Councillor Lister writes to Putney

Con men, back to school, commuting by river & more ............


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A council-led crackdown on doorstep-conmen which is being tested in the Dover House Road area is already delivering results.

Officers in our community safety team are currently evaluating the scheme's impact but it is clear from residents that the simple tactic of displaying a 'no cold calling' sticker in the window is proving effective at deterring rogue traders and other unwanted callers.

And because residents keep a record of all such calls we are able to respond quickly to alert neighbours of any new scams.

It's a great example of how, through increased vigilance, a community can work together to protect its most vulnerable members.

It's back to school this week for local children. At the end of the summer term two of our primaries – St Mary's and Our Lady of Victories – received outstanding Ofsted reports, following several other excellent reports earlier in the year.

There were some splendid results in the Year 6 test for eleven year-olds with other local schools including All Saints, Hotham and Brandlehow all scoring highly in the English, maths and science assessments while Granard registered a 20-point improvement on its 2006 performance.

The borough-wide picture is fascinating with all-round progress in maths and boys now closing the gap on girls in all subjects following a lot of work in schools to address different learning methods.

I've been getting a lot of emails form river commuters who have been trying out the new services from Putney and Wandsworth Riverside Quarter. There's great enthusiasm for using the river as a way of getting to town and it's clear that if we could get Transport for London to invest more in this alternative – and promote it more widely - it could attract many more passengers.

Top of the list is a plea for the service to extend beyond its current destination -Blackfriars – through to Canary Wharf. People also want the service to be fully integrated into the London fare zones. Currently you get a reduction if you show your Oyster card but you cannot pay by this means.

Finally I see there's been a suggestion from a Putney Society member that the congestion charge zone be extended to Putney.

The key challenge surely is to get people to use their cars less without imposing blanket controls that end up restricting personal freedoms while squeezing the life out of local shops.

The council's own surveys show that around one in four local people are using their car less often than they did two years ago – also that more people are using buses and trains and more people are happy to walk or cycle.

It's hard to see a new Putney zone as the answer – particularly at a time when reports suggest that congestion in the central London area is now back almost to where it was in 2002.

Edward Lister

September 6, 2007

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