The Nightmare that is Chiswick Mall

Pat Kennedy puts the spotlight on this "benighted part of our parish" as an agent's report suggests the area might not deserve its reputation as one of the most beautiful parts of London

Lovely views but what about the noise

When I first moved to Chiswick I fondly imagined that the pokey maisonette I was buying was just one rung on the ladder to better things. My talent would not take long to make me the sort of money I needed to buy one of those fine Georgian houses on Chiswick Mall and I looked forward to taking tea on my small lawn as I overlooked the Thames on a fine summer's morning.

Many years later the astonishing thing is that, as yet, the great world of commerce seems to have failed to recognise the massive contribution I could undoubtedly make and I remain static property ladder-wise.

Tranquility could be deceptive

It is of some consolation to me that a new report by agents trying to persuade the Council that Heron House should be converted into a restaurant now shows that this apparent urban idyll is in fact a benighted part of our parish. If you thought that a stroll down Chiswick Mall would be a tranquil experience forget it - this smelly area suffers from aircraft noise, traffic noise, dog noise, boat noise, children noise, bird noise and a whole host of other assaults on the ear drum that clearly make it a place to avoid.

I was somewhat sceptical of the claim the report makes that children caused a degree of noise pollution so an experiment was made to see if this was the case. Kennedy Jnr. (aged two) was taken to the foreshore and then left there whilst I went back up the river bank. I know in close proximity the noise this young individual can make is high decibel wise but it was barely audible from my position. Most passers-by didn't even notice it and one who did commented "unfit parent" which was fair enough as my membership of the Hogarth had lapsed sometime ago.

The report also highlights the problem with school nature trips on the foreshore and teachers often shouting at the children. A personal plea to all local teachers; if you have to convey to young Britney that she should not pick up that syringe can you do it soto voce?

"The Hell that is Chiswick Mall"

Another intolerable aspect to this area according to the report is bird noise. It places the blame on ducks, geese and seagulls but that isn't the half of it. No mention at all of swans, cormorants and herons who are if anything worse offenders. Surely there is a case for a cull of these nuisance creatures if peace is ever to reign here.

There is also the case of the on-going lovers' tiffs that appear to take place here. The report mentions a problem with "courting couples who often end up shouting at each other" but does not make it clear whether this is one couple in the long-drawn out stage of a painful break-up or a series of rows by any number of different couples. I have never come across this particular phenomenon but the author of the report has obviously spent some time observing the behaviour of courting couples. Could it be that there is something in the air that causes otherwise harmonious relationships to fall into acrimony? Perhaps fumes from the brewery lead to an unnoticed intoxication. It would be interesting to know the divorce rate in this part of town.

It may be said that agents, who as we know to our cost have a talent for making the most fetid hovel sound like a palace, also have the ability to make the most glorious location sound like the less salubrious suburb of a less salubrious town in the north. The beautiful architecture, wonderful views of the river, the absence of traffic, the proximity of fantastic riverside pubs and the overall magnificence of the place are obviously a deceptive facade. For one I am quite happy to take the agents at face value and be content that I am lulled to sleep at night by the A4 rather than kept awake by the cacophony of noise in the hell that is Chiswick Mall.

Pat Kennedy is a freelance writer who would be delighted to pen articles such as this for your publication. welcomes contributed items from local writers

April 1st, 2003

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Planning Application to turn Heron House into a restaurant (Forum)