Thursday, 30 April 2009

H&F Council breed rats on Shepherd's Bush Green

H&F ResidentAs the mornings are now bright you get to see some beautiful sights on the walk across the Green and down Uxbridge Road as well for that matter as the Bush starts a new day.

But following the Council's favourite fair being here just months after it last churned up the Green I an other readers warned of the impact it would have on the local rat population. The Council is apparently very happy to take the money it makes from having the fair there but is not so happy to clean up afterwards.

And lo, it came to pass. Here are just a few snapshots of the booming rodent population you can now see every single day scurrying happily across the Green. You will notice that following their limitless supply of half eaten chicken chips and other litter which was left strewn across the Green in vast quantities these rats are quite fat. And presumably very randily making a whole new generation.

How many houses do these offspring of the council infest, or fast food restaurants along the Green? And why does *nothing* ever get done about it? Or is that all part of the glorious new low council tax utopia the signs proclaim that we live in?


Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Tube stone throwers arrested

east-acton1Two youths alleged to be those that hurled stones at central line trains last week have been arrested and bailed to return to Court in June.

Full story here.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Another child stabbed to death

knives_2307_narrowweb__300x4060I write this from my office in south London where last night another teenager lost his life in what was reportedly a revenge fight in a park. Its a park in a deprived part of south London that has received a lot of money recently, the park itself is well kept and I go there quite regularly.

I just wonder if instead of ploughing the million pounds plus, that the signs at Larkhall Park proudly proclaim came from the European Union to do it up (in other words from our own taxes sent to Brussels and then back again) whether some kind of youth services might have been more effective for the area.

For our own area of course, our local friends Murder Dem Pussies were recently sentenced to pitiful times in prison of 14 or 15 years, for the killing in Southall of Yasin Abdirahman. They thought it would be a good idea to go up the road from W12 into another "territory" to carry out a murder.

I came out of East Acton tube at about 9pm last night to see a gang of some kind rocking a car to set off the burglar alarm for a laugh. Maybe they were carrying knives as well, probably not - but what else are we supposed to suspect nowadays?

Monday, 27 April 2009

Shepherd's Bush Fair: where is the clear up?

Fat Profits, dirty pathsShepherd's Bush Fair, which has just earned H&F Council a great deal of money, is packing up and leaving. I and other readers commenting predicted what the state of the Green would look like and below you can see for yourself.

After the last Fair H&F Council did absolutely nothing to clear up either the state of the litter or the state of the Green which was left churned up and resembling a battleground for months. I noticed an immediate and prolonged increase in the number of rats I saw and I have already seen more than I usually do every morning, its not difficult to see why from these images.

So H&F Council, a large number of whose employees read this blog, what are the plans to clean it up? You could buy a lot of propaganda signs for the cost of a clean Green...[gallery]

Saturday, 25 April 2009

West London thugs hurl bricks at tube trains

east-acton1Some of our finest local morons decided to throw bricks at the central line on wednesday this week. We can possibly excuse the sort of thicko that does this on the grounds of having a very small brain but why did it take the local police over 2 hours to turn up?

The local thickos were from neighbouring Acton from where the bricks were thrown apparently. Windows were smashed and trains were taken out of service but thankfully nobody was hurt.

Tube Union boss Steve Grant, London district secretary of ASLEF, said: "This was a very serious attack. We could easily have had passengers or staff seriously injured or even killed.."

"Security must be stepped up. If not I will order our members to withdraw their services on safety grounds for passengers and their own sakes

I would have no hesitation in supporting action like that. Unlike Communist Bob's actions ASLEF's seem to genuinely be about safety of poeple and not hard left politics.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Furnivall Gardens: Have your say

The view from Furnival GardensWe have been in touch with the councillor responsible for leading Hammermsith & Fulham's fight against the super sewer plan, which as previously reported, threatens one of our favourite parks.

