Why does Hammersmith and Fulham Council ban vaping?

Research has established that there are no health risks from “passive vaping”. There is no law against vaping in public places. It is a highly effective method for smokers to give up. Yet Hammersmith and Fulham Council bans vaping on its premises – without being able to give any proper justification for doing so.

I wrote to Debbie Morris, the Director of Human Resources as follows:

“I was concerned to see from this FOI response that “staff and visitors are expected to vape outside” from Council premises.

https://www.apps7b.lbhf.gov.uk/cus/servlet/ep.getImg?ref=D387184&st=NOHEADER&auth=10051

Please note that Public Health England argue that we should make a distinction between smoking and vaping.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/vaping-in-public-places-advice-for-employers-and-organisations

I would propose that council staff should be encouraged to give up smoking by being allowed to vape from their desks. Please may I have your comments.”

She replied:

“Thank you for your email dated 7th November. In response to your query ‘that council staff should be encouraged to give up smoking by being allowed to vape from their desks.’

“Vaping is covered under the same restrictions as cigarette smoking under the current workplace policy. All policies are regularly reviewed according to latest evidence. HR and Public Health are committed to a joined up tri-borough approach and policies relating to vaping will be reviewed jointly due to the rapidly emerging evidence base.”

How “independent” is the Council funded advice on ending council housing in the borough?

tpas_1100Labour-run Hammersmith and Fulham Council is continuing to press ahead with their flawed plans to abolish council housing in the borough. Most council tenants and council leaseholders I have spoken to have been emphatic in their opposition for the stock transfer to an unaccountable new housing association. Yet the Council continue to squander vast sums on the project. Lawyers, PR men and property consultants get rich while the Council pleads poverty when it comes to clearing a backlog of repairs.

The latest wheeze is to splash out on an “Independent Tenant’s and Leaseholders’ Adviser for the whole “housing stock options appraisal” process.” It turns out that there is not just one adviser but seven. This service is provided by the “Tenant Empowerment Organisation” – which contrary to the impression given by its name is a private company.

So how independent will the advice be?

Kathleen Corbett, Director of Finance & Resources (Housing & Regeneration), reports that to date the Council has paid TPAS £160,291.64p. Any claim that TPAS is impartial while pocketing funds on that scale is absurd.

 

Ravenscourt Park Walled Garden – come and help remove the bindweed from one more bed

The volunteer Friends of the Walled Garden in Ravenscourt spent a recent Saturday morning planting up two of its herbaceous flower beds with 300 new plants to their design using a grant from Tesco’s Bags of Help awards.

There is now one remaining bed to have its existing overgrown plants and the bindweed and cooch grass weeds removed, new soil applied and then new plants

The volunteers help in the walled garden on the first Saturday of each month from 10.30 am. Volunteering is fun and a good way to meet new people.

For further information please contact Angela Clarke 020 8748 0284.

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Remembering the civilian casualties in Hammersmith from the Second World War

higton2A guest post from Mark Higton.

The Church of St Katherine, Westway, cuts a dark and foreboding silhouette as one drives along the A40. Many assume the Church to be disused, or abandoned, and it’s stark 1950s concrete prefab design, now cracked, darkened, and ravaged by acid rain, does nothing to disabuse the casual motorist that it is not; nor does it hint of the dynamic Rev. Jim Tate, his wife Lesley, and the wonderful congregation that can often be found within.

stkaThose that look upon the Church often wonder “Why on earth would anyone design such an ugly Cross.” To which the reply is “the architect didn’t”. The ‘Cross’ is not a cross in the strictest sense, but a relic from the broken and twisted steel superstructure that jutted defiantly out of the shattered and burnt remains of St Catherine Coleman after it, and houses on The Westway, The Curve, and Hemlock Road, were destroyed by enemy action on the night of the 12 th of October 1940.

Please spare a thought for Mrs Emily Tanner and her son Raymond, of No 104 The Westway, Mrs Grace Hoggart and her daughter Ellen, of No 8 Shepherds Bush Road, and Charles Hallpike and his sister Lucy, of No 4 Shepherds Bush Green, who were all killed as they slept; for Mr Alfred Baker, 24 The Curve, and Mr Arthur Underhill, 48 Norland Road, who died as they were taken to Hammersmith Hospital; and for Mr John Bartlett, of No 47 Bloemfontein Road, who passed away the following day.

suninn2However the biggest single loss of life in Hammersmith occurred on the 25th September 1940, when the Sun Pub, 120 Askew Road, suffered a direct hit. It is said that 55 people were killed and wounded.

These include Mary Barrett, Michael Dollymore, Ernest Finch, Ethel Furnish, Arthur Green, Jean Hillier, Robert Hillier, Alfred Kimpton, Albert Matthews, Edward Newman, William Orridge, William Percy, Charles Rogers, William Smith, Claude Sparkes, Gladys Sparkes, Stanley Warne, and Charles Wood.

Imagine the scene, if you can. The bravery of the ARP, Civil Defence Volunteers, police, firemen, and residents excavating the smashed wreckage, alert for the cry of the wounded and dying, against the deafening sound of the Anti-Aircraft Guns of Ravenscourt Park engaging enemy aircraft over head. I also reflect upon the resolve of the London Auxiliary Ambulance Drivers, my great aunt Winifred Higton included, National Emergency Health Service, and the gallantry of the RAF.

