Friday, 27 April 2018

Building A Truly Digital Council Using Data And Digital Technology To Enhance Local Services

Part Of Our Local Conservatives’ Commitment to Harnessing New Technologies For Our Residents

A truly digital Council has the potential to transform local services which is why Richmond Borough Conservative will prioritise these exciting technologies as part of its ambitious plans for Richmond. This does not mean leaving people behind as we will ensure that all residents are able to access and communicate with the Council but it means utilising new technology where it enhances services.

Digital technology offers the ability for more mobile working allowing, for example, social workers to spend more time with patients, voice technology where the elderly or disabled can call out for help rather than having to get to a physical cord, council buildings being repurposed where data centres can be converted to cloud technology, or mobile applications to provide help and assistance. In addition, better understanding and use of data can drive down the cost of public services and allow better analysis of how and where to spend money efficiently.

Gareth Elliott, Whitton Ward Councillor and Cabinet Member for Digital and Technology, said:

"Digital technology offers exciting opportunities to transform council services, better understand and prioritise spending and investment, and the opportunity to make collaborating and engaging with the council easier and more entwined with residents expectations in a modern world.

“Only the Conservatives have prioritised this key area. It is our belief that to ensure a council that is fit for the future and understands and engages with its residents we need to be at the forefront of the digital revolution building a truly digital Richmond."

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Local Conservatives Will Continue to Support Our Borough’s High Streets, Including With 30 Minutes Free Parking

High Streets are the heart of our communities and supporting small independent retailers is a priority for the Council.   Eighteen Village centres benefit from the Town Centre Opportunities and Christmas Lights funds, but by far the most important initiative for retailers was the introduction of the Richmond Card with 30 minutes free parking for residents. The Richmond Card also provides an opportunity for independent businesses to promote offers on the Council website and a special Richmond Card is available for employees and visitors to access these discounts. 

Cllr Pamela Fleming Cabinet Member for Environment, Business & Community said, "Small shops and high streets were penalised by the Lib Dems costly and complicated emission based parking charges.

“One of our first priorities when we took over the administration in 2010 was to look at how we could help small shops compete with free supermarket parking, and the 30 minutes free parking and discounted parking for residents has helped them to get back some of that business.

“Growing on-line shopping, decisions by major retailers to reduce their presence on the high street along with high rents and business rates present a major challenge to the retail sector.  We are already working with a number of small businesses to help them meet the digital challenge, and if re-elected we plan to extend this programme.

“We have already carried out major improvements to a number of high streets. We will be looking at what more we can do to make all our shopping areas more welcoming for everyone, including older people and those with disabilities."

Friday, 13 April 2018

Next Conservative Council will continue the successful Tenants Champion

Housing Association tenants will continue to be able to turn to the Tenants Champion to assist them in dealing with unresolved problems arising from their tenancy.

The Tenants Champion ensures that the tenant is represented when dealing with the Housing association that owns and manages their home.

Cllr Jane Boulton, the Borough’s Tenants Champion, states:

 “This service is much valued by tenants and Housing Associations as numerous issues have been resolved and tenants can be assured that their cases have been fairly considered and, hopefully, resolved. I am pleased that local Conservatives have pledged to continue this unique and much-valued service that we introduced only a few years ago.”

Thursday, 12 April 2018

It’s A Two-Horse Race As Only Local Conservatives and Labour Are Fully Contesting This Council Election

Only the local Conservative and the Labour Party have put up full sets of three candidates in each ward for the Council elections on 3rd May.

In 2014 the Liberal Democrats fielded a full slate of candidates. The Greens fielded at least one candidate in every ward, with a total of 22 candidates. This time around the Greens only have six candidates in total across the borough and in those wards, the Liberal Democrats have only put forward two.

Cllr Grant Healy, Councillor for Whitton, said:

“If there really is a Green – Lib Dem ‘alliance’, then why not in every ward. Either they have both been unable to field candidates, or they are selectively restricting voter choice.

“There is every sign that the Lib Dems are struggling in Twickenham and Richmond, and Labour is emerging. The Lib Dems are not confident enough to win on their own, they still have not released a manifesto with less than three weeks to go until voting day, their campaign is almost entirely negative and shies away from the facts on many issues.  They are mainly asking for votes on national issues which they can do nothing about.

“The Green Party leader Caroline Lucas very recently wrote an article in the Guardian saying they would not join forces with Labour nationally because small parties must keep their identities. Greens have also said in the past about their new best friends, ‘Shameless opportunism is the Lib Dems stock in trade.’ Not exactly a marriage made in heaven.

“It seems this time, for the first time in a while, it’s a clear competition between the two strong main parties, the Conservatives and Labour. This could, in fact, be healthy for our borough. We have our differences, but at least we will have meaningful debates over the issues. That’s what politics should be about, laying the facts before people, explaining the different positions, and letting voters decide.”

