Tuesday, 20 December 2011

What a PHAB Christmas Party – Cllr Elliott joins in the festivities

Last night I had the honour of being invited to the PHAB Christmas Party where I was able to share in the festivities and meet with some of the children and the volunteers who keep this wonderful charity going. In particular, I would like to mention Joyce Pearson and Paul Wenham, both long term Whitton supporters and tireless campaigners for good causes. Also special thanks must go to Pollly, who I had the privilege to present her with a Christmas present, and leads the Whitton PHAB group. And finally all the volunteers who give up their time to help out and on which charities such as this rely on.

Cllr Elliott said: "Promoting inclusion within the wider community is the mantra behind PHAB and at their Christmas party, which i was honoured to attend, I saw this in action. This is a fantastic group and I welcome all the children and volunteers a very Merry Christmas and I look forward to seeing them again in the New Year."

Phab’s aim is to promote and encourage people of all abilities to come together on equal terms, to achieve complete inclusion within the wider community. Activities include table tennis, Wii, arts and crafts, trips and pool.
The group meet on a Monday night, 7.00 to 9.00pm at Whitton Community Centre:

Whitton Community Centre
Percy Road
Twickenham
TW2 6JL

Phone: 020 8894 4452 or contact the Youth Leader, Polly: 07946319746

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Whitton History – Ancient border Whitton brook stars in new book


As a keen historian I am always excited about the news that a new book is being released documenting Whitton’s rich and fascinating history. Ed Harris, our very own local historian, has written an enticing book detailing the ancient boundary of Whitton, Twickenham, St Margarets and Hounslow Borough and encourages us all to walk along the brook from the site of the Duke of Argyll’s former estate at Whitton Park to Moor Mead. A chance to relive our own local history since the time of the Domesday Book.

Ed said: He said: “I do what I can to uplift the profile of Whitton. There’s much to learn about the history of the area and Whitton Brook is a good example of this.”
The book can be purchased at the following shops: Twickenham Museum, Langton’s Bookshop in Twickenham, Regan’s Fish and Chip shop or Buck’s hairdressers.

Cllr Elliott stands up for Whitton parent's educational choice


Whitton Councillor Gareth Elliott meets with Whitton parents campaigning to have the freedom to send their children to a school of their choosing. As opposed to the Liberal Democrats who have made several attempts to scupper the addition of a Catholic school in the Borough I believe that where we supply catholic education at five primaries we should also, when the chance arises as it has done at the Clifden Road site, consider a new Catholic secondary. As someone who has been through Catholic education myself it saddens me that Richmond Borough does not cater for those children who attend our excellent Catholic primary schools. Rather than nurturing these Children within Richmond we push them away forcing them to build new friendships elsewhere and new links external to their homes. Fundamentally, however, where parents choose to send their children to a school they should also have the chance to continue that education onto secondary school.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Spy cars face the axe from Whitton's and Richmond's roads


The unpopular CCTV camera cars responsible for incorrectly issuing more than 18,000 penalty charge notices since 2009 are set to be banned from the streets of Richmond upon Thames.

A report due for discussion at next Thursday’s Cabinet meeting will recommend such cars are permanently removed from the streets.

The report also recommends:
·         A 10 minute ‘grace’ period, rather than the current five minutes, for some delivery vehicles to help businesses, when delivery vehicles will be monitored by CEOs before being issued with ticket, if they are wrongly parked.
·         Drivers who return to their wrongly parked cars before a CEO has actually issued a penalty charge notice should be able to drive away without having a ticket served on them.

Lord True, Leader of Richmond Council, said: “These CCTV cars have been a menace to people for years and I for one will be glad to see the back of them. Councils should not be in the business of trap now, talk later. We promised a review into these spy cars, given the importance of our fair parking agenda to bringing life back to our high streets. Many people see them to be an arbitrary and impersonal way of dealing with parking issues. The tactics used create the impression that Councils are interested only in money.

“Assuming my cabinet colleagues vote with me, the cars will not return to our streets. Instead, CEOs will be out and about and will make greater efforts to talk to people, rather than just sitting out of sight in a spy car.

“We have set out to create a climate of fair parking; removing these unhelpful, sneaky cars would be another step closer to achieving the level of trust between the Council and residents which we aspire to.”

