Sunday, 25 December 2016

Christmas Wishes from the Prime Minister

Dear Whitton,

I wanted to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas.

This year, the United Kingdom has had much to celebrate. Whether it’s Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday, the success of our Olympic and Paralympic athletes in Rio, or more personal highlights like happy times with loved ones, there have been many precious moments when people from many backgrounds, came together to celebrate in families and communities.

Coming together is also important for us as a party and as a country. As we leave the European Union we must seize an historic opportunity to forge a bold new role for ourselves in the world and to unite our country as we move forward into the future. And, with our international partners, we must work together to promote trade, increase prosperity, and face the challenges to peace and security around the world.

Only by coming together will we be able to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities that 2017 will bring. I will always be incredibly grateful for the time, support and hard work given by members of our party like you.

So wherever you are this Christmas, I wish you joy and peace in this season of celebration, along with health and happiness in the year ahead.

Thank you and Merry Christmas,

Theresa May
Prime Minister

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Dr Tania Mathias MP - Winter Newsletter


2016 has been a busy and turbulent year – I hope that you and your family are able to enjoy a quiet and relaxing Christmas, and I wish you all the best for the festive season and the New Year.

As we approach the end of the year, I wanted to take the opportunity to update you on my work in the Twickenham constituency and in Parliament.

Fighting Heathrow

The Government’s support for the construction of a third runway at Heathrow is bad news for our local area, but I’m not giving up the fight. Heathrow faces insurmountable legal and environmental challenges, and I remain confident that expansion will not go ahead. I am working with MPs, peers, council leaders and assembly members of all parties to lead the case against expansion, and I am indebted to local residents and local campaign groups like Teddington Action Group for the work that they do too.

Noise and air pollution from Heathrow is already unacceptably bad. I challenged the Transport Secretary and the Prime Minister on this in Parliament, and I have presented draft legislation that would make aircraft noise a “statutory nuisance” – this would give residents affected by plane noise a formal means of redress. I was encouraged to see so many people join my public meeting against Heathrow expansion that I held in Teddington in November, and I would encourage all residents to share their views in the consultations on night flights, airspace and the third runway proposal which will be published soon. A summary of the meeting is on my website.

Making Brexit Work

I voted “Remain” in the referendum and I know that most people in our constituency did too. Whilst this is not the result I wanted, I believe it is the duty of all MPs on all sides of the debate to do what we can to make it work for the whole country. The “Leave” side won the referendum, but it didn’t win the right to do whatever it likes afterwards. We need an approach that works for the 48% who voted to remain as well as the 52% who voted to leave. Although we will be outside of the European Union, we need a deal that maintains the strongest possible trading relationship with Europe for British businesses, close co-operation on climate change and security, and an immigration system that is fair but remains welcoming to those who need our help and to those whose skills we need.
I will be inviting local business owners to meet with me and share their views on what they need from the Government’s negotiations with the EU. I will always stand up for a UK that is open and tolerant. I have twice voted in Parliament to protect the rights of all EU nationals living in the UK, and I am confident that the Government will deliver on this. My message to European residents is clear: you continue to be very welcome here. I will be organising a meeting in the New Year for any EU residents who have concerns – please get in touch with my office to register your interest.

Improving Rail Services

Rail services to stations in our constituency still aren’t good enough, but improvements should be on the way. The Department for Transport will announce the new South  Western rail franchise operator in February, and this is a chance to have more reliable services, with longer trains and more frequent journeys into and out of London. Crossrail 2 is also an important part of this in the longer term, and the Government remains committed to this important project.

The Mayor of London is looking to take forward plans for Transport for London to take over the running of suburban services to areas like ours. I support this as means of better integrating constituencies on the periphery of Greater London with the rest of the capital, and I will be working with Deputy Mayor, Val Shawcross, on ensuring that our local services are included.

Standing up for Science

I was proud to have had the opportunity to stand in as chair of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee for four months, and led reports on forensics, smart meters and artifcial intelligence (details of which can be found on my website).

