Monday, 26 November 2012

Whitton's Christmas Switch On

Yesterday I had a wonderful time at Whitton’s Christmas Lights Switch On. Not only did I do the 3k walk (injury meant I could not do the 5k run, honest!) but I was able to watch Dusty the Dog switch on the lights. My wife also managed to enjoy the market and we ended up with a fabulous new chopping board among other things.

Fantastically organised by the Whitton Business Association once again it was fantastic to see Whitton’s residents out together enjoying what our town has to offer. I met many of the volunteers, who without which the event wouldn't be possible. And I should also say a thank you to Bridget Clements, our wonderfully hard working Town Centre Manger, who was once again ensuring everything went smoothly (and with her trusty clipboard).

Oh and I mustn't forget my favourite part of the Christmas event. The Human Fruit Machine. Although I didn't win the ladies did manage two oranges and lemon. So close to the 50p prize. All in the name of charity. Fantastic.

And what better day to end the evening then a quick pint with the boys from Whitton Lions.

Happy Christmas

Friday, 16 November 2012

Residents in Whitton to have their say

Whitton residents are being urged to comment on proposals to revitalise their high street as part of the Council’s Uplift programme, including improvements to the roads, walkways and the area’s overall appearance.
Following the Council’s All in One survey where residents asked to see more investment in the high street, swift improvement works have begun to upgrade street lighting and shop fronts. Now the Council is encouraging residents to have their say in shaping the next round of works as part of the Uplift programme.
The environmental improvements planned for Whitton High Street include resurfacing the carriageway along the High Street, reducing the amount of street furniture and signs, planting new trees, and replacing the pavements on both sides of Whitton High Street between the Admiral Nelson Pub and the junction at Jubilee Avenue and Montrose Avenue.
Cllr Virginia Morris, Cabinet Member for Environment said: “In response to residents' comments from the Council's All in One survey we propose to carry out additional work to further improve the look of Whitton High Street and complement the work already undertaken.
“We encourage anyone affected to take a look at the consultation drawings to see where the improvements will be carried out and provide us with their views which will help shape the works going forward.”
All addresses on the high street have been posted details and drawings of the plans. A presentation outlining the plans will also be on display at Whitton Library.
Completed questionnaires are to be returned by 30 November when the consultation closes. Please visit our consultation section for details.

High Court rules Council decision on Catholic Schools Lawful

Richmond Council is today delighted that the High Court of Justice has ruled that the Council’s decision on the future of the Clifden Site is lawful.
In May the Council’s Cabinet agreed to a proposal by the RC Dioceses of Westminster and Southwark that the Council-owned Clifden Site should be leased as the site for a new Catholic voluntary-aided secondary school and a Catholic primary school. This decision followed a lengthy period of consultations, which went well beyond statutory requirements. In the final consultation sixty seven per cent of parents and residents who responded agreed that the site should be used to establish a new, five-form entry Catholic Secondary School with fifty seven percent in favour of the primary school proposal.
Since this decision was made the British Humanist Association (BHA), which is opposed to faith schools, has, with support from Mr Jeremy Rodell, of the Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign (RISC), taken legal action to have the democratic decision overturned, taking their case to the High Court of Justice.
In a one and a half day hearing at the Court, the Judge reviewed all the evidence submitted by both parties and concluded that Richmond Council did act within the law when it considered and approved the Diocese of Westminster’s proposals for the schools.
Lord True, Leader of Richmond Council, said:
“I am delighted with today’s outcome which supports the clear, democratic decision that was taken locally in pursuit of the previously longstanding policy of both parties on the Council. It will come as an enormous relief to the hundreds of families whose hopes for their children’s education has been threatened by this hostile legal maneuvering.
“This Council set out a full programme of genuinely inclusive educational improvement in its Schools White Paper in 2010. Working in partnership with our schools and Colleges, we have acted, and will continue to act, to create further capacity and to sustain and raise quality, and choice across our secondary system. This programme includes working with schools on standards, facilitating sixth forms and providing new secondary and primary schools and places. It also includes honouring the Council’s longstanding promise to seek to enable a Catholic secondary in the borough and so give local Catholic families what almost every other Borough in London already does.
“Over the past year, the British Humanist Association has elbowed its way into Richmond upon Thames with their clear national agenda of hostility to faith schools – their action has been uncaring and unsympathetic to the many people within the Richmond Catholic community who have worked hard to bring their dream of a dedicated secondary school to fruition. It has also totally ignored the parallel action being taken by this Council to provide more places for all. Hundreds of local families have been left uncertain about the future of the school and thousands of pounds of Council Tax payers money has been spent on lawyers. I trust that the BHA will now accept the verdict that they themselves sought and let Richmond get on with building an even better education system for all. A period of silence from certain all too well ventilated local voices would also be welcome.
“I am glad that this uncertainty has come to an end and we look forward to moving forward, working with the Diocese of Westminster to develop plans for the schools.”

