Tuesday, 31 August 2010

"Super Sewer" consultation to open in mid September

The end-game for the "super sewer stink hole" as our calm and measured Council propagandists call it is nigh. A mole tells me that the consultation will open formally in the middle of September and, among other things, give more details on the actual proposals. I'm told by another mole that people will immediately see the difference between what our Council has been saying about the proposed sewer and the reality. They've already been found out for being economical with the truth on this issue.

Questions may then be asked about the value of our money having been spent on such a pointless publicity campaign which succeeded in scaring residents and isolating our Council from even their Tory colleagues in bordering councils, City Hall and at national level.

So ... prepare to be consulted. And just in case you were in any doubt as to why this is an important issue, just down the road in Richmond a couple of days ago gallons more raw sewage was belched into the Thames because, once again, our aged sewer system wasn't able to cope with the rain. Here's hoping for a dry winter ... and less propaganda from our public servants.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Hammersmith man arrested for murder

A man was arrested in Hammersmith yesterday for the unsolved murder of Jaypee Maderazo.

The Filipino was only identified by police after a public appeal and this appears to be the first major step forward in the investigation.

Mr Maderazo was killed in Harlesden on August 13th, and much still remains to be known as Det Ch Insp Lee Presland, who is leading the investigation, said:

"We are looking into the circumstances that led to Jaypee's injury and resulted in his death.

"The response to previous appeals has helped us to identify Jaypee but we still need to know more about him.
"For instance, we still don't know where he lived or who he socialized with or where he frequented."

Sunday, 29 August 2010

British Limbless Ex Servicemens Association

 .. need your fiver. I'm running the Bristol half marathon for them on Sunday and badly need your donation to avoid the embarassment of not meeting my target! I can't make a comment like that without thanking those readers who have already supported me - it is very very much appreciated indeed.

Come on now .. if I post a pic of me crossing the finishing line surely that's worth it?! It would be the first time you'd ever seen what I look like and my goodness you'll wish you hadn't! Please give here.

And watch this to see what it will be used for - deeply inspiring stuff

Back in business

This blog is back in business. Having been out of the country and therefore the Bush for most of the month of August I is back, and intending to get back into the swing of things with the usual concoction of local news that breaks here ahead of anywhere else and a bit more of experimenting with what the web allows us to do to bring local communities to life online

And an awful lot seems to have been hapenning while I've been away! First off here's footage of the Deputy Prime Minister together with his coalition Conservative colleagues making a pretty hamfisted photo opportunity at Shepherds Bush Village Hall. The only problem? Nick Clegg's colleagues at H&F Council are closing it down as part of their local cuts programme and they didn't tell him - so the Deputy PM ended up looking like a right plum in front of the cameras:

The pic above is of Andy Slaughter (on the right) our local MP pointing out that the sheepish looking guy at the centre is the one selling off their centre - he is Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh, the leader of our Council and leader of David Cameron's radical wing of the Tory Party trying out numerous policy experiments on the Bush. My favourite bit on the BBC video is of Cllr Greenhalgh shrugging his shoulders and making that "Bovvered?" facial expression - speaks volumes.

We've also had one of the local fruitcakes threatened with jail for a hammer attack on Shepherds Bush Market tube station plus the news that lots of our local parks are to lose funding. On a London level it seems Boris is in two minds over whether to stand as the Tory (plus LibDem?) candidate which could prove interesting if it ends up in Ken getting back into City Hall - the Western congestion zone could stay after all. Ooh, it's all go here you know.

I’ve been away in a conflict zone for the first two weeks of August and then in the south of France for a much needed family break for the latter two. Plenty of sun, unlike the Bush staycation I had last year and I understand from the news you had much the same crappy weather here that I remember from 2009 in August!

