Control your dogs warning from Police after Richmond Park deer attack

Dog owners are being told to keep their pets on a tight rein after a deer was fatally wounded during an attack in Richmond Park on 1 October.

The owner of the dog responsible has been convicted of causing / permitting an animal they were in charge of to injure another animal in a Royal Park.

Franck Hiribarne, 44, from Kingston, appeared at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court on Friday, 15 January where he pleaded guilty to the charge and was handed a total fine of £602.

Footage of the incident was captured by a passing cyclist, who was one of several people who intervened in an attempt to form a human shield around the injured deer.

The images show the Red Setter, Alfie, rushing up to the sitting deer and appearing to bite it. Witnesses described the dog as “relentless” as it was attacking and biting the deer from behind, dragging her backwards, jumping up, running and lunging at her.

Shortly afterwards, the deer was found collapsed in the ferns and had to put down by a game keeper due to its significant injuries; a broken front leg, an open wound to its behind and part of its tail was detached with an open wound.

Police Sergeant Pete Sturgess, from the Met’s Royal Parks Command Unit, said:

“This incident highlights that even the most careful of dog owners may not see a deer until it is too late. Your dog may never have chased the deer before, but once is too many, and this deer paid with her life.

“If you do not know how your dog will react around the deer, or you know they will chase them, then please respect the wildlife by keeping them under control on a lead, or choose an outside space other than Richmond or Bushy Parks to walk off lead.”

The Met has released the footage of Mr Hiribarne’s dog attacking the deer and members of the public trying to shield it, in order to alert the public to the dangers that dogs can pose to deer in the Royal Parks. Below is the video of the incident, which some viewers may find distressing.

 

‘Genuinely shocked and sorry’ – Hiribarne

Mr Hiribarne said of the incident:

“All of a sudden, I and Alfie came across a lone small deer sitting hidden in the long grass in an open area about 150 metres away from the road and both the deer and Alfie were startled by each other. The deer sprang up and started to run and Alfie got spooked and ran after the deer. I called Alfie back repeatedly and used my dog whistle too but Alfie was too distracted by the deer and continued to chase it and did not respond.

“I ran after them and by the time I caught up with them I saw the injured deer by the road side and some members of the public standing surrounding the deer keeping Alfie away from it who was hyper excited, barking and trying to lunge at it.

“I was genuinely shocked and sorry for what had happened and since then I have refrained completely from letting Alfie off leash in any park. I have also taken a special dog trainer specialised in gun dogs to control more accurately any of his hunting instincts. He has made great progress.”

Images above: Simon Richards, a deer in Richmond Park

‘Significant increase’ in dog attacks during pandemic

Figures collated for the first time on dog versus deer incidents by the Royal Parks, the charity that looks after London’s eight Royal Parks, indicates that the problem has significantly increased since the Covid-19 imposed lockdowns; it has led to a big increase in dog owners going to Bushy and Richmond – especially new users who might not be as familiar with best conduct.

Simon Richards, Park Manager for Richmond Park, said:

“Sadly, this was the fourth deer that died over the last year as a result of dog chases in Bushy and Richmond Parks. We’ve had 58 incidents of dogs chasing deer reported to us since March 2020, and it’s completely unacceptable. It’s imperative that owners ensure their dogs are under control at all times.

“It’s illegal for a dog to chase deer in Richmond and Bushy Parks, and owners may face prosecution if caught. If you witness a dog chasing a deer, please phone the on-call police officers for Richmond and Bushy Parks via 07920 586546.”

On 30 December 2020, also at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court, David Reay, 69, from Kingston, pleaded guilty to allowing his dog to attack and kill a fallow deer in Richmond Park on 12 September 2020. He was fined £135 and ordered to pay £350 compensation to Richmond Park as well as £34 victim surcharge costs and £85 costs to to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Four men charged after cash and cocaine seizures in Chiswick

See also: LB Hounslow has the highest Covid infection rate in London

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Mayor of London acted ‘unlawfully’ in Streetspace programme

Images above: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan; Royal Courts of Justice

The Mayor of London and Transport for London acted unlawfully by introducing a Streetspace scheme at the height of the Covid pandemic, a judge in the High Court has ruled.

The scheme, introduced in London last May, introduced bus-only corridors and restricted licensed taxis from entering the A10 Bishopsgate, a major road in east London, between 7.00am and 7.00pm on weekdays.

Two trade bodies representing the black cab sector took the Mayor of London and Transport for London to court over loss of earnings.

Mrs Justice Beverley Lang ruled the introduction of the Streetspace scheme unlawful, saying the scheme was ‘unfair and irrational’. Mrs Lang told the court the mayor and TfL failed to distinguish taxis from “general traffic” and failed to recognise them as a mode of public transport.

She said Sadiq Khan and TfL “took advantage of the pandemic” to push “radical changes”. In the lengthy and detailed judgement she outlined a series of failings by TfL and the Mayor, describing their decision-making process as ‘seriously flawed’, with the decision to exclude taxis being based on ‘superficial’ and ‘inadequate evidence.’

The Mayor of London announced his “bold new Streetspace Plan” to “overhaul London’s Streets” on 6 May 2020. The Plan, which he said was a response to the coronavirus pandemic, promised to “repurpose London’s streets” with the intention of “rapidly transforming London’s streets to accommodate a possible ten-fold increase in cycling and five-fold increase in walking”.

At the time, Mayor Khan said:

The capacity of our public transport will be dramatically reduced post-coronavirus as a result of the huge challenges we face around social distancing. Everyone who can work from home must continue to do so for some time to come. The emergency measures included in our major strategic London Streetspace programme will help those who have to travel to work by fast-tracking the transformation of streets across our city.”

TfL said it was “disappointed” and it would appeal the ruling.

What does it mean for other ‘Streetspace’ schemes?

Opponents of the Streetspace schemes, which have been introduced all over the country, immediately claimed this ruling as a victory, and say it sounds the death knell for all Streetspace schemes.

‘Lockdown cycle lanes could now be ripped up across the UK’ said the Daily Mail.

A lawyer acting on behalf of the taxi drivers said the scheme and others like it could now be scrapped. Darren Rogers, of Chiltern Law said:

‘This was a hard fought and complicated Judicial Review where the regulated took on the regulator and sets a precedent when authorities close roads without proper analysis and care’.

‘Mrs Justice Lang’s judgement lays bare the unlawfulness of Streetspace as a plan and in practice.

‘This sets a very decent precedent for similar schemes being challenged in other parts of the country.’

In Chiswick the changes made to Devonshire Rd and Turnham Green Terrace and those south of the A4 are all Streetspace schemes (though the Fisher’s Lane changes aren’t).

Tom Edwards, BBC London’s Trasport correspondent says the Judge’s comment at the Streetspace plan would now have to be reconsidered and seriously amended ‘muddies the waters for these types of schemes.’

Streetspace schemes will stay in place pending the appeal

Transport for London said:

‘Temporary Streetspace schemes are enabling safer essential journeys during this exceptionally challenging time and are vital to ensuring that increased car traffic does not threaten London’s recovery from coronavirus.

‘We absolutely recognise the need for schemes such as our Bishopsgate corridor to work for the communities they serve and have worked hard to ensure that people across London, including those who use taxis, can continue to get to where they need to be.

‘We also recognise the need for schemes to be delivered in a fair and consistent manner and have worked closely with the boroughs to create clear guidance for implementing schemes, updating this regularly to reflect what we have learnt. These schemes will stay in place pending our appeal.’

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: All you might want to know about Covid in our area – Kelly O’Neill

See also: Bollo Lane ‘monster tower’ approved

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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New test site in Isleworth for people without symptoms

Image above: Isleworth Library; Google Streetview

A new site went live on Tuesday 19 January for asymptomatic testing at Isleworth Library, Twickenham Rd, Isleworth TW7 7EU, which may be the nearest one for some people living in south Chiswick.

Another, at the Wellington Day Centre 292 Staines Rd, Hounslow TW4 5BA went live on Monday 18 January.

The other existing sites where you can get a test if you don’t have symptoms are at the Civid Centre, Hounslow House, 7 Bath Rd, Hounslow TW3 3EB or Heston Library, New Heston Road, Hounslow TW5 0LW

The asymptomatic tests are Lateral Flow tests, which take 15 minutes and provide a result within 40 minutes are available for anyone who still needs to go out for work – key workers, carers, tradespeople and essential retail workers – who need a quick result and regular testing. The tests are free. Book a test here.

A mobile test van has also been set up, which will focus on businesses.

‘It is important that this resource targets areas where the number of case is very high in order to bring down rates where there is significant community transmission’ Kelly told The Chiswick Calendar.

LB Hounslow has highest infection rate in London

The Rapid testing sites have been open at Hounslow House and Heston Library since 4 January and by 14 January more than 1,000 people had been tested.

LB Hounslow now has the highest rate of Covid infection in London. Council Leader Steve Curran and Director of Public Health Kelly O’Neill are urging people to stay home.

Cllr Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council, said:

“The current infection rate in the borough is extremely high and we’re doing all we can to help reduce it as quickly as possible. Rapid testing is an opportunity for us all to do our bit, and plays an important role in tackling the virus by identifying those who don’t have symptoms, but who may still have coronavirus and be spreading it without knowing. If you can’t work from home, or if others in your household still go out for work, please book your rapid test online.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: New test site in Stamford Brook for people with symptoms

See also: Over a thousand residents take part in Rapid Covid testing

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

New test site in Stamford Brook for people with symptoms

Image above: Site of new Covid testing site for people who have Covid symptoms; Google Maps

A new site for testing people who have symptoms is planned to open soon in the car park at Welstead Way W4 1NH in the Stamford Brook area of Chiswick. It will be built on Monday 25 January, with a pilot test due on Wednesday 27 January.

To access the site residents need to go to the request a test portal as usual. This site will be listed after 27 January. You cannot just turn up and expect to be tested.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: New test site in Isleworth for people without symptoms

See also: Over a thousand residents take part in Rapid Covid testing

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

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High percentage of Chiswick’s eligible residents already vaccinated against Covid

A high percentage of Chiswick residents who are in the Government’s category of those eligible to be vaccinated against Covid at this stage have already been vaccinated.

LB Hounslow’s Director of Public Health Kelly O’Neill told The Chiswick Calendar that 78% of the top priority group in Chiswick – those over 80, people who are housebound or living in care homes, have already had their jabs.