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Your Right – Your Vote: Young people needed to shape their local area

Young people who want to influence the key decisions affecting under-19s in the borough, are being urged to stand for election as one of Richmond upon Thames’ representatives on the UK Youth Parliament or as their local Youth Councillor.

For the first time ever, along with the Youth Parliament Member elections, young people can stand as their local area representative on the borough’s Youth Council.

Both the UK Youth Parliament and local Youth Council aim to provide young people with a greater understanding of the democratic process and empower them to participate in society as active, informed and responsible citizens.

Candidates can put themselves forward for either position, with nominations running until 30 November 2012. Those elected will be supported by Richmond Youth Service and receive a high standard of training to equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to run campaigns and debates on behalf of local young people to ensure their views are listened to by decision makers.

All elected candidates will serve for a two year term.

Cllr Christine Percival, Strategic Cabinet Member for Education, Youth and Children’s Services on Richmond Council, said:

“With so many changes happening in national and local government, this is the perfect time for young people who are passionate about local issues to put themselves forward as the spokespeople for their generation. Theses roles carry a big responsibility, but with that there is the chance to have a real impact on decision-making.

“I am pleased that for the first time ever we will also have a democratically elected Youth Council, ensuring that members are representative of the whole borough.

“There is traditionally a lot of interest in our Youth Elections, with more than 6,500 young people voting at the last elections in 2010. With the Youth Council elections at the same time, I hope that even more will participate this year. I would encourage anyone interested to put themselves forward before the closing date for nominations.”

Anyone aged between 11 and 19 who lives, goes to school or is educated in the borough is able to stand for nomination. Candidates must complete a short application form available online, from all secondary schools in the borough or from local youth centres. Following the nomination of candidates, a campaign and voting period will commence, with the declaration of results announced on the 20 March 2013.

Two youth parliament members will be elected, along with a deputy. In addition the elections will see 34 youth councillors (five for each quindrat in the borough and eight representatives from subgroups).

For information on the Richmond Youth Parliament Member role or the Richmond Youth Council, please visit or contact Michael Connor on or call 020 8288 7511

Be Safe Not Sorry This Bonfire Night

Residents in Richmond upon Thames are being reminded to take extra care and be thoughtful of those around them on Monday 5 November as they celebrate bonfire night.
The Community Safety Partnership (CPP) are urging people to be ‘safe not sorry’ when celebrating bonfire night as although fun, fireworks when used incorrectly can be dangerous and cause serious harm.

Cllr Pamela Fleming, Richmond Council’s Strategic Cabinet Member for Community, Business and Culture echoed the message by saying

“With bonfire night falling on a Monday this year we are aware that there may be a certain amount of revelry on the previous weekend, as well as on the actual night. The message we would like to spread is one of responsibility – when it comes to setting off fireworks in your own garden or in public – it is important to take care, be thoughtful of those around you and be sensible.

“When used properly fireworks are fine and can be a lot of fun, however, if used incorrectly people can get seriously injured. Unfortunately, figures from the last five years show that the majority of injuries sustained from fireworks being used incorrectly have been pre-school children, some even as young as one.”

Inspector Darren Weston of Twickenham Safer Neighbourhood Team, added:
"Bonfire Night is a great evening but it is important that people understand the dangers fireworks pose. I would encourage people to go to organised firework displays if they can, but if they do decide to hold their own display that they follow the firework code. We are working with retailers and colleagues from the Fire Brigade and Council to ensure that shops don’t sell fireworks to children. Safer Neighbourhoods teams will be patrolling in the evenings and will deal very positively with underage possession and misuse. Overall we want people to have a great evening and stay safe.”

