Development of Grove Park ‘Piazza’ taking shape

Image above: Planning image of how the Grove Park Piazza will look once completed

 

The ‘piazza’ outside Grove Park shops near Chiswick station is taking shape, having spent years in the planning, and having faced a succession of obstacles in the process.

Initially proposed by The Grove Park Group (GPG) and largely supported by the local community, the project was put on hold due to budget cuts from Transport for London (TfL) during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Construction work is now under way. A road crew is extending the paved area outside the shops, with temporary traffic lights controlling the flow of traffic over Grove Park Bridge.

The new piazza will have brand new widened pavements,seating areas, greenery and more spaces for people to park their bikes.

Hounslow Council revisited the plans last year and made minor adjustments to the original design before appointing a contractor earlier this year.

Despite rumblings from some residents, who have expressed surprise that a project they’ve largely forgotten about has finally begun to take shape, LB Hounslow’s projects team say they have been actively engaging with residents and shopkeepers to address concerns and ensure transparency throughout the process.

Image above: Grove Park Road before construction work began; image Good Street View

Piazza welcomed by residents but parking issues still remain

The redevelopment aims to rejuvenate the area, offering ‘improved public space accessible to pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists’. Despite progress, parking issues persist, with a net reduction in spaces and limited free parking time for residents.

Grove Park Group’s Chairman, Rob King, said:

“The ‘piazza’ will benefit from a renewed and refreshed public space, encouraging residents and visitors to stay in the area, using the shops and facilities, and will be accessible whether they arrive on foot, by bike, by car etc.

“The area has been somewhat underinvested and overlooked in the past.We focused on several areas in the project: added a local community notice board to help keep residents informed – we’d like to do similar elsewhere in Grove Park, and several practical matters such as requesting seating areas, locations of bike racks etc – we have a couple of other ideas for the piazza which we are progressing.

“There have been some challenges around parking, with a net reduction in a few spaces which was driven by London Borough of Hounslow (LBH), and a controlled parking scheme (via app) which currently allows only 30 minutes of free parking – customers of the hairdresser or pharmacy really need a longer period which we have flagged to LBH.

“We also hope that the revised road layout will slow traffic, as is intended by London Borough of Hounslow. Speed on our local roads has been a continuing issue in the wider Grove Park area, and has persisted – and even worsened on some roads – following the various Low Traffic Neighbourhood measures from LBH.

“The Grove Park Group continues to lobby London Borough of Hounslow to take some action on road speed and safety as LBH’s Traffic team promised and committed to LBH Cabinet but are yet to fully deliver.”

“This would be traffic monitoring, calming and speed controls for the benefit of all road users including pedestrians and cyclists etc – we encourage further engagement here from LBH with GPG and the wider community on road speed.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Chiswick Book Festival donates £20,000 to charities

Image above: (L to R) Catherine Jaquiss, Ealing Team Leader, Read Easy UK; Helen West, Trustee, Read for Good; Fr Kevin Morris, Vicar, St Michael & All Angels; Fiona Curran, Chief Executive, Koestler Arts

Chiswick Book Festival donates £20,000 to reading charities and St Michael & All Angels Church

The Chiswick Book Festival has awarded £20,000 to charities, following record ticket sales at last year’s Festival which featured Clive Myrie, Jacqueline Wilson, Alan Titchmarsh, Michael Frayn and others.

At a presentation ceremony at St Michael & All Angels Church, it handed cheques for £5,000 to each of its 2023 charities:

  • Read for Good, which helps children to read for pleasure through programmes in schools and hospitals
  • Koestler Arts, the leading prison arts charity, based in W12, which promotes writing, reading and literacy in the criminal justice system
  • Read Easy Ealing, which provides one-to-one reading tuition for local adults who want to learn to read or improve their reading skills
  • St Michael & All Angels Church, which hosts and runs the festival and is itself a charity

Since the Festival started in 2009, it has raised more than £140,000 for reading and community charities, including St Michael & All Angels Church. Torin Douglas, director of the Chiswick Book Festival, said:

“We’re delighted that last year’s record ticket sales and sponsorship have allowed us to make these payments to such worthwhile causes. We’re very grateful to our many authors, venues, volunteers, partners and those who bought tickets, who helped make it possible.”.

Fiona Curran, Chief Executive, Koestler Arts, said:

“Thank you so much. This is really appreciated and will make a huge difference to us. I really enjoyed meeting the other charity members, and we look forward to this year’s festival.”

Catherine Jacquiss, Ealing Team Leader, Read Easy UK, said:

“What lovely news – thanks again for everything, your continued support is much appreciated.”

Barbara Williams, head of fundraising, Read for Good, said:

“This is incredible news; what a fantastic amount to have raised for your charities. Thank you so much for your support, and for inviting us to be a part of this special event.”

‘Pinter On Screen’ season at The Chiswick Cinema

Plans for this year’s Chiswick Book Festival in September 2024 are well underway, says Torin. It will be launched, in partnership with The Chiswick Cinema, with a monthly season of films written by Harold Pinter, who wrote The Caretaker while living in Chiswick. The season will be curated by Pinter’s biographer, Michael Billington, who also lives in Chiswick.

Torin Douglas said:

“Michael and I are delighted to be fulfilling a promise we made to Lady Antonia Fraser, who was married to the playwright for 28 years. At the 2020 Festival, reported by The Observer, Lady Antonia said Harold’s screen work deserved great recognition and she held out hope that it might be celebrated in a season of films for the general public.

“We said we’d try to make it happen and we’re very grateful to Chris Parker, the marketing manager of The Chiswick Cinema, for his support.”

Image above: Chris Parker, Torin Douglas and Michael Billington, Harold Pinter’s biographer

Harold Pinter is one of Chiswick’s two winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature, and is featured on the Festival’s Writers Trail and Chiswick Timeline of Writers & Books.

The season will begin on Saturday April 27 with a launch screening of the Joseph Losey-Harold Pinter thriller Accident, including a Q&A with Michael Billington and a drinks reception.

Tickets will go on sale on The Chiswick Cinema website. Further films will be screened monthly on Sunday evenings. During the Chiswick Book Festival on Sunday September 15, the film will be The French Lieutenant’s Woman.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Potentially lethal levels of E coli found in River Thames ahead of Boat Race

Image above: Boat Racers told to avoid entering the water and cover any open wounds

Tests near Hammersmith Bridge found nearly ten times ‘safe’ levels of the sewage-related bacteria

Boat Race organisers have issued new safety guidance for those participating in the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race on Saturday (30 March), after potentially lethal levels of E coli bacteria were found along the course on the River Thames.

Racers are advised not to enter the water and to cover any open wounds, lest they run the risk of coming into contact with the contaminated water flowing along the race’s route.

E Coli, which is found in faeces, can cause a range of conditions including urinary tract infection, cystitis, intestinal infection and vomiting, with the worst cases leading to life-threatening blood poisoning.

Traditionally, the winners of the race often celebrate by jumping into the river. Last year Cambridge men’s cox Jasper Parish jumped into the Thames at Mortlake. But this winner’s tradition could become a thing of the past due to the deteriorating water quality in the river.

Instead, the Oxford and Cambridge crews will be encouraged to wash themselves down at a dedicated cleansing station once the race is over.

Between 28 February and 26 March, environmentalist group River Action conducted 16 tests on the Thames near Fulham Reach Boat Club around Hammersmith Bridge, which the crews will pass as they row between Putney and Chiswick.

The tests found an average of 2,863 E.coli bacteria colony forming units (CFU) per 100ml of water. To meet the Environment Agency’s bathing water quality standards, the level should be below 1,000 CFU per 100ml. The highest recorded measurement reached 9,801 CFU, nearly ten times the acceptable limit.

Image above: A sample of the E coli infested water taken along the River Thames near Hammersmith Bridge

‘Thames Water and the Conservative government’s inaction to blame’

River Action said the testing locations suggested the source of pollution is from Thames Water discharging sewage directly into the river and its tributaries.

It said this was based on publicly available data which showed that the water company had discharged sewage into the Greater London area of the River Thames for 1,914 hours from the start of 2024 up to 26 March.

The Boat Race said it supported the research carried out by River Action and confirmed that it would be implementing similar safety measures for the race on Saturday.

“Water quality is an ongoing concern for the Boat Race,” it said.

“We have put in place a series of precautionary measures this year to protect the health of our athletes, which includes guidance regarding the covering up of open wounds, regular handwashing, a cleansing station at the finish area and highlighting the risks of entering the water.

“We will also be taking on board British Rowing’s recent Poor Water Quality Guidance, issued in partnership with River Action, as we look forward to the Gemini Boat Race 2024.”

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Ruth Cadbury MP angrily Tweeted:

“So now everyone involved with @theboatrace know what so many who use the Thames and our other rivers [know already] – the river is full of s***after it rains. All thanks to the Conservative Govt failure to address the sewage treatment crisis”

Image above: Sewage along Strand-on-the-Green in November 2023

London Waterkeeper charity calls for legal limits on sewage dumping 

London Waterkeeper, which is part of the Waterkeeper Alliance which campaigns for safer, cleaner rivers, called on members of the public to email the Government with a legally-binding request to limit sewage spills.

The letter requests Defra (The Department for Environment & Rural Affairs), under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, to strengthen storm overflow permits by adding a threshold of 40 discharges per year. The letter requests that if Defra do not do this, to explain why and how this will align with the Government’s aim of “tightening” permits.

In a post on X, London Waterkeeper said:

“We want a threshold of 40 spills a year. More than that & the overflow is then classed as ‘unsatisfactory’. Currently there are no limits…

“We need the worst sewers highlighted to increase the pressure on water companies. The public would also know where they are. The fact that so many now have monitors needs to be reflected in the permits. The Government said it wants to ‘”tighten” permits, now is the time!”

According to publicly available data, by 26 March Thames Water had discharged sewage into the Greater London area of the River Thames for 1,914 hours since the start of 2024, equivalent to 79 days. The data comes from 40 storm overflow sites between Kingston and the mouth of the river in the east.

Above: Post from London Waterkeeper on X

River Action describes situation as “tragic”, Thames Water blames high rainfall, 

CEO of River Action James Wallace said,:

“We are in a tragic situation when elite athletes are issued with health guidance ahead of a historic race on the capital’s river. Our water quality results show what happens after decades of neglect by an unregulated water company, Thames Water.

“However, thanks to the vigilance of competition organisers, supported by British Rowing, River Action and The Rivers Trust, we are pleased they are showing their duty of care to the competing teams this weekend, and working with us to address the source of the problem: ending river pollution.

“For the safety of river users everywhere, rowers, communities and conservationists are uniting to ask the Government to enforce the law and to prosecute polluters. River Action wants water companies to honour their commitments to the regulators and bill payers by investing in their infrastructure and stop dumping sewage. Everyone should be able to enjoy our rivers and seas without risking their health.”

A Thames Water spokesperson said:

“Taking action to improve the health of rivers is a key focus for us and we want to lead the way with our transparent approach to data. We remain the only company to provide live alerts for all untreated discharges and this ‘near real-time’ data is available to customers as a map on our website and is also available through an open data platform for third parties, such as swimming and environmental groups to use.

“We have experienced higher than average long-term rainfall across London and the Thames Valley with groundwater levels exceptionally high for the time of the year. The overflows are designed to operate automatically when the sewer network is about to be overwhelmed which then releases diluted wastewater into rivers, rather than letting it back up into people’s homes.

“We are working hard to make these discharges unnecessary and have published plans to upgrade over 250 of our sites, including a £100 million upgrade of our Mogden sewage treatment works in South West London to treat the high volumes of incoming sewage and reduce the need for overflows during wet weather.”