Cllr Chris Harrison, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Street Scene, said: “We have reviewed our operations to be fairer to businesses and residents. We’re proposing to give delivery drivers a few minutes ‘grace’ because we know it’s not always easy to make a drop off. Equally, shoppers who have tried to ‘chance it’ and make a quick stop should not find the long arm of the Council’s parking department chasing them down with tickets without good cause.

“Where people park illegally and dangerously without excuse, we will still deal firmly with them, but our fairer approach means people can go about their daily lives without fear their every move will be watched.”

The two camera cars have been off the streets since the summer, when their use was suspended after it was found the cameras inside them were wrongly licensed. If the Cabinet votes to support the report’s recommendations, they will be removed from the contract which the Council has with parking enforcement provider Vinci Park.

The Cabinet report also makes clear that all CEOs have been re-trained on customer service skills and a fuller programme of training so they can provide a wider range of information, including to tourists, is being planned.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Kneller Hall opens its doors to Weddings


Prospective happy couples can now tie the knot amidst the grandeur of Kneller Hall in Twickenham, now Richmond Council has signed an agreement allowing weddings and civil partnerships to take place there.

The building, originally home in the 18th century to Sir Godfrey Kneller, the court painter to Charles II and George I is now the base for the Army’s Royal Military School of Music.
It is the latest in a line of historic or exemplary properties to be licensed for marriages and partnerships by the Council, to offer couples as much choice as possible in the borough.

Cllr Gareth Elliott, Whitton Ward Councillor, said: "This is an amazing venue within the heart of Whitton. It is a perfect setting for that special day and a wonderful opportunity to show off Whitton's only listed building."

Cllr Pamela Fleming, Richmond Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Business and Culture, said: “We are blessed with a wealth of beautiful venues for civil services in this borough, and I’m glad Kneller Hall has joined the list.

“It will be an especially interesting venue for couples with a military background, and it’s good to have another venue in the Twickenham area, to sit alongside York House, the RFU and Marble Hill House. Our team at the Register Office will be glad to hear from anyone interested in using the Hall, and I’d also like to thank the officers at Kneller Hall for their support in allowing the building to be used.”

Including Kneller Hall there are 25 venues which are licensed for civil weddings and civil partnerships within the borough, including the Nash Conservatory at Kew Gardens, Hampton Court Palace, Richmond Palace, Barnes Wetland Centre, and Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park.

The Council is always looking for other unusual, historic or prominent properties which could be used as venues for ceremonies. If you own or run a building which could be suitable, contact the registrar’s office.

For more information about venues or to nominate a building, visit: www.richmond.gov.uk/licensing_a_venue_for_marriage_and_civil_partnerships.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Whitton's Rogue Landlord Hit with BIG Fine!


A rogue landlord has had £112,500 in illegally gained rent confiscated after being convicted three times for breaching planning enforcement notices following three Richmond Council prosecutions.

Piara Singh Sehajpal did not have planning permission to operate three houses as flats. He was fined £21,000 after being convicted of breaching the enforcement notices under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.  

At Kingston Crown Court, Her Honour Judge Georgina Kent was told by Richmond Council prosecutors that father of four Mr Sehajpal had rented rooms at around £800 per month each, despite not having planning consent.

Cllr Gareth Elliott said: "This is a win for common sense. It is high time landlords who abuse the system for personal gain to the detriment of those around them pay the price. Whitton's unique character must be preserved and the conversion to multiple flats of what had been family homes was not in keeping with the tranquil and pleasant family atmosphere of Rydal Gardens. This win is a testament to the people power of the resident's of Rydal Gardens who have campaigned consistently for this outcome."

Cllr Virginia Morris, Richmond Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning, said: “This is the best outcome we could have hoped for. People may think planning is frustrating and time consuming, but planning laws must be complied with. This case absolutely proves planning enforcement prosecutions do have teeth and can make a difference when required, especially when coupled with the new Confiscation Orders created by the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

“Neighbours have no doubt been concerned about how these houses have been used and I am pleased we can now explain to them what has been happening and how it has been dealt with. It will also serve as a very sharp reminder to other landlords thinking they can try to dodge the law. Planning rules exist for a reason and we will always do our utmost to ensure they are upheld.”