Lots ahead of us in September – planning decisions, the decision on who is to challenge Boris to be our Mayor and the ever meandering saga over the “super sewer” otherwise known as the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

Thanks for reading, hope you didn’t mind the break in service too much and do keep sending the stories through

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Police appeal: look at these ugly thugs

Do you recognise any of these thickos? They were caught on film as they took part in scenes of moronic violence during a Chelsea/Cardiff game on February 13th. Both clubs' supporters have a reputation for this sort of behaviour and they certainly lived up to it on that day.

The Police are looking for any and all of them and I'm only too happy to help. Take a look and if you recognise any of them call the police straight away. These people have absolutely no respect for football, genuine fans and certainly not the people they endangered by their mindless violence on that day.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Bike thieves caught in a trap

Bikes used as bait have snared local thieves in an innovative new experiment by police in our backyard. Focussed on Hammersmith but relevant and likely now to be extended to Shepherd's Bush in the coming months the police have been left ready to be stolen, but also fitted with tracking devices to lead police to the robbers' den -quite literally.

As a result of the scheme the average number of reported bicycle thefts in Hammersmith has fallen by almost a third from 23 to 15 since the scheme was implemented, and the initiative could be rolled out elsewhere in London, while forces in other parts of the UK are also studying it with interest. Bikes are often stolen to order, it would seem.

Inspector Tony Hirst, of the Hammersmith Safer Neighbourhood Team, told the Standard: “Pedal cycle theft appears to have become the crime of choice for many low-end criminals because of the quick reward and low risk of being caught. We hope to put the fear back into the criminal.”

The Evening Standard first broke this story followed swiflty by the Pedal Powered cyclists site, see both for more info. Great work from the rozzers, and hopefully will cut the rampant bike theft that goes on locally.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Blog notice: Holidays!

Just for the benefit of any local thieves .. our house will be fully occupied for the duration. But I shall be on a two week break starting today so blogging will take a back seat for the rest of August.

Thanks for reading and do keep coming back - and especially keep sending in your ideas for stories. Use this address shepherdsbushblog@yahoo.co.uk

Enjoy the rest of summer in W12!!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Massive water outage for Shepherd's Bush: Thames Water investigate

Many of you have no water this morning. Like me you will have turned the tap on, or in my case the washing machine to get through 2 weeks worth of clothes from being abroad, to find nothing in the pipes.

Thames Water is investigating according to this update on their wesbite - I will put in a call to their press office and keep you updated throughout the day. Looking at their update this water outage is huge - it goes all the way down to Twickenham!

In the meantime, and since the local press are not onto this yet, feel free to add anything you might know (for example a broken water main!) in the comments section.

0920 UPDATE: Thames Water have confirmed that its a burst water main, and it's big! They are "working to put it right" and give an optimistic if a little vague timescale of "asap". Meanwhile I understand from another reader that some of you were stuck on an Overground train just north of Shepherd's Bush this morning. Not to worry you might think, at least they're air conditioned. Er, not when they're broken down they're not. Passengers had to force windows open for air. Ooh, it's all go round 'ere..

1030 UPDATE - Thames Water have confirmed the leak is on London Road Brentford, which is why the loss of water pressure is so widespread - that apparently affects everything from the far reaches of Twickenham through Acton up to us. Chronicle has caught up with the story here.

1430 UPDATE: Water appears to be back on, at least for me and some of you, at a lower pressure than before! BBC London have caught up with the story here - people being advised to avoid manholes in Brentford for fear of drowning!

1500 UPDATE: LBC, the radio channel supporting Ken for Mayor, has pictures of the water main burst and the flooding it caused here.

1520 UPDATE: Red faces at the Chronicle who are reporting that there has been no improvement - there has, and it has been back on for at least 2 hours. After having been slow off the mark in reporting the water outage this morning shouldn't full time journalists paid to do nothing else do a little better?!

Shepherd's Bush Estate Agent fined

..for putting up to many "for sale" signs!