‘This higher uptake was due to an additional unexpected delivery which means that the GPs needed to respond and add additional capacity to ensure the vaccination was administered’ she said.

Over LB Hounslow as a whole, total vaccinations given now exceed 8000. Of those, 28% are Chiswick priority residents.

‘Maximum 15 minute wait’ for vaccinations

In Chiswick, the vaccinations are being given at Chiswick Health Centre. Sarah Herdman, the Practice Manager said:

‘We would like to thank all the staff and volunteers who are supporting the delivery of the vaccinations. The delay in delivery and the double delivery led to a change of plan and queues for a short period which we apologise for but after some fast planning and adjustment we cleared any queues and believe that we now have a process that means a 15-minute wait is the maximum’.

READ MORE: A message from Chiswick Health Centre for all those going there for vaccinations

READ MORE: All you might want to know about Covid in our area – Kelly O’Neill

New mass vaccination centre being planned for Brentford

A new mass vaccination centre is planned for Brentford which will become operational in mid-February.

There is also another large mass vaccination site planned to be located ‘in a shared location just outside the Borough boundaries’ from the beginning of February. The NHS do not make pubic the addresses of vaccination sites except to people who are invited to attend for vaccination.

Image above: Site of new Covid testing site for people who have Covid symptoms; Google Maps

New testing centres

The public can now get a Covid test whether they are showing any symptoms of the disease or not.

New test site in Stamford Brook for people with symptoms

A new site for testing people who have symptoms is planned to open soon in the car park at Welstead Way W4 1NH in the Stamford Brook area of Chiswick. It will be built on Monday 25 January, with a pilot test due on Wednesday 27 January.

To access the site residents need to go to the request a test portal as usual. This site will be listed after 27 January. You cannot just turn up and expect to be tested.

Image above: Isleworth Library; Google Streetview

New test site in Isleworth for people without symptoms

A new site went live on Tuesday 19 January for asymptomatic testing at Isleworth Library, Twickenham Rd, Isleworth TW7 7EU, which may be the nearest one for some people living in south Chiswick.

Another, at the Wellington Day Centre 292 Staines Rd, Hounslow TW4 5BA went live on Monday 18 January.

The other existing sites where you can get a test if you don’t have symptoms are at the Civid Centre, Hounslow House, 7 Bath Rd, Hounslow TW3 3EB or Heston Library, New Heston Road, Hounslow TW5 0LW

The asymptomatic tests are Lateral Flow tests, which take 15 minutes and provide a result within 40 minutes are available for anyone who still needs to go out for work – key workers, carers, tradespeople and essential retail workers – who need a quick result and regular testing. The tests are free. Book a test here.

A mobile test van has also been set up, which will focus on businesses.

‘It is important that this resource targets areas where the number of case is very high in order to bring down rates where there is significant community transmission’ Kelly told The Chiswick Calendar.

The Rapid testing sites have been open at Hounslow House and Heston Library since 4 January and by 14 January more than 1,000 people had been tested.

LB Hounslow now has the highest rate of Covid infection in London. Council Leader Steve Curran and Director of Public Health Kelly O’Neill are urging people to stay home.

Cllr Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council, said:

“The current infection rate in the borough is extremely high and we’re doing all we can to help reduce it as quickly as possible. Rapid testing is an opportunity for us all to do our bit, and plays an important role in tackling the virus by identifying those who don’t have symptoms, but who may still have coronavirus and be spreading it without knowing. If you can’t work from home, or if others in your household still go out for work, please book your rapid test online.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: New test site in Isleworth for people without symptoms

See also: New test site in Stamford Brook for people with symptoms

See also: LB Hounslow has the highest Covid infection rate in London

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

 

Bollo Lane ‘monster tower’ approved

Ealing Council’s Planning Committee have approved an application by developers to build ten towers, including one which is 25-storeys high, in South Acton. The development will provide 852 new homes.

The ‘monster tower’ development on Bollo Lane was approved by ten votes to three, despite more than 600 residents objecting. The 25 storey block will be by far the tallest in the Chiswick area.

The towers are to be built on the narrow strip between Bollo Lane and the railway line from Acton Town station southwards, bordering Chiswick, on land owned by Transport for London but no longer needed by them. The tower blocks will stretch from Acton Town station to the 25-storey Bollo Brook House at the Chiswick end of the development.

It will be a few metres across the ward boundary from Chiswick’s Southfield ward, but local councillors say the impact of the huge tower will affect Chiswick residents every bit as much and maybe more.

Critics say the towers will change the character of Chiswick and are at-odds with LB Ealing’s zero-carbon pledge. The pledge encourages businesses, including developers, to reduce their carbon footprint or ensure it takes measures to make new buildings are carbon neutral.

Ealing’s planners recommended the development be approved because they say the development offers a good opportunity ‘maximising the potential for additional mixed Build to Rent, affordable and market housing’. Affordable housing meets the Council Policy requirement for 50% on site, they say.

Planning process ‘deeply flawed’ – Cllr Gary Malcolm

Liberal Democrat Southfield Councillor, Gary Malcolm, said during the planning committee it was revealed that no site visit had taken place. Also, when the votes were taking place, some people’s votes had disappeared. Later on Twitter he claimed he had been “gagged” from speaking during the meeting.

On the decision to approve the development, Cllr Malcom said:

“The Labour-run Planning Committee heard many reasons why the ten tall towers – one 25 stories high – were not appropriate. Many cited the change of character to Chiswick and the overdevelopment in the area. Liberal Democrats also feel that the Labour Council are allowing schemes that are against their own policies to ensure that buildings are carbon neutral. The planning process is deeply flawed. We will continue to fight for the residents’ corner.”

‘Fantastic news’ – TfL

Jonathan Cornelius, Head of Property Development at TfL, said:

“It is fantastic news to get the go ahead for our plans at Bollo Lane in Acton Town. The proposals have been designed to reflect the area’s heritage and context, such as the Grade II-listed station next to it, and will bring hundreds of much-needed homes to this part of London.

“The scheme has also been designed to benefit the local community with welcoming green spaces, improvements to pedestrian and cycling facilities and new commercial opportunities for local businesses. Securing this latest green light at planning committee is an important milestone as it is the largest site on which we have secured planning ourselves. We will shortly be approaching the market for a partner as we strive to deliver these homes – including hundreds of new affordable homes – as fast as we can.”

The developers are planning phased construction over five years with work beginning at each end of the site and working towards the middle. Originally it was hoped that construction could have started this Spring but the project has been delayed due to the coronavirus.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Lib Dem councillors determined to have their say on Bollo Lane tower blocks

See also: All you might want to know about Covid in our area – Kelly O’Neill, Director of Public Health for Hounslow

 

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

LB Hounslow has the highest Covid infection rate in London

LB Hounslow now has the highest Covid-19 infection rate in London, with 914 people per 100,000 having the virus. More than 100 residents have died of the disease this month.

In a joint statement on the escalating situation in the borough, Council Leader Steve Curran and the Director of Public Health, Kelly O’Neill said:

“Though infection rates in the borough are coming down, they are not coming down quickly enough. These high numbers are putting our local NHS under great strain and, sadly, will mean more deaths. Already this month we have had more than 100 residents die with Covid-19, double the number we had in December.

“We know this isn’t simply about people ignoring the rules, indeed, most people are doing their bit and following the rules. We have disproportionately high numbers of people who have to travel to work, often on busy public transport and to busy workplaces, and also have many residents living in crowded homes with a wide range of age groups. All this puts them at greater risk.

“However, everyone must redouble their efforts to follow the rules because at the moment too many people are getting infected. You must stay at home as much as you possibly can. If you do have to leave, remember – hands, face, space. Anyone choosing to ignore the rules is making a choice to put themselves, and their friends and family at risk. They are making a choice which results in vulnerable people dying.

“Many of us now know someone who has been seriously unwell with Covid-19, and many have lost loved ones. Everyone needs to pause and think. It needs us all to do the right thing, to take responsibility for our actions; to protect each other.”

Images above: Council Leader – Steve Curran, Director of Public Health – Kelly O’Neill

Support, testing and vaccinations

“We know individuals and families are all wrestling with a range of challenges and this is an incredibly difficult time. There is a wide range of support available with more information at hounslow.gov.uk/coronavirus“, continued the statement.

“Rapid tests are an incredibly useful way to reduce the spread of the virus. If you cannot work from home, I urge you to get tested, regularly, to help protect yourself and your loved ones. Book yours here hounslow.gov.uk/rapidtest.

“Finally, the COVID-19 vaccine is rolling out to the most vulnerable people now. Please do not contact your GP for a COVID-19 vaccine, the NHS will contact you when it’s your turn to have the vaccine – nwlondonccgs.nhs.uk/coronavirus/nhs-covid-19-vaccination-programme. The vaccine is our pathway out, so sit tight, stay safe and respond when asked to go for your appointment.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Confusion as NHS launches national Covid vaccination booking system

See also: Christmas impact – Covid cases up by nearly 50% in Chiswick 

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Something to look forward to …

Images above: Chiswick Flower Market; photographs Anna Kunst

The Chiswick Flower Market team is using this period of enforced hibernation to do a bit of planning.

The organisers (of whom The Chiswick Calendar’s editor is one) intend to continue to operate the market on the first Sunday of every month during 2021 – as soon as we can legally, once lockdown restrictions are lifted and it is safe to do so.

The Flower Market met its 2020 goals – to set up a ‘Columbia Rd of west London’, to bring a much-needed increase in footfall to Chiswick High Road, and to bring local residents and businesses together in a collaborative way. Tick. Tick. Tick.

Image above: Fuller’s horses at the first Chiswick Flower Market in September 2020; photographs Frank Noon

What next?

We plan to continue to operate in Old Market Place and Devonshire Road. The market has no plans to offer food or drink stalls, but we do plan to bring more specialist traders to the market and to continue to prioritise businesses who have strong sustainability credentials.

We will make some noise about the markets to attract people in to Chiswick, once it’s safe to do so, and we’re looking forward to creating special themed markets, for example for Easter Sunday and Christmas. Maybe some horticulturally themed events … maybe a bit of live music. The world is our Osteospermum once this blasted pandemic is on the way out.

