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.”