we’d all been waiting for. But I guess if she’d changed her mind I would probably have heard about it by now.

Cllr Sam Hearn

“It’s difficult to wear a hat” said Kirsty Young.
Cllr Sam Hearn begged to differ.

When I was a lad I served a term
As office boy to an Attorney’s firm.
I cleaned the windows and I swept the floor,
And I polished up the handle of the big front door.
(He polished up the handle of the big front door.)
I polished up that handle so carefully
That now I am the Ruler of the Queen’s Navee!
HMS PInafore

British backpackers in Australia

I think my favourite photo from Saturday was this one sent to me by my daughter in Australia, of British backpackers (all girls you will note) huddled round trying to watch the wedding on a mobile in a hostel.

Chiswick Curve Public Inquiry: Calling All Residents

Guest blog by Marie Rabouhans

As you will be aware, the developer of the Chiswick Curve is appealing against the London Borough of Hounslow’s Refusal of the 32-storey building and the media screens. The Appeal will be the subject of a Public Inquiry to be held in June. If, like me, you love living in this part of London and you appreciate the richness of our heritage, please attend the Inquiry. Over 200 people came to the public meeting we held about the Curve in April 2016 and this had an impact. The fantastic community support for, and response to, the Chiswick Timeline project is a recent example of local enthusiasm for our shared environment and history.

As Chairman of the West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society I am calling upon Chiswick residents and our neighbours in Brentford and Kew to attend this Public Inquiry as it is immensely important for the future, not only of this part of the borough of Hounslow but also, more generally, of West London. The outcome will set the scene for other developments in the area. What is at stake is our precious heritage, the character and context of our neighbourhoods and the quality of our lives and those of future residents, including any who might live in the development at Chiswick Roundabout should it be built. Much of what is at stake is what will be lost —and it will be lost forever.

But why, I hear you ask, do I need to be there?

By attending you will demonstrate to the Inspector and all those participating in the Inquiry that this is a matter of great concern and importance to all of us as local residents. Your commitment in attending will send a powerful signal and provide great support to all those who are defending the Council’s refusal of this wholly inappropriate development. While members of the public will not be able to speak, your presence will speak volumes. A Public Inquiry on this scale is a rare opportunity to hear planning policy thrashed out in public. Come and listen to the arguments and see how decisions with major consequences for where and how we live are made.

The West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society has been active in opposing the Chiswick Curve since early in 2016 and, in writing to the Inspector on the Appeal, we have maintained our strong objection to the proposed development (building and media screens). We fully support the Council’s refusal of the applications. WCGS has requested that the appeals against refusal of planning permission and advertising consent by LB Hounslow be dismissed.

The Society not only tries to protect and enhance the quality of life for those who live in our area, but we also take a lively interest in the broader community and our shared environment. We love our part of London and wish all those who live and work here or visit to be able to enjoy and celebrate its rich heritage and natural assets and appreciate the delightful human-scale of its residential streets. We are not alone, many others from statutory consultees such as Historic England and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, other resident groups and our MP, Ruth Cadbury have expressed their opposition to the proposed development at this site.

There is much background information about the development on our website westchiswickgs.org but to summarise the major objections to the Curve relate to:

• Unsuitability of site for residential use
• Negative impact of building and media screens on heritage and low-rise residential areas
• Negative impact on traffic and public transport and lack of infrastructure

Before highlighting some of these issues, here is some key information about the Inquiry:

The Public Inquiry will begin at 10 am on Tuesday, 12th June 2018 at Brentford Free Church, Boston Manor Road, Brentford, TW8 8DW.
The draft programme for the Inquiry and other details are available on the Inquiry website:
More information will be made available on this website closer to the Inquiry start.

Weeks 1 and 2 The Council will present its case followed by the “Rule 6” parties, Historic England, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Kew Society. This will be followed by “third parties” including WCGS.

Week 3 The Appellant, Starbones will present its case.

Week 4 Closing submissions.

While you may not to be able to attend the Inquiry in its entirety, please attend as much as you can. Talk to friends and neighbours – you could, perhaps, work out a rota between you. Your support would be especially welcome on:
Days 1 and 2 (Tuesday 12th June and Wednesday, 13th June),
Day 7 * when the Society and other resident groups speak (Thursday 21st June)
Days 9 to 11* when the developer presents his case
Day 13* for the closing submissions (Wednesday 4th July)
*Please note that these later parts of the programme are subject to confirmation.

Comment on some of the issues

Unsuitability of site for residential use
We acknowledge the need for housing and welcome appropriate development. However, the development potential of Chiswick Roundabout and its environs is severely constrained by the extremely hostile environment (noise, air pollution, severance and visual intrusion) created by the major road network (especially A4/M4/N Circular) and by the sensitivity of the surrounding residential areas and heritage assets. The development potential of the appeal site itself is further compromised by its small size and “island” nature. We consider that the locality is, in principle, totally unsuitable for residential use. Any development on this site should be non-residential.

The measures proposed by the applicant to mitigate air and noise pollution for future residents of the development only address the internal environment of residential units. Whenever residents leave the building they will be exposed to the unacceptable environmental conditions of this site. This will militate against the residents adopting active, healthy lifestyles including active travel modes (walking, cycling) or engaging in social interaction.

The concept of a development where residents are encouraged to remain indoors is reflected in the developer’s Travel Plans that are inter alia designed to… try to reduce the need for people to travel in the first place (by provision of broadband internet to every dwelling to enable home working, online shopping). What quality of life will future residents have confined to their mechanically-ventilated, hermetically-sealed pods, looking down on the grid-locked Chiswick Roundabout? Leading the sedentary, socially isolated lives thus envisaged will be detrimental to the physical and mental well-being of such residents and to community cohesion. How can anyone reconcile such a dystopian forecast of life in the 2020s with the vision of our recently adopted Local Plan or that of the Mayor of London?