Our Council have proved their toughness by going after a Shepherd's Bush estate agent from Seven Stars corner who they claimed had put up excessive For Sale signs on properties he was trying to sell. I've no doubt he won't get much sympathy since most Estate Agents seem unable to do anything for their clients without fleecing them, but is this sort of action really worth it?!

I presume they won't be using the same estate agent to flog all their own buildings in the coming months.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Government renews attack on H&F News

Tax payers cash spent on propaganda "weakens democracy" according to Secretary of State for Communities Eric Pickles. Announcing a crack down on the use by local authorities of tax payers money for lobbbying and propagandising Mr Pickles took another sideswipe at what he called "so called Town Hall newspapers", a leading example of which is our own Council's H&F News. He recently referred to the paper as "propaganda on the rates."

The weekly propaganda sheet costs hundreds of thousands of pounds and contains articles putting the Council in a positive light on even the most contentious issues. Thus the decision to withdraw funding from large sections of the voluntary sector, such as the Irish Centre in Hammersmith which was greeted with dismay by the Irish Embassy in London and Irish Centre itself, was presented with the headline "Irish Group in the money". Stalin would blush.

The failure of the Chronicle's campaign against the propaganda sheet seems to have guaranteed that we will continue to pay for Cllr Greenhalgh's propaganda arm for the time being, but just as Cllr Greenhalgh is undisputably the big political fish in West London - Eric Pickles seems ready to prove that he is much much bigger - and if he succeeds where the Chronicle failed, in stopping this use of our hard earned money to tell us how fab our Council is, then he will have done all of us a great service. Go, Pickles Go!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The "we love Shepherd's Bush" summer festival

..is not something I'd heard of until recently, but essentially it's a collection of local businesses who have come together in what looks like a very innovative way to promote the local area .. and of course their own services. Both of which are very good things.

For a start it makes a refreshing change to see the local business community's response to the sort of depressing signs we have been seeing all around W12 recently since the onset of the recession proper, with "closed" signs hanging in front of what in some cases were very well established businesses on the Uxbridge and Askew Roads.

Now however, as you can see by looking at the flyer below, you can for the rest of the summer sample a who array of delights that relate both to the cultural diversity of our very mixed area and learn a bit more about what's on offer from our local businesses.

Led by the Happiness Centre, which I have to say is one of those places I've always walked past and had a wonder about what they do as I exit the tube, the businesses themselves hail from across Shepherd's Bush and have also set up this website along with this facebook page aimed at keeping Bushers in touch with what's coming up.

Here's what Alexis Garnaut-Miller, founder of The Happiness Centre, has to say:

"The diversity of culture, venues and activities in Shepherds Bush gives the large number of local home-based workers, community groups and employees from small and large businesses in the area a fabulous chance to mingle and get connected! We’re excited that the We Love Shepherds Bush festival of events, activities and social opportunities will bring a broad range of people together with a common objective: to explore this vibrant community.”

An excellent idea - business bouncing back and building up the area as they go. They should be proud of themselves and you should take a look at what you might want to go along to: (probably best to click on "full screen" to see the details)

We Love Shepherds Bush FLYER FINAL

Monday, 9 August 2010

Hammersmith computer criminal gets 9 months courtesy of Sky News

A Laptop repair engineer who tried to hack in to an undercover reporter's bank account after stealing details from her computer was today (6 August) sentenced to nine months in prison.
Grzegorz Zachodni, 29 (dob 14/7/81) a Polish national, of Brading Terrace, Hammersmith, pleaded guilty to fraud on 7 July at West London Magistrate's Court after being caught in a sting operation by a Sky News journalist.

The court heard how Zachodni was working at Laptop Revival, a computer repair shop in King's Street, Hammersmith, when he was approached by the reporter.The reporter was investigating the quality of service supplied by laptop repair shops. The method was to take a laptop with a minor fault to be repaired at a number of shops. The fault was a loose memory chip; a simple fault to fix.