Councillor Paul Bristow's update is that Thames Water have now retracted their letter where they made a direct references to Furnivall Gardens as a site for a very large access shaft (2/3 football pitches) - they were not expected the opposition they encountered!  However, Furnivall Gardens will be the site for a more modest shaft (half a football pitch) if the Thames Tunnel is built, as one of the sewage overflows is directly below the park.
They will also need an access tunnel close to Frank Banfield Park.
Thames Water will also need a very large (2/3 football pitches) access shaft elsewhere locally but no site has been identified.  H&F Council have put down a marker to Thames Water by refusing permission to drill bore holes in both parks and made clear their opposition to the whole scheme.  A public meeting was held on this at the end of last year.
H&F are now working with the GLA and other councils to step up opposition and will let people know how they can support the campaign here and through other local media.
In the meantime, residents can contact Thames Water letting with their comments - or
London Tideway Tunnels
Thames Water
PO BOX 286
SN38 2RA

Updates as they ome in - but in the meantime do get on to Thames Water and let me know their response so we can share that too!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

H&F Adult Education

tricolourRegular readers will be aware that my job takes me to war zones in various parts of Africa, many of which are french speaking. Although I can speak French to the extent that I need to its far from perfect. In fact I am almost fluent in issues like child soldiers and sexual violence against women, but put me in a  supermarket in a non war zone and get me to ask for a series of vegetables and I'm lost.  Weird eh?

So this evening I started a new course in frrench courtesy of H&F's adult educations service in the Macbeth Centre Hammersmith. Highly recommended. The teacher was really good and the course is easy to follow. £96 for ten 2.5 hour lessons. There are a whole range of courses available, more info here.

Victoria Line suspension: RMT 1 Londoners 1

victoria-lineVictoria Line is now completely suspended and will almost certainly remain so until tomorrow. So Communist Bob has scored one back against Londoners after the abject failure of his first attempt this year. Expect him to be emboldened by this one and for the next attempt to mysteriously coincide with a public holiday or major sporting event, as is his usual tactic.

Bush residents or those who travel through W12 should think about making use of the Overground or the central line, although the latter is bound to be packed out.

Good luck getting home tonight!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Victoria Line Strike on Wednesday

bob-crowCommunist Bob has just sprung this announcement on Transport for London, I am posting this up straight away with little other detail in the hope that it gets the message out as far as possible to those affected.

Bush dwellers should remember that they can use the Overground between Clapham Junction and Stratford with many tube connections along the way. No problems are forecast on that route. I usually go to South London to work on the Victoria but the Overground gets me to Clapham Junction from Shepherds Bush in just over 10 minutes. There are lots of buses from there to all over the place.

More when I get it but in the meantime good luck on the journey tomorrow. And commiserations to those of you caught up in this morning's disastrous journey on the Central Line.

UPDATE 1215: The strike is apparently about bullying and doors! The world according to the RMT here

UPDATE 1500: The strike will apparently start tonight at about 2100 - so get home before then!

UPDATE 0520 WEDS: Transport for London are reporting that the strike is affecting services, so it looks like they have walked out. The tube has only just started running at this time in the morning so its likely to get a lot worse as the day goes on. Avoid the Victoria Line at all costs!

UPDATE 0830 WEDS: The line is totally suspended in both directions

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Save Furnival gardens!

The view from Furnival GardensYou may be aware that Thames Water want to site a "super sewer" in Furnival Gardens, and appear intent on overriding the Council's wishes to stop them. I have just been down to Furnival Gardens, having never been there before, and was absolutely amazed by the place. See pics below. It is quite simply fantastic. And I'm calling on you to support the Council in their fight to save it.

There can be few places in London, least of all zone 2, with views like these on the Thames with the exception of the SouthBank in central London. And thats the point - with Furnival Gardens we don't need to go into the centre. It's quiet, clean and has stunning views. It even has nice pubs and rowing clubs next to it!

If Thames Water need to build new sewage pipes let them build them on brown field sites with derelict properties or further into central London that does not have a park like Furnival Gardens to ruin. They could of course have built it on a pumping station that they owned, 5 minutes walk from the Gardens. But they sold it to developers to be turned into penthouse flats instead, and think that we should now give up our park.  

I ask you to do two things reader -

1 - visit Furnival Gardens if you never have before, I suspect there are many H&F residents who, like me, simply dont know that we have this on our doorstep

2 - sign this petition against Thames Water's plans and support the Council's fight to save the park.


Shepherd's Bush Green Fair returns

fair2Walking across the Green this morning I was stunned to see the return of the fair ground that we last saw churning up the grass and feeding the local rats with boxes of half eaten fried chicken and chips. I assume they arrived overnight or late yesterday, they are setting up as I write.

As I said last time I have nothing against the use of the Green for things like this but those of us who walk across that space every day noticed an explosion in the number of rats we see, and of course the litter they feed on. That's quite apart from the state of the grass afterwards, about which the Council did precisely nothing.

Have they learned their lesson and will they be spending what I assume are the handsome profits they'll be making from this fair on cleaning up afterwards?

