I am pleased to be writing the first of what will be a regular column for the Wimbledon Times. I aim to cover the issues which are most important to my constituents and more widely across our corner of South West London.
I increasingly hear reports of crime in our area especially car crime and theft from vehicles and doorsteps. There is also a rising concern about anti-social behaviour. I have had meetings with our new Borough Commander, Clair Kelland, who I know is determined to stamp out crime, catch criminals, and reduce fear of crime. The Government has recruited over 3000 more officers to the Metropolitan Police since 2019 and we need to ensure as many officers are on our streets as possible. I am also clear we need to save our Police Station and for many years I have led the campaign to save the station. I will continue to lobby the Mayor to ensure we keep our Police Station.
I am also organising a Crime Meeting for local people to share their concerns with Senior Police Officers and me. This is to take place in June and I shall share more details in my next column.
The most contentious planning application in Wimbledon remains the proposed development of Wimbledon Park. Merton and Wandsworth Councils Planning Committees were expected to hear the application from the All England this month. The plans which I consider too large for the proposed site, with too many courts, a new show court, and the plans to restrict residents with the closure of Church Road. As Wimbledon’s MP, I know how important the tennis is to our area and I believe we could find a solution to the current impasse, but only after the current proposals are rejected by the Planning Committees and then engagement can start again.
ULEZ is coming to Merton this summer. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is set to ignore the results of his own consultation which showed clearly that 70% of outer London is opposed to the expansion. We all agree that air quality is vitally important to healthy lives, particularly for children. Whilst ULEZ has reduced pollution in central London, the top-10 most polluted London streets are still within the existing ULEZ boundary. The expansion of ULEZ is nothing more than a revenue raising exercise by a Mayor unwilling to face up to the tough decisions needed to support our city to achieve its global potential. In South West London a greater concentration on EV charging point introduction and more walk to school schemes would be more effective.