The laptop had covert software installed on it which recorded all files looked at and all websites visited by the computer as well as images from the computer's webcam. A large number of personal photos of the reporter were placed on the laptop, including images of her in her underwear and bikini, along with log in details to eBay, Facebook and NatWest online banking.

The reporter took the laptop to the shop on 4 March 2009. Later the same day she was telephoned by the shop and told that the computer needed a new motherboard and would cost £100 to repair. She declined to have the computer fixed and went to pick it up the next day.

On her return to the shop she discovered the computer had been repaired. She was allowed to take the computer away free of charge because she had not authorised the repair. Interrogation of the computer spy software and webcam recordings revealed that Zachodni had worked on the computer for 20 minutes. During that time he had looked at a large number of the victim's photographs as well as files marked "private" containing her log in details for Facebook, eBay and NatWest online banking.Zachodni was recorded on the webcam removing an external USB drive from around his neck and using it to save private files containing the reporter's passwords and log in details as well as two photographs of her in a bikini.

He then made six attempts to log in to the reporter's online banking account using the details from the private files on the laptop. Sky News broadcast a news report of their investigation and then passed details of their enquiry to Metropolitan Police Service's Economic and Specialist Crime Unit. Detectives visited Laptop Revival on 21 October 2009 where they arrested Zachodni for computer misuse and on suspicion of attempted fraud by misrepresentation.

On the 7 July 2010 Zachodni pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation contrary to Section 1 of the Fraud Act 2006. Investigating officer DC Chris Young said: "Hopefully this conviction will be a warning to the computer repair industry that the copying or use of customers' private and personal information is not acceptable and the Metropolitan Police Economic and Specialist Crime Directorate will endeavour to prosecute any person found to have committed offences regarding these abuses."

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Manic Street Preachers play secret gig in Hammersmith

The proverbial "secret show" seems to be a fairly common occurrence for major recording artists about to hit the comeback trail, Hammersmith Working Men's Club is about as unlikely a venue as you're likely to find for such an event. Set in the middle of a high rise estate several stones throws away from the more widely renowned Apollo (aka The Back of Beyond), the 1960s interior decor and heavily deteriorating brickwork of the outer walls badly in need of a good pointing suggest its best days are long gone.

But choose it they did. Now read on.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Council asks poor residents to "move out"

Next door K&C wants poor people gone according to the BBC. In actions that seem to confirm to the warnings Labour have been making in the run up to the last elections, and which were flatly denied by our own council and that of next door K&C, council officers have begun advising council housing tenants to move out. Our own Council are close allies of K&C, to the point of merging their education systems. The two Tory authorities are seen as policy trailblazers for David Cameron, testing radical Tory solutions ready for the rest of the country.

Prime Minister David Cameron meanwhile seems to be taking our own Council Leader Stephen Greenhalgh's advice on council housing to heart and now says council housing should not be granted "for life". LibDem grass roots seem happy with this policy too, so its ominous for the many council housing tenants already apparently under threat from our own Council.

More on this to follow no doubt .. but some predictions so vigorously denied just weeks ago appear to be coming true in West London at the moment.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Shepherd's Bush: "face of a boxer, soul of a poet"

So says blogger ArchimedesPrinciple, as he reminisces on a journey home this week:

A thick, glossy rainbow over Shepherd's Bush this evening made my bus journey home oddly enjoyable this evening.

I've always liked the crazy charm of this part of London; it's blessed with the face of a boxer and the quivering soul of a madcap poet. Not many areas can carry that off with the swagger the Bush can.
What's your view of the Bush? Happy friday!

I'm spending mine flying back from here in Mindanao, Southern Philippines, to Manila. Lucky me.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Someone near me just got murdered

Somebody has just been killed near me. In what was a political assasination the Vice Mayor of a small town was attacked by gunmen with a bomb. He survived but one other died and a number of others were seriously injured.