Friday, 17 April 2009

Hammersmith & Fulham council spies on staff

surveillanceAs this blog has grown in readership I have started to get a reasonably steady stream of ideas for stories from people. Everyone has their own agenda of course and I generally don't run things that are obviously partisan or pro/anti a particular group. And this extends to the Council with whom I have some disagreements.

However it is very obvious to me both from the number of council employees who contact me and other websites around that our Council seems to have appalling industrial relations with its staff at the moment. One or two people with axes to grind could be expected of any organisation of any size but the almost constant stream of stories we get about upset staff at H&F never seems to end.

Now we have news that the Council is in fact using measures that were brought in to combat terrorism as a means of spying on its own employees, who in some cases are suspected of fraud. Quite apart from whether it is right to use legislation which was never intended to be used in this way, what does this say about the efectiveness or efficiency of our local authority if relations between those in charge and those who actually do the work are so bad that they resort to this?

Hammersmith & City Line part suspended this week-end

Only between Plaistow and Barking in east London but it will have knock on effects for those of us in West London too. Best avoided. No works planned on the Central.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

RMT strike ballot re run

bob-crowNews just in that Bob Crow's RMT will need to re-run a ballot for strike action after it fell foul of the law with the last one. Never a stranger to bending the rules the RMT have lost a legal challenge from TfL.

Needless to say Communist Bob has vowed to re-run the ballot and no doubt is even more determined to pull another strike. I assume he will do his usual trick and try to coincide it with a bank holiday weekend or a major sporting event, as usual.

The world according to the RMT here

More to follow.

Fitness First: Service last

service-lastFF Shepherds Bush this morning: the usual mess with the weights all over the place so the daily hunt to find them was then compounded by a cold shower with no soap in the soap thing in the shower.

Other service industries appear to be bending over backwards to keep their customers. Not so here. And not for the first time.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

HMP Wormwood Scrubs - our hidden neighbours

wormwoodscrubsSome of you will have seen this story recently reported of a prison officer who herself is now a prisoner, having a received a seven year sentence for smuggling class A drugs into Wormwood Scrubs. As a former 'screw' her life will now be one long hell.

Inside that intimidating victorian building there are several thousand men, some of whom have been and will be there for a very long time. In fact without having entered the grounds I got a priviledged view of what life is like inside on both occasions when my partner was in labour in the next door Queen Charlotte's Hospital - the delivery wards are high up so you can see over the wall!

But how much do we know about them or what their lives are like? I know for example that the local newsagent on Ducane Road supplies their newspapers and there are a surprisingly high number of broadsheet readers.  He proudly displays a sign at his door telling the world he supplies the prison with their daily intake!

At the excellent Braybrook Street Festival last week the prison dominated the procedings simply by being that huge building that blocked out the sun and yet noone takes any notice of it. They must have been looking out at us in the park and being reminded of what they had lost.

I'm not saying we as a community should have personal links with prisoners but should we interact a bit more with the institution? It must be a major local employer. And of course it is the same prison which was recently condemned for having abused the human rights of many prisoners.  Could or would that have happenned with greater community involvement? Yes, probably. But maybe not as much.

I'm not even sure what I'm arguing here to be honest, I know that all prisons need more community visitors and if you're interested find out more here. My own travel committments would rule me out but if they didnt I'd probably be interested.

I guess I'm just observing that there is a hidden community among us, and there's just something that makes me feel we should be doing more!

Friday, 10 April 2009

Fire in Hammersmith

A fire broke out yesterday on the top of the Coca Cola building in Hammersmith closing both the tube and bus stations in and out of Hammersmith. This affected the Picadilly and District Lines, not the Hammersmith and City. Buses entering or leaving Hammersmith were re-routed.

Nobody is reported as injured and initial rumours in the area was that it was an electrical fire which the London Fire Brigade has contained. The LFB appear to support this view.

From a personal perspective we heard sirens from police and fire vehicles from here in the Bush, presumably as they travelled to Hammersmith, for at least a couple of hours from around 5pm!

Although it looked really bad its nowhere near on a par with this little episode which really shut the whole place down, so we can all relax!

Shepherd's Bush Green plans delayed until 2010

the-new-greenLocal residents may have noticed that not a lot has been going on with the Green in recent months, apart from Thames Water fixing a leaky pipe next to the tennis court. Which may have seemed odd since not long ago the Council was showering itself in praise with an announcement that work to regenerate the Green would begin around, er, now.