Our constituency is at the forefront of the UK’s world-leading science base, with the National Physical Laboratory and the Laboratory of the Government Chemist in Teddington, and many smaller businesses too. I was pleased to be able to invite them to share their views, hopes and concerns with Brexit Minister Robin Walker in November. Leaving the EU presents challenges for science, but I am determined to do what I can to maintain our place as the best place in the world to do science and research.

Supporting Our Schools

Our constituency is lucky to have so many good schools and such a wide choice of primaries and secondaries, faith schools, academies, free schools and independent schools. I am excited by the new multi-academy trust, which sees Hampton High and Twickenham Academies sharing best practice with Teddington School and Waldegrave School.

I am also delighted to see Richmond upon Thames College going from strength to strength. As you may be aware, the Government is consulting on expanding the role of selective and faith schools. Whilst I am sceptical about some of the plans, I am glad that we are having this debate and I am grateful to everyone who has shared their views with myself and on the government's consultation.

Defending Human Rights

I am working with the charity Freedom from Torture to push for better support for torture victims. I was proud to host a reception in Parliament where we lobbied ministers to make better use of medical evidence in assessing asylum claims from victims of torture. 

Dr. Tania Mathias, MP for Twickenham

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Reminder: Whitton Conservative's Christmas Party - Friday 9th December 7:30pm Mosaico

It's Christmas time and what better way to celebrate than with your local Conservatives.

If you've been naughty or nice please don't think twice and come and join us.

This year we are pulling out all the stops with a raffle and a buffet with a complimentary glass of red or white wine and beer. 

Here are a selection of the prizes on offer:

  • Downturn Abbey play back series 1 & 2
  • Author Martina Cole Revenge with a ladies unique costume bracelet
  • Margaret Biography with Butler Irish mint chocolates
  • Festive hamper, champagne
  • Beauty hamper
  • Beautiful Tory blue candles
  • Shakespeare book with men's cufflinks
  • John Major years with silk gentleman's tie
  • Necklace and chocolates
  • Bluetooth headphones
  • So many more prizes to win.

Tickets are £25 per person. (Please pay via EventBrite using the register button by clicking here.)

Friday 9th December 7.30pm with a complimentary wine or beer, soft drink. 

We look forward to seeing you in Merry Spirits

Cllrs Gareth Elliott & Grant Healy

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Autumn Statement - A Letter from the Chancellor

Six years ago, we took over an economy on the brink of collapse, with the highest budget deficit in our peacetime history. We took the tough decisions to tackle that deficit, rebuilt Britain’s shattered fiscal credibility and created more than 2.7 million new jobs.

The 2016 Autumn Statement I gave today provides an economic platform with certainty and stability at its heart. As the UK leaves the EU and as we begin writing this new chapter in our country’s history, we have set out how we will provide support for our economy through investment and job creation; and how we will provide help for ordinary working people with the cost of living.

It tackles the long-term challenges facing the country, by investing in infrastructure and innovation to boost long-term economic growth. Raising productivity is essential to delivering the high-wage, high-skill economy that will deliver more jobs and higher living standards for people across the country. And that’s why we are acting, with a £23 billion National Productivity Investment Fund, to invest in our infrastructure, transport, digital economy and to build the homes that we need.

It provides the confidence and certainty that our economy needs with a clear plan to get the country back to living within its means. Our new draft Charter for Fiscal Responsibility will see the public finances returned to balance as early as possible in the next Parliament, with a secondary target for the deficit to be below 2% of GDP by the end of this Parliament, public sector net debt as a share of GDP falling by the end of this Parliament, as well as welfare capped.

And it signals our help with the cost of living for millions of ordinary working people. As well as taking millions of people out of income tax, this Government has introduced 15 hours a week of free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds, raised school standards and invested in the NHS. But more needs to be done to help families make ends meet. That’s why we are raising the National Living Wage – a pay rise for over a million people, and £500 for a full time worker; that’s why we’ve announced a freeze in fuel duty for the seventh successive year, saving the average car driver £130 a year in total; and that’s why we will reduce the taper rate for Universal Credit, increasing the incentive to work and helping three million households.
This is an Autumn Statement that will build an economy that works for everyone.

