New traffic restrictions come into force in Grove Park

Image above: Junction of Burlington Lane with A316

New traffic restrictions came into force on Monday 24 January in Grove Park, to the south of the A4 and west of the A316.

The changes, which have caused much controversy in the area, are designed to stop drivers using it as a cut through. They are a refinement of measures brought in during 2020 and 2021 which were found to decrease traffic on some roads but increase it on others. Hartington Rd, beside Chiswick Bridge, was one of the busiest in the area, with nearly 8,000 vehicles on an average weekday at its busiest point. Many of these drivers were not local but came from outside London.

Drivers are now not allowed to turn left into Grove Park, coming from Chiswick Bridge towards Hogarth Roundabout, unless they have a residents permit which expressly allows them to use Hartington Rd or Staveley Rd. The entrance to Burlington Lane from the A316 has been blocked off with a barrier and no entry signs have been put up, with access for cycles only.

Images above: Signs at the entrance to Hartington Rd from A316, beside Chiswick Bridge

Hartington Rd

Vehicles with pre-registered licence plates will be able to continue to travel in a northbound direction (i.e. away from the A316). Vehicles permitted to travel northbound through the restriction are all residential properties that sit within the geographical area covered by the ‘CS’ and ‘RV’ controlled parking zones, which LB Hounslow says will be controlled by an automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) camera.

Residents who have not already done so can register their vehicles here. Hartington Rd / Cavendish Rd register.

Visitors and deliveries do not have access to Grove Park via Hartington Rd. These vehicles need to enter Grove Park by an alternative route. For most this will now be Sutton Court Rd from the A4.

Access to Roko gym and the new all weather pitches

Access to Roko gym and the new all weather pitches opposite is permitted, as the restriction only comes into force at the first mini roundabout.

Image above: Entrance to Staveley Rd from A316

Staveley Rd and Burlington Lane

The new access restriction to general traffic on Staveley Road will operate from 8am to 7pm, Mondays to Saturdays, except for buses and permit holders. Motorists and cyclists will still be able to exit Burlington Lane onto the A316. Both this and the no entry to Burlington Lane from the A316 have been introduced under Experimental Traffic Management Orders.

All residents within the ‘Grove Park residents CPZ’, and ‘Fauconberg Road CPZ’, along with those residents living to the east of the A316 (between and including Boston Gardens (to the north) and Riverside Drive (to the south, including Staveley Gardens), will be eligible to apply for an exemption to the restrictions on Staveley Road.

Find out if you are eligible for a permit here: Staveley Rd eligibility

Apply for a permit here: Register for a Staveley Rd permit

Image above: Sign in Riverside Drive, directly opposite A316 entrance to Staveley Rd 

Access the Chiswick School, Sports Centre and cemetery

The restriction starts northwest of the access to Chiswick Sports Centre, so entry to Staveley Rd from the A316 for access to the school entrance, the sports facilities and the cemetery entrance nearer the A316 junction, is still permitted. Access to the allotments is also permitted for members of the Chiswick Horticultural and Allotment Society.

Car Boot sale

The car boot sale at Chiswick School takes place on Sundays, so will not be impacted by the restriction on Staveley Road which operates Monday – Saturday.

Images above: No entry sign at junction of Burlington Lane and A316; No left turn onto Burlington Lane

Anger and confusion

Most residents should have received a reminder letter with details of how to apply for permits, but many are angry and confused, saying “you can’t get in to Grove Park any more.” They are unsure where they can drive without being fined.

Lorraine Angliss, who owns Annie’s restaurant on Thames Rd and Little Bird cocktail bar on Burlington Lane, spoke for many when she told The Chiswick Calendar Grove Park had been turned into a “fortress.”

One resident said to me at the weekend:

“When you’re coming back from France you can’t turn left anywhere until you get to Hogarth Roundabout.”

Others have been crowing about the changes, seeing it as a victory for cyclists and for the environment. Paul Campbell Tweeted on Friday:

“Last workday for driveists to use Sutton Court Road as a rat run to the A4 in Chiswick. New 8am to 7pm restrictions start on Monday. Can’t wait.

“Lots more of the cargo bike guy though. Oh yes. So many parents rocking the cargo bikes at Grove Park School.”

Councillors representing Riverside ward have been received assurances from the Council that for the first two weeks of operation any infringement of the restrictions will result in a warning letter rather than a PCN.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Owner of Annie’s opens Rock & Rose in Chiswick High Rd

See also: From Aberdeen to Truro, FOI request finds the biggest group of drivers fined for driving into Grove Park from the A316 are from outside London

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Brentford 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2

Images above: The line up: so far so normal

Most fans would agree there’s never a dull moment when watching Brentford, but this encounter took the zany entertainment to a new level. It might have been suitable for developing for the West End stage as The Football Match That Went Wrong, although unless you were there it would be difficult to believe.

Forget the football for a moment and examine the list of diversions served up by these Premier League combatants.

The game was in its infancy when a long clearance by visiting goalkeeper José Sá was chased down by two Brentford players, with the resulting clash of heads requiring medical attention for Rico Henry and Mathias Jensen. Blood everywhere and concussion substitutions that saw Mads Roerslev and Shandon Baptiste vacate their places on the bench.

In what seemed like a blink of an eye later, referee Peter Bankes stopped play in mid-flow. Players of both sides looked puzzled. Mr Bankes, taking centre-stage of what was devloping into an intriguing drama, looked to the heavens, where the more sharp-eyed could spot a drone dark against the baby blue sky.

Following FA rules, the ref shepherded both teams off the pitch and down the tunnel to the relative safety of the dressing rooms. And there they stayed for a quarter of an hour or more, returning after a helicopter caused the possible sky-spy to zip away and the teams took part in a desultory limbering up before the match could resume.

Images above: The goal’s that way – Wolves on the attack, Brentford 0 Wolves 0 – drone 19 minutes 

Nineteen minutes were added to the playing time and the interval was reached eventually without the necessity of summoning an ambulance, the police, or the military. But Mr Bankes’ starring role in proceedings was not over. A fault with his radio meant a touchline conference and then the referee’s departure to wherever spare radios are stored. Time ticked on. ‘We want our money back,’ warbled the visiting fans. ‘This is embarrassing,’ tunefully responded the Brentford end. ‘Just remember the date,’ legendary announcer Peter Gilham wryly suggested over the PA system.

And that was the end of the dramatics until immediately after the final whistle, when Thomas Frank strode on to the pitch to remonstrate with a Wolves’ player who had displeased him and then turned to discover – you’ve guessed it – Mr Bankes waving in quick succession a yellow card and a red to signal the coach’s sending off.

Meanwhile, concurrent with the play-within-a-game, a football match was continuing as planned. Just a few minutes into the second half João Moutinho and Nelson Semedo smartly exchanged passes to flummox the Brentford defence before Moutinho placed his shot beyond the reach of keeper Jonas Lössl.

The home side’s response was spirited, but not for the first time in recent matches they were experiencing great difficulty in creating opportunities to score.

Substitutes came and in two cases went as Marcus Forss and Yoane Wissa replaced the paramedic pairing of Roerslev and Baptiste. But it was the old firm of Bryan Mbeumo and Ivan Toney who put the home side very much back in the game when Mbeumo’s flighted free kick cleared the defence to find Toney lurking beyond the far post and smacking the ball home, possibly in celebration of his short new haircut.

Images above: Exit pursued by Wolves – Ivan Toney with new aerodynamic hair cut, Subdued celebrations: consolation at least

Referee Bankes, presumably tired of being left in the wings for a while, re-entered the scenario sporadically, first waving a red card at Wolves’ defender Toti Gomes for serious foul play but then withdrawing it; then signalling a Wolves’ goal before consulting VAR and changing his mind. What a star!

The visitors re-established their lead when Brentford’s defence failed to respond quickly enough as Rúben Neves accepted Moutinho’s pass and carefully bent his shot clear of Lӧssl. Whereupon, with Kristoffer Ajer, a real wing-back with pace, bolstering the three strikers, Brentford dominated a finale in which seven additional minutes were added by Mr Bankes after he had ruled offside another successful Wolves finish.

That’s our fourth consecutive defeat, I moaned to my mate Charlie – have we forgotten how to win anything?

‘No,’ said Charlie, ‘but the referee deserves an Oscar.’

Brentford: Lössl; Ajer, Jansson, Pinnock; Canes (substitute Ghettos), Jensen (subs Baptiste, Forss), Norgaard, Janel, Henry (subs Roerslev, Wissa); Mbeumo, Toney.

Wolves: José Sá; Kilmann, Coady, Gomes; Nélson Semedo, Dendoncker, Neves, João Moutinho, Aït-Nouri; Podence (sub Machado Trincãoa) Fábio Silva (sub Traoré).

Bill Hagerty is a contributing editor of the Bees United supporters’ group.

Photographs Liz Vercoe.

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Drone halts Brentford v Wolverhampton Premier League match

An unauthorised drone halted the Brentford v Wolverhampton Wanderers Premier League match on Saturday (22 January), which led to players leaving the pitch in the 28th minute.

There were fears for the safety of the players and the crowd, had the operator lost control the drone. A helicopter was brought in to to try and drive the drone away.

The Football Safety Officers’ Association has been trying to make people aware of the dangers of drones at football games. Some drone pilots routinely try to film live football games through the devices and have been prosecuted for this in the past.

The teams eventually reappeared and had a short warm up before the action resumed with the game still goalless.

Wolves won the match 2-1 thanks to goals from Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves.

Images above: Brentford v Wolverhampton Wanderers; photograph Liz Vercoe

Police investigating incident 

A spokesperson for Brentford FC said:

“The Brentford v Wolves match was suspended for period of time due to an unauthorised drone flying above the Brentford Community Stadium.

“Given the risks, the match officials and the stadium safety team followed agreed protocols to suspend the game and remove both teams from the pitch.

“The police are now investigating the incident.”

The Metropolitan Police have not commented on it.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Brentford 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 – match report by Bill Hagerty

See also: Chiswick car salesman, master conman, features in Netflix series

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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 image goes up on W4th plinth

Image above: Abundance London putting up the new image on the railway embankment at Turnham Green Terrace

Abundance London has put up the latest in its series of community art works on the railway embankment at Turnham Green Terrace, which they like to call the ‘W4th plinth’.

In a departure from the previous artworks chosen, this one is not created by an artist, but is the work of the Suomi NPP satellite. Over a period of six orbits, the Suomi NPP satellite provided the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument enough time to gather the pixels for this synthesized view of Earth showing North Africa and southwestern Europe.

The image was proposed by Felicity Goodall and reproduced with the permission of NASA.

Image above: The earth from the Suomi NPP satellite 

Abundance London, the not-for-profit which carries out planting projects around Chiswick and also created the Chiswick Timeline underneath the railway bridge on Turnham Green Terrace, has been putting up new art works every few months since September 2019. The first was a collage of music hall entertainers at the Empire theatre, by artist Sir Peter Blake.

While the next one was chosen by popular vote, the onset of the pandemic has made that process too complicated, so subsequent images have been chosen by an Abundance jury led by the artist. Sir Peter, who is most famous for the Sgt Pepper album cover he created for the Beatles, is a long time Chiswick resident.

These are the previous artworks which have been displayed at the site:

Images above: Sir Peter Blake’s collage of music hall performers at the Empire theatre; Penny the Orangutan by David Kimpton and Richard Lawton; Stay At Home collage by students at Chiswick School; A Quiet Sarnie Under the Tree of Life by Suzan Inceer

Abundance London has now opened submissions for the next art work, to be installed in six months’ time. Submit your entry here.

abundancelondon.com

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Pub in the Park announces line-up of chefs for September

See also: Rare first edition Harry Potter book up for auction

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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 Indian restaurant Republic added to the Michelin guide

Image above: Co-founders and owners of Republic, (L) Kuldeep Mattegunta and (R) Mustaq Tappewale

Republic, the Indian restaurant at 301-303 Chiswick High Rd, has been added to the Michelin guide. This brings the number of Chiswick restaurants in the guide to five: La Trompette, Le Vacherin, Silver Birch, Michael Nadra and Republic.

Republic describes itself as a casual dining experience, which offers the vibrance of fine Indian cooking combined with British seasonal ingredients. This is the first restaurant co-founders Mustaq Tappewale and Kuldeep Mattegunta have opened. They met at Kricket group’s flagship restaurant in Soho, and together have twenty years’ experience in the London restaurant industry.