Negative impact of building and media screens on heritage and low-rise residential areas
The location of the site and the scale, height and design of the proposed development are such that it would be prominently visible from within the surrounding area. WCGS considers that the development would inflict severe and lasting harm on the natural and built environment of the area compromising its current qualities and undermining strategies for its enhancement. In addition to the harm to the visual amenity of the area caused by the scale of the building and the number and size of the digital media screens, the negative impact on traffic and public transport would be detrimental to the quality of life of local residents and to the visitor experience and hence to the viability of the visitor attractions.

The developer, on the other hand, claims that this clearly significant impact is beneficial on the basis of the architectural quality of the design and the scheme’s contribution to urban intensification. His approach is tantamount to saying that the despoiling of the wider historic area is justified because its time this heritage was ‘put in its place’ and made to offer homage to the grand urban gesture of the Golden Mile and the major road infrastructure.

Talk of heritage assets may seem cold and academic but Heritage is our inheritance – it is the visible link with our history – it connects us to where we live. I have lived in Chiswick for over 40 years and am actively involved in seeking to protect and enhance our natural and built heritage assets. The Conservation Areas that would be affected have been designated by this Council or by neighbouring Richmond in recognition of their value and the contribution their character makes to the context and quality of people’s lives. Buildings, parks and gardens are Listed in order to ensure they continue to educate, intrigue and delight us. World Heritage sites are designated by UNESCO in recognition of their international significance. The townscape is where we live –– our streets and homes and the ultimate “receptors” are people – us.

The views assessed in reports provide snap-shots from a specific point but the impacts would be felt over a wide area. We move and how we experience our surroundings is dynamic; this very tall building would not suddenly disappear as we move from the chosen view point. It would dominate the view as we walk down our street, relax in our garden, look out from our window, stroll through the park, across the green, along the river towpath or visit the cemetery. It would appear alien – demeaning and belittling the intimate, human scale of our neighbourhoods and destroying our sense of place. The change in scale is brutal and the impact would be inescapable.

What is at stake is what will be lost —and it will be lost for ever.

Marie Rabouhans
Chairman, WCGS
May 2018

Marie Rabouhans is Chairman of the West Chiswick & Gunnersbury Residents Association

Chiswick Curve Public Inquiry – Sign up to Attendance Rota

As you will no doubt be aware if you have lived in this area for any time, there is to be a Public Inquiry into the Chiswick Curve, a proposed 32 storey development of offices and residential units on Chiswick roundabout. Residents objected to the developers’ proposals. Hounslow Council refused planning permission. The developers appealed against the decision and now there is to be a Public Inquiry in June.

Leading the charge on behalf of opponents is Marie Rabouhans, Chairman of the West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society, who is now calling on as many residents as possible to turn up to the Inquiry to show the Inspector how great is the local opposition to the skyscraper.

Arguments against it range from the aesthetic to concern about the air quality for those living at a traffic junction at the end of the M4, to worries about how the local infrastructure – schools, doctors’ surgeries and especially transport links, given the already perilous state of Gunnersbury station in the rush hour – will cope with so many more people. It is also thought that if the developers win this appeal it will open the flood gates to a veritable forest of high rise developments along the M4 corridor.

Marie and several other representatives, from Brentford Community Council and Strand On The Green residents’ association will be speaking at the Inquiry. There is nothing else that opponents can do now other than to turn up and show moral support. “It will create a big psychological impact, showing how strongly people feel about it” says Marie.

 

Marie Rabouhans, Chairman, WCGS
Add your name to the rota if you feel strongly about it

The Inquiry takes place over four weeks, from Tuesday, 12th June until Wednesday 4th July (possibly a few days longer) from Tuesdays to Fridays at the Brentford Free Church, Boston Manor Road, Brentford, TW8 8DW. Marie would like people to be there every day, but particularly on the opening and closing days.

The Chiswick Calendar has accordingly set up a calendar page which you can access on our website here, so you can see which days people are attending and where there are gaps. If you click on the page and fill out the form, we’ll receive an email and will add the information (not your name, just a head count of numbers attending each day) to the calendar.

Marie has written a guest blog asking you to attend if you can, outlining the arguments and giving all the background information, which you can also read on The Chiswick website

Parking mayhem

There are now at least four petitions circulating in Grove Park and Strand on the Green on the issue of parking. The issue has come to a head because in previous consultations Strand on the Green voted to become a Controlled Parking Zone but Grove Park didn’t. The result is that vehicles which don’t have permits park in Grove Park where parking is still free. It’s been the case for some time that if you’re not home and tucked in your house by 7.00pm you are doomed to drive around the neighbourhood looking for a space a couple of streets away and now the most recent introduction of CPZ has meant that the game of musical chairs goes on during the day as well.

This has been compounded by gas works in Sutton Court Rd and street cleaning. Residents in Riverview Rd and Grove and Wilmington Avenue found their street plastered with a rash of parking tickets. One Riverview Rd resident, a pensioner and cancer survivor for whom mobility is an issue, came back from a trip to find her car had been ticketed while she was away. These tickets are now being contested on the basis that there was only three days’ notice. But the real issue is that there’s nowhere else to move the cars to.

Petitions

One petition is to bring in CPZ in Grove Park Gardens. Another is to get CPZ suspended on Strand-on-the Green. There’s one about traffic calming on Sutton Court Road and one on getting a short term suspension of CPZ in Sutton Court to relieve parking during Gas repairs.