As I said at the start, six years ago, the economy that Labour left us was on the brink of collapse. And every step of the way, the Labour Party have been sniping from the sidelines, opposing every decision we’ve taken to fix the economy. They want to raise taxes, reverse savings and spend hundreds of billions of pounds we don’t have. It just shows they couldn’t control the public finances and would crash the economy like they did last time.

Today we resolve to prepare Britain to seize the opportunities ahead, and to do so in a way that builds an economy where everybody has a chance, and where every part of this United Kingdom contributes to, and shares in our future success.

Thank you for your support.
Philip Hammond
Chancellor of the Exchequer 

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Whitton Station Upgrade - OPEN TO ALL

Five million pounds worth of upgrades were officially unveiled at Whitton Station on Friday, the major improvements include a new station building, new bridge, two lifts, refurbished platforms and canopies.
Passengers will find Whitton Station more accessible than ever thanks to the partnership work between Network Rail, Richmond Council and the Department for Transport.  The new station building includes a new ticket office, shops, new fully-accessible toilet, an improved station forecourt and cycle racks. An enormous amount of investment has been made at the station since improvements began in March 2015 and were completed this month.
Whitton Cllr Gareth Elliott said:
"This upgrade is a wonderful addition to Whitton Village bringing provision of access to all - be it the disable, the elderly or parents with young children. With fast access into London our partners at Network Rail, the RFU and the Council have shown a confidence in Whitton as a forward looking dynamic place to live, work and play."
Richmond Council's Cabinet Member for Environment, Business and Community, Cllr Pamela Fleming, said:
"We have worked hard over the years with our partners at Network Rail and the RFU to help make this major £5million improvement programme happen at Whitton Station. The official unveiling of this new, fully accessible footbridge is a proud day for us and marks the completion of the final phase of these upgrades.
"The new bridge provides two lifts for passengers and since the work began in March 2015 our £450k investment alongside a similar amount from the RFU, has helped to provide passengers with refurbished platforms and canopies and a new station building which houses a new ticket office, new retail unit, new accessible toilet and an improved station forecourt and cycle racks.
"Richmond Council has already made a big investment in transforming Whitton High Street through our Uplift Programme which complements the major upgrade work at Whitton Station. We are all very proud of the work that has gone on in Whitton over the years. It will make a big difference to the local community and leave a long-lasting legacy."
Route Managing Director at Network Rail, Becky Lumlock, added:
"Our Railway Upgrade Plan is delivering better stations and better journeys across the region. The £5million that has been invested here will make a real difference to passengers, providing them with a more pleasant and more welcoming station. The number of passengers using the railway is growing at a fantastic rate and by investing in making the railway more accessible we can help to make sure that everyone can take advantage of the improvements we're making."

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Are You Interested in Representing Whitton - Join the Team for 2018

The Twickenham Conservative Association is currently on the lookout for talented individuals with a desire to serve their local community. 

Across the Borough of Richmond upon Thames we are seeking to identify committed and passionate individuals with an interest in standing as a local Councillor.

If this is something that appeals to you and you believe you have the time and the capacity to make a real difference then please register your interest with David Jones, the Borough Campaign Agent.

Applicants will be expected to demonstrate a commitment to their local area and the Conservatives, complete an application form and attend an Approvals Committee before applying for seats in their preferred wards. Membership of the Conservative party is mandatory.

It is important that those wishing to nominate expect to meet the strict eligibility requirements before applying:
  • Be a British citizen, or qualifying Commonwealth citizen, or a citizen of the EU and resident in the UK.
  • Over 18 years old on the day on nomination.
  • On the Electoral Register for the Council Area in which you seek election.
  • Have lived or worked in the Council Area for at least the last 12 months.