The three houses were 12 Rydal Gardens, Whitton, which had been split into four flats; 29 South Road, Twickenham (nine flats) and 4 Palmeston Road, Twickenham (three flats).
Each property was subject to a separate Planning Enforcement Notice that allowed six months for the property to be returned to a family home. Planning Enforcement Officers visited them and wrote to the defendant so he was aware of the correct planning consent required.
Mr Sehajpal admitted three offences in front of magistrates last year and in March 2011 of breaching three Richmond Council enforcement notices requiring him to return the properties to single homes, contrary to the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. His case was transferred to Crown Court for sentencing and for a confiscation order to be dealt with.
When he appeared before the crown court judge last week, he was sentenced to a fine of £7,000 per offence, amounting to £21,000.
He was further ordered to pay £9,973 towards the Council’s prosecution costs. Mr Sehajpal must pay the full amount within 12 months and was told if he did not, he would face 18 months in prison.
Under section six of the Proceeds of Crime Act, on Friday 18 November the Judge also ruled a Confiscation Order for £112,500 should be issued against Mr Sehajpal taking away the financial benefit to his offending behaviour through letting out the properties without planning permission.
In his statement, Mr Sehajpal, of Honeysuckle Close, Iver, Buckinghamshire, (dob 1/1/1954) described the offences as “minor breaches of planning law” that were a “matter of naivety” on his part.
In her ruling, Judge Kent said undermining planning controls was offensive to neighbours and caused them distress and upset. The judge said Mr Sehajpal knew he needed consent to convert the three family homes to flats, but had a blatant disregard for planning controls to make money. She accepted he had been of previous good character and took into account his early guilty pleas, but considered it was so serious a breach of planning law that that a significant fine was justified.   

Council moves closer to rejuvenating poolside


A blueprint for the future of Twickenham will be published for public scrutiny next month, Richmond Council Cabinet agreed last night.

At the meeting, members reviewed the Twickenham Area Action plan, a draft document that has been compiled using the results of a number of public consultations regarding the future of the area.

In addition, members also agreed to appoint specialist contractors to carry out work on the final phase of the opening of the old swimming pool site on Twickenham Riverside after 30 years of closure.

The future of the riverside site has been spilt into two phases. The first will look at opening up the rest of the old pool the site by the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in June 2012, creating a public space for the local community.  The second phase will consider the potential and future of the existing buildings.

Lord True, Leader of Richmond Council, said “We are grateful to the thousands of local people who have, over the last year, participated in our rolling programme of consultations and meetings regarding the future of Twickenham.

“Over this period, more people have participated directly in shaping ideas for Twickenham’s future than ever before. Neighbourhood planning of this kind, being pioneered here in our borough, is the way to a future shaped by local communities. The days of top-down planning are done. Twickenham people have led the way in generating ideas to improve the wonderful town where they live or work. Now it is time to start making decisions to put community preferences into practice.

“In the latest stage our consultants stimulated debate by setting out three sample scenarios for the area. None of these was a blueprint in itself, but through them we were able to stimulate further discussion on the revival of the town. Residents can now take a final look at the draft plan and see how their views have been inputted into a future vision for the Twickenham.

Cllr Virginia Morris, Richmond Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning said: “We have always known one of the key sites for improvement in Twickenham was the swimming pool site on the riverside. Over the past 30 years there have been a number of proposals for the area and we are determined to find a finally resolve the future of this derelict eyesore.
“We will now work with contractors to clear and open the back of the site so it becomes an open and inviting area - a lasting legacy for the community in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year.”
Over the summer, three scenarios were put forward as part of the development of a Twickenham Area Action Plan, each looking at various options for improvement.

The results of the consultation showed at least 75 per cent of respondents supported most of the suggested objectives.  Different aspects from each of the scenarios had varying levels of support but there was considerable support for enhancing the retail environment, public realm improvements and proposals to reconfigure the road space to reduce the impact of through traffic to make crossing the roads easier.

The draft plan uses this information and outlines the Council’s strategy for improving Twickenham over the next 15 years. Further information regarding the consultation on the Plan, will be published in the next few weeks.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Planning Activity Update - Car Showroom Site

UPDATE: After the previously failed attempt to renovate the car showroom in the middle of the High Street it appears if things are moving again.

Will update with more information as it becomes available.

http://www2.richmond.gov.uk/PlanData2/Planning_CaseNo.aspx?strAppNo=LUAES5KA01000

Beat the crooks: return memorial to glory


A public meeting and discussion has been organised by the borough’s Mayor so Twickenham residents can discuss the future of the Radnor Gardens War Memorial.