Hang in there. Colour and fun WILL return.

If you would like to read the Chiswick Flower Market review of the first three months’ pilot, you can find it here.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Explore Chiswick’s cultural history, online and on foot

See also: Chiswick Garden ‘most important in UK’

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Online events for adults

#moodweird

The runner’s dilemma – where to run during a pandemic

Twice now, a local runner has made national news after an altercation with a Covid marshal. The first, Mark Meghezzi was fined for spitting when he was running in Chiswick High Rd. (He said he hadn’t).

The second, Gary Purnell, videoed his exchange with a marshal on the walkway beside the river at Hammersmith after the marshal asked him not to run there. The Council has notices up saying ‘no running, no cycling’ and the Police have joined Hammersmith & Fulham and Hounslow Councils in asking people – all people, not just runners – to stay away from the riverside because of overcrowding.

Mostly, runners would prefer to run where it isn’t crowded, says Rose Lewis of the West 4 Harriers running club, in this guest blog for The Chiswick Calendar.

Image above: West 4 Harriers pre-pandemic

Guest blog by Rose Lewis

Pre March 2020 – remember that? As a runner, I frequently used the tow path and Richmond park as my regular running routes along with my fellow runners from West 4 Harriers.

We’d run alone or in small groups with a group session taking place at Barnes Running Track or across the Chiswick Bridge after dark. I do not ever remember finding it difficult to run on the tow path at any time of the day. I certainly didn’t come to blows with anyone nor was I tutted at for merely running down the street.

Of course, all this changed during the first lockdown. Tow paths became very congested as everyone decided to start using it for the daily walks.

As a runner, you want a clear way through, you don’t want to be stopping and starting and waiting as people pass, so during the first lockdown we started using the empty roads to avoid busy paths and ran through the middle of Richmond Park, away from the paths and the carparks.

The first lockdown was way easier. This new lighter lockdown has not driven the cars off the road, so we are back to running on paths which are more congested than ever.

So what do most runners do? They find alternative routes so they can do what they want to do – run with no stopping and not having to weave through hordes of people (some of whom walk two to three abreast and don’t ever consider going single file as you come towards them).

Image above: Sheen Common; Hounslow Heath; Hanwell

Finding new places to run

Most of us wouldn’t dream of running down a road that was full of people even though we know we the right to do so.

Our Whats app group is full to chatter about where to find alternative routes to avoid busy streets and paths. Richmond Park is almost off the agenda completely now at the weekends.

The good news is that in our quest for a clear run we have found new routes and new green spaces – some of which I didn’t even know existed. And many of them have very few people at all.
The Capital Ring that works its way around the entire capital is one such route. I started from the Brentford end of the canal and worked my way towards the north through Hanwell and Perivale – lovely green and quiet space.

Syon House and the north side of the river is also much quieter and a good place to do some interval training now that the running tracks are shut.

There is also Brent Park and Hounslow Heath; the latter virtually empty. The Ham meadows and the commons such as Sheen common just outside Richmond Park are also quiet and as beautiful as Richmond Park.

The West 4 Harriers are based at Chiswick Cricket Club, Riverside Drive, London W4 2SP

west4harriers.com

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Runner stopped by a marshal at Hammersmith riverside for ‘breathing heavily’ is a lockdown sceptic

See also: Jogger fined for spitting says he was just sweating

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Confusion as NHS launches national Covid vaccination booking system

The NHS has launched a new national booking system for appointments for Covid vaccinations. In Chiswick, an email went out to local residents from NHS Hounslow CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) on Monday 18 January about it. The trouble is that GPs received the email at the same time as the public and they are left unclear what now is their role.

The email said: ‘Letters are now being sent to NW London residents to book a vaccination through the national booking system’.

(You may wonder what that has to do with us in Chiswick. It’s the first I’ve heard that I live in north west London. I don’t, I live in Chiswick, in west London, but we now come under the umbrella of NW London for all things NHS related).

The email explains that letters are now being sent to residents in the first priority groups inviting them to register for an appointment for a Covid vaccination either online or by phone, using a phone number they will receive in the letter. The letter will include a unique booking code and individual NHS ID number which will be needed to make the appointment at their nearest ‘large vaccination centre’, which for us is Wembley.

‘Residents will not be able to book an appointment until they receive this invite letter, which will be sent only when it’s your turn for a vaccination’.

Existing system working well in Chiswick

What is confusing is that we have a perfectly good system already in place, run by local GPs at the Chiswick Health Centre. So far they have already vaccinated 3,000 people. They have already given jabs to the majority of people locally who are aged over 80. Sarah Herdman, Practice Manager at the Centre, told The Chiswick Calendar:

‘We are still picking up those over 80 who could not attend. Housebound patients will start to be completed this week and next. A proportion of 70’s have been done and all the Nursing Homes have been completed’.

They have been vaccinating some patients from Hounslow and Heston as well as Chiswick, as it is one of only two vaccination centres in LB Hounslow.

The messaging so far has been clear – sit tight and wait for your GP to contact you. People have heard from their own GP, usually by way of a phone call, sometimes in a text. While there were a few teething problems and long queues initially, because they got double the dose they were expecting, they’ve done their best to iron out the wrinkles and elderly people in Chiswick have reported back, delighted that they have been able to receive their jab so efficiently.

Discussing the handling of the pandemic at the Chiswick Area Forum on Tuesday 12 January, LB Hounslow’s Director of Public Health Kelly O’Neill said:

“I have to applaud my colleagues in Chiswick Health Centre. They have vaccinated roughly 2,500 people in a few days because they got an extra batch of vaccine they weren’t expecting. This is an incredible feat”.

Image above: Chiswick Health Centre, Fisher’s Lane

What will happen now?

GPs, frustrated at the lack of information about how the new national initiative will affect the way they work, hope to find out more today (Tuesday 19 January). There is a meeting of the Primary Care Network, which represents the eight GP surgeries in Chiswick, servicing a population of 50,000 people, taking place in the morning. After that meeting, Chiswick’s GPs hope they will be clearer about how they should coordinate their efforts with the national programme.

“You’re quite right in saying it is confusing” Liz Hagerty, Chair of the Patients Group at Grove Park Surgery, told The Chiswick Calendar. “We need more information”.

What is clear is that surgeries will carry on doing exactly what they have been doing, at least for the time being. Chiswick Health Centre gets about 24 hours’ notice of an incoming batch of vaccine. They have had none so far this week. When they get notice of a delivery, the GP surgeries in the area contact the next patients on their lists.

‘We do not know when vaccine will arrive, so planning is a challenge’ Sarah Herdman told us. The vaccine has to be used straight away when they receive it, which is why they are only able to give people short notice.

What if I get a call from the doctor and a letter from the NHS asking me to register for an appointment online?

“At the moment I suspect we will get both” says Liz Hegarty.

NHS Hounslow CCG makes it clear that if people get a letter when they already have an appointment for vaccination, they should stick to the arrangement they’ve already made.

A message from Chiswick Health Centre

‘We would like to thank all the staff and volunteers who are supporting the delivery of the vaccinations. The delay in delivery and the double delivery led to a change of plan and queues for a short period which we apologise for but after some fast planning and adjustment we cleared any queues and believe that we now have a process that means a 15-minute wait is the maximum.

Advice about the vaccination programme

  • ‘Your practice will call you for vaccination – please don’t block the phone lines asking for dates and times – they will call you once a clinic is confirmed and ready to go.
  • ‘If you are booked to attend please arrive at your appointment time and not early. Even if you are late, we will see you please don’t worry.
  • ‘If you are unwell let your practice know not the Centre – they can cancel and rebook for you.
  • ‘If you receive the Pfixer vaccine you will have to stay with us for 15 minutes after vaccination and if you receive the Oxford vaccine you will be with us for 10 minutes after vaccination – you don’t get a choice on the day we inform patients at the time of booking what vaccine will be administered on the day – you can refuse by all means.
  • ‘All vaccinating staff wear PPE and the marshals wear face masks and hand gel regularly – all staff complete a COVID Lateral Flow Test prior to working.
  • ‘We are doing everything we can to roll out the vaccinations as fast as possible’.

General Advice

‘Please bear with your doctors’ surgeries as some things may take longer than normal due to dealing with patients with COVID and rolling out the vaccination programme. Use your local pharmacy and the NHS website for advice, but do not delay if you are unwell or have serious health concerns. All Chiswick Surgeries are here and open to support you’.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: All you might want to know about Covid in our area – Kelly O’Neill, Director of Public Health for Hounslow

See also: Christmas impact – Covid cases up by nearly 50% in Chiswick 

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Episode 38: What happened to the magic of Sri Lankan cricket?

Cricket authors (and obsessives) Peter Oborne and Richard Heller launched a podcast early in 2020 to help deprived listeners endure a world without cricket. They’re no longer deprived of cricket, but still chat regularly about cricket topics with different guests each week – cricket writers, players, administrators and fans – hoping to keep a good line and length but with occasional wides into other subjects.

In 1996 Sri Lanka won the World Cup with electrifying, innovative cricket. They brought solace and hope to a deeply troubled nation and joy to all the world’s neutral cricket-lovers. For the next fifteen years or so, players such as Sanath Jayasuriya, Aravinda de Silva, Muttiah Muralitharan, and the brothers-in-arms, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, delivered often magical performances which kept their country in the top flight in all forms of the game.

But now Sri Lanka is struggling to keep up its standards. The young historian Nicholas Brookes explains why in his forthcoming book An Island’s XI, a masterly study of Sri Lankan cricket since the British first arrived in 1796. He lived there for two years and taught at one of the country’s top cricket schools, St Thomas’s Colombo. He is the guest of Peter Oborne and Richard Heller in their latest cricket-themed podcast.


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Nicholas describes the intense cricket culture at St Thomas’s, especially the annual three-day match against their rivals Royal College – an even bigger social event than the old Eton versus Harrow match at Lords. “Thousands  of boozy old boys… singing horrible karaoke.” For years the two schools were the biggest nurseries of cricket talent in Ceylon, later Sri Lanka, and produced virtually all its captains until the transformational Arjuna Ranatunga.

