Friday, 15 April 2011

Letter to Richmond & Twickenham Times - High Street Renewal

Dear Sir,

I read with shock and surprise the headline of last week’s newspaper that stated Whitton had been ‘left to ruin’. On the weekend of the news that the Lidl planning application for the old co-op site had been approved by the Council, and the announcement in the Budget that Whitton would benefit as a priority one town in the Uplift programme, it is simply bad reporting. While it is true the improvements programme has been put on hold the true outcome for Whitton is hugely positive.

The delay in the improvement programme has been brought about because of the more comprehensive Uplift programme. It would be irresponsible for this administration not to consider the two programmes in tandem and to coordinate them effectively. This will limit disruption to Whitton residents and ensure Council funds are spent most effectively and to the greatest effect. The delay has also allowed the incorporation of resident’s views from the All-in-One consultation which have overwhelmingly placed the need to regenerate our High Street and shops as the top priority.

What is vital is that what we do going forward is managed in a linked up and strategic manner. I cannot allow Whitton to be treated like a second class town picking up scraps here and there, as has been the policy of the previous administration. We have a chance here to really do something great and through this Uplift strategy and the work of the improvements scheme I am confident that you will see an impressive strategy for growth with tangible milestones so that we can truly enhance our town.
The first chance to outline this new strategy will be displayed at the first All-in-One roadshow on 14th May at Murray Park Hall. I urge you all to come along and to make your voices heard.

Yours faithfully

Cllr Gareth Elliott