The Appraisal review – Theatre at the Tabard

Image above: Tim Marriott and Angela Bull in The Appraisal

A delightfully uncomfortable watch

The Appraisal is absolutely brilliant. It’s only an hour long – a dialogue between two people: he the senior manager, she a direct report who manages a team of people under him.

At the start of the play he has clearly forgotten he is supposed to be sitting down with her to discuss her annual appraisal, as he is practising his golf swing when there is a knock on the door.

He has a passing acquaintance with employment law, certainly talks the HR talk – referring to the HSA (the Health and Safety Appendix to the staff handbook) and VAT (Value Added Targets), company watchwords such as Transparency and Integrity and measuring her achievements by the Robust Performance Data.

But he doesn’t seem to grasp that there are supposed to be set paramaters to their relationship – boundaries that he should not cross; protocols to be followed which mean he can’t just do as he pleases without getting himself and the company into trouble.

Image above: Tim Marriott as Jo

She is wary and defensive – not, as it transpires, without good reason – and she is clearly brighter than he is. In the battle of wits that ensues there is not a wasted word or expression as each one of them attempts to get the upper hand in the conversation.

He tells her she is excellent at doing her job and her department is efficient and easily achieving its goals. But there’s a ‘but’. There is always a ‘but’. As the appraisal continues, they become locked in a struggle of wills as to whether his rather pathetically personal agenda or her rights as an employee will come out on top.

I wasn’t the only one to come out of the theatre feeling the writer must have recorded one of my own appraisals. It was excruciating!

Image above: Angela Bull as Nicky

At one point, trying to answer the standard ‘Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?’ question, she gives the answer I suspect most people would like to give:

“What’s the point? It’s not something over which I have much control.”

Charged with being “lacking in ambition” she gives the heartfelt answer I suspect will also strike a chord with many:

“Is it so bad just to want to do your job well and carry on doing it? And to be left alone to get on with it?”

Tim Marriott as the appraiser and Angela Bull as the appraisee are absolutely brilliant, doing justice to Tim’s excellent script. It will make you squirm, but it will make you laugh out loud.

Image above: The Appraisal; Theatre at the Tabard

Photographs by Charles Flint.

The Appraisal runs until Saturday 13 April.

Tickets – The Appraisal

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Ruth Cadbury writes to Chancellor over local bank closures

Images above: Ruth Cadbury MP, Natwest – the latest bank to close in Chiswick

MP renews talk of introducing a ‘banking hub’ in LB Hounslow

Ruth Cadbury MP has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt calling for urgent action from the government over the scale of local bank closures across the borough of Hounslow.

In her letter, the MP for Brentford and Isleworth pointed out seven banks had closed in Chiswick, Brentford, Isleworth and Hounslow over the last four years.

She warned this was having a huge impact on both local residents and small local businesses who rely on cash, and who need in-person services. Ruth asked the Chancellor what further steps the Financial Conduct Authority would be taking and raised the role of banking hubs to make up for the loss in banking services.

Ruth said:

‘‘High Street banks are a vital part of our local community. Whether you need to set up a new direct debit, get some advice about your account, withdraw cash or simply speak with bank staff it’s clear that there is still a huge role for high street banks.

“That’s why I have been fighting against the closure of banks locally and have been working with residents to stand up against the huge scale of closures.  Isleworth and Brentford have become banking deserts which forces people to travel to either Hounslow or Chiswick if they can.

“With over seven banks closing it’s vital that the government set out what steps they’re taking both to protect local branches, but also to ensure that alternatives such as banking hubs can be set up easily. High Street banks are also a life-line for older customers, or those who don’t feel confident using telephone, online or mobile banking.

“We need urgent action to ensure that the banks that remain stay open and to ensure that residents and local businesses can continue to access crucial services.’’

Image above: Rupa Huq MP at the opening of Acton’s (and the UK’s first) banking hub

What is a banking hub?

In December last year, following the announcement that two banks, Lloyds and Nat West, would be closing in quick succession, The Chiswick Calendar asked whether it was time Chiswick had a banking hub.

READ ALSO: Does Chiswick need a ‘banking hub’?

Over the past few years Chiswick has lost banking services at Santander (2021), Barclays (2022), Halifax (2023), Lloyds as well as the most recent closures this year, leaving just the Nationwide Building Society and Metrobank offering banking services, and HSBC offering a digital service only (no counter service).

Banking Hubs are buildings where several banks share space so communities can access everyday personal and business banking services, such as withdrawing and depositing cash easily, or paying in cheques, over the counter. They are also somewhere customers can make an appointment to speak in person with a local community representative from their bank.

Representatives are on site for a specific day each week to help with more complicated transactions, such as mortgages, loans and pensions. Your local ‘community banker’ can offer debt advice and help with fraud prevention on their dedicated day of the week.

Owned by Cash Access UK, funded by the banks, and run by the Post Office, they’re billed as a way of ‘bringing back banking to the people and areas that need it’.

Labour have promised to roll out hundreds more banking hubs across the UK if they win the next general election.

Both the Conservative Government and local Tories support expanding banking hubs, though the Government claim Labour’s pledge to build hundreds more isn’t affordable.

Chiswick police officer accused of strangling woman appears in court

Image above: PC Mahad Abdalla

PC Mahad Abdalla appears at Westminster Magistrates court to deny attacking woman 

A police officer from Chiswick appeared in court on Monday (25 March), facing charges of assaulting and strangling a woman while he was off-duty.

He was arrested on Saturday and suspended from duty.

PC Mahad Abdalla, 26, denied attacking the woman at a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court and was released on bail ahead of another hearing at Harrow Crown Court on Wednesday 24 April.

His bail conditions dictate that he live and sleep at his home in Chiswick, and must not make contact with the complainant or visit Finchley. He will also have to wear an electronic ankle tag and is subject to a curfew.

PC Abdalla officer currently serves with the Territorial Support Group in the North West Basic Command Unit which covers Brent and Harrow.

He became a full-time officer in 2017 having previously worked in retail while he served as a Special Constable.

As well as the court proceedings, inquiries by the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards are also ongoing.

Tragedy as footballer dies during a football match in Chiswick

Image above: Seb Chadwick. Image: Civil Service FC

Seb Chadwick, 38, dies after collapsing during Civil Service FC match against Old Carthusians

A footballer has died after collapsing during a match in Chiswick. Seb Chadwick was playing for Civil Service FC on Saturday (23 March). In a statement Civil Service have said:

‘The Civil Service Football Club is deeply saddened to announce the passing of Seb Chadwick, aged 38.

‘Seb collapsed during a CSFC game on Saturday. Seb had a brain aneurysm which burst during the game. Seb didn’t know he had the condition. CPR was performed on the pitch, the paramedics were there immediately and he was taken to intensive care by ambulance. He could not have received better care.

‘Seb’s family, girlfriend and friends, including from the football club, were all with him while he was in intensive care. He was not in any pain.’

Seb had played for Civil Service for over ten years and had played for every team from the fourth team to the first team. He won numerous pieces of silverware, including league titles, cups and promotions.

Civil Service have described him as a “great centre back, an amazing competitor who you always wanted on your side when going into battle.”

“There is a huge Seb shaped hole in our lives”

The club’s statement continued:

‘He was a very popular member of the club, we always knew when Seb was in the room. Although many tears have been shed over the last two days there have also been many smiles as we have remembered the laughter we shared.

‘Our deepest condolences go out to his family, his girlfriend and his very many friends. There is a huge Seb shaped hole in our lives.’

Saturday’s match was supposed to celebrate the second edition of Euskal Non-League day, an event designed by top tier Spanish club Athletic, with whom Civil Service FC has historic links.

READ MORE: Athletic Club team up with Civil Service FC for Non-League Day

Chiswick GPs scrap Saturday appointments after funding cut

Image above: Grove Park Surgery

Almost every GP surgery in Chiswick to scrap Saturday appointments 

GP practices in Chiswick will no longer be taking appointments on Saturdays, after a funding cut from the NHS body which governs them.

Appointments on Saturdays have been scrapped at almost every GP surgery in Chiswick which provided them. Most have already had their final Saturday of appointments last weekend (23 March).

In a mass text to patients on Monday (25 March), Grove Park Surgery said they would no longer be open on Saturdays. The text adds:

‘This is due to a funding cut from the ICB, we are sorry for any inconvenience’.

The ICB (Integrated Care Board) for North West London, is responsible for arranging the provision of health services locally. The body is the statutory NHS organisation responsible for developing a plan for meeting the health needs of the population and managing the NHS budget.

It covers the boroughs of Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Kensington and Chelsea, and Westminster – a population of 2.1 million people.

Chiswick Health Practice, Glebe Street Surgery, Grove Park Surgery, Grove Park Terrace Surgery and West4GPs Surgery all said they will not open on Saturdays in the future. Chiswick Family Doctors Practice said they have never opened on Saturdays.

Holly Road Surgery is the only practice which will continue taking appointments on Saturday.

Practices ‘disappointed’ at cut but ICB says they should have been aware

The Chiswick Calendar understands the funding cut affects practice across Hounslow. Surgeries outside Chiswick, such as Brentford Group Practice, said on Monday they will also stop taking appointments on Saturdays, starting from Saturday 6 April.

One practice employee in Chiswick, who did not give their name, said the ICB were hoping GP surgeries would continue to offer Saturday appointments despite funding being revoked, and just absorb the costs, which they described as “craziness”.

The practice manager of Chiswick Medical Practice, Amanda Meehan, told The Chiswick Calendar:

“As a practice we were disappointed at the ICB decision to cut funding for Saturday clinics as this is a valued service for our patients.”

A spokesperson for NHS North West London said:

“GPs in Hounslow were provided with additional local funding to provide services on Saturdays as part of an agreement that was only available until March 2024. All practices providing this service from this funding were aware of this position.

“Services in Chiswick will continue to be provided on a Saturday from Holly Road Surgery as part of enhanced access funding in line with the agreement in place with the Chiswick Primary Care Network.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Episode 41: Prime Ministers in election mode – from the pipe-smoking Harold Wilson to the dishwasher-stacking Rishi Sunak

The Three Old Hacks have long memories. Former BBC Sports News editor Mihir Bose, Economics Editor of the Sunday Times David Smith and political analyst Nigel Dudley have been covering the nation’s major events for decades and are well placed to compare and contrast the pre-election antics of politicians.

Harold Wilson smoked a pipe in public, in an attempt to appear a ‘man of the people’, but smoked cigars in private, recalls Nigel. There was that excruciating video of Ed Milliband attempting to eat a bacon sandwich in public, and the video with Tony Blair eating cereal with his kids in his kitchen which put the ‘corn’ in ‘cornflakes. So a prime minister attempting to cosy up to the public by telling us how he loads the dishwasher and turn down the bed (“all a bit clumsy” – David) is nothing new to them.

Other subjects on the agenda in this week’s podcast are whether or not we can expect another Budget before the next election and how much the Government can expect to influence our votes with it (12:20), the absence of specific promises from Labour (17:32) and the Princess of Wales (28:07) – whether the papers were right to go big on the dodgy Mother’s Day photograph in the light of what we now know, that she has cancer.

The discussion of the royal family photographs prompted a discussion of their own family photographs.

Pictured above; a young Nigel Dudley

Listen to the podcast on all the usual podcast platforms or on The Chiswick Calendar website.


More Platforms

Mihir’s Memoir

Mihir is publishing his memoir. From growing up in India to making a name for himself as a journalist in Britain, he recounts how he is ever grateful to Mr Crombie, the official who gave him ‘indefinite leave to remain’.

Come and see Mihir talking about his memoir on Wednesday 29 May at George IV pub in Chiswick.

Tickets: Eventbrite

Listen to more episodes here.