The CSP are also asking residents to be vigilant and ensure they buy fireworks from a licensed retailer and not to buy loose fireworks that may have been tampered with.
It is not illegal to set off fireworks in your own garden as long as it is after 7am and before 11pm and you are over the age of 18. On Bonfire night you are legally allowed to set off fireworks until 12am. 

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Richmond Hero Mo Farah to be awarded Freedom of the Borough

Double gold medal athletic champion Mo Farah will be offered Freedom of the Borough in recognition of his sporting achievements at this summer’s Olympics.

The athlete, who has a home in Teddington and still trains at St Mary’s University when in the UK, has seen a huge groundswell of support since becoming the Olympic Champion in the 10,000 metres and 5,000 metres.

Lord True, Leader of Richmond Council, said: “Mo’s achievement this summer was phenomenal. It has been many years since we have seen an athlete so talented and the discipline and dedication that he has shown should be celebrated as part of the Olympic legacy.

“It has been fantastic to see the effect his success has had on people, not just in Richmond upon Thames, but across the country. There have been scores of people out to Teddington to visit his ‘golden post box’ and he has become such an inspiration to others both here and across the world, acting as an ambassador for our borough.

“He has acted with such dignity throughout the past few weeks in which he has won not one but two medals that we thought it was only right we offered him the highest honour possible we can give to a resident.”

Cllr Gareth Elliott, Whitton Ward Councillor, said: "This is a fantastic way to celebrate the achievements of Mo at the London Olympics. Now we must begin our own Olympic effort to ensure that the legacy of the Olympics continues throughout Richmond and beyond."

It is hoped that the Freedom of the Borough ceremony will be early in 2013.  

Richmond in Bloom - London Champion - Flower Power

Richmond upon Thames is celebrating being recognised as the most flowered borough in the Capital after scooping the top award at the London in Bloom prize giving ceremony yesterday.
The Council’s entries in the annual competition resulted in the coveted Borough of the Year award and gold awards for York House Gardens, Terrace Gardens and the City B categories with second place positions for overall Biodiversity and for Barnes Common. Twickenham Town Centre also received high praise with a Silver Gilt accolade.

Cllr Virginia Morris, Richmond Council’s Strategic Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning said: “Last year I said that one of our main priorities is to ensure that Richmond upon Thames is recognised as a ‘flowered borough’ and I am pleased that we have now officially achieved that aim.

“Over the last few years we have gone from strength to strength in the London in Bloom awards and everyone’s efforts have finally paid off with our best results ever. There have been hundreds of people involved and all the hard work and pride of everyone who has maintained gardens, hanging baskets or window boxes has been recognised.

“I would like to thank all the Council officers in our parks service and the grounds maintenance contractor Veolia for all their efforts. Particularly I would also like to praise the friends and supporters groups which we work well with and who make suggestions about how our open spaces could improve. In their assessment of Barnes’ Common the judges specifically praised the Friend’s Group for their efforts to improve the open space.

“Earlier this year we announced significant investment in our parks and open spaces, to increase the already high standards around the borough, and I look forward to continuing working with the community to keep our standards high so we can claim further awards in 2013.”

Mayor backs Richmond Referendum on Heathrow Expansion

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson has issued his support on Richmond Council’s plans to invite all residents to have their say on any future Heathrow airport expansion in a referendum-style ballot later this municipal year.

In a cross-party motion the Council last night unanimously reaffirmed its position to resist any proposals to expand Heathrow airport after 2015 and resolved that any expansion of the airport should be blocked permanently.

The Council Leader, Lord True, also announced his intent that residents would be invited to publically declare their views on any expansion through a referendum-style vote to be held in the next few months.

It is hoped that thousands of residents in this borough will vote ‘NO’, sending the strongest possible signal to those lobbying for the creation of a third runway and intensification of flights.
Lord True is in contact with other West London Councils; it is hoped that Richmond may not be alone in making this move. He said:

“Richmond Council has again taken a united stance on an issue where people righty expect us to put aside party bickering in local politics. We are all elected to fight for our residents - and there is no issue more important to them than this.

