H&F: Brexit preparations

Hammersmith & Fulham has a long history of welcoming and supporting Europeans who have come to call our borough home.

Residents of Hammersmith & Fulham taking part in a march for Unity Day

Hammersmith & Fulham Council is opposed to Brexit and will do everything in its power to promote the benefits of the UK remaining in the European Union and to seek a People’s Vote on any Brexit deal, with an option to remain.

We will continue to take positive action to ensure that all EU citizens feel welcome in Hammersmith & Fulham and do all we can to encourage them to remain in our borough.

In the 2016 EU referendum, 70 per cent of the vote in Hammersmith & Fulham was for the UK to remain in the EU. The council has a democratic mandate to represent its citizens so it stands alongside the vast majority of the population, who wish to remain in the EU.

The council believes that Brexit will diminish the economic prosperity of our borough and undermine the delivery of our Industrial Strategy, “Economic Growth for Everyone”. It is a regressive and socially divisive policy that will have a negative impact on the majority of the borough’s residents.

The council is opposed to Brexit because it goes against the will of the majority of the population of the borough. The council supports the wide range of evidence, including commentary from the Bank of England, trade bodies and leading local, regional and national politicians, that Brexit will have negative impacts across a number of areas.

The council’s work preparing for Brexit suggests negative impacts in the following areas:

  • Workforce: there are expected to be workforce pressures, particularly in the health and social care fields and in construction and development.
  • Goods and services: restrictions on trade are likely to lead to supply chain issues affecting housing, health and social care provision.
  • EU legislation: this has brought progressive changes to UK law, in areas such as waste and environmental standards, that might be lost in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
  • Community cohesion: around the time of the referendum there was an increase in xenophobic graffiti and verbal attacks in H&F and there remains a danger that this might re-emerge around the time of Brexit, as conflicting tensions come to the surface.
  • Economy: there are likely to be increasing inflationary pressures on the UK economy and on the council’s budget.

Read more on our Brexit policy (pdf 340KB) and the potential impact of Brexit in H&F (pdf 212KB). This report is adapted from the latest in a series of briefings to update cabinet members on the potential impact of Brexit on H&F and the mitigating actions being planned or developed.

Read the full Brexit briefing report for September 2019 (pdf 497KB).

It's an unsettling time for EU citizens living in the UK and we’re here to help wherever we can. If you have any questions about your legal status or your residency rights, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the H&F Law Centre and Citizens Advice H&F.

Need to prove your right to live in the UK?

Find out about applying for settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme. In response to the coronavirus pandemic and in the interests of protecting all users of council services, unfortunately we are no longer able to offer the EUSS ID verification walk-in service.

You will have until 30 June 2021 to apply for either settled or pre-settled status.

Government EU settlement scheme employer toolkit

The Home Office has published an EU settlement scheme employer toolkit on the GOV.UK website along with a number of advice leaflets regarding the EU settlement scheme.

Supporting businesses

It's our ambition to make our borough the best place to do business in Europe and to ensure that everyone benefits, not just a favoured few. This is reflected in our industrial strategy, Economic Growth for Everyone.

Visit GOV.UK - Brexit for the latest information on Brexit from the government.

Own a food business in H&F and need advice? Visit our Brexit and food businesses page.

H&F: Heart of Europe

Hammersmith & Fulham has long been one of the most European areas of our cosmopolitan city.

Here’s a taste of what puts H&F at the Heart of Europe, with a wealth of European food, drink, history and cultural links which enrich our community, and make it the great place it is today.

  • Food and drink

    EU nationals lead the way in bringing successful, innovative restaurants and bars to our neighbourhoods.

    The owner of The Crepe Factory in 297 North End Road, Decio Barroso, has arguably the best crepes in London. The former pro footballer from Portugal had his restaurant ranked as the number one dessert restaurant on TripAdvisor, and hopes to still be in pole position as West Brompton regenerates.

    “In time we hope this will become one of London’s great areas – it’s going to improve, and there is much change coming along,” said Decio. “We have created something new and different, with fresh home-made ice cream, crepes and waffles. We work with quality, and we have a unique family concept with a very colourful space inside.”

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    Michelin-starred chef Gonzalo Luzarraga and friend Francesco Ferretti of RIGO’

    Delicious delicacies from the bel paese, Italy, are peppered around H&F from the Italian celebrity haunt of Gola at 787 Fulham Road to RIGO’ at 277 New Kings Road.

    Michelin-starred chef Gonzalo Luzarraga and friend Francesco Ferretti of RIGO’ teamed up to open their first French-Italian restaurant and found a thriving community of businesses who were more than welcoming.

    “H&F is a truly business-friendly borough,” added Francesco. “Every single shop on this stretch of the New Kings Road has embraced our arrival and given us advice and support. From lending us their tools to fix something in the restaurant to helping us find a room for a member of staff, it has been utterly astonishing.”

    The six-course signature menu includes spaghettoni dei fiori with edible flowers and sea urchin with bagna cauda – a traditional dish from Piedmont – all well worth a try.

    Meanwhile over in Fulham Broadway you’ll find a little corner of Spain at 10 Effie Road. El Metro has been serving up authentic plates of tapas and fish, with specialities including Catalan shellfish casserole, Cazulea de Marisco which has been a fixture on the menu since 1989.

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    Local Hero founders Petar Blazevic and wife Mirjana

    An evening in the Octoberfest pub at 678 Fulham Road might fill you with oom-pah-pah, being home to the largest selection of German beers in the UK and authentic Bavarian cuisine.

    Read our blog: Is Fulham’s Octoberfest the full on German experience?

    You can get day-to-day delights from Bäkehaus at 71 King Street, Hammersmith, a shop celebrated for its German authenticity and appeal. For bread, cakes, pastries and pretzels it’s hard to beat.

    If it’s more of a caffeine hit that you need, head over to the popular Local Hero Coffee Shop which has been keeping residents fed and caffeinated since 2014. Founders Petar Blazevic and wife Mirjana have created a favourite spot with locals at 640 Fulham Road in Parsons Green, and have gone on to expand their coffee empire to Kingston too.

    One of the capital’s finest cafes, Patisserie Sainte-Anne, pitched up at 204 King Street, Hammersmith, after moving to London from Paris in 2014, with Alain and Keiko Marache creating all sorts of tempting bakes and breads, importing all their butter from France.

  • Culture

    H&F enjoys strong links with Poland via POSK, the Polish Social and Cultural Association, at 238 King Street, Hammersmith. Set up in August 1964 to promote education, art and cultural ties between the UK and Poland, it has cemented already strong bonds.

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    The Polish Social and Cultural Association in Hammersmith

    The initiator, creator and builder of POSK was the inspirational Professor Roman Wajda. After being awarded two Crosses of Valour and spending time in a labour camp during the Soviet occupation of Poland, he came to London in 1946 and worked in the Polish Resettlement Corps before creating the beacon that is the POSK for our Polish community in H&F.

    There have always been strong connections between west London and Ireland, with the Irish Cultural Centre in 5 Blacks Road, Hammersmith, the focus for the Irish community. Rebuilt over four years with help from the Irish government and the Shepherds Bush Housing Group, the new centre was opened ahead of St Patrick’s Day 2017.

    With such a large, vibrant French population in west London, it’s no surprise that there’s a strong French accent in Hammersmith & Fulham.

    Le Hérisson is a French pre-school in Rivercourt Road, Ravenscourt Park, teaching children up to the age of six in the French language, with regular fresh-air outings to the nearby park.

    L’Ecole des Petits began in 1977, and now has 135 children aged three to six in its base in Hazlebury Road, Fulham.

    The charity Dispensaire Francais is based at 184 Hammersmith Road, assisting French speakers in medical matters, drawing on the expertise of Gallic doctors who live in London, and offering wider social support.

  • Health and beauty

    The founder of Terra Hale, London’s first eco-friendly self-sustainable gym, hails from the Czech Republic. Michal Homola has transformed the space at 853 Fulham Road into a biophilic paradise. Away from the hustle and bustle of the busy Fulham Road, you find a temple of fitness with every nook and cranny oozing tranquillity. Green vegetation grows in one corner, the interiors are decorated with recycled materials and even the hand towel in the loo is bio-degradable.

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    Michal Homola

    “I believe that our body is our machine and that is reflected in the layout of the gym. You would never believe that you were in the middle of Fulham when you enter Terra Hale,” said Michal. “H&F is a fantastic place to do business and I could not ask for more.”

    Bernie Haaser, who comes from the Austrian Alps, joined the sports footwear specialist Profeet at 867-869 Fulham Road in 2011 where he is the senior ski boot technician. He has found snug fits for all and sundry including England rugby World Cup winner Will Greenwood.

    Get inked up by Latvian tattoo artist Robert Klamanis who forms part of the talented team of artists at Hammersmith Tattoo at 3 North End Road. Robert did four years of art school in Latvia before moving to H&F to begin his two-year apprenticeship, and has now developed a unique style of his own.

    Romanian businesswoman Oana Babagianu moved over to the UK over 10 years ago and recently opened Vos Beauty Salon at 618 Fulham Road with a team that consists of stylists from Italy, Romania and Portugal – a real mixed European family.

    The Fulham shop opened in July 2016 following the success of her beauty salon in Chelsea. She has also expanded the Vos line into the jewellery business, car rentals and events. There is no stopping her!

  • Shopping

    The Duchess of Cambridge is a huge fan of Merci Maman in 25 Heathmans Road, the brainchild of Beatrice de Montille who founded her hand-crafted jewellery business at her kitchen table in 2007 and has not looked back.

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    Beatrice de Montille

    She is an award-winner at H&F Brilliant Business Awards, which boosted her reputation and which has greatly benefited the Fulham-based company.

    “Winning the award has allowed us to grow our brand awareness locally, and also nationwide,” said Beatrice. “Being recognised by your local council is a great privilege as we work hard to support and work with our local community.”

    If you love the look of Scandinavian furniture, but don’t want to go you-know-where… try Nordic Style at 68 New Kings Road which is filled with Swedish elegance and accessories, from dining chairs and chests of drawers to candles, vases and lamps.

    A popular gift shop among Kings Mall regulars in Hammersmith, Flying Tiger Copenhagen is a Danish design store featuring a constant parade of new ideas. It boasts that there are 300 new products piled high on the tables every month, from gadgets to toys, home decoration to fashion accessories.

  • Sports

    With three famous football clubs in a single borough, it’s no wonder so much European talent has been drawn to Hammersmith & Fulham to add silky skills and glorious grit to the squads of Chelsea, Fulham and QPR down the years. But did you know that the practice of embracing continental stars is more than a century old?

    Nils Middelboe became the first foreign player to wear Chelsea blue way back in 1913, with the 6ft 2in Dane making 175 appearances for the club. Since then Stamford Bridge has been illuminated by dozens of European wizards, from Eden Hazard (Belgium) and Claude Makelele (France) to Michael Ballack (Germany) and Gianfranco Zola (Italy), Arjen Robben (Netherlands) to Dan Petrescu (Romania).

    Just down the Fulham Road at Craven Cottage, Fulham FC’s alumni include Dimitar Berbatov (Bulgaria), Giorgios Karagounis (Greece) and Zoltan Gera (Hungary), not to mention current squad members Mattias Kait (Estonia), Marek Rodak (Slovakia) and Michael Madl (Austria).

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    Fulham prizefighter Zak Chelli

    In Shepherds Bush, Queens Park Rangers has been a home-from-home to Niko Kranjcar (Croatia), Sam Magri (Malta), Kaspars Gorkss (Latvia), Giorgios Tofas (Cyprus) and Radek Cerny (Czech Republic), while current regulars Marcin Brzozowski (Poland) and Ryan Manning (Ireland) still entertain the crowds at Loftus Road.

    Meanwhile, Fulham boxing sensation Zak Chelli first laced the gloves up at the tender age of five under the tutelage of his father Zak Chelli Snr.

    The prizefighter of Italian descent went pro after dominating the amateur scene and signed with legendary boxing promoter Frank Warren.

    The super-middleweight contender aims to take the 12st division by storm following in the footsteps of world super-middleweight champion George Groves, who is also from Fulham.

  • History

    The European influence on the borough starts with part of its very name. There are numerous interpretations behind the name of Fulham but the widely accepted explanation is that it derives from the Saxon word Fullenhaue meaning ‘the resort of birds’ due to the high volume of water fowl in the area.

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    POSK centre founder Professor Wajda

    The famous moat uncovered at Fulham Palace is considered by some historians to be the creation of the Danish army in 879 as a form of protection while they were encamped there through the winter while others think it was built later during the 14th century.

    H&F has been home to many great European artists such as Giovanni Battista Cipriani, Francesco Bartolozzi and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska through the years. On a musical note, Irish sensation Elvis Costello grew up in Olympia and got his first taste of show business watching his father perform at Hammersmith Palais in the Joe Loss Orchestra.

    Costello went on to include the borough in his song London’s Brilliant Parade:

    From the gates of St Marys
    There were horses in Olympia
    And a trolley bus in Fulham Broadway

    H&F’s love and support for our European counterparts extended to thousands of Belgian refugees who were housed in Empress Hall, which is now where the Empress State Building stands, during World War One in 1915. Plaques still hang in Fulham Town Hall and St Thomas of Canterbury church in Rylston Road commemorating the Belgians’ stay.

Tell us more

Please let us know about any other European connection or business in H&F, or just to tell us your experience of how our EU citizens have contributed. Email shareyourviews@lbhf.gov.uk

Or get involved on Twitter using #HFHeartofEurope.

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