Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Hospital Saved!

The Council backed campaign to save a local hospital was today victorious in the High Court. As local community campaigners joined with their local authority to toast having seen off the combined weight of faceless technocrats and Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt, local people who use the health services were breathing a sigh of relief.

Congratulations to the people of Lewisham. And what a contrast to the abyss faced by those living in Hammersmith & Fulham. Unlike Lewisham the Council first joined the local campaign, only to abandon it having secretly negotiated a closure programme with the technocrats. No A&E Department will be left in the borough and those needing emergency treatment will need to try to survive a longer journey to hospitals in other parts of the city. Our Council's response to that is to resort to political point scoring, with remarks like this:

The soon to be former hospital buildings, such as Charing Cross on the Fulham Palace Road, will be sold off to property developers in order for luxury flats to be constructed. Sound familiar? At all?

In the meantime, and despite the unholy alliance of H&F Council and the Department of Health, our own local community campaign is carrying on the fight, with a meeting set for tomorrow at 7pm at Rivercourt Methodist Church in Hammersmith. That will be an opportunity to tell the Independent Panel now investigating this closure deal why our own hospitals are a wee bit more important than our Council seem to think. I can't be there on account of being on me 'ols, but I urge those of you inspired by the victory in South London to try to achieve a similar outcome in the West. 

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Botterill accused of “Lies” over Market

H&F Council Leader Nick Botterill has been accused of telling porkies by the traders of the Goldhawk Road set to lose their properties and freeholds under the Council’s controversial scheme to redevelop the area with a property developer who plan to construct seven floors of luxury flats on top of the site.

In a letter to the Fulham Chronicle Mr Bottterill repeats a claim that the traders have been made formal offers, which the traders themselves dispute. No such offers have been made or received, they say. Given this Council’s record on the scheme, which has already fallen foul of the High Court, I’m inclined to believe the traders.

They say they plan to submit a letter pointing out Mr Botterill’s untruths. It will be interesting to see if the newspaper decides to publish it. It is one letter among many flying around at the moment with many objectors to the scheme also having received a letter from the Council recently suggesting that they have "misunderstood" the scheme and may wish to withdraw their objections following some "clarifications". The only way the objectors could have received such a letter is if the Council had used its database of objectors – a database they have denied those opposing the scheme on the grounds of it being prejudicial to the current legal inquiry. Given that this letter repeats claims of fact that the traders themselves dispute, it would seem that these letters themselves are prejudicial.

But that’s how they roll, folks. I understand that of the 225 people they wrote to, only 4 have withdrawn their objections. Which speaks volumes.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Blog Holiday Starts!

I shall be in France for most of the next month pop-pickers - have a great break yourselves and enjoy the heatwave! Back late August.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Ark School gets top marks

The Ark school on Hemlock Road has soared to the top of the tables recently, receiving an "outstanding" status as a result of a recent Ofsted inspection, reports the SW Londoner website.

The school, which forms a central plank of this Councils' Free Schools education policy is clearly doing very well indeed. I know a number of parents who send their kids there who uniformly sing its praises, both for educational standards but also the ethos and culture of the school. It seems like a fun place of learning.

So well done to all of them.

Friday, 19 July 2013

A night at the Empire

Last night I visited a venue I have always been curious about but like probably most Bushers have never actually ventured inside. The Shepherd's Bush Empire, like its' sister in Hackney, is a London institution. Built in 1903 it functioned as a BBC theatre for a lot of the 20th century until the 1990s. Since then it has played host to bands such as the one I saw last night, a New Zealand outfit called The Black Seeds.

The band themselves were excellent, they're a kind of experimental UB40, basing most of their songs on reggae but building a lot more layers on top. There are 6 or 7 on stage at any one time including saxophone and trumpet!

The bar queue
Anyway back to the venue. It reminded me a lot of the pictures we saw from the inside of the old pavilion in terms of design and decor with an ornate Victorian balcony for the stalls. If you are upstairs you get to see the crowd slowly build below ... at one point I thought it was going to be tiny but the drifters soon became a packed house. Which was also the case for the downstairs bar, which was under constant siege by a ten deep queue - don't bother unless you're really thirsty and don't mind spending nearly a fiver per pint.

