Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Breaking News: Teddington Lib Dem Cllr Defects to Labour

As the Liberal Democrat conference gets underway its rousing theme of a #LibDemFightback appears to have faltered in Richmond as one if its very own Councillor's has decided it is no fight back but a #LibDemSinkingShip as she announces her decision to defect to Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party.

Teddington Councillor, Jennifer Churchill, partner of Richmond's former Lib Dem leader Stephen Knight, has announced today that she will defect to Labour in support of Jeremy Corbyn.

For further information check out the local news website. Click here.

RFU Makes Changes to the London 7s Event

Following a meeting with the RFU, where Cllrs Gareth Elliott and Grant Healy, raised resident’s issues and experiences over the recent Rugby Sevens event, the RFU, with the Council and the Metropolitan Police, undertook a series of reviews and will implement the following changes for next year’s event:

Friday, 18 September 2015

Conservative Councillors Raise Important Resident’s Concerns Regarding Turing House at Richmond’s Council Meeting – September 2015

On Tuesday 15th September Whitton’s Conservative Councillor’s used the full Council meeting to continue to raise concerns raised by residents in light of the announcement that a site in Hospital Bridge Road would be the permanent location of Turing House School. 

In the first instance Cllr Paul Hodgins, the Cabinet Member for Schools and Education, responded directly to a member of the public who queried what alternative sites had been considered in addition to the Hospital Bridge Road site. He stated that the Education Funding Authority (the central Government body which controls the process of identifying and purchasing sites for Free Schools) had conducted an extensive two year search for a suitable site that could support and comply with its criteria for a secondary school. He outlined two additional sites covered by the EFA: Udney Road and the National Physical Laboratory. In particular, he focussed on Udney Road, which has been the subject of intense speculation and public interest, and informed the Chamber that the EFA had been unsuccessful in its tender for the Udney Road site which he regretted had now been purchased by developers. Further details would be made available to the Council once a planning application is lodged for the acquired site as it was the EFA’s responsibility to provide and present in detail the reasons why it believes the proposed site “is the most feasible.” He stressed to the members of the public and Councillors present that Richmond Borough is severely restricted by a lack of suitable sites for potential secondary schools and that “We, of course, have to balance use, and take into consideration planning rules.” 

Cllr Grant Healy then asked Cllr Hodgins whether he supported a school in Whitton intended primarily for students from Fulwell and Teddington? The Cabinet Member answered, “No, I would not be in favour of it.” He expanded on this by saying it had not been either his view or the Council’s that Turing House School should serve only one area, as demand for a new secondary school was wider than that. He believed that the people of Whitton “deserve the choice and option of Turing House as much as anywhere else.” He said that he had made his opposition to the School’s 80/20 admission policy clear, that this had been set too early – before the School’s permanent site had been settled. He welcomed the promise of the re-consultation made by the school, and that the Council will continue to push for a much fairer balance. 

Cllr Healy then asked, “Has the Council the power to block the siting of Turing House School?” Cllr Hodgins replied, “We do not have the power to arbitrarily block it.” However, he pointed out that an application for planning would have to undergo the usual due process, and if the planning application was refused the school would not go ahead. It was his opinion, that had the Council been in control of the process of finding a site for the school it would have faced the same issues as had EFA. However, he hoped that the Council would have handled parts of the process differently; “We would have taken the example of the college site and the new school there. Where I think we have done a very good job of consulting early and being as open as we could.”

Cllr Liz Jaeger asked Cllr Hodgins whether he agreed with her that no matter what the entrance ratio was, that “there was no need for these school places in Whitton.” Cllr Hodgins replied, “No, I couldn’t disagree with that more. And I think that’s insulting to local parents. There is a great increase in the number of primary students coming up across the Borough; and I also think that there is a need in that area for choice, Heathfield and Whitton residents deserve that choice and I’m surprised that the Lib Dems locally are just accepting the narrative, which I’ve never agreed with, that the choice is for parents elsewhere and not in their area.” 