They were on the point of opening in December 2019 when the prime minister announced another lockdown, so instead of a swanky opening night and full restaurant service they were reduced to starting out in Chiswick by doing takeaways only, but word soon got round about how good their food was.

READ ALSO: New restaurant owners “gutted” they can’t go ahead with Chiswick opening, December 2020

READ ALSO: Viva Republic! Restaurant opens in May 2021

READ ALSO: Is this the best restaurant in Chiswick? Review

Image above: Republic’s kitchen is open to the restaurant

The next Michelin starred Indian restaurant?

The Michelin guide says:

‘Two Kricket alumni have joined forces to bring contemporary Indian cooking to Chiswick; ask for a seat at the kitchen counter.

‘Around half of the attractively presented dishes on the menu are vegetarian; spicing is well-judged and the charming owner is always on hand to guide his guests.’

Mustaq and Kuldeep are now going all out to get their first Michelin star this year. Michelin stars are not based on customer reviews, but on undercover inspections by anonymous experts. Their inspectors remain anonymous to avoid being given preferential treatment and undergo official Michelin Guide training in France.

The judging criteria are the same for each restaurant, focusing on the quality of the ingredients, cooking techniques and, most importantly, taste. Michelin stars are awarded solely on the standard of cuisine, so inspectors will not consider a restaurant’s decor or ambience when awarding stars, although the comfort is considered.

At Republic the kitchen is open to the restaurant, so diners can sit at the counter and watch the chefs prepare the food.

Restaurant owners are not told when the inspection will take place, and an inspector may return around three to six times before reporting back to their fellow inspectors, who then come to a joint decision about whether or not to award stars. A restaurant can be rated from 0-3 stars, and there is also a ‘Bib Gourmand’ award for restaurants offering quality food at a reasonable price.

The Chiswick Calendar is delighted that both Republic and Silver Birch are members of our Club Card scheme.

Book a table at Republic here: republicW4.com

See all our Club Card members Food & Drink offers here: Club Card / Food & Drink

Image above: Republic Indian restaurant, Chiswick

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Pub in the Park announces line-up of chefs for September

See also: Owner of Annie’s opens Rock & Rose in Chiswick High Rd

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Pub in the Park announces line-up of chefs for September 

Image above: Pub in the Park, Chiswick

Chefs Tom Kerridge and Matt Tebbutt will be hosting this year’s Pub in the Park event in the gardens of Chiswick House 2 – 4 September. Tickets go on sale on 4 February for the food and music festival which will include Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Craig David among the musicians playing.

This will be the third time Pub in the Park has been held in Chiswick, following its success in 2019 and 2021.

See our gallery of pictures from the 2021 Pub in the Park weekend here: Pub in the Park 2021

This year the popular mix of good food with demonstrations by celebrity chefs and live music has added two more locations to its tour of England – putting on food and music weekends across the summer in Marlow, Wimbledon, Warwick, Bath, Dulwich, Tunbridge Wells St Albans and Brighton as well as Chiswick.

The first pubs and restaurants to announce their participation include Tom Kerridge’s Hand & Flowers, Atul Kochhar Restaurants, Andrew Pern’s The Star Inn, The Mariners by Paul Ainsworth, Joshua Moroney and Mursal Saiq’s Cue Point.

To get first dibs on tickets, sign up to the Pub in the Park newsletter via their website for access to tickets pre-sale on 3 February: pubintheparkuk.com

Images above: Tom Kerridge; Matt Tebbutt

Tom Kerridge is an English Michelin-starred chef who opened The Hand & Flowers in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, in 2005 with his wife Beth Cullen-Kerridge. Within a year he gained his first Michelin star.  In the 2012 list, he won a second Michelin star, the first time a pub had done so. He launched Pub in the Park in Marlow in 2017.

Matt Tebbutt is an English chef and television food presenter best known for presenting shows such as Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped and Drop Down Menu, the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen and the Good Food channel’s Market Kitchen.

Images above: Masala lamb chop; Ox cheek Benedict

Providing food for this year’s festival will be some familiar faces and some new ones. Among the other pubs and restaurants which have signed up to the Chiswick weekend are Paul Ainsworth’s  The Mariners, brand new to Chiswick, by the chef-patron at Paul Ainsworth at Number 6 in Padstow, Cornwall, which was awarded a Michelin star in 2013 and has four AA Rosettes.

The award winning Hoppers will be there, serving Sri Lankan and South Indian inspired dishes, and The Begging Bowl serving Thai food. Back by popular demand are Kerridge’s Bar & Grill, Indian cuisine, Atul Kochhar Restaurants, Andrew Pern’s The Star Inn, and Joshua Moroney and Mursal Saiq’s Cue Pointcelebrating the best in British Afghan fusion BBQ.

“We’re so excited to be bringing some seriously top notch chefs and their incredible pubs and restaurants to the towns we love this year” said Tom Kerridge.

“Food is at the very heart of what we do. I’ve had a sneak peek at the menus and I’ve definitely got my eye on a few of the dishes – we can’t wait for you to try them!”

Images above: Craig David; Sophie Ellis-Bextor

This page is paid for by Pub in the Park

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Flower Market attracts 60,000 visitors

See also: Top Ten things to do in Chiswick

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

 

 

 

Andrea’s film review – C’mon C’mon

C’mon C’mon ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Review by Andrea Carnevali

When his sister asks him to look after her son, a radio journalist embarks on a cross-country trip with his energetic nephew to show him life away from Los Angeles. In Selected Cinemas.

Once in a while a film comes along which unexpectedly not only touches you in ways very few things can, but it will also leave a mark that stay with you long after the credits have rolled.

C’mon C’mon is the latest film by Mike Mills (the director Beginners from 2010, another one of those that made me cry like a baby).

It’s the story Johnny, a soft-spoken radio journalist, who travels the country, interviewing children and recording their stories and their thoughts and feelings about what the future might hold for them.

When his estranged sister asks him to take care of her nine year old boy, Jesse, while her husband is in hospital for some mental illness, Johnny takes the child back to New York City where they will slowly forge a deep and intimate bond, something which clearly they both desperately need.

Let me tell you, I loved this film!

It may have something to do with the fact that it’s about a nine-year old boy, which is the age of my son right now.

What C’mon C’mon does is that it manages to capture exactly what children are like: their perception of reality, their never-ending energy, their seemingly distant mind when you try to talk to them about serious things, their capacity to switch from happy to sad within seconds, their lack of inhibitions and their infinite wisdom half hidden behind their simple language.

Jesse is a nine-year old who speaks and acts like one. This is not an interpretation by a screenwriter, or a heavily directed performance, or a movie; this feels like reality!

And of course it goes without saying that his performance is one of the most astonishing by a child I have seen in years, down to his impeccable American accent (an astonishing thing, since he’s actually British).

In fact he is so good that at times he even manages to outshine Joaquin Phoenix, one of the best actors of his generation. Phoenix too is particularly exquisite and wonderfully restrained in this film… To think that only a couple of year ago he played the skinny Joker!

This is a splendid slow-burning film with so many layers to unpack, so many character moments, which ring so true they often look as if they’ve been improvised and not scripted.

The director also mixes the main storyline about the relationship between uncle and nephew, with some documentary-style interviews with other children, filmed and edited in a unique, often almost abstract way, but never losing sight of the emotional trajectory that the film is following. This adds a level of realism to the film as well as some insightful wisdom from the most unexpected places.

It’s hard to talk about C’mon C’mon without making it sound boring or pretentious. Yes, it is probably a bit indulgent in places, but despite its seemingly meandering pace, the muted black and white cinematography, its power is undeniable. I found myself wiping tears off my eyes more than once.

It might not be apparent how good this film is straight away while watching it, but hopefully it will resurface in retrospect, possibly long after the film has finished.

In fact I watched this yesterday and it still lingering with me today as I am thinking back to moments in it, wondering whether I can be a better man…. and a better father.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.

C’mon C’mon is in selected cinemas now.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also January Books by Anna Klerfalk

See also: Back to the Future: The Musical

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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 Flower market attracts 60,000 visitors

Image above: Chiswick Flower Market,May 2021; photograph Anna Kunst

Chiswick Flower Market had 60,000 visitors in 2021, it reported in its annual review, published today.

The market was launched in September 2020 as a Community Interest Company run by volunteers to revitalise the economy of the High Rd. Despite the pandemic, the team were able to run eight markets in 2021 and it is now well on the way to achieving its aim. Data from TfL’s cameras show footfall on a flower market Sundays in Chiswick High Road are 70% higher than a non-market Sunday.

“Our surveys also show that 54% of our visitors were from outside the immediate W4 area and 22% of all visitors had travelled more than 5 km to visit us.” said Karen Liebreich, one of the directors.

The Chiswick Flower Market has also made a profit. Total revenue was £20,000 in the year, with operating costs of £8,000. The surplus of £12,000 is being invested back in the local area including £3,500 which the team used to replant the flower beds of Chiswick High Road.

Finance director Kath Mitra said:

“As the market gets into a financially stable footing, we will be able to invest more into the market and the local area based on need assessments – we invested in improving the planting around the High Road and have funding available for other ideas. We would welcome any suggestions on this.”

Image above: Vicky of London Houseplants, one of the Columbia Rd readers who have joined the market, at the July market; photograph Frank Noon

Encouraging new local businesses

The market organisers have also been keen to encourage new and especially local businesses. Of the 60 different traders at the markets, 65% were locally based, 75% of which were new businesses.

Director Ollie Saunders, who chooses the traders for Chiswick Flower Market, said:

“We always wanted to have a rich mix of different traders ranging from local start-up businesses to established and well-known traders including RHS Gold Winners Jacques Amand and Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants, plus traders from other markets including Columbia Road.”

Image above: Chiswick Flower Market bags on sale; photograph Anna Kunst

Developing a sustainable market

One of the aims the market has found most difficult to achieve is making the market plastic-free. Most traders across the horticultural industry use plastic pots and black plastic in particular does not lend itself to recycling.

“We want to play our part in reducing the horticultural industry’s use of virgin plastic” said Kath Mitra, “so we will be launching a plastic pot recycling scheme at our market on Sunday 6 February.

“Customers will have a place to drop off used plant pots which will be used again – either by other visitors who can collect them or by our traders who will use them for plants they will be selling in our market later in the year.”

The market told traders last year they would no longer be able to give out plastic bags. Instead market goers are encouraged to bring their own bags or to buy one of the large Jute bags which bear the market’s logo and are robust enough to carry quite big plants.

From the beginning the market has operated a cargo bike delivery service operated by volunteers, to encourage people not to bring their cars. There is also a plant ‘creche’ when buyers can drop their purchases while they get lunch or go shopping.

The market is trying to the carbon footprint of the plants on sale. As most cut flowers and houseplants come from Holland and Denmark, it is hard to run a flower market without importing.

“Around 75% of what is sold is grown or produced in the UK and we have worked with our traders to reduce the use of peat” said Ollie.

“We want to increase the number of British grown flowers and are working with growers to find ways to bring the highest quality of seasonal, sustainable, locally grown flowers to our market.

Image above: Chivaree ice king and queen, stilt-walkers at the December market; photograph Anna Kunst

Queen’s Jubilee Market

As social distancing rules were reduced in 2021, the market was able to experiment with street entertainment, with 17 acts including stilt-walkers, fire-eaters, jazz musicians, tap dances, school choirs and the local rock choir.

Plans for this year include a special Queen’s Jubilee Market on the June bank holiday weekend.

The next Chiswick Flower Market will be on Sunday 6 February. Others are planned for the first Sunday of every month throughout the year.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Top ten things to do in Chiswick

See also: Reactions to the ‘Big Ideas’ proposed to develop Chiswick town centre

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Fuller’s launches new health benefit for team members

Fuller’s, whose beers are brewed at the Griffin brewery in Chiswick, has launched a new health benefit package for its staff who work in their pubs and hotels.

Fuller, Smith and Turner have a good reputation for treating their staff well, but health benefits are more usually used in industry as a benefit for office staff. Extending it to even the lowest paid staff in pubs is seen as industry leading.

Paul Nunny, Director of Cask Marque, an independent assessor of quality cask ales, praised the initiative:

“This programme is industry leading – I don’t know of anyone else in the sector who has anything like this. It reflects the way Fuller’s looks after its employees.”

