Anne Naysmith's Car Removed From Prebend Gardens

Vehicle towed away despite attempts of residents to stop it


"In Praise of Sally Mates"

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Anne Naysmith, Chiswick's "Lady in the Van", has had her battered Ford car removed from Prebend Gardens. The vehicle was towed away despite the desperate attempts of some local people to stop it including one woman reportedly sitting on the car.

The action has sparked fierce debate not just in Chiswick but globally with the press in the USA, China and Japan featuring the issue.

Councillor Paul Lynch Chair of the Chiswick Area Committee stated, "We have clearly faced a dilemma over the years in trying to protect Miss Naysmith's welfare while respecting her wishes for independence and achieving a balance between her rights and those of other residents.
However the situation has clearly now reached the point where leaving her in a car that has deteriorated so seriously is not an option. Friends have told the Council that, despite her protests, she cannot continue to live in the car."

Supportive local residents have subsequently supplied her with another car a much roomier red Mercedes. But after spending a night there she returned the keys. One of her neighbours commented "One of the qualities which makes Miss Nasmyth exceptional is that she never accepts charity of any sort from anyone so, after spending a night in the loaned car, she promptly returned the keys for it first thing the following morning."

The Council have offered Miss Naysmith a flat and promised that if someone put forward private land for the car and Miss Naysmith agreed, the Council would consider arranging for the car to be returned, once it had been ascertained that there were no public health, neighbourhood or planning issues regarding the site.

The classically trained musician had taken up residence in the car for the last fourteen years. It is believed that she had previously lived with her parents in the street then suffered a breakdown after their death and moved into the car along with her dog Bouncer when the house was sold.

Another story that is told about her is that her present condition is the result of a failed romance with a singer of which she was a member which when the relationship failed led to her falling into a deep depression.

Hounslow Council say that they took the action as a result of complaints from local residents. The issue has divided the street with many supportive of their eccentric neighbour's continued residence but some concerned about her welfare and tendency to shout abuse at passers by. Ms. Naysmith remains in the area tending her garden in Stamford Brook car park

8th March 2002

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