"I deeply regret that the nightmare vision of Heathrow expansion that had been so wisely laid to rest by our Coalition government has been resurrected. This time we must kill it off for good. As far as this Council is concerned it will be all-out war with the big money interests and slick-suited PR men peddling this foolish project. It is perfectly possible to deliver increased airport capacity in south-east England without expanding Heathrow. No-one in their right minds would consider building a new airport on the Heathrow site today - that must surely go for a new runway, too.

“Frankly, Richmond and other west London residents have had enough. They have patiently borne the scourge of Heathrow, with all the noise, pollution and risks, for decades. In 2010 they were given hope of permanent relief from expansion - they trusted the word of those who gave that promise and it should not be broken.

"As their elected representatives we are not prepared to sit meekly and take incoming fire from the Heathrow lobby without giving our residents the chance to hit back and have their say. The proposed ballot will give the long-suffering people of west London an unprecedented opportunity to shout loud and clear to those that run the airport, and anyone inside government who may support them, that Londoners simply won’t take it. I hope that other Boroughs will join us.”

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, added:
“I warmly welcome the news of this ballot in Richmond. It is a positive step that people living in the vicinity of Heathrow and who would feel the impact of any expansion most acutely, are given an opportunity to have their opinions clearly heard.

“Londoners elected me on a platform of opposition to expansion at Heathrow and it is a mandate I am absolutely determined to defend. A third runway would mean more traffic, more noise, more pollution and a serious erosion in the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of people. We need to rule out this option once and for all and quickly take forward a bolder, longer term solution capable of supporting the needs of the capital, namely a new hub airport ideally to the east of London."

Further information on the ‘Heathrow Vote’ will follow in due course, but the vote will definitely take place by May 2013.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Whitton gets monthly market by popular demand

In response to huge demand from the Whitton community, Richmond Council have given permission for the Whitton Business Association to hold a community market on the High Street, with the first one planned to take place on Sunday 30 September.

The Council secured £360,000 for Whitton from the Mayor of London’s Outer London Fund for improving Whitton High Street, which included providing the Whitton Business Association (WBA) with some funding for marketing materials to promote the market.

The launch of the market follows the completion of numerous other projects that have taken place as part of the Council’s Uplift programme. Uplift is the Council’s programme designed to rejuvenate Whitton, Hampton North, Barnes, Mortlake and Ham. Over the past year a series of physical improvements, cultural, online and business-led projects have been carried out in Whitton High Street, with more to come.

The market will have high quality local produce and fresh foods as well as more unusual foods. There will be stalls serving a hog roast, Raclette from a cheese stall and crepes made by a local French chef. For beer lovers there will be a real ale stall where shoppers can sample and buy a wide range of British and International micro-brewed beers. There will also be a children’s Fairie Dance stall for the younger visitors.

Bridget Clements, from Whitton Business Association said: “We have set up the monthly markets in response to demand from the community, and we see it as a way of helping to promote our High Street and our businesses.

“The market will be on the High Street private forecourts at the from Barclays Bank end of the High Street which will also avoid any road closures. Proceeds from the market will go towards the annual costs of the High Street Christmas lights so we hope everyone will come and support us.”

Cllr Gareth Elliott, Whitton Ward Councillor said: "Following the overwhelming calls from the community for a village market, it is fantastic news that we shall see one starting up. Whitton has a fantastic village atmosphere and with the recent investment by the council this market will be the icing on the village cake. I look forward to shopping in the market and am looking forward to this new attraction in the village."

Cllr Pamela Fleming, Cabinet Member for Community, Business and Culture said: “Over 1,000 people in Whitton told us in the All in One survey that they wanted the High Street to be made more attractive and more needed to be done to improve parking and encourage shoppers. This work demonstrates that we have really listened to them and that is why we have pressed ahead with bringing a market to the area which will enhance the experience for residents as well as attracting more people to come and use the village.

“Ultimately, we’d like to thank the Whitton Business Association and all the traders for all their hard work and commitment to setting up the market which we’re certain will fulfil Whitton’s true potential as an attractive place for shoppers.”