Many people in Grove Park who voted against the introduction of CPZ in their area now feel it is being forced upon them because of the decision by Strand on the Green residents. Chairman of the Strand On The Green Residents Association Richard Griffin says “Zone 1 was the only one to vote by a majority for the introduction of a CPZ despite the other Zones being asked by the Council to reconsider their veto in the event that a CPZ was approved in a neighbouring Zone. Zone 2 realised after the introduction of the CPZ into Zone 1 that they would suffer parking migration and made an early application and now has its CPZ. Zone 3 need to apply direct to the Council for a new Consultation to be held as time has lapsed from the original. From our experience in Zone 1 this will take in the order of 12/18 months for the Consultation and subsequent CPZ to be introduced”.

Cllr Sam Hearn says he has already been working on this, as it was becoming obvious that there would be parking chaos, but even if Grove park residents voted for CPZ he can’t see the process working through until at least April 2019.

New Riverside councillor Gabriella Giles says she is collecting residents’ comments and invites anyone affected to email her with their views at gabriella.giles@hounslow.gov.uk

Guerilla Gardening awards

Guest blog by Karen Liebreich

In 2016 Abundance London decided to create an award for the person or group that had done most to improve or create an unofficial garden around the Chiswick area. “Guerrilla gardening” includes tree pits, small dilapidated areas, and also gardens where the local community has asked permission from the council or landowner and taken responsibility to create something of worth – beautiful and biodiverse, that could create pleasure for passersby and maybe a tiny habitat for wildlife.

We invited people to send in nominations if they have noticed a worthy contender, and we were delighted to receive information. You can send in suggestions for next year at any time.

This year’s nominations include: 

–          Sutton Court Road: The planted tree pits at the railway corner. Planting includes bedding plants, small bushes and yuccas.

–          Deans Lane, a small alleyway running between Herbert and Ernest Gardens, looked after by the local community. There is a long thin strip of earth that runs the length of the alleyway, which is planted up with a bright and diverse selection. This has turned a potentially threatening narrow alleyway into a pleasant and friendly walk, and has also brought the community together. (Above left)

–          The herbaceous borders at St Michael and All Angels Church. Susan Hunt organises the gardeners at St Michael & All Angels, who together keep the wide herbaceous borders alongside the church and the entry path looking beautiful and welcoming. (Above right)

–          Outsider Tart. Years ago the raised bed outside this cafe was just a boring mass of ivy. A very unpromising piece of ground – under a large tree that shaded the area completely – was transformed by the local cafe owners with suitable planting suggested by garden designer Christine Wilkie. The bed has year-round interest and is beautifully maintained. Not only must this have cost the cafe a considerable amount of money, but it clearly took a lot of time-consuming negotiation with the council to gain permission. (Above left)

–          Dianne’s memorial garden, Strand-on-the-Green. This small garden transformed a corner of the Strand-on-the-Green towpath in memory of a local lady. Instead of boring green bushes filled with discarded cans and worse, there is now a lovely tiny garden. (Above centre)

–          Stile Hall Gardens. A long wide strip alongside the pavement and railway at the Kew Bridge end of Stile Hall Gardens has been transformed into a garden with a variety of  planting – alliums, day lilies, geraniums, honesty, santolina, echinops, tulips and much more ensure a constant display of lush colour with plenty for passing people and insects to enjoy. Gardened by the community this provides a very welcome oasis. (Above right)

Karen Liebreich is a co-director and founder of Abundance London

The Chiswick Calendar’s Summer of Jazz

Burt Bacharach turned 90 on Saturday and as anyone who saw Michael Grade’s tribute to him on Channel Four will know, his ability as a pianist and as a raconteur seem undiminished by age. The Chiswick Calendar and Live Music To Go will be celebrating the music of the great composer and arranger in a live concert with jazz vocalist Helen Theophanous backed by the Geoff Castle Trio at 8.00pm on Wednesday 6th June at London Auctions, 34 Chiswick High Rd.

Helen Theophanous

Helen Theophanous sings the songs of Burt Bacharach

Bacharach was acclaimed as music’s “Greatest Living Composer” in 2008 by The Recording Academy and he continues to compose and to tour worldwide. He wrote so many songs made famous by artists from Perry Como to the Stranglers – the Drifters, Dionne Warwick, Dusty Springfield, Tom Jones, Cilla Black, Aretha Franklin, Isaac Hayes, the Carpenters. Alison Moyet, Cher … his music spans sixty years and the phenomenal number of hits plays like the backing track to our lives.

The Burt Bacharach concert is one of three Jazz concerts we’re putting on with Jazz promoter Larry Pryce of Live Music To Go in May and June.

Book tickets here

 

Phoebe Katis

Phoebe Katis Sings Women Of Jazz

On Thursday 24th May Phoebe Katis will be making her debut in the Boston Room at George IV on Chiswick High Rd. This wonderfully soulful vocalist fell in love with the singing of Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday and Etta James when she was at university but she also draws from the soulful natures of Randy Crawford and Carol King and more contemporary jazz singers for her set. A supremely talented songwriter and performing artist, she combines her own personal interpretation of numbers from some of the great female vocalists with her own stylish songs.

Book tickets here

Shireen Francis and Sarah Moule

When Peggy met Ella

Then Thursday June 28th two of the UK’s top jazz vocalists, Shireen Francis and Sarah Moule celebrate two of the greatest jazz singers of all time, Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald in a special show entitled, “When Peggy Met Ella”. With accompaniment from the hugely talented pianist Simon Wallace and acclaimed bassist Neville Malcolm, the singers will be performing some of the greatest songs of the 20th century, from the understated purr of “Black Coffee” to the infectious swing of “Cheek To Cheek”, exploring how Peggy and Ella’s turbulent lives shaped their singing careers.

Book tickets here

Artists posing

The second weekend of the Bedford Park Festival, 15 – 17 June, sees the return of Artists At Home, the open studios across Chiswick, Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush.

