Turnham Green ward councillor Jo Biddolph on her week
Cllr Jo Biddolph
There is no doubt that Turnham Green ward bears the brunt of Hounslow Council's and others' decisions (or non-decisions) about Chiswick. It has parcels of land most ripe for over-development – the Chiswick Curve on the Chiswick roundabout, The Fourth Mile at the B&Q site, 250 Gunnersbury Avenue and perhaps other plots nearby. Then there is Power Road and a strip of land next to Gunnersbury station, which have been designated part of the Brentford Mile opportunity area by the Mayor of London. What is meant by an “opportunity area”?
Apparently it means throwing up tall buildings of limited or no aesthetic value that also cut off their residents from our local community. There are yet further plots behind Empire House and near Sainsbury's and others that might become vacant at some point (such as the police station) to tempt developers.
And now we have TfL's Bollo Lane development, a stream of tall blocks of flats on the edge of Chiswick, stretching north from the boundary with Ealing's Southfield ward.
There is supposed to be collaboration between the boroughs on developments that might impact on another's area. When I checked this point with Hounslow's planning department, I was told that there is collaboration on developments on the border but not close to or near, just on. Chiswick is not confined to the three Hounslow wards. Ealing's Southfield ward is just as much a part of Chiswick as anyone who lives there knows (and as I did for 22 years). These tall buildings start at the boundary of Ealing's Southfield ward and Ealing's South Acton ward.
South Acton ward also runs alongside the north-eastern boundary of Turnham Green ward and the Gunnersbury Park Garden Estate conservation area, separated only by land servicing Acton Town tube station. What collaboration was there? No one can tell me.
If you would like to comment on the application, please do so here.
Don't be put off by the fact that there are 265 documents associated with this application. Do bear in mind the fact that comments must be on planning grounds; here are some tips.
Devonshire Road and Turnham Green Terrace closure
After a week or so of the new traffic and parking schemes it is already clear that the impact is devastating. At one local shop, business is now down by 80 per cent – much lower than it was during the lockdown before access was restricted and parking removed. Another trader has lost 15 per cent a week since the bollards were put in and the signs went up. A third has heard from customers from other boroughs that they won't be coming again because they can't park nearby.
Signs, particularly those at the entrance to Devonshire Road, are misleading – does anyone ever know what “except for access” actually means? – and plants in the planters will soon grow to obscure the words making the signs even more unhelpful (whoever thought to put the tallest growing plants in the front clearly doesn't understand the purpose of signs – or do they want drivers to be fined?).
Apart from the fact that residents of the Glebe Estate will have to go all round the houses to get to theirs, when another ugly planter is installed blocking the way in to Glebe Street, there is the question of who will be stung by a fine if they get the rules wrong?
I came across an example last week. It was a man who had turned in to Devonshire Road and parked having not understood the sign. He'd come from Ealing with his family specifically to find a hairdresser then asked about ice cream shops; he'd been here for well over the maximum 20 minutes. If the ANPR cameras had been in, he'd have breached the rules and been fined. He could appeal but without evidence of circumstances that would persuade the council to cancel the fine (not seeing or not understanding signs has never been a winning argument) he would have to pay up. It's £130 or £65 if paid promptly. Will that entice him back to Chiswick or put him off? Doesn't Hounslow council want to encourage people from other areas to support our retail economy?
As so often with ill-thought out schemes of this kind, what will happen will be that drivers will turn in, find there is nowhere to park and that the loading bays are full and leave immediately to try again or find a space elsewhere. Such a journey will not meet the criteria for using the road and the driver will be fined. So, we'll all end up hovering in the middle of the road, engines running, causing congestion and pollution – exactly the opposite of what is sought.
People drive for a purpose. It isn't a frivolous act, as some would have us believe. We do it to do a big shop; to go to and from appointments; to transport heavy, awkward, bulky, large or fragile objects; to collect or deliver from other locations it's hard to reach; to save time, particularly if the journey by foot or public transport (when we can use it again) is long or complicated; or because of limited mobility or frailty.
Residents of the Glebe Estate, who will no longer be able to reach their homes by car via Devonshire Road, will be forced to travel considerably further through previously quiet residential roads as well as adding to the amount of stop-start traffic on the already congested Annandale Road and Duke Road. Visitors to them, including heavy goods vehicles and delivery vans, will have to do the same. How is that a reduction in traffic, in congestion, in pollution?
Reaction to the changes was swift. Many of you have emailed local councillors, the cabinet member responsible (Cllr Hanif Khan), and the Hounslow officer supervising its installation and compliance. We were asked to suggest changes using a heavily loaded questionnaire. And now, perhaps to confuse us or in the hope of getting a different outcome, Hounslow has launched a consultation. Please make sure you make your views known.
It's not too late, I hope, to get some changes that will at the very least mitigate the worst effects of these schemes.
Please support what Devonshire Road and Turnham Green Terrace currently have
In the meantime, please support the shops and services along Devonshire Road. You are welcome to arrive by any means and, if it is by car, remember there is free parking between 12.30pm and 16.30pm Monday to Friday; after 12.30pm on Saturdays; and all day Sunday in the Central Chiswick CPZ including in the Glebe Estate.
Devonshire Road and Prince of Wales Terrace
Some are not open yet but come and have a look!
Big Jim's Trims
Clean Box Dry Cleaning
The Chiswick Lighting Company
Frivoli Art Gallery
Genco Male Grooming
The Italian Job
Lea & Sandeman
London Laser Clinic
Mayfive Hair Salon
MEM Hair and Beauty
Meraki Nails and Make-up
Napoli on the Road
The Stitching Room
Top Hat Dry Cleaning
Vinoteca Wine Bar
Vision Express Cab Hire
Turnham Green Terrace, Turnham Green Terrace Mews, Chiswick Common Road and Bedford Park Corner
Some are not open yet but stroll along to see who is!
L'Appetit Fou Belgian Chocolate
Aram Picture Framing
Baron's Dry Cleaner
Bayley & Sage Delicatessen
Bedford Park Pharmacy
Buenos Aires Argentine Steakhouse
Covent Garden Fishmonger
Good Boy Coffee
Hack & Veldt
Lemon & Limes
Lara Turkish Restaurant
Macken Brothers Butcher
Makoto Sushi Bar
Mr Clean and Mrs Stitch
Philip Neal Chocolatier
Puff “N” Stuff
Ruby B Organic Vegan Hair Salon
Spa & Massage
Studio 17 Exercise and Natural Healthcare
Turnham Arts and Crafts
Wheelers Flower Stall
Wheelers Garden Centre
You Me Sushi
Cllr Joanna Biddolph