The markets are to take place on the last Sunday of the month.  The first market is planned to take place on Sunday 30 September (10am -3pm) followed by the second on Sunday 28 October.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Support Whitton Lions - First Ever League Game - 22nd Sep

Clifden Site sale completes for new schools in the borough

Richmond Council has today completed on the purchase of the Clifden Site in Twickenham, which has been acquired for schools use.

Contracts were exchanged for the site earlier this year but final completion was subject to a number of conditions, including Richmond Adult Community College (RACC) obtaining necessary Skill Funding Agency consent and the College obtaining approval for additional floor space at their extended site in Parkshot.

The 4.37 acre site and its buildings cost £8.45m, funded through the Council’s Education Capital Programme. Some of this cost will be offset by the sale to the College of a former Council office building adjacent to the Parkshot site, which raised £460k.

To reflect the Council’s commitment to adult education and enable the College to maintain continuity in their curriculum, for a short period the College will continue to lease part of the site for a peppercorn rent. In addition, in order to assist their move to Parkshot, the College will rent a very small part of Old Deer Car Park to help their construction works.

The Council has decided to lease parts of the site to the Diocese of Westminster for use for a new Catholic secondary school and a new Catholic primary school and has approved proposals for a new five form of entry Catholic secondary school and one form of entry Catholic primary school. However, there is currently a judicial review challenge to these decisions in the High Court.

Cllr Geoffrey Samuel, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Finance, Property and Resources, said:

“I am delighted RACC agreed to sell this site to the Council and that the sale has now completed. It sets Richmond’s superb adult college on a strong basis to develop for the future and it is a major step forward for education in Twickenham, at both primary and secondary level. The site will enable a wider diversity of school provision in the Twickenham area and, subject to the ongoing judicial review process, will likely enable us to meet the Council’s longstanding wish to see a Catholic secondary school established within the borough.

“I would like to thank the College for their support and work on this deal over the last year and hope that our efforts to support their move to the Parkshot site will assist with improving adult education in the borough even further. This is a good deal for the Council, a good deal for the College but most important of all a good deal for education in the borough.”

Friday, 24 August 2012

Whitton's Newest Addition - Toy Shop

Once again highlighting the dynamism of Whitton's business community and the continuing attractiveness of our Village we are set to welcome a new toy shop to the high street this weekend. The new shop is expected to open this Saturday 25th August.

A new toy shop is particular exciting as it follows on from the disappointing closure in 2010 of Papillon, a previous stalwart on the High Street and a shop i used to shop in as a nipper. I welcome the new toy shop to Whitton and hope children present and future will enjoy this new store for many years to come. I for one will be very excited to pop in.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Don’t lose your right to vote

Richmond Council is reminding residents to respond to their Annual Household Registration promptly, as this process is required by law every year and enables people to retain the right to vote by being included on the updated electoral roll.

Gillian Norton, Richmond’s Registration Officer said:
“We are grateful that many residents responded quickly, but the Council has to send reminders to all 26,500 properties yet to respond. If these reminders are ignored, officers are required to visit households in person to collect up to date information about all current occupants. It would be shame to incur these extra costs when just one person can quickly complete the registration on behalf of their entire household.“

“Where there have been no changes to the details listed on the form, it is easy to remain registered by using our internet, freephone, or text renewal services. For households who have changes to make, such as names to add or remove, or spellings to correct, it’s simple to complete and return the form”

If households do not respond then all residents would be deleted from the electoral roll so could not vote in any upcoming Elections or Referenda.

All homes receive a compulsory form each autumn with details of the residents currently registered to vote on the Register of Electors, also known as the Electoral Roll. By UK law they must respond to remain registered, and advise of any change of residents’ details.
For more information call the Council on 020 8891 7775 or visit

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Whitton Village Plan Drop-in Session – 10th and 21st August

I am happy to announce that the Whitton Village Plan drop-in sessions have been announced.

10th August (2pm – 4pm) Heathfield Access Point
Key Issues: Getting involved in your local community

21st August (10am – 1pm) Whitton Library
Key Issues: Whitton Uplift Project / Parks and getting involved in your local community

Please do try to get yourselves down to these two events as they will offer a chance to view and comment on the village plans. I know many of you have emailed me over the last two years about several issues in the local area and this is a great opportunity to ensure that these concerns become part of the on-going uplift and regeneration of the town. I hope that I have managed to capture most so far with the continuing renewal of our town centre but it is your voices coming together that will ensure that Whitton continues to be heard at the top table in Richmond.