Team members from kitchen porters to deputy managers across Fuller’s Managed Pubs and Hotels will benefit from the scheme, which provides support for routine medical treatment, a virtual GP service, help with optician costs, dental plans, access to alternative and complementary therapies, and contributions to prescription costs.

The new healthcare benefit as part of a package of improvements to its pay and benefits, at a time when the hospitality industry is struggling to attract staff in a very difficult market.

Image above: The Pilot; The George IV, Fuller’s pubs in Chiswick

The new service is run in partnership with Medicash, a well-established healthcare cash plan. General Managers and Head Chefs at Fuller’s are already covered under Fuller’s existing private medical insurance, but the new scheme ensures that all pub and hotel team members, who have been with the company for at least 12 months, have access to a healthcare benefit.

The benefit in kind tax has also been absorbed by Fuller’s, to ensure the new scheme is totally free for its team members. Dependent children are automatically covered and partners can be added at the team member’s own cost.

Other improvements made in recent months to the Fuller’s benefits package include an improved staff discount that rises with tenure of service and the launch of a new platform called My Fuller’s, which brings all of the benefits on offer together in one place.

This includes access to a huge range of discounts on everything from shopping and leisure to gyms and insurance, a range of wellbeing services, the Fuller’s Give as you Earn scheme for those donating regularly to charities, improved parental leave, access to online learning tools and a link to Wagestream, a service that provides advanced access to wages when needed.

Dawn Browne, People and Talent Director at Fuller’s, said the new health benefit was something she was really proud of.

“If you want to work for a company that takes looking after its people seriously, Fuller’s is definitely the place where you belong.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick car salesman, master conman, features in Netflix series

See also: West London borough police commander sacked for gross misconduct

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Lisa Armstrong shows off her new home

Lisa Armstrong, whose divorce from Ant McPartlin made news in the tabloids for months, has been showing off her new west London home on social media. The award winning makeup artist has invested part of her significant divorce settlement on a swimming pool and gym.

The former couple were long-term Chiswick residents prior to their split. When their marriage ended in 2018 their £5m home in Chiswick went to Lisa and she has since sold it.

Ant and Dec famously bought houses next door to each other at Strand on the Green when they first came to Chiswick and then built bigger houses next door to each other nearby in Grove Park.

Lisa was also awarded a substantial part of his wealth in the divorce, reported to be £31 million. She submitted papers to the council in a planning application for the overhaul, as part of her first big spend since her split from TV star Ant. Lisa also wants to install an outhouse and gazebo in the grounds of her house.

Image above: Lisa’s Tweet showing her new home

She is making the changes as she settles down with her new partner – 37-year-old electrician James Green.

She moved into her new home in 2020 and in the same year her divorce was reportedly finalised and she went public with her new relationship with James. Ant has since married his former PA, Anne-Marie Corbett.

‘It’s like it never happened’

Ant and Lisa met at a Smash Hits concert in Newcastle, in the mid-90s, when Lisa was in girl group Deuce and Ant was performing with Declan Donnelly as PJ & Duncan. They stayed together for 23 years, 11 of them as husband and wife.

They married in 2006, with Dec serving as best man. Lisa helped Ant after he battled a prescription drug addiction and a stint in rehab in 2017.

When posting pictures of her new home on Instagram, Lisa said:

‘And relax!!! #itslikeitneverhappened All back to normal… Happy 2022!!!’

Speaking of his new relationship, Ant said:

“Anne-Marie honestly is the fundamental reason for the great change in my life. She’s been my rock. She’s a beautiful soul. We’re very happy.”

Image above: Ant and Lisa together; Ant with his wife Anne-Marie

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Brentford 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2

See also: Chiswick car salesman, master conman, features in Netflix series

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

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Brentford 1 Manchester United 3

Image above: Brentford v Manchester United, Wednesday 19 January 2022; last time these two faced each other in the same league was 1947

If ever a game justified the cliché of football being a game of two halves, this was it.

For forty-five minutes Brentford pummelled the visitors, with only inadequate finishing and the brilliance of keeper David de Gea preventing them reaching the interval a goal or two ahead. In the second half, United pulled themselves together, went in front and scored two further goals before the Bees resumed where they had left off earlier and snatched a goal of their own – a consolation score as it is known, although there was little evidence of them being consoled.

Let’s concentrate on that first half display for a moment. Here was Brentford at their scintillating best, dominating what was a cracking game right up to the moments when they came close, but not close enough, to scoring.

Jonas Lössl, preferred in goal to the hapless Alvaro Fernández, was largely a spectator as United weaved pretty patterns of passing without taxing him unduly. At the other end, chances came and went. Mathias Jensen, hardly an accomplished sharpshooter at the best of times, tested de Gea so much that he cleared the ball only with an extended foot. Christian Nørgaard fired an effort too high. Three Brentford corners won in quick succession had the visitors reeling.

Image above: Behind you! Christian Nørgaard pursued by Bruno Fernandes

This was an unexpected turn of events for United, a team worth billions if you include those on the bench, being spanked by West London’s Premier League newcomers valued at, say, less than fifty million. Surely there will be Premier League spendthrifts getting in line when the transfer windows come around.

The United front-runners stuttered like a cheap firework, with Cristiano Ronaldo so rarely in evidence that the juveniles in the crowd delighting in booing him whenever he touched the ball soon stopped, presumably on the grounds of boredom.

But the second of the two halves arrived with a different complexion. There was barely time for Ivan Toney to head against the United crossbar and Jensen to attempt a long-range lob that didn’t trouble de Gea and a soft shot into the keeper’s arms that might have been described as being served up on a plate had a plate been handy, before United took control.

First Fred pierced the home defence with an immaculate pass that enabled Anthony Elanga to head past Lössl; then Ronaldo chested the ball forward to Bruno Fernandes whose run and cross set up Mason Greenwood to add a second.

With a two-goal cushion, United slowed their involvement to a funereal pace, blatantly so when Diago Dalot paused to re-tie a bootlace slowly while Mads Sorensen waited by the nearby touchline to take a throw-in. The crowd hooted and interim manager – now, surely there’s a first! – Ralf Rangnick made substitutions that included the bad-tempered departure from the field of Ronaldo.

Image above: A deeply disgruntled Cristiano Ronaldo is subbed by Harry Maguire

But United hadn’t finished yet and it was the industrious Fernandes who supplied the cross for the recent arrival from the bench Marcus Radford to make ground before rendering Lössl’s dive redundant.

Dispirited but not despairing, Brentford retaliated by swarming forward to find something to write home about, if only to their mums. Jensen made way for Yoane Wissa, who immediately became an irritant to the United defence, and Shandon Baptiste, having earlier replaced Vitaly Janelt, fizzed creatively.

The excellent Bryan Mbeumo continued to harass the defence and Toney snatched a goal from close in – nice to see him on the scoresheet again – with just five minutes to play; too little, too late and less than Brentford deserved, but at least establishing something for the home fans later to reminisce about while bemoaning the injustice of it all.

‘United are unbelievably lucky,’ observed a frustrated Thomas Frank at the close.

Image above: Making memories: a match to bring the family to

Funny game, football, I mused to my mate Charlie.

’I’m not laughing,’ said Charlie.

Brentford: Lössl; Pinnock, Jansson, Sorensen; Roerslev, Jensen (substitute Wissa), Norgaard, Janelt (sub Baptiste), Canós (sub Henry). Mbeumo, Toney.

Manchester United: de Gea; Dalot, Lindelöf; Varane, Telles; Fred, McTominay (sub Matic); Greenwood (sub Rashford), Fernandes, Elanga; Cristiano Ronaldo (sub Maguire).

Bill Hagerty is a contributing editor of the Bees United supporters’ group.

Photographs Liz Vercoe.

Read more stores on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Brentford FC reports record annual turnover despite Covid challenges

See also: Chiswick car salesman, master conman, features in Netflix series

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

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To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.

 

Andrea’s film review – Hostile (2021)

Hostile (2021) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

Hostile is a feature-length documentary focusing on the impact of the evolving ‘hostile environment’ policies, which are designed to make living conditions so difficult for migrants that they voluntarily leave the country. Released on 21 January in selected cinemas.

I started watching this not knowing anything about it – Always the best way to watch a movie in my view (In fact I don’t know why you’re even reading this).

Within five minutes I had already made up my mind, I wasn’t going to like this documentary at all. It felt cheap, un-focused, TV-like, pretty obvious and it seemed to want to score cheap points by firing at the Conservative government for its “hostile approach” to immigration (an easy target, really!), while a sad violin music played in the background.

But then something must have happened because all of a sudden I found myself listening (actually LISTENING) to the stories I was being told and completely forgot I was meant to review this afterwards.

The documentary (not to be confused by the horror film “Hostile” from 2017), after few random misfires and cheap headlines at the start, started to focus on single stories about individual people: and that’s when it begun to work for me.

Stories about international students, ‘victims’ from the Windrush generation, the so-called ‘highly-skilled migrants’ and incredible community organisers – not all heroes wear capes really!

Even more interesting when it started blaming both sides of the British political landscape, going as far back the times of the British Empire. Tony Blair’s ‘New Labour’ got as much blame as Boris Johnson today during his Covid-stricken mandate.

Nothing feels easy or is trivialised and nothing gets depicted as either black or white here – even Johnson himself seems to pass for a decent guy at some point (spoiler alert: he’s not, at least in the film-makers’ eyes). This is a serious subject and it’s treated with upmost seriousness, but the point the film wants to make is not difficult to get: this is unjust and horrific.

In the end, not only was I proven dead wrong and I had to eat my own words, but I also found myself moved by several of the stories I was watching. In fact, not just moved, but also frustrated, angry, powerless, annoyed, shocked.

So despite my initial reaction, this is a powerful piece, which does some meandering, some heavy-handed violin-like music to prove its points (not that it needs it anyway) and a slight inconclusive end – possibly a problem with the subject matter itself than the documentary.

This is the kind of stuff that should be mandatory watch in schools followed by an in-depth discussion.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.

Hostile (2021) is released on 21 January in selected cinemas

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also January Books by Anna Klerfalk

See also: Back to the Future: The Musical

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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 car salesman, master conman, features in Netflix series

A master conman, who manipulated a series of victims out of hundreds of thousands of pounds over several decades, used to prey on potential victims from the car showroom where he worked in Chiswick.

Robert Hendy-Freegard went from one victim to the next, using different names and identities, spinning fantastical tales, trapping his marks in a web of lies, alienating them from their friends and families, inflicting emotional and financial ruin on them and raking in nearly a million pounds in the process.

The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman, a three-part documentary series just released on Netflix, tells the story of his career as a master conman: how as ‘Robert Freegard’ he made a group of students believe he worked for MI5 and they had to go on the run with him to avoid assassination by the IRA and how, as ‘David Hendy’ he turned another woman against her children to isolate her and control her.

The mini-series unravels the stories through the accounts of some of his victims and their families, and interviews with an FBI officer and retired police officer stationed at Hammersmith, who laid a trap for him and eventually caught him.

In June 2005, Hendy-Freegard was convicted of ten counts of theft, eight of procuring money by deception and two of kidnapping, but two years later, to the dismay of his victims, he was cleared of the kidnap charges on a technicality. His life sentence was revoked but he still served nine years for the other offences. He is now free and thought to be living in France.

In the documentary, a former colleague from the Chiswick showroom tells how he used his good looks and charm to hit on women continually, until he was sacked for it.

Image above: John Atkinson (left), Sarah Smith (centre), Maria Hendy (right) – from The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman, Netflix

Hendy-Freegard posed as an MI5 agent to lure his victims

The conman first struck in Newport, Shropshire, in the early 1990s, where he was working as a barman. He met a wealthy farmer’s son, John Atkinson, and his then girlfriend Sarah Smith, with their housemate Maria. The three were students at an agricultural college.

He told John that he was an MI5 undercover agent who was investigating an IRA cell in the college. Using the political climate at the time to his advantage, Freegard convinced John one of his flatmates was working with the IRA. He persuaded John to tell the girls he had terminal cancer and that they should go on a road trip around England to help him enjoy his last months, to get them away from the college for their own safety.

During the trip, John was told to come clean about his lie and reveal ‘the truth’ about the IRA threat against them. He frightened them into believing their families would be in danger should they contact them, so all communications – unless sanctioned by Freegard – were severed. The three were made to go on ‘missions’ around the country, with Sarah racking up big credit card bills.

