Councillor Lister writes to Putney

Oyster cards, Putney Hospital site and planned refits for Leisure Centres ...


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‘Getting pre-pay Oyster cards to work on the rail network would certainly reduce congestion and tempers in the rush hour!’ These are not my words but an extract from just one of the many messages that have been flooding into the council in the last few days.

It is a source of immense frustration to local people who rely on overground rail services that they cannot use a single smart card for their bus, tube and train journeys.

The council thinks it’s time ministers got round a table with TfL and the train operators and sorted this one out. Judging by the reaction since we launched our campaign it’s a view that is widely shared. A properly joined-up ticketing system would be good news for people in Putney and might just shorten the queues at the ticket machines.

The last few days have seen fresh concerns raised about the prospects for progress on the Putney Hospital development. It seems that the body which looks after Putney and Wimbledon Commons will want a fairly hefty slice of the site’s increased value if the scheme goes ahead.

Depending on how the negotiations go it could either halt the plans for new health facilities in their tracks – or force a cash-strapped PCT to squeeze more housing onto this sensitive site. But as I warned at last November’s public meeting at All Saints Church – any scheme which pushes up the density is likely to be resisted on planning grounds. Whatever the final shape of the proposals for this site, health officials know they will face a searching examination from local residents.

It’s less than two years since Putney leisure centre was voted the best of its kind in the capital. That success followed more than £9 million of council investment in new facilities at Putney and other centres in Wandsworth. Next week councillors will vote on plans for a new round of improvements. Top of the list will be projects to completely refurbish the pools at both Putney and Tooting. Keeping all our centres up to the modern standards that people expect today means there can be no let-up in investment.

Edward Lister

February 3, 2006

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