Councillor Lister writes to Putney

A sculpture trail, helicopters, and distraction burglaries ..........


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Cllr Lister's previous diary

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It is 19 years since Alan Thornhill's piece 'Load' was installed on Putney Embankment outside what is now Thai Square. Standing in this prominent location it has proved a remarkably robust and resilient structure and a distinctive local landmark.

Now it is set to be joined by eight other items offered by the Putney-based sculptor as part of a themed sculpture trail. It's a wonderful gesture which I am sure will be appreciated by those of us who regularly enjoy a stroll along the riverside. The trail will run from Leaders Gardens in the west to Prospect Quay in the east.

Putney, with its thriving arts community and rich cultural heritage is a worthy setting for this venture which will demonstrate how public art can be used imaginatively to enhance the environment for both local people and visitors.

Figures from the police reveal that the number one dodge for doorstep conmen currently is to pose as 'the man from the water board.'

The police term for this type of deception is 'distraction burglary' - sadly it is usually targeted at elderly residents. Now the council is trying out a new scheme in the Dover House Road area which aims to turn the whole community here into a no-go zone for unwanted callers at the door.

The idea is to sign up all residents - young and old - to the scheme. People display stickers in their windows declaring the street a 'no cold callers zone.' That way vulnerable residents are protected without being singled out for attention. If it works in Putney it is likely to be extended to other parts of the borough.

This summer has been a record season for helicopter noise complaints. That's why the council has called on the Battersea heliport owners to set up a local consultative committee which can receive regular reports on heliport activities.

This week I met with the heliport bosses to spell out our concerns - and in particular the need for a single point of contact for all complaints and a more open approach to the public. I am pleased to say we had a positive response to our initiative and work will now get under way to set up this new body.

Helicopter noise - like aircraft noise - is becoming increasingly intrusive for many people. It is right that we should make heliports and their users more accountable for their activities.

Edward Lister

September 1, 2006

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