Councillor Lister writes to Putney

on the new licensing regime, night flights the Brewer Building and revaluation... .


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Cllr Lister's previous diary

Cedar Tree application

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Pubs & licensing hours

There's no doubt that the Government's new licensing regime is weighted heavily in favour of those pubs and bars that want later hours.

But in Putney the signs are that thanks to organised and thoughtful questioning of by residents some of the more unwelcome proposals are being resisted.

We've seen pubs like the Boathouse, Jolly Gardeners and Litten Tree agree to drop their plans in the face of local concerns while others like the Arab Boy and the Whistle and Flute have been scaled back.

Local councillors have worked closely with residents on all these cases although probably the most hotly-contested was the application for later opening by Ghillies Restaurant at Prospect Quay. This too was withdrawn to the great relief of scores of people living close by.

Night Flights
Whether it's noise from late night drinkers or noise from the skies overhead the community has a right to be protected.

The deadline for responses to the Government's plans for more night flights has now passed. Almost immediately a leaked BAA report in the Observer warns us that the airlines see these early morning wake-up flights as 'slots' or 'rights'.

In other words if they lose them they will want compensation. This in turn will enable ministers to say the costs of reducing night flights are prohibitive. It is of course typically insensitive for the industry to claim a 'right' to wake people up in the small hours. The right of the community to a decent quality of life and a proper night's sleep is surely worth more.

The Brewer Building
On a much lighter note I was delighted to be among 350 guests attending the opening ceremony for the new Brewer Building at St Mary's Church. The sparkling new facilities will be a great asset for the community and much credit is due to Giles Fraser for his vision and tenacity in seeing the project through to completion.

Finally two cheers for the Government's a U-turn on revaluation. This would have forced just about every home in Putney into a higher council tax band and caused enormous loss of government grant to councils in high value areas like London and the South East.

However the danger is not over yet. The valuers may have been stood down but ministers are still looking at how property taxes link to council funding.

Wandsworth Council, in common with other London boroughs, will continue to press for assurances that no new council tax bands will be created, and that boroughs where property values are high should not be penalised at the expense of other areas of the country.

The main thrust of the argument is simple: Just because house prices in London are higher than the rest of the country it does not follow that residents are better off. We all know what it costs to live in the capital.

Edward Lister

Edward Lister is the Leader of Wandsworth Council and a member for Putney's Thamesfield ward.