Just another event in a conflict affected country that we'll never hear about in the West because our media doesnt regard it important. But it is a reason to be proud of the work of my organisation, International Alert, who try and build peace in situations where I write this from now does in the southern Philippines, south east Asia.

I'm only really sharing this because I feel I need to - it's got nothing to do with Shepherd's Bush, but it is where I am, and it's my blog after all. Back in a week. Just consider how lucky we are to live where we do.

UPDATE: It's just been announced this is the Philippines' first suicide bombing. Not a great first.

Bush Theatre review: Independent

It's not often that you're asked to guess the weight of a cake on your way into the Bush Theatre. But then it's seldom that this cutting-edge urban venue has mounted anything as genially daft as The Great British Country Fete.

With songs by Michael Bruce and a script by stand-up comic Russell Kane, the piece is a mischievously doubled-edged paean to bucolic life and it was the theatre's contribution to this year's Latitude Festival. It's likeable enough, though the end-of-term-romp atmosphere is not, I suspect, best experienced back at the HQ in Goldhawk Road.

A not so great critics review of a play currently being stageed at Bush Theatre. Read the full report at the Independent here.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

London Assembly investigates challenge of Thames Tideway Tunnel

Our Council's favourite demon Thames Water have moved a step closer to delivering the Thames Tideway Tunnel, or as our Council call it, the "super sewer", with the Health and Public Services committee of the Greater London Authority examining the challenges of delivering this huge engineering project which is aimed at stopping the ongoing fllow of raw sewage into the Thames just next to Hammersmith.

Our Council has a tiny bit of form on this isssue, including having been found out telling a few porkies at public expense. But given that everyone else of every political persuasion and at every level of local, London and national government suppports it, its on its way. Not least because our Council, as a result of their hamfisted campaign, long ceased to have any credibility on the issue.

Here's what the GLA Committee say they are going to look at:

The Health and Public Services Committee is looking into the challenges faced in delivering the Thames Tideway project and assessing how it could affect Londoners.

Every year around 32 million tonnes of untreated sewage flows into the River Thames – enough to fill the O2 arena 15 times. To tackle the problem, a major new infrastructure project has been proposed called the Thames Tideway Interceptor Tunnels.

The Committee is looking into the challenges that Thames Water will face in delivering the project and assessing how it could affect Londoners, in terms of disruption and bill increase. It also wants to determine what role the Mayor should play in the project.

When London’s sewer system becomes overloaded from rainfall, overflows of sewage and rainwater discharge into the Rivers Lee and Thames – on average this happens more than once a week. This can have severe consequences for the ecology and amenity of the river, and potential impacts on the health of river users.

Read it in full here. Hopefully the days of our tipping gallons of poo into the river are numbered. And so are the days of telling porkies by our elected representatives. Hope springs eternal.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Carnival crackdown: Notting Hill 2010

Carnival 2010 will be the most heavily policed event in recent times according to this report from the BBC. As happens yearly west London will be brought to a halt in large areas to get ready for Carnival to begin a day before and the clean up usually ends a day or so later.

But it’s fantastic. In the last few years the number of robberies and assaults have plummeted markedly due in no small part to the Police who do a fantastic job every year.

Operation Razorback (unfortunate name it must be said) will be the plan to protect us all at this years event and I am really looking forward to it. I’ll post updates here as and when they come along but in the meantime here’s some footage of the Bush Blog at Carnival last year to whet your appetites ...

Oona punches back: questions Ken's "leadership"

Oona King has answered the bruising attack launched by Ken Livingstone henchman Len Duvall by sending out an urgent "clarification" to Londoners refuting claims that she supports means testing for the Freedom Pass, which grants free travel to the elderly and disabled people.