The security guys on the door hand out wristbands to let people go out and come in, mainly for the purposes of smoking, but I saw a lot just nip over to the Green pub and enjoy a cheeky pint instead! Overall the venue seems to be well run and and I'd definitely go again; so if you haven't yet seen it for yourself check out their website and take your pick!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Bush woman missing: Police appeal

Local police are appealing for to find a vulnerable elderly missing woman from Shepherds Bush.

Mary Williams, 77, was last seen as she left her care home in Elgin Close, W12 at around 07:50hrs this morning, Saturday 13 July.

Mrs Williams is described as black with a slim build and uses a walking frame/stick. She was last seen wearing a beige coloured blouse, a purple/red coloured long skirt. Officers are concerned for her safety and welfare.

If you have seen Mrs Williams or know of her whereabouts please call police on 101.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Beckham in Bush Pie Shop Battle

The new David Beckham ad for Sky Sports which has started airing to preview the new football season features a traditional English Pie and Mash shop as part of the storytelling, requested by David himself.

Cookes Pie and Mash shop in Shepherds Bush has been in business since 1899 and pies and liquor for the Paris ad shoot were hand delivered by long term owner Audrey Boughton. But the business has been under pressure from property developers and a compliant Hammersmith Council looking to sweep away over a hundred years of retail tradition for a number of Goldhawk Road shops and replace them with a modern residential development.

Here's Audrey:

“We were proud and delighted to be asked to supply the pies for David’s Ad. We are a business founded in community, tradition and our local roots, and admire David for never losing his. Being near to QPRs ground we are very used to being part of both the football player and fan community”.

"But all our traditions are close to disappearing with the plans in place to compulsory purchase our shop and those of our neighbours. At a time when British retail is struggling it staggers is that shops trading well – and with an individual streak – can be sacrificed like this. It seems to go against all that the Government, Boris Johnson and the likes of Mary Portas are supposedly championing.

"What makes it worse is that rumours have been spread from somewhere that we have already shut down. That is not the case and we are fighting tooth and nail through the Courts to preserve our shop and what we believe in".

The next leg of the battle is set for this Monday and Tuesday in the High Court and all support that can be shown in evidence for their shops, retail heritage and the fairness of our Council's approach along with their colleagues Orion the property developers will help their case.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Bush Market: Court battle starts

Our Council finds itself landed back in the High Court on Monday and Tuesday as the shopkeepers of the Goldhawk Road, which were publicly promised they would be protected by the Leader of H&F only to be sold down the river, fight for their futures.

Supported by the majority of Market traders, the shopkeepers will have a sense of deja-vu having already defeated the Council in court over the way in which the whole process has been handled, with a Judge ruling it illegal. Despite talking tough on issues of law n ordah our Council has proceded ahead anyway, and issued the shopkeepers with compulsory purchase orders.

We have already established that the actual fate of the shopkeepers now hangs on the result of the 2014 local elections. If the current administration falls it will be the end of the current scheme. And Transport for London, who own the land, recently revealed that they oppose the scheme.

But this battle is important nonetheless and will be keenly watched by residents, councillors and their colleagues at Orion the property developers too. 

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Bush Green builder wins gong

The contractors who eventually got round to finishing the renovation of the Green has been awarded a prestigious industry gong as the " manufacturing, engineering and infrastructure company of the year" at the inaugural London Loves Excellence Awards 2013.

Bushers will remember that this project, which undoubtedly has brightened our neighbourhood from what it was, was possibly one of the longest running projects many of us have ever seen. First up was the need to force our Council to change their minds by way of a Planning Inspectorate review, which saw residents win significant concessions from the original plans in terms of saving trees and preventing a cafe being installed on the Green. Secondly it was the discovery of poisonous and dangerous materials left over from the second world war and thirdly, well, it was the wrong sort of rain which dogged the washout that was last summer.

Now, though, we are rewarded with what is demonstrably a highlight of W12 and for that few would begrudge this award to FM Conway, nor to the Council who have delivered a shiny new Green that is being enjoyed in the sun at the moment. We got there eventually. Well done all. 

Thursday, 4 July 2013

West Ken: Boris signs death warrant

As expected, and despite the loud voices of residents and politicians from across the political spectrum, Boris has backed his allies in Hammersmith Town Hall and approved the demolition of the West Ken and Gibbs Green Estates, in order that the redevelopment of Earl's Court into luxury flats can go ahead.

