Tool Chest Tool and Plant Hire – A Community Comes Together

Tool Chest Tool and Plant Hire – A Community Comes Together

The prospect of a contentious Low Traffic Scheme being imposed on Brackenbury Village galvanised businesses and residents into action

‘At least one positive has come out of this whole affair,’ reflects Neil McCarroll, the owner of Tool Chest on Iffley Road. ‘It has definitely brought the Brackenbury community together: local people realised what was at stake, and what could potentially be lost, and made their voices heard loud and clear.’

Tool Chest, Tool and Plant Hire, Brackenbury, Brackenbury Village, Low Traffic Scheme, Community Action Group

Neil McCarroll

The “affair” in question was the supposed proposal by Hammersmith & Fulham Council to set up a 24/7 Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) in Brackenbury Village, a scheme that included the installation of camera surveillance. Supposed, because in a recent email sent to Neil and others in the community, Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of the Council, was adamant that he had never seen, let alone recommended, such a plan, and that it wouldn’t be appropriate for the area.

Neil grew up on Southerton Road and went to Brackenbury Primary and Latymer Upper. His father Ian opened Tool Chest in 1984, Neil joined 10 years ago, and now it has a London-wide reputation as the place to hire DIY and building equipment. Over the last few months, the shop transformed into a hub for opposition to the LTN and, understandably, Neil is delighted at the turn of events.

‘It seems like excellent news. But, looking back, it’s such a shame that the best intentions caused such controversy. The problems only arose when the specifics of the camera system became widely known. In turn, that situation was exacerbated by the flawed consultation process: it was claimed that 70 Brackenbury businesses had been spoken to: we certainly weren’t, and I don’t know any that were.’

The LTN would have meant that any vehicle visiting Brackenbury not owned by a Hammersmith & Fulham resident would need to be registered via App or phone by midnight of the same day. ‘As far as I know, the idea wasn’t supported by a single local business or the vast majority of residents,’ explains Neil. ‘It was really heartening that so many people came into the shop to sign our petition and, as a result, I’m now on first-name terms with 20 neighbours who I’d never met before.

‘Equally, Brackenbury businesses have now become much closer. The likes of Hew Stevenson at Shoots and Leaves, Thor Gudmundsson at Brackenbury Wine Rooms, John and Lena Stenton, Aree Talabani at Trussley Dry Cleaners and John Collins have been a wonderful support.’

While the likelihood of an LTN being implemented seems to have receded, Neil himself has developed a taste for community affairs. ‘It would be good to see businesses and residents’ groups become much more closely aligned, and I’d be delighted to get involved. It just makes sense to harness the new-found spirit for the greater good of Brackenbury.’

Tool Chest Tool and Plant Hire
68 Iffley Road
Brackenbury Village
Hammersmith, W6 0PF
020 8748 7912