Friday, 30 January 2015

Get Your Votes In - Duke Of Northumberland River Revitalisation - £400,000 Up For Grabs

The picturesque surroundings of the Duke of Northumberland’s River in Whitton could receive a £400,000 revitalisation after Richmond was short-listed for the Mayor of London’s ‘Big Green Fund’.

Richmond is one of seven London boroughs short-listed for the award and the Council now needs the public to get behind the proposals and vote for the project to be chosen.

To vote go to and vote for the Duke’s River project to receive a grant of £175k.

If successful, Richmond Council, Hounslow Council, Rugby Football Union, SITA Trust and ZSL will provide the remaining amount required for the £400,000 regeneration project. Voting is open for five more weeks.

The Duke of Northumberland’s River runs for four kilometres from where it leaves the River Crane in Kneller Gardens to its confluence with the River Thames in Old Isleworth. The project proposes to make the Duke of Northumberland’s River a key link for wildlife and people between the River Crane and the River Thames. This would be done through a series of coordinated projects designed to create a wildlife corridor for West London, and reinvigorate the local community.

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

“The proposed improvements will link two of the most important green corridors in the capital for all Londoners to enjoy. It’s a great achievement to have been shortlisted. It only takes a couple of minutes to vote and your vote could be the one that makes the difference.” 

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Cllr Gareth Elliott asks what will be the legacy of the World Cup for Whitton?

Transcript of Cllr Gareth Elliott's speech to Richmond Council, 27 January 2015

The Rugby World Cup will be an amazing event. There is no question of that. But it is important that rugby is not the only winner. 

Whitton will be host to the World Cup and it is essential that this is not all it will be. As a host we have to take the positives with the negatives. We mustn't forget what our residents will endure; traffic congestion, noise, hoards of rugby supporters taking over the town and much more. And by and large this is accepted and taken as part of being a neighbour to the RFU.

However, a World Cup’s success is built not only on the success of the sport, and hopefully the home nation, but on how a legacy is built around it. You only have to look across the City to see how Stratford benefited from the Olympics. New shopping centres, transport links and the fantastic Queen Elizabeth Park to name but a few. 

But what is the planned legacy for Whitton? What about the critical infrastructure requirements needed not only to alleviate rugby traffic but also to improve the lives of local residents. Yes, Whitton Station is getting rebuilt but this is part of an original planning agreement on the construction of the South Stand.  What about the possibility of opening up access to the station from the A316 to allow rugby supporters a direct route to not only Twickenham Stadium but also Harlequins’ Stoop? 

Additionaly, residents of the Rosebine estate are concerned about being cut off from Whitton and Twickenham. They have called for a pedestrian bridge. Is not now the perfect opportunity to consider utilising the World Cup to bring about legacy projects such as this that will benefit the long term transportation, access and living requirements of supporters and residents alike? A bridge would also go a long way to improving safety when crossing the A316.

And finally, I would also like to raise the plight of Murray Park and its hall. This is Whitton’s key open space yet it is blighted by a hall which is crying out for investment. Only this week I have been contacted by residents complaining that it is being used more as a climbing frame than a community asset. 

Here is a chance for the RFU\EWC2015 to engage with the Council to transform the park and the hall by creating a fantastic legacy for not only the people of Whitton but also future rugby stars by providing a space and facility for kids and adults alike to come to play and watch rugby. The hall could be refurbished or rebuilt to provide changing areas and a cafĂ©. Much like the rejuvenated and highly successful hall in Kneller Gardens. What an amazing building this could be and what a long standing legacy to the World Cup in Whitton.

The park could benefit from rugby posts just like other parks across the country that have benefited from the RFU’s ‘Post for Parks’ initiative. Murray Park is the closest park to Twickenham Stadium yet it doesn't appear to have been considered in any plans for the World Cup. This would be a missed opportunity and I ask this Council to ensure that this won’t be the case and the it works with the RFU\EWC2015 to ensure that Whitton, alongside rugby, benefits from this World Cup.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Action on Whitton Library Toilets!

At the end of this week a ‘deep clean’ of the Whitton Library public toilets will be undertaken. Once this has been carried out any damage will be assessed and a list of necessary repairs compiled.

The clean will be carried out when the toilets are closed; so there will be no interruption to the service.

As soon as we receive more information regarding work to be carried out and a timeline, we will update you.

Please Note: Two businesses in the High Street are part of the Community toilets scheme: Cafe La Parisienne and Your Bakery.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Half a million pounds for the road and pavement repairs – picked by you!

Almost half a million pounds is available in this year’s Community Roads and Pavements Fund to repair streets and footpaths nominated by residents of the borough.


In the All in One survey, residents said that the condition of pavements and footpaths was one of their top concerns. In response, the Council has once again set aside £490,000 to pay specifically for community nominated improvements. The fourth round of funding opens on 12 January for residents to say which roads and pavements they feel are in need of extra work. This is in addition to the regular maintenance and renewal work carried out by the Council on an ongoing basis.


Last year, thanks to the Community Roads and Pavement Fund, 19 roads and 31 pavements were repaired. That is in addition to the 16 roads and 30 pavements repairs that were carried out as part of the Council's regular maintenance programme. 


This year, a new helpful photo guide is available online to help residents understand the types of ‘fixes’ the community fund can address. This could include gully repairs, pavement cracks, tree root damage to pavements and small pot holes.  The community fund focuses on smaller ‘fixes’, rather than large full road repairs.


