Rumblings Underground and Hounslow Council Redacts Self-criticism

Chiswick Homefields ward councillor John Todd on his week

John Todd (centre) with fellow councillors
John Todd (centre) with fellow councillors

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Chiswick Flower Market

Every best wish to this new venture.

Thames Tunnel Construction to Warple Way Acton- Combined sewer overflow construction

My beloved dog Rosie uncertainly stirs looking at me for guidance. The house quivers and a strange hollow woofing noise frequently comes from under the floorboards. Like an arriving thunderstorm, not quite synchronised.

On some days I notice that a number of silent theodolite operatives are outside my house furtively monitoring any possible subsidence by monitoring three round mini-dart patches fixed to my house by Thames Water (TW). One operative enters my garden holding back a naughty plant which has overgrown and is blocking their line of sight. This incites a sheepish grin as if they expect me to blast them for trespass. The pavement has lots of new shiny metal studs too as part of this process.

What's causing this turmoil? A tunnel boring machine called Rachel (named after Rachel Parsons founding president of the Women's Engineering Society) is currently gorging the soil under my house, and elsewhere, on its way to Acton. It's now arrived at Stamford Brook Tube station and heading for Emlyn Rd. I'm advised it's very deep in the ground and there's no adjacent aperture where we can get reassurance that everything is going OK. TW offered £50 towards any legal costs we incur. Not many takers at that rate I suspect.

Homefields North Play area Improvement Works This Summer

Following a great response from many local residents seeking change, and Ward Councillor intervention, LB Hounslow (LBH) have now procured a specialist contractor to undertake an extensive list of improvement works at Homefields North playground. Works will include refurbishment of all existing swings frames and seats and the large multi-play unit will get a facelift, along with all benches and picnic tables. Safety gates and safety surfaces will all be repaired or replaced. New play equipment will provide additional activities for younger children in the fenced area.

In the older children's area, the repairs needed to put the adventure playground back into action will be undertaken, including the stepping stones, rope bridge, basket swing, cradle swing and traverse wall. The grass mound and slide will be improved, so this previously unusable area can be accessed no matter what the weather.

Tree Pit Located Rubbish

Black bags full of rubbish and other items continue to blight Chiswick High Road. Local residents continue to send me pictures and we've been asking officers for some pro-active action. Some PCNs have been issued and warnings given to those responsible but the blight continues. Purple coloured plastic bags are used by residents who live above the shops and are collected at published times. Many bags are placed in the road days before the collection date and get damaged by foxes and others. We've suggested tighter collection time slots and this amended scheme is being worked on.

Barnes Footbridge update

The project continues. After interviewing prospective contractors, LBH has entered into a pre-construction service agreement with the successful contractor. This will enable the contractor to commence the detailed review, engagement with the key stakeholders and the steel fabricators, to look at all value engineering options with the target of achieving a second stage lump sum price within the council's available budget.

Richmond Cemetery - Restriction Sign

No sunbathing or BBQs!

Hounslow Council Self-Assessment

A now removed document (see below) formerly published by LB Hounslow (LBH) on its website admits ‘Our digital offer is ineffective, our customer service delivery is not good enough (and)…We do not have a single Corporate, systematic way of understanding our customers and their needs.'

This quote is taken from an Appendix to a recent (28 th August, 2020) Single Member Decision, LBH published report in which a Cabinet member sought an additional £500,000 to restructure its Human Resources and Organisational Development (HR & OD) Department, which already costs £1.29m.

I posed a number of questions about this report believed to have been written in February including ‘who wrote this section' and ‘where is the data previously published which evidences the adverse comments in this section? I received a prompt response. The senior management had drafted this paragraph. My second question was not answered to my satisfaction

My interest in the council's performance was heightened In June 2019 when the cabinet agreed a different way of assessing its performance data, highlighting success rather than failure. Our opposition role is to chase the latter so I met with the Chief Executive and Head of Overview and Scrutiny to express my concerns.

My intervention over the HR and OD Report caused the Cabinet Member to direct that the published appendix I had quoted from be immediately removed from the LBH website. A most unusual course of action.

Covid 19 Testing

I've been in contact with our Director of Public Health requesting that testing facilities be established in Chiswick. Some of the testing sites in Hounslow are some distance away with poor transport access. She and her staff are now endeavouring to do so. A possible testing site is in the grounds of Chiswick House. Xanthe the Chiswick House and Gardens Trust has offered to facilitate this facility.

Cllr John Todd

07866 784651


Most council meetings have been cancelled. A few are taking place virtually and residents can attend online. Joining instructions will be on the council website, in the agenda reports pack for each committee, here.


Surgeries have not yet been reinstated. When they resume you will be able to meet a councillor in Chiswick library every Saturday from 9.30am to 10.30am and on the first Saturday of every month at the Gunnersbury Triangle Club from 10.00am to 11.00am. You can, of course, still contact your local councillors by email or phone; see their contact details below: 

Chiswick Homefields ward

Cllr Patrick Barr
07976 703263

Cllr Gerald McGregor
07866 784821

Cllr John Todd
07866 784651

Chiswick Riverside ward

Cllr Michael Denniss
07976 703274

Cllr Gabriella Giles
07966 270823

Cllr Sam Hearn
07833 376222

Turnham Green ward

Cllr Joanna Biddolph
07976 703446

Cllr Ranjit Gill
07976 702956

Cllr Ron Mushiso
07976 702887

September 6, 2020