Cllr Gareth Elliott asked the Cabinet Member to expand on his response as to the need for a secondary school in Whitton and whether he could outline what benefits it could bring to Whitton’s residents and its potential future students. Cllr Hodgins responded, “Over the last five years we have added six hundred permanent primary places across the Borough. Over half of those, the majority, are on the Twickenham side of the river, ninety of those have been in Whitton and Heathfield, as much as anywhere else. So, there has been a significant growth in the numbers. The reason why Turing House is being introduced at this time, and not later, when that bulge comes up, is because parents are requesting a choice. And the reality is the Lib Dem’s policy of giving away two of our local schools [including Twickenham Academy] to the same provider has not convinced enough parents, and they want a choice. Whitton and Heathfield parents deserve that choice just as anywhere else.”

Finally, responding to a point put forward by the Lib Dem Heathfield Cllr, John Coombs, regarding parking and traffic issues surrounding the siting of Turing House School and a call for a traffic survey, the Cabinet Member for Highways and Streetscene, Cllr Stephen Speak said, “This is part of the process anyway and  I would expect a transport survey to be conducted, there is no reason why that should not be produced as part of the planning process.”

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Sign Up To Become A Volunteer for the Rugby World Cup

Residents in Richmond upon Thames are being encouraged to play their part in England 2015 locally, by applying to represent the borough as a Richmond volunteer.

‘VisitRichmond’, run by Richmond Council, is recruiting local residents to sign-up to help support the Council during Rugby World Cup 2015, this September and October. The job requires local knowledge and community spirit and includes manning ‘pop-up’ tourist information stalls in Twickenham, Whitton, Richmond and inside the Fan Zone. 

The stalls will be helping visitors on match days with local information and promoting the wider borough as a destination of choice.

Cllr Pamela Fleming, Richmond Council’s Cabinet Member for Community, said:

“Enthusiastic volunteers with a good knowledge of the area are needed to welcome visitors and help man the pop-up ‘VisitRichmond’ stalls during the Rugby World Cup.
“Residents in Richmond upon Thames are so full of community spirit and civic pride that their involvement will really help us give visitors a very warm welcome and show them the very best of the borough

“From feedback we know that it is much more beneficial to have local volunteers who really know the local area. Therefore we need people who can sign-post local places to get food, drink, public transport, toilets, shops and of course other destinations to visit whilst in the borough.”

To sign up to become a Visit Richmond volunteer at: www.richmond.gov.uk/rwc2015_volunteers

The deadline is: 
21 August 2015. All volunteers will be asked to attend a briefing session on either Wednesday 2nd September from 7 to 9pm in the Loggia, York House or Sunday 6th September from 11am to 1pm in the Terrace Room, York House.

For more information, please contact Angela Ivey on: a.ivey@richmond.gov.uk

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Full Council Report - Turing House Questions to Cabinet

Cllr Gareth Elliott
During Tuesday’s Council meeting Whitton’s Conservative Councillors, Gareth Elliott and Grant Healy, asked important questions regarding Turing House School.
Cllr Elliott asked that if the school was sited in Whitton would the Council oppose its 80/20 admission policy – as this would unfairly discriminate against students from Whitton?
The Cabinet member for education, Cllr Paul Hodgins, said that the answer to the question was yes, and that the Council already had. And that if the site was to be in Whitton the Council would put the resident’s views to the school and work with them to find a balance to make sure there would be a strong student representation from the local area. Turing House had agreed to review the policy and the Council would be advocating a revision.
Cllr Elliott then asked if the school came to Whitton would the Council fully engage with the local community to identify the travel and traffic issues that the building of Turing House School on the proposed site in Whitton would create? And that plans to mitigate these issues would become publicly available as soon as possible?
Cllr Hodgins replied, that, although, there had been no announcement as to the siting of the school he knew that local Councillors were engaged with residents, and the Council would work together with them to make sure options were made available, openly discussed, and consulted on.
Cllr Grant Healy
Cllr Healy asked that if the school opened in Whitton would the Cabinet member open discussions with the school, with a view to allowing local residents the use of its amenities and grounds?
Cllr Hodgins answered by saying that Turing House would be willing to do that.
[The Head Master of Turing House School later contacted Cllr Elliott and promised that community use of the school would form part of its proposal.]
In a riposte to Heathfield Lib Dem Cllr John Combs’ facetious reference to “far flung Whitton” (in a question that showed more concern for parents in Teddington than those in Whitton) Cllr Elliott queried whether

