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.”