Thursday, 10 August 2017

White City Ziggurat Towers 34 Stories Over Wood Lane

34 storey tower on Wood Lane
The new 34-storey tower rising at the top of Wood Lane is politely described by the Hammersmith Society as "controversial".

"Very ugly" might be a better word for this weirdly asymmetrical ziggurat which now dominates views north from Shepherd's Bush and White City.

It's yet another example in our neighbourhood of a missed opportunity to build something genuinely attractive. After all, Imperial College had a blank canvas when they started planning their new £200m White City Campus north of the Westway.

Instead of creating something beautiful, their architects have put up - for the most part - bland and characterless high rise buildings. The site is brand new and shiny but it already manages to look dated.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

BT's Phone Booth Scam

Another pointless phone booth in Shepherd's Bush
What's The Point of Phone Booths? We asked this question back in January, noting that they seem to be springing up everywhere, despite everyone nowadays having a mobile phone.

Thanks to the Hammersmith Society and the Ladbroke Association, we now have the answer.

It's not about telephones, it's about advertising. According to the Summer 2017 Ladbroke Association newsletter, phone companies like BT "can make a lot of money selling advertising space". Today, a phone booth is "no more than a hooded upright stand with an advertisement on one side and a telephone on the other".

But if this is - as it seems - just an advertising scam, without fulfilling any public need - why does our Council allow this to take place?

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Lidl Coming to Shepherd's Bush

Two weeks ago I was having my hair cut by the excellent Polish stylists in the West 12 Centre (£5! How can you go wrong?) and I asked what was happening to the old Morrisons space that has been empty since November 2016. "Lidl is coming", they said. "Really? Is that true?" I asked. "50% true", they said.

Anyway it turns out that the rumour is true, and it just goes to show that barbers and hair stylists always get the news first.  Lidl is coming, hopefully in place by Christmas, so budget supermarket shopping will return to Shepherd's Bush. You can read the full story here.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

King Street Development Dead - Cineworld Demolished

Cineworld in Hammersmith - demolished for nothing
The Hammersmith Society, guardians of good architecture in our neighbourhood, have reported that the redevelopment of King St in Hammersmith is dead, apparently because of "differences between the Council and the developer". 

What is most disappointing about this is that the Cineworld, the lovely old art deco cinema on King St, has already been demolished, leaving a giant hole in the ground next to the Town Hall, and no prospect of anything good coming of it. 

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Music For Grenfell at St Stephen's Church 27 July at 7pm

Music For Grenfell is a concert to raise money for the victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster, and will take place at St Stephen's Church on the Uxbridge Road  Thursday 27th July, from 7pm.

Tickets are £10 on the door, or available online through this link.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

New Post Office - Not The Worst Place on Earth

Many Shepherd's Bush residents were very upset when our local Post Office on Shepherd's Bush Green closed. Local MP Andy Slaughter even got involved, chiding the Post Office for abandoning the area.

The new Post Office is in Westfield, at the back of WH Smith. I went there this morning and found myself in a shiny new space with short queues and mailing machines that actually work.

Notable by their absence were the crazy people who used to mumble menacingly in the (reliably long) queue in the old Post Office on Shepherd's Bush Green.

To remember just what you are missing, read Richard Herring's memorable piece on the "worst place on earth" that was the old Shepherd's Bush Post Office.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Why Does LBHF Take So Long To Repair Our Parks?

Hammersmith Park climbing mound in April 2016
Early in 2016 some long-overdue repairs were begun by our local Council, The London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, to the children's playground in Hammersmith Park. A company called Valley Landscape Management put up fences around the damaged climbing mound (see above) and began repairs. But, more than a year later, the job still isn't done. Why does it take our Council so long to complete basic repairs to our parks?

Sunday, 16 July 2017

The Funfair is Back - But Must It Be For a Full Month?

The funfair is back. Good news for some, but for many local residents, who hate the noise and disturbance, it's a betrayal of promises by our Council to reduce the impact of these events.

George Irvin's Funfair is here for a full month this time, from 21 July until 20 August. That is much longer than usual (in the past it's been around 2 weeks tops), and now it is open until 10pm, surely well past most childrens' bed-times.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Princess Victoria Closes

Princess Victoria
Shepherd’s Bush's venerable pub, The Princess Victoria, which was awarded the London County Dining Pub of the Year in last year's edition of the Good Pub Guide, has closed.

The Princess Victoria, or "The PV", as everyone called it, was an excellent pub.  Located on an otherwise unremarkable section of the Uxbridge road, this former Victorian gin palace was transformed into a stunning gastropub which somehow managed to achieve excellent food without the pretension of many pubs-turned-restaurants.

Monday, 26 June 2017

ITV To Move to White City in 2018

Jonathan Ross is coming to Wood Lane
ITV Studios is to relocate from the South Bank to White City Place and Television Centre.

ITV Studios is moving its Daytime production business from their present location south of the river Thames to White City, described as a "growing hub for the creative industries in west London".