Being a councillor gives individuals a genuine opportunity to make a difference in our community.  So if you are interested  why don’t you get in touch ASAP.  Applicants will receive lots of support from local MPs, Conservative Group colleagues and the Borough Campaigns Team.

Any further questions or to register an interest should be directed to the Agent on 020 8878 7866 or by email to

Please Note: If you have previously registered an interest in standing as a Cllr through the Chairman or Deputy Chair Political of Twickenham Association there is no need to re-notify in response to this email as your details have already been passed across.  This email is a final call for anyone wishing to register an interest, but has not yet done so.   The Agent will promulgate details of the application process and timelines to all registered applicants and Branch Chairs later this week.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Whitton Conservatives Christmas Party

It's Christmas time and what better way to celebrate than with your local Conservatives.

If you've been naughty or nice please don't think twice and come and join us.

This year we are pulling out all the stops with a raffle and a buffet with a complimentary glass of red or white wine and beer. 

Tickets are £25 per person. (Please pay via EventBrite using the register button by clicking here.)

We look forward to seeing you in Merry Spirits

Cllrs Gareth Elliott & Grant Healy

Helping Neighbourhood Watch groups protect communities from Autumn crime

Local members of Neighbourhood Watch groups are invited to attend events offering practical advice around tackling crime and making their community safer this Autumn.

Next month, Richmond Police and the Safer Neighbourhood Board are hosting autumn ‘Knowledge Night’ events for members of Neighbourhood Watch groups across the borough. 

Neighbourhood Watch is a way for communities to help themselves to stay safe. Groups of local volunteers work in partnership with the police and their local council to distribute safety advice, help make sure elderly and vulnerable residents aren't targets for criminals, gather information to help police tackle local problems and alert residents when there’s a particular crime problem in an area.

There are currently two hundred Neighbourhood Watch groups across the borough with hundreds of participants.

On the 3rd and 17th November, two ‘Knowledge Night’ events will be held to give attendees both practical advice around tackling crime and making communities and Neighbourhood Watch areas safer, but also to give an update on what the local police are doing this Autumn and Winter.

Topics covered at each event include:

1.    Moped Enabled Crime – the problem and the police response
2.    Autumn Nights (a crime-free run-up to Christmas)
3.    A Scam Demonstration
4.    Fly-tipping: what you can do

Cllr Stephen Speak, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said:

“Neighbourhood Watch plays a vital role in many parts of the borough with hard working coordinators making a great effort to reach deep into our communities. Together with the Council and the local police, we all work closely to help prevent crime and reassure and advise residents.

“Members keep an eye on their local area and can let elderly people know what is going on and pass on important advice about crime prevention from police or even about road works and events taking place.  It’s good for the community but importantly the intelligence that groups feed back to the police does help to reduce crime and catch offenders.

“As the darker Autumn evenings creep in we do typically see a spike in crime across the borough. Therefore, these two information evenings aim to provide local Neighbourhood Watch members with information on some ‘top issues’. It is also an opportunity to ask the Police any questions about local concerns.

“I would encourage as many neighbourhood watch members as possible to attend, but the events are open to anyone.”

T/Chief Inspector Karen Duckworth, from Richmond Police, added:

“These events follow on from the successful events held in April. It is an opportunity to invite Neighbourhood Watch members to engage with police by not only having a better understanding of the challenges facing us all in keeping Richmond’s communities safe, but also to be part of the solution through greater insight and engagement”.

The events are between 7pm – 9pm on:

Thursday 3rd November  – The Salon Room, York House, Twickenham
Thursday 17th November  – Barnes Methodist Church, Station Road, SW13 ONH

To RSVP to attend, please email:

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Twenty three pavements to benefit from half a million pounds of improvements

Twenty three pavements across the borough will benefit from an additional half a million pounds of improvements, thanks to Richmond Council.


Earlier this year 1,300 people nominated a local pavement for repair as part of the Council’s Community Pavement Repair Fund.