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

Tax-free savings: too good to be true?

The award winning wealth management and investment experts Killik & Co have opened a new space on Devonshire Road – House of Killik Chiswick. The Chiswick Calendar is pleased to share their guest blogs on how best to plan and save to acquire the wealth to achieve your goals.

Killik & Co won “Best Discretionary / Advisory Wealth Manager’ in the 2023 FT Investors Chronicle Awards.”


Tax-free savings: too good to be true?

As we approach the end of the tax year, many of our clients are asking how to make the most of tax-free savings, and with rising living costs chipping away at family budgets, and a general election looming, these conversations have never been more important.

In this article Phil Sole, Relationship Manager at House of Killik Chiswick, shares various options for tax-efficiency that savers should consider before 5 April 2024.

Make the most of this year’s allowances for investments

As we approach the end of the tax year, we’re encouraging all our clients to make use of the allowances they have available to them, particularly any that are “use it or lose it”. Over the last few years, we’ve seen increasing pressure on taxable allowances, some of which are decreasing year on year.

For example, the Capital Gains Tax allowance was previously £12,000, then came down to £6,000 this year, and will drop to £3,000 next year. Reductions have also been made to the dividend tax allowance on income produced from investments, which was previously £2,000, is now down to £1,000 and will drop to £500 on 6th April 2024.

With this in mind, it is important to consider getting investments held in a taxable wrapper into something more tax efficient, so the long-term tax drag on your investments isn’t too significant.

Wrap your investments in ISAs and save for your children with JISAs

A key tax wrapper we talk about at Killik & Co is the Individual Savings Account (ISA). The current allowance is £20,000 per person per year, and this means you can put £20,000 of savings or investments into the wrapper, which will grow free from any further Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax.

This is a powerful investment vehicle, particularly for families where parents will have a £20,000 allowance each. Further to this, each child is entitled to hold a Junior ISA (JISA) with an allowance of £9,000 per child per year.

It is worth noting that these allowances are at historically high levels, so use your ISA or JISA allowance before the 5 April, or it will be gone.

Contribute to pensions and Junior SIPPs

Pensions probably offer the most tax-efficient allowances available, and are subject to the Annual Allowance, which is the maximum you can save into a pension. Over the course of this year, the Annual Allowance has increased quite generously from £40,000 to £60,000.

The benefit of pension contributions is the tax relief you receive on making that contribution. For example, a basic rate taxpayer making a pension contribution can claim 20% tax relief, which works out to up to £12,000 tax relief on £60,000 of pension contributions.

The benefit then increases to £24,000 for higher rate taxpayers, which means the net contribution would only need to be £36,000 to have the benefit of £60,000 inside the pension wrapper. Similar to the ISA, the pension can grow free of Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax whilst it’s invested, making pensions a great way of saving for retirement.

It’s also worth considering the wider family, as you can contribute up to £3,600 per year into a Junior SIPP (under 18 YOA) for someone who isn’t earning. So, a contribution of £3,600 would only require a net contribution of £2,880, providing the benefit of £720 tax relief per individual.

Check your pension carry forward allowance

Many Chiswick locals have enquired about whether they have any unused pension allowance in the current tax year. To help with these queries, it is important to know your total employee and employer pension contributions in the current tax year (which can usually be found on your payslip).

‘Carry forward annual allowance’ enables you to make use of unused annual allowances from the three previous tax years and, if affordable, is a tax-efficient way to save for your retirement.

Don’t miss out on tax-efficient savings

While tax-free savings allowances can seem too good to be true, there are some complexities to consider.  Please do pop into House of Killik Chiswick if you wish to better understand what the options are for you and your family.

For more information visit House of Killik Chiswick at 13 Devonshire Road, or email, chiswick@killik.com.

Please be aware that as with all investments, your capital is at risk, you may not receive back the same amount that you invest, and past performance is not an indication of future performance. Tax treatment depends on individual circumstances and may be subject to change.


If you have any questions about this article, or wish to discuss your financial circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact Relationship Manager, Phil Sole and House & Community Coordinator, Emma Walker.

We welcome all Chiswick residents to House of Killik, no appointment necessary.  Pop in for a chat and a coffee at 13 Devonshire Road – we look forward to meeting you soon.


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Former Mayor of Hounslow joins George Galloway’s party

Image above: Cllr Amritpral Mann

Former Mayor and suspended Labour councillor defects to Worker’s Party of Britain

The former Mayor of LB Hounslow has defected from Labour to George Galloway’s Worker’s Party of Britain.

Amritpal Mann, a councillor for Heston East since 1994, is a qualified solicitor and has lived in the ward since 1985. He served as Mayor of Hounslow in 2011/12.

The defection comes after Cllr Mann was suspended by Labour for a Gaza-related social media post, and for allegedly leaking information to local journalists. He has announced he will not be standing again for his seat in Heston East following his suspension

He says he will continue to serve his residents until the next local elections in 2026, by which time he will have been a councillor for 32 years.

Cllr Mann was involved with a number of major infrastructure projects in Hounslow, such as the building of Heston Infants, Juniors, secondary schools, Lampton Sports Hall and Heston Leisure Complex.

George Galloway touted the move as ‘seismic’, claiming that the political plates ‘are now shifting’.

Mr. Galloway, a deeply controversial figure in British politics, returned to Parliament as an MP earlier this month, following his dramatic victory in the Rochdale by-election standing on a ticket which was largely centred on opposition to Israel’s war in Gaza.

Above: Post on X by George Galloway MP

International Padel Tournament comes to Chiswick

Images above: A Padel Tennis court at Rocks Lane sports centre, poster for the upcoming padel tournament

Rocks Lane sports centre to host international padel tennis tournament

Top international padel tennis players are preparing to make their way to Chiswick from all over the world to compete in an international padel tournament.

The tournament, set to begin on Wednesday 27 March and end on Easter Sunday, will take place on the Rocks Lane Padel courts, where competitors will battle it out for recognition from the International Padel Federation, generous prize money and ‘fabulous’ gifts from local Chiswick sponsors and supporters.

Organisers at Rocks Lane said spectators are in for “a real action packed exciting spectacle”.

A Rocks Lane spokesperson said:

“Looking forward to seeing lots of Chiswick locals at Rocks Lane! Look out for the international players as they visit our local shops, cafes and restaurants over the Easter weekend! International Padel Rocks!”

Tickets and invites are available via this link.

Spectator tickets include a burger from the BBQ and there is free entry for Rocks Lane Padel Members and Rocks Lane Padel Academy Juniors.

Images above: Room2 hotel, wine merchants Lea & Sanderman

Local businesses offer their support

Rocks Lane have partnered with Room2 Chiswick, who are providing customers and players dedicated rates and are donating generous prizes for the winners.

Chiswick’s Clinic4Sport is providing vital physio services available to all players and non players from Thursday – Sunday.

The local Savills estate agent, just steps away from Rocks Lane sports centre on the common beside Turnham Green, is sponsoring the event, as is Chiswick Barbell Club, the strength and conditioning coaches for Chiswick Celtic, who train at Rocks Lane.

Prizes for the winners have been donated by the wine shop Lea & Sandeman on Chiswick High Road.

Other businesses sponsoring the event include Chiswick Cinema, Tarantella, D Grande and Flame & Fire, who have donated gifts for all 200 players’ goody bags.

FIP Rise Rocks Lane said they were fortunate to have lots of friends who are supporting and sponsoring the event including Playtomic, Drop Shot, Go Mate, VIBEPADEL, Travel Padel Club and PADELSHACK.

Rocks Lane Padel juniors will also be volunteering at the event, eager to watch the experts.

The Crown on Chiswick High Rd closes

Image above: The Crown pub at 210 Chiswick High Road

The Crown closes unexpectedly after six years

The Crown pub on Chiswick High Road has closed unexpectedly, six years after it was opened by the current owners.

No announcement of the closure was made but the pub did not open over the weekend and customers who tried to make reservations were met with the following message:

‘Due to the current nature of the business the decision to close with immediate effect has been made by the owners’.

In an automated reply to emails, the owners said all staff have been made redundant and “are exempt of any responsibility in relation to the Company.”

The building used to be Chiswick’s police station before a bigger station was built across the road. Parts of the site date back to the 17th century. It was for a long time home to Carvossos, a popular pub and restaurant, and was bought by Harcourt Inns in 2017 and expensively refitted.

The freehold pub has seating for around 39 people in the bar area with the restaurant able to accommodate 72, as well as tables on the pavement at the front of the building and a terrace at the rear. There is a private dining room in which eight people can be served and four hotel bedrooms.

It is one of three pubs owned by Harcourt Inns, founded in 2014 by James McCulloch. He brought in Henry Harris, formerly of Racine in Chelsea and the Soho House Group, to oversee the group’s food offering. The group was badly hit by the pandemic and Mr Harris left the company in 2020.

In November 2022, Harcourt Inns put all its properties on the market including The Crown, which was listed as a going concern, at a price of £3,750,000 but it appears there were no takers and the company was dissolved in October 2023 with James McCulloch as the sole remaining director.

The building is thought to have been in the hands of administrators since October, who decided to cease trading as there was no evidence that the business could be run profitably.

Interview with Rebecca Frayn about her new book Lost in Ibiza

Images above: Rebecca Frayn; Lost in Ibiza

Rebecca Frayn’s new book Lost in Ibiza puts its finger on the divide between the generations

Funnily enough, I had just finished reading Michael Frayn’s novel Spies, bought after a Q&A with him at the Chiswick Book Festival, when a copy of Rebecca Frayn’s new novel Lost in Ibiza plopped through the letterbox.

In both books, father and daughter manage to put their finger on a moment in time when the world is in crisis – in his case the Second World War, in hers the climate crisis – and capture the atmosphere of their own era, exploring how two generations deal with the catastrophe they face, and each other, as the world around them changes.

Rebecca is every bit as much the polymath as her father – he the novelist and playwright, she the novelist, documentary maker, screenwriter and climate activist.

READ ALSO: Interview with Rebecca Frayn about her film Misbehaviour (2020) with Keira Knightley and Jessie Buckley

Lost in Ibiza follows the journey of 21-year-old environmental activist Alice, to the Balearic island of hippies and hedonists to find William, a successful 50 year old capitalist, who she has only just discovered is her biological father.

She pitches up on the eve of his big birthday bash, much to the irritation of his wife, mother of his two small, legitimate children, as she is in the throes of organising truck-loads of Moroccan tents, rugs and assorted paraphernalia, including a camel and copious quantities of food and booze being laid out by the pool to amuse the hundreds of guests about the descend on their idyllic mountain villa.

The personal story is interesting, as is that of the Filipino couple who run the place, but she also manages to crystallise the dynamic between the Baby Boomer generation and Millennials – those who trashed the planet and those who are left to pick up the pieces – in a book that is both thought-provoking and at the same time a light and enjoyable read.

You have a feeling it will end badly, but she keeps you guessing how until the end.

Image above: Rebecca Frayn and family at their farmhouse in Ibiza

“I saw a Mediterranean pop of colour”

If it feels as if the author knows Ibiza well, describing with the ease of familiarity the hinterland with its flora and fauna and its distinct groups of inhabitants – the Ibicencos, the new age hippies and the rich incomers, it’s because she does.

Rebecca bought a 500 year old farmhouse in the north of the island a few years ago, which she has restored with her architect son Finn and now runs as an ecological farm, selling produce at the farm shop. She talked to The Chiswick Calendar about it when she was back at their family home in Chiswick.

“I was walking along Chiswick High Rd 23 years ago, heavily pregnant with my daughter. I had put my back out, so I was walking very slowly, and I saw a Mediterranean pop of colour in an estate agent’s window.”