Schools cricket in Sri Lanka remains very strong, but Nicholas analyses the formidable barriers to young cricketers achieving their full potential after they leave. The first-class cricket system is still based on members’ clubs which fall below the standards needed for Test cricket and do not offer enough opportunities to school and college leavers, especially in the north and east of the country. Pitches favour batsmen or spin bowlers and offer nothing to pacemen. A group of brilliant players, brilliantly led by Ranatunga, carrying out well-executed plans seized the World Cup in 1996, but Nicholas suggests that Sri Lanka then failed to keep up with progress in the rest of the world. Without matchwinning players to mask the weaknesses in Sri Lanka’s cricket system the country’s present slide will continue (he argues) but essential reforms are perpetually blocked by factionalism and politicking in its cricket administration. Sri Lankan governments have had a heavy influence over cricket decisions since 1973, in the aftermath of a scandal in which two national selectors picked themselves for Ceylon’s projected major tour of England in 1968.

Kumar Sangakkara laid bare the weaknesses of Sri Lanka’s cricket administration in his inspiring Spirit of Cricket lecture in 2011. Nicholas says that this provoked an official inquiry  – into Sangakkara, not the administration, and the weaknesses are still there.

Against the background of Sri Lanka’s long and terrible civil war, Nicholas unpicks the complex relationships in its cricket between Sinhalese and Tamils. He cites the tremendous positive effect of the Sinhalese captain, Arjuna Ranatunga, standing up fiercely for his great Tamil bowler, Muttiah Muralitharan, in his early career when he was no-balled by umpire Darryl Hair. The Sri Lankan team then showed the potential power of a united nation, but the civil war tragically denied other Tamils the opportunity to perform. Tamil players still find it hard to break through, given the uneven distribution of clubs and opportunities, and many are encouraged by their families to pursue more reliable careers than cricket and sport.

Nicholas traces the island’s vital cricket links with India, especially the annual Gopalan trophy against Madras/Tamil Nadu. (Gopalan was a famous South Indian cricketer who might be related to Kamala Harris, Vice-President in waiting of the United States.) Sri Lanka also received vocal support for Test status from Pakistan’s cricketing emperor, A H Kardar. It has retained a close cricket relationship with Pakistan, despite occasional onfield disputes over umpiring. Nicholas shows how it survived the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan players in Lahore in 2009. He suggests that Sri Lanka’s own experience of terrorism helped the players escape death, with the help of their brave coach driver, Mohammed Mehr Khalil, heroically guided by Tillekeratne Dilshan.

Nicholas reviews the current Sri Lankan team, with some key players yet to fulfil their potential. He presents fans’ and media responses to the calamitous batting performance on the first day of the current Test match in Galle, and their cumulative disenchantment with recent wildly inconsistent results.  He suggests that politicking has made some of the recent greats of Sri Lankan cricket unwilling to help guide current players, or to be frustrated when they attempt to.

Peter Oborne & Richard Heller

Peter Oborne has been the chief political commentator for the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, a maker of several documentaries and written and broadcast for many different media. He is the author of a biography of Basil D’Oliveira and of Wounded Tiger, a history of Pakistan cricket, both of which won major awards.

Richard Heller was a long-serving humorous columnist on The Mail on Sunday and more briefly, on The Times. He worked in the movie business in the United States and the UK, including a brief engagement on a motion picture called Cycle Sluts Versus The Zombie Ghouls. He is the author of two cricket-themed novels A Tale of Ten Wickets and The Network. He appeared in two Mastermind finals: in the first his special subject was the life of Sir Gary Sobers.

Oborne & Heller cricketing partnership

Jointly, he and Peter produced White On Green, celebrating the drama of Pakistan cricket, including the true story of the team which lost a first-class match by an innings and 851 runs.

Peter and Richard have played cricket with and against each other for a variety of social sides, including Parliament’s team, the Lords and Commons, and in over twenty countries including India, Pakistan, the United States, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, France, Greece, Australia, Zimbabwe, New Zealand and Morocco.

The Podcast is produced by Bridget Osborne and James Willcocks at The Chiswick Calendar.

Listen to more episodes of Oborne & Heller

Previous Episode: Episode 37: The United States: Paradise Regained For Cricket?

Listen to all episodes here

Support The Chiswick Calendar

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Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Runner stopped on river front for ‘breathing heavily’ is a lockdown sceptic

Image above: The story, as reported in the Metro

A jogger who complained that he was stopped by a Covid marshal for running along the riverside in Hammersmith because he was ‘breathing heavily’, is a campaigner who seeks to persuade the public that ‘the Pandemic is over!’

Gary Purnell was running by the river when he was stopped by a Covid marshal employed by Hammersmith & Fulham Council and asked not to run there.

He took to Twitter to condemn the marshal’s action as ‘the most crazy thing in the world’.

Images above: Photograph of Gary Purnell from his Twitter feed; Image of the LB Hammersmith &Fulham marshal from his video

A video of the exchange shows him asking “Why can’t I run along here?” and the marshal replying “because you are breathing heavily.”

Gary Purnell responds: ‘I’m breathing heavily? You don’t have to wear a mask outside. In the Government, it doesn’t say I cannot run.’

The marshal answers: ‘I can’t stop you, I can only tell you that you can’t.’

The Council put up signs along the riverfront in the summer of 2020 asking people not to run or cycle along the river front at Hammersmith because it’s a place where lots of local people go to take their daily exercise.

On 15 January 2021 the Police launched a joint appeal with both Hammersmith & Fulham Council and Hounslow Council, urging local residents to avoid the busy riverfront to help stop the spread of Covid-19. The stretch of riverfront running from Chiswick Mall to Hammersmith Mall and down to Bishop’s Park in Fulham is extremely busy, they say, especially at weekends. Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council Steve Cowan said:

“The new strain of Covid is 70 per cent more contagious than the first. And London is an epicentre of the bigger second wave that is taking our NHS to breaking point”.

READ ALSO: Avoid riverfront say Police and Councils

Image: Crowded river front at Hammersmith; photograph LB Hammersmith & Fulham

The exchange between Gary Purnell and the Covid marshal on Thursday 14 January has been widely reported in the national press. Cllr Cowan told the Daily Mail:

‘We make no apology for asking fit people vigorously exercising to be considerate to protect other, often elderly, people taking a more leisurely stroll. Runners and cyclists should please avoid the popular riverfront at busy times.’

Home Secretary Priti Patel was asked to comment on the video on This Morning. She said it wasn’t necessary for people to wear a mask while they are exercising, which was interpreted by the Sun as a ‘slap down’ for the marshal.

Gary Purnell, who describes himself on Twitter as an ‘Author, Guitar Player and Traveller’. His Twitter account promotes the ‘Yeadon campaign’, described as a ‘Grassroots campaign to reconstitute SAGE hopefully under leadership of Dr Michael Yeadon’.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies provides scientific and technical advice to support government decision makers during emergencies and is advising them on the pandemic. Dr Yeadon is a former VP of Pfizer who argues that there is no need for vaccines to extinguish the pandemic. He argued in a blog post on 16 October 2020 that the pandemic ‘is effectively over’ in the UK.

The Yeadon campaign website urges people to ‘Live closely as you did before’. Their website still shows their campaign to ‘Get involved to save Christmas’. Dr Yeadon has become the poster boy for lockdown sceptics because of his scientific credentials, but his arguments have been rejected by the vast majority of scientists who support vaccination.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: All you might want to know about Covid in our area – Kelly O’Neill, Director of Public Health for Hounslow

See also: Christmas impact – Covid cases up by nearly 50% in Chiswick 

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Acton fire prompts firefighters’ advice about incense and candles

Image above: incense stick

Firefighters have issued advice on using incense and candles safely after a fire at a house converted into flats on Burlington Gardens in Acton.

Part of a five-roomed flat on the second floor of the building was damaged by a fire apparently caused by unattended burning incense sticks.

The Fire Brigade’s 999 control officers received seven calls concerning the fire. Four fire engines and around 25 firefighters from Acton, Chiswick, Ealing and Hammersmith fire stations attended the scene. Nobody was injured.

A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said:

“Candles, incense sticks and oil burners are one of the most common causes of fire. It is really important that you never leave them unattended and keep them away from anything that could catch fire such as curtains, furniture or clothes.

“These items should always be held firmly in heat-resistant holders and placed on a stable surface where they won’t be knocked over, and make sure you put them out entirely when you leave the room and especially before bed.”

Firefighters’ top candle and incense safety tips

  • Make sure you put out any candles, incense and oil burners when you leave the room and especially before bed.
  • Place candles, incense and oil burners in heat-resistant holders and place them on a stable surface where they won’t be knocked over.
  • Keep them away from materials that might catch fire – things like curtains, furniture, clothes and hair.
  • Be aware that tea lights get very hot and without proper holders can melt through plastic surfaces like a TV or bath.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: All you might want to know about Covid in our area – Kelly O’Neill, Director of Public Health for Hounslow

See also: Christmas impact – Covid cases up by nearly 50% in Chiswick 

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Four men charged after cash and cocaine seizures in Chiswick

Four suspected members of an Albanian organised crime group have been charged with money laundering and drug offences after £340,000 in cash £400,000 worth of cocaine was seized.

Officers from the Organised Crime Partnership, a joint National Crime Agency and Metropolitan Police Service unit, arrested the men on Wednesday (13 January) at addresses across London and Essex.

Rrustem Dauti, 30, and Fisnik Kurtucai, 32, were arrested by officers in Chiswick, on Cambridge Road North, on suspicion of money laundering after officers recovered a bag containing approximately £100,000 cash.

At Dauti’s property in Hainault another man, Florian Meshi, 22, was arrested for immigration and drug supply offences after police searched the building. A further £140,000 in cash and a cutting agent for cocaine was seized.

A search of Meshi’s address was carried out where officers arrested a fourth man, Azem Gashi, 26, for drug offences after four kilos of cocaine were found at the property, along with approximately £100,000 in cash.

All four men were charged at Acton Police Station, and appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates Court where they have remanded in custody until their next appearance at Isleworth Crown Court on 12 February.

Organised Crime Partnership Operations Manager Matt McMillan said:

“The NCA and Met continue to work in partnership to detect and apprehend individuals suspected of profiting from drug trafficking.

“These were large cash seizures, with the ability to cause serious disruption to serious and organised crime.”

Chiswick post “chaos” as Royal Mail struggles with Covid-19

Some Chiswick residents are facing long waits for their post, as Royal Mail battles with “challenging circumstances” brought on by Covid-19. The postal service have said some areas of the UK will see a reduced service, due to workers being off sick or self-isolating.