The meeting will take place at 8pm on 21 November at Radnor House School. Chaired by the Mayor, Cllr Clare Head, anyone will be able to suggest ideas and comment on the Council’s own suggestions for the memorial.

The memorial was targeted by vandals on October 20 when a large brass plaque depicting a World War One Naval scene was stolen, leaving the memorial bereft for this weekend’s Remembrance Sunday wreath laying.

Cllr Head said: “Stealing from a war memorial is a despicable thing to do, especially so close to Remembrance Sunday. We were shocked that anyone would denigrate the memory of those who have died to make this the free country it is today.

“Out of this disgraceful act though must come some good, so I want to know what people think we should do about the memorial when we repair it. Should it reflect modern views, as well as those of our great, great grandparents who originally raised money for the memorial to be built in 1921?”

People’s views are also wanted on whether the Council should remove the other two bronze plaques and put them in a museum for safekeeping. In this case replicas would be installed on the memorial.

The Council will not take any action until local people have had the chance to say whether the memorial should be repaired to its former state, or whether it should be changed. The authority will also work with the War Memorials Trust and the Royal British Legion to make sure all proposals are acceptable to them.

As well as taking part in the public meeting at Radnor House School, people can also send their views to the Mayor between now and Friday 2 December.  Residents can email mayors.office@richmond.gov.uk, or write to Mayor’s Office, Richmond Council, Richmond Road, Twickenham.

Richmond Borough to receive Olympic Torch - TWICE!


The London Olympic Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) has confirmed that the Olympic Torch Relay will visit the borough on the 24th and 27th July 2012, being one of the only boroughs in London that will see the torch twice.

As part of its tour around the UK, the Olympic Torch will visit over 1,000 villages, towns and cities, including all London boroughs.  Whilst LOCOG have made this commitment to Londoners, no additional funding has been provided to local areas to meet the costs of hosting the parade.

Cllr Lord True, Leader of Richmond Council, said:

“I am very happy that Richmond upon Thames has been included in this prestigious event. And I am sure that residents around the borough will enjoy the experience.  But sometimes the bureaucrats in charge of these bodies seem to forget that Londoners, alone of the 1000 places to be visited, are already paying for the Olympics.

“I have no doubt that given the international reputation of our beautiful borough many spectators and visitors from around the world will gravitate to the Borough to see the torch.

Cllr Elliott said:

"It is fantastic that Richmond Borough can play its part in the global sporting event that is the Olympics. It is an honour to receive that Torch and I look forward to welcoming it through our towns and villages."

Monday, 24 October 2011

Cllr Elliott attends launch of Whitton's first and newest rugby club

From Left left, Middlesex RFU President, Paul Astbury,
Cllr Gareth Elliott, Aidan Potts,
Honorary Secretary Middlesex RFU, Steve Rac 
On Sunday 23rd September October Whitton awoke in the early morning to the news of its newest and only Rugby Club, the Whitton Lions RFC. Launched on the day of the World Cup Final and attended by the President and Honourary Secretary of the Middlesex RFU the fundraising event was an unmitigated success.

"As a town with Rugby at its heart I am extremely proud that Whitton now has its very own rugby team, and even more so that I have been able to be a part of its creation."

"Whitton Lions is a new club created for the community and I hope over the coming months we can see many more people from Whitton and beyond come down to the Old Latymerians Sports Ground to play and support our new club."

Notes to editor
Whitton Lions RFC was set up by local Whitton Councillor Gareth Elliott and local resident Aidan Potts. It plays at the Old Latymerians Sports Ground in Whitton and was recently affiliated to the Middlesex RFU in October.

Open to all players over the age of 18 and of all abilities the club is particularly keen to introduce non players to rugby and to reintroduce those that have not played for a while to the game.