Reaction coming in, but to date Andy Slaughter has said:
"Earl’s Court/West Ken is the Tories’ biggest social engineering project, uprooting thousands of low income Londoners and replacing them with ten times the number of high –rise luxury flats for overseas and City investors. As planning authorities, the Tory Mayor and councils have torn up the rule book to help their developer friends, and as landowners they have sweetened the deal with hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ money. This is ideology and gerrymandering corrupting local government as never before.

Only a change of council in Hammersmith & Fulham or a change of Government will decisively tip the balance back in favour of residents. In the meantime we will be demanding the Secretary of State calls this application in for Public Inquiry in view of its size, controversy and the conflicts of interest of local politicians. Failing that residents will resort to judicial review of the flawed planning decisions".

The property developers, on the other hand, are delighted. Here's Gary Yardley, Investment Director at Capital & Counties Properties PLC, the parent company of EC Properties LP:
“We are delighted that the Mayor has approved the regeneration of the Earls Court Opportunity Area. This remarkable project will bring major investment, jobs and high-quality homes to West London. With Hammersmith and Fulham Council we have agreed a generous package of community benefits that will support a vibrant, thriving, strong community creating a great place to live, work and visit. We are very pleased that the Mayor has put his seal of approval on this.”
While his colleague Nick Botterill, leader of Hammersmith & Fulham council says:
"We have said all along that we will only agree to the estates being included in the redevelopment of Earls Court if it benefitted people living on the estates. Estate residents are being offered some of the best terms ever negotiated in any regeneration scheme in the country. There can be no doubt that this scheme will have enormous benefits for both estate residents and London as a whole.”

Panorama: Tories spend £10,000 on PR

Local councillors have splashed 10k of your cash on adverts and leaflets to respond to the Panorama programme which exposed them as one of the worst authorities in the UK for trapping motorists in order to generate income.

The eyebrow raising figure has been disclosed as a result of a Freedom of Information request submitted by Andy Slaughter MP which you can read, together with the response, in full above. The cost of designing and publishing a response in the pages of the declining Fulham Chronicle was £275 but because of that paper's dying circulation (more than half of households in H&F no longer receive the paper) they thought they needed to print and distribute a leaflet seperately which put the bill up to £8,000. Add that to the weekly cost of their £70k pullout contract with the paper and you're just shy of ten thousand pounds.

That of course doesn't include the cost of these adverts which have now amazingly appeared at local bus stops.

I guess when you are raking it in at junctions like this a cool £10k is small fry to splash on PR.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Furniture ̶̶ The New Currency?

This Thursday Petit Miracle Interiors, a unique retail and workshop space, will be giving Bushers a chance to take part in workshops on upcycling, as opposed to recycling, and their curated and upcycled furniture in the former McDonalds in the West12 Shopping Centre.

Petit Miracle Interiors, a registered charity ( provides accredited design training, DIY & upcycling workshops to vulnerable adults in local community. They divert items from landfill, occupy vacant property all whilst creating social value. A tall order.

The Petit Miracles approach is unique and simple, they use the principles of regular banking, but with a twist: up-cycled items of furniture and the time people put into the project are the currency. So when people sign up for workshops they learn the art of up-cycling and also build credits towards their time-bank account. Time credits or cash can then be used to offset the price of items from the project.

They highlight the use of empty shops, bringing a project, like Petit Miracles, that engages with local community, offering unique collaborative workshops helps rejuvenate our high streets where so many empty shops blight the area. In partnership with Healthy Planet and the West12 Shopping Centre, they occupy a former McDonalds Restaurant bringing vibrancy to an unused shop. You can follow them on twitter #petitmiracles for news and updates. For workshop information and venue details check out:

Here's their CEO Elisicia Moore:
“Homelessness is an endlessly complex problem. Some might assume that when a homeless person receives housing, the problem is fixed, but for many, new problems arise; isolation and depression are common.We need more than just bricks and mortar to combat the symptoms and causes of homelessness. For many of the people we support creating a little bit of beauty is a rare opportunity.”
In the first quarter of 2011, 60,000 British households were living in temporary accommodation. 75% of these precarious lives are being lived in London.

"This collaboration means we can provide our services to those who need it most and offer a great space to create something beautiful. We have a workshop or class to suit most; furniture restoration, basic DIY, arts and crafts, interior design taster sessions and much more".

