September Community Email
Welcome to my September community email, I do hope you have all enjoyed a great summer.
The Boundary Review
Last week the Boundary Commission released their initial proposals for the new constituency boundaries. Their goal is to reduce the number of MPs by 50, and make the number of people living in each constituency more equal.
Their proposals for Wimbledon and Merton are hugely disappointing and detrimental to the local area. The Boundary Commission’s own guidelines on community interest and cohesion have simply not been followed.
Wimbledon is effectively ripped apart, with Wimbledon Park and Village joining the Putney constituency. The remainder of the current Wimbledon constituency is joined by Colliers Wood, Lavender Fields, Ravensbury and Cricket Green from the current Mitcham and Morden constituency.
There are a number of problems with these proposals:
- Residents in Wimbledon Village do not feel part of or look north to the Putney constituency, especially with regard to shopping and travel. The Village is physically separated from residents in the rest of Putney by both the Common and the A3 road.
- The current plans split Mitcham Common, this contradicts The Boundary Commission’s view to unite Wimbledon Common.
- Colliers Wood would be moved into the new constituency, but Colliers Wood residents tend to look towards Tooting. There is a significant divide between the residential populations of Abbey/Trinity and Colliers Wood, caused by the River Wandle, the parks alongside it and the shopping units on the boundary.
- Similarly, residents of Lavender Fields, Ravensbury and Cricket Green would be moved into the new constituency but currently look to Mitcham, with these residential areas separated from South Wimbledon by the Deer Park Industrial Estate, Morden Hall Park and Merantun Way. In the previous revised proposals the Boundary Commission were convinced that Mitcham Town Centre should be united, but it is split under the current proposals.
- Additionally, under these proposals the London Borough of Merton goes from having two Members of Parliament to five.
Many residents have pointed out to me that:
- The current Wimbledon constituency is remarkably cohesive and reflects where residents live their lives, particularly in regards to shopping, leisure and transport.
- Within the constituency are a number of different residential hubs, and the commercial and transport hubs that local people look to.
- The current Wimbledon constituency contains the vast majority of the “SW19” postcode, the most famous postcode in the world, and the brand of ‘Wimbledon’ itself. Many landmarks across the Wimbledon area contribute to this.
These proposals will make it harder for Members of Parliament locally to work constructively with the local Council, to deliver for residents in the areas that matter most to them and to understand their concerns.
I encourage all residents to closely examine the Boundary Commission's proposals, and to have their say. The Boundary Commission are particularly interested in hearing from affected residents about the local ties that are impacted by these proposals, so if you feel that they do not respect Wimbledon’s community links, please get in touch with them.
You can view the proposals here for your area, just put in your postcode. To respond to the consultation, click “have your say” in the top right and click on the area you wish to comment on. I understand that the website is not the easiest to use, so you can also take part in the consultation by writing to “Boundary Commission for England, 35 Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BQ” or emailing email@example.com by the 5th December.
The Boundary Commission are also holding a number of public hearings across London. These are not public meetings, but are a chance to make oral representations. Details on these, and how to register to attend, can be found here.
High Path Regeneration
I recently attended the High Path Community Association’s meeting with Create Streets, a social enterprise with a particular interest in development and planning, to discuss the regeneration of the estate. Create Streets made a very interesting presentation about the most effective ways for residents to make their views heard on regeneration projects, with examples of best practice from across London.
Significant concerns with Circle Housing, the local Housing Association, were raised with me at the meeting. There are issues on their record of home repairs and responsiveness, which I deal with on a daily basis through constituents asking for my help. Circle Housing are proposing to merge with Affinity Sutton, another Housing Association. Residents feel like not enough information has been provided about this. Finally, residents want to see good quality construction on the Estate, not just in terms of aesthetics, but also in terms of robustness and being structurally sound.
After listening to residents, I am:
- Seeking a meeting with the Chief Executive of Merton Council and the Head of Housing at Circle to discuss building control to ensure any building on the High Path Estate is of high quality and is strictly monitored.
- Working with the High Path Community Association to bring representatives from Circle Housing, who are working on the merger, to a future public meeting.
- Writing to the Secretary of State for Local Government, and the Homes and Communities Agency about their scrutiny of Circle’s performance, and construction.
Crossrail 2 have told me that the next route and consultation is still expected in Autumn, and that I should hear more at the end of the month.
I am seeking to meet with the Chief Executive of Crossrail 2 ASAP to discuss the next steps, and I will keep you updated.
You can also sign up to receive updates from me and your local Conservative councillors on our dedicated Crossrail 2 website.
Longer trains from Wimbledon to Waterloo
Earlier this year I was delighted to announce that my lengthy campaign for longer commuter trains from Wimbledon to Waterloo had been a success, with the extra carriages due to come into service by the end of next year.
To allow for longer 10-car trains, platforms 1-4 at Waterloo need to be extended. You may have also noticed that as part of a wider upgrade, work has started to rebuild the former Waterloo International Terminal to allow platforms 20–24 to be brought back into use, further expanding capacity at Waterloo.
To allow the platforms to be extended, from 5 August to 28 August 2017, fewer trains will call at Motspur Park, Raynes Park and Wimbledon stations. A detailed timetable will not be available until early 2017, but I will continue to keep you updated on this. I will also be watching the progress closely to ensure that the necessary disruption is kept to a minimum.
The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government had been asked to call in the planning application for AFC Wimbledon to return to Plough Lane. On Tuesday he decided not to call in the application and allow it to be determined by Merton Council. This is in line with Government policy which aims to allow local councils to make decisions that affect their area.
I have discussed with AFC Wimbledon the investment they will bring to Wimbledon with the new stadium.
I have argued for this for some time as the new Stadium must work for the local community.
Now Merton Council must ensure that the local infrastructure is there to support the stadium and development.
Merton Council Tax Survey
Merton Council has set up a survey to ask residents their view on an increase in Council Tax to pay for services.
This is striking as earlier in the year Council were given the opportunity by Conservative Councillors to increase Council Tax by 1.7% to protect the adult social care budget. This would have been at a net zero cost to local taxpayers as it would have offset by the cut in the precept paid to City Hall, delivered by the former Conservative mayor, Boris Johnson. However, inexplicably, most Labour councillors voted against this, which caused some to resign in protest.
Merton Council plan to scrap your weekly bin collection
Under this proposal:
- Household rubbish will only be collected once a fortnight!
- Paper and card will be put into one wheelie bin collected one week
- Plastics, glass and cans will be put into an open container, collected the following week
- In total, you will need up to five separate containers (including two massive wheelie bins) to hold all your rubbish
Conservative Councillors have raised five main concerns about these plans:
- The inconvenience of putting household rubbish in five different containers, clogging up front gardens, streets and kitchens
- No consideration for the impact on elderly, disabled and those living in smaller homes
- A massive increase in ugly bins blighting our streets
- Lack of any consultation with residents
- The large cost of purchasing new wheelie bins
Despite these issues, Merton Council is pressing ahead with the changes.
Do you want to retain your weekly collection? To support this campaign, please spend a couple of minutes on the below survey to let us know your views:
Wimbledon Park and Morden Park fireworks displays
Wimbledon Park - Thursday 3 November 2016
The display will take place near the athletics track.
There are pedestrian entrances on Home Park Road to the south, Revelstoke Road to the east, and Wimbledon Park Road to the northwest.
Morden Park - Saturday 5 November 2016
The display will take place in the middle of the park.
There are pedestrian entrances on London Road, Lower Morden Lane and Hillcross Avenue.
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