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Cllr Peter Thompson

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July 8, 2023

Throughout April and May, Hounslow Council and Hounslow Highways committed to not cutting any highway verges until June 2023 as part of a National Campaign called “No Mow May”. This idea is that not cutting the grass encouraged the cultivation of wildflowers, improves biodiversity, and increases the number of pollinators like bees, butterflies and moths.

Another benefit of the movement is that it gets us thinking about our landscaping choices and actions and the impacts of these on the ecosystem. (And that’s a good thing!)  However, it is worth reflecting those opinions among professional horticulturists about “No Mow May” actions are mixed.

Some argue that most of the flowering lawn weeds that no-mow is supposed to protect aren’t a great source of pollen for our bees.  Another argument is that not mowing lawns regularly stresses the grass.  This is because when mowing does resume you are removing much more of the turf’s leaf mass at one time, causing stress and interfering with its normal growth habit. 

Even worse, this stress is happening right before summer and therefore, the lawn is less able to handle heat and drought. Many councillors have received complaints from residents about an increase in grass pollen-related allergies exacerbated by No Mow May.  One resident wrote to me, for example, describing how her sons experience an immediate allergy attack the moment they leave their home. 

Cllr Amrit Mann (Heston East) reported back last month to his area forum that on one day 250 children were taken into A & E because they could not breathe as a result of all the pollen.   Hounslow Highways report that it is taking them three times longer to cut the grass after No Mow May.  Next year they are doing things differently!

Mixed views on No Mow May
Mixed views on No Mow May

Weeds Update

Last year we urged the Council to get a grip on our weeds.  The Council – rightly - decided to stop using glyphosate-based chemicals due to concerns about their impact on the environment and especially the growing evidence they are harmful to bees.  However, nothing was put in place to deal with them, and they took over our streets and pavements.  Weeds detract from the appearance of an area and collect litter. They interfere with visibility for road users, prevent or slow down drainage, and cause uneven slabs and broken tarmac.

Again, we were promised that things would be done differently.  So, this year we do have dedicated teams to focus just on clearing manually all weeds.   In my street the signs went up and most people removed their cars to enable the team to get to work. 

sign warning of weeding

However, the “footway was not cleansed or weeded as scheduled, due to unexpected delays experienced by the Cleansing Team during their attendance on two other roads prior to attending Waldeck Road. These roads took longer than anticipated to clear, leaving insufficient time to complete works to the appropriate requirements on Waldeck Road.” (Hounslow Highways).

I am happy to report that the street was weeded a week later.  I am less than happy to report that the bags of weeds were then left in the street for another week - to be fair they were promptly removed when I reported this.  The same scenario happened on another road in the ward.  No doubt next year they will be doing things differently!  

Weeds in bags

Smash and Grab

My life outside of local politics means that I spend a fair bit of time in the 20th Chiswick Scout Hut that adjoins the car park of Chiswick House and Gardens.  On three occasions over the last few months, I have been present when cars have been broken into.  When Giffords Circus were with us recently they had to station a member of their staff in the car park as break-ins were happening regularly.  The most recent robbery was this Monday.  The car owner was playing tennis when the car alarm went off.   One of the scout leaders heard the alarm and called the police who arrived within 20 minutes. 

Smashed car window in Chiswick House car park

We have reported this to the local police, Chiswick House Trust and Hounslow Council who administer the car park.  On all occasions, the same individual was seen cycling around the car park before, during and after the incidents.  Fingers crossed that the police will combat this soon.  We all can help by not forgetting to remove all our valuables from our cars.  Don’t be tempted to merely put items in the boot, under a seat or cover them with a blanket.  A thief can take as little as 10 seconds to steal something from your car.  

Save Our Local Hospital – Again!  

Now and then the story does the rounds that the future of Charing Cross Hospital is under threat.  In the 2014 local elections, leaflets went around Chiswick from the Labour Party stating that the hospital was going to close or be downgraded to little more than a GP surgery.  They conveniently ignored the fact that Labour controlled Hounslow Council support these plans and the local Conservatives had campaigned to keep an Accident and Emergency service at Charing Cross Hospital.  

In 2017 Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust Chief Executive Dr Tracey Batten and North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups Chief Officer Clare Parker wrote to the Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council disputing the Council’s ‘incorrect and misleading claims’ about the future of Charing Cross Hospital.  They stated that leaflets circulated by the Council ‘’made a number of incorrect and misleading claims about the future of Charing Cross Hospital which is likely to cause significant, unnecessary distress to patients and staff. As you will be fully aware, there have never been any plans to close Charing Cross Hospital.’’

Now the rumour mill is at work again claiming that the refurbishment of our local hospital has been scrapped despite the statement in the House of Commons on Thursday, 25 May 2023 by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Steve Barclay MP that funding for the floor-by-floor refurbishment of Charing Cross Hospital is secure.  He confirmed:

• Full refurbishment of Charing Cross Hospital so the hospital is protected for future generations.
• Brand new energy centre to make Charing Cross Hospital greener, sustainable and more cost efficient.
• Over £20bn of funding is expected for the national New Hospital Programme so patients will have access to the health care facilities they need.
Works are to begin at Charing Cross Hospital in 2024, subject to survey work.

Cllr Peter Thompson

07977 395810  


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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