Hammersmith United Charities to take part in Open Garden Squares weekend – June 18th-19th

hucflowerAs part of Open Garden Squares Weekend, the residents of John Betts House and Sycamore House invite you to enjoy their special gardens.

logokeyThere are over 200 gardens to explore across 25 London boroughs ranging from the historic and traditional to the new and experimental.

Tickets for the whole weekend cost just £12 and children under 12 go free, from Open Squares.

Tickets on the door for John Betts House and Sycamore Gardens are £4 for each garden. Proceeds go to London parks and open spaces.


Rylett Road W12 9NJ

The gardens are a platform for workshops and social events enabling people to work in their own part of the garden, or to simply relax and enjoy.

Last year, they were placed third with a Silver Gilt in the Small Community Garden category of the London Garden Society’s 2015 competition.

• Open 2pm – 5pm

• Homemade cakes and plant sale

• Disabled lavatories on site

Sycamore Gardens W6 0AS

The sheltered housing gardens continues to win awards. Sycamore House won the Large Community Garden category of the London Garden Society 2015 annual competition.

• Open 2pm – 5pm

• Tea, coffee, homemade cakes, plant and craft stall.

• Disabled lavatories on site

About Hammersmith United Charities

Helping local people in Hammersmith

They support local people to build their confidence and resourcefulness, develop their own talents and skills, connect people together and strengthen relationships and neighbourliness within and across diverse communities.

They do this by managing vibrant sheltered housing communities for older people, funding a community based grants programme, including the Wormholt & White City Big Local, and by working with local people, organisations and businesses.

A great way to show your support for their work for the next 400 years is to leave a legacy.

Contact HUC at : Sycamore House, Sycamore Gardens, London W6 0AS Tel: 020 8741 4326

Info@hamunitedcharities.com Charity number: 205856

Also taking part in the Open Garden Squares Weekend in Hammersmith and Fulham are the following:

All Saints Vicarage Garden, Fulham
Saturday: 11:00–16:00
+Sunday: 14:00–17:00

Fulham Palace
Saturday: 11:00–16:00

Fulham Palace Meadows Allotments
Saturday: 11:30–15:30

Ravenscourt Park Glasshouses
Saturday: 10:00–16:00

The River Cafe

William Morris Society
Saturday: 14:00–17:00

More details here.

It’s all about the bus

Cllr Caroline ffiske, who represents Avonmore and Brook Green Ward, writes:IMG_1614

Hammersmith and Fulham Council are exploring options for running a bus service along Blythe Road, connecting Hammersmith Road and Shepherds Bush Road.  In an email to me yesterday, an LBHF officer wrote:

The outcome of the informal discussion with Councillor Harcourt yesterday is that we need to investigate the feasibility of a small, low frequency, preferably electric, bus service and the extent to which such a service could meet both the needs of the residents who have asked for a service and the concerns of those who are opposed to a service similar to the C1. This would include an assessment of how such a service could be funded and I anticipate that the investigations would take some time.

This is in response to a local resident-led petition which asks:

We, the undersigned, request that Hammersmith & Fulham Council consider introducing a bus route to link Hammersmith Road and Shepherds Bush Road via Blythe Road.  We believe it would benefit local residents and visitors.

The petition currently has above 100 signatures.

I’ll endeavour to keep local residents informed about the progress of the Council’s investigations and how they can feed into it.

I’d love to hear from residents who support a new bus service, to understand what the exact need is.  And I’ve been inundated with emails from residents who are against such a service.

To date, all of the residents who have contacted me, since becoming aware of this idea last week, are dismayed by the idea of a Blythe Road bus service.  The area surrounding Blythe Road is incredibly well served for transport links.  Here is an extract from one of the many emails I’ve received:

Here in the “Blythe Road area” we are in the middle of a multitude of public transport options with buses, tubes and overground trains: Kensington Olympia overground and tube station, Hammersmith Road bus stops, Hammersmith bus station and tube station, Shepherds Bush Road bus stops, Shepherds Bush Green bus stops, Shepherds Bush tube station and overground station.  

According to Google maps it takes 6 minutes to walk from the corner of Ceylon Road and Blythe Road to Shepherds Bush Road, 7 minutes to walk to the bus stop on the corner of Blythe Road and Hammersmith Road, 7 minutes to walk to Kensington Olympia, 12 minutes to walk to Hammersmith station and 15 minutes to walk to Shepherds Bush. 

Some residents have written to me to point out that say 6 or 7 minutes is too far for a minority of people with serious mobility problems.  So some have asked: what about our Dial-A-Ride service for these residents?  Or – in other words – if a small number of people have serious mobility issues, let’s absolutely look at that and address that directly.

Overwhelming then, to date, local residents are telling me, we don’t need a bus route along Blythe Road.

Well okay, what harm would it do?  Lots, they say.  Child and adult obesity are on the up.  People are not exercising enough.  We are all acutely aware of the problem of air pollution and fumes. The local area is already incredibly congested.   On Blythe Road there is a lovely quiet cluster of local shops.  The local cafes have seats out on the pavements – and people actually sit in them. Governments and Councils of every persuasion pay  “gurus” exhorbitant fees to tell them how to bring back local shops.  How to kill ’em off?  Belch past taking locals to the supermarket.

