Decoding Council Jargon, Seals and Craft Beer

Chiswick Riverside councillor Gabriella Giles reports back

Cllr Gabriella Giles

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July 2, 2023

Today, I thought I’d take a slightly different approach with my blog as, on reflection, it has been a surprisingly full week!


Started with surgery duty at Chiswick Library, where I met with a resident who had some concerns regarding letters they had received from the council, and wanted some guidance and a listening ear to help understand what they needed to do. In looking at the correspondence, it was interesting to see the language used - bureaucratic and with the assumption that terms used would be clearly understood. I don’t know why I’m still surprised that the processes used by the council are never fully explained, whether it be for representations or applications. I’m aware that each industry has its own vernacular and process, but when you’re acting on behalf of the public, it would make sense that you explain what can and cannot be done.

I was also able to review the long-overdue letter from the traffic team at Hounslow Council about the South Chiswick Liveable Neighbourhood. We had been told that the letter would be created with input from the local councillors, but speaking with my colleagues, it would appear that we were only to be informed. Since its inception, I have struggled with the project management aspect of this scheme, and I don’t yet believe the council knows what a responsibility assignment matrix (otherwise known as a RACI) is. Given that we had been sent this on Thursday for delivery the following week, I often feel like this is a tactic to ensure that there is no time for review and amendments if needed. An online version of the map below can be found on the council website.

south chiswick liveable neighbourhood map


Call me a traditionalist, but a day of rest was very much called for. After a very busy couple of weeks moving house, chairing my first Chiswick Area Forum, entertaining friends from abroad, and generally trying to keep on top of work and life, I was in need of the respite! The afternoon was spent in the garden listening to Glastonbury and reminiscing with friends of our own experiences of the festival and our hopes to go back next year.

Before I forget, the presentation prepared for the Chiswick Area Forum on the Lime e-bike trial scheme isn’t yet up on the website, so please do get in touch if you want to see the full presentation. I’ve had a look for the map, but this is all I can find.


After a day of work, I attended a mandatory licensing committee training. In order to sit on a licensing panel, each councillor must undertake the annual briefing. For the past five years, I have sat on the committee and been part of numerous panels; I find these sessions more helpful than when I first started as the practical application of the law and having specific experience of how it is applied allows me to be very precise in my questioning. Not solely to learn more, but to know that I am making decisions in the best interest of the local community in line with legislation. It also gave me the chance to ask a very specific question on behalf of a local business, and to get a clear answer, which doesn’t always happen when you rely on email.


I am a big fan of independent craft beers, so when a client gave me the opportunity to help with brewing a new experimental beer, I immediately went to assist. It’s been a dream for a while, and it was really great to get so hands on with the process.

I had to run away before we managed to finish all the cleaning as I went off to the House of Commons to hear the debate on the Protection of Seals. Since 2021, I’ve been working with the founder of the Thames Seal Watch, Mary Tester, to change the law around the protection of seals in England and Wales.

In 2022, we were able to get a ten-minute rule bill sponsored by Tracey Crouch to amend the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

On College Green with Tracey Crouch MP and Mary Tester, February 2022On College Green with Tracey Crouch MP and Mary Tester, February 2022

The next step was to encourage Sarah Olney (MP for Richmond Park) to bring the debate on the Protection of Seals to the attention of the Minister for Food, Farming and Fisheries, Mark Spencer. It was a quick debate, with support expressed by many Conservative MPs, including the former Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs George Eustice who highlighted the “Give Seals Space” campaign, for which we have a couple of posters along Strand-on-the-Green.

I also bumped into a fellow trustee from the Chiswick Pier Trust, and we were able to have a good debrief on the previous week’s meeting, which I’d unfortunately had to miss.


A day to focus on work and catch up on emails, my council inbox had a couple emails about planned works to install telecommunication masts in Chiswick Riverside. These come our way very rarely so to get two on the same day for locations on Park Road / Great West Road and Fauconberg Road within hours was a surprise.

Emails also included correspondence from ArtsEd about their upcoming Festival of Community, where they’ll be opening their doors to host two-weeks of free workshops and TfL with suggested wording for us to share with residents on the upcoming ULEZ expansion. This is as follows:

“The Ultra Low Emission Zone will be Londonwide from 29 August 2023. You can check if your vehicle is compliant at or for more information go to

I also had a chance to catch up on some casework and follow up with Hounslow Highways on behalf of residents following the recent grass mowing.


Chiswick is a great place for business, and I was able to have a meeting with a new contact I had met at a fantastic Chiswick Business Network Meetup run by Jeannie Shapiro. There was certainly proof in the pudding that the network is strong, as we also bumped into Jeannie and another member having a business meeting too!

The day followed with email correspondence, I was able to follow up with Jim Cope, the West Area Neighbourhood Sergeant following the Chiswick Area forum and to start building a relationship with the new PC for Chiswick Riverside Durr-e-Maknoon Tariq. We had the chance to meet, but it’s great to know that we have a full-time PC back in the ward following a period of 6 months without one.

I also had news of the sixth report of the House of Commons’ Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee had published under the title of Protecting Marine Mammals in the UK and Abroad on Wednesday, and that there were many recommendations we have been campaigning for.

This was all before I was able to escape to meet a client in town from Texas, and make it across to the brewery to see how the experimental beer was developing!


After an unexpectedly late Thursday night, I was glad of a slower morning, having agreed to meet friends at Chiswick House for a walk and catch up. I was very grateful of the discount provided by my membership which I won in a raffle at a fundraising event at St Nicholas Church, Chiswick back in November. The coffee was extremely welcome, and sustenance for the rest of the day was needed. Even after multiple lockdown walks, I’m very grateful for the green spaces we have in Chiswick, and Chiswick House is no exception.

I also had a chance to go and inspect the newly built raised flower beds at Harvard Hill recreation ground. These have been built as a result of the Your Neighbourhood Grant, and the Friends of Harvard Hill have been working on this project since the start of the year. The fantastic team, led by Marie-Claire Meisels and Livia Shlesman, have kept me updated on their progress, and once we get the compost for the beds, I’m looking forward to seeing what they will provide. I grew up playing in the park, so it’s really nice to see how the hard work of volunteers is paying off.

I’m also now looking for my next project for where this year’s funding could be used, so if you have any suggestions, please do let me know.

As always, thanks for your time and attention. I’m off to watch the Ashes, and I hope you have a good week!

Councillor Gabriella Giles

Chiswick Riverside



Tuesday, 4th July – Housing and Environment Scrutiny Panel : 7.30pm

Tuesday, 11th July – Cabinet : 7.00pm

Tuesday, 11th July – Health and Adults Care Scrutiny Committee : 7.00pm

Thursday, 13th July – Planning committee : 7.00pm

Tuesday, 18th July – Borough Council


Chiswick: Every Saturday from 9.30am to 10.30am at Chiswick Library (the eight Conservative councillors take this surgery in turn).

Gunnersbury: First Saturday of the month from 10am to 11am at The Gunnersbury Triangle Club, Triangle Way, off The Ridgeway, W3 8LU (at least one of the Chiswick Gunnersbury ward councillors takes this surgery). 


Chiswick Gunnersbury (was Turnham Green) ward

Cllr Joanna Biddolph 07976 703446

Cllr Ranjit Gill 07976 702956

Cllr Ron Mushiso 07976 702887

Chiswick Homefields ward

Cllr Jack Emsley 07977 396017

Cllr Gerald McGregor 07866 784821

Cllr John Todd 07866 784651

Chiswick Riverside ward

Cllr Peter Thompson 07977 395810  

Cllr Gabriella Giles 07966 270823 

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