The Artists At Home are a bunch of poseurs, but not in a bad way. Not in the dictionary sense that they ‘behave affectedly’ but in the more acceptable sense ‘poses for effect’. Photographer Daniel Lewis was commissioned by Artists At Home to create a series of portraits of the artists at work, and the results are stunning.

The photographs were the subject of his first solo exhibition in 2914 and two of the images from this project have been recognised in the ‘British Life Photography Awards’ and were subsequently in a touring exhibition across the UK. Since then he’s been commissioned by the National Geographic Traveller to photograph the Natural History Museum and last year to take a series of portraits of Premier League footballers.

Photographing the artists he said was fascinating as their studios were all so different, each very telling of their personality and their work. And perhaps unusually for people used to controlling how things look, they mostly took direction easily.

You can see his Artists At Home portraits in the This Is Chiswick section of The Chiswick Calendar website.

Photograph is Tristan V Christann’s portrait by Daniel Lewis.

Bedford Park Festival tickets go on sale

Photograph of Milly Forrest – Bedford Park’s own soprano

 

The Bedford Park Festival programme has been announced and tickets have gone on sale. Festival prime mover Torin Douglas says it’s “lost none of its sparkle after the excitement of the 50th anniversary celebrations last year”.

From the opening party at St Michael & All Angels on Friday June 8th – previewing the Bedford Park Summer Exhibition and the Photographic Competition, sponsored by The Chiswick Calendar – to the Dvorak Festival Mass and Open Gardens on Sunday June 24th, there is a stimulating array of concerts, talks, walks and drama, with something for everyone, whatever their age or taste, in aid of charities and the church.

Cory Band from Treorchy, South Wales

Cory Band from Treorchy, South Wales

The Cory Band from Treorchy in the Rhondda Valley, which originally formed as a colliery band in 1884, will be performing its repertoire of “blockbusting and beautiful” music on Saturday 16th Jun and the Nonesuch Orchestra returns to St Michael & All Angels on Thursday June 21st with two daytime performances of Stravinsky’s ballet Apollon Musagete, designed specifically for a children’s audience.

Many of the performers taking part in the festival are world class musicians, though it is our good fortune that they also live locally. David Juritz is an internationally known violinist. His Concert and Supper will feature music from the musicals – music and songs from Kurt Weill’s Berlin to Leonard Bernstein’s New York, with singers Claire Bradshaw and Damian Thantrey. After the concert, the entertainment continues over supper in the Parish Hall on Monday June 14th.

Summer Serenade

Summer Serenade

The Opera Gala on Friday June 15th, features Bedford Park’s own young soprano Milly Forrest. Milly hit the headlines last year when she stood in for a leading performer at the Wigmore Hall at a moment’s notice. She has has just graduated with First Class honours from the Royal Academy of Music undergraduate course and has just started on the Postgraduate course at the Royal College of Music.

Sandy Burnett

Sandy Burnett

Bass player Sandy Burnett, also from Bedford Park, moves with ease between classical and jazz music. Sandy, who played at The Chiswick Calendar’s annual party at at George IV in January, will be playing in Jazz on a Summer’s Night with vocalist Vanessa Rose as part of the Denis Smith Trio on Wednesday June 13th, and will then be appearing in Tenor Madness on Thursday 21 June, improvising on Renaissance and Baroque themes, with pianist and harpsichordist David Gordon and drummer Tom Hooper.

 

You can read all about the history of the Bedford Park Festival and the Green Days weekend which always starts off the two weeks of culture and community activities in the This Is Chiswick section of The Chiswick Calendar website.

To book tickets for this year’s festival go here.

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)

You like me have probably been bombarded with emails about the new General Data Protection Regulation. As far as I can ascertain from reading the guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office, we don’t need to ask you to re-subscribe because the system we’ve used from the start meets the criteria set out in the new regulations.

Subscribers to The Chiswick Calendar take affirmative action when you email us or fill out the form on the website to say you would like to receive these newsletters. To receive the club card you have to go a step further and tick a box which brings up the form asking you for your address for us to deliver your card. (Which is why ironically I think so many people email us to say they’ve subscribed but haven’t received their card! There’s a second step!)

If you are already a subscriber but don’t have a club card and would like one, just fill out the subscriber’s form again and this time tick the club card box and give us your address. The form is here. If you would like to unsubscribe from this newsletter there’s a link at at the top and bottom of every newsletter.

We are now reviewing our storage of data to make sure that also complies with GDPR.

A cycle through Southfield

The local elections reconfirmed Southfield ward in the London Borough of Ealing as a Lib Dem stronghold – the only one as it happens in Chiswick or in Ealing. As the dust settles it’s business as usual for the three Southfield councillors.

Guest blog by Cllr Andrew Steed

Ten days ago my colleagues Gary Busuttil, Gary Malcolm and myself were re-elected as councillors for Southfield Ward (Ealing). We are grateful for the support of the residents of Southfield and for our increased majority. Election night and the count are the culmination of a long process. We started election canvassing back in February, in the hope of making contact with as many residents as possible. If you want people to vote for you, the least you can do is to try to talk to them: most people are pleased to see their ward councillor on their doorstep. A sunny Sunday provides the ideal conditions to get the bike out and continue where we left off, taking a tour of the ward to pro-actively identify problems. You can work out the route from the locations visited.

First stop is at the junction of Whellock Road and Woodstock. A flytip of a black bin bag, which looks as if a fox has been there first. Reported. Many of the services the Council used to perform have changed and regular monitoring no longer happens: in this case it is road markings at the junction of Fielding Road and The Avenue.  These have faded over time and are not routinely repainted. The Council will repaint these but only after a resident or a ward councillor raises the problem. It is the same with overgrown hedges, this is a particularly bad example on Fielding Road, where the footpath is virtually blocked. This will be reported to the Environmental Enforcement Officer who looks after Southfield ward.

