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

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.