Her father realised something was not quite right. He tracked the locations where she had used her card and doggedly phoned anywhere they might have stayed. It took ten years for him to get her back, but his meticulous research helped the police when they eventually took Hendy-Freegard’s crimes seriously.

Both John and Sarah persuaded their parents to part with hundreds of thousands of pounds, believing it was necessary to keep them safe from the IRA. Both say they contemplated suicide when they realised how badly they had been conned.

The money was largely spent on various James Bond style luxuries, including seven BMWs as well as an £80,000 Aston Martin Volante, Rolex watches and Savile Row suits.

The third student of the group, Maria, became his lover and gave birth to two children. He was both physically and emotionally abusive towards her. John returned to his family farm for what he thought was a temporary spell, while he waited for updates from Freegard – updates which eventually ceased. Sarah was imprisoned in one of the ‘safe houses’ where she was locked in the bathroom and left for days without food.

Images above: Renata Kister with her new car, the Chiswick car showroom where Hendy-Freegard worked – from The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman, Netflix

Working in the car salesroom in Chiswick gave him the opportunity to meet women and gain their confidence

In 2000 Hendy-Freegard met a lawyer, Renata Kister, a customer he sold a car to at the dealership in Chiswick. He persuaded her to give him money for a business they would run together and stole £14,000 from her building society account.

They became lovers and went on holidays all over the world. They then became engaged but her family intervened. Speaking in the documentary, Renata said:

“He persuaded me to buy a brand new car. Robert told me that his real job is being a spy. Over three years I have lost about £20,000 to him, which Rob promised to pay back… But he just disappeared.”

One day, Hendy-Freegard rang Renata, claiming he had a friend who needed to stay somewhere safe.

“He managed to persuade me she would be a good help to me, so I agreed for this lady to come and live with me” Renata said. Sarah lived with Renata under the pseudonym Carrie, working as her cleaner.

Soon after, the police contacted Renata who began to co-operate with their investigation into the conman – who, she learned, had recently been arrested. Sarah was reunited with her family.

Image above: artist’s sketch of court room proceedings – from The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman, Netflix

Arrest, conviction and appeal

He entrapped an American child psychologist, Kimberley Adams, with tales of how he was an undercover spy, had infiltrated a criminal network and how he had killed a criminal who had threatened to expose him.

Weeks into their relationship, he proposed but told Dr Adams she would have to be a spy also, resign from her job in Reading and end contact with her family.

In 2002 Scotland Yard and the FBI organised a sting operation. First, the FBI bugged the phone of the Kimberley’s parents. On instructions from the FBI and Scotland Yard, her mother told Hendy-Freegard she would hand over £10,000 but only in person. He met Kim’s mother in Heathrow Airport where police arrested him.

Images above: Jake (left) Sandra (centre) and Sophie Clifton (right), Jake and Sophie Clifton – from The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman, Netflix

Relationship with Sandra Clifton

Hendy-Freegard is now in a relationship with Sandra Clifton and a regular on the pedigree dog-show circuit using the name David Clifton.

The couple met on a dating app in 2012 after Sandra had got divorced. Hendy-Freegard ‘bought’ her a brand new blue Audi, telling her he was working in the media selling advertising space. The car turned out to be financed in her name.

Sandra’s relationship with her children slowly deteriorated over two years, with Hendy-Freegard suggesting Jake, then 16, was gay and repeatedly locking him out the house. After these incidents continued, Jake went to live at his father’s house.

Sophie, Sandra’s daughter, cut off communication with her brother and father after being “brainwashed” by Hendy-Freegard. She says she was coerced into handing over £10,000 in savings to him. Sophie remembers him laughing when he found out about her savings account.

In 2020, Jake tried to stop Hendy-Freegard getting his hands on the house his mother inherited from her parents by putting it into trust. Sandra challenged the attempt, accusing her son of trying to steal from her. The two saw each other for the first time in years in a virtual-court hearing.

Jake explained he merely wanted to preserve the house for her so it wouldn’t fall into Freegard’s hands. Legally, the judge had no choice but to relinquish ownership to Sandra. The house was worth £300,000.

When police contacted Sandra to open her eyes to Hendy-Freegard’s past crimes, she told them she knew who he was and didn’t care. Freegard has strongly denied accusations he is controlling her. Her heartbroken children, supported by their father, cooperated with the documentary series as they want her back in their lives.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: West London borough police commander sacked for gross misconduct

See also: Chiswick masseur convicted of voyeurism

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Andrea’s film review – The Tender Bar

The Tender Bar ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

A boy growing up on Long Island seeks out father figures among the patrons at his uncle’s bar. Available to watch on Amazon Prime.

The Tender Bar is the latest film directed by George Clooney (yes, that George Clooney) and it’s based on a 2005 memoir by journalist J.R. Moehringer, who would eventually grow up to be a Pulitzer-winning writer (and the celebrity ghost-writer of autobiographies for people like Andre Agassi and Prince Harry.

It is essentially a sort of good-hearted coming-of-age story, set in the 1970s, and ‘80s, about the young JR (for Junior) who lives with his mother at his grandfather’s house after her breakup with his dad. His uncle Charlie (Ben Affleck) acts as a surrogate father and will essentially teach him how to be a man and pursuit his dream of becoming a writer.

It is a simple story, which despite the feeling of familiarity (how many times have we seen a family huddled up anxiously waiting to open a letter from a university to see whether the son has been accepted?) has a lot of warmth to it and running at 1 hour and 46 minutes never really outstays its welcome.

The film is told in a non-linear structure, through a series of flashbacks, jumping about from the 1970s and ‘80s. At times some of the transitions feel a bit rushed and even messy and the film often loses its focus, as it tries to cover too much ground (this is the classic thing which would have been better suited to a mini-series and focuses on sub-plots and characters which are actually not as interesting. As a result, many of the side characters end up feeling a bit superficial, just like two-dimensional caricatures. For example Christopher Lloyd, who plays the grandfather,  is really wasted as he’s given much too little to do.

However the highlight of The Tender Bar is Ben Affleck – something I never thought I would ever have said, when I watched Pearl Harbour for the first time, more than 20 years ago.

His portrayal of the affable uncle Charlie lights up every scene he’s in, even when he doesn’t talk and just sits there and stares. He’s just been nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Supporting Actor, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he nabbed an Oscar nod too.

His presence alone, as well as the warm and loving nostalgic feel throughout, aided by a terrific soundtrack with some great period songs, makes this film a lot more enjoyable than many critics may lead you to believe.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.

The Tender Bar is available to watch on Amazon Prime

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also January Books by Anna Klerfalk

See also: Back to the Future: The Musical

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Ealing Council new policy limiting tall buildings

Image above: 25 storey ‘monster tower’ next to the Bollo Lane railway crossing in Chiswick

LB Ealing has promised to stop the “spread of skyscrapers”, issuing new guidance to developers stressing the need for more affordable housing and more sustainable buildings.

It defines tall building as “those that are substantially taller than their neighbours and/or which significantly change the skyline”.

Local residents have campaigned for the past few years against developments the Council has sanctioned which overshadow their homes. The Planning Committee approved an application by developers to build ten towers, including one which is 25-storeys high, in South Acton in January 2021.

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.

Image above: CGI of the entrance at 93 Bollo Lane (Picture credit: Alistair Downie)

A planning application for more tower blocks on Bollo Lane was submitted in August 2021. Local residents reacted against the application, saying it was:

‘yet another high-rise crammed into an over-developed part of Ealing’ and would ‘significantly [impact] on the privacy of houses in the area’. Others said there was ‘bound to be more traffic along Bollo Lane’ the development were to be built, which would threaten to create a ‘vastly over-crowded road.’

READ ALSO: 25 storey ‘monster tower’ planned for Chiswick, July 2020

READ ALSO: More tower blocks planned for Bollo Lane, August 2021

In today’s statement, the Council acknowledged the borough has seen a larger number of tall buildings being proposed by private developers outside of designated areas for growth over the past few years.

They would continue to consider buildings of  an “exemplar standard of design” if they were deemed appropriate.

LB Ealing has also set out new local planning policy guidance that sets out the character of each of Ealing’s seven towns, which introduces a new housing design guide to encourage good-quality and sustainable buildings.

The Ealing Character Study and Housing Design Guide contains “generic design principles” that will be applied to the consideration of tall buildings by the Council, including the visual impact on views, the integration with neighbourhoods and the effects on the microclimate.

Councillor Shital Manro, Cabinet Member for Good Growth said:

“In making this statement, we are making it abundantly clear to both developers and planners alike what our expectations are going forward.”

Ealing Council Leader Peter Mason

The Council is balancing opposition to tower blocks with the needs of those on its waiting list for housing, which currently stands at 11,000. Leader of Ealing Council Peter Mason said:

“We do not want to see the spread of skyscrapers in Ealing. London has an affordable homes crisis and a climate emergency, and we will not solve either with ever more luxury apartments in the sky.

Last year Cllr Mason announced a new approach to development which he said would put community led development in the driving seat of regeneration:

“COVID-19 has changed the way we live and work forever. We’ve spent more time in our local areas than ever before; more of us are working from home and lots of us either want to keep it that way or to work more locally and flexibly. People are feeling more invested in the future of their neighbourhoods than ever before.

“Many people don’t feel in control of the areas they live in, and I want to change that. From now on, communities will be in the driving seat when it comes to regeneration in Ealing. Local communities need to lead the process of changing our borough, not developers.”

Liberal Democrat Leader Gary Malcolm

Gary Malcolm, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Ealing Council and a councillor for Southfield ward, told The Chiswick Calendar he welcomed the move but the Local Plan would need to be consulted on and agreed, a process which would take several months, so at the moment the Council’s policy merely amounted to posturing.

“Over the past five to eight years the Council has agreed lots of tower blocks in Chiswick and Acton which will change the face of the area. It’s true that Government legislation makes some of these hard to turn down, but where the Council has failed is that is has not had a very strong Local Plan.

“Any developer who puts in an application who meets basic building requirements pretty much gets rubber stamped. It’s a bit late in the day for them to be doing this because they have not been turning down buildings which are inappropriate.

“When you update the Local Plan there’s a process you have to go through of consulting with residents, councillors, residents associations and organisations in the area, which can take months.

“My fear is that with every month that goes by while the new Local Plan is being discussed, more developers will put in plans and the trouble is, the Council is obliged to give them a decision, to accept or reject it within a certain time frame.

“I was saying ten years ago we ought to have a stronger Local Plan.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick car salesman, master conman, features in Netflix series

See also: Reactions to the ‘Big Ideas’ proposed to develop Chiswick town centre

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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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The Silver Birch has Ruinart Blanc des Blanc and a new menu for spring

Image above: Ruinart Champagne

The Silver Birch restaurant on Chiswick High Rd has brought out a new menu for the spring and it has supplies of the famous Ruinart Blanc des Blanc Champagne back in stock.

“We are now the only restaurant in West London that currently has stock of it as it is on a very privileged allocation due to stock shortages” General Manager Dan Jelensek tells The Chiswick Calendar.

Ruinart is the oldest established Champagne house, exclusively producing champagne since 1729. Founded by Nicolas Ruinart in the Champagne region in the city of Reims, the house is today owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA.

“Their production of Champagne was very much affected with the situation we have been in and also by bad weather conditions which affected their output and stock levels which has made the Blanc des Blancs very scarce and on a very honoured allocation” says Dan. He had to pull some strings to get hold of a supply.

Owned by first-time restaurateur, Tim Price, The Silver Birch offers weekend brunch, lunch and dinner. The restaurant is overseen by head chef Kimberley Hernandez (formerly head chef at Andrew Wong’s Kym’s, Bao Group’s XU Teahouse). The menu showcases Kimberley’s culinary expertise and creativity served with uncomplicated finesse, soul-restoring food that leaves guests feeling revived.

Images above: (L) Torbay monkfish, yuzu kosho, black garlic jus, spinach; (R) Grilled baby gem lettuce, green sauce, Parmesan

New dishes coming in this week at Silver Birch

Torbay monkfish, yuzu kosho, black garlic jus, spinach

Chef’s recommendation: “Driven by flavour and seasonality this new addition on the menu highlights the peak season for yuzu. Highlighting the sweetness and texture of British monkfish balanced with the deep and rich flavour of fermented black garlic sauce. A dish to be experienced.”