At Fisher’s Lane crossing the road markings have almost disappeared. It is the same at the South Parade junction with Beaconsfield Road. The plot of land opposite the Prime Minister’s Estate has historically seen builders using the green space for access to properties on Kingscote Road. The white picket fence was installed to deter this behaviour and has I think been reasonably successful. Clearly not on this occasion.

We receive numerous complaints about the state of the roads and pavements across the ward. There is a programme of road resurfacing and in recent years, two or three roads have been resurfaced every year in the ward. If you are on a bike, you cannot fail to be aware of the poor state of the roads, and today was no exception. Is this pot hole, on Fletcher Road the worst in the ward? Please let me have your own nomination for this accolade! A couple of residents asked about Disabled Parking spaces during the election campaign, suggesting that in specific cases they are no longer needed. Upon inquiring it seems that there is meant to be a review every three years, and that a review is indeed over-due. This should result in some parking spaces being returned to general usage.

One of the projects that we are funding from the Southfield Ward Forum is the possible expansion of the Play area on Southfield Recreation Ground. The aim is to provide facilities for older children. The consultation closed at the end of April, so we will expect the results any time now. Finally, back to The Avenue, and a classic example of a short term cut in funding with a long term impact. Some years ago the Council decided to no longer post planning applications to neighbours, and rely on attaching signage to nearby lampposts. This meets their statutory obligations but it means some applications go un-noticed by those most affected. In addition the Council put up the signs but never take them down, resulting in day-glow notices littering the street scene. I collected a dozen such notices well past their date, but I know of many more that will have to wait till the next Sunday cycle in Southfield.

Cllr Andrew Steed is a Liberal Democrat councillor for Ealing’s Southfield ward

 

Out with the old, in with the new

Six new Chiswick councillors are starting work this week: Joanna Biddolph, Ron Mushiso and Ranjit Gill in Turnham Green ward, Gabriella Giles and Michael Denniss in Chiswick Riverside and Patrick Barr in Chiswick Homefields.

It’s all very well talking the talk in an election campaign, but can they walk the walk? Looking back over all those promises it must be a little daunting thinking about how they might actually fulfil them. Joanna Biddolph has written a guest blog for The Chiswick Calendar on what it’s like to be starting out as a councillor.

All a bit of a haze

Guest blog by Cllr Joanna Biddolph

I’d been to several counts before but there is something more intense about it being your own.

Standing in front of trays marked with coloured sheets of paper – blue, red, yellow and white (for mixed votes) – you aren’t watching your own Party’s pile; you are checking the other parties’ heaps for misplaced votes. I spotted one for us in the red tray – that could the one that saves us, I thought. A minute later, the Labour counting agent spotted one of theirs in our blue tray. Doomed, said my head. It was nail-biting, surprisingly given the results, but while it was clear from the yellow tray that the Lib Dems were trailing, the heaps in the red and blue trays weren’t different enough because the heap in the white tray was so high – they could swing it either way, we thought. If there’s a tie the decision is made by the toss of a coin. Please not that for any of us, I pleaded silently.

What happened next is in a haze. First came the announcement that the Turnham Green agents were needed as there was an indicative result. In a ballot of nine candidates from three parties with fewer, less complicated votes to count, we were unsurprisingly first. I wasn’t ready. A few minutes later, candidates and agents for Turnham Green were called to the declarations room. We three had no idea of the result – we’d tried to keep track of the mixed votes tallies but the counting sheets were whisked away before we’d added them up.

I felt hugely self-conscious in a surprisingly full room. We’d been told no speeches (thankfully) so I hadn’t expected such a sense of occasion. A rather shy shuffle onto the stage, some words muddled into themselves (why do returning officers say “I the undersigned” instead of using their names?) then Ranjit and Ron were raising their arms high in a gesture of success. I think I smiled.

A second after stepping off-stage, a large brown envelope was pressed into my hands and I’m listening intently to an official telling me it’s my induction pack. I blathered something about being impressed by the efficiency. Two seconds later, Ruth Cadbury MP says congratulations and that she’s available to help, reminding me of joint campaigns with John Todd and collaborating on issues such as Heathrow. I think I smiled.

We’d started canvassing in September. As all three of us were new, with no name recognition to help us, we wanted to be seen by as many residents as possible – and take up cases, through our councillors, to show how active we would be. It is astonishing how often Chiswick residents are out – and without knowing we would be dropping by. We tried to visit every road at different times of day, on weekdays and at weekends (breaking the unwritten rule not to canvass on Sundays – we avoided mornings and ended earlier in the evening). We had helpers but mostly we were all three together. It was onerous and exhausting.

And now, as said in almost every congratulatory email, text and Tweet, the real work begins. The induction programme continues until our second full council meeting on 24th July. We have group meetings, ward meetings, team meetings. We will set up a ward website with useful information for residents – never forgetting that not everyone has access to computers.

As for my own life, I still haven’t got one. Domestic duties disappeared during the campaign; I’ve spent the sunny bank holiday cleaning. My first stroll through Chiswick was surreal; it seemed a different place, with an added dimension of responsibility, a new alertness driven not by being bothered by a dodgy pavement but by having to get it fixed. I was thrilled to stock up on fresh fruit and veg from the stalls and to feel I might have time to cook again – my freezer is empty having provided soup and weird leftovers to fill the gap between decaff and cake in cafes.

Our first case arrived, via Twitter, on Saturday – a planning issue. A second arrived on Bank Holiday Monday by email – a planning issue. Planning issues require special training and it’s not part of the induction programme until 24th May. For the moment, we will refer to experienced councillors for guidance. But we are up and running. Thank you to everyone who for voted for us.