Cllr Gareth Elliott

Cllr Elliott visits Twickenham Academy building works

Today I had the honour of visiting the building works at what will be the new impressive Twickenham Academy. The building is a fine example of what can be achieved with good partnership and from seeing the plans and the on-going work I am sure that this will be a fantastic school offering the children of today and tomorrow a wonderful space to learn in. From break out areas and university style lecture halls the children will have the chance to experience an education that will prepare them for their later lives.

The building will also bring a new landscape to Whitton and the new greenery in front of the building will add some much needed open space.

I am also happy to have learned that the Learning School’s Trust has received Ministerial approval for the development of a sixth form at the Academy. This will be the first sixth form in the Borough. I strongly believe in the development of sixth forms and am happy to hear that Twickenham Academy will be embracing this popular initiative. It will mean children from the Borough’s school’s will have a greater array of education choice when they reach 16 and above.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Whitton's Cycling Cinema - pedal for charity 31st August

Our local Action Bikes bike store is putting on a cycling cineman in aid of bikes for Africa. I would urge everyone to get down to this event and join in the fun.

Friday 31st August - St Philip and St James' Church, Whitton - buy tickets here

For more information click here

Richmond Council opens its books

Richmond Council’s annual accounts are available once again for residents to see how it spends public money.

In addition to publishing details of all expenditure over £500 and answering numerous questions from members of the public on financial issues, the Council has opened its accounts dated up to 31 March 2012 for all to see for a month from 20th July to Friday 17th August between 09.00am and 4.30pm. Appointments can be made to see them at the Civic Centre in Twickenham.

Cllr Geoffrey Samuel, Richmond Council’s Deputy Leader, said:

“We continue with our pledge to spend Council taxpayers’ money as carefully as if it were our own. This is an ideal opportunity for people to take an in-depth look into our accounts and see exactly what we do with their money.

“Transparency is the foundation for a strong local democracy as it allows residents and other interested parties to delve into the ins and outs of the Council’s coffers. We are very clear about where the money goes and that residents are informed on how it is spent.”

Among other documents, residents will be able to request details of Council members’ expense claims and salary levels for senior members of staff. They will also be able view documents showing that Richmond upon Thames receives the lowest level of Revenue Support Grant from Government of any Council in London and breakdowns of the budgets which individual departments are given.

People who wish to view the accounts or ask questions of the auditor can do so by e-mailing or by calling the finance department on 020 8891 7172. In addition to the month-long opening of the accounts, the Council is happy to answer questions on spending from residents at any time of the year.  Please note that, under the regulations, whilst any member of the public is entitled to view the accounts only local residents are allowed to meet with the auditor. 

Richmond's Parks to get extra funds

Richmond is to direct over an extra quarter of a million pounds into its borough parks and open spaces as part of its improvements programme.

The Council has announced the allocation of £258,000 funding for further schemes, on top of the £3.7m for a 3 year improvement programme already announced earlier this year. This will bring the total capital investment in Parks and Open Spaces to just under £4m over the next 3 years.

The programme hopes to maintain and increase the already high standards of the borough’s parks and facilities, create a sustainable legacy for the future with particular emphasis on ensuring that open spaces enrich the life, health and wellbeing of all residents and visitors.

The borough has the largest area of public open space per head of population of any London borough and residents who participated in the All in One survey rated the quality of their environment as a priority and highlighted the importance in protecting and improving the area’s parks and other green spaces. As a result, facilities will be improved for all residents, making parks even more accessible to residents of all ages.

Cllr Gareth Elliott, Whitton Ward Councillor, said: "Richmond is world renown for its parks and green spaces. This is fantastic news and I hope to see Whitton, an area lacking open space, benefit from this great news."

Cllr Virginia Morris, Strategic Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “We know that parks are very important to our residents, so this extra boost to funding will ensure high standards are maintained. There has already been considerable investments in all our parks which have been successful but we feel there is more that can be done to make them the very best.”