The pop of colour was a picture of a little house in the north of Ibiza. The price was £140,000.

“Even 23 years ago that wouldn’t have bought a garage in Chiswick. It was a very sweet little house with a 180-degree view of the sea and a 180-degree view of the valley. A couple from Chiswick owned it, and it was considered too far from the airport for anyone to want it. They couldn’t sell it in Ibiza, so they decided to try and sell it here.”

Image above: Countryside of northern Ibiza

“We fell deeply in love with the island”

Rebecca and her husband did their sums and thought they could manage it. Only just about able to fly, because she was so pregnant, she went out to see it with him and they fell in love with the place.

“I think all the stress of it led me to go into labour three weeks early.”

Ever since, they have spent part of the year in Ibiza.

“With a newborn baby and twin seven-year-old boys you can’t move about very much, but we ventured a bit farther each day and gradually we got to know it, and we fell deeply in love with the island. My son Finn now lives there.”

Image above: Can Pep

Regenerative farming – a “hope-filled way of campaigning for the environment”

Finn is now a qualified architect, and having sold the original house, together they have renovated a 500-year-old farmhouse, ‘Can Pep’, which they are running as a regenerative farm project. Rebecca had done a lot of environmental campaigning “of the old fashioned placard outside Parliament sort. This feels like a much more hope-filled way of campaigning for the environment.”

She draws in the book on the islanders’ experience of a major fire. “In 2011 they had the worst fire in Ibiza’s history.”

The threat of fire is a very real concern, especially as the island is running out of water, yet the farmhouse is in the fire zone. When they bought it, the house was derelict, abandoned with the wicker chairs and gourds still in the kitchen and the old gas mantels. The house had no power or running water.

Image above: Eco pond at Can Pep

“The issues Ibiza is facing are a microcosm of the issues people are facing the world over”

The renovation of the house is spectacular, but the 300,000 square metres of land around it, even more so. Where there used to be a monoculture of pine trees they have introduced apricots, cherries and orange trees, recreating it as an ‘edible forest’.

“All the surface water on the island dried up 60 years ago when tourism took off,” says Rebecca, so instead of a swimming pool cleansed with bleach they have reintroduced a pond, cleaned by reeds.

“I wrote the book because I realised that the issues Ibiza is facing are a microcosm of the issues people are facing the world over. It took me 14 years to marry the personal story of this family with environmentalism.”

She now has money from the BFI to turn it into a screen play, so watch this space …

Image above: Can Pep

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

‘Drift’ director Anthony Chen talks about his film at Chiswick Cinema

Image above: Cynthia Erivo in Drift

Anthony Chen talks to Sarah Cook

It is ten minutes into the film before she speaks, but her walk along the beach, her lack of interaction, her lack of possessions, her evident loneliness and quiet desperation speaks volumes.

By the time she does speak, you have filled the gap with your own narrative and you kind of expect to find she’s from some impoverished West African village, trafficked via Libya, a refugee who is the sole survivor of a sinking boat, or something.

So it comes as a bit of a surprise when she does speak, to find that she has a middle class English accent. Flashbacks to her with immaculate braids, make-up and nails, with her blonde best friend, enjoying life in London, make you quickly revise your expectations, and deepens your curiosity as to who Jacqueline is and what has happened to her.

Image above: Jacqueline trying to reach her friend in London on the phone

“I wasn’t sure about it at first”

The explanation is a long time coming, but director Anthony Chen keeps up the suspense and actress Cynthia Erivo’s superlative performance keeps you hooked, despite the story’s painfully slow unfolding.

This is Anthony Chen’s third film. He spoke about it to Sarah Cook at Chiswick Cinema and took questions from the audience.

“I wasn’t sure about it at first” he told the audience. “The novel is very internalised, and culturally it is very removed from all my previous work.

“Jacqueline isn’t your everyday refugee. She came from the establishment, a place of privilege, a girls’ boarding school.”

When finally she does meet someone she trusts enough to speak to about what has happened to her, (played sympathetically by Alia Shawcat), and manages to scrape together enough cash to buy a restaurant meal by giving foot massages on the beach, she insists she pays for the meal to repay the woman’s kindness. She is not used to being on the receiving end of charity, or being at a social disadvantage.

Image above: Drift director Anthony Chen talking to Sarah Cook at Chiswick Cinema

“I feel like Jacqueline found me and also found Cynthia”

“This hasn’t been an easy film to make. I’ve never cried so much making a film,” said Chen; “never cried so much developing a film, cried so much shooting a film or cried so much cutting a film.”

Chen is a Singaporean film director, screenwriter and film producer. He is known for directing the feature films Ilo Ilo and Wet Season. His debut feature film, Ilo Ilo, won the Camera d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, making him the first and only Singaporean to have been awarded at Cannes.

Cynthia Erivo, an English actress, gained recognition for starring in the Broadway revival of The Color Purple from 2015 to 2017, for which she won the 2016 Tony Award for ‘Best Actress in a Musical’ and the Grammy Award for ‘Best Musical Theater Album’. She sings the haunting song which is the theme tune of Drift.

She was then cast as Harriet Tubman in the biopic Harriet and Belle in Widows, about four women with ‘nothing in common except the debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities’.

The script of Drift was developed during the pandemic, when “everyone felt lonely and displaced,” said Chen.

“I’m Asian and I believe in fate. I feel like Jacqueline found me and also found Cynthia.”

Chen is a master of the ‘less is more’ school of directing. There are long periods where the audience is just watching Jacquline moving around the island, trying to keep a low profile and not be noticed, just washing her underwear in the sea or cleaning her teeth. It doesn’t sound very exciting, yet somehow it builds tension.

“I tend to find complexity and tension in the silences” he said. “I really feel that less is more.”

So if you like that moody, atmospheric kind of film, you will probably like Drift, which I found profoundly moving. It is very dramatic, but I can’t explain why, or it will ruin the story.

Drift is on at Chiswick Cinema from Friday 29 March, with daily screenings next week from Sunday 31 March – Thursday 4 April.

Book tickets: Chiswick Cinema

Travelling the world promoting food, cars and music shows – Profile of Chris Hughes, Director, Pub in the Park Festivals

Image above: Chris Hughes and Tom Kerridge, co-directors of Pub in the Park Festivals

How ‘Billy No Mates’ built a career in event management that made him millions and took him around the world

Chris Hughes likes to make out that as a teenager he didn’t have many friends, and that’s why he gravitated towards the people at university who booked bands, to create his own entertainment and get into all the cool parties.

It doesn’t fully explain how he managed to develop a huge multi-million-pound industry out of having fun, but it does offer a ray of hope to the kind of students who like to spend their whole time at university putting on events. From being the social secretary and president of Birmingham University, he has built a career that has taken him around the world putting on spectacular shows.

From university, he got a job working in theatre, discovered the world of exhibitions and from there hit the big time, producing popular live shows about food, cars, fashion, lifestyle, music – anything he thought would attract a crowd.

Now one of the three co-directors of Pub in the Park Festivals, he talked to The Chiswick Calendar about his extraordinary career.

Image above: London Contemporary Art Fair (2023); Country Living Live; The Clothes Show; Gardeners World Live

First show that was a big success: “It had the kind of One Direction intensity, but it was about home interiors”

“I was putting on a student festival in Cannon Hill Park and met a bloke who put on events for the City of Birmingham, which at the time I thought sounded like a very cool job. He told me he had started in theatre, so after university I went into provincial theatre, where you work for very little money but take on a lot of responsibility.

“Most of the acts are on the way down – the slightly sad Alan Partridge end of things, with people who used to be more famous.”

From there he started working on trade exhibitions and consumer fairs, including the first London Contemporary Art Fair in 1989, the Capital Radio festival and the Country Living Fair.

“It turned out most of the ladies who read the magazine were from Barnes. We had a massive hit and it was the first time I discovered success could be quite painful, with people queuing round the block.”

The ladies from Barnes didn’t take kindly to not being able to get in, apparently, and lessons were learned.

He was head-hunted by the BBC to run their live shows – the Good Food Show, the Clothes Show and Gardeners World Live. Here he really saw what could happen with success. Interior designers Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen and Linda Barker were booked to appear on live shows in front of an audience at the NEC in Birmingham and Chris’s team had built a number of small theatres within the vast exhibition hall to accommodate them.

In between committing to the live shows and appearing in them, the success of Changing Rooms took off on television and they “exploded in fame” says Chris. “They were suddenly big stars”.

They had built a 300 seat theatre and 1,500 people turned up, so literally overnight, before the next show they built a 2,000 seat theatre at the NEC in Birmingham.

“We met them at the small theatre and walked them through the NEC to the big theatre in what became known as the ‘Lion King stampede’. It had the kind of One Direction intensity, but it was about home interiors.”

He has become something of an expert on fame and how weird it is, always looking for the next hot thing that will interest people.

Image above: Pub in the Park, 2022

Brand Events

He set up his own company Brant Events on the eve of the millennium – 1 December 1999.

“We put on the Vitality Show at Olympia, about women’s health and beauty. It was the first time I heard Dr Gillian McKeith talking about people’s poo. We ran a design show with James Dyson demonstrating a cyclonic vacuum.”

That was before he’d sold the idea and become a billionaire. The Outdoors Show was a huge success for thew new company.

“That was where walkers and climbers would come to buy their gear and plan their year. The Daily Mail bought the business and me and my investors made £5- 6 million.”

He was good at inventing formats, though his dating event, called ‘Chemistry‘ was not quite as good as he thought it was going to be.

“It was like a very large format of speed dating only you chose whether you wanted to play board games or go Salsa dancing. It worked but it didn’t make money.”

He sold that format to the dating website which ultimately became Match.com.

Images above: Taste of London; Pub in the Park

“I’ve probably run more food festivals than anyone else”

Taste of London is the event which was the forerunner of Pub in the Park, 20 years earlier. A celebration of food and drink, it showcases the restaurants of London.

“The first one was in 2004 at Somerset House. It was like the Chelsea Flower Show but for food. It’s still going actually, in Regent’s Park. We reproduced it all over the world. We took it to Dublin first of all, but then to Milan and Rome, Amsterdam, Sydney…”

He sold that show to IMG. “I’ve probably run more food festivals than anyone else,” Chris told me.

“One of my joys was meeting Rick Stein in New Zealand. He is one of my favourite chefs. I got to know him at a festival in Western Australia called Gourmet Escape. Rick is massive over there. The idea was to take a bunch of chefs on holiday somewhere, to fly them into the Leeuwin Estate on the Margaret River.

“The audience were mainly locals, though foodies would drive from Perth, four hours away, and they would also come from the eastern seaboard and from China and Singapore because the top chefs of the world were there.”

Image above: James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Chris Hughes with Nelson Mandela

Meeting Nelson Mandela and pretending to be an astronaut

Around the same time he started working with Top Gear, taking the team all over the world for live shows, and he started working with Chris Evans on Car Fest, the UK’s biggest family fundraising festival, which has raised £30 million for charity over the years.

A personal highlight was meeting Nelson Mandela with the Top Gear team. “The boys were quite nervous” despite their own fame, said Chris. They had huge respect for the South African president and were excited to meet him. He was quite old by then and beginning to show signs of suffering from dementia, and he was due to meet astronaut Neil Armstrong the following day.

“He asked us what it was like walking on the moon” said Chris. Not wanting to embarrass the great man, there seemed no alternative but to play along and pretend to be astronauts.

Image above: Chris Hughes with Chris Evans and members of the Car Fest team

How did Pub in the Park come about?

“Cars and music. Food and music” – well tried and tested formulas. How did Pub in the Park come about?  Chris lives in Marlow, as does Tom Kerridge. They didn’t know each other, but got talking at the pub and Tom mentioned he would like to do some sort of food festival for Marlow.