When the Church of St Katherine, Westway, was finally built in 1959 it did not win any plaudits – unlike the Church that preceded it – however Mr J R Atkinson, the son of the architect of the first church, should perhaps be forgiven for the brutal post-modern design. It is not merely a Church, but a monument to all those killed in the Blitz, the horror and brutality of war, and the bravery of local residents from all walks of life, of which Hammersmith can be proud.

N.B. The Rev. Jim Tate would be grateful for help to conserve the Cross, please contact mark.higton@gmail.com if you would like get involved.

Fly-tipping in Hammersmith and Fulham up by 53 per cent in a year

flyhfSome statistical confirmation of what has been all too obvious to residents. The streets of the borough are getting filthier with growing amounts of rubbish being dumped.

There were 10,829 incidents of fly-tipping recorded in Hammersmith and Fulham in 2015/16. That is a significant increase on 2013/14 – just before Labour took control – when the total was 9,011. So that is a 20 per cent increase.

At the same time enforcement action is down. In 2013/14 there were 59 Fixed Penalty Notices issued (far too few). In 2015/16 it was even lower, down to 41.

New powers have been brought in that make it easier to seize vans found to be used for fly-tipping. But these powers have not been used in Hammersmith and Fulham. No vehicles have been seized.

So that is bad enough. But for the first sixth months of this financial year – April to September – there have been 7,430 incidents of fly-tipping. That compares with 4,841 for April to September last year.  By my calculations that is an increase of another 53 per cent.

Not all this is the Council’s fault. The maximum statutory fixed penalty notice is only £400. Surely in serious cases when a whole van load of rubbish is dumped it should be higher? In the case of other fines the revenue goes to central government rather than to local authorities. Also there has been an increase in fly-tipping in other boroughs – although I suspect on not such an appalling scale.

Anyway in the last six months there have only been two prosecutions. Often the evidence will be there on CCTV but to takes time and determination to pursue the culprits.

Fly-tipping is dragging the borough down. Taking action to deal with it is demanded from residents. It should be a priority for the Council. But at the moment it isn’t. There needs to be far more enforcement action to deal with this escalating problem.

 

 

 

The misery of waiting to turn into the Talgarth Road

Here is the traffic in Palliser Road from an hour ago waiting to turn into Talgarth Road:

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Luxury. These motorists in Comeragh Road can only dream of being in Palliser Road.

comeragh

Then there are those in Charleville Road with the aspiration to be in Gledstanes Roadcharlev

 

Or those in Queen’s Club Gardens hoping to make it into Greyhound Road

greyhound

Or those in Musard Road clinging to the same ambition

musard

Of course it is a Friday afternoon. But these scenes of traffic congestion in the streets of Baron’s Court are all too familiar.  Delay, pollution, congestion, misery. Motorists honking with frustration and anger.

Would it not make a big difference to these residential streets if the traffic lights into the Talgarth Road were re-phased to make it easier to turn? I suspect that traffic lights often do more harm than good.

Staying fit in Fulham this Winter

gomammA guest post from Scott Flear of Go Mammoth.

Winter is here which means many of us will be spending more time indoors.

With many awesome things to do over London and Fulham this Winter, it mostly consists of indulging in good food and drink.

Here’s a list of sporting activities both in and outdoor than you can do this winter.

Netball in Parsons Green

Leagues run on Monday and Tuesdays here for Netball. Most leagues are ladies leagues but there is a mixed league if the boys want to join in on some netball fun.

Click here to view Netball leagues in Fulham.

Basketball in Fulham & Chelsea

Men’s leagues run on Monday, Wednesdays and Thursdays at Chelsea academy.

Basketball is a great way of getting some indoor fitness done whilst it’s cold and/or raining outside.

Leagues cater for intermediate and recreational players, you can join as an individual or a team.

5 A Side Football in Fulham & Chelsea

You can join a men’s league or mixed league and all games are played on Mondays.

Wednesdays and Thursdays at Chelsea Academy.

This is a very cool outdoor venue with netting around the entire pitch. Always great to get a run around in the outdoors on a crisp winter night. There are many other 5 a side London leagues to choose from too.

Boxfit in Hammersmith

Stay fit with a boxfit class in Hammersmith at Westside school.

Boxfit is becoming increasingly popular as it’s very easy to do and pick up. The instructors are great and the classes are on 7-8pm on Mondays. Great way to start the week during this Winter!

Insanity in Hammersmith

Insanity is now world popular. It’s an intense class that will get you sweating.

If you’re looking for a change from the gym or want to test yourself then head down the Insanity class at Westside school at 6.45pm on Thursdays. You’ll thank us when you go into the festive season the healthiest you’ve been for a while!

Corporate Fitness & Wellness

There is no denying that over the festive season the office environment becomes a snack frenzy.

Chocolate, drinks, cakes, sweets and more.

You can now also get fitness classes and sports games come straight to your offices.

Get your HR manager or owner to get in touch and they can set up multiple wellness activities for you over the festive season. Balance is key!

If you know of any other indoor/outdoor social sports events or classes etc in the area, let us know so we can keep you all updated with things to do to stay fit this winter!