Cllr Joanna Biddolph is one of nine Conservative councillors recently elected to represent Chiswick wards on Hounslow council

The Chiswick Calendar Debate

Wednesday 10 May

7.30pm, Boston Room at George IV, 185 Chiswick High Rd, Chiswick, London W4 2DR

Ruth Cadbury (Labour) v Mary Macleod (Conservative). The Chiswick Calendar Election Debate 2017 rematch. Following on from The Chiswick Calendar’s hugely successful election debate in 2015, the two contenders for the key marginal constituency of Brentford & Isleworth meet again.

BBC News Channel presenter Rachel Schofield will be finding out what they stand for and why they think they deserve our vote. Come along and listen to them and ask them questions. We will video the debate for The Chiswick Calendar website.

Tickets £10

GET TICKETS HERE

Who needs a manifesto?

As I was writing this yesterday, the Labour party in Hounslow still hadn’t published their manifesto for the local elections in two days’ time. Bit last minute. Why bother now? Their poor candidates have been campaigning their socks off for weeks. Is this a major scandal or does it just show you that manifestos aren’t worth the paper they’re written on?

Leader of the Labour group Steve Curran says “We have been campaigning on our Labour values which are well known and we published our five key pledges some time ago. These have appeared in our election literature”.

As to why the full manifesto has taken so long, he says: “It was delayed because we spent a long time engaging with our members to ensure the manifesto is as inclusive as possible”. I wonder if that’s another way of saying there were major disagreements. You can see the Labour manifesto here (added in the nick of time before pressing ‘send’!)

Tory candidate in hot water

One of the Tory candidates has been getting into hot water with how he describes himself. Patrick Barr, standing for the Conservatives in Homefields ward, describes himself thus:

‘I am a Registered General Nurse and currently work as a nurse in West London. Previously I was a Charge Nurse in A&E and I still work in A&E as required to support the NHS. As your councillor for Chiswick Homefields, I will campaign for more GP surgeries locally for a growing and ageing population’.

He has come under fire from Labour candidate Nick Fitzpatrick for not declaring that he is also a disability assessor for the Department of Work and Pensions. ‘It’s fundamentally misleading’ says the Labour candidate competing for votes in the same ward.

Why does this matter? ‘DWP assessor’ doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as ‘A&E Charge Nurse.’ The DWP is currently coming under the same kind of scrutiny as the Home Office for setting arbitrary targets and stories of disabled people with severe physical problems being passed fit for work are legion.

A Freedom of Information request by The Independent last year found that staff were being told that they should turn down four out of five benefit appeals and that this was a ‘key performance indicator’. It’s also being reported that charities working with the DWP are having to sign gagging orders, promising not to undermine the reputation of the DWP by revealing what they know. The DWP is not popular with its clients, of whom there will be quite a few in Chiswick.

Both Patrick and Nick were both at our Meet the Candidates event on Sunday night, where civility reigned and candidates chatted amiably to each other in between answering voters’ questions. Nearly all the candidates of all parties standing in all four wards were there.

Described by one person as ‘Bit like a parents evening, you got to sit 5 minutes with each one and ask mean questions’, topics raised included the lack of provision for people with mental health problems, Heathrow, cuts to council budgets, CS9 and the danger that potholes pose to cyclists, amongst others.

Patrick confirmed that he was still a practising nurse but that his agency shifts as a nurse tend to be only about every six weeks.

‘Spirit of Hogarth’ takes a look at the local election campaign

Guest blog by the ‘Spirit of Hogarth’

Chiswick until now has been a small blue enclave in an elongated sea of red. Far to the west lies Fortress Lampton, Hounslow’s civic centre, an alien stronghold peopled by distant overlords, who seem either uninterested or downright hostile to wealthy little Chiswick-shire. Chiswick perceives itself as a special and fruitful cash cow, giving forth a nutritious harvest of rates, taxes and parking fees purely for the benefit and exploitation of its ungrateful overlords and their impoverished base. Every imposition of a CPZ, every attempted traffic improvement, every over-flowing dustbin, every pothole is taken as further proof of Hounslow’s evil intentions.

National parties not helping

Will 3rd May change all this? Rumbling below these critical local issues is the slow drumbeat of ever-approaching Brexit, an unknown but doubtless disruptive cloud of ominousness looming just over the horizon. Some see sunny uplands and no cloud, but most in Chiswick see turmoil and unhappiness. The sunny-uplanders are keeping very quiet in this election as Chiswick voted overwhelmingly to remain. The other national issue looming over the proceedings is the main parties’ lurch away from the centre ground. Gone are the days when people hunted desperately for a few droplets of clear blue water between them – now the ocean is wide and stormy. While Labour fails to deal with its problem of antisemitism, the Tories are hoist by the petard of their immigration policy. Jews to the left of them, Blacks to the right – the Scylla and Charybdis of national politics at the moment. While neither of these issues this have anything directly to do with local politics, do apparently amiable Tories not carry some blame for their ‘nasty’ party politics? Does the tarnish of anti-Semitism not rub off on Brentford & Isleworth Socialists?

Local issues to the fore. Who will be our local champions?
Chiswick is divided not only by busy main roads, but also by the tube line which splits it into two minority enclaves: Ealing Chiswick in the North, currently run by the Lib Dems in a majority Labour council; and Hounslow Chiswick in the South, run by Tories in a majority Labour council. The Lib Dem Ealing councillors are an amiable, responsive and non-controversial group. Untroubled by the roiling of national politics which has seen their party all but evaporate centrally, their battle lines are clearly drawn out over local policing, tree maintenance, potholes and rubbish collection, and they have dealt with these promptly and efficiently over their past tenure.

In Hounslow Chiswick, however, all is up for grabs. The Tories have held Chiswick for the last two decades with more or less the same councillors. One or two have been famously unresponsive – answering emails not a strong point – six out of the nine saw the writing on the wall and quit. One was ill, one retired, one was not re-selected – perhaps his leadership of the Bruges Group didn’t help – the others became “too busy”. This left a clean slate with only three of the old nine still standing.