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

"We know that residents want to see more done to repair the roads and pavements that are used day-in, day-out, and so that is what we are doing.


"The Community Roads and Pavement Fund gives residents that all important say in determining the spending priorities.  This fourth round of funding brings us to a total of nearly £3.15m to repair the borough’s roads each year, tackling one of the most pressing problems."


If you know a footpath or road that needs to be repaired, complete the nomination form or pick up a form at your local library. The fund ‘opens’ for nominations on the 12th January. The deadline 22nd  February 2015.

Deadline Soon: Struggling to pay your fuel bills? The Council can help

A vital lifeline for residents who are struggling to pay their fuel bills this winter has been again launched by Richmond Council.


From Wednesday 21 January if you are on benefits or have a low income you may be eligible for help from the Council with heating bills. Grants of up to £85 per household are now available from the Council to protect residents who are at risk from living in fuel poverty.


Last year 700 people applied for the one- off grant – proof of the need it exists in the borough. 


If you would like to apply you can download an application form from the Council website or pick up a hard copy from the Civic Centre in Twickenham or Council libraries across the borough. 


Richmond Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Cllr Geoffrey Samuel, said:


“The sizes of fuel bills has left many people struggling to pay for their heating. ‘Fuel poverty’ in Richmond is above the average for England. These are difficult times for everyone. The Council simply will not sit on its hands and allow the borough’s most vulnerable residents to live in fuel poverty.


“This is yet another example of how we are providing practical support to those who need it most.”


If you would like to apply, you can download the application form from our website


Applications are welcomed from Wednesday 21 January.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Cllrs Surgery Sat 17th January CANCELLED

Due to personal/family reasons Cllrs Gareth Elliott and Grant Healy are unfortunately having to CANCEL the surgery session scheduled for Saturday 17th January at St Philip and St James' Church, Whitton. 

However, this doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to speak to your local councillors. If you were intending on attending this session please contact either Gareth or Grant on the following email addresses, or and they will organise a meeting with you at a later date. Alternatively, residents can attend the following surgery dates which are as follows:

Saturday 25th April 2015

Saturday 25th July 2015
Saturday 17th October 2015

Apologies for an inconvenience caused.

Cllr Gareth Elliott and Grant Healy

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Happy New Year Whitton - 2015

While we say goodbye to 2014 we can look forward to an exciting 2015. With the World Cup in October Whitton will find itself at the centre of the global stage and our village atmosphere and unique character within the London Borough of Richmond will be here for all to see and enjoy. And with the ongoing Uplift Programme continuing into 2015 we will also see the first stage of the much needed improvements to Whitton Station. While the more complex improvements, such as a new pedestrian bridge and lifts, will come in 2016 the station will get a much needed redesign in time for the World Cup including a new forecourt and improvements to the station building.

As we look forward it is also worthwhile looking back. 2014 saw the culmination of the High Street improvements and the complete transformation of Whitton into the desirable and attractive place we all know it is – a far cry from the state the Liberal Democrats left the town in 2010. From that point forward, and the election of the Conservatives, Whitton has never looked back and this was confirmed with the re-election of Councillor Gareth Elliott and the election of Councillor Grant Healy in the local election in May. 2014 also saw the important formation of the Friends of Murray Park which will prove critical in the ongoing campaign to improve this vital community asset and bring forward options for the update or renewal of Murray Park Hall. Not to forget the new additional improvements finished in Chase Green and Murray Park. Building works on the old car showroom mean that in 2015 Whitton will have a brand new purpose built Sainsbury’s which will enhance the retail offering in Whitton High Street and add to the attraction of the town for new shops. In fact, this is already happening with the publication of a planning consultation for a new wine bar at the end of 2014. With the new station, Sainsbury’s, and other new additions to the high street we hope to see even more opportunities arise in Whitton.

However, in 2015 it is important that we continue to drive and campaign for the best for Whitton. With the World Cup coming the RFU and English World Cup 2015 must ensure that they build a stage not only for rugby supporters but also for the local residents. Disruption must be kept to a minimum and adequate toilet provision must be put in place. The legacy of the world cup must also be felt in terms of community projects that will benefit Whitton beyond the tournament.

2015 is also election year and with Dr. Tania Mathias we have a real chance to unseat Vince Cable MP. After 17 years in power now is the time to ask what he has really achieved for Whitton. Up until 2010 he had failed to work with his Liberal Democrat Councillors in arresting the downward spiral of Whitton High Street which was only reversed once a Conservative Council was re-elected. He failed to bring about any update to Whitton Station. He has claimed victory in the postcode debate yet his hollow win is to force the Royal Mail to allow residents within Whitton with TW3/4 postcodes to write Whitton on their envelopes – something they do already. This will have no impact on resident’s concerns over house prices, insurance, and confusion over the use of council facilities such as waste depots. With months left in his position as Secretary of State for Business and responsibility for the Royal Mail we hope that he might bring about real change, but with 17 years of inaction we don’t expect too much. Tania will bring renewed vigour to the role of MP and we look forward to seeing her campaigning for Whitton as part of Twickenham and the London Borough of Richmond.

2015 is a year of opportunity and Gareth and Grant look forward to ensuring that our town continues to build on its success.