Wednesday, 21 May 2014
Friday, 16 May 2014
Twickenham and Richmond LibDems have put out a leaflet claiming hundreds of children in the borough have been left without a secondary school place this September.
Cllr Paul Hodgins, Cabinet Member for Schools, responded, “Firstly, let me deal with the facts. No one has been left without a secondary school place for September. In fact, there are still spare places. The Liberal Democrat leadership knows this.
The LibDems have said the Council has made no plans for any new secondary schools. Yet the LibDems themselves have spoken in Council supporting our project with Richmond College to rebuild the College and create a new secondary school for 2017.
Unlike the LibDems, we support free schools. In other words, we support the concept of local parents starting a new school because that is the option they want for their children. Any responsible Council has to account for free schools in their planning.
I know that Turing House supporters are disappointed the school is not opening in 2014. That was a Government decision after their negotiations on a site fell through at a late stage, and they made a mistake in advising the group to send out offers knowing that could happen. Turing House have asked us to work with them on finding a site to enable the school to open in September 2015. We have committed to do so. The LibDems know this, because we have put it in our manifesto.
We have kept our word on all our school promises during this term, including sixth forms, primary places, and supporting a new Catholic school. People may have had differing views on aspects of our plan, and I understand that, but we kept the promises we made. Residents now have our word on this. If they vote for their local Conservative candidates, we will help make Turing House happen, and we will help deliver a new school with the College.
Secondly, let me deal with the lack of integrity behind the LibDem claim. Their claim is not true. The LibDems made it up. They have knowingly lied to residents. They have twisted a disappointing situation for many supporters of Turing House, whom LibDem leader Stephen Knight ridiculed as being fantasists, and they are willing to cause undue worry to parents in a selfish bid to save at least some of their seats.
Twickenham and Richmond’s LibDems are demoralised and worried about this election. They are at odds with their colleagues in Kingston, and with their MPs in the coalition government. That is absolutely no excuse. Lying in desperation to save your seats is akin to a fraud on the electorate. Every LibDem candidate and every LibDem activist who delivered that leaflet should be ashamed to have been part of it. So should Vince Cable, and so should the Richmond Park candidate. I call on Stephen Knight to apologise to residents.
This is Richmond. There must be integrity in our politics.
Our local Conservative group has run the Council well for the last four years. We have made our promises for the next four. More primary and secondary school places. Freezing Council Tax for at least another two years. Supporting the vulnerable. An even greener, cleaner borough. Better and safer transport for all. We will keep those promises. If you largely agree with them, please vote for us. If not, we respect your differing views. But in this election, this LibDem group does not deserve your vote.”
10 ACTIONS WE HAVE TAKEN TO SUPPORT HIGH STREETS AND BUSINESS
- Established a Town Centre Opportunities with funding for every High Street Business & Retail Association and contributions for Christmas lights and events.
- Established a Business & Retail Alliance where representatives from all the shopping areas meet bi-monthly and exchange ideas and appointed a Business & Retail Champion
- 30 minutes free parking and opportunities for businesses to offer discounts through the Richmond Card
- Set up a Social Enterprise Partnership and Introduced Richmond’s Den to promote Social Enterprise
- Introduced grants for Pop up Shops & Shop Fronts
- Provided Energy assessments to reduce costs
- Developed the Borough’s first Business Improvement District in Twickenham
- Formed a partnership with Haymarket & Harlequins RFC for a new Enterprise & Education campus to create jobs and train young people in skills of the future
- Extended the Visit Richmond Partnership to boost tourism
- Established a Key Employers’ Group
TEN PROMISES OF MORE
- Make High Streets more inviting for older people and the less mobile
- Work with local Business Associations and residents on forming Town Teams to shape a vision for their high streets
- Protect employment space and use all means possible to stop betting shops and estate agents taking over our high streets
- Review the scope for extending the 30 minutes free parking
- Support a Business Improvement District in Richmond
- Encourage and support more businesses to grow and expand through exporting
- Help young people to start work for themselves, support the self-employed and start ups
- Cut bureaucracy and aid procurement for those with micro-business ideas
- Sustain a Partnership for Business and work to attract more high tech businesses
- Launch and champion a “Take One Apprenticeship” scheme with employers across the borough
Monday, 12 May 2014
The Liberal Democrat Joint Deputy Leader, Cllr David Williams, has stated loud and clear his and his party's disregard for Whitton and its fate should they regain control of the Council on May 22nd. Attacking the regeneration investment in the town under the Conservatives in a recent Richmond and Twickenham Times article he states that the money could have been better spent on wonky railings in Richmond.
Pre 2010 Whitton, administered under the Liberal Democrats, was considered the forgotten town of the borough with empty shops, derelict buildings and a glut of charity shops. And yet here we are before the local elections in May 2014 with Cllr Williams stating that the investment that has transformed Whitton shouldn't have been spent here at all.
Where the Conservatives aspire to create an environment to attract investment and create a desirable shopping area for all residents in Whitton, using materials such as York Stone paving that are commonplace in Richmond, the Liberal Democrats believe we are simply not good enough for this kind of quality.
This is simply a shocking way to treat Whitton and its residents.
Whilst the Liberal Democrats were in power they termed Whitton and Heathfield as areas of deprivation. Nobody would suggest Whitton is a deprived area and on getting into power Cllr Gareth Elliott and the Conservatives sought immediately to overturn this negativity that the Liberal Democrats so freely piled onto Whitton.
Today we have a thriving town with a distinct village community feel and atmosphere. We believe in a town of aspiration that sits alongside the likes of Twickenham and Richmond – in complete contrast to the Liberal Democrats who seem to revel in beating Whitton back down.
The choice is clear – stick with the Conservatives who transformed and regenerated Whitton or hand it back to the Liberals who will run it down in favour of other areas of the Borough.
You can read Cllr Williams' comments in the Richmond and Twickenham Times here.