the Lib Dems “seem to be falling back into their natural state of talking down areas,” particularly, “Whitton, our wonderful town, with a village feel, which the Liberal Democrats have previously termed as ‘deprived.’”
Cllr Hodgins reaffirmed the Council’s commitment to the town, “Whitton is an incredibly important part of our borough… and will continue to be.”
At one point during the meeting reference was made to the Lib Dems’ closure of Heathfield Library. Cllr Liz Jaeger was seen shaking her head in denial – which was surprising as she was Cabinet member responsible for libraries when planning permission was given to build on the site!

Monday, 6 July 2015

Whitton Library Toilet Refurbishment

The toilets in the Whitton library block will be getting a much needed refurbishment. Improvements will include: new replacement doors, installation of vandal resistant toilets and sinks, redecoration and floor coverings, energy efficient lighting and high–powered hand dryers.

Cllr Pamela Fleming, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Environment, said:
“I was shocked about the damage individuals have caused to the public toilets in Whitton. Whilst we deep clean the toilets regularly, over the past few years the Council has to carry out a large number of intermediary repairs – including replacing the sinks and toilets on a number of occasions.
“We are now taking steps to improve the toilets and hopefully ‘vandal proof’ them for the future.”

Cllr Grant Healy, who has raised questions during a number of Council meeting regarding the state of the toilets, said, “This desperately needed refurbishment will result in an improved amenity for the area around the High Street. It goes to show what local Councilors can achieve for residents, working in conjunction with Council Cabinet colleagues, such as Cllr Fleming.

The works are expected to last for at least four weeks. During the closure, residents and visitors will be asked to use the nearest facilities under the Community Toilet Scheme.
Press release:

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Still time to attend briefing on Rugby World Cup 2015

Residents and businesses who want to get ready for Rugby World Cup 2015 are reminded that there are still two community briefings in July.


Over the past two weeks, Richmond Council, in partnership with the England Rugby 2015 and the Rugby Football Union (RFU), have held two briefing events for Businesses and two for residents in St Margarets and those who live directly around the Stadium. The briefings provide attendees with details on the delivery plans to stage this major sporting event safely and successfully, with minimal disruption.


Those who have been unable to attend the briefings so far are reminded that there are still two more opportunities on 7 July in Twickenham and 14 July in Richmond.


Attendees will be given updates on the Tournament, transport plan and property access implications, Fanzone, community safety, licencing and street cleansing. Representatives from the Council, England Rugby 2015, the RFU and local Police will also be in attendance.


The presentation and exhibition boards are available online at:www.richmond.gov.uk/rugby_world_cup  


Cllr Pamela Fleming, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Environment, Business and Communities, said:


“We are working hard, with the Tournament organisers, Transport for London and neighbouring boroughs to try and minimise this disruption and help people understand the benefits that hosting such a prestigious event will bring. 


“I hope as many people as possible will attend a briefing, or sign up to receive our e-newsletter providing regular information on local activities and news relating to Rugby World Cup 2015.”


To find out more, go to: www.richmond.gov.uk/rwc2015_community_impact


Resident briefings

All briefings will be open with a small exhibition from 5pm followed by a short presentation at 6pm. Representatives will be available to answer questions from 5 to 8pm.

