Welcome to my first community email of the year. I hope you and your family had an enjoyable Christmas and I wish you a Happy New Year.
Below are just some of the things I have been doing this month:
- Met with Crossrail 2 to reiterate my objection to their current proposals
- Set up a dedicated Crossrail 2 website with your local Conservative Councillors
- Asked the Education Minister for an update on their plans to allow summerborn and premature children defer their start to school
- Visited Shree Ghanapathy Temple with Boris Johnson and Zac Goldsmith
- Spoke at The Ursuline High School about Human Rights
- Called for action from Ofcom on local broadband speeds
Crossrail 2 Update
The first Crossrail 2 consultation is now over, and I would like to thank everyone who took the time to make sure their voice was heard. The Crossrail 2 team will now be considering all of our responses and I have asked them to set out a timescale for this process and their report back.
You may be interested to read my response to the consultation, which you can find here. I make it very clear that while I support Crossrail 2 in principle, the current proposals are not acceptable nor are they in the interests of Wimbledon. Therefore I cannot support them and urge Crossrail to bring forward new proposals.
I believe that Crossrail should consider tunnelling opportunities either between Raynes Park and Wimbledon or a longer tunnel into Central London starting from the south west of Motspur Park. Tunnelling plans, which could avoid disruption to the town centre, should have been considered more carefully prior to launching this consultation and been presented as a part of the proposals.
Since the end of the consultation, I have met with Crossrail 2 again to raise the concerns and opposition of the community. I was encouraged to hear that they are actively investigating other solutions for Wimbledon. I have also written to the Secretary of State for Transport to ask for more information about the decision making process for approving Crossrail 2.
To help keep residents well informed about the plans, with your Conservative councillors I am launching a website to keep you informed about what is happening and allow you to join in campaigns for better solutions. Please sign up at: www.crossrail2wimbledon.london and forward it to friends if you would like to join our campaign to protect our town centre and be kept updated on future developments.
Freedom Pass Renewal
This month the renewal process began for 138,000 Freedom Passes in London for those whose passes expire on 31st March 2016. This means pass holders need to take action now to renew their pass in order to continue to receive free travel.
If your pass is due to expire soon you should have already been sent a letter detailing the steps you must take. You can renew online at https://secure.freedompass.org/account/renew using the unique renewal number in your letter. You can also renew by post by completing the form on the back of the letter. Freedom Passes can no longer be renewed at the Post Office.
Kendor Gardens Murder
You may have seen the shocking and sad news of the murder of Daniel Young last week in Kendor Gardens. My thoughts are with his friends and family.
Fortunately, violent crimes such as this remain rare across Wimbledon, Raynes Park, Morden & Motspur Park. However, the police will be stepping up patrols in this area as they understand residents may be concerned.
The police believe that the suspect or suspects would have entered and exited Kendor Gardens via Dorset Road and Kenley Road. From which direction they entered and exited has yet to be established. They would like to hear from anyone who was in or around the Kendor Gardens area between 07:50hrs and 08:15hrs who may be able to help with establishing the movements of the suspect or suspects.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact the incident room on 0208 721 4961 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Bomb Hoaxes to Local Schools
On Tuesday bomb threats were made to Raynes Park High School and Ricards Lodge. Police attended both and evacuated them whilst an assessment was made. I asked the police to keep me informed of developments and kept residents updated through Twitter and Facebook.
There was a 'walk through' of both premises completed by uniformed officers to look for anything that was considered unusual or out of place and then the premises were handed back to the school staff. After this, the decision was made to close both schools for the day.
Several further threats were then made on Thursday to 4 local schools. My thanks again to the police and schools for reacting so calmly and professionally.
The police are now investigating two cases of malicious communications and I would like to thank the Police and the staff of both schools for their quick reactions and calmness.
Letter to Local Businesses
Earlier this month, I wrote to local businesses to share the results from my small business survey I held last year. I was happy to see 71% of businesses reported they increased their staff numbers in the last year, and 92% expected their staff numbers to increase over the next year. These are very welcome trends, and no doubt are a massive contributing factor to Wimbledon’s very low unemployment rate.
Only 19% of businesses reported employing an apprentice, and only 13% plan to do so. I hope this number will increase, as apprenticeships are vital to ensure Britain has a highly skilled workforce. I hope that more businesses locally will take the opportunity to benefit from the Government’s drive to increase apprenticeships.
Many businesses who completed the survey told me that they would appreciate more support from Merton Council, particularly in terms of parking, dirty streets, and there was an overall a feeling that the Council is not engaging enough with businesses.
I also provided businesses with an update on Crossrail 2, and information on Business Rates Relief and the Employment Allowance. A copy of the letter can be found on my website here.
Twitter and Facebook