Here are some arguments I take the liberty of quoting from residents’ emails:

I know that Hammersmith & Fulham councillors are concerned about their residents’ health not least because right now the h&f website is leading with a piece on Health and Fitness. We all now know that we should try and take moderate exercise regularly.

I note that the average age of residents in these two wards is falling and its childhood obesity is rising to an alarming degree. So anything we can do to encourage people to walk or cycle more would be a worthwhile thing.” 

40 per cent of children in that ward are obese by the age of 11 – a heart-breaking statistic.

From a well being and health perspective the government and local councils are right in nudging us all to do more regular daily exercise.  NHS guidelines recommend 150 minutes a week – which is 30 mins a day of vigorous exercise a day. We all have to take personal responsibility for integrating more active things into our day.  Walking to local shops or walking to existing bus stops and tube stations is a simple way of achieving this and should be encouraged by the council.

The health of the newer cafes with tables outside on Blythe Road and the local shops, all of which will take a knock in trade if we make it even easier for locals to go to the supermarket instead.

One small van can cause gridlock round here when it unloads deliveries.

The key problem we suffer from is congestion of large vehicles on small roads – we really don’t need another bus route down a road that is not large enough. There is enough competition for space between road users and cyclists.

Should a bus route be introduced, it would it would impose further traffic onto a road that is already struggling to accommodate the excessive amount of congestion and be an unwelcome hindrance to the children crossing the road every day on their way to the many neighbourhood schools.

The area is full of families with children, bicycles and a generally busy pedestrian life which thrives at reducing the carbon footprint through the use of local schools, shops and other facilities. 

Finally, a major concern for residents is that a tootly little bus route does not take long to become a bigger faster bus route.  Ever driven round the Hammersmith Gyratory anyone?  From a resident:

I think any sort of bus route is a step too far – too short a gap then for TfL to say that since there’s already a route, they’re going to send down big diesel buses in order to avoid Hammersmith Broadway.

I’ve heard this argument from a number of residents: – that a bus route is a bus route – and you can’t stop it from becoming something very different to what you asked for.  I’ll look into this.

And I’ll try to keep residents informed about the wider process, which all agree, needs to be fair, reasoned, and transparent.  Meanwhile, do please be in touch with your views (caroline.ffiske@lbhf.gov.uk).




Litter out of control in Ravenscourt Park

ravenscourtlitter1It was a lovely weekend in London due to the good weather. It was known it was going to be. The forecasts were accurate. Therefore it was predictable that many more people than usual would have picnics in our local parks.

Yet as these pictures sent to me from a local residents show the bins in Ravenscourt Park were not able to cope with the litter.

There is nothing new about this. Last year I wrote to the Council to say:

“We need more bins (and/or more frequent bin collections) in
Ravenscourt Park – especially in the summer. This is not just when
there are special events in the park. Routinely in the summer the bins
are overflowing.

“It would make sense for Quadrant to accommodate this request as it
would reduce litter. Emptying bins must be less work for them than
picking up litter.”

This was rejected by the Council who said:

“Adding new bins will  impact upon the budget and also add clutter to the park itself which has historically been a concern raised by local residents. Whilst we appreciate that adding more bins may lessen the need to litter pick directly, it will increase the need for collection to empty the bins, again impacting on the labour resource.”

ravenscourtlitter2It still seems to me obvious that either we need more bins or they need to be emptied more quickly.

Even when the bins are not overflowing there is the problem of the lack enforcement for those dropping litter.

So far this year the litter bugs have operated with impunity in Ravenscourt Park. The Council tell me:

ravenscourtlitter3“We have not noticed any specific litter offences but will always issue a Fixed Penalty Notice if we see litter being deposited – from a cigarette butt to drinks cans or larger items. ”

There has also been a decline in the £80 Fixed Penalty Notices for dog fouling. There were 37 issued in our parks in 2014 but 11 last year. Yet complaints have increased – from 541 in 2014 to 716 last year.

Local parks should be sanctuaries for beauty and recreation.

This slide in the standard of cleanliness is unacceptable.

More community gardening, made possible by W6 Garden Centre

Cllr Caroline ffiske writes:IMG_1614

Have you visited the W6 Garden Centre in Ravenscourt Park? It’s gorgeous and has one of the best spots in Hammersmith for an outdoor coffee and cake.

Recently I asked the manager if any unsaleable plants could be donated to community gardening efforts.  I’m glad I gardeningasked!  The centre had previously donated plants to the Friends of Marcus Garvey Park who have transformed that small park in Avonmore by all their work.

Within a week of asking I had a large number of plants crowded into my small front garden.  Delivered for free by W6.

gardening 3About half of them have now begun a new life on the Lytton Estate, planted by a couple of locals – who were helped by small children who apparently took great delight in digging, peering at bugs, and making their home more beautiful.  The photos – of a small selection of the plants – also show daffodils, planted by residents, and still going strong.

Thank you to W6. Please check it out for a coffee.