The Council have just announced that this work will in fact be delayed, and not be completed until 2010 at the earliest.  One of the reasons given is the need to include the area currently occupied by Ginglik the comedy club, which for the time being appears to have won its fight against the Council for survival.

Its tempting to focus on the delays but I have to say the plans themselves do look quite good, as well they should for the £3 million Westfield money that is funding them. But the real question for me, now that I see at least 2 rats every time I cross that Green at about 6.30 every morning, is what will we do about them?!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

6 Months Old Today

happy-birthday-cake16 months ago I started this site just to see where it would go and to test an idea that there was an appetite for really local news that wasnt available anywhere else. I've hopefully done that but I know I've also strayed into other areas too which is a mark of me! Anyway its now got a steady readership of about 100 a day but at some points has been deluged whilst at other times been like a ghost town!

So far we've had 2,523 hits and lots of feedback, most of it positive. I hope you carry on reading.

Tube Strike on Jubilee Line

bob-crowThanks to the fantastic Underground blog we have a heads up for you on this unofficial walk out at several Jubilee line stations starting this evening and lasting throughout thursday.

This summer's inevitable wave of strikes courtesy of the RMT would, it appear, be starting this evening for those unfortunate enough to have to use the Jubilee.

For those of you who need to either get to or from Shepherd's Bush don't forget you can now use the Overground station at Shepherd's Bush which connects with Clapham junction in the south and Willesden Junction in the North, then on to Stratford via north London.

I hope this helps, if only to give you warning. Good luck people!

Further information here and if you want to read the RMT's side of things go here

2230 Weds UPDATE: This strike seems to be having zero effect, at least this evening. A friend of mine just passed through Willesden Green on the jubilee line, all running well. Looks like the RMT brigade have failed to ruin everyone's Easter weekend. Yes, the timing was no accident. Look out for another one next time there is a big event or a bank holiday. Good luck on thursday!

1032 Thurs UPDATE: I didn't see any problems rported this morning and the Tube website is reporting no problems. Londoners 1 RMT 0. Have a good week-end!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Trees in peril?

choptreeA reader writes:

"Are you happy that many mature trees on the Green will be literally axed in the so called refeneration of the green? Paid for by Westfield money!

They have already taken down at least three mature plane trees on Wood Lane and three nest to the central line station that they deemed temporary!. How can you term a tree temporary?"

A very good question - surely what makes the Green so great are the trees. I usually see the Green on weekdays just as the sun is coming up and it just wouldnt be  the same without them, its not as if its a crowded forest for goodness sake. If the Westfield money was used for clearing the rat population which is in evidence every time I walk across it instead of chopping down perfectly healthy trees surely this would be a better use of resources.

Would the Council care to respond?

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Wormwood Scrubs Fair

Horse rideWormwood Scrubs hosted an annual community fair today, just off Braybrook Street and in the shadow of the prison. Well attended, well organised and bathed in fantastic sun. The first of what I hope of many fairs throughout W12 this year. Congrats to the organisers, particularly for the horse rides and superb steel drum band!


Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Hammersmith & Fulham Gazette cuts W12 news

local-news1The only local newspaper reporting on Shepherds Bush has announced large scale cuts as they cope with declining income and circulation. While expected the departure of journalists like Rebecca Kent, who previously covered issues in W12, and other departures from the news team will inevitably raise questions about the continuing viability of the paper. They are even having to close their offices on April 24th, presumably because they can't afford the rent.


As it is the coverage of the W12 area is only ever one or two pages at the front, followed by loads of stuff about far flung areas of Ealing which is of little or no interest to us, so you may feel this is no big deal. In fact the last online article recorded on this paper about W12 is from February 23rd - that tells you all you need to know.


But I think it is a big deal. At the moment, assuming the H&F Gazette eventually has to close or at least stop its coverage of W12, this will leave the Council’s propaganda magazine H&F News as the only means of accessing local information in print. This is of course only information that the council want you to see, and not what they don’t want you to see. So there is a problem of local democracy.


The only independent online community that reports on W12 issues is a sad joke, as is evidenced by the very lacklustre and hardly used ‘community forum’.


So what do we do? This blog is only ever going to be my personal musings so this isn’t a bid to make this place an alternative source of news although I do my best. When I posted the recent accident involving a cyclist and a lorry it received a huge number of hits, many of whom coming from local people who had simply googled words like ‘accident on Uxbridge Road’ – they had nowhere else to look.


So there is a gap – who can fill it?