Local residents are complaining of a huge backlog of post which is in turn leading lengthy waiting times, sometimes over two weeks. One woman reported she had not received any post since before Christmas.

A Royal Mail spokesperson told The Chiswick Calendar:

“Across the UK, our people are working hard to deliver as comprehensive a service as possible to all our customers in challenging circumstances. Despite our best endeavours it is possible that some areas of the country may experience a reduction in service levels due to higher volumes of mail during the lockdown, the ongoing impact of Covid-related staff absences and necessary social distancing measures at local mail centres and delivery offices.

“Right from the start of this crisis, we have played a key role keeping the country connected. Every single letter and parcel is important to us. Like most organisations, we have a number of employees who are self-isolating in line with government guidance. This has a direct impact on our staffing levels, especially in areas where there are higher levels of local outbreaks. We are working hard to deliver as normal a service as we can, drawing in extra resource and offering additional overtime where possible.

“We remain grateful to all our customers in these areas for their patience and understanding as our dedicated workforce work hard to deliver these exceptional volumes, whilst also adhering to necessary social distancing measures. We always endeavour to keep our customers updated on any changes to our services. We have a dedicated section on our website. Throughout the pandemic, every decision we make puts the health of our people and customers first.”

Customers angry at long waits

Problems with deliveries over Christmas have prompted shoppers to complain on social media about parcels not arriving on time.

Lou Gardey from Glebe Estate said:

‘I’ve already written about the post box in the Glebe Estate being jammed full of post, and yesterday I went to post a letter there, and actually couldn’t get it through the slot, the box was so stuffed with mail. I walked down to the High Road, and posted it in a different box. I posted a parcel, at Turnham Green Post Office, as a return of an electrical item, before Christmas. It cost me £13.40, to be signed for and tracked, and 15 days later there was a knock on the door, and they’d delivered it back to me.

‘I stopped the Parcel Force guy, and told him it couldn’t have been more clearly marked as to the ‘TO’ address, and the ‘FROM’ address, and he said the ‘FROM’ address shouldn’t have been on the parcel, and scrubbed it out with his pen. I have NO idea why there’s all this chaos with our post – I haven’t had a delivery of mail forever either – but if there are so many postmen off because of Covid-19, then they need to recruit temporary staff, as they do for Christmas – or resolve the crisis in some other way.’

Farah Kay from Wendell Park said:

‘After a 40 min wait trying to get through to someone at ‘customer service’ I finally got through earlier this evening! After consulting my neighbours we appeared to not have received Mail since around the bank holiday Monday straight after Xmas. The lady contacted my local sorting office for W12 9DT whilst I stayed on the line and was told that they are under staffed! I mean seriously! You couldn’t make this up! That’s more than two weeks no post!’

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: All you might want to know about Covid in our area – Kelly O’Neill

See also: Chiswick Head Teacher “devastated” that exams have been cancelled

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Lib Dem councillors determined to have their say on Bollo Lane tower blocks

Image above: Ealing Southfield ward councillors Gary Malcolm and Andrew Steed

Southfield’s Lib Dem councillors have complained that they are being shut out of discussions about the development of the Transport for London site on Bollo Lane where there are plans to build ten very tall tower blocks, including one that developers propose to be 25 storeys high.

The proposed development is coming up for discussion on Wednesday 20 January at LB Ealing’s Planning Committee. The recommendation by the Council’s Planning officers is that full and outline planning permission be granted.

Cllr Gary Malcolm has asked to speak at the meeting, but has been told he doesn’t have an automatic right to speak as the development is not in his ward, so he may not get the opportunity. The proposed tower blocks are only a few metres away from the ward boundary.

“Southfield residents shall not be silenced into submission”

Cllr Malcolm said:

“The Labour-led administration has been trying to silence representatives from a hugely affected area from speaking at the Planning Committee meeting. I have received hundreds of petition signatures from angry residents in my ward opposing these tall, monstrous developments. There also are over 600 other people who have objected to the development on the Council’s website.

“Southfield residents shall not be silenced into submission. I will continue to fight for my constituents who will suffer from the negative impact by the monstrous towers. I shall be posting my planned speech on the YouTube meeting comments section, where the live broadcast of the meeting will take place, whether the planning committee wants it or not. As an elected ward representative, I believe it is my duty to submit these petitions live at the meeting and present my constituents’ concerns.”

Image above: Map of the site of TfL Landholdings at Bollo Lane, Acton

TfL Landholdings development – what’s proposed

The site is currently an industrial site which houses a number of TfL transport functions including train crew accommodation, lifts, escalators and lorry and car parking, which have been identified by TfL as surplus to requirements or suitable for relocation to other TfL-owned sites, plus other commercial and retail uses.

What is planned is a mixed use development of residential and commercial properties. According to Ealing’s planning officers, the development offers a good opportunity ‘maximising the potential for additional mixed Build to Rent, affordable and market housing’. Affordable housing meets the Council Policy requirement for 50% on site, they say.

Images above: Bollo Lane site – what’s proposed

‘High quality, modern new residential accommodation’

‘It would deliver a high quality and modern new residential accommodation to a high standard with a good mix of unit sizes that comply with adopted standards, in an appropriate mix of tenures’.

Southfield’s councillors object to the development on the grounds that it is too big, the buildings too tall and the impact on residents in Southfield ward will be as great, if not greater than in the ward where it is actually being built.

Cllr Andrew Steed told The Chiswick Calendar “it will be significantly higher than anything near it and the developers of the tower block in Stirling Road are already applying to build higher in the expectation that the TfL landholdings development will be passed”.

Images above: Bollo Lane site – what’s there now

Hurlingham Property received planning permission in 2020 for two blocks, one at Stirling Road, the other on the corner of Roslin Road opposite the Royal Mail sorting office. Originally planned to be nine storeys, they applied at the beginning of January 2021 for one to be 11 storeys and the other 15 storeys.

They justified the height increase in the statement which accompanied the new application thus:

“This is very much in keeping with the emerging building heights of the area. The existing 75 metre distance from the nearby Acton Gardens development will also help to reduce any potential visual and daylight/sunlight impacts on our closest neighbours.”

Chiswick Councillors Andrew Steed and Gary Malcolm object to the TfL landholdings blocks because of their height, because of the density of population it will bring, the impact on infrastructure such as transport and GP services. There is not enough space for children to play, they say and the development also goes against Ealing council’s environmental policy.

The Planning Meeting takes place at 7.00pm on Wednesday 20 January. You can view the meeting live on Ealing Council’s YouTube channel which can be found here.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Car swept into the river at Chiswick Mall 

See also: Application to set up German sausage stall on Chiswick High Rd turned down

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Avoid the riverfront say Police and Councils

Image above: Hammersmith riverfront; photograph Hammersmith & Fulham Council

The Met Police joined Hammersmith & Fulham and Hounslow councils in urging local residents to avoid the busy riverfront to help stop the spread of Covid-19. The stretch of riverfront running from Chiswick Mall to Hammersmith Mall and down to Bishop’s Park in Fulham is extremely busy, they say, especially at weekends.

Markings will be laid this weekend (16 – 17 January) to help maintain distancing along this stretch. Rain is expected on Saturday, but the forecast is for sunshine on Sunday, so the authorities are expecting people to come out in large numbers.

‘The large number of people congregating in these small, congested paths vastly increase the risk of transmitting the virus. With one in three infected people displaying no symptoms, Covid-19 is a real threat to the public’ they said in a joint statement.

Matt Twist, Deputy Assistant Commissioner from the Met Police, commented:

“Our health service colleagues are fighting this virus every day on the frontline – but the case rate continues to increase, and the number of people affected in London is alarming. Now more than ever is the moment for people to stick to the rules and stay at home.”

Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham added:

“The new strain of Covid is 70 per cent more contagious than the first. And London is an epicentre of the bigger second wave that is taking our NHS to breaking point.

“If people have to go outside for an essential reason, we’re asking them to please wear a mask when near anybody else and to always avoid all busy areas – particularly the riverfront.

“The disease is rapidly spreading throughout London’s population at an exponential rate, and largely, by people who are asymptomatic. The vast majority of people are doing the right thing and being considerate of others and I’m grateful for that.

“The best thing any of us can do to cut the length of the lockdown, protect our NHS, save businesses and jobs, and save lives is stay home”.

Cllr Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council, said:

“With the 49 deaths in Hounslow from Covid-19 in December already exceeded in January, it beggars belief that people are still taking these incredible risks and congregating in areas such as these.

“I am appealing to people, for the sake of those they love and for their own wellbeing, to stay away from this area of the river, and to follow the National Lockdown rules. Stay at Home, Save Lives, Protect the NHS.”

Image above: No cycling, no jogging sign; Photograph Hammersmith & Fulham Council

Cyclists and joggers

LB Hammersmith and Fulham have banned joggers and cyclists from using the riverfront path for most of the day.

‘Our Covid marshals are patrolling the riverfront in Hammersmith & Fulham and will continue to ask joggers and cyclists to use alternative routes for their daily exercise between the hours of 10.00am and 4.00pm.’

At the same time people are being told, by local councils and the Government, that they must stay locally to take their exercise.

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

 

Car swept into the river at Chiswick Mall

Image above: Car flooded at Chiswick Mall; Photograph Simon MacMichael

A car was flooded by the incoming tide at Chiswick Mall on Friday afternoon, 15 January and swept into the river.

‘From what I can gather, bloke parked on foreshore and was distracted on phone he didn’t notice people warning him, far less the tide racing in’ said Simon MacMichael, who was passing.

“I think your engine’s flooded, mate” he added, unhelpfully, on Twitter.

Police and fire engines turned up, as did the RNLI crew from Chiswick lifeboat station. The driver was not in the car and is safe.

“It was parked on the roadside. The tide picked it up and swept it out” Gavin, one of the lifeboat crew told The Chiswick Calendar.

“The Spring tides are pretty high at the moment” said Gavin “and a Mini is quite light”.

They secured it with ropes so it wouldn’t float further into the river.

Image above: Car flooded at Chiswick Mall; Photograph Simon MacMichael

Once the tide had gone down a bit, the RNLI crew, working with the Fire Brigade, were able to get it out.

