Plans for Putney School of Art & Danebury Avenue, noise from planes and more....
If ever there was an example of a local success story it is the Putney School of Art and Design in Oxford Road.
The centre has been run by the council for the last nine years. In that time it has built a superb reputation for the quality of its courses.
Now following an ambitious bid to the Learning and Skills Council, the Victorian buildings here are in line for some serious investment that will include new studios.
The expanded facilities will accommodate up to 1,000 students over a year and reduce waiting lists for some of the most popular courses. It's a great resource to have in Putney – and now it's going to get even better!
A much clearer picture is now emerging of the way the central Danebury Avenue area of Roehampton could develop over the next few years.
The changes are designed to open up the area and make it more attractive for people on either side of Roehampton Lane.
Plans include a new library and town square, a supermarket, new shops and homes.
The council will be discussing the ideas with local residents and traders before a planning application is put together later this year. There's a lot of detail to work through but right now the most important thing to do is to ensure that people throughout Roehampton share in the long term vision.
There was an astonishing outcome to the court case last week when local councils including Wandsworth and Richmond were trying to win a cut in the noise from early morning arrivals at Heathrow.
Ruling in favour of the Government, the judge explained that ministers were under no obligation to make things better for residents. He described the wording of the official policy objective of 'bearing down on noise' as 'vacuous.'
This is a battle we must continue in Parliament. A policy which can be made to mean anything its author wants is pure Alice in Wonderland. Until we get an unequivocal statement of intent from Ruth Kelly on what the Government intends to do about aircraft noise, the prospects for any improvements are remote.
And with a decision on Heathrow expansion coming up later in the summer we can all look forward to another outpouring of ministerial doublespeak on the environmental impact of yet more planes over Putney.
We've opened talks with Post Office bosses on the prospects for establishing alternative local services. Right from the start they've made it clear they won't consider proposals which threaten the viability of other nearby branches – this of course is a bit rich coming from an organisation that will have closed half the post offices in Wandsworth in just five years.
They are also expecting sponsors to bear all the running costs – with no possibility of funding from the Government's annual £150m subsidy to the network.
Finally some good news on the pavements on the west side of the High Street. We now expect
the stretch from the Exchange to the river to be relaid during this financial year. As we've seen on the other side of the High Street the new paving certainly makes a difference.
July 3, 2008
Edward Lister is the Leