Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Invest in Whitton – Richmond Council’s new investment programme

Recognising the importance of building strong partnerships with businesses and commercial landlords, in order to strengthen local economies and ensure a strong and robust recovery, the Council has launched its Invest in Richmond Upon Thames Programme, including the Invest in Whitton website.


Cllr Nicholas True, Leader of Richmond Council, who was once a business owner in the borough, said: “It is the private sector that is going to drag the country out of the hole it has got into and I am extremely conscious that councils can do many things to help business but they can also get in the way. If there are silly rules that exist which hinder businesses, they will disappear."

“We are keen to help our smaller businesses and we very much welcome our larger firms that are already here, and those we look forward to bringing in through this investment programme. Here in Richmond, we have a cabinet member dedicated to supporting firms and shops and a Council that is pro-business, surely there is nothing that can stop us? We believe in business, welcome business and are open for business. I am looking forward to working towards a prosperous future for all in this borough.”

A comprehensive inward investment information pack and website at www.richmond.gov.uk/invest will be used as reference materials for commercial agents, chambers of commerce, traders networks and investment agencies like Think London, which specialise in attracting new businesses, as well as individual firms.

Cllr Gareth Elliott said: “Private enterprise is crucial to economic recovery and the Invest in Whitton and Richmond programme offers current and potential businesses a clear point of contact and a commitment from the Council to review policies to make life easier for businesses. This is great news.”

Leader of the Council, Cllr Nick True, comes to Whitton High Street

Meeting with Cllr Gareth Elliott and Cllr Virginia Morris, the Cabinet member for Environment, Cllr Nick True, the Leader of the Council, visited Whitton and its High Street over the weekend to take a closer look at the improvements being scheduled.

Highlighting the gateway improvements Cllr Gareth Elliott pointed out how the town centre will benefit from the investment being proposed by the Council. The tour included the old co-op site, which is now subject to a planning application by the supermarket chain, Lidl, and had been derelict for decades, the Library and a walk around Whitton’s shops.

Cllr Gareth Elliott said “It was great to have Nick down to Whitton and his visit, one of many I hope, shows the new found enthusiasm and confidence this new administration has in Whitton. I look forward to working with the Leader of the Council to ensure that we can rejuvenate Whitton and its town centre.”

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Whitton commuters WILL be able to top up Oyster cards

It would appear that after pressure from the Government South West Trains have finally given in and agreed to allow commuters to top-up their oyster cards.

South West Trains had, until last week, been the only rail operator to refuse to operate Oyster operable ticket machines. This meant that those commuters travelling from Whitton travelling into central London would have to top up their cards before they travelled or remember to do so before they left the city.

The changes will now allow commuters to top-up at Whitton station from May next year making journeys into London much simpler and easier. 

SWT managing director Andy Pitt said: “We have been committed to finding a solution to make it possible for passengers to also top up their Oyster cards at our stations.”

Monday, 15 November 2010

Heathfield Library - Cllr Gareth Elliott's letter to the RT&T

Dear Sir,

While I bemoan the need to close any library the current furore being generated by the Liberal Party about Heathfield Library has left me baffled. After all it must be pointed out that the decision to demolish the library and replace it with a poly-clinic was actually taken by the previous Liberal administration and not the Conservatives.

The situation now is that we must look forward and decide how best to maintain library provision, particularly for the children at Heathfield School. While the Liberals are very good at organising a photo shoot they seem strangely unwilling to help out in terms of looking at alternative options, something I have already discussed with Cllr Pamela Fleming who, in the spirit of coalition, has invited Heathfield, Whitton and West Twickenham ward councillors to a meeting next week and I hope they will approach this in a positive way so we can consider the best possible options for our residents.

Library services must remain accessible and in pondering this question i see the potential of redeveloping Whitton high street and Whitton library for the benefit of both Heathfield and Whitton residents as a huge opportunity. Whitton library was the only major library not to be updated by the previous Liberal administration and it now appears opportune to turn the closure of Heathfield library into a positive. Whitton library sits at the heart of the town centre of both wards. With the recently announced £230,000 improvements to the High Street and the purchase by Lidl of the old derelict Co-Op site it would be sensible to integrate improved library provision. Accessibility is also likely to be vastly improved with the potential diversion of the 110 bus route to the top of the high street directly linking Heathfield residents with their main shopping centre.

Whitton Library is already used by a significant number of Heathfield residents and if we improve facilities I am sure more people will be attracted to use the library services. After all, as the nearest major shopping centre people from Heathfield are already travelling to the High Street to shop and relax. Better library services as well whilst they are there is a potential win-win for all.

Yours sincerely

Cllr Gareth Elliott