Website: www.whittonlions.co.uk
email: info@whittonlions.co.uk

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Artist required to help animate Whitton Town Centre


Richmond Council is searching for an artist to come and transform an empty shop unit on Whitton High Street into a art community project.
As part of the Council’s Uplift Programme, which aims to revitalise and rejuvenate parts of Whitton, the artist in residence will work with the local community over a one month period to create work that is inspired by local memories, hopes and aspirations.
The artist will be required to design and deliver a variety of drop–in or facilitated workshops and activities to encourage local people of all ages to come in and take part.
Thanks to funding from the Mayor’s Outer London fund, the artist will be offered a £5,000 fee with additional funding available for materials.
The project is being carried out in conjunction with the Town Centre Manager and Whitton Business Association and is due to commence towards the end of November.
Cllr Pamela Fleming, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Community, Business and Culture, said:
“In the All in One survey, residents in Whitton expressed the view that they wanted an opportunity to explore, celebrate and express the identity of their local area. They also voiced concerns about the high number of empty shops along the High Street.
“This is an exciting opportunity that will not only use art and culture to animate the town centre, but it will give local people a platform to be creative and be inspired by the place in which they live.
“We are looking for an artist who will be able to channel all this creativity and work with local people to capture and promote an identity for the future of Whitton.”
To apply to be the Whitton Artist in Residence, send a brief proposal (max 2 sides A4) explaining your interest and your ideas for its delivery, along with your CV, artist’s statement, 3 images of your work.
Applications can be made by email to m.stearn@richmond.gov.uk or by post to Miranda Stearn, Arts & Heritage Development Coordinator, Orleans House Gallery and Arts Service, Riverside, Twickenham TW1 3DJ.
Deadline for submissions is 31 October 2011. For more information call 020 8831 6000
For more media information, please contact Elinor Ridgeway on 020 8487 5159

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Boundary Commission - Change the Name to Hampton Court Petition

The Boundary Commission has proposed that London should have the amount of parliamentary constituencies reduced from 73 to 68 to reduce the amount of politicians at Westminster and to equalise parliamentary constituencies.

Whitton is going to be affected as it will move from the current Twickenham constituency to a new Teddington and Hanworth constituency.

I am personally not in favour of this move because it will remove our historic link with Twickenham. It also goes against the work that I and the people of Whitton have strived to achieve in raising our voice within Richmond.

However, while i will make my voice heard with the Boundary Commission via the consultation (click here) I believe we have a real chance to ensure that the new constituency has a name that is aspirational and befitting our town. It is for this reason that I am supporting local lady Ann Pannet in her bid to change the name of the new constituency to Hampton Court. I urge others to do the same!

Please sign Anne's petion here:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/boundarycomission/




Your Whitton and Heathfield, Your Say


Nearly 200 people attended the first All in One area planning meeting in Whitton and Heathfield on Saturday 14 May in Murray Park Hall.
For those who were unable to attend the event, there is still an opportunity to have your say at the new online community – ‘My Richmond Villages’ online, a series of forums, polls and blogs – giving you the chance to continue the debate. The new Whitton and Heathfield community was launched on Tuesday 17 May at www.richmond.gov.uk/my_richmond_villages. To be able to have your say users will need to register. There are forums and a blog regarding Whitton and Heathfield.
The area planning event follows on from the All in One survey, sent to every home in the borough last autumn, asking residents about local services and finding out the issues that mattered most, and in particular which ones needed improving.
At the event in Murray Park Hall on Saturday, residents were invited to review the results from Whitton and Heathfield, talk to others who are interested as well as local councillors, officers and representatives of other local organisations, including the Police and local Business Association. Visitors were also able to put forward their ideas and suggestions about what can be done to address any issues together.
Residents were also invited to sign up to the community resource bank and volunteer their time, skills or facilities to help address issues in their local area. Do you want to volunteer or request more information, if so complete this form:
In the All in One survey, 1,135 people responded from Whitton and Heathfield and told us:
77% of you were satisfied with your area as a place to live. You also said:
The things that were most important in making it a good place to live included:
·         Local parks and open spaces – 49%
·         Shopping in your local high street – 47%
·         Level of crime and anti-social behaviour – 40%
·         Public Transport – 28%
·         Library services – 26%
The things you identified that most needed improving in your area, included:
·         Shopping in your local high street – 46%
·         Condition of pavements – 35%
·         Traffic and/or levels of congestion – 23%
·         Condition of roads – 22%
·         Support for local businesses – 22%
To see a copy of the report for Whitton and Heathfield(pdf, 2232KB).
The feedback from the event is now being analysed and will be form the basis for a local area action plan that will be put together with local people.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Yellow line amnesty – nominate your yellow lines for removal


Conservatives in Richmond and Whitton are delivering on their promise to ensure ethical car parking policies and continue in our  efforts to attract growth to the borough. After requests from residents and businesses the Council will be removing double yellow lines where complaints have been raised about difficulties to park and shop.