·         Tuesday 7 July at Clarendon Hall in Twickenham

·         Tuesday 14 July at Richmond Adult Community College

Monday, 8 June 2015

Residents landlocked by Rugby World Cup 2015 to pass so they can access their homes

Residents and businesses around Twickenham Stadium can now use online interactive maps to see if they will be eligible for a vehicle access pass during Rugby World Cup2015. 


To allow managed access to Twickenham Stadium for the local community and spectators during Rugby World Cup 2015, Richmond Council and Transport for London (TfL) have agreed in principle to a request to temporarily close a section of the A316.  Subject to a final agreement, a section of the road close to the stadium will be closed on the 10 Rugby World Cup 2015 match days and the two England matches in August and September. 


The temporary closure will allow Tournament Organisers to operate additional shuttle bus services for fans and to service the Park and Ride facility at Kempton Park.  The closure also permits people walking to and from Twickenham to cross the A316 in larger numbers more easily.


To enable residents and businesses in ‘landlocked’ areas to access their properties during the closure times, the Council and England Rugby 2015will be issuing ‘Vehicle Access Passes’. These will allow local residents to pass through the road closures at specific points.  The roads will be closed from 3 hours prior to kick off, during the match and until 2 hours after.


Residents in the landlocked area are encouraged to check online now that they are eligible for a pass before these are distributed in time for the England v France on 15 August. Each property will be sent one pass automatically. If eligible households or businesses require more than one pass, they can request additional passes online. The passes are not transferable and are not a parking permit.


Cllr Stephen Speak, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transport, said:


“The police, the Council, TfL and South West Trains have been working closely together behind the scenes for a long time to make Rugby World Cup 2015 a success. We want visitors to our Borough from around the world to have an enjoyable time. But we recognise that the Tournament will have an impact on our local roads and public transport.


“Temporary closure of the A316 is a major step. The Council has only allowed it to come forward following extensive modelling work by the organisers.  TfL have worked on the options for traffic reduction and have given their assurances that diversion plans for the usual through traffic volumes will be met. The closure plans will be trialled for the two matches in August and modified as necessary.


“We know that the closure will affect a number of residents and businesses in the Stadium area but, with a Vehicle Access Pass, access can be maintained.  Emergency "blue light" access will always be allowed, but any carers needing scheduled access during the closure periods should get in touch with the Council now.”


Managing Director of England Rugby 2015, Stephen Brown, said:


“With Rugby World Cup 2015 now just 4 months away, I would encourage local residents and businesses to start planning their Tournament. With fans coming from all around the world, we will be implementing a new transport plan on match days, which includes managed access to part of the A316, park and ride schemes and additional bus survives, to cater for their travel requirements. Residents and businesses will have a managed access scheme for anyone impacted by the changes to the A316, so it’s important that they find out if they will need a Vehicle Access Pass.”


To check if you are eligible for an Access Pass, go to 



Residents eligible for an Access Pass are reminded that they will still need to display an ‘R Zone’  parking permit.


A series of Community Briefings regarding Rugby World Cup 2015 are being held in June / July. To see the dates, go to: www.richmond.gov.uk/rwc2015_community_impact

Friday, 5 June 2015

Whitton Conservatives - Supporter Survey

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No threat to Whitton Community Association – Richmond Council Confirms

Council Officers and Cllr Susan Chappell, Cabinet Member for the Voluntary Sector and Communities, met with key members of the Whitton Community Association last week to make clear that the Council has never had any intention of withdrawing its support for the well-loved local resource.

Following a stream of unhelpful rumours regarding the future of the Association, Cllr Chappell, along with senior Council officers, met with officers of Whitton Community Association to lay their concerns to rest.

Whitton Community Association has occupied their current building for 40 years and is one of a few community organisations locally who have historically not paid rent to the Council, in effect receiving a subsidy for their rent.

Last month, it was reported in the local press that the Council would be withdrawing its funding from the Centre, thereby putting its future into doubt. However, this is completely untrue. 

