Anger About Roads Rises Further After Contentious Meetings
Chiswick Homefields ward councillor Patrick Barr reports back on his week
The contentious Streetspace schemes have had an airing in two ways this week – at the call-in to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee of Hounslow's cabinet decision on C9T on Wednesday, 4 August and at two Streetspace engagement meetings on Friday, 6 August.
At the Streetspace engagement meetings, most concerns were about the complex scheme in Grove Park, in Chiswick Riverside ward, and the schemes in the centre of Chiswick including C9T, Devonshire Road, Turnham Green Terrace and Fishers Lane the first three of which are in both Turnham Green ward and in Chiswick Homefields ward (the boundary runs down the middle of both roads). It is good to have a chance to look at them from the perspective of Chiswick Homefields ward.
With Turnham Green Terrace now open again, our concerns are for Devonshire Road where the current new scheme has increased, rather than softened or even eliminated, the divisions. So when, during Friday's afternoon Streetspace event, a resident who lives on the corner of Devonshire Road and Chiswick High Road made the point that residents hadn't been consulted fully about the changes to Devonshire Road, I nodded in agreement. I'd go further, though, and say the shops and businesses on Devonshire Road haven't been fully consulted by the council, either.
As a member of the Chiswick Shops Task Force, we surveyed local businesses, which inevitably drew comments about the need to consult residents, the council hasn't held a full and proper consultation. If it had, it would have known that its current plan for Devonshire Road is a bunch of rules that don't fit anyone's wishes. When did shops close at 5pm? Why isn't there any evening outdoor dining space for Casa Dino, on the Chiswick Homefields side of the road. Why are the outdoor dining spaces on one side of the road only? And why isn't anyone allowed to drive along a mixed commercial and residential road at night – a road that has never seen anything other than light traffic even at peak times?
Cllr Joanna Biddolph was meant to be on the overview and scrutiny sub-committee for the call-in of the cabinet decision of C9T but was forced to self-isolate after coming into contact with someone who later tested positive for Covid-19. She was allowed to submit a four-page report which was given the briefest of mentions by the sub-committee chairman at the beginning of the meeting, with a promise that it would be referred to again when the sub-committee considered its decision. It wasn't. You can read it here.
Among othr issues, her report criticised the permanent removal of one of the High Road's handsome trees for a temporary experimental scheme. In Chiswick Homefields ward near the corner of Chiswick Lane, this nearly 100-year-old London Plane tree has been valued, on the council's own map of trees, at £41,880 . Hounslow council's policy is not to remove healthy trees. Unless, it seems, it wants to. Hypocrisy is alive and well in Hounslow.
Left-wing authoritarianism is also alive and well in Hounslow
I was fascinated, therefore, to listen to BBCR4's The Spark on authoritarianism which revealed that there are two kinds of left wing authoritarian: "those who combine left wing support for social welfare, welfare state, opposition to unconstrained free-market, with social and moral intolerance, discomfort with gay rights and so forth" and "what Americans might call 'super woke' which is that you are so committed to your idea of tolerance and diversity that you're dogmatic and rigid in the enforcement of that and demand that the authority of the state is used to constrain other people's speech and behaviour in the interests of upholding norms of diversity and tolerance … it's really a weird inversion". Which reminded me of the overview and scrutiny committee chairman's behaviour in banning free speech when discussing C9T.
Cinema in Chiswick – thoroughly spoilt for choice
This would have been Chiswick Festival weekend and I was so sorry it had to be postponed. I understand why, of course. I've seen the effects of Covid-19 first-hand while nursing. Avoiding its spread is fundamentally important. Plans are for it to be back in Spring 2022. Events aren't all off the agenda, though. The Luna Cinema is returning from 18 to 21 August with outdoor screenings of Romeo + Juliet, Knives Out, Grease and The Greatest Showman.
If being in comfort indoors is more your thing (and more reliable in this rainy summer) there's an intriguing eclectic mix at The Chiswick Cinema including Limbo, The Sparks Brothers, Stillwater and The Truffle Hunters as well as family fun from Paw Patrol, The Croods 2, Spirit Untamed and others. Find the full list and book here.
Covid-19 Stamford Brook PCR testing station
A reminder that if you need to have a PCR test for COVID-19, the closest testing station for many Chiswick residents is in Welstead Way. For others it might be the Michael Flanders Centre in Acton. Whichever one, you must book first, using the central booking system.
Covid-19 Vaccination Centre – Brentford Leisure Centre
For several weeks, the Vaccination Centre at Brentford Leisure Centre has been open to walk-ins on Saturdays. If you haven’t yet had your fist vaccine, or it has been eight weeks since your first, you can walk in at any time from 9am – 8pm.
Surgeries are back! Possibly.
We have all been keen to get back to face-to-face surgeries and it looks as if they soon will be, after a trial on Saturday outside Chiswick Library. Look out for announcements. I hope to see you soon.
Still the measure of councillor activity, recent cases I've acted on include: helping retailers and hospitality businesses claim the government grants due to them.
Please do contact me if you need help with any council issue.
Councillor Patrick Barr
Chiswick Homefields ward
Date for your Diary
Most council meetings are now taking place in person at Hounslow House though a few, such as licensing panel meetings, continue to be held virtually. Even if they are held in person, you can watch them live (or later) on the council's YouTube channel. Please check for each committee by looking at the agenda reports pack for each committee.
August 10 7.15pm Licensing Panel
June 19 7:00pm Planning Development Presentation
June 24 7.30pm Licensing Panel
2nd September: Planning Committee
7th September: Cabinet
16th September: Overview and Scrutiny Panel
21st September: Borough Council Meeting
12th October: Chiswick Area Forum
Face to face surgeries are being reinstated with a trial pop-up surgery at Chiswick Library on Saturday, 7 August. We hope that from now you will be able to see a Conservative councillor in Chiswick on Saturdays at 9.30am in Chiswick Library – and in Gunnersbury on the first Saturday of every month at 10.00am at the Gunnersbury Triangle Club. Meanwhile, please contact your ward councillors by email or phone, as listed below.
Cllr Patrick Barr
Cllr Gerald McGregor
Cllr John Todd
Chiswick Riverside ward
Cllr Michael Denniss
Cllr Gabriella Giles
Cllr Sam Hearn
Turnham Green ward
Cllr Joanna Biddolph
Cllr Ranjit Gill
Cllr Ron Mushiso
August 7, 2021