Improvements which may be carried out include improvements to pathways and towpaths, creating new signage, installing new play facilities and providing wi-fi access for park users.

The Council will work with local communities throughout the programme to establish the best ways to improve the parks and how to encourage more people to go and experience their local park every day.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Vibrant Whitton - New Shops

This week saw the opening of Gregg's Bakers in Whitton. Along with other recent additions such as Gears for Gears and Station Barbers Whitton is bucking the economic downturn and shows fantastic vitality. 

Credit for this turnaround must got to the traders and the Council for their tough resilience. The Uplift Strategy and the Mayor's Outer London Fund have provided much needed investment that has not only put Whitton back on the map and returned its village atmosphere but have created a town people want to invest in. Over the next few years the Conservatives in Whitton will continue to invest and promote Whitton to ensure it remains a town we can be proud of.

Parking during the Olympics

Residents are urged to consider where they park their car during the local Olympic events this summer as access will be severely affected by the Games.
From the 24 July – 1 August there will be six Olympic events in the borough, including the Olympic torch relay, the men’s and women’s road cycle races and subsequent cycle time trials.
During the cycle events and for a period of time before and after, parking will be suspended along the whole route and for ten metres into each side road. Additional parking suspensions will be required away from the race route to accommodate emergency and other event related vehicles.
Due to the number of roads affected it is likely that hundreds of cars will be displaced, therefore drivers should consider where they will park well in advance. In addition, residents are reminded that Community Parking Zones throughout the borough will still be enforced and vehicles parked in contravention of the restrictions will be issued with a PCN.
Cllr Geoffrey Samuel, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources and Chairman of the Council’s Strategic Olympics Programme Board, said:
“We are aware that the Olympics will cause widespread disruption in the borough and we want residents to be aware of the changes to parking restrictions well in advance so that they can make preparations to park elsewhere. We don’t want to have to issue any parking tickets or remove any vehicles that are parked incorrectly but for the health and safety of both the athletes and the large number of spectators expected to attend, we do need the routes to be clear.
"If you live on the race route and have a driveway to park on but would like to use your car during event days then it is worth moving it to a nearby location without any parking restrictions as you will not be permitted to drive on the actual race route. I advise all residents to look at the details of the different Olympic events and the parking restrictions on the Council’s website and take action to move your car if necessary.
“Over the next few weeks over 1,000 signs will be placed on lamp columns around the borough, highlighting where parking restrictions will be in place – I urge residents to take note and start making any necessary arrangements.”
Parking during the torch relay will be suspended along the route of the torch on 24 July from 8am until midday.
Parking will be suspended along the cycle race route from 6.30pm on the 27 July until 8pm on the 29 July. All parking will be suspended for the Cycle Time Trial route from 6.30pm on the 30 July until 8pm on the 1 August.
Due to the large numbers of displaced vehicles, it is not possible to provide alternative parking and any vehicle left within suspended areas is likely to be towed away.
Information about the exact locations for parking suspensions can be found on the Olympics page.

Team Richmond triumph at the London Youth Games

Young athletes from Richmond upon Thames have scooped 10 team medals as well as numerous individual medals at this year’s London Youth Games.
With less than a month to go until the Olympic Games more than 50,000 youngsters from London’s 33 boroughs got into the Olympic spirit as they competed in over 50 events.
Team Richmond won gold medals in Cross Country, Rowing, Cycling and Girls Tag Rugby after seeing off tough competition throughout the competition. The finals at Crystal Palace last weekend also saw our groups of youngsters bring home silver medals for Aquathlon and Archery. Team Bronze medals were awarded in Tennis, Swimming, Netball and the girl’s Judo.
Cllr Gareth Elliott, Whitton Ward Councillor, said:
"Once again Richmond's Youth have proved that they are among the best in London. As the Olympics gets ever closer how wonderful is it to know that we are producing future Olympians here in the Borough of Richmond Upo Thames."
Cllr Pamela Fleming, Strategic Cabinet Member for Community, Business and Culture on Richmond Council, said:
“I am so proud of these young athletes for representing our borough so well, there was tough competition and showed great sportsmanship. Everyone who took part really enjoyed the experience and I’m so pleased they won so many medals, to come fourth out of 33 is a fantastic achievement.
“With all the excitement of the Olympics this summer, it is heartening to know it is having such a positive impact on so many youngsters.”
Over 400 young people aged 18 and under who live or go to school in the borough represented Team Richmond this year.
There was also success for the Mini-Games which are for primary age children. On 28 June at the finals at Crystal Palace they won a team gold medal in swimming and a bronze in the mixed football.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