Images above: London Fire Brigade and RNLI Chiswick crew at the scene; Photographs Nick Raikes

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Explore Chiswick’s cultural history, online and on foot

See also: Application to run a German sausage stall on Chiswick High Rd turned down

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

 

Train services to be reduced to 72% of pre-pandemic levels

Above: Photograph by Marianne Mahaffey 

Train services across the country, including those which service Chiswick, will be reduced by up to 72% of pre-pandemic levels.

The changes will come in place gradually over the next few weeks and passengers will be asked to check before they travel whether their regular service is running.

The rail industry argues that the timetable cuts will mean a more reliable service for passengers. They put themselves in danger of catching Covid-19 by interacting with the public. A reduced service means fewer rail staff will catch the coronavirus. If they tried to run a full schedule, more staff get sick and the greater the disruption would be to the schedules.

A spokesperson for South Western Rail told The Chiswick Calendar:

“Our priority is to provide safe and reliable train services for all those key workers who are keeping our country running through this difficult time.

“A third national lockdown is impacting on our passenger numbers, while a high number of colleagues are absent or self-isolating due to COVID-19. As a result, we have reduced the number of services we run.

“This is a constantly evolving situation and further changes will be made in the coming weeks and months at short notice. We strongly recommend our customers check their journey close to their time of travel”.

Check on their website to see which services are running

www.southwesternrailway.com/plan-my-journey.

Above: Photograph by Marianne Mahaffey

TfL have “no plans” to reduce services

Whilst train companies like South Western Rail make cuts to their timetables, Transport for London currently have “no plans” to reduce the frequency of their tube services.

A spokesperson for TfL said:

‘The Government’s message is that everyone must stay at home unless there is a reasonable excuse. A reasonable excuse for leaving home includes travel to work where it cannot be undertaken from home, to shop for necessities, seek medical assistance, visit a support bubble or for education.

‘Public transport can still be used for such journeys. Londoners are also asked to consider using London’s network of safe walking or cycling routes where possible and to use TfL’s travel tools to plan journeys by public transport during the quieter times. These are currently between 08.15 and 16.00 and after 17.30 on weekdays, and before noon and after 18.00 on weekends on public transport.

‘TfL aims for services across the network to continue to run as close to normal as possible to help social distancing for those who need to travel, but like other businesses it could be affected by the impacts of coronavirus.

‘Currently 10 per cent of operational staff are absent, which includes staff who need to stay at home because they are self-isolating, ill or clinically extremely vulnerable. This could mean that there may need to be some changes to service frequency or some station closures. The latest service information will be available online and through TfL travel tools including the TfL Go app.

‘All customers are advised to check before they travel.’

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Rapid COVID-19 tests available in Hounslow

See also: All you might want to know about Covid in our area – Kelly O’Neill

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

 

Over a thousand Hounslow residents take part in new rapid Covid testing

A total of 1056 Hounslow residents have had a Lateral Flow rapid Covid-19 test during the first week of the service going live in the borough, with more seizing the chance to book tests online.

Lateral Flow rapid tests are for all residents, but especially key workers to detect if they have the virus and are not aware.

The pre-booked rapid test appointments, for people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms, have been available at Hounslow House and Heston Library since 5 January.

About one in three people with COVID-19 have no symptoms, but can still pass the virus to others without knowing. Local ‘rapid tests’ take 15 minutes and provide a result within 40 minutes and are available for anyone who still needs to go out for work – key workers, carers, tradespeople and essential retail workers – who need a quick result and regular testing.

People without COVID-19 symptoms, who are 18 years old and over, can book a free rapid test online for appointments at either Hounslow House or Heston Library via the Hounslow Council website.

Hounslow Council is increasing COVID-19 testing capacity at these two rapid test centres, before rolling out further testing sites across the borough. This is to ensure as many symptomless people as possible can get tested.

New testing sites will open at Wellington Day Centre (from Monday 18 January) and Isleworth Library (from Tuesday 19 January).

If you would like more information on Lateral Flow testing in Hounslow, click here.

Current infection rate “extremely high”

Cllr Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council, said: “The current infection rate in the borough is extremely high and we’re doing all we can to help reduce it as quickly as possible. Rapid testing is an opportunity for us all to do our bit, and plays an important role in tackling the virus by identifying those who don’t have symptoms, but who may still have coronavirus and be spreading it without knowing. If you can’t work from home, or if others in your household still go out for work, please book your rapid test online.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Rapid COVID-19 tests available in Hounslow

See also: All you might want to know about Covid in our area – Kelly O’Neill

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Application for German sausage stall in Chiswick High Rd turned down

Images above: Photographs of the area where the stall would have been, submitted by Hitesh Lakhani as part of the application

An application to set up a stall on Chiswick High Rd selling burgers and German sausages has been turned down by the Licensing Panel of LB Hounslow.

Mr Hitesh Lakhani of Fine Street Events Ltd applied for a licence for a stall outside Barclays Bank at 153 Chiswick High Road, selling German food, sausages, chips and burgers every day of the week from 9.00am to 6.00pm.

Chair of the Licensing Committee, Cllr Richard Foote, told The Chiswick Calendar his application had been turned down on the grounds that particles of grease and fat in the air from the cooking  might damage the surface of the bronze of the statue of William Hogarth, which would have been near the stall.

Val Bott, Chairman of the William Hogarth Trust, which commissioned the statue of Hogarth and his pet dog Trump, had written to the Licensing Panel to say:

‘Our conservator advises that there is likely to a build-up of grease on the statue which could in the long term combine with traffic pollution from the busy High Road (especially the sulphur dioxide) to etch the surface of the bronze’.

The Panel also turned down the application, Cllr Foote said, because of concerns expressed by the manager of Barclays Bank. Dacsha Panchal, Manager of the Chiswick branch, objected to the application because she said the stall would ‘very likely cause disruption’ for the bank.

‘The queuing system for the stall causes great concern as it will result in the entrance to the bank being blocked, causing disruption to those wanting to enter or leave the bank’ she wrote in her submission to the Licencing Panel.

‘If both the bank and the stall were operating with queues at the same time this would make it impossible to carry out social distancing and is likely to discourage vulnerable members of society from accessing essential services’.

Images above: Statue of the artist William Hogarth and his dog Trump

William Hogarth Trust “pleased and relieved”

Val Bott said:

“I am pleased that we don’t have the risk (of fat damaging the statue) and relieved”.

She said she was not against the business idea of itself, merely the location.

‘Incompatible with the nature of the area’

LB Hounslow’s Licencing Panel received 20 representations objecting to the stall. The Thornton-Mayfield Residents’ Association objected because:

‘A hot-dog and burger stall is inappropriate for a position so close to a much loved and admired heritage statue such as that of our local and national artist William Hogarth. This type of stall is incompatible with the conservation nature of the area.

‘It would be quite incongruous to look along popular community street Turnham Green Terrace and see, across Chiswick High Road – instead of a pleasant view of greenery and the Statue with its ancient railings – a sausage stall’.

Other objections were on the grounds that there are already several other food takeaway businesses near the site and it would be unfair to them as they have to pay rents and rates. Some of the objections also mentioned the smell of food being cooked and the likelihood of litter.

Cllr Foote said Mr Lakhani would be able to reapply to have the stall in a different place, but he would have to start the application process again from scratch.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: All you might want to know about Covid in our area – Kelly O’Neill

See also: Chiswick Head Teacher “devastated” that exams have been cancelled

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Chiswick Head Teacher “devastated” that exams have been cancelled

Image above: Laura Ellener, Head Teacher of Chiswick School (library picture not taken during the pandemic)

Head teacher of Chiswick School Laura Ellener told the Chiswick Area Forum on Tuesday 12 January she was “devastated” that GCSE and A Level exams were not going ahead this year. She said her Year 11 and Year 13 groups were still working very hard but she felt very bad for them that they would not be able to prove their ability in public exams.

Schools have been told that the public exams are cancelled, but as yet, she said they hadn’t been given any alternative framework, there’s “no back-up plan”.

Laura Ellener was reporting on the school’s record over the past twelve months. In January 2020 Ofsted inspectors pronounced Chiswick to be a ‘Good’ school, after a long period of instability. Laura was appointed the previous year to turn the school around and was gratified that Ofsted had recognised all her team’s hard work. They were also awarded ‘Oustanding’ in promoting their students’ personal development.

READ ALSO: Chiswick School rated ‘Good’ with ‘Outstanding’ for students’ personal development

READ ALSO: Profile of Laura Ellener, Head Teacher of Chiswick School

The school is focused on academic standards, she said, and they had been looking forward to achieving record results in 2021. They added an additional intake form to Year 7 in September because there is now such interest from primary schools in the area. They had a record number of primary school applications for this academic year. Her mission is for Chiswick School to become the number one school of choice for Chiswick residents.

Images above: Students at Chiswick School (library pictures not taken during the pandemic)

“Fantastic” morale

The online meeting was attended by the nine Conservative councillors who represent Chiswick on Hounslow Council and was open to members of the public to dial in. Laura told them that she also wanted school to be fun. “I want children to really love coming to school” she said.

That too has paid off it seems. The attendance rate since September has been 94% despite the pandemic, which is higher than the national average. Attendance rates in schools in England were around 88% in the Autumn term, according to the Education Policy Institute.

Staff attendance also had been very high. The school has not had to resort to using a single supply teacher during the year, she said. When she arrived at the school to take over as head teacher,  supply teachers covering lessons were the norm. During the pandemic, if teachers have had to isolate, they have taught virtually from home.

One thing Laura has done this year is to introduce a ‘Director of Fun’. There have been Beat the Teacher quizzes and a competition between subject departments for teachers to escape from a virtual escape room. Children have also come into school in fancy dress.

 

Images above: School staff delivering equipment and lunches to students; food parcel

Coping with the pandemic

Laura’s message was unremittingly positive, despite the difficult year they’ve had. She has been determined that students would not lose out on their education. They were among the five percent of state schools which started live online learning during the first wave.

She described how they’d spent the summer holidays of 2020 redesigning the school to accommodate social distancing, which meant taking down some walls to make classrooms bigger, and marking out lines on the floor.

This time, for the third lockdown, with a day’s notice they managed to get their entire timetable up and running through Google Classroom. Students start the day at 8.40am with Live Tutor Time. All students have their lessons delivered through live, and occasionally pre-recorded, lessons. They are also set tasks to do away from the computer so they aren’t looking at a screen for six hours a day.