Recently, 50 yards of yellow lines were removed in the popular shopping area of Crown Road, St Margarets, creating 12 new parking spaces.

Now we shall continue with this initiative to get rid of even more yellow lines in order to create further parking spaces and Whitton Town Centre is next on our list.

Businesses, trader’s associations and residents can use this opportunity to nominate which yellow lines cause the most angst and the Council will then consider their removal. Successful nominations will have to ensure that they do not impede safety or traffic flow.

Councillor Chris Harrison, Cabinet Member for Transport said:

“We’re going to do our utmost to support local shops to thrive and one of the best ways is by making it easier for their customers to get in”

“It’s a simple idea but until now no one has taken the initiative and got on with it. By the time we’re finished, I want our shopping streets looking busier and tills ringing even more frequently.”

If you would like to nominate double yellow lines for removal please send an email to highwaysandtransport@richmond.gov.uk

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Whitton's First Tweet Up - Record of the Meeting


A historical day for Whitton… it’s first Tweet-up (a meeting set up through Twitter), led by Councillor Gareth Elliott.
It was great to see how passionate people are about their hometown, and with the ‘Uplift Programme’, made possible through mayoral and council funding, enthusiasm to develop the high street was in abundance. Residents are evidently already pleased with relatively new businesses such as Eye-Smile, giving a ‘personal, professional and friendly service’, and the chique new beauty parlour that has opened next to the new dentist!
With all these local services emerging, Whitton residents were keen to put their views to their local councillor and help build a happy and prosperous town. Part of the uplift programme will be to enhance the village atmosphere of Whitton, by stressing it’s uniqueness and revelling in our history. The place has been around since medieval times. However, looking to the more recent past, the idea is to give the high street a face-lift and a 30s vibe. To aid the creation of a character, rather than uniformity, the idea was put forward to make Whitton High Street a Conservation Area, thereby laying down guidelines in place for shop fronts, signage and so on. A contentious issue at the moment was Lidl’s proposals to erect a 7m tall flag pole with a signpost with it’s logo on, just in front of the library. Residents raised the current appeal with the Planning Inspectorate which is open for comment.


In keeping with the quest to re-establish Whitton’s identity, residents expressed their dismay in the political district being different to that of the post-office, whereby residents with TW3 postcodes are apparently being classed as Hounslow residents, when they are paying taxes to the Richmond Borough. Considering we’re the fourth largest village in the borough, our identity is so important. This brought the group on to the very topical debate about the Boundary Commissions latest proposals. As MPs are being reduced in number to 600 and each constituency only needs 75,000 voters, plans have been put forward to abolish the Twickenham constituency that Whitton comes under. Richmond would then join with Twickenham under new boundary guidelines, leaving Whitton with the prospect of coming under the heading of Teddington and Hanworth. This would encompass Heathfield, Teddington, the two Hanworths, three Hamptons and Whitton. The plans were met with real concern by the participants who indicated they want to ensure their voices are loudly heard as part of the ongoing consultation and public debate.


To conclude, today’s discussion was about identity, identity, identity! To move forward we definitely not only need to preserve what Whitton already has to offer, but look to develop in a positive, structured way.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Twitter First: Cllr Elliott to meet with Whitton tweeters on High Street improvements

Following on from a straw poll conducted through the social networking site Twitter, Cllr Elliott has agreed to meet with Whitton’s residents to discuss the High Street Improvement scheme.

In what appears to be a first for a local Whitton Councillor Cllr Elliott put out a request to residents on Twitter asking for their nominations for possible shop frontage improvements. Due to the hugely positive response and the fact that respondents can only reply in 140 characters Cllr Elliott proposed a physical meeting.

The meeting will be held at the Admiral Nelson on Monday 19th September at 7pm. All welcome.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Boris backs Whitton’s revival with Outer London Fund

On 3rd August it was announced that Whitton was to be one of 30 town centres across outer London to receive Mayoral funding for its High Street uplift programme.

Cllr Gareth Elliott stated:

“Once again the Conservatives have delivered on their promises for Whitton’s High Street. With this additional funding Whitton can look forward to the uplift strategy already put in place by the Conservative run Council.