“It won’t be very big, but it will be nice” thought Chris. “I was trying to do Fast and Furious in LA. The one I did, thinking it would make lots of money, didn’t. The one I did for love took off.”

They held the first Pub in the Park in the local park in Marlow and sold between 12,000 and 13,000 tickets on the first day.

“We were trying to make it a national quality village fete – a pub garden event where you could bump into your mates, but with the best quality food, and that combination really worked and felt very special.”

Images above: Pub in the Park Chiswick

Why Chiswick?

“I knew Grant Feller through Taste of London.” (They had been on a weekend jolly to New York together to promote it). “He lives in Chiswick. He invited me to a party at his house in Cornwall and there were all these people from Chiswick there.”

The way he tells it they were all high-powered CEOs and heads of ad agencies, but he thought they were clubbable, like Marlow folk, with a pride in where they lived, and he thought the “village feel” of the event would translate to Chiswick.

The following year he and Tom Kerridge held Pub in the Park in Bath, St Albans and Chiswick as well as Marlow because “they all felt to us like places that people cared strongly about.”

Unfortunately the pandemic was disastrous for Barnd Events.

“Covid devastated us as a business, we lost millions and millions. We tried to do drive in events, trying to keep going, like the outdoor cinema at Syon Park, but we made some terrible mistakes.”

They tried putting on stand-up comedy to people sitting in their cars, but woefully underestimated the loudness of the planes on their way to Heathrow.

Brand Events Limited folded at the end of last year. Chris Hughes has formed a new company, Pub in the Park Festivals, with Tom Kerridge. It will hold four festivals in 2024, with the Chiswick one taking place in June.

“We tried to do too many” [They held 11 last year] and it became more like a travelling roadshow.”

They have started meeting locals in Chiswick to use as a sounding board, “to become more integrated in the community” and build a strategy for the next four or five years, to give people what they want at the festival. They are bolstering the food and drink side, and he would like it to be known that Pub in the Park is a food festival with music, rather than a music festival with food.

“The great thing about Chiswick is that it’s the one place where famous people actually buy tickets and just come with their mates. Ant & Dec, James O’Brien, David Tennant and Dara Ó Briain have all been”.

Pub in the Park will be returning to Chiswick for the fifth festival in the grounds of Chiswick House from Friday 28 – Sunday 30 June. Book tickets – Pub in the Park Chiswick

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Thames Tradesmen win Bronze at Master’s Head of the River race

Image above: Thames Tradesmen’s Rowing Club Men’s Master C Crew (L to R): Ben Soren, Paul Arnold, Manu Pezier, Tom Jack, Kim Williams, Ben Hopgood, Woody (cox), Dan Wood, Dave Bulmer

Guest blog by Nigel Brophy

What: 2024 Masters Head of the River Race

When: Sunday March 24

Where: River Thames Tideway. From Chiswick Bridge to Putney Bridge

Thames Tradesmen’s Rowing Club (TTRC) Men’s VIII crew came a respectable third in their category in this year’s Masters Head of the River Race on Sunday (24 March).

The Master’s Head of the River Race is rowed annually in March, the day after the Head of the River Race, which is open for elite crews/rowers from all around the world. The Master’s Head of the River race is open to ‘Master’ rowers who are aged over 27 years.  There were 260 boats competing this year which rowed in 25 categories.

The length of the course is the same as The Boat Race but in the opposite direction; from Chiswick Bridge to Putney Bridge (c. 7km long). The race started at 15.45 as the high tide only occurred at this time this year. Thankfully the sun was shining but the wind was quite strong and difficult in keeping the boats away from the bank before the start of the race.

Image above: Thames Tradesmen’s Rowing Club Novice Men in action (L to R): Nicolas Sobaszek (cox), Nathan Goodman, Jonathan Geitner, Tim Primmer, Nigel Brophy, Eddie Gillead, Mich Gatzoulis, Jay Sitaraman, Zak Keene

The TTRC Novice Men’s crew, coached by Michael Tchoubouroff came third in the Open Novice Category, just 3 seconds behind Dart Totnes ARC from Devon. The crews’ time was 1 minute and 1 second faster than their previous time in 2023.

The TTRC Men’s Captain Nathan Goodman said:

“We are making great progress in our technique and speed, special thanks goes out to the great coaching we got from Michael and club veteran member Paul Arnold in giving us great advice and fitness programmes throughout the year. And of course the crew, who gave it their all today, they were awesome. We’re really going from strength to strength.”

Image above: Thames Tradesmen’s Rowing Club Crew (l to R): Michael Gatzoulis, Jay Sitaraman, Tim Primmer, Zak Keene, Nicolas Sobaszek (cox), Eddie Gillead, Nathan Goodman, Jonathan Geitner, Nigel Brophy

The TTRC Master’s Men’s Crew, which was a composite with some members from Guildford Rowing Club, came fifth in the C Category (Rowers aged 43-49 years). Just three seconds behind a crew from The Netherlands. They were very happy with their performance and managed to overtake three crews.

Image above: Thames Tradesmen’s Women (L to R): Louise Martin, Barbara Kielim, Jacqui Sutherland, Jackie Marie, Sue Holland, Hana Fegutova, Lisa Colles, Kasia Wroblewska and Michael Tchoubouroff (cox)

The TTRC Women’s Crew came a respectable eleventh out of seventeen crews in a highly competitive Women’s Masters D Category (aged 50-55). Their time was 27 seconds faster than their previous year’s performance.  The Ladies Captain said ‘We are very pleased in how we rowed today, the boat felt good throughout the race.’

All three crews said the paddle back from Putney Bridge to University London Boathouse, which is beyond Chiswick Bridge, was very long and very painful!

It’s great to see so many of our members competing in this prestigious event. The club is in a great place, rapidly growing, thanks to our fantastic Learn To Row courses.

The next Learn to Row course starts in mid May 2024 and anyone interested in ‘giving it a go’ should go on their website (see below) and complete the LTR form.

Learn to row

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Chiswick councillor Joanna Biddolph suspended

Chiswick councillor Joanna Biddolph has been suspended from the Conservative Party Group of councillors.

Her status on Hounslow Council’s website has been quietly changed from ‘Conservative’ to ‘Independent Conservative’ and she is not now listed with the rest of the Conservative Group on the website. Her status on her X (Twitter) account now just reads ‘councillor’, with no mention of ‘Conservative’.

The Hounslow Conservative Group has put out this statement:

‘The Hounslow Conservative Group confirms that Cllr Joanna Biddolph has been suspended as a member of the group following an internal investigation and subsequent vote by members.’

For a suspension vote to be carried it has to be supported by at least a two-thirds majority. The Chiswick Calendar understands she has been suspended for three months for a pattern of bullying behaviour which has continued after she was warned about it by the Conservative Group leader Peter Thompson last year.

Image above: Conservatives launching their Local Elections manifesto in April 2022; Joanna Biddolph (in orange), second from the right, middle row

Bringing the reputation of the Conservatives into disrepute

The Chiswick Calendar understands Cllr Biddolph’s suspension is in part because of her conduct towards her colleagues within the Conservative group. She was almost suspended last year over a falling out over plans for the development of Old Market Place by Chiswick Flower Market, which various of her colleagues support but she does not.

Her behaviour has been described to us as “bullying” by several people who have had dealings with her, and we understand the suspension also reflects a pattern of ‘bullying’ behaviour.

Cllr Joanna Biddolph

‘Disclosing confidential information’ and ‘misusing her position as a councillor’

Cllr Biddolph was criticised by the Conservative Group for bringing the group into disrepute before the last local elections after a member of the public complained that she had told protestors against the C9 Cycle Lane that Hounslow Council’s security officers had advised councillors to go into Hounslow House by the back door before a key meeting, for their own safety.

After an inquiry by a Council officer, she had to apologise for disclosing confidential information and misusing her position as a councillor.

In her dealings with local community groups, a number of them say they have experienced quite powerful aggression from her when she has disagreed with something they have been doing.

Image above: Old Market Place on flower market day; photograph Frank Noon

Heckling the presentation of plans at the Chiswick Area Forum

The directors of the Chiswick Flower Market commissioned landscape architect Luke Greysmith to come up with a design to cheer up the area outside George IV, from Devonshire Rd to Linden Gardens, where the Sunday outdoor markets are now held.

READ ALSO: Chiswick Flower Market organisers present plans to improve ‘Old Market Place’

The plans are a bid to improve the infrastructure, which is visibly crumbling, and make it greener. They presented them to a well-attended meeting in the Boston Room of George IV pub in October 2022, and at subsequent markets.

When Flower Market Director Ollie Saunders presented the plans to the Chiswick Area Forum, his presentation was interrupted by heckling from Cllr Biddolph, who also has also sent the Flower Market team an aggressively worded letter about their plans for one of the markets.

Image above: FoodSt market

Personalising opposition to the street food market

The most recent outdoor market to be set up to run on Sundays in Chsiwick High Rd is the FoodSt market, run by Richard Johnson. Cllr Biddolph led a campaign to stop the food market from getting a licence, arguing it would affect the trade of existing food businesses in the high street.

She submitted a ten page statement in opposition to the licencing panel. Richard told us he expected there to be opposition, but he was struck by how personal she made the argument. He was granted a licence for three months initially to try it out and then granted six months in January once it was deemed to be a success.

READ ALSO: FoodSt Chiswick market founder welcomes decision to let the market continue with more stalls

Commenting on the Council’s decision to give him the licence in January, he told us:

“The key thing is that we got approval; the Council saw the virtue of what we were doing after a nasty personal campaign.”

At the second Licensing Panel hearing Cllr Biddolph heckled a high street cafe owner who was speaking in favour of the street food market, interrupting her and speaking over her. The business owner, who had no experience of Council meetings and is not involved in politics, was startled by the “aggression” of her intervention.

Image above: Turnham Green in the spring

Cherrygate

The effect Cllr Biddolph’s personal interventions can have first became publicly apparent in the Friends of Turnham Green’s decision to plant cherry trees on Turnham Green in February 2020. Her intervention blew up and became known as ‘Cherrygate’.

The Friends had received a donation of £5,000 to buy more trees to supplement the cherry tree avenue on Turnham Green and the decision had been passed by a large majority at their AGM.

The trees were bought and volunteers turned up to help with the planting, but it was cancelled the night before, because Joanna Biddolph complained to the Council that the decision had been undemocratic.

READ MORE: Life is just a bowl of cherries – not

The trees, which needed to be planted within a couple of months, went elsewhere. The Freinds of Turnham Green nearly folded because of the fallout. It was in abeyance for several months while the organisation drew up a new constitution and held new elections for its committee.

Rebecca Frayn

Joanna Biddolph’s behaviour “undemocratic” and “deranged”

Rebecca Frayn, an environmentalist who lives on Turnham Green, had been Chair at the time of ‘Cherrygate’ and was re-elected with an overwhelming majority, but it was not long before Cllr Biddolph was again cricitising the way in which decisions were made about the planting of trees on the Green.

READ MORE: Rebecca Frayn re-elected as Chair of Turnham Green Friends

READ MORE: Environmentalist Rebecca Frayn attacks Chiswick councillor Joanna Biddolph’s “undemocratic” and “deranged” behaviour

Because there had been such a fuss about it, Hounslow Council set up a consultation in December 2021 about what trees the public would like to see on the Green, which the councillor construed as ‘cocking a snook at Chiswick’. She again tried to disrupt the process and take control of how it was managed.

Rebecca Frayn responded with a furious open letter, calling her behaviour “undemocratic” and “deranged”. Frayn said the work of her group of community volunteers was being made “increasingly untenable” by the “high-handed autocratic and self-serving behaviour” of the councillor.