The school had received “fantastic support” from LB Hounslow’s Director of Public Health Kelly O’Neill, she said, who even if she rang her at midnight, could always be guaranteed to reply. She was particularly gratified that they hadn’t had any transmission at the school, she said. If someone had symptoms they were isolated quickly, so there had been no clusters of cases at the school.

Asked whether the pandemic had affected children’s mental health, she said some had, but the most worrying theme they’d seen was the increase in domestic violence. In terms of supporting more vulnerable students, her Special Educational Needs (SEN) team were giving 60 children one to one support.

Image above: Chiswick School gym laid out for mass Covid testing

Setting up mass testing

Even the task, thrown at them just before Christmas, of setting up a mass testing operation, she sees as a positive.

“We are picking up positive (Lateral Flow) tests” which means that staff and students who have Covid but are asymptomatic do not continue to pass the virus on unwittingly.

“I am really pleased that we are able to add another layer of safety” she said.

Laura and her staff have also spent extra hours making sure students get on the right buses at the end of the school day, travelling with their appropriate bubble and wearing their masks.

READ ALSO: Chiswick School starts Covid testing programme

Image above: Chiswick School staff delivering mass Covid testing

Talking round the DfE

She was asked about what help they’d had from Government. Asked about provision of laptops she said they’d originally been allocated 130 laptops by the DfE. They were then told they were only getting 28. “Our business manager got on the phone” she said, and by the end of the phone call they had the original number they’d been promised.

She said they’d had to absorb an enormous amount of guidance, delivered at the end of term, on a Friday night, or at 8.00pm the day before it was meant to come into effect. They never had any advance notice of changes in policy.

“We hear about it only when everyone else hears it from Boris”.

Asked about the meager school lunches which have received such adverse publicity in the past few days, she said “our hampers do not look like that”, but to be fair to Chartwell, the company which has been criticised, “the Government has given a list and what they’re providing is on that Government list”.

Laura thanked the community of Chiswick for their generosity when they’d launched a fundraising appeal.

She said she was pleased that the voucher scheme would be reintroduced next week, as it was impossible to deliver free school meals to over 300 pupils over a wide area.

Images above: Students at Chiswick School (library pictures not taken during the pandemic)

Support from Chiswick School staff and the local council

Laura said LB Hounslow’s Executive Director of Children’s and Adult Services Steven Forbes and David Brook had been “fantastic at bringing us together”. Head teachers in the Borough met once a week to share experience and they had a What’s App group on which they compared notes.

She paid tribute also to her fantastic leadership team within the school, in particular her deputy head Jane Mills. She described her staff as “a very strong team”, noting that several were Oxford and Cambridge graduates who worked at the school because they were interested in social mobility. The school succeeded in getting students to Oxford and Cambridge last year and there were many more who went to Russell Group universities.

Appreciation from parents

The staff get feedback from parents, using regular surveys, and that feedback has been consistently good and appreciative, Laura told the meeting. Members of the Parent Teacher Association had snuck in under cover of dark in December she said, and stuck hundreds of grateful messages on a board for the teachers to see when they came in the next morning.

The school has just under 1,300 students and 120 staff. Around 330 pupils are entitled to free school meals, as 40% are considered officially to be ‘disadvantaged’.

“There’s a lot of comparison between state schools and private schools, but they serve very different communities”.

She described the “army of teachers” who drove around Hounslow delivering equipment, laptops and lunches to students “so no one is left behind”.

Image above: Chiswick School 

Looking ahead

Laura said they were looking ahead to a time, hopefully this summer, when they could get back to concentrating on making Chiswick an Outstanding school and a fun place to be.

Asked by councillors what they could do to help, she said:

“Talk positively about the school and dampen all the noise in the media about teachers being uncooperative”.

Cllr Sam Hearn asked her how she felt about the introduction of Street Schools, which will stop drivers using Staveley Rd at peak times when students were arriving at school or leaving. She said there had been a very nasty accident about 18 months ago and “not having the amount of traffic is very reassuring for us”.

Cllr Hearn said the three ward councillors in the ward in which the school is located (Chiswick Riverside) supported the introduction of Street Schools in Grove Park.

Laura was thanked by Chair Cllr John Todd for doing “and outstanding job”, endorsed by the Leader of the Conservative group of councillors, Gerald MacGregor, whose comment on the school’s performance was “absolutely stunning”.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: All you might want to know about Covid in our area – Kelly O’Neill

See also: Christmas impact – Covid up by nearly 50% in Chiswick between Christmas and New Year

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

All you might want to know about Covid in our area – Kelly O’Neill

This week is critical for pressure on NHS

This coming week will be critical in terms of the number of people becoming seriously ill with Covid and the pressure on hospitals, LB Hounslow’s Director of Public Health Kelly O’Neill told the Chiswick Area Forum on Tuesday 12 January. Health officials were expecting a spike in Covid figures after Christmas, and there has been one.

READ ALSO: Christmas impact – Covid up by nearly 50% in Chiswick between Christmas and New Year

The critical time period in which people who get it badly end up going into hospital is 11 – 18 days after they’ve been infected, she told the meeting. As Monday was 11 January, this week is the crunch week in which people who caught Covid around New Year might become seriously ill.

Image above: Graph showing progress of the pandemic in Hounslow

On 11 January the figure for the total number of cases in Hounslow reached 16,094 recorded cases. Currently 1,141 people per 100,000 in the Borough are infected. Kelly noted that at the beginning of the pandemic the only testing was taking place in hospitals, so the figures for the early part weren’t an accurate reflection of the spread of the disease, but now they have a much more accurate picture and they are able to spot clusters and outbreaks.

They hadn’t anticipated the massive escalation in cases in December, caused by the new strain of the virus, but they had anticipated that the second wave would coincide with the usual winter pressures.

READ ALSO: Huge increase in Covid in December. Rate stays high

“It would have been great if the lockdown had come before Christmas” she said. and in a brutally stark assessment she added:

“Clinicians are going to have to make some very tough decisions.” While at the moment there is no one who isn’t getting the care they need “that might change” if the hospitals are overwhelmed.

The latest figures showed that West Middlesex Hospital had well over 200 in patients with Covid, with around 26 patients in Intensive Care. All but two wards are for Covid patients. The hospitals in west London had daily meetings at 08.00am she said, to talk about bed capacity, so there was very clear oversight, ensuring hospitals are being used most effectively to deal with the most acute cases.

Chiswick is the least affected part of the Borough

Despite Chiswick having had around 300 cases a week reported since Christmas, Chiswick is the least affected part of the Borough of Hounslow in terms of positive cases of Covid. Chiswick Riverside ward has the lowest rate of infection of the whole Borough. The central part of the Borough is the most affected, with the highest rates seen in Hounslow West, Hounslow Central and Heston West.

The majority of people who catch it are in the working age population. In Chiswick 67% cases have occurred in the 20 – 59 age range. 16% in over 60s. Women have been more affected than men – 53% cases in women; 45% in men. The infection occurs evenly in residential areas, not just in one particular area.

The reason rates are higher in the centre of the Borough has to do with the demographics, Kelly said: age, deprivation and exposure. The Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities are more likely to be hospitalised and therefore at risk of dying. This was the position in the first wave and this has not changed. They are also the most likely to have high exposure jobs, working as carers, taxi drivers and security guards for example. Dense community living is a factor. Where they have seen clusters of cases, this is often in multigeneration households living in a confined space.

Lack of airport screening may have contributed to LB Hounslow Covid rate

Kelly also gave the meeting her personal view that Hounslow suffered from being near Heathrow airport. “Proximity to the airport has probably contributed to this” she said.

“I think we’ve missed a trick nationally with airport entry and we are still in a position where airport screening is not as robust as it needs to be”.

Image above: Queue for vaccinations at Chsiwick Health Centre; photograph Joanna Raikes

Praise for Chiswick Health Centre

Vaccinations are now being given at three centres in Hounslow – Chiswick Health Centre, Heart of Hounslow and Thornbury. A fourth centre in Feltham is being considered and also a mass vaccination site in Brentford willbe part of the programme.

“I have to applaud my colleagues in Chiswick Health Centre” she said. “They have vaccinated roughly 2,500 people in a few days because they got an extra batch of vaccine they weren’t expecting. This is an incredible feat”.

The Primary Care Networks are organising the vaccination programme at a local level. GPs have organised the location and the workforce. Asked when community pharmacies would also be brought in to deliver vaccinations, she said there were plans for this but, to be clear, there weren’t a lot of people spare to deliver the programme faster, nor is there the availability of the vaccine at the moment.

“There is not enough vaccine available at the pace it needs to be rolled out” she said, but that would not be the case in a few weeks’ time, as more production of the vaccines comes onstream.

Nationally 25% people who had been vaccinated had already had their second dose, she said.

“The view clinically is that these vaccines are interchangeable” ie. you could have a first dose of one vaccine and the second dose of another, though she said the NHS was trying to continue delivering two jabs of the same vaccine.

She also said that in her view it was better that 100 people received one dose than that 50 received two, this protected population health. One dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine gives 90% protection. One dose of Oxford AstraZeneca –gives 70% with high protection against severe disease.

In response to a question from a member of the public asking if there could be information published so the public had some idea how far along vaccinations were progressing locally, she said LB Hounslow Chief Executive Niall Bolger had suggested the same thing and they were working on producing an accumulator so people in lower age brackets could see steady progress through the population and gauge progress, and when they were likely to get their jab.

READ ALSO: Professor Jeremy Levy says get the jab as soon as you are offered it

You will be contacted by your GP

In answer to a question about elderly people who have not yet been contacted for a vaccination, Kelly said because of the logistics of getting the vaccination to the right place and the short turn around time to use it, people were getting their vaccination appointments at short notice.

Rest assured, she said “we do know about you and you will be contacted by your GP”. There are very few elderly or vulnerable people who are not known to a a local GP and if elderly people don’t have a mobile phone, don’t pick up the message, don’t open their post or otherwise get the message, they won’t be left out, they will be followed up.

“If people aren’t vaccinated it won’t be our fault. It will be because the vaccine isn’t available”.