Grilled baby gem lettuce, green sauce, Parmesan

Chef’s recommendation: “A naughty and fresh start to the meal . The versatility of baby gems brought out by the grill layered with a smoked emulsion, a piquant green sauce in a chimichurri style and rounded out by shaved Parmesan.”

The Silver Birch offers Club Card holders 20% off weekday lunch or a welcome cocktail / mocktail on arrival for evenings and weekend brunches. The restaurant is open for lunch Wednesday to Friday during the week.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Abundance London’s year 2021 in review

See also: Culture is alive and well and thriving in Chiswick despite Covid, says Torin Douglas

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

 

Andrea’s film review – Belfast

Belfast ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

A young boy and his working-class Belfast family experience the tumultuous late 1960s. Out this Friday. 

Kenneth Branagh has got an eclectic filmography under his belt – from his Shakespearian masterpieces (Henry V, Hamlet), to superheroes (Thor), to pointless mediocrity (Murder on the Orient Express), as well as some real stinkers, like the infamous and rather embarrassing Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or Sleugh (You’re probably asking yourself “What is that?”, to which I say “Exactly!”) and the recent terrible series Artemis Fowl, for Disney Plus.

Belfast signals a real return to form for the director, possibly because you can clearly tell his heart this time is in it.

This a semi-autobiographical film about his own childhood in Northern Island, living through the violent clash between Protestants and Catholics.

But the film is not what you might expect. Branagh chooses a rather counter-intuitive approach right from the start when we are treated to a sleek montage sequence of modern Belfast drenched in sunshine, in all its beauty, cut to a song by Van Morrison (in fact his songs are playing throughout the whole film).

It’s a scene which seems to be produced by some council-driven tourist shop, but as unexpected as it is, it is also clearly meant to put us in the right frame of mind for the story we are about to watch. This is a love letter to the city: a film dedicated to “the ones who stayed, the ones who left…. And all the ones who got lost…”.

Even beyond the surprising start, once the film dips into black and white, Branagh maintains a lightness of touch throughout, deciding to give us the point of view of a child for most of the film: a rather sentimentalised and sanitised version (or recollection) which resembles more like a picture postcard than a historical piece.

The streets are pristine clean, the people in it are looking beautiful and happy: poverty is something they talk about but it doesn’t seem to weigh too much on the life of the boy who still gets his present from Santa at Christmas.

He’s allowed to spend time playing in the streets and gets lost in the beauty of theatre plays and movies (in fact the only colours in the film are the ones seen through the TV screen or in the cinema). Knowing what’s going to become of Branagh, this makes perfect sense (as well as one brief shot of the kid reading a comic of Thor).

His alter-ego in the film, little ‘Buddy’ is surrounded by a whole series of characters whom he loves: the pretty (and almost unreachable) girl in school, the wise grandfather who helps him out with maths (a real scene-stealer Ciarán Hinds, charming as ever), the grandmother (Judy Dench who manages to give huge depth to a massively underwritten character) and of course mother, always depicted looking gorgeous and wearing perfect make-up and father, singing and dancing “like Fred Astair” (a line from the film). And yes, there are some violent clashes too and looting going on in shops, but most of those are either played almost for laughs or bare no weight to the life of the child.

It is a charming film and even if rather predictable, a bit simplistic and way too flashy in a few places (like carefully constructed shots of people standing in impossible positions so that their silhouettes can look perfect against the moody sky, while other characters are talking to each other, but straight down the camera lens, for no apparent reasons), it’s still highly entertaining film, funny and heart-warming at the same time and beautifully filmed (a bit too beautiful some people have argued, missing the point). A real crowd-pleaser, and a very possible contender at the Oscars this year.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.

Belfast is out this Friday.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also January Books by Anna Klerfalk

See also: Back to the Future: The Musical

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Abundance London’s year 2021 in review

Image above: Mediaeval farming calendar

I wasn’t aware of ‘guerilla gardening’ until I came to Chiswick. Planting flowers on bits of ground not used for anything else – taking the time and trouble to make a bit of land look nice that isn’t your own garden, for the enjoyment of all – had just not entered my sphere of being at all.

If I ever noticed the flowers, I probably just thought, like a lot of people, that the planting was carried out by the local authority. In fact a lot of the planting you see around Chiswick – ‘pocket gardens’ on Fauconberg Rd, on Wellesley Rd, Acton Green, Turnham Green and Turnham Green Terrace for example – are the work of Abundance London, organised by Karen Liebreich.

Karen’s New Year email to Abundance followers lists their activities throughout the year, like a mediaeval farming calendar … we sowed … we reaped … and some seeds fell on stony ground.

‘Small defiant acts of beauty’

Guest blog by Karen Liebreich

Happy New Year, and may it be a healthy happy one. Despite various lockdowns Abundance had a busy year.

March we planted up a wildflower meadow on the corner of the A4 and Sutton Court Road which flowered all season until we scythed it in late summer. We created a treasure trail around 12 of our Chiswick gardens and gave prizes to those who completed it. You can download it here, print it out, and punch the orienteering holes as you tick off the gardens.

April we held a Seed Swap, with donations from Thomas Etty heritage seeds.

May we created a new woodland garden, behind the subway entrance on the corner of Sutton Court Rd/A4 and we also funded new planters for Watermans Art Centre.

From June Bets Kynoch started watering our new A4 trees as part of her Duke of Edinburgh award.

Images above: Flowers at the piazza on Turnham Green Terrace; new art work for the ‘W4th plinth’

July we installed new artwork on the W4th Plinth at Turnham Green Terrace, a Sarnie under the Tree of Life by Suzan Inceer, unveiled by Jeremy Vine. The most recent artworks were not voted on (pandemic stresses) but were selected via open submission by a jury headed up by Sir Peter Blake.

August Sam Reynolds created new planters and beds on Wellesley Road as part of his Duke of Edinburgh award with Abundance.

September we launched a major art project throughout the community, with groups and individuals throughout West London painting thousands of butterflies and flowers which were then varnished and wired.

Images above: Butterflies and flowers art work on Chiswick Police Station; trees ready for planting in Alison’s Wood

October we installed the art work on the four-storey police station wall. We received funding from Hounslow, support from Make + Paint, and Artists at Home helped us to run an auction of butterflies and flowers created by generous local artists which helped us to raise funds. We also pressed a tonne of apple juice at the Chiswick Flower Market.

November we worked with Ealing Council to plant Alison’s Wood, a new area of woodland on Acton Green planted up with birch and fruit trees, spring bulbs and woodland flowers, gently protected by a circle of hibernacula to offer habitat and texture.

D of E students Eleuthera Graham and Amina Kotb took over maintenance duties for the Heathfield Terrace triangle and we look forward to seeing the fruits of their intensive bulb planting (generously supplied by the Metropolitan Public Garden Association and Taylors Bulbs).

December we funded a willow weaving project with Make + Paint, and Friends of Turnham Green to create willow lighted decorations with several Chiswick schools which were hung on Turnham Green over Christmas.

Images above: Apple pressing at the launch of the Butterflies and Flowers art work at Chiswick Flower Market; willow decorations on Turnham Green 

On the negative side

We gave up the Town Hall flagpole garden since London Borough of Hounslow assured us they have robust plans for the Town Hall – since then we have watched the garden with interest and one of our volunteers has gone back to weed and trim as she can’t bear to see it fall into neglect.

We also gave up on the Sleeping Beauty Hedge along Burlington Lane after the council strimmed off most of the hedging plants; likewise our flowery border on the corner of Chesterfield and Sutton Court Roads was strimmed just as the scabious and eschholtzia poppies were about to flower.

Some tree pits full of cosmos were also cleared. These experiences are discouraging – Hounslow has been “working” on its tree pit policy for three years now which, given many other councils have tree pit policies which could be cut and pasted into use, seems to us quite sufficient time to produce some simple guidelines.

Image above: Wildflower planting beside the A4

The Great West Hedge

Throughout the year we worked with TfL, Hounslow and many other local groups to try and create the Great West Hedge along the A4. This started as an ambitious high thick hedge, then became more trees and biodiverse planting such as bulbs and shrubs, and ended up as an unambitious promise to plant 30 more trees.

The only real results from this were ten new trees between Sutton Court Road and Barrowgate Road, and the experimental wildflower meadow on the corner of the A4 and Sutton Court Road with a buddleia and native hedging strip. TfL also promised to look into a few test hedge areas, eg. above Harvard Hill Park.

The disappointing outcome of the Great West Hedge project (so far, anyhow!) sadly reflects not just the practicalities of planting along a 6-lane highway but also the current priorities of TfL which is to prioritise car traffic even though the air pollution and biodiversity crises are increasingly acute.

Even our wildflower corner patch was hard won: even though Abundance had permission from the London Borough of Hounslow and Hounslow Highways to create the meadow area TfL then demanded retrospective licences (£400) which we refused to pay.

Our volunteers had spent many hours hand weeding the grass to leave beneficial weeds, and then plug planting and sowing the area. It attracted grasshoppers, bees and butterflies, and was much appreciated by passersby.

We scythed it in the traditional way in September, and hope to leave it no-mow as an ongoing experiment next year to see how a low-maintenance highly stressed piece of land adjacent to exceptionally high passing traffic (from cars, trucks, pedestrians, wind, salt grit, pollution, particle pollution, crisp packets, beer cans, etc etc) can nevertheless provide benefit. We will keep pushing for the promised 30 new trees and the test areas.

Image above: Freshly pressed apple juice at the launch of the Butterflies and Flowers art work

Fruit picking

We continued our fruit picking activities with a regular WhatsApp group dealing with tonnes of plums (July), apples and pears (August, September, October), quince and medlars (November). These were processed into jams, fruit cheeses, crumbles, preserves and much more. Some went to foodbanks and refugee hostels.

In September we held a big fruit pressing event at the Chiswick Flower Market and produced gallons and gallons of free fruit juice for passersby. If you want to join the picking group, or have a tree that needs harvesting, get in touch.

Image above: Dr Karen Liebreich MBE

Public gardens – flowers, trees, hedges

We continue to maintain the 15+ pocket gardens we have created around Chiswick. Our flagship garden, at the piazza on Turnham Green Terrace, goes from strength to strength. We have a regular weeding team there, following a bit of a couch grass crisis, and this garden is a tribute to designer Jutta Wagner.

At the last weeding session, a passerby asked: “Are you people responsible for the joy I feel every time I pass this flower bed?” and this makes the maintenance – much of which is picking out fag butts and beer cans – feel worthwhile.

The willow gardens on Fauconberg Road were a triumph of sustainable planting as they survived with no watering and bloomed ferociously. One of the two new willow trees sadly did not survive the handover from Abundance to council watering.

After Abundance’s efforts over the previous two years when we set up our volunteer watering network to help Chiswick’s 100 or so new trees to survive, and achieved a very high 94% survival rate we handed over these duties to the council’s new Environmental Champions manager, aided by the new Greentalk app which we had helped to pilot in its early days.

Image above: Willow gardens on Fauconberg Road 

Art projects

Our Chiswick Timeline mural continues to delight locals and visitors (we are told!). It was awarded protection as a local heritage site of value in the council’s new classifications, the youngest structure to be so honoured.

The W4th Plinth will be changed in a few weeks’ time, to show the third of the works submitted and selected during lockdown. Thereafter submissions will be re-opened for new artworks and eventual public voting.

The Butterfly Wall at the Police Station had received a stay of execution after police HQ suddenly woke up and asked for it to be removed two weeks after installation (we had permission from the local police force) so it’s not clear how much longer it is allowed to stay there.

Image above: Pop up painting session on Chiswick High Rd

Collaborative working

We worked with lots of groups, including: London Borough of Hounslow, Hounslow Highways, Ealing Council, TfL, Make + Paint, Friends groups (Harvard Hill Park, Turnham Green, Chiswick Back Common), Residents groups (West London & Gunnersbury Association, Grove Park Group, Staveley Road Blossom Festival), environmental and other groups (Chiswick Flower Market, Hounslow Cycle Campaign, Chiswick Oasis, Park Life West, Mums for Lungs, Extinction Rebellion, West London Welcome, Cultivate London), 12 local schools including Belmont, Chiswick, Grove Park, Arts Ed and many more.

Here’s to 2022 – more flowers, more fruit picking, more biodiversity, more collaborative working, less Covid, more art.

