Council official moves thousands out of Chiswick

Bedford Park actually in South Acton says Highways man

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An Ealing Council official is claiming that parts of Chiswick should be officially designated as South Acton and that anyone claiming otherwise could be breaking the law.

In a letter to a local newspaper, Gary Watson of Ealing Council wrote, "According to some estate agents, a large chunk of Chiswick is already within the bounds of Ealing Council.  While companies [estate agents] are now getting more careful on how they advertise properties, I have seen numerous houses for sale in Chiswick when they were not within the Borough of Hounslow and therefore not in Chiswick." contacted Mr Watson, who works in Highways Management section of the Council, to ask him to clarify his comments.

He replied, "The easiest way to check is to look on the electoral register for the road that you live in, that will tell you the council ward etc. I am not even aware of the road that you do reside in but [if it's in Ealing Borough] its in South Acton."

He claims that the boundary between Chiswick and South Acton actually runs through the heart of Bedford Park. He told us, "There is one road, I think it is Woodstock Road, where the boundary runs down the middle of the road, one side is Chiswick W4 in London Borough of Hounslow, the other side is in South Acton W4 in the London Borough of Ealing.

"When the London boroughs were changed in the mid-1960s Chiswick W4 (which was the borough of Brentford & Chiswick) joined with the boroughs of Heston and Isleworth and (I think) Hounslow and Feltham to make the London Borough of Hounslow. South Acton W4 - Acton W3 (the Borough of Acton) joined with Ealing, Northolt, Greenford & Southall to make the borough of Ealing."

This raises the possibility that estate agents and other businesses may be barred from describing some properties within the Ealing borough area as being in Chiswick with a possible knock on effect on property prices.

When we spoke to Nick Finn of local estate agents Sworn & Co to ask his opinion he said, "If this is correct then do actually I have a fantastic 3 bed house on Elliott Road W4 in the Chiswick part of Hounslow?  Surely it's the postcode that determines where a property is located. Pleydell Avenue and a couple of roads surrounding it are actually in the Borough of Hounslow but with a W6 postcode. Is Chiswick being wiped off the map and you now either live in East Hounslow, South Ealing or West Hammersmith & Fulham?" 

If Mr. Watson is correct and it is wrong to describe the W4 area within Ealing borough as being in Chiswick, Ealing Council themselves seem to be one of the worst offenders. Official documents and public notices routinely refer to the W4 area as being in Chiswick. It raises the possibility that planning notices published in local newspapers may be invalid as the addresses given are misleading. Another example is the catchment area for Southfield Primary School on the Council's web site where all the W4 roads are described as being in Chiswick.

Traditionally most people have seen the North London line and Southfield Park as forming a boundary between Chiswick and Acton. This also corresponds to the post code areas of W4 and W3 which have, up until now, been taken as the primary indicator of whether you lived in Chiswick or Acton.

Ealing Council were asked for comment on Mr Watson's letter but have yet to respond.

April 21, 2006