Government Policy on Walking and Cycling Hijacked to Score Points in Chiswick

Chiswick Homefields ward councillor Gerald McGregor on his week

Cllr Gerald McGregor on right, with fellow councillors


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My last look at what is happening in the borough was in late February/early March before we got ensnared by Covid-19 and the lockdown. We need to see what is now happening to the local economy and consider yet more bad news.

London Borough of Hounslow as a trader

Many of you will know that Lampton 360 Ltd was established by the London Borough of Hounslow in 2012 with the objective of trading in local authority functions in order to generate financial surpluses and return those surpluses to the council. The accounts and statement to a virtual cabinet were nodded through last Tuesday despite the fact that taxpayers are seeing no end to further investment to cover planned expenditure with trading and operating losses and there is no sign of the promised surpluses. If these business projects don't work the taxpayer will pick up the tab.

London Borough of Hounslow and the tradespeople and business sector in Chiswick

Dealing with large and small businesses across Hounslow seems on a par with the level of dismay and disappointment shown by local Chiswick traders; they are now fearing for their livelihoods as the council appears determined to favour cyclists over the long-standing interests of the local shops, cafés, restaurants, pubs.

The latest moves by the Central Government in providing funds to protect walkers and cyclists with changes to the street scene has been hijacked by Hounslow Council in order to score points in Chiswick. It has proposed the imminent closure of Turnham Green Terrace (the B491). Under the Covid emergency powers, the Department of Transport has given local authorities the opportunity to promote schemes without full statutory consultation or without fully evaluated schemes (for a temporary period of up to 18 months) but told them to consult traders when doing so.

So effectively a main north-south locally used route from the immediate area, (within Chiswick then on to Acton) to the A4 and A316 will not be accessible to traffic or for parking. This will impact on residents in Southfield, Chiswick Homefields and Turnham Green and probably Chiswick Riverside wards. The confusion about what precisely is going to happen is not helpful and local councillors have yet to receive full details even as the workforce merrily starts bollarding and putting up barriers. Devonshire Road and its shops are also going to feel the pressure as the council seeks to broadly pedestrianise the road, deliver a cycle route and remove all parking spaces. There will be no allowance for other traffic use from 7.00pm to 7.00am and at weekends.

What does Chiswick require? Clarity

The virtual cabinet meeting attended by many Conservatives last Tuesday heard briefly from Cllr Hanif Khan. He and other senior cabinet colleagues, such as Cllr Guy Lambert and Cllr Shantanu Rajawat, will be invited to respond to the anxieties of traders and shopkeepers, and residents not with pieties but with concrete proposals to improve the situation.

So while we are yet to know design costs and operating costs of the new "temporary" schemes, Hounslow Council continues to take the policy view that cycling and walking are adequate substitutes for car use whilst central government continues to ask passengers to avoid public transport for fear of infection and crowding and to use personal transport (e.g. motor cars) to maintain social distancing on the way to and from work. So it is all a bit of a muddle.

Traffic detours

The Chiswick Shops Task Force has listened with growing concern about this further weakening of the local economy. Having a key local route (it's a B classified road not an A road) removed from the road map is going to make life difficult for everybody.

To give some examples, for residents in Chiswick Homefields ward, which I represent, traffic detours are a particular issue as a road closure would mean a detour of a mile and a quarter to the east would be needed to reach the bottom/top of Turnham Green Terrace via Bath Road B409, Goldhawk Road A316 and Chiswick High Road A315. The likelihood of rat running from Acton via Bedford Park going east is the most likely outcome; Southfield Road and Woodstock Road and Abinger Road being particularly susceptible.

Traffic from Acton going west, avoiding Popes Lane and Bollo Bridge Road and the level crossings would follow Acton Lane south to Acton Green and past Chiswick Park Station if Fishers Lane were also to close. The Avenue (with no southerly outlet) would lose traffic but South Parade would become congested throughout the day creating problems for Ealing residents. The western detour to Chiswick High Road is not as long as that to the east as traffic can make use of Acton Lane and Beaconsfield Road from Acton, but the traffic pattern will change and the circular junction at Chiswick Park station would become a daylight hours pinch point.

Traffic policing and cost

Enforcement of the closures to through traffic would be by traffic camera, automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) systems and high tech and expensive electronic pressure devices in loading bays. The latter would prevent casual shopping and private vehicles using the loading bay for anything other than loading.

Understandably, many people in Chiswick have become very het up about this with some apparently thinking that a fairly nasty police state aimed at legitimate everyday activity is being developed by the traffic authorities in Hounslow, using Covid-19 emergency powers to further greatly impose taxes/fines on shoppers/residents and traders in two streets formerly known for the general quality of their retail premises.

This scheme will be installed next week. Many of us expect that to be Monday.

Real information and proper feedback

As a councillor trying to get proper information I can really make no further comment on the other schemes in Chiswick until their final design is received. Councillor Steve Curran, leading this policy, has apparently confirmed that he wants people out of their vehicle and onto cycles and other healthy activity. As a cyclist who enjoys leisure riding, I want better schemes than those proposed and now being implemented. I want both safe conduct for cyclists and a recognition of the parlous state that changes in shopping habits and the problem of high rents (and now Covid-19) have caused so many traders in Chiswick to close. The traffic team needs to take a second look and give us all relief and clarity

At a time when the Borough is at risk of losing 40,000-50,000 jobs at Heathrow, further damage needs to be avoided. The immediate local economic consequences don't bear thinking about.

Councillor Gerald McGregor

Chiswick Homefields ward

07866 784821


These council meetings are taking place virtually; residents can attend online; joining instructions will be on the council website, in the agenda reports pack for each committee, here.

25th June: Planning development presentation



These council meetings are taking place virtually; residents can attend online; joining instructions will be on the council website, in the agenda reports pack for each committee, here

•  9th June: Cabinet and Licensing panel

•  25th June: Planning development presentation


Unfortunately, surgeries have been cancelled for the foreseeable future. When they are back up and running there will be a Conservative 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. You can, of course, still contact your local councillors:

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


June 14, 2020

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