A Celebration in Music - St Philip & St James - 23rd June

Cllr Elliott paddles for the Pride of Whitton

Alongside Whitton residents and members of the Whitton Lions Rugby Club Councillor Gareth Elliott took part on the Twickenham Alive Dragon Boat Race. In a boat suitable named The Pride of Whitton we battled against three other boats to a humble fourth place (out of four).

Of course it is the taking part that counts and it was a great day in celebration of the Jubilee and once again is a shining example of the London Borough of Richmond’s community spirit. With hundreds of people coming out to watch the event was great fun and I was very honoured to be part of it. However, I think I have some rowing practive to put in if I am to join again as I think I was a lot wetter than I should have been. Oh well – well done to everyone.

Special note needs to go the honour of having in our team the local friendly bar man, Jacob, from the Prince Albert who put in a sterling performance.

REWA Happy Hour Fun Day

 On Sunday 10th June I was honoured to be invited to REWA’s Happy Hour family event. It was a fantastic coming together of a diverse array of people and children and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with everyone. I was even give the honour of presenting the trophy for the best clay statue.

REWA is a fantastic organisation and provides a valuable service in the London Borough of Richmond. REWA was established in June 1998 to empower ethnic women living in LBRuT and encourage isolated housebound women to socialise and to interact with other people from all backgrounds. As in the past this may have been a problem due to factors such as language barriers and cultural differences. Their aim is to provide a friendly environment to improve social conditions and life for women who have need of such assistance.

For further information on REWA please follow this link:

Royal attendance at Derwent Road Street Party

Well, not quite a Royal attendance but the Royal Family were certainly there in spirit. Following on from last year’s Royal Wedding the residents of Derwent Road once again came out in force displaying fantastic community spirit, even in the face of erratic weather conditions.

I was of course in attendance as a fellow Derwentonian and much thanks must go to my wife for organising the day and to my neighbours for making the day so much fun.
After the Royal cutting of the Union Jack cake the street held a table football tournament. At one point the football table had to moved under cover (the closing of the Wembley Roof) due to what can only be explained as an English Monsoon. Battling through the weather the final was held in dry conditions and I am delighted to say that my neighbour Bob and I won.

I look forward to the street coming out again for the next event. Hopefully though it will be dry next time.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Are you interested in looking after Whitton's open spaces?

Richmond Council is asking local organisations if they would be interested in managing their local green spaces on behalf of the Council.

Last year, as part of its efficiency programme the Council agreed to move towards commissioning services rather than directly providing them. There has also been a commitment to involve residents in the planning and delivery of services.

Currently the borough’s parks and open spaces are managed by a team of Council officers. As part of this new and pioneering approach the Council is exploring the possibility of entering into formal agreements with community focused local groups and organisations, which would see them take over the day to day management of specific sites.

This management could involve carrying out activities such as removing litter and weeding and planting throughout the year. Groups could also be expected to take on the role of being the first point of contact for the rest of the community and managing any events or sports bookings at each site.

Cllr Virginia Morris, Richmond Council Cabinet for the Environment, said:
“In the All in One survey last year, residents told us how much they value their local parks as the most important service the Council provides. And to reflect this, the Council has made a clear commitment to ensure the quality of the boroughs parks and open spaces remains high.

“In recent years the Council has made a significant investment to improve parks, ensuring that our open spaces are amongst the best in the country. However, we do have to consider more creative ways of providing our services that have a community focus. The priority objective of this approach is to ensure that our sites are maintained to a high standard whilst giving an opportunity to allow the community to actively manage some of our open space.

“At this stage, we would emphasise that we are seeking an initial expression of interest, which will not be considered as a formal commitment from either the group or the Council.
“This is a unique opportunity for local people to work directly with the Council and shape what happens in their local area.”