October 2018 Heathfield Lib Dem update
1) Turing House School - possible relocation to Hospital Bridge Road
Since the Lib Dems won control of the council in May the new Leader of the Council has written to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to tell them this council would be willing to explore suitable alternative sites. The Lib Dems have also commissioned an independent report into the land on the Uxbridge Road which we though was a better choice for the permanent home of Turing House School.
In April Labour controlled Hounslow Council sold the Hospital Bridge Road site to the Education Skills Funding Agency on a long lease. Despite a change in council administration the ESFA pushed ahead with their public engagement in Mid July at Whitton Methodist Church. They are still not engaging with us on the idea of possible alternative site and they are going to submit a planning application later this year on the Hospital Bridge Road site. The developers and ESFA held a pre-application meeting with the council - in it they confirmed they wouldn’t consider a later staggered start time (to help reduce congestion) and there are ongoing legal issues to resolve with the nursery which could impact upon the possibility of any open space. However, we will keep on fighting to find an alternative site as long as there is a possibility it still can be moved. There are parents and pupils locally who use the school and it is important we find a new permanent home for Turing but John, Lesley and Michael believe we should fully explore other options and keep fighting to protect the Metropolitan Open Land on Hospital Bridge Road. We must also continue to support the good work at Twickenham School by reassuring parents, pupils and teachers we will support them even if Turing does move to HBR.
2) 310 Nelson Road
Councillors recently visited the site with the council planning enforcement team. They are now trying to enforce the recently submitted Construction Management Statement. We have also been working with Vince Cable MP to put pressure on SEP Properties to clean up and tidy this site as well trying to target the Royal Bank of Scotland who hold the mortgage on the property as well. The owners have confirmed work will restart on site by October 15th (we’ll believe it when we see it!)
Just before the election we managed to get the site cleaned up and the highway cleared but construction work was halted until they submitted a Construction Management Statement. Work is happening intermittently but we are aware the site is not secure and the pavement is regularly obstructed. Although we are legally obliged to reissue the license to occupy the public highway at the end of October, your Lib Dem councillors and MP will continue to actively pursue SEP properties to finish the works as soon as possible.
3) Hanworth Road to Whitton High Street bus service
Your three local councillors recently submitted another petition at full council in September to call for a new bus service. We are happy to announce that Transport for London are about to consult on changing the bus services in Whitton area which will include a service that links up the Hanworth Road/Powder Mill Lane to Whitton High Street and then to Richmond. The consultation will open soon and we will keep you updated.
4) Controlled Parking Zone - near Whitton Station
After work by residents and former Cllr Hambidge in 2017, they gathered enough signatures to demonstrate support for the council to investigate a possible CPZ around the streets near to Whitton Station. We were surprised when the Lib Dems came to power to find that nothing further had progressed. The consultation has now started and letters have been delivered. We encourage residents to take part whether in favour or not https://www.richmond.gov.uk/services/roads_and_transport/transport_planning/parking_reviews/whitton_station_parking_study
5) Community Fund
Two projects in Whitton bid for some of the money available in the latest around of Community Funding (money from Community Infrastructure Levy). They both were awarded some of the money available to the Whitton area - these include improvements to the Crane Park and a new village square outside St James and St Philips Church.
6) Hospital Bridge Road
Following on from concerns raised by residents in the summer the hedges alongside Hospital Bridge Road and the cemetery have been cutback. This is much better for pedestrians who walk along the road including accessing the bus stop.
7) Travellers on Heathfield Rec
In August many of you will have seen that Travellers broke the lock on Heathfield Rec and set up camp. Councillors, Council Officers and the police were on scene within 24 hours and the council began the process to evict the travellers the morning after they arrived. Thankfully following a successful eviction process they left the site at the end of August. The police gave a very hopeful update to residents at the local Police Liaison Group meeting in September. We are hoping to setup a “Friends of Heathfield Rec’ group in conjunction with South West London Environment Network. If you would like to help or would like more information then please do get in touch.
8) Roads and pavements
Since May we have seen investment in several parts of the ward to improve roads and pavements. Work may not have started in all of these places yet but Percy Road is being resurfaced, Ellerman Avenue pavements have been replaced and Powder Mill Lane is being repaved. Jubilee Avenue is also going to be repaved later this year. We know there has also been some gas mains replacement work going on in the ward and which has seen significant pavement disruption in some parts of the ward.
All three of us continue to deal with regular casework and a few items from the last couple of months include school places, licensing concerns, housing, street cleaning, hedge cutting, planning. If there is anything you would like us to take up then please do so.
Finally, we hold our surgery on the first Saturday of the month in Whitton High Street - we were there on Saturday 1st September and we will be there again on Saturday 6th October. if you would like to see us or speak to us please do visit us. Alternatively you can always email or call us at any point - we’d love to hear from you.
John, Lesley and Michael
Heathfield Lib Dems