The launch party on 4th July is an opportunity for those people who have been learning the craft of restoration to showcase their work and to celebrate the opening of the store. The project relies on the sale of furniture to keep the project going, and they gratefully accept financial donations as well as tools and materials for training. Visit their website for more information.

Parties unite against West Ken demolition

Bozza legs it
Following Boris Johnson's cornering by a gaggle of angry residents last week, he has now been urged to delay the demolition of the West Ken and Gibbs Green Estate by leaders of the London Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat parties.

They have submitted an open letter ahead of the Mayor's decision today, which reads as follows:

Dear Mr Johnson

Re: Earls Court Exhibition Centres redevelopment plans (which include Lillie Bridge Rail Depot and West Kensington and Gibbs Green Housing Estate). Ref: PP/11/01937 & 2011/02001/OUT

We are writing to strongly urge you to defer your decision on the Earls Court redevelopment until you have carried out a full independent economic impact assessment on what the loss of the Centres will mean to the local and national economy. The decision should also be deferred until Transport for London (TfL) has finished its assessment of the demolition and relocation of the Lille Bridge Depot, which is due in December 2013.

We believe that the economic case for retaining the Earls Court Exhibition Centres has not been properly considered and in fact understated. This is particularly concerning as these successful and established international Exhibition Centres attracts 1.5 million visitors, 15,000 exhibitors and 300 events each year, are estimated to be worth £1.25 billion to London’s economy and supports around 12,500 London jobs. According to the Association of Event Organisers the Exhibition Centres play a key role in delivering the events economy and their loss would relegate the UK’s position as a world leader in the exhibition and events industry at the very time competitor nations are subsidising and expanding theirs.

There is a very strong case for retaining the Lillie Bridge Depot which employs up to 550 people manufacturing bespoke track components essential to London Underground’s unique requirements. It is imprudent to forge ahead without a proper assessment of what the loss of Lille Bridge would mean to London transport, and before a suitable location has been identified. Until TfL’s feasibility study looking at alternative locations and general impacts has been completed and considered, making a decision could compromise passenger safety and lead to delays to essential London Underground repairs, additional costs and job losses.

For the reasons set out above, it is imperative that you defer your decision.

Yours sincerely

Darren Johnson AM, London Assembly Green Party Group
Nicky Gavron AM, London Assembly Labour Party Group
Stephen Knight AM, London Assembly Liberal Democrat Group

Boris Johnson will, of course, ignore this letter as he has the residents themselves. So we're set for yet another costly showdown in the High Court. 

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Wee man of the Bush Mark II

Here we go again... two scummy Bushers have been caught using lifts as their own personal pissoirs and, in keeping with their tough approach to crims, our Council have dutifully made them famous by, er, exposing them. Last time this led to blogreaders identifying the wee man of the bush, who was threatened with eviction.

Lucky readers can even watch these scumbags at it or just gaze at their mugs - but whatever they do people are urged to identify these culprits by calling the Estate Support and Security Manager on 07747 008 744 or email

The first incident took place at Shepherds Court on the Charecroft Estate on Thursday, May 23.

The time is 3.40pm, when children are returning home from school, and this yob can clearly be seen emptying the contents of his bladder onto the floor of the lift.

Aged in his early 20’s the lout is wearing grey tracksuit bottoms, a grey hooded-top and a black ‘North Face’ Jacket.

The second incident takes place at Roseford Court, also on the Charecroft Estate at 5.30pm on Friday, June 14.

A youth is seen entering the lift on the 17th floor. He glances towards the CCTV camera before urinating in the corner of the lift. The second culprit in in his late teens or early twenties and has short black hair. He is wearing grey trainers, jeans and a grey top.

Both of these appalling acts were captured by Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council’s state-of-the-art CCTV surveillance system which is linked in to numerous estates across the borough. The council also has a dedicated estate support and security service that works tirelessly to clamp down and identify antisocial behaviour on estates using the CCTV.

All images are relayed back to the council's main CCTV control room at Hammersmith Town Hall where trained operatives scour the footage looking for incidents of crime and antisocial behaviour.

Councillor Andrew Johnson, cabinet member for housing said:
“These are truly disgraceful acts committed by mindless morons who simply refuse to live by the rules of a civilised society. These two people must be known on the Charecroft Estate and I hope that law-abiding residents will come forward and tell us who they are so we can name, shame and punish them.

“The message to hooligans like this is even when you think that there is no-one around, we are watching you.”