Small defiant acts of beauty.

Karen & the Abundance Team

Dr Karen Liebreich MBE is a director and founder of Abundance London

abundancelondon.com

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Council approves plans to ‘reimagine’ Chiswick town centre

See also: Reactions to the ‘Big Ideas’ proposed for Chiswick’s town centre

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Reactions to the ‘Big Ideas’ proposed to develop Chiswick’s town centre

Images above: The Wild Bunch cafe

Cafe owners facing Turnham Green delighted

Cafe owners whose businesses face Turnham Green are delighted that Hounslow Council is considering making more use of Turnham Green for events and activities.

Cabinet members universally approved a report called Reimagining our town centres, commissioned from a group of architects, transport consultants and commercial estate agents, who set out some ‘Big Ideas’ for ‘reimagining’ Chiswick, Feltham, Brentford and Hounslow town centres.

Among those put forward for Chiswick are the redevelopment of the Post Office building, making more of the Town Hall and the Library and a programme of community-led events and festivals, making more use of Turnham Green.

Mandana Kalati, who runs The Wild Bunch cafe opposite Turnham Green, has had her business blighted by the Empire House development.

“This end of Chiswick is very quiet” she told The Chiswick Calendar. “I’m the only one here. There’s no shops, no footfall. We would like to bring more people here, so any events, anything that will bring more events to this side of Chiswick would be perfect.”

Anne Khoshaba, who runs the Rhythm & Brews cafe on the corner of Wellesley Rd and Sutton Lane North, was similarly enthusiastic. “I think that [more events on Turnham Green] is a fantastic idea” she told us.

Image above: Sunflowers on Turnham Green; photograph Barbara Chandler

Residents who live around Turnham Green may be less delighted

Turnham Green is very widely used by people for sport and exercise, sunbathing and picnics, but apart from George Irvine’s funfair there are few organised events on the Green. The use of the Green is at present subject to Management Guidelines agreed with the Council in 2001. One of the stipulations is that “community events will be held without amplified sound”.

The guidelines came about because local residents complained to the Local Government Ombudsman in 1999 over its use of Turnham Green for events – specifically the Moscow State Circus in April 1998 which lasted for 20 days including over the Easter holidays – but also because of other events prior to that. The previous vicar of Christ Church, Rev Dainty, once had to ask a rock band to turn the volume down while he was trying to conduct a wedding service, The Chiswick Calendar was told.

The Reimagining our town centres report notes the need to ‘prepare a strategy for place-based events and activities, such as overcoming barriers to using Turnham Green as a hosting site.’

Image above: Turnham Green in summer; photograph Barbara Chandler

The authors of the report, architects Allies and Morrison, transport planning consultants Urban Flow and commercial real estate agents Avison Young, may not be aware quite what a can of worms they would be opening, as the residents who took the complaint to the Ombudsman are still around and likely to be every bit in favour of defending the decision.

Margaret Chadderton, (not one of those who pursued the Ombudsman complaint) who has lived in Devonhurst Place facing Turnham Green for nearly 30 years, told The Chiswick Calendar:

“None of the residents object to events, in fact most of us have participated in church fairs, craft fairs and theatre performances on the green but we do care about noise and late hours.”

She points out that Turnham Green is far from being a neglected space:

“It is very heavily used. In the fine weather it is packed with sunbathers and picnickers. Even today in mid January I have just looked out of my window and see nearly every bench is occupied, women are wheeling prams, children are playing and dogs are being exercised. It is a much loved area and we are lucky to have such a beautiful space.”

Image above: Frivoli art gallery in Devonshire Rd

Ruth Cadbury concerned about future of Chiswick’s Post Office

MP for Brentford and Isleworth Ruth Cadbury told The Chiswick Calendar she welcomed that Hounslow are looking at Chiswick in a holistic way.

“Although the Council owns few properties in central Chiswick apart from the Town Hall, they can influence to some extent what happens on other sites” she said. “Therefore it’s good that they are considering the community needs at the heart of this work.

“I continue to be concerned about the potential loss of the sorting office from Chiswick. Having visited the posties there at Christmas, the sorting office badly needs some investment to make it fit for purpose, but I continue to be concerned that it the plans to move the team  to Acton may have only been put on ice.”

Chiswick ‘a jewel in the crown of west London’

In the preamble to the report, Council Leader Steve Curran wrote Google mobility data and the Council’s own footfall counters indicated footfall was increasing across all four town centres.

‘Hounslow town centre has broadly returned to pre pandemic levels, but Feltham and Chiswick remain below, with Brentford significantly lower. Mastercard data evidences a plateauing of consumer spending on retail below pre pandemic levels.

The ideas outlined in the report are designed to bring more people into the centre of Chiswick to spend money.

It describes Chiswick as ‘a unique High Rd destination’ and ‘a jewel in the crown of west London’, saying: ‘Chiswick is a successful centre and does not need to be reinvented. It is a case of
protection and refinement rather than change … The combination of shops, food and drink and attractive character are what make it unique and must be protected.’

It advocates the Council should: ‘Positively encourage specialist, independent and boutique shops in Chiswick to reinforce its unique shopping attraction’ and says:

‘Chiswick has a unique mix of places to shop, work, eat, drink and enjoy entertainment. However, more could be done to increase footfall and spending on the High Road from people working in Chiswick Business Park and those coming from outside Chiswick, such as visitors to Chiswick House and Gardens.’

A mixed response from Cllr Joanna Biddolph

Cllr Joanna BIddolph, Conservative spokesman on the retail economy, told The Chiswick Calendar she was pleased with some aspects of the report, but disappointed with others:

“I welcome the fact that several initiatives recommended by the Chiswick Shops Task Force, such as introducing a waste and recycling management system for traders, reducing street clutter and recognising the borough’s rich heritage, have been incorporated into these suggestions.”

But far from being proposals that were uniquely tailored for the various town centres within Hounslow, she said:

“I worry that this plan, regardless of fine words, tries to introduce a one-size-fits-all approach to our borough’s four unique town centres.

“As the task force hears so often from retailers, Hounslow council fails to engage directly with retail, hospitality and other high street businesses, a problem perfectly demonstrated by the fact that this report has not taken into account the individuality or character of Chiswick’s fantastic independent shops.”

Cllr Biddolph continued:

“It is absolutely critical that the council becomes flexible in its attitude towards supporting retailers across the borough, and places consultation, not dogma, at the heart of its decision-making process.

“I’m disappointed, too, that this proposal excludes the retailers and hospitality businesses in the borough’s more local parades. All our retail, hospitality, health/well-being and service businesses should be treated equally and be involved and listened to at the same time.”

Cllr Curran wrote in the report preamble:

‘Whilst these documents are focused on the town centres they do consider their hinterlands and connections to neighbourhood parades, which will be considered in more detail in 2022.’

Image above: Replanting of the piazza on Turnham Green Terrace, with new benches commissioned by Abundance London, mentioned in the report

‘Invest in green and recreation space’

The report advocates the Council ‘invest in green existing and recreation spaces, green routes between them, establish stronger links to the river and deliver planting that builds on Chiswick’s historic landscape character.

Karen Liebreich of Abundance London, who spent a lot of last year on her hands and knees planting one bit of Chiswick or another, told The Chiswick Calendar:

“Abundance is pleased to see the references to greening the centre of Chiswick and looks forward to seeing this come to fruition, with adequate funding. With the climate and biodiversity crises our towns have to provide space for nature.”

Image above: Chiswick Flower Market director Ollie Saunders

Report welcomed by Chiswick Flower Market organisers

The Reimagining our town centres report has been welcomed by the organisers of Chiswick Flower Market. Speaking on behalf of the group, which is a Community Interest Group set up with similar aims – to bring people to the centre of Chiswick to spend their money with local businesses – Ollie Saunders, one of the directors, had this to say:

“The report sets out some good ideas to improve the urban environment and we are pleased to see the desire to work alongside local groups who can help make the High Road more vibrant.  That is important as you can design a beautiful connected town centre but you need to have interesting and diverse businesses and things to do here to bring people to it. Which is why we started the Flower Market!

“We are pleased to see that the quick wins include extending the programme of community-led events following on from the successes of things like the flower market, as well as to invest in marketing Chiswick as a destination so that we can further spread the word outside of W4 to bring new people here.

“However, we do think an overall strategy for markets and events in Chiswick is the logical next step – we suggested this to the consultants and it’s great to see it in the report. I hope that will bring new ideas that can be brought to life here.

“Chiswick is a wonderful place to do that – but it needs a forum for collaboration and working with the community in a positive way with leadership. The report highlights that local people and community groups have a crucial role in implementing projects – there is certainly the wilingness and energy around in W4 to do that so I hope with more support, Chiswick really will get known for how the community played a central role in revitalising the High Road in a positive and fun way”

Read the ‘Reimagining our town centres’ report here.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Council approves plan to ‘reimagine’ Chiswick town centre

See also: Karen Liebreich’s guest blog on Abundance London’s 2021 year review

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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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Brentford FC reports record annual turnover despite Covid challenges

Image above: Brentford Community Stadium

Brentford FC reported a record annual turnover of £15.3m when it published its annual results on 17 January.

In the year which saw the club’s historic promotion to the Premier League and its move to the new Brentford Community Stadium, which opened on 1 September 2020, the club saw increases in revenue from the EFL and FA and more money from live TV coverage and commercial income.

The club’s financial success in the year ending 30 June 2021 comes despite the significant operational challenges posed by Covid. Much of the season was played behind closed doors, resulting in a sharp reduction in ticketing income.

Image above: Brentford fans at the new stadium; photograph Liz Vercoe

Club pays tribute to its fans

The club paid tribute to the fans, with over 11,000 premium and season tickets sold in 2020, and to the commercial partners who stood by it throughout the pandemic with no refunds requested.

The estimated negative financial impact of COVID-19 during the 2020/21 season was approximately £2.8m (2020: £1.0m).

The financial statements for the year under review show a group operating loss, before player trading, of £53.1m (2020: loss of £34.1m). The current year’s loss arises following a season where virtually no matchday income was generated due to COVID-19 restrictions preventing supporter attendance at the vast majority of games.

The current year’s loss also includes one-off bonuses paid out to players and staff following the club’s successful promotion to the Premier League in May 2021.

Player trading

“Our player trading drove a significant profit on the disposal of player registrations of £44.3m (2020: profit of £24.9m). The principal contributors to this were the sale of Ollie Watkins to Aston Villa and the sale of Saïd Benrahma to West Ham United. These two transfers continue to provide evidence of the strong work done by the Club to recruit and develop talent.

“The knock-on impact of this was that the loss before taxation was £8.5m (2020: loss of £9.1m) – a significant reduction on the operating loss. This loss before taxation would have been a profit of approximately £3.5m were it not for promotion-related payments totalling £12.0m.”

Image above: Brentford FC Chairman Cliff Crown

Togetherness and determination “key factor in our success” – Chairman Cliff Crown

Matthew Benham’s total investment in the group on 30 June 2021, comprised of equity and loans, stood at £104.1m (2020: £103.0m). This sum includes £22.4m (2020: £21.3m) of secured loans specifically in relation to the Brentford Community Stadium project.

Cliff Crown, Chair, said: “The 2020/21 season was a momentous one for Brentford FC, on and off the field with the Club realising its ambition of promotion to the Premier League.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Matthew Benham for his unwavering commitment to the Club and congratulate Thomas Frank, Brian Riemer, the players and all the Club staff, both on and off field, my fellow Board Directors and everyone who has contributed to the best season the Club has experienced in the last 75 years.

“Our fans also deserve a special mention. Their support made a huge difference on and off the park and we will continue to do our very best to make them proud. On behalf of the Club, I want to thank each and every one of them.

“It has never been more self-evident that our togetherness and determination to achieve our goals was the key factor in our success.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Bill Hagerty’s Brentford FC match reports

See also: How are Chiswick’s pubs coping with Brentford’s promotion to the Premier League?

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

West London borough police commander sacked for gross misconduct

Image above: former Chief Superintendent Paul Martin

West London borough police commander Chief Superintendent Paul Martin has been sacked for gross misconduct. He bullied staff and made bogus expenses claims, the Metropolitan Police’s Directorate of Professional Standards found. He has been sacked without notice.

A misconduct hearing which concluded on Sunday 16 January found he had ‘breached Standards of Professional Behaviour, amounting to gross misconduct, in relation to honesty and integrity,

Chief Superintendent Paul Martin was accused of presiding over a ‘boys club’, it has been reported. His conduct towards more junior members of staff included calling a pregnant woman “a f***ing nutter* and bellowing at another female colleague, saying she should make his tea and porridge.

He also misused a corporate credit card, using it to claim more than £5,500 in expenses for alcohol and flight upgrades in a week-long trip to Florida. He also failed to declare a conflict of interest while assisting in a promotion process for Chief Inspector Davinder Kandohla.

Image above: Former Chief Inspector Davinder Kandohla

Second officer also sacked

Chief Inspector Kandohla was also found to have breached Standards of Professional Behaviour, amounting to gross misconduct, in relation to honesty and integrity, authority, respect and courtesy, duties and responsibilities and discreditable conduct.

He failed to declare a conflict of interest while taking part in his own promotion process. He provided a misleading account to professional standards officers during an investigation into expenses he had claimed and he also breached professional standards in relation to conduct towards junior members of staff. He also was dismissed without notice.

Third officer keeps his job

A third officer, Sergeant James Di-Luzio, was found to have breached Standards of Professional Behaviour, amounting to misconduct, in relation to, orders and instructions, duties and responsibilities, and authority, respect and courtesy. He was issued with management advice.

The three officers were attached to Frontline Policing. The misconduct was over a period between 2017 and 2019.

Commenting on the case on behalf of the Met, Commander Catherine Roper said: “The behaviour demonstrated by these officers has no place in the Met…. [they] should have been setting a strong example for the standards we hold in the Met. Instead they abused their trusted positions.”

She described their behaviour as “appalling.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Council approves plan to ‘reimagine’ town centre

See also: Chiswick masseur convicted of voyeurism

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Owner of Annie’s opens Rock & Rose in Chiswick High Rd

Image above: Bar from the Rock & Rose website 

The owner of Annie’s, Strand on the Green, Lorraine Angliss, is launching a new restaurant where Bill’s used to be on the High Rd. Called Rock & Rose, like her restaurant in Richmond, it will be a “funky cocktail bar and restaurant with an Asian influenced menu and good music” she says, and an “eclectic” decor. The new 140 seat restaurant is due to open at the end of March.

Lorraine set up Annie’s 20 years ago on Thames Rd, offering a chic but cosy, eclectic decor with lots of velvet and flowers in evidence reflecting her personal taste and crowd-pleasing food. The neighbourhood restaurant quickly became a hit on a site where several other restaurants had failed.

She went on to open Rock & Rose in Richmond, another restaurant in Barnes which has since closed and Little Bird, a cocktail bar on Burlington Lane in the row of shops opposite Chiswick station.

Image above: Lorraine Angliss, owner of Little Bird, sitting outside it

“I may have to close Annie’s and Little Bird”

Now she says she may have to close both Annie’s and Little Bird because of the traffic restrictions Hounslow Council has introduced over the past year.

“The traffic restrictions on Thames Rd have brought Annie’s to its knees” she told The Chiswick Calendar. “And now they’ve closed Burlington Lane as well.

“Chiswick has become a fortress. It’s like a resort.. You can’t get in, you can’t get out, you can’t turn left, you can’t turn right. It’s a disgrace. I’ve been trading at Annie’s for 20 years and people have come and they’ve loved it. Now people can’t get to me. My customers are confused. They get tickets.

“I am beyond devastated at what’s happened.”

She is opening on the High Rd because she says there will be passing trade.

“People will go to M&S no matter what but they don’t have to go to a corner on Thames Rd.”

Annie’s used to be open for breakfast, brunch, lunch right through to dinner. Now it is only open for lunch at the weekends and open five nights a week (closed Sunday and Monday night).

“Meanwhile Mr Khan [Hanif Khan, LB Hounslow’s Cabinet Member for Transport] is up at Downing St drinking champagne congratulating himself” she said.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: West London borough commander sacked for gross misconduct

See also: Council approves plans to ‘reimagine’ Chiswick town centre

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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 mental health campaign launched by NHS with ‘Help!’ from The Beatles

The NHS has launched a new ‘landmark’ campaign to get Londoners to take better care of their mental health, using the iconic Beatles song ‘Help!’ to promote the campaign. 

The classic soundtrack, written by the Beatles superstar in 1964, includes the lyrics “Help me if you can, I’m feeling down” and were donated by Sony Music and Apple Corps for the campaign’s rendition. ‘Help!’ was written by John Lennon in 1964. It is thought to be one of his most ‘honest and genuine’ songs and the NHS consider it ideal for the campaign. 

Other UK music artists have supported the campaign, which they hope will encourage people struggling with their mental health to seek support. Top names from the UK music industry including Craig David, Girls Aloud’s Nicola Roberts, Tom Grennan, Laura Mvula, Ella Henderson and Max George, will launch the campaign with a speaking rendition of the song which will be broadcast on TV and available online. 

Since the start of the pandemic some 300,000 Londoners have started NHS talking therapies. New figures show that over 57% of people in London were concerned about their mental health in 2021 and 51% reported they did not seek professional help.

The NHS said data revealed people have become more conscious of their mental health, with 63% planning to focus more on this in 2022. 

In December, the NHS launched a new online mental health service for young people.

Image above: a mental health nurse consoling a patient

Focus on talking therapies

Half of those concerned about their mental health experienced stress and anxiety with nearly 40% experiencing low mood or depression. The NHS says many more people could benefit from talking therapies.

Anybody experiencing anxiety, depression, or other common mental health concerns is being encouraged to come forward and see how talking therapies can help them. 

NHS mental health talking therapies are a confidential service run by fully trained experts and can be accessed by self-referral or through your GP.  The all-star campaign, is also being backed by a number of leading charities.

Antoinette, Senior CBT Therapist at Barnet Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust said:

“I would say to anyone struggling – please don’t be ashamed. It is normal and human to experience difficulties with your mental health. I really encourage you to speak to whoever you feel comfortable to, and know the NHS are here for support.”   

“It is so fulfilling to see the change in people once they have reached out for help. I see people feel more motivated to do things they haven’t done in a while, even just getting out of bed, or building the confidence to look for work. I have literally seen people save themselves and all they needed was a little bit of support and encouragement from us along the way.”

‘NHS in London is here for you’, says Mental Health boss

Regional Head of Mental Health for the NHS in London, Emma Christie, said:

“The Covid pandemic has had such a significant impact on the mental health Londoners, leading to increased isolation, loneliness and stress, and it has never been more important to take active steps to support your mental health.

“Since the pandemic began, over 300,000 people have already accessed NHS talking therapies in London, and our NHS services are ready to support you.

“Whether you are experiencing low mood, anxiety, stress, or struggling to cope with day to day life – as this fantastic campaign shows, you are not alone – people from all walks of life experience mental health concerns from time to time and all can benefit from talking therapies.

“The NHS in London is here for you, and I urge anyone who feels like they may need this additional support to reach out to us.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: NHS launches new mental health service for young people in west London

See also: Council approves plans to ‘reimagine’ Chiswick town centre.

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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Draft plans for redevelopment of Chiswick’s big Sainsburys site published

Image above: Google Street View of entrance to Sainsbury’s car park

Draft plans for the redevelopment of the big Sainsburys site in Chiswick have been presented to Hounslow Council’s Cabinet and approved for public consultation. The plans propose a new food store ’embedded within a mixed use development’ in the area currently covered by the supermarket and its car park.

Presented by Council Leader Steve Curran, who is also Cabinet Member for Corporate Strategy, Planning and Regeneration, the plans outline the provision of ‘high quality housing that is well integrated within Chiswick town centre.’

Buildings should respect the scale of housing to the east of the site ‘with the potential for taller elements along the railway line’, the plans say. ‘Mixed-use perimeter blocks are appropriate in this location. Free-form towers which do not form part of perimeter blocks are discouraged.

‘More compact, indoor car parking should be embedded within a ground floor podium. Building lines should set back further from Essex Place to widen this street and accommodate better movement and mix of uses.’

Relationship to surroundings

The draft plan notes the site is within Chiswick town centre, adjacent to the Turnham Green Conservation Area, it is within close proximity to listed buildings and high quality green open space.  Maintaining space for servicing from the west is ‘imperative; allowing generous space for lorries to turn and a Transport for London corridor to the rear of the site is also required. ‘Space must
be allowed for in case of emergency.’

Describing the relationship of the new development to its surroundings, the draft plan says Empire House should not be used as a precedent in terms of building heights.

The new supermarket should have ‘welcoming entrances’ that are clearly visible from the various access points into the site. A residential, pedestrianised street is suggested parallel to the railway line, with improved access from Chiswick Park Station.

Development proposals should be accompanied by a noise mitigation strategy and proposals for the site should be coordinated with the redevelopment of Empire House and its adjacent land parcels.

Image above: Sainsbury’s site map from the draft redevelopment plan

Street level experience

Guidance for developers on the way the development should be experienced at street level include the stipulation that blank frontages around the supermarket and car park should be avoided.

Entrances to residential uses above ground are encouraged around the supermarket and car park and missing frontages along Acton Lane should be repaired with commercial or retail uses at ground floor are suitable along this parade.

The plans call for the improvement of pedestrian movement to and through the site, particularly along Essex Place, with high quality paving and street lighting.

Access

The draft plans say vehicular access from Acton Lane and Belmont Road via Essex Place should be retained. New pedestrian access could be introduced from Mills Row and Chiswick High Road to better link the site Turnham Green. Access for maintenance of the railway should be factored into the design through early consultation with TfL/Network Rail.

Wider contribution

Improvements to the public realm along Essex Place Square will be required as part of the development. ‘The existing market on Essex Place Square could be extended further north to tie in with public realm improvements.’

Inner streets should facilitate cycling and pedestrian movement across the site, particularly between Belmont Primary School and the station. And developers should consider the potential for a ‘flexible community space’ within the site.

‘Sustainable drainage systems and tree planting along inner streets of the site and railway edge can help to mitigate surface water flooding as well as noise.’

Cabinet noted Hounslow’s draft Character and Design Codes Supplementary Planning Document, as presented in the submitted report, and approved the publication of the draft Supplementary Planning Document for public consultation.

Read more stores on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Council approves plan to ‘reimagine’ Chiswick town centre

See also: Reaction to the ‘Big Ideas’ proposed for Chiswick 

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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New university to open in Chiswick Business Park

Image above: Chiswick Business Park by Jennifer Griffiths

A university will be opening in Chiswick later this year, after planning permission was granted for the campus in Chiswick Business Park.

Richmond, The American International University in London – a liberal arts university, will be moving from its current campus in Richmond in July 2022. This year also marks the 50th year since the University was founded.

Over the coming months, students, staff and faculty will be involved with the design and fit-out plans for the new campus location. The fit-out will be managed by Ambit, part of the Workplace Futures Group, which specialises in the refurbishment and furnishing of commercial premises for a wide range of clients.

In preparation for the move, the University has been developing a range of options for managed student accommodation available from September next year with varying price, location, size and facilities.

The university said the new location will provide its students with potential internship and employment opportunities amongst 72 companies currently based at Chiswick Park including Danone, Discovery, Starbucks and IMG.

Image above: Chiswick Business Park by Jennifer Griffiths

Move will ‘develop new relations’ with local businesses and community

Professor Phil Deans, President and Vice Chancellor of the University, said:

“We have been considering different options for the future campus location over the last 18 months and are delighted to have found a new home in the innovative and award-winning Chiswick Park.

“This is a once in a generation opportunity to take the University forward and to improve the facilities and environment for all of our students, staff and faculty. The move to this new location during our 50th year will offer the University significant opportunities. It will allow us to develop new relationships with both local businesses and the community and reimagine our future as the UK’s pioneering liberal arts university.”

Matt Coulson, CEO Chiswick Park Enjoy-Work said:

“We are looking forward to welcoming the first University to Chiswick Park. This is a great fit for our campus as we will directly connect students and businesses.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Council approves larger scale events at Chiswick Business Park

See also: Owner of Annie’s opens Rock & Rose in Chiswick High Rd

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Equivalent of 400 Olympic-sized swimming pools of sewage spilled into Thames on each of two days

Image above: Raw sewage in the River Thames at Strand on the Green

Our bit of Thames was mentioned in a parliamentary select committee report, and not in a good way. The Environmental Audit Committee has just published the Fourth report of Session 2021-22 on water quality in rivers. It revealed a staggering fact about the amount of raw sewage released into the Thames.

The committee heard from Peter Hammond, retired Professor of Computational Biology of University College, London that on each of two days in October 2020 Mogden wastewater treatment works in Isleworth “spilled 1 billion litres plus, which is the equivalent of 400 Olympic-sized swimming pools of sewage each day.”

Sarah Bentley, chief executive of Thames Water, sought to set the events at Mogden in context. She explained that the works had been ‘inundated’: 3 and 4 October 2020 “were the wettest days on record and we struggled to treat both the permitted amount, but also just struggled to treat the sewage. On that day there was enough rainfall to fill Loch Ness.

“In order to deal with that at Mogden, we have eight storm tanks at the moment that currently hold about 40 Olympic-sized swimming pools of storm water contaminated with sewage. We would have needed either another treatment works the same size as Mogden treating another 1 billion litres or we would have needed 150 more storm tanks” she said.

Sewage regularly discharged into rivers

The sewerage networks operated by water companies frequently discharge untreated and partially-treated sewage into streams and rivers. Without these overflows, when the system is overloaded, when for instance there is heavy rain, the alternative could be sewage backing up into domestic and commercial properties.

Overflows are supposed to be used infrequently, in exceptional circumstances, but the report says: ‘their use nevertheless appears to be increasingly routine.’

The number of sewage spills from overflows officially recorded by water companies and reported to the Environment Agency went up by nearly 30% in just one year, (27% between 2019 and 2020) and citizen science analysis of water company data suggests that the true number of sewer overflow discharges may be considerably higher than those reported by the water companies.

The systems are not keeping pace with the number of people they serve.

‘Chemical cocktail’ of sewage, slurry and plastic

The public has recently become much more aware of the issue as groups such as Surfers Against Sewage have done their level best to bring it to their attention and the passage of the Environmental bill through parliament has highlighted the extent of the problem.

READ ALSO: Chiswick’s two MPs both voted against dumping untreated sewage in rivers

Despite the recent publicity, the revelation of the volume of sewage discharged into the Thames made in the report is staggering.

The report describes a ‘chemical cocktail’ of sewage, slurry and plastic polluting English rivers, putting public health and nature at risk. They conclude the problem is a result of chronic underinvestment and multiple failures in monitoring, government and enforcement.

The government has said it welcomes this report and will be reviewing its recommendations carefully before responding later this year.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick’s Tidefest organiser Martin Salter instrumental in forcing Government’s U turn on environment bill

See also: Raw sewage in the Thames is “unacceptable”

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

History of women’s football to be exhibited at Gunnersbury Park

The history of women’s football is to be exhibited at Gunnersbury Park Museum in summer 2022, in collaboration with UEFA Women’s EURO 2022.

The National Lottery funded project aims to challenge the common perception of women’s football being ‘new’ and change the nation’s understanding of the game.

Stories and objects relating to pioneering women and girls in football across Hounslow and Ealing will be recorded for the first time as part of the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 Heritage Programme.

London is one of nine UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 host cities, taking part in a fantastic range of community events and celebrations this summer. It also marks an important year for women’s football as England hosts the UEFA football competition, with Brentford Community Stadium and Wembley Stadium having the honour of holding the finals.

Gunnersbury Park Museum, on behalf of Hounslow and Ealing councils and in partnership with The FA, has joined a number of other organisations across England for the project which was awarded £500,000 by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Image above: Scene from Bend it Like Beckham

Celebrating the history of women’s football

Hounslow and Ealing have a rich history of women’s and girls’ football activity, which programme hopes to celebrate. The area is rich in history from Brentford Football Club to grassroots football teams, as well as being the birthplace of ‘Bend It Like Beckham!’.

This year will also mark 141 years since women’s football was first played professionally.

Eilish McGuinness, CEO of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the hidden history and unheard voices of women’s football will be shared for the first time, capturing the full story of the beloved sport. We’re delighted to support this project which will give fans and players the chance to celebrate the history of women’s football and communities to discover their connections to the game.”

Hounslow Council Cabinet Member for Leisure Services, Councillor Samia Chaudhary, said:

“This is exciting news and we’re really pleased to welcome the exhibition to our borough. Celebrating the history of women’s football has never been more important and relevant, and I hope it will inspire many more women and girls to get involved, and remind them that women have always been an important part of the beautiful game.

Thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund there will be yet another reason to visit and enjoy our brilliant Gunnersbury Park. We want these events to be inclusive and available to all diverse backgrounds and faith groups. We hope to encourage a greater participation in football and the many fitness benefits it brings, and develop our archives for the future.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Gunnersbury Park becomes Jurassic Park

See also: Council approves plans to ‘reimagine’ Chiswick town centre.

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Andrea’s film review – The Father

The Father ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Review by Andrea Carnevali

A man refuses all assistance from his daughter as he ages. As he tries to make sense of his changing circumstances, he begins to doubt his loved ones, his own mind and even the fabric of his reality. Now available on Amazon Prime.

I know this one came out last year, but it’s just been made available on Amazon Prime and if you’ve missed it, this is your chance to watch one of the best movies of the last few years.

I remember being a blubbering wreck after watching this the first timer. Writer Director Florian Zeller was able to put me (and the audience in general) literally in the shoes of Anthony Hopkins, the father from the title, a man who suffers from dementia.

He had always been an independent man and, convinced he’s absolutely fine and that there is nothing wrong with him, he refuses to be assisted by anyone. But slowly he begins to doubt the world around him and so are we at the same time.

Characters change, people appear and disappear in his flat, in fact even his furniture seem to change. Wasn’t there a painting there? Is this even his flat? And who is this man walking around the house? The daughter’s husband? Wasn’t she divorced?

As reality keeps changing, the film is intentionally fragmented and confused just like the mind of the 80 year old man. Zeller films this as if it was a thriller or a mystery to be cracked, until of course we all realised what is really going on through the eyes of the (unsurprisingly) wonderful Olivia Colman, who play Hopkin’s daughter.

It is a painful watch and not just for anyone who’s ever had any experience of living close to a dear person suffering from dementia. This devastating portrait is made even more powerful by one of Hopkins’ best performances in years.

I remember writing at the time “If there is any justice left in this world, he’s certainly going to get at least another nomination for this”. Well, in fact he did win a very deserved Oscar for this role.

It’s difficult to recommend this film to anyone, because I’m very aware it’s not a walk in the park. In fact I doubt I’ll be able to watch it again anytime soon. I’m still recovering from my first watch last year and actually I can remember it very well, as it’s a hard one to shake off, but as a study of old age and a heartfelt look at dementia, this is one of the most honest and beautiful piece of work I’ve ever seen.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.

The Father is now available on Amazon Prime.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also January Books by Anna Klerfalk

See also: Narcissus at Chiswick Playhouse

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

 

Andrea’s film review – The House

The House ⭐️⭐️⭐️Review by Andrea Carnevali

Across different eras, a poor family, an anxious developer and a fed-up landlady become tied to the same mysterious house in this animated dark comedy. Available to watch on Netflix.

This stop motion animated feature is being advertised as a film, but it is actually an anthology of three separate episodes of half hour each. They are all set in different time periods, each with its own slightly distinct style and look, only connected thematically by the presence of the house from the title, where the stories take place.

These might be animation tales and it is described on Netflix as a comedy, but don’t be deceived: yes, it is whimsical, it is cute and at times beautifully done, but it is also quite dark, incredibly creepy and often verging on the horror side of things, so much so that at times I felt like I was watching one of those Creepshow anthologies (Indeed the second episodes centres around an infestation of creepy crawlers, just like in Creepshow).

In the first episode a poor family receive a tantalizing offer from a stranger: to go and live in a lavish new mansion, which is just being built. The suspicious offer will turn out to be a lot more sinister than anyone could have imagined.

There’s a haunting and bleak quality to the mood of this story, reminiscent of those old tales by the brothers Grimm. The dark, shadowy visuals hide a much more unnerving side to what appears at first.

In fact the house is soon revealed to be haunted and the story eventually takes a turn to pure horror with unexpected effects.

The second story is even more surreal, if that’s even possible, as an anthropomorphic rat is renovating the house (the same as before but with a much more modern look to it this time) so that he can sell it and make some profit. But of course, the house has different ideas… this has some dark comedic elements to it, but it’s still an uneasy watch.

The final segment is the most hopeful and bitter-sweet one of the lot, though it was probably my least favourite as it was the least intriguing one and the characters (this time anthropomorphic cats) the least interesting.

It reminded me a bit of the Fantastic Mr Fox movie, both in terms of style and general vibe, a film which I don’t particularly love.

It takes place in a post-apocalyptic future and the house this time is surrounded by water.

Overall this is a fascinating project which doesn’t completely hit all its marks (the pacing is a bit off, and not all the weirdness in it works for me), but it has some great visuals, some inspired ideas, a very solid voice cast (people like Miranda Richardson, Matthew Goode and Helena Bonham Carter among the others) and at least we can say that it tries to do something new. All of which in the end makes it a worthwhile watch.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.

The House is available to watch on Netflix.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also January Books by Anna Klerfalk

See also: Narcissus at Chiswick Playhouse

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.

Andrea’s film review – Scream (2022)

Scream (2022) ⭐⭐⭐ Review by Andrea Carnevali

Twenty-five years after the original series of murders in Woodsboro, a new Ghostface emerges, and Sidney Prescott must return to uncover the truth. Out in the cinemas from today.

On paper I’m the target audience for this film. Not only I’m a horror geek (yes, guilty as charged!), but I’m also a massive fan of the first “Scream”.

I remember when it first came out, back in 1996, the idea of a slasher movie dissecting all the clichés of the genre by not just exposing them, but also by turning them upside down, felt refreshingly new, clever and let’s face it, it was a lot of fun!

The first sequence of that film alone was worth the price of the ticket and has now become some sort of benchmark for any other slasher/horror film.

The subsequent sequels have offered diminishing returns, but there were a few sporadic glimpses of the original brilliance (actually, I can hardly remember the fourth, despite being the most recent one, which probably proves my point).

So, here comes number five, renamed as Scream, without any number attached to it (an idea that the film itself likes to poke fun at). They call it a ‘requel’, something between a remake and a sequel.

Once again, the film establishes the so-called rules of these new types of films, which bring back the ‘legacy’ characters (i.e. from the original), as well as some new ones in the hope of attracting a new audience and getting the old fans back too. As for the plot itself, that too usually sticks to the parameters set by the first film, with minor tweaks.

Films like Creed, Jurassic World, The Force Awakens and the latest Terminator, Matrix and Ghostbusters are clear examples of this trend.

But however much Scream (5) tries to show us that it’s very aware of the limitations of such a product (in a very meta way, constantly mocking itself and its sequels) there is no hiding away from the fact that this is still quite a derivative film, with not a single memorable moment which could be compared with the Drew Barrymore sequence from the first, even though they try.

To sum it up, this film doesn’t really justify its own existence and it’s not as clever as it thinks it is. It often brings up issues like ‘toxic fandom’, or ‘elevated horror’ just as quick mentions, to show they are aware of them, but without really ever exploring any of them and eventually just reverting back to the old rules of ‘Scream slasher’, repeating the same beats, one by one.

Yes, there is some fun to be had throughout this, if you can call it ‘fun’  watching people being chased by a killer, slashed with a knife or investigating strange noises coming from next-door, but I won’t deny even the self-critique bored a little bit after a while.

Overall there were just too many dead moments trying to explore the characters’ motivations – I mean c’mon, who cares? We know they’re just fodder to be added to the kill list – too many repetitions (I must have lost the count of how many times ‘Ghostface’ got kicked and fell to the ground or people tried to reach out for a gun or open cupboard or fridges only to create suspense when they close it revealing whether somebody may or may not be behind them).

It was nice to see them playing against expectations, but even that got a bit repetitive, not to mention the never-ending third act, which was the final nail in the coffin as it went on and on and on. That was the weakest part of the original, with the killers explaining why they did what they did, and here it feels five times longer!

It just about hit the three stars for me – mainly because of the love I have for the first, I know, it isn’t fair, but hey… that’s how I feel – but the next scream they’ll hear will really be mine if this goes on and they do another film.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.

Scream is out in the cinemas from today.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also January Books by Anna Klerfalk

See also: Narcissus at Chiswick Playhouse

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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.