A mighty bull – in a cage

The once mighty Hammersmith Bull is in a very sorry state. It sits outside the Black Bull Pub in Hammersmith, but this is now closed. The bull is trapped behind leaning fences and surrounded by decaying furniture with empty signage swinging in the wind.

Hamm Bull 1

The bull was brought to Hammersmith when the Black Bull Inn in Holborn was demolished in 1904. The enterprising work was done by Sir William Bull who became MP for Hammersmith. The family business was Bull and Bull and the bull stood on a plinth outside the offices.

I’m not sure who owns the pub premises – but I hope they take care of the bull. Or is there another enterprising Mr or Ms Bull out there who will provide the bull with a third home?

trapped bull

Photo credit: Stephen Benton, http://footprintsoflondon.com/2014/06/our-top-20-animal-sculptures/

How to give a screw-up a positive spin

Since Hammersmith Bridge closed a few weeks ago, the Labour Mayor, Sadiq Khan, and Labour H&F Council have been arguing over who stumps up the cash to fix it.

Causing disruption to thousands, with the alteration of six bus routes, LBHF have come up with a novel way to address the problem – celebrate it!

They have put up large banners saying they are restoring Hammersmith Bridge to its full Victorian glory.   We need to celebrate the closure! Who knew? Ten out of ten for unabashed News Speak.D6_iiDmXoAI7o8w

Hammersmith Bridge – if you’re not prepared to take responsibility you shouldn’t be in power

Hammersmith Bridge is a major traffic artery for thousands of Londoners. A couple of weeks ago it closed indefinitely, without prior notice. The bridge is owned by Hammersmith & Fulham Council. TfL is responsible for its upkeep and maintenance.

H&F Council is a Labour Authority and the Mayor of London is a Labour Mayor.  Not wanting to criticise each other, look at the buck-passing that goes on.  Click here to see LBHF’s statement on the closure.

A major cause of the damage is high bus usage.  LBHF say “In 2015 we secured an agreement that there would never be more than one bus going either way at any one time. However, the bus companies consistently breached that agreement, ignoring our engineers’ warnings that this would cause a critical structural failure”. How were the bus companies meant to keep to this agreement? Have drivers semaphore from opposite ends of the bridge?  If this was a critical issue, it was up to LBHF to find a way to enforce it. Which they openly admit they didn’t do!

The cost of repairing Hammersmith Bridge has risen to at least £40 million. About TfL’s failure to make adequate repairs and to stump up the cash, LBHF say “We are sympathetic to TfL’s funding problems”. Effectively “please don’t blame them”.

LBHF continues “TfL has suffered an £800million cut to its budget and has had to pay for the refurbishment of Albert Bridge and Putney Bridge in recent years.”  Did TfL not realise that it was responsible for the Albert and Putney Bridges? Should Londoners send TfL some emails outlining what other bridges is it is responsible for in case they haven’t realised?

Meanwhile, over £43million was wasted on the failed Garden Bridge folly.” I am sorry – but not relevant. TfL accountants are monitoring and managing costs and risks over a whole variety of projects at all times.

LBHF’s entire statement is effectively “It’s not our fault and please don’t blame TfL either”. Well then who? Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar? If you don’t want to take responsibility for managing vital infrastructure, you shouldn’t be in power.

Hammersmith Bridge Closure – forces change to 6 bus routes

Six bus routes used Hammersmith Bridge before its closure. That’s a huge number of people whose daily lives have been disrupted by Hammermith & Fulham Council’s failure to monitor and manage the Bridge properly.

This Saturday, TfL are implementing permanent bus changes to the area. The details of all of these changes can be found here. You can also provide comment on the changes.

Some buses now simply stop either side of Hammersmith Bridge with people advised to walk over. Others are rerouted in ways which will be entirely irrelevant for many users.  The bus traffic over Putney Bridge will increase dramatically with the frequency of the 265 increasing by 5 buses an hour in both directions and the 209 also rerouted to cross Putney Bridge.

When we condense traffic to a smaller number of major arteries, air pollution gets worse as traffic slows to crawling speed.

Publicly TfL and LBHF are cooperating closely to maintain that its not their fault that a bridge that they are responsible for has closed.  Let us hope that they are co-operating, as closely, behind the scenes, to get it back open.

Charing Cross Hospital – Future Secured

There has been a rare outbreak of agreement between Conservative and Labour in Hammersmith & Fulham. Charing Cross Hospital is not closing.  Its A&E is not closing.

Here is the question and answer from Greg Hands, MP for Chelsea and Fulham, and Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health, that took place in Parliament yesterday:

Greg Hands: I have been a long-standing supporter of Charing Cross Hospital in Fulham, but I am concerned by the politicised rumours that have surrounded the hospital in recent years. Will he update the House on the “Shaping a healthier future” programme, which many of my constituents believe to be anything but healthy?

Matt Hancock: “Shaping a healthier future” is no longer supported by the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS Improvement or NHS England. The NHS will look at parts of the proposals that are in line with the long-term plan, such as the aspects that are focused on expanding the treatment of people in the community. As for the changes in A&E in west London that are part of “Shaping a healthier future”—for instance, those at Charing Cross Hospital, which he mentioned—these will not happen.

I am pleased to say, that what is different this time around is that the Labour MP for Hammersmith, Andy Slaughter, as well as local Labour Councillors also agree that this is the final confirmation that Charing Cross hospital is not closing.

Though I may disagree with its wording, now is not the time to quibble. What is important is the confirmation of this news from Hammersmith & Fulham Council. See here.

If more detail emerges about future plans I will post it here.  If you see anything that should be shared let me know!

Charing_Cross_Hospital_in_London,_spring_2013_(15)

 

 

Volunteers required for Charity supporting Refugees

Breaking Barriers is a small organisation which supports refugees into employment and education. At the end of March, they are launching a new Delivery Centre in Hammersmith.

They are looking to recruit volunteers to provide 1:1 advice and guidance to refugee clients in this centre.  Ideal candidates are local people who have experience working in London, and are able to share this knowledge with refugees from a range of countries. The commitment is a couple of hours each week or fortnight.

You can see more details of the role here. Interested people are invited to attend a “group screening induction event” on Wednesday 27th March at 10am.

Anybody interested should email volunteer@breaking-barriers.co.uk or complete the application form.

This sounds really interesting and is a great opportunity to meet and support newcomers to our community.

Breaking Barriers

Help protect a lovely little artist’s studio

A local resident has contacted me about a little artist’s studio in the Barons Court area. It’s an unobtrusive piece of local history which you have probably never noticed.  Here it is: IMG-5163

At least one artist who worked here was Henry Jamyn Brooks. You can see examples of his work here.

A developer has bought the property and would like to turn it into a three storey residence (mostly extending downwards).  Apparently the developer has made five applications which have all been turned down.  It has gone to appeal twice and these appeals have also been turned down. The developer is back with a new application 2019/00006/FUL.  This can be viewed here.

We have a housing crisis.  But we must also protect our shared history and heritage.  Wouldn’t it be lovely if this little property could be restored and turned into an artist’s studio again?  Is that a pipe dream?

Anyway the frontage and the scale of the property are entirely appropriate to its setting.  It’s in a Conservation Area so I worry that any increase in the height or changes to the frontage and visible roof area will spoil the integrity of this lovely street in Barons Court. The planning process wears local residents down and they give up commenting on issues which they still actually care about. So I urge you to comment on this development, whatever your thoughts are on it.   Click through here and see the area “Make a Comment”.