Trying to evict the editor of The Chiswick Calendar from a meeting with businesses and the police

My own experience of Cllr Biddolph’s displeasure was at the recent meeting she organised with business people and the police about shoplifting. I went because it was The Chiswick Calendar who raised the issue last summer, but also because we run the Club Card scheme, which represents a number of businesses trading in Chiswick.

She tried to get me to leave the meeting, even though I said I was happy not to report on it directly, so people could speak freely, first of all asking the police to evict me and then calling a vote on whether or not I should be ejected. Fortunately a number of traders voted for me to stay, while only one man put up his hand to eject me, but it was excruciatingly embarrassing being the focus of her attempt to have me ejected from a meeting which was only being held because we had raised the issue for public discussion.

READ ALSO: Dramatic rise in shoplifting, theft and pickpocketing in Chiswick shops

READ ALSO: Brazen thieves return to break into Chiswick shop after £25,000 heist

The Chiswick Calendar has spoken to many people who have had dealings with Cllr Biddolph who have been taken aback by the aggressiveness of her conduct, but there are few who are prepared to speak out because of the influence she wields as an elected councillor.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Hundreds of parking bays in Chiswick to be for electric vehicles only

Image above: Hounslow Highways convert a parking pay to EV only; via Facebook

Non-EV motorists parking in the newly designated bays may be fined

Hounslow Council has began work on converting parking bays in Chiswick into spaces solely for charging electric vehicles – with up to 400 bays set to be repurposed for restricted use.

Work started to convert bays on 18 March and several bays have already been repurposed. Before the work starts, the Council will be placing cones at locations where the bays are to be marked and installing temporary signage saying the parking provision is suspended whilst the works take place.

Initially, 195 bays will be converted across the three wards of Chiswick governed by LB Hounslow. These spaces will be next to chargers which are built into lampposts. Changes to bay markings are already underway across the borough, but the majority of the newly designated bays (75%) will be in Chiswick.

The Council say the high proportion is because demand for electric vehicle charging points has traditionally always been highest in Chiswick, so more charging points are required.

Simultaneously, the Council is planning to roll out an additional 1,000 charge points across the borough, with many to be installed before the end of summer. The objective is to ensure that anyone without access to off-street parking is within a one minute walk of a charge point.

By spring 2026 the target is to reduce this further to just 30 seconds with 395 dedicated bays next to lampposts plus 39 fast charging points and two charging hubs in Chiswick wards.

The changes are being enabled under an Experimental Traffic Management Order (ETMO) which will start a trial period of 6-18 months, after which the impact of the changes will be assessed.

Most of the bays being introduced in the first phase will be in Controlled Parking Zones and, during the hours of operation of the zone, only resident permit holders will be allowed to charge their vehicle.

Any vehicle parked in a bay but not charging, including electric vehicles, could be fined.

You can check where the nearest EV charging point is on LB Hounslow’s website at hounslow.gov.uk

We have to fight for British TV drama says Crown producer Andy Harries

Image above: Andy Harries speaking at the Broadcasting Press Guild awards; photopgraph Alice Aedy

If we don’t support British local drama we will lose our own cultural heritage and just become “a first class, top-end service industry to the US”

Original British television drama is under threat because of the lack of investment going into it, TV producer Andy Harries told the audience at a gala lunch on Thursday (21 March) at The Royal Horseguards Hotel in Whitehall.

The co-founder of Left Bank Pictures and Executive Producer of The Crown, who lives in Chiswick, made the remarks as he received a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to the television industry at the Broadcasting Press Guild (BPG) awards.

READ ALSO: Andy Harries OBE to receive lifetime achievement award

He said:

“Despite all our success, I am worried that the very heart of our UK business – our public broadcasters – are increasingly looking vulnerable with ad money now draining from ITV and C4 to Amazon and Netflix, and the BBC’s licence fee falling far short of the rate of inflation.”

The Crown is one of the most expensive TV series ever made and has won numerous awards, including a Primetime Emmy Award for ‘Outstanding Drama Series’ and two Golden Globe Awards for ‘Best Television Series – Drama’.

“The Crown would never have been made if Netflix had not bought it”, he said. “They had the money – they shared our ambition for it and they always understood the brand value of the … royal family”.

But he said, global streaming companies were not looking for dramas which were about subjects which were either very local or contentious politically.

Mr Bates vs The Post Office was a timely reminder of the impact and importance of a show about a specific British scandal. But it was touch and go on the budget before it was greenlit, and I understand all the actors were paid scale- i.e. they took a pay cut in order to get the show on air.

“A couple of years ago when we made Sitting in Limbo, a BAFTA-winning single film for the BBC about the Windrush scandal, we had to make a decision at Left Bank that if we were going to make it – we had to do it for cost. More recently – with co-pro monies drying up in the US – I have heard of many uniquely British shows that simply can’t be financed at all.

“So I ask – would Boys from the Blackstuff, Hillsborough, or Our Friends in the North be made these days? How about Five Daughters, This Is England, The Deal, Longford or even The Royle Family? I am not so sure.”

“Unless we put money into British drama ourselves, we are in danger of ending up as “a first class, top-end service industry to the US at the expense of our own experiences” he said.

“Perhaps the answer lies in extending the 40% tax allowance recently introduced in the last budget for British movies to single films and limited series on TV that are specifically British.”

Image above: Andy Harries; photograph Alice Aedy

Time to stop chipping away at the BBC

Andy Harries urged the audience of TV professionals – actors, writers, production teams, executives and broadcasting press – to think about how we can go about protecting original British drama on ITV, Channel 4 and the BBC.

“Let’s talk for a couple of minutes about the future of the BBC. Surely, it’s time to stop chipping away at it or giving oxygen to those who constantly call to cut it to the bone – this is NOT the answer.

“Do we want it to go the way of collapsing local councils like Birmingham, or the tragic chaos of the NHS, or the failure of our railways to get people where they need to go?

“How many British institutions do we want to take the wrecking ball to?”

He said if Labour wins the next election Sir Kier Starmer and his Cabinet should commit to increasing the licence fee – “show it the love, and secure its long-term future, once and for all.”

“The streamers NEED the competition. Our industry needs a healthy BBC, and the BBC keeps us British – its role in our society is unique and unifying.”

The Licence fee should be reinvented as a ‘cultural subscription’ he said, “very comparable to each of the streamers these days, which gives every British citizen access to its extraordinary range of TV shows, radio, podcasts, orchestras, and music in all its forms.”

Images above: Sarah Lancashire, photograph Richard Kendal; ‘Movers and Shakers’ contributors

Sarah Lancashire and Happy Valley lead the awards

The BBC’s drama Happy Valley won ‘Best Drama Series’. Its lead actor Sarah Lancashire won ‘Best Actress’ and writer Sally Wainwright won ‘Best Writer.’

Cast members Toby Jones and Monica Dolan were among those from the production team of Mr Bates vs The Post Office at the awards to receive the BPG Jury Prize for TV / Streaming. They received a standing ovation from the audience for their achievement in capturing the injustice done to subpostmasters and mistresses.

‘Best Actor’ went to Gary Oldman for Slow Horses. ‘Best Comedy’ was won by BBC production Ghosts. David Jonsson won the ‘BPG Breakthrough Talent’ award for his role in Agatha Christie’s Murder Is Easy. The BBC production Time won the ‘Best Drama Mini-Series’ award.

In the documentary categories the BBC’s Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland won ‘Best Documentary Series’ and Channel 4’s Despatches programme Russell Brand: In Plain Sight won ‘Best Single Documentary or Mini-Series’.

In the audio categories BBC Radio 4’s programme The Briefing Room won ‘Radio Programme of the Year’, while Movers and Shakers won ‘UK Podcast of the Year’ and Ken Bruce won ‘Audio Presenter of the Year’ for his show on Greatest Hits Radio. Goalhanger Podcasts won the BPG Jury Prize for Audio.

The ‘Best Entertainment’ award went to Squid Game: The Challenge on Netflix. The ‘BPG Emerging Creators Award’ went to GK Barry.

Andy Harries won the ‘Harvey Lee Award for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting’.

Image above: Rebecca Frayn, Andy & Jack Harries; photograph Alice Aedy

There to support Andy were his wife Rebecca Frayn and son Jack Harries. They were not the only contingent from Chiswick at the gala lunch. Also there were Will Wyatt, formerly managing director of BBC Television and Chief Executive of BBC Broadcast; Sally Osman, former Director of communications for BBC, Sky, Channel 5, Sony and HM the Queen; and David Liddiment, former director of programmes for ITV, now Creative Director of the independent production company All3Media and member of the BBC Trust.

Torin Douglas, known best in Chiswick as the Director of the Chiswick Book Festival, and formerly Media Correspondent for the BBC, has been on the organising committee of the Broadcasting Press Awards for 30 years. He won a special award this year for all his work for the BPG, as he is stepping down this year.

Image above: Torin Douglas at the Broadcasting Press Guild awards; photograph Rebecca Frayn

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Torin Douglas awarded by Broadcasting Press Guild

Image above: Tara Conlan (Guardian) (left), Torin Douglas MBE, Kate Bulkley (BPG awards chair) and Manori Ravindran (BPG chair); photograph Rebecca Frayn

Industry bigwigs thank the director of the Chiswick Book Festival for thirty years of service supporting the broadcasting industry

Torin Douglas MBE, best known in Chiswick as the director of the Chiswick Book Festival, has received an award from the Broadcasting Press Guild (BPG) for his work over 30 years supporting the broadcasting industry.

Torin has been on the BPG Committee since 1994 and took over the role as Chair of the BPG in 1996, when he was Media Correspondent for the BBC. Since 2007 he has acted as their Treasurer, co-organising the annual award ceremony celebrating the broadcasting industry.

READ ALSO: Torin Douglas MBE, Director of the Chiswick Book Festival – Profile

Director-General of the BBC Tim Davie said:

“You have dedicated countless hours to the group whilst working as a journalist, as well as running the Chiswick Book Festival and volunteering with other media and community organisations.”

Praising Torin and Kate Bulkley, who are both stepping down from their roles with the BPG this year, Tim Davie said:

“The energy, commitment and thousands of hours that you have both given to the Broadcasting Press Guild are, by any standards, remarkable. That you have done so voluntarily and without any kind of salary is extraordinary.”

Images above: Sarah Lancashire, photograph Richard Kendall; Contributors to Movers and Shakers

The Broadcasting Press Guild represents journalists who specialise in covering television, radio and the media, and include critics, previewers, media correspondents and feature writers from national newspapers, broadcasters and leading trade journals and websites.

The Chief Executive of Channel 4, Alex Mahon, and the Chief Executive of ITV, Carolyn McCall DBE, also sent their thanks and congratulations.

Alex Mahon spoke about Torin’s work outside the BPG:

“Your vast impact outside the Broadcasting Press Guild covering the biggest stories in the media over the part 40 years has of course been far-reaching … Numerous organisations, including media outlets, industry societies, universities and festivals, have also benefited meaningfully from your leadership, experience and insight – not to mention the community in Chiswick.”

Torin received his award at the annual gala lunch, which took place on Thursday (21 March). Actress Sarah Lancashire and the BBC’s gripping police drama Happy Valley led the awards, winning ‘Best Drama Series’, ‘Best Actress’ for Sarah Lancashire and ‘Best Writer for Sally Wainwright.

The Mr Bates vs The Post Office team received a standing ovation from the audience for their achievement in capturing the injustice done to subpostmasters and mistresses. Cast members Toby Jones and Monica Dolan were there to receive the ‘BPG Jury Prize for TV / Streaming’.