Unlike the previous Liberal administration we have now have built an impressive funding package, with the much welcomed assistance from Boris, and will deliver the improvements to our town centre that the people of Whitton have cried out for.

Already we can see that Whitton is on the up with the current Lidl works going on at the old co-op site, and exciting new shop openings - a far cry from where we were only a year ago”

Tony Arbour, the GLA member and Richmond Councillor said:

“This is a bonanza for Barnes, a treasure for Twickenham and a welcome windfall for Whitton: said Tony Arbour. “This £1.2million is more than the total he Borough has previously received over more than a decade for improving its High Streets and I congratulate the successful bidders, there is more to come.”

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:

“Investing in our town centres and local areas is absolutely key to maintaining London’s position as the best big city in the world. This cash injection means councils can start work today to attract more people into their area, boost economic growth and bring the buzz back to their high streets.”

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Team Richmond crowned champions at London Youth Games

In what was a golden performance Team Richmond were crowned overall champions in the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games following the finals at Crystal Palace.

Taking a record number of gold medals our young sportspeople achieved the top accolade in Archery, Cycling, Aquathlon, cross country, rowing, and kayak sprint.

The overall first place position is the borough's best ever in the 34 year history of the event.

This is a fantastic result and I congratulate all our young sportsmen and women.

For full results go to www.londonyouthgames.org/news

Monday, 4 July 2011

Cllr Elliott to highlight lack of disabled access at Whitton Station

At Tuesday’s Council [5th July] Cllr Elliott will be raising the issue of lack of investment and disabled access at Whitton station.

As a regular commuter I am acutely aware of the tired and run down state of Whitton Station. With scant investment from Network Rail and SouthWest Trains the station is a sorry sight for the users of the station and for people arriving at the station. While it is currently being prepared for station lengthening Cllr Elliott urges the Council to work with Network Rail and South West Trains to urgently prioritise funding for the upgrade or refurbishment of the station. While Twickenham station is awaiting plans for a complete rebuild and Hounslow station recently received a £400,000 upgrade it is now time for Whitton station, especially now that Whitton’s town centre is being uplifted as part of the Council’s regeneration strategy.

However, of more pressing concern is the complete lack of disability access at the station. Two local residents have written to me complaining that the station is completely inaccessible to the elderly and disabled with only step access to the platforms. This must be looked at as a matter of urgency and Cllr Elliott will be working with the Council to ensure that Network Rail and SouthWest Trains consider this.

Friday, 17 June 2011

New Business Champion appointed by Council

Businesses in the borough will receive even more support, now the Council’s new Business and Retail Champion has taken up her post.
Susan Shaw, previously a specialist in business growth and development, joined the Council’s economic development team on Monday. Her appointment fulfils a commitment made by the Cabinet in October to recruit a champion to be an advocate for all businesses in the borough.
Susan will be heavily involved in the Council’s inward investment programme, following its successful launch last year. An important part of her work will be identifying potential development opportunities and building links between businesses and land or premises owners. She also works towards building a pro-business approach across the Council’s activities.
Cllr Pamela Fleming, Richmond Council’s Cabinet Member for Community, Business and Culture, said:
“Bringing Susan on board will strengthen our already robust links with business in this borough. It is the private sector that will drive growth as we lift ourselves out of the recession, and it is the Council’s duty to make that as easy for businesses as possible. That’s why the Cabinet recognised the importance of recruiting someone with the right skills to do this.
“Susan will take responsibility for a number of projects, including the Town Centres Opportunities Fund and co-ordinating the borough wide business and retail alliance we have already set up. She will be the voice for business and make sure that our All in One plans for town and village centres include their views and business perspectives on our plans for revitalising town and village centres as a result of the information we have gained from the All in One programme.”
Susan Shaw said: “My task will be to make sure business, industry and the Council understand each other and that we work closer together for the benefit of everyone in the borough.
“Richmond upon Thames has a very lively business scene and the borough has coped relatively well with the recession – there is more that can be done to help our firms and shops return to full strength after the downturn, but we are starting from a good standing point.”
Susan will be a conduit for business and investors seeking to set up or relocate to the borough to create new jobs, as well as helping to build the right balance of businesses in town and village centres.
She will co-ordinate the Council’s Town Centres Opportunities Fund and work with groups representing businesses to build capacity in retail areas, as well as seeing if there are any areas that would benefit from a business or traders’ association.