ITV Studios Daytime will be based in White City during the redevelopment of their South Bank site.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Hammersmith Society Awards

Last night the Hammersmith Society announced this year’s winners of its annual awards, presented by Cllr Michael Cartwright, Mayor of Hammersmith and Fulham. The ceremony was held at the Hammersmith Society AGM on Wednesday 21 June.

Every year the Hammersmith Society hands out awards for good architecture in our neighbourhood - and wooden spoons for bad projects which make our urban environment worse.

So, who were the winners (and losers) this year?

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Grenfell Tower - How Can Our Community Help?

Rev Anne Cowley
The one redeeming feature of the appalling Grenfell Tower fire yesterday has been the way our community has spontaneously come together, with remarkable displays of generosity from local people, offering money, food, blankets and comfort to those displaced and injured by the disaster.

In this guest post Anne Cowley, Associate Vicar of St Stephen's Church on the Uxbridge Road, writes about her experience of yesterday's fire. She also writes about what local people can do to get involved and help out.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Massive Blaze Destroys Grenfell Tower in North Kensington

Grenfell Tower ablaze
Anyone in our neighbourhood kept awake last night by the sound of helicopters will have sensed that something bad was going on. 

A huge fire ripped through Grenfell Tower, one of the big tower blocks next to the Kensington Leisure Centre. 

The blaze was immense and will doubtless have claimed many lives.

To see the full story, see the BBC's report here, and the report from Shepherd's Bush W12 here

Friday, 9 June 2017

Andy Slaughter MP Re-Elected With Huge Majority

Andy Slaughter
Labour's Andy Slaughter has won a thumping victory in Hammersmith, thrashing his Conservative opponent and, once again, more than doubling his majority.

The final figures are as follows:
Andy Slaughter: Labour 33,475 votes, or 63.9% of the total. that's a swing of 13.9% to Labour.

Charlie Dewhirst: Conservative 14,724 votes, or 28.1% of the total. That's a swing away from the Tories of 8.3%.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Is Charing Cross Hospital Really Under Threat?

Charing Cross - in need of saving?
Parliamentary candidate Andy Slaughter has put saving Charing Cross hospital at the heart of his campaign to be re-elected.  All over our Borough there are signs saying "Save Charing Cross - Vote Labour".

Trouble is, does Charing Cross need saving? Earlier this year our local NHS Trust sent LBHF leader Stephen Cowan a letter saying that it doesn't. They reprimanded the Council for their misleading claims about Charing Cross, pointing out that it is not in fact under threat of closure. To see the letter yourself, follow this link.

Monday, 5 June 2017

The Candidates - Joyce Onstad

Joyce Onstad
Joyce Onstad is the LibDem candidate for Hammersmith in the General Election on Thursday. In recent weeks we have seen the Conservative Party's polling numbers decline, but the chief beneficiary of this has been Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party, with the Lib Dems generally less successful in benefitting from the Conservatives' troubles.

However, all politics is local, and the Lib Dems will be looking to improve their position in our Constituency on the result in 2015. Could an outsider take the seat? It seems unlikely, but Joyce Onstad insists it is possible. We put the same questions to her that we did to the other candidates last week.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

The Candidates - Charlie Dewhirst

Charlie Dewhirst
Charlie Dewhirst is the Conservative candidate for Hammersmith, hoping to unseat sitting Labour MP Andy Slaughter. 

With the polls narrowing, and Slaughter having increased his majority at the last election, Charlie Dewhirst's task seems like a tough one. Still, Hammersmith will be on the wish-list for Conservative Party strategists hoping to win this seat in a gentrifying area of West London. 

We asked Charlie Dewhirst the same questions we put to Andy Slaughter last week. 

Friday, 26 May 2017

The Candidates - Andy Slaughter

Andy Slaughter
Andy Slaughter has represented the London Borough of Hammersmith for Labour since 2010.  Prior to that he was MP for Ealing, Acton and Shepherd's Bush from 2005 to 2010 and - before that - Leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham Council.

He is now fighting for re-election again, facing off against his Conservative rival, Charlie Dewhirst, who also ran against him in the 2015 election. We asked Andy a few questions about the major issues on which voters will cast their ballots.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Election Debate at St Stephen's Church on 24 May

St Stephens Church on the Uxbridge Road is hosting a political hustings next week on Wednesday 24 May, inviting all the political parties running for office in Hammersmith to speak.

The Panel will be chaired by independent journalist Rita Payne, and the subject of the debate will be "Church and State: Friends or Foes".

Come along on wednesday and put your questions (on any subject) to the candidates who are running for office in the General Election on June 8th.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Hammersmith - The Candidates

Hammersmith
Six candidates are to contest the Hammersmith constituency in the 8 June General Election.

The principal candidates are local councillor Charlie Dewhirst for the Conservatives and Andy Slaughter for Labour, making this contest something of a re-match of 2015, as these are the same two candidates that faced one another in the last General Election. They are also the only two with a serious chance of winning the seat.

The other candidates are Jack Bovill for UKIP, Jagdeosingh Hauzaree, an Independent,  Alex Horn for the Greens, and Joyce Onstad for the Liberal Democrats.