Total Number of Candidates:
  • Conservative – 54
  • Labour – 54
  • Liberal Democrat -  48
  • Green – 6
  • Others - 8

Continuing To Invest In The Best Parks in London

With significant investment under the local Conservatives, our borough's parks and open spaces are the best in London and they are greatly valued by our residents. People of all ages enjoy them for many reasons including relaxation, play, sport, exercise, and biodiversity. Activities like the Green Gym, Health Walks and nature buddies provide opportunities to meet new people and get more involved with environmental projects. 

Seventeen parks have Green Flags, and our Parks Team has won numerous awards including Britain in Bloom, London in Bloom, and International Communities in Bloom. Although only created in 2012 under the local Conservatives, the Diamond Jubilee Gardens was won two prestigious landscaping awards. Strawberry Woods, the borough's newest park, has transformed an area of overgrown wasteland into a woodland play area.

Cllr Pamela Fleming, Cabinet Member for Environment, says:

 "Other councils are struggling to keep their parks open but in Richmond Borough our local Conservative administration has invested £3 million over the last 5 years in parks and playgrounds. Getting out in the park is good for us all mentally as well as physically and we want all our open spaces to be welcoming and accessible. We have a dedicated team of officers but what makes our parks so successful is the partnership with our Friends Groups and many volunteers.  A new Conservative Council will continue to invest in parks and playgrounds, and working with our Friends Groups we will be able to access additional funding for improvements to make our parks even better."

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

UPDATE: Cllr Elliott Meets with SWR Managing Director

Cllr Gareth Elliott with SWR MD,
Andy Mellors and local
representative David Wilby
and Cllr Peter Buckwell
On Monday 10th April Cllr Gareth Elliott met with the Managing Director of South Western Railway, Andy Mellors, following a request after the publication of the proposed changes to the timetable for Whitton Station services. The meeting was also attended by the Leader of the Council, Cllr Paul Hodgins, and the Cabinet Member for Transport, Cllr Peter Buckwell.

The meeting follows on from the publication of the results of the consultation and the news that Whitton would not only retain its fast connectivity into London but would also gain a faster service in the morning and evening peak taking the number of services to five (from the current four).

Cllr Elliott sought to gain clarification from South Western Railway on the results of the consultation and to ensure that the Train Operating Company is kept up to speed with the ongoing progress and improvements in and around Whitton that would necessitate the continued demand for the fast services into and out of London.

Cllr Gareth Elliott said of the meeting:

"I am very happy that following the strong lobby from the Whitton community, local Councillors and the Council itself South Western Railway has agreed to reinstitute the fast services into and out of London. I was encouraged that the Managing Director, Andy Mellors, was in agreement with myself and the Council and look forward to ensuring the Whitton continues to maintain the connectivity that is so crucial to this commuter town."

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

UPDATE: South Western Railway Timetable Consultation - RESULTS

South Western Railway has posted the results of its timetable consultation which had originally cut back stops at Whitton station - crucially in the peak commuting period.

The results appear to have rolled back on this proposal and now suggest that Whitton will now be included on the reading service ensuring three faster peak morning services and three peak evening services. This will be in addition to the half-hourly Windsor services that will also call at Whitton Station.

Cllr Gareth Elliott, Whitton Ward Councillor said:

"I am very happy that South Western Railway has taken on board the howls of protest in Whitton and reinstated the peak time semi-fast services. We are still awaiting further details and will feedback from our meeting with the Managing Director of the rail company."

The final timetable has yet to be published as it is being reviewed by Network Rail. The changes will commence in December 2018.

To read the consultation document please click here.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Whitton Library REVAMPED and Re-Opened

 Whitton Library re-opened its doors today after it received a new transformational refurbishment showcasing the Conservative-led council's continuing belief in the role of libraries in today's society.

The Library had been closed since January so that essential repair works and improvements could take place and bring about the stunning new look and installation of new facilities. Work includes:
  • Roof repairs
  • Replacement of the ceiling
  • New lighting
  • Fully accessible entrance door
  • New shelving
  • Display units
  • Study area
  • Space for activities and events

A new and improved makeover has been provided in the Children's section adding a much brighter and enticing ambience and includes a new Story Wall with a wonderful woodland theme.

The library reopened its doors (Tuesday) at 9.30am. 

Cllr Gareth Elliott said:

"The refurbishment of Whitton is a wonderful example of this conservative council's continuing investment in our libraries. It is a wonderful space for all to enjoy and mixes the modern with the traditional and provides areas to work. Whitton has a wonderful gem in its library and very happy with its upgrade."

Cllr Grant Healy said:

"'Awesome refurbishment, wonderful use of space, and all the facilities needed in a modern library. The best library got better!"

Following that the library will resume the following opening times:

Sunday - Closed
Monday - 9:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday - 9:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday - 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Thursday - 9:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Friday - 9:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday - 9:30 AM - 4:00 PM