In 2011 the Council carried out a review of rent subsidies and agreed a new policy that would aim to provide a level playing field for funding of all voluntary sector organisations, rationalising historic rent subsidy arrangements.  Now, the Council is working with voluntary sector organisations like Whitton Community Association to agree the services they will provide on behalf of the Council and for what price.  The amount the Council will pay will cover the costs of their accommodation.  This change means that their overall level of funding will not change, only the mechanism by which they are funded.

Cllr Susan Chappell, said:

“I understand that this has been an unsettling time for the Whitton Community Association. There have been many rumours, casting doubt into their future. However, I will say this categorically, to put an end to these completely unfounded rumours once and for all. We are not cutting any funding at all for this well-loved service. It will not be closing and it has never been under threat. In fact, we are working more closely with the Association to see how we can deliver even more local services to ensure their long term future.”

Officers of the Whitton Community Association, added:

“Great news all round.  The Whitton Community Association remains a much valued part of the community and the issues surrounding the changes to our rent agreement have been resolved.   We are also in the process of renewing our lease on the Community Centre for a further 15 years.

“Small changes will need to be made with regard to the changeover from rent subsidy to commissioning but overall it will be business as usual.”

“It is reassuring to have the Council’s intentions in writing and we are finally able to scotch these rumours of closure once and for all.

“We very much appreciate the positive feedback we have received from the Council with regard to the services we provide for the local area.

“We are now able to plan for the future and we look forward to increasing these services."

We are planning an open day at the Centre in the Autumn, everyone is welcome to come along and help us celebrate the future.”

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Community roads and pavements schemes announced

The 26 most popular roads and pavements schemes nominated for repairs will receive £490k this year under the Council’s ever-popular Community Roads and Pavement fund have been announced.

For the fourth successive year Richmond Council will invest hundreds of thousands of pounds on top of the millions it already spends on repairing roads and pavements across the borough. The latest Community Roads and Pavements nomination exercise ended on February 22 this year and approximately 1,300 residents took part.

Each of the borough’s 14 villages will now receive approximately £35k for roads and pavements repairs.

Richmond Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Streetscene, Cllr Stephen Speak, announced the successful schemes today (May 29). 

Last year, thanks to the Community Roads and Pavements Fund, 19 roads and 31 pavements were repaired. This is in addition to the 16 roads and 30 pavements r that were repaired as part of the Council’s regular £3milllion maintenance programme.  

Cllr Stephen Speak, said: 

“Since nominations closed the Council’s Highways officers have worked hard to inspect the most frequently mentioned roads across the borough and produce cost estimates. I’m very pleased that the Council will now be starting work improving the locations that residents have identified in each village.”

Editors’ Notes: 


Full list of roads to be repaired under the Community Roads and Pavement budget :






Madrid Road

Pavement repairs


Queen’s Ride

Pavement repairs

East Sheen

Derby Road

Road and pavement repairs

Ham and Petersham



Road repairs

Ham and Petersham

Ham Farm Road

Pavement repairs


Longford close



Pavement repairs


Ormond Drive

Road repairs

Hampton Hill

Myrtle Road



Pavement repairs

Hampton Hill

Cross Street

Pavement repairs

Hampton Wick

Kingston Lane



Pavement repairs

Hampton Wick

Normansfield Avenue

Pavement repairs


Nylands Avenue



Pavement repairs


Gloucester Road

Road and pavement repairs


Alder Road

Pavement repairs


First Avenue

Pavement repairs


Old Deer Park Gardens

Pavement repairs

St Margarets

Montpellier Row

Pavement repairs

Strawberry Hill

Popes Grove

Pavement repairs


Elmtree Road




Pavement repairs


Twickenham Road

Pavement repairs


Cambridge Crescent

Road repairs


Sherland Road

Copthall Gardens



Pavement repairs


Copthall Gardens

Pavement repairs


Craneford Way

Pavement repairs


Bridge Way



Pavement repairs


Hall Farm Drive

Pavement repairs