Questioning the motives of Ken's campaign the outraged Ms King has this to say:

I support - and I will defend with every breath in my body - the Freedom Pass. Pensioners and the disabled need and deserve free travel around London.
I wrote this in my transport manifesto which I published two weeks ago.
I know our Party and I know how tired members are of artificially created dividing lines designed to discredit or embarass others - that's truly old politics - but we're especially tired of them when it its our own comrades in the firing line and fellow travellers firing the shots!
If campaigns have to resort to making up stories about the other candidates' beliefs and motives then that's a sad day indeed for our movement and quite frankly says something about the type of leadership on offer.
I repeat my pledge to you, in person, that I will defend the Freedom Pass: no cuts, no reductions, no dilutions.
In response Big Len sniffily retorts, in an email sent to Labour councillors:
I welcome the fact that Oona now wishes to change the position she took in these hustings. But London Labour cannot afford to have ambiguity on such important issues when they come up.
Blimey. And the actual election isn't even until 2012.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Ken launches attack on Oona

The race for the Labour nomination to be Mayor of London took a robust turn last week with an attack from one of Ken's biggest and baddest backers. Len Duvall, Assembly Member and regarded as a bit of a bruiser has been chosen to administer, er, a bruise to the Oona King campaign.

Seizing on Oona's apparent willingness to consider means-testing for Freedom Passes big Len says this:

As an Assembly member I do not want to go into a London election campaign on a platform that is open to means testing for the Freedom Pass.

Boris Johnson would run rings round us.

We should not give our Tory opponents a clear opening amongst hundreds of thousands of older and disabled Londoners, or – worse still – give the Tories the ground they need to start to water down the Freedom Pass.

Figures shows show 51,691 Freedom Passes issued in Barnet for older Londoners and 5,903 for disabled people. 43,791 in total have been issued in Bexley, 63,671 in Bromley, and 48,827 in Havering, for example. These are not the super rich and they should not have to face means testing. And older Londoners are the most likely to vote in elections.

To administer a means test for schemes like the Freedom Pass you could only make savings by removing more than just the richest from those who qualify. Means testing often deters people from applying for concessions they are entitled to. It opens up the question of what other concessions should be means tested; in a city with excellent concessionary schemes – like free bus and tram travel for under-18s – that would be a disaster. And it would erode the stake that many Londoners have in the public transport system.

It’s not the technicality though. Most importantly we would show we lack judgement and are not on the side of ordinary people.

Oona King has argued recently: “If there is a choice, then I want the money to go to the poorest, not to pay for the richest like Prince Charles to go free,” and “if you are the mayor and you have got less money coming in you need to ensure the average pensioner can have the same experience or better than those richer ones."

But it is not Prince Charles who would lose out; it is the ordinary Londoners who rely on concessionary travel every day. We must be on their side and show that we are on their side.
Ken Livingstone will protect the Freedom Pass as he has always done and he will protect London’s other travel concessions. He will stand up for London and work to protect Londoners from the combined effects of economic uncertainty and government cuts. He is already taking the argument to Boris Johnson and the Con-Dem government over fare increases, police cuts and damaging changes to housing benefit.

Along with the majority of Labour’s London Assembly members, I am backing Ken Livingstone. I am more confident with every day that passes that this was the right call.

I'm actually writing this from Hong Kong airport waiting for a connection to Manila. On the way I watched, for the first time the cult London film Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrells. Len Duvall very much reminds me of the big brusier charecter that supports Hatchet Harry - and together with the backing of LBC Radio Ken's campaign is now supported by big guns from across the party and the media. Expect more bruises.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Free art exhibition at Irish Cultural Centre

I wouldn't be here if it wasnt for the famine in Ireland. The starvation created in Ireland by the Government in London in the 1840's caused thousands to die and thousands more to emigrate including my ancestors, who came to England to work as a charwoman and stonemason before they met and married.

A defining moment in the history of both countries with impact across the world as emigre populations established themselves in America, Australia, Canada and even further afield. The image is of the memorial to this period which stands in a Dublin street today.

The excellent Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith has a free, and very moving exhibition on this period which you should go and see if you can. It forged the shape of our part of west London - and you cant possibly understand the present without understanding the past.

Read more here.