The Community Fund generally focuses on smaller ‘fixes’, rather than large full pavement repairs. Fixes could include replacing damaged paving slabs, replacing blacktop infills or eliminating standing water. Funding is being directed to those eligible pavements that have the strongest level of support through the nomination process.


This fund is in addition to the £ 3.9m the Council invests in improving pavements every year. Following a review of all the nominations, twenty three pavements have been selected for repair. Works are due to start in a phased programme from November 2016.


Cllr Peter Buckwell, Cabinet Member Highways and Streetscene for Richmond Council, said:


"The Community Pavement Repair Fund gives residents that all important say in determining spending priorities. We have set £500,000 aside for this programme, separate from the £3.9m the Council has allocated for planned road and pavement repairs in 2016/17.

"We know that residents want to see more done to repair pavements that are used day-in, day-out, and so that is what we are doing. The Council has already made a very significant increase in the annual budget for road and footway works.


It is impossible for us to repair everything single cracked paving stone. So, we are focusing our resources on those high footfall areas that you feel are a greater priority.


“This is another demonstration of our commitment to listen to our residents and direct resources to areas of greatest concern.”


Whitton Roads to Benefit: 

Below is a list of Whitton pavements that have been selected for repair under the 2016 Community Pavement Fund.

The Ridge, Whitton

Willowdene Close, Whitton

Friday, 16 September 2016

Local accolades for Richmond Council Chief Executive as she retires after 17 years of service

Gillian Norton, Chief Executive of Richmond Council for the past seventeen years is to receive the highest honour the borough can award, it was announced at last night's Council meeting.


To mark Gillian's retirement and in recognition of her service to Richmond upon Thames, the Leader of the Council, Lord True and the Leader of the Opposition, Cllr Gareth Roberts, announced that it is their intention to recommend that the Council award Mrs Norton with a Freedom of the Borough accolade.


Gillian Norton has been Chief Executive of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames since August 1999.  Before that she was Chief Executive of Wokingham District Council for six years. 


Gillian will retire from Richmond at the end of September, whereupon she will take up an honorary position as Representative Deputy Lieutenant for Richmond upon Thames. She takes over the role from Sir Ken Knight, who has held the position since 2007.


From 1 October Paul Martin, Chief Executive of Wandsworth Council, will become Joint Chief Executive for both Richmond and Wandsworth councils. This is part of both councils’ plans to create a shared staffing arrangement.


At the meeting last night, Cllr True said:


"Gillian has had a long and illustrious career in local government. Her service at Richmond and in her previous local government positions has been truly outstanding. She is an exemplary public servant and sets an example in integrity that others can only aspire to.


"Over the past 17 years she has led Richmond Council through many challenges and difficulties with consummate professionalism and skill and given a creative and energetic lead to new policies. The Council is unanimous in wanting to bestow this rare honour in recognition of everything she has done for the people of this Borough."


Cllr Roberts added:


"Gillian Norton has shown immense professionalism and dedication throughout her seventeen years as Chief Executive. She is a woman of wisdom, intelligence and integrity. I would like to thank her for everything she has done for Richmond upon Thames. I can't think of anyone better who deserves this honour."


Gillian Norton, said:


"Over the past 17 years I have truly enjoyed my time as Chief Executive of Richmond upon Thames.  I have had great satisfaction in taking on the many challenges presented to me throughout my career and I hope that I have helped to introduce many improvements that benefit the people of Richmond and local government in London.


"I have been immensely privileged to work with so many dedicated colleagues, passionate in their commitment to improving the borough, whether those are the thousands of staff, the councillors, colleagues in partner agencies or local residents.


"I always said that I wanted to retire at sixty. However, I am genuinely sad to be leaving at such an exciting time for Richmond. But, I am confident that I will leave the Council in good hands."


The Freedom of the Borough is the highest award Richmond Council can give and is an honour bestowed on very few people. It recognises eminent services of local people to the borough. The award dates back to the middle ages when Freemen had commercial privileges and a route into a position of power in a town or city.