The doors were thus flung open for new blood and from all sides they flocked in. Six new Tory hopefuls, nine Labours, nine Lib Dems and six Greens. Along with an intriguing Polish Pride candidate – cavalry sword at the ready, Prince Zylinksi’s local candidate Maria Kempinska plans to “integrate through Arts” and galvanise Polish voters. A policy clearly endorsed by Tory Leader Sam Hearn, his wife and his son, along with Tory chairman Julian Tanner, his wife and his son, who nominated her. Will they vote for the person they nominated? Or do they just hope others will… ?

The Tories are to be congratulated with a big tick on the diversity front. Apart from the three existing candidates, no more old white men. They are putting up a young black guy, an Asian man, a gay man and a young woman, along with a woman of pedigree councillor stock: “the daughter of a borough councillor and a county councillor and granddaughter of a councillor” as she has boasted online. One of these candidates, Patrick Barr, ran into trouble when his carefully crafted CV as a nurse omitted to mention that his main nursing job was actually as a benefit assessor for a private company, with the caring sharing nursing bit now limited to the occasional rare agency session in A&E.

Labour meanwhile has the following. In Turnham Green: a secondary school teacher, a no-nonsense (one assumes!) ex-soldier and magistrate, and a cycling obsessive (sorry, “active travel campaigner”). In Homefields: a global lawyer “committed to social justice and mobility” (if that isn’t a contradiction in terms), an articulate and feminist young student, and an anti-Heathrow campaigning journalist. In Riverside: an experienced NHS manager, a journalist and a Belmont parent whose name isn’t on the original flyers, as the initial nomination for candidate evaporated. No matter how promising some of these candidates might be, they have been much hampered by the absence of a Manifesto, the lack of which until a mere three days before the election, has made them the subject of much mockery. It has to be said that the absence of a manifesto smacks of terrible incompetence. How can they know what to campaign on? How can we know what to vote for?

The Lib Dems have a trainee solicitor, a trainee music teacher and a retired barrister. They seem a nice enough bunch.

The Greens, instead of entering one candidate in each ward, in which case they might well have picked up enough disgruntled voters to make an impact, have three in Riverside and three in Homefields, thereby ensuring they will split their votes uselessly across the board. They have a raft of – unsurprisingly – environmental issues, a couple of which are even achievable.

The issues

So what are the main issues at stake for all these enthusiastic would-be politicians?

Potholes

Yes, it turns out potholes are probably the most important issues to face Chiswick. Who’d have thought it? A pothole is not a pothole until it is 75mm deep, so any experienced road campaigner knows that a judicious tweak with a suitable metal implement can transform a faint indentation of no interest to a road traffic engineer into a dangerous pothole which will be repaired. Not that we are hinting that that’s what the candidates are doing. They are out with their cameras photographing away. Some even bring tiny sofas and chairs to decorate their potholes before photographing. For Tories, potholes prove poor Labour monitoring of the road maintenance contract; for Labour it proves the original PFI contract (a Tory achievement) was unsatisfactory. Both teams always tweet their findings, thereby underlining their commitment to kilometres of canvassing.

Rubbish

It is extremely important that candidates of all parties search out heaps of rubbish to photograph. Before the campaign they never bothered to notice the rubbish, let alone photograph it. Now these photos can be tweeted to the world to prove that the candidate – once elected – is going to clean up the streets. It goes without saying that the candidates don’t actually pick up any of this rubbish, even if there is a bin nearby, but simply use the detritus for virtue signalling. The Tories are particularly excited to see debris strewn around by foxes or flytipped, as they can then remind voters that they will re-instate weekly rubbish collections. It probably helps that they are unlikely to be put in the position where they might actually have to pay for this.

Potholes and rubbish are by far and away the main virtue signallers used to show that candidates have what it takes to be a conscientious councillor.

Heathrow

Social media has been peppered with pictures of candidates of all parties, holding blue signs saying that they are against Heathrow expansion. Each candidate carefully ignores the fact that the Conservative party committed to expanding the airport as part of its last election manifesto, and that the Hounslow Labour party has drawn up plans for a massive Heathrow Garden City in conjunction with Heathrow, while Heathrow is also a regular and major sponsor of Hounslow’s annual trip to MIPIM, the Cannes property developers’ market. Nevertheless all candidates fervently espouse the anti-Heathrow mantra. LibDems and Greens win this one hands down as they have had no chance (yet) to be compromised.

The Chiswick Curve

The Tories claim to have seen off this 32-storey skyscraper on the Chiswick Roundabout and to have led the fight against it. In fact local residents in West Chiswick & Gunnersbury led the initial campaign, and it is coming back under appeal in June. None of the current batch of (Tory) councillors has been in the least bit involved in the appeal preparations, and this issue (although very tall and important visually for all of West London) is completely under the radar at this election.

Other issues, eg education, housing, NHS

All criticisms by the Tories of existing local Labour failings lead to ripostes that central government has cut budgets so drastically that all local failings can be blamed on central cuts. Any arguments about benefit cuts, housing issues, NHS problems are bounced from central to local or vice versa depending on the parties. Only the dramatic Labour underestimates of the costs of setting up the new waste disposal depot (about £22 million out) stand up to objective scrutiny. All the manifestos (apart from the still-absent Labour one) mouth platitudes about housing, education, air pollution, green spaces. None have any convincing solutions about to how to actually achieve anything.

