Friday, 31 December 2010

2010: A look back on a year in Shepherd's Bush

It's been a year that decided the next four here in Shepherd's Bush, with the early months dominated by what I christened the Battle of the Bush, as Andy Slaughter and Shaun Bailey, his Conservative challenger, fought out what was at times a tough campaign but one that did in the end give credit to both of them as they resisted the temptation to get into the nastiness that I thought was on the cards. The Council chamber stayed dominated by Tories in the local elections on the same day and we have already seen some of the sweeping changes to the face of the Bush that they intend to bring about - not all of them bad, but some of them certainly contentious.


However January started with the repercussions of battle of a different nature with a series of stabbings on Uxbridge Road, thought to have been a result of gangs in the Somali community, and made worse by the dire and sensationalist reporting of the local media that made the Bush seem more like a war zone than anything else.


And as a harbinger of the cuts to come this case of a pregnant woman who'd been beaten by her partner was forced to sleep on a park bench after officials at our Council told her to go away. The Council was found guilty of maladministration by the Local Government Ombudsman.


And the Pavilion on Shepherd's Bush Green was given planning permission to become a new hotel, thus promising to scrub up one of the most dilapidated corners of W12.


February started out badly for locals with Thames Water buggering up the seven stars junction at the bottom of Askew Road with waterworks prompting huge traffic jams


And on the theme of Thames Water, and our Council's expensive propaganda canmpaign against the Thames Tideway Tunnel, or "super sewer stink crater" as they used our money to call it in editions of "H&F News" the Council as forced to withdraw its bizarre claim that residents were going to be made homeless by the building of the new sewer.


Residents of Ashchurch Grove started a campaign against our Council's plan to hand over their area to developers to build what they called a "Mediterranean village" - or high density housing scheme as most of us would call it. Their campaign targeted the General Election and promised to make the Conservativezs pay for "not listening". Shaun Bailey, the Tory candidate, would pay the price in May. 


In March the Fulham Chronicle launched a high visibility campaign against "H&F News" as a propaganda paper that was undermining the local media. Despite much activity the campaign failed. But H&F News was consigned to the bin later in the year by the new Tory Government anyway. 


In April we were shocked by the murder of 15-year-old Sofyen Belamouadden from Shepherd's Bush who was stabbed to death in Victoria Tube station. 


Each of the candidates vying for our votes to be the Bushs' next MP held their final debate in Hammersmith which I filmed, you can watch it here.


And in May Andy Slaughter won our vote to be our Member of Parliament defeating Tory Shaun Bailey, who in large part paid the price for our Council having alienated much of their core vote on planning issues. The Conservatives were returned to power in Hammersmith Town Hall.


And developers launched plans to turn Shepherd's Bush into the "creative quarter of the UK" with exciting new plans for Wood Lane.


June saw yet another shooting on the Goldhawk Road following the murder of Jaabe Roberts on Askew Road. A horrid month for the area and one which sticks in the mind, for me at least. 


July saw more sad news with the death of local musician Chris Dagley who was killed on his scooter coming home from a gig on the Westway. 


The Hammersmith and Shitty line lived up to its local name by being shut for three weeks, much to the delight of local commuters. 


August saw a frankly embarrassing visit by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to Shepherd's Bush Village Hall to trumpet the new Government's plans. Nobody had told him our own Council had just announced they wanted to evict the local groups that are based there and sell it off. Mr Clegg, filmed by the BBC and pursued by one of their journalists, beat a rather undignified retreat. You can watch it here


The month also saw local Police crack down on bike thieves by planting some as bait and then snaring the would be thieves - bike crime plummeted as a result. 


September saw our Council desperately try to save "H&F News" with a cunning ruse but was then slapped down by the Government. The last edition will be sometime early in 2011. And then, no more. 


And it also saw your very own blogger being kettled by the Police when I went to see QPR play Millwall - while the thugs from Bermondsey were allowed free run of Uxbridge Road those of us who live here were kept in Police encircled makeshift prisons. 


October saw Shepherd's Bush's status as the area with the most dug up roads in London confirmed again by having Uxbridge Road assume the status of a building site while our own Council announced a merger with neighbouring Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster authorities. 


November saw the Bush plunged into the deep freeze with ice becoming a local hazard while the fight to save Shepherd's Bush Market and a historic row of Victorian shops heated up


And December saw this blog blow the lid of secrecy off the Council's plans to house the controversial West London Free School in Shepherd's Bush while the onset of ice turned into an outright blizzard. 


But the real highlight of that month of course was meeting some of you at the Tweet Up at the Goldhawk. Thanks to those who were able to come, and thanks to all of you for reading. 


They were just some highlights of what was quite a year in the Bush - 2011 shows every sign of being another up and down ride. 







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