Image above: Andy Harries giving his speech after receiving his reward; photograph Alice Aedy

Another Chiswick resident receives the ‘Harvey Lee Award for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting’

Another Chiswick resident, Andy Harries, co-founder of Left Bank Pictures and Executive Producer of The Crown, received the ‘Harvey Lee Award for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting.’ He used the occasion to issue a dire warning on the fate of British original TV drama if we do not invest in it better.

It was “time to stop chipping away at the BBC” he told the audience at the Royal Horseguards hotel in Whitehall. Without proper investment in ITV and the BBC the future of dramas with subjects that were politically contentious or just local to this country was in doubt, and the British television industry was likely to become just “a first class, top-end service industry to the US.”

READ ALSO: We have to fight for British TV drama says Crown producer Andy Harries

READ ALSO: Andy Harries OBE to receive lifetime achievement award

The award is named after Harvey Lee (1950-1991), who was the media correspondent for the Daily Telegraph and a leading light in the BPG throughout the 1980s. Previous winners of the BPG’s Harvey Lee Award, for an outstanding contribution to broadcasting, include Sir Lenny Henry, Moira Stuart, John Humphrys, Nicholas Parsons, Sir Terry Wogan, Cilla Black, Melvyn Bragg, Andrew Davies, Sir David Frost, Michael Grade, Norma Percy, Biddy Baxter, Edward Barnes, Phil Redmond, Beryl Vertue, Tony Warren, Anne Wood, John Lloyd, Jon Snow and Jeremy Paxman.

Jeremy Paxman was there to receive another award this year, ‘UK Podcast of the Year’ for Movers and Shakers, the poignantly titled podcast made by a group of broadcasters who all have Parkinsons disease.

Wrapping up the gala award lunch, Tara Conlan, who writes about TV and media for The Guardian and The Observer, said:

“Trusted media matters more than ever these days and the BPG and its events and lunches create debate … and, importantly, establish trust and understanding between us and the valuable, important and fabulously-creative industry we write about.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Easter weekend in Chiswick – things to do with children

What to do in Chiswick over the Easter weekend

The Easter weekend is a little over a week away. Children will be off school and there are plenty of things to do in Chiswick to keep them (and the parents!) occupied.

Image above: Explorer Map of Chiswick House 

Chiswick House Easter Quests

From Friday to Sunday at Chiswick House you can take part in Easter Quests. The park will be open for Easter hunts from 10.30am to 2.45pm for quests that take 30 minutes each.

Quests are available for purchase on the day from the entrance to the Kitchen Garden, costing £2. For the £2 ticket price, children will receive a booklet to help them complete their Quest (with some bonus Easter activities), and a chocolate reward.

Chiswick House say:

“Join us for a cracking adventure Quest this Easter weekend. Answer the questions hidden around the gardens and find the hidden eggs, and you’ll be rewarded with a tasty chocolate treat.”

Image above: Easter egg hunt

Osterley Easter egg hunt

Experience the fun of the fair as you explore the gardens at Osterley, with ten Summer Fair themed activities. From hoopla to welly wanging there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The cost of the trail includes an Easter trail sheet, bunny ears and dairy or vegan and Free From chocolate egg. Tickets are £3 plus admission. National Trust members and under fives go free.

Available from Wednesday 27 March – Sunday 14 April 2024, 10am – 5pm.

Image above: Next in Steam

Easter Steam Up – London Museum of Water and Steam

This year at the London Museum of Water & Steam they arepowering up their engines for a big weekend. Discover the fascinating world of water and steam at their Steam Ups.

They say: “Share in the history and energy of the Kew Bridge Waterworks and marvel at the amazing working pumping engines that helped make London the city it is today.”

Dates available – Saturday and Sunday March 30-31 and Monday 1 April.

Tickets are available here.

Image above: Migration

Easter Family Cinema – Watermans arts sentre

For the last time in their iconic riverside base, the Watermans are hosting their Easter family cinema. The film they have chosen this year is Migration, about a family of ducks who decide to leave their home in New England, in a quest to migrate to Jamaica. Things do not go to plan as they end up in New York City!

The film is available to watch from Wednesday 27 March until Wednesday 3 April.

You can book tickets here.

Image above: King Fu Panda 4

Easter Family Cinema – Chiswick Cinema

Chiswick Cinema has Robot Dreams (PG) on offer for children from Tuesday 26 March – Thursday 4 April and Kung Fu Panda 4 (PG) from Friday 29 March – Sunday 7 April.

You can book tickets here.

Image above: St Michael’s Church, Elmwood Rd

Easter egg hunt –  St Michael’s

On Easter Sunday St Michael’s will be hosting the Easter Sunday Holy Communion to celebrate Christ’s resurrection. There will be an Easter Egg Hunt in the Church gardens and an Easter Bonnet competition with a book tokens as prizes.

 Rocks Lane sports centre to host international padel tennis tournament

Top international padel tennis players are preparing to make their way to Chiswick from all over the world to compete in an international padel tournament. The tournament, set to begin on Wednesday 27 March and end on Easter Sunday, will take place on the Rocks Lane Padel courts, on the common beside Turnham Green Terrace.

Tickets and invites are available via this link.

Spectator tickets include a burger from the BBQ. Free entry for Rocks Lane Padel Members and Rocks Lane Padel Academy Juniors.

ArtsEd Easter holiday courses

ArtsEd is offering ‘West End’ weeks for 13-15 and 16+ age groups, from Tuesday 2 – Friday 5 April – ‘Offering a taste of life in musical theatre from professionals who are performing in the West End right now!’

Participants will be encouraged to develop their skills and challenge themselves in a supportive and encouraging environment.

‘They don’t need to be a superstar performer already, they just need to have the energy and enthusiasm to give it their all and get stuck in’.

Find out more here: ArtsEd Easter holiday courses

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Athletic Club team up with Civil Service FC for Non-League Day

Image above: Civil Service FC

Spanish club team up with Chiswick based team for Non-League Day

This Saturday, (23 March) Civil Service FC will be playing Old Carthusians at King’s House Sports Grounds. A normal home fixture for the Chiswick based side, the game is very special due to the involvement of a top tier Spanish side, Athletic Club.

The match is to celebrate the second edition of Euskal Non-League day, an event designed by Athletic Club to recognise the “fundamental work our affiliated clubs throughout the Basque Country do in serving their communities and producing players for Athletic’s first team.”

Euskal Non-League Day was inspired by the British version, which James Doe founded in 2010 with the aim of using international breaks as a means of promoting attendance at lower-league football stadiums throughout the United Kingdom.

Athletic Club shares several historical links with British football. The sport was brought to Bilbao by English sailors and miners, and one of Athletic’s 33 founding members was an Englishman named Alfred Mills. Civil Service are the only remaining team of those which founded the FA in 1863.

As a tribute to the British event and the role English football played in Athletic Club’s origins, they have collaborated with seven non-league teams that have had Athletic Club players before.

The seven teams are: Civil Service FC, United Hospitals FC, Eastbourne Town FC, Bromley FC, Merton FC, Dulwich Hamlet FC and Corinthian-Casuals FC.

Athletic has sent each club a flag to hang up at their respective ground and a retro jersey to raffle off among their fans. In return, the English sides have sent a flag of their own for Athletic Club to use during their Euskal Non-League Day events and later donate to their AC Museum.

In a post on ‘X’ Civil Service said:

“We are proud of our history and the links we have made with clubs across Europe including @Athletic_en. We can’t wait to visit Bilbao in May.

Thank you for highlighting our @AmateurFA Cup semi final v Old Carthusians next Saturday @KHSSportsGround. All spectators welcome.”

 Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Met Police release e-fit of man after sexual assault in Wendell Park

Image above: E-fit provided by the Metropolitan Police

Man sought after woman sexually assaulted and punched 

Detectives have released an E-fit image of a man they want to speak to after a woman was sexually assaulted and punched in a park in Shepherd’s Bush.

At 9.15am on Saturday 3 February, the victim, a woman in her mid-30s, was sitting on a bench in Wendell Park W12 when she was approached by a man unknown to her who then suddenly grabbed and kissed her. He then made sexual comments to her.

The victim pushed him away, at which point he punched her in the eye before running away.

Investigating officer PC Louise Trott said:

“The woman was sat minding her own business when she was subject to a horrible assault.

“We are following a number of enquiries and urgently need to identify the man pictured. If you have information that could help us, please make contact immediately.”

To share information or material with police, call 101 or post @MetCC ref CAD 3887/03FEB24.

To remain 100% anonymous contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Watermans arts centre in Brentford closes

Riverside arts venue closes after 40 years

Hounslow Arts Trust Ltd, the charity that operates Watermans arts centre, has announced it will close in in mid-April.

The riverside venue in Brentford has served the population of west London for decades with live theatre, dance and music, a cinema and restaurant, and a gallery for contemporary art shows. The Trust has put on school holiday programmes for children in everything from Manga, the Japanese style of cartoon drawing, to Capoeira, the Brazilian dance martial art and game that includes elements of dance, acrobatics and music.

Watermans has been known for its programme of high quality theatre productions for children and its diverse programme of content, making sure Hounslow’s multicultural population was served and included. In recent years it has also developed a programme of cabaret performances.

The existing centre has been on notice ever since plans were brought forward for the redevelopment of Brentford.The Trust still has plans to reopen in a new building in Brentford as part of the regeneration programme for the town centre.

In a statement put out by the Trust, they say:

‘The charity has taken the difficult decision to close Watermans as the best possible way of protecting both the interests of Hounslow residents and the organisation’s financial viability ahead of its relocation to the site of the old police station building in Brentford.

‘In the context of a challenging recovery period following the pandemic, the impact of energy price rises and the on-going costs of maintenance for the current venue, it makes operational and financial sense to focus on the delivery of outdoor events at Bell Square, Creative People and Places Hounslow activities and other community-based programmes which do not require use of the current building.’

All programmed events and activities at the Watermans building will stop. Hounslow Arts Trust Ltd. will continue to exist but with a focus on delivering a programme outside Watermans during the transition period.

The viability of the arts centre was badly affected by the pandemic, as were many other organisations forced to close during that period.

‘Hounslow Arts Trust is extremely proud of the programmes that have been delivered with communities at Watermans for nearly forty years and would like to thank its incredible team of current and past staff at Watermans who made the venue such a welcoming community space for so many people, as well as the audiences, funders and artists who supported it over those years.’

We visited the centre in the summer of 2016 and made a video about the summer programme for children ‘Urban Ambush’.

Ruth Cadbury MP posted on X that she was:

‘Shocked to get an email tonight to say Brentford @WatermansArts is to close its doors on 11 April after 40 years They say they will continue doing the community outdoor events in Bell Sq etc and move to a new building “in due course”. I’m going to meet the Director asap.

“The council and the trust have been working very hard with the owner of the old police station to bring forward a viable scheme” – Cllr Tom Bruce

Cllr Tom, Bruce, LB Hounslow’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Development, told The Chiswick Calendar:

“It is obviously disappointing that Watermans have had to close their building but I am pleased that their outreach work will continue.

“Since the initial plans were agreed, the economic situation has changed drastically: increases in material and labour costs, and rises in inflation, interest rates and land values have made delivery much harder.

“Arts and culture are incredibly important to me personally, and as lead member I am clear with council officers that my aspirations for the area remain unchanged.

“The council and the trust have been working very hard with the owner of the old police station to bring forward a viable scheme, and while I cannot give a time frame, our aim is still to have a new arts centre building delivered in conjunction with new homes. I remain optimistic that this will happen.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Andy Harries OBE to receive lifetime achievement award

Image above: Andy Harries OBE

Co-founder of production company responsible for The Crown to recieve award for his contribution to television

TV producer and Chiswick resident Andy Harries OBE is to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Broadcasting Press Guild for his contribution to television.