Image above: Staff at Chiswick School delivering Rapid Covid tests

Delivering vaccinations and testing at the same time

Vaccinations are also being delivered to residents of care homes, at their homes, and to hospital and social care staff, at hospitals.

During the first lockdown the number of outbreaks in care homes was “small” and the number of deaths “minimal”. LB Hounslow acted early and made a £1 million investment in PPE and, said Kelly, had “done a lot of work on managing outbreaks”.

“Now we’re seeing increases because of the incredible transmissibility of the new strain and Council staff were doing a lot of work visiting and checking care homes, managing outbreaks at the same time as rolling out the vaccination programme.

Schools had done “a fantastic job” she said. Schools are not hermetically sealed environments. They have the infection brought in from the community. Quite a few schools had had to isolate children but there have been very few clusters in schools, which is a big achievement.

She said over the course of the pandemic there have been outbreaks of Covid at the hospital and at the Young Offenders institution. LB Hounslow has supported the Track & Trace programme, following up people they couldn’t track or trace with phone calls and knocking on doors.

New Covid testing centre planned for Stamford Brook for people showing symptoms

There are plans for a new testing centre for people who are showing Covid symptoms at Stamford Brook. Whether or not the site is suitable for PCR testing will be assessed on Friday 15 January, and if it is considered suitable, testing will go live in the next two weeks.

Currently there are PCR testing sites at Feltham, Hounslow Central, Heston, Heathrow and Twickenham. Central government is in charge of the delivery of Covid testing for people who are showing symptoms, through the Department for Health and Social Care.LB Hounslow is responsible for asymptomatic testing.

Asymptomatic testing

Asymptomatic testing is available at two sites in Hounslow at the moment, the nearest to Chsiwick being Hounslow House, the Borough’s headquarters in Hounslow town centre. There are plans to open two more sites in the Borough next week.

The schools are also carrying out testing on their staff and pupils. Chiswick School started Rapid Covid testing last week and Head Teacher Laura Ellener told the meeting they were pleased to have found several people testing positive, who were showing no symptoms. Given that they have the children of medical staff in school, that’s extremely useful information for the school to have. They are now testing all staff and children who are in school once a week.

READ MORE: Chiswick School starts Covid testing programme

Director of Public Health thanked for her outstanding work

The nine Hounslow councillors who represent Chiswick on Hounslow Council all thanked Kelly for her presentation and hard work. Leader of the Conservative group of councillors Gerald McGregor thanked her for her outstanding work. They have seen her give presentations on many occasions, but this was an opportunity for any member of the public who wanted to dial in to hear her address the Covid crisis as it affects the Borough of Hounslow and Chiswick in particular.

Laura Ellener, Head Teacher of Chiswick School, thanked her for her unfailing support, saying that even if she had a query at midnight she would get a response. Indeed Tuesday was Kelly’s birthday and she stayed till almost 10.00pm answering questions.

One question put to her was whether she felt she had had sufficient support from central government. She said there were times during the first lockdown when she was frustrated in the way organisation of the Covid response was so centralised, when she wondered what was the point of having Directors of Public Health in local councils.

“I’ve been working in public health protection for 17 years and I’m good at it!”

She also said she finds it frustrating that she finds out what Government policy is when everyone else does, from the press conferences. “It would be nice to get a couple of days warning” she said, so they could plan for 180 degree turns in policy.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Alert level 5 – what it means

See also:  Covid news – latest roundup

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

Episode 6: Assault on the US Capitol

Mihir Bose – former BBC Sports Editor, David Smith – Economics Editor of the Sunday Times and political commentator Nigel Dudley have been friends since they first met while working at Financial Weekly in 1980s. They have kept in touch regularly, setting the world to rights over various lunches and dinners. With coronavirus making that impossible, what do journalists do, deprived of long convivial lunches over a bottle of red wine or several? Why, podcast of course.

Five people died in the assault on the US Capitol. Trump has been banned from Twitter for inciting his supporters. The Democratic Party is moving to impeach him for a second time. The Three Old Hacks consider the implications of this extraordinary event and how it was covered, as it happened live on TV, by the media.

Adept at reporting in war zones across the globe, was the American media caught flat footed when it came to reporting a crisis in their own capital? Were the media complicit in enabling Trump to become the demagogue he’s become? How were the Capitol police so easily overwhelmed?

Mihir recalls being in the US Congress back in 2000 when Al Gore the defeated vice President presided over a smooth transition of power to his victorious rival George Bush. David and Nigel recall the times the House of Commons has been invaded and how the British police dealt with it.

Was it a protest or was it an attempted coup?


More Platforms

Listen to more episodes here.

Get in contact with the podcast by emailing threeoldhacks@outlook.com, we’d love to hear from you!

Thank You NHS

During the first lockdown period, Keith Richards started writing the My Corona blog for The Chiswick Calendar – a mix of his observations from his daily constitutionals and the quiet enjoyment of his record collection. Since then he has continued to document the every day occurrences of this most peculiar time.

These are the hands
That touch us first
Feel your head
Find the pulse
And make your bed.
These are the hands
That tap your back
Test the skin
Hold your arm
Wheel the bin
Change the bulb
Fix the drip
Pour the jug
Replace your hip.

Michael Rosen

It’s been a while. In fact, three weeks is the longest I have gone without blogging since the onset of the first Lock Down in March last year. There is a reason, which I will come to, but I am only mentioning it as means of an introduction to the purpose of this first Blog in 2021. Basically, this a love letter to all workers in the NHS and particularly the Nursing staff.

I had been on the waiting list for a hip replacement for some time. More than once during the pandemic I had appointments cancelled for obvious reasons. The thing about arthritic hips is that they can be sore, sometimes painful and eventually will restrict movement and impact the quality of life but, guess what, ‘they ain’t gonna kill ya’! So, knowing friends who have had treatment for cancer or other potentially life threatening or acutely painful conditions delayed (particularly in those early days when hospitals were still learning how to cope with the crisis) I tried not to complain.

Nevertheless, imagine my delight (with a shudder of apprehension) when just before Christmas I received a call with the offer of a short notice, cancellation slot. I duly did my pre-op tests, including Covid, did a quick few days’ isolation and turned up on Monday 21 December at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital trauma and orthopaedic unit. The operation was done that afternoon and by ten o clock Wednesday evening I was back home under the care and cooking of son George (many thanks mate!).

Hip replacements are routine these days (three of my age mates have had one done this year alone) but they are pretty chunky operations. I recommend watching one via You Tube but not before having the operation. Watching afterwards helped me be patient and ‘Oh, that’s why my leg’s so swollen’! I haven’t really been able to get comfortable to sit at my laptop long enough for the blog, hence my absence for a while. However, recovery and Covid confinement provide an opportunity for contemplation.

The overwhelming emotion I have experienced over the few days has been one of gratitude. In the couple of days I was on the ward, news of the more virulent strain of the Coronavirus was coming in. Once at home the drastic increase in cases and hospital admissions and the rising pressure on the NHS and hospitals made it clear that operations such as mine had stopped and would do so for some time. We read now that some Trusts have had to cease even ‘Red Flag’ Cancer operations. My heart goes out to those families so affected.

Let me at this point express my gratitude to the doctors, nurses and other staff on the Trauma and Orthopaedic wards. If ever anyone needs a reminder of what an amazing institution the NHS is and the role of the people within it, a day or so on a ward will provide it……. And it appears that some people, politicians especially, do need a reminder.

I was fortunate to have a senior surgeon operate and the full experience and technology of a supremely professional NHS surgical team. Then I was in the care of the ward sisters, nurses and support staff, all again, experienced and professional. We all know the NHS is not perfect: years of under-funding, some incompetent management and political interference (often in the name of ‘privatisation’) have taken their toll but I experienced nothing but the best treatment and support during my stay.

(Well, apart from the ‘outsourced’ food that I have to say bordered on the inedible). Inevitably nearly all the nursing staff were women of Afro-Caribbean backgrounds – the backbone of London’s NHS in particular. How our political classes can continually undervalue and discriminate against the people of BAME backgrounds that hold our Health Service together: how NHS pay and remuneration can be allowed to deteriorate and even at this time of crisis to deny decent pay rises is beyond my comprehension. I despise those two faced Parliamentarians who ‘Clapped for the NHS’ and then voted against pay increases or who said “now is not the time to discuss it.”

Chatting to some of the nursing staff I asked if they had covered ICU units during the first peak of the crisis last March to May. Some of them had and all had colleagues who had done stints. Talking about it was for all of them an emotional point and they all told me it had been beyond awful and affected some of them deeply….. and these were experienced professionals who would have witnessed some pretty tough stuff in Trauma units.

Now, as I write this, I assume some will still be on the ward for emergencies but others will be back into Covid wards and ICU’s in support of those units. These front line NHS staff and particularly the BAME workers who statistics show are particularly vulnerable are under such strain and pressure.

We can build fancy new Nightingale wards but we cannot recruit and train experienced ICU Nursing staff overnight. We need a whole new national appreciation of the NHS – not as a cash cow for a post-Brexit Bonanza for connected outsourcing corporations but for longer-term recognition of the skills and capabilities a modern health service requires so that recruitment and retention of key workers is supported by appropriate remuneration and prospects.

While I am at it: some of the most pernicious elements of the current Social Media-led drive for inane conspiracy theories are those that somehow deny the existence of Covid. Incredibly there are actually, as I write, small groups of nutters holding pandemic-denying placards outside some of London’s hospitals.

Talking to doctors I know and from TV interviews these protests are incredibly upsetting for the doctors and nurses working to keep the tens of thousands of Covid patients alive. Please do not give these lunatics the oxygen of publicity. Shun them on Social Media.

Let us have shops and supermarkets deny them the right to entry where they put other people at risk. On public transport, if you have health reasons for not wearing a mask you are not fit enough to be out and about. Stay Home. It is not about you. It is not about me. It is about the men and women working on the Front Line of the NHS.

Let us all do the right thing and support the NHS and all the people who work within it, in every way we can.

The Michael Rosen quote is from a poem he wrote for the 60th Anniversary of the NHS and it is contained in a book that was released last year in support of the NHS. Michael’s own near death experience of Covid has since been well documented and is more evidence of how real and how frightening this Virus can be. The anthology is called These Are The Hands and the link to it is here.

I leave you with his own reading of the whole poem.

January 2021 books