The Lord-Lieutenant appoints a Representative Deputy Lieutenant to each of London’s 32 boroughs to assist him in his role as Her Majesty’s representative.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Cllrs Elliott and Healy urge EFA to consider all sites for Turing House

At full Council on Tuesday 13th September the Conservative administration voted through a motion calling on the Education Funding Authority to secure the best site possible for Turing House.

Cllr Elliott spoke during the debate and outlined the continuing local concern at the lack of information from the EFA and called on the Cabinet Member for Schools, Cllr Paul Hodgins, to ensure that the EFA considers all sites put forward, including land adjacent to the David Lloyd health club on Uxbridge Road,  and that where a site is chosen full justification is communicated by the EFA to residents on why other sites are not suitable.

"This Council:
   - continues to support the establishment of Turing House, and re-affirms its
call on the EFA to secure the best site possible for the school and our
borough's parents
   - maintains its position that Turing House admissions must be fair to all of
its stakeholders
   - commits to continuing work on enhancing open spaces for Whitton and


EFA: Education Funding Authority - the central government agency purchasing land which will ultimately be used by Turing House School.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Duke of Northumbeland Riverside walk returns to life

A picturesque stretch of the Duke of Northumberland River in Whitton which was once inaccessible to most is now open to all, thanks to the Mayor of London, Richmond Council, and partner organisations.
Hidden wildlife habitats and beautiful riverside scenes from Kneller Gardens Park to Langhorn Drive in Crane Valley, Whitton, can be part of the school run and visits, now that a new pathway has been installed along the river. The work is part of a wider £400,000 project to transform the entire pathway with runs four kilometres from where it leaves the River Crane in Kneller Gardens to its confluence with the River Thames in Old Isleworth. Previously the pathway was a narrow muddy walkway which was difficult for many people to use. 
It has been made possible thanks to a generous donation of £157k from the Mayor of London’s ‘Big Green Fund’, plus contributions from Richmond Council, Hounslow Council, SITA Trust and ZSL London Zoo.
The project was originally shortlisted for funding from the Mayor’s Big Green Fund in January last year. Londoners voted online and the Duke of Northumberland River scheme was a winner along with just six other London-wide projects. New trees, shrubs, and wild plants will now be planted along the stretch of pathway which has been widened.       
Richmond Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Pamela Fleming, said: 
“The Crane Valley is a local treasure and we are delighted by the work that has gone on there. There is so much for visitors to enjoy and natural habitats to explore. The work has opened up this stretch of river to all which I’m sure will be well used and much loved.”
Rob Gray, Chair of Friends of the River Crane Environment (FORCE), added:
“We are very pleased to see this great improvement to the pathway in this section of the Duke’s River and we look forward to more improvements along the length of the river as the project continues over the next 12 months.  We encourage local people to go out and explore this lovely environmental asset.”

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Petition - Save Kneller Hall for Whitton

On 18th January it was with disbelief and sadness that we received the news that the Government had published its decision to release the Ministry of Defence site, Kneller Hall, for sale. We strongly disagree with this proposal and will seek to challenge the Government.
Kneller Hall, and the Royal School of Military Music, are part of Whitton’s cultural heritage and much loved by residents of Whitton and the wider Borough. In 2007 Richmond Council conferred the Freedom of the Borough on the School in recognition of its 150 year anniversary and importance to the area.
We therefore urge residents to join the fight against the Government’s proposals by signing this petition to challenge the Government:

This is a non-political petition hosted on the Council’s website. If it reaches 1,000 signatures it will trigger a debate of the full Council (all parties). This is important as it will mean the Council will develop an official position to put to Government. At the last Council the Liberal Democrats joined Cllr Lord True, leader of the Richmond Conservatives, in condemning the Government’s announcement. As such this petition and a strong response will provide a strong mandate from the public to Richmond Council to negotiate with the Government.


Notes to Editors