The Cycle Superhighway

This has turned into the marmite of Chiswick, the Brexit of dinner parties. Only the Green party has come out unequivocally in favour. Labour side-steps the issue with at least one member desperately praying for it, another worrying about turning circles of Catholic coffins, and the rest hoping it will just go away for now. The Lib Dems hope for some kind of beautiful solution that takes neither roadway nor pavement but miraculously solves the problem; there will be car parking, and single direction protected bike lanes, and bus routes, and wide pavements – unicorns will graze and little butterflies flutter happily.

Meanwhile the Tories have decided to go full-scale hyperventilation in their opposition. CS9 is “The most important thing in Chiswick over the last fifty years.” Its implementation represents the “death of the village.” While claiming to be pro-cycling, in a nebulous, “motherhood and apple pie” sort of way (elsewhere, far from our bucolic tranquillity, preferably in Holland or along the M25 or maybe on a different planet), their record of the last twenty years shows only opposition to any safe space for cycling. Aesthetically, environmentally and financially the cycle lanes will ruin all civilised life as we know it, they cry, as though the lanes were some major structure, rather than an eight-inch high kerb along the side of a road whose pavements in most stretches are some 10-13metres wide. Perhaps this stems from the age of the current Tory leadership: almost all the previous councillors were old, two were too fat to cycle; of the new batch the three youngest ones cycle, but they are timid and inexperienced and cannot yet stand up to their older mentors.

The local village idiots meanwhile are out in force, unrestrained by social niceties they lay into one another online with a ferocity that would have been astonishing in a pre-internet trolling age. Led by a furious American cafe owner, opposition to CS9 has been vitriolic and sustained, with a predictably angry response from cyclists across London. The police have even been called in to protect the cafe owner from a video of a Thunderbirds-style missile shown hitting some Mobikes parked by his café. Most other candidates and residents shake their heads in astonishment that a bike lane could provoke such excitement, but then again, the local Catholic priest announced the potential damage to be worse than the Luftwaffe and the death of Christianity. Meanwhile TfL is re-designing the lanes based on the results of the consultation. The Catholic church will no doubt get its pavement back, Christianity will be saved and the Luftwaffe’s record will remain unbeaten. All elected Chiswick councillors will then discover that they are actually powerless to do anything very interesting, faced by devastating local budgets, polluted air, a powerful international airport, an unsympathetic and weak national government, and an entrenched and distant local government. And we can all go back to our normal torpor.

CS9 ‘joke’ blows up in joker’s face

The war of attrition between those who oppose the Cycle Superhighway and those who support it has become a police matter. Julian Pavey posted a spoof video on Twitter of a rocket attack on the pavement area outside Outsider Tart, in which a missile is seen blowing up a row of mobikes. The proprietor of the cafe, David Lesniak, who is notoriously against the cycle track reported him for committing ‘hate crime’ and posted:

‘If the target of this video, which has been posted on a local public forum, was your home, how would you respond? @tfl @theJeremyVine @RuthCadbury @RuthMayorcas @willnorman @SadiqKhan Seriously, it’s time to call off the trolls #CS9 #chiswick #StopTheHate’

Conservative candidates Joanna Biddolph, Patrick Barr and Chiswick Riverside Conservatives ‘liked’ his tweet. The author of the video then tweeted that it was ‘a bit of fun over mobikes and CS9’, which was ‘liked’ by Labour candidate Ruth Mayorcas, notoriously a supporter of CS9, and a few others, and so it escalated.

Despite apologising, I understand that the police are talking about cautioning Julian, which has resulted in a backlash against Redesign CS9 and David Lesniak on the W4 chat Forum, with comments like ‘shame on you’ (David) and ‘That is absolutely absurd. The video showed missiles destroying mobikes outside David’s caff. This was, fairly obviously, Julian’s imagining how David would like to do to the mobikes. How anyone could report that to the police defeats me. And then wasting police time with this is nuts’.

But as far as the police were concerned, they seem to be leaning towards the view that an offence was committed.

CS9 debate the George IV

The public meeting organised by Redesign CS9 last night in the Boston Room of George IV was well attended. The audience was clearly partisan, with only three people brave enough at the end to put their hands up and admit they’d be happy with the TfL proposals for the Cycle Superhighway to go ahead as they are. One of the candidates ventured the comment ‘the audience in this room is not representative of the people we are meeting on the doorstep’, to groans and jeers.

Eight panellists – Leigh Edwards from the Liberal Democrats, Sam Hearn, Ranjit Gill, Joanna Biddolph and Ron Mushiso for the Conservatives, John Stroud-Turp and Nick Fitzpatrick for Labour and Daniel Goldsmith for the Green party – took part and for the most part were heard out by the audience, except for the heckling of the Labour party candidates by the Conservative party chairman shouting b*****ks loudly and frequently when they were trying to talk. He was similarly dismissive of Daniel Goldsmith’s assertion that families might like to use the cycle lane as well as lycra louts.

The whole event was based on questions from the floor and there was much discussion of the lack of transparency over how TfL arrived at the conclusion that 59% respondents to the consultation were in favour of CS9 and where those respondents lived. The candidates were asked how effective Chiswick councillors would be, whether they’d be capable of influencing any decision by Hounslow Council. The Labour candidates thought they might have more influence over a Labour council than their opponents would. B*****ks shouted the Conservative chairman.

The conclusion at the end was that half the room would oppose CS9 whatever changes were proposed, but perhaps surprisingly the other half were prepared to listen to what changes are proposed when TfL publish their response to the consultation, which they are expected to do in June.

Spotted on the riverbank

Sunday morning when some of us were still in pyjamas and others already in the pub I spotted these two picking up litter on the Strand. Not paid to do it, not part of any organised group, not even standing for election. Jenny does it about twice a month just because she doesn’t like the accumulation of plastic and polystyrene on the shore. Gus is picking up points for his silver Duke of Edinburgh award. You can contact Jenny at Jenny.griffiths18@gmail.com if you feel moved to join her on her next litter pick.