The co-founder of Left Bank Pictures, which makes The Crown, is to be honoured at the 50th annual Broadcasting Press Guild Awards on Thursday 21 March. He will receive the Harvey Lee Award for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting, an award chosen by journalists who write about television, for a career spanning more than four decades.

READ ALSO: We have to fight for British TV drama says Crown producer Andy Harries

READ ALSO: Torin Douglas awarded by Broadcasting Press Guild

The award is named after Harvey Lee (1950-1991), who was the media correspondent for the Daily Telegraph and a leading light in the BPG throughout the 1980s. Previous winners of the BPG’s Harvey Lee Award, for an outstanding contribution to broadcasting, include Sir Lenny Henry, MoiraStuart, John Humphrys, Nicholas Parsons, Sir Terry Wogan, Cilla Black, Melvyn Bragg, Andrew Davies, Sir David Frost, Michael Grade, Norma Percy, Biddy Baxter, Edward Barnes, Phil Redmond, Beryl Vertue, Tony Warren, Anne Wood, John Lloyd, Jon Snow and Jeremy Paxman.

Andy Harries began his career as a reporter on the Peterborough Evening Telegraph before moving into TV as a researcher for Granada Television in Manchester in 1976, where produced and reported on Granada Reports and World In Action.

Graduating to entertainment in the 1980s, as a freelance he directed and produced The South Bank Show and Arena. He co-founded his first production company, Sleeping Partners, with Paul Greengrass at the end of the 1980s, working with talent such as Lenny Henry, Jonathan Ross and Peter Morgan.

Image above: Helen Mirren in The Queen

In the 1990s he led Granada’s Comedy department, where he was behind two huge successes, working with Caroline Aherne on The Mrs Merton Show and The Royle Family, and also Mike Bullen’s hit series Cold Feet.

He then took over Granada’s Drama department, where he produced hit TV shows including the return of Prime Suspect and Cracker. He spoke about the 2006 film The Queen, which he co-produced with Christine Langan, at the 2023 Chiswick In Film festival.

READ ALSO: The Queen – Q&A with Sir Stephen Frears, Andy Harries and Christine Langan

Image above: Stephen Frears, Christine Langan and Andy Harries talking to Bridget Osborne at the Chiswick In Film Festival 2023

Helen Mirren won an Oscar for her portrayal of the Queen, while writer Peter Morgan went on to develop the Netflix series The Crown with Andy ten years later.

Andy set up Left Bank Pictures in 2007, which has become one of Britain’s leading independent production companies, with series such as Wallander, Outlander and DCI Banks to its credit. The Crown became Andy’s biggest venture to date, running for six seasons, spanning almost six decades of the lives of the British royal family, from when Queen Elizabeth was a young princess during the war until the 2005 wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles.

Image above: Claire Foy in The Crown

The series has won twenty-one Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Drama Series for its fourth season, and seven awards for the cast. It also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama twice, with additional acting wins for Claire Foy, Olivia Colman, Emma Corrin, Josh O’Connor, Gillian Anderson, and Elizabeth Debicki.

The Broadcasting Press Guild’s chair Manori Ravindran said:

“There is no doubt that Andy Harries is a titan among TV producers who has proven himself time and again over the last five decades. The range of his programme successes reflects not only a flair for the creative, but also a knack for building special relationships with generational talents — of which he is one himself.”

His outstanding contribution to broadcasting has also been recognised with special awards from both BAFTA and Royal Television Society.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

Ruth Cadbury objects to plans to dump sewage in River Crane

Images above: Ruth Cadbury MP in the House of Commons, The River Crane

Ruth Cadbury MP objects to proposal by Hillingdon Council to allow dumping into the River Crane

Ruth Cadbury MP has written to the Environment Agency to object to an application put forward by Hillingdon Council to allow treated sewage to be put into the River Crane which runs through Isleworth.

Ms. Cadbury objected to an application to discharge treated sewage from a cafe into the River Crane, a proposal also opposed by the Isleworth ward councillors Salman Shaheen, Sue Sampson and John Stroud-Turp.

The proposed discharge will occur just upstream of Cranford Park Bridge which will mean the liquid waste will run downstream from Hillingdon and into Hounslow.

The sewage is categorised as secondary treated sewage effluent according to the Environmental Agency. Primary treatment means settling out much of the solid matter, and secondary treatment means using bacteria to break down the organic substances, according to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Although this process does make the sewage less harmful, Dr Umme Khanzada, a biologist and key organiser of the Cranford Action Group, says the water could still do damage to the river’s ecosystem.

Image above: The cafe which Hillingdon Council hopes to allow sewage to flow from – into the River Crane; Cranford Action Group

Plans to allow sewage into river are concerning, says Ruth Cadbury

“The plan to install this system could upset the delicate ecosystem of the river and contamination from damaging levels of phosphate, nitrates, faecal bacteria and pathogens. This will deteriorate the water quality of the river and its wildlife,” a letter from Cranford Action Group says.

Brentford and Isleworth MP Ruth Cadbury said:

‘‘The river Crane runs through the heart of our local area and plays an extremely important role in supporting wildlife and plants. I know from listening to local residents how much they value the river, and how much hard work has been done by community groups to tidy up the river and surrounding area.

“I’m concerned that plans to allow treated sewage to be put into the Crane come at a time when we’ve seen raw sewage being pumped directly into the Thames from Mogden, and when our local environment is increasingly under threat.

“I want to assure residents locally that I will keep standing up to protect our local environment, and to protect our local waterways.’’

Fresh train and tube strikes set for April and May

Image above: Waiting for the train – photograph of the day by Barbara Chandler

Train drivers will walk out in April and May with overtime scrapped

Train drivers at London Underground and 16 rail companies have announced a wave of industrial action that could cause chaos for passengers across the UK and bring the entire tube network in the capital to a halt on certain days.

Tube drivers are to stage two one-day strikes in April and May unless a dispute over changes to working conditions is resolved in time.

The members of the Aslef union, which represents 96% of train drivers in Britain, plan to strike on Monday 8 April and Saturday 4 May. The strikes would start at 12.01am and finish at 11.59pm.

Meanwhile, other Aslef members will embark on a wave of one-day strikes and a six-day overtime ban next month in a dispute over pay. Drivers had not had a pay rise for five years, since April 2019, the union said.

Train drivers will strike at Avanti West Coast, East Midlands Railway, West Midlands Trains, and CrossCountry on Friday 5 April; at Chiltern, GWR, LNER, Northern, and TransPennine on Saturday 6 April; and at c2c, Greater Anglia, GTR’s Great Northern, Thameslink and Southern/Gatwick Express, Southeastern, South Western Railway mainline and depot drivers, and SWR Island Line on Monday 8 April.

Members will also refuse to work their rest days – non-contractual overtime – from Thursday 4 to Saturday 6 April and from Monday 8 to Tuesday 9 April.

Image above: Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan

Aslef union condemn “ridiculous offer” by rail companies

Aslef’s general secretary, Mick Whelan, said:

“Our members voted overwhelmingly – yet again – for strike action. Those votes show – yet again – a clear rejection by train drivers of the ridiculous offer put to us in April last year by [the train operators’ body] the Rail Delivery Group which knew that offer would be rejected because a land grab for all the terms and conditions we have negotiated over the years would never be accepted by our members.

“We have given the government every opportunity to come to the table but it is now clear they do not want to resolve this dispute. They are happy for it go on and on.”

A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson said:

“We want to resolve this dispute, but the Aslef leadership need to recognise that hard-pressed taxpayers are continuing to contribute an extra £54m a week just to keep services running post-Covid. We … remain open to talks to find a solution to this dispute.”

A TfL spokesperson said:

“We have been in long-term discussions with our trade union colleagues on how to modernise procedures and processes on London Underground. We have no plans to impose these changes and have committed to no one losing their job as part of these changes … We urge Aslef to continue discussions with us so that disruption for Londoners can be averted.”

A Department for Transport spokesperson said:

“Aslef is the only rail union continuing to strike … Having resolved disputes with all other rail unions, the transport secretary and rail minister have ensured that a pay offer is on the table – taking train drivers’ average salaries from £60,000 up to £65,000.”

Sanderson set to return to Voysey House in Chiswick

Image above: Voysey House

Luxury interior design group to return to Chiswick origins

Sanderson Design Group PLC, a luxury interior design and furnishings group listed on AIM, is set to relocate its head office back to Chiswick after nearly a century. The iconic brand traces its roots back to Arthur Sanderson’s wallpaper factory established in 1879.

Originally housed in what is now Barley Mow Passage, the Sanderson factory once employed over 1,000 workers and played a vital role in the local community. Although manufacturing will not resume in Chiswick, the company is bringing back its headquarters along with approximately 80 staff members and archival materials.

Voysey House, the former factory extension built in 1902, will serve as the new headquarters, boasting a design hub, showroom space, and event facilities. This move aligns with the company’s strategic objectives, offering better visibility for its brands and facilitating talent recruitment.

Sanderson’s historical ties to Chiswick run deep. The company received its Royal Warrant in 1924 and survived a devastating fire in 1928. Despite setbacks, the brand maintained a connection to the area, which is now being revitalised with its return.

Sam Harrison converted part of the former factory site across Barley Mow Passage into Sam’s Brasserie two decades ago, but the premises now lies empty after the failure of a number of successor restaurants, most recently Betty’s.

Lisa Montague, Sanderson Design Group’s Chief Executive Officer, said:

“This opportunity to move our head office to London will bring important strategic benefits for the Group whilst being cost neutral. At the same time, it is a privilege to be returning the Sanderson brand to Voysey House, a former Sanderson wallpaper factory and the brand’s original home.

“Locating the Group in London will support the sales and marketing of Group brands, better showcase the Sanderson and Morris & Co. archives and assist in attracting and retaining talent. We are planning to create an exciting showroom, design hub and events space, which will also reduce our requirement for external showroom space.

“Voysey House is a building of huge historical relevance to Sanderson Design Group. We look forward to moving into the building in the summer this year and to marking the start of an exciting new chapter in the Group’s development.”

‘Lady or the Tiger’ receives five award nominations

Image above: The Lady or The Tiger at the Tabard theatre

Theatre at The Tabard show raking in nominations

The play currently running at the Tabard theatre, The Lady or The Tiger, has received five award nominations.

Alongside a Standing Ovation Award nomination from London Pub Theatres, the production has received four nominations for the Offies (Off West End Awards) for Lead Performance in a Musical – Wayne Smith as The King, Musical Director – Philip Shute, Director (Musicals) – Keith Strachan, and Musical Production.

The Offies are open to independent, alternative and fringe theatres and are hotly contested with over 100 venues being eligible. This is the fifth in-house production at the Tabard to be nominated for the Offies since the theatre reopened in July 2022.

If you have already seen and enjoyed The Lady or The Tiger, you can leave your comments on the Offies website.

The Lady or The Tiger follows the story of a tyrant king and his ongoing quest both to devise ever-more outlandish entertainments for his subjects and to punish the suitors who come seeking his daughter’s hand.

Audiences and critics alike are waltzing away from the theatre with spirits high and songs in their heads as they heap praise on this musical revival.

“A joyous production…It’s endlessly entertaining, and my first instinct on leaving the Tabard was to book tickets to see it all over again.”

★★★★ ½ Mark Aspen Reviews

One audience member said:

“Probably the best production The Tabard has put on since its re-invention. Terrific story, great music scores & a wonderful, engaging cast that actually seem to be enjoying themselves. Go see it, if you’re lucky enough to get tickets!”

Here’s what The Chiswick Calendar’s reviewer Simon Thompsett had to say about it:

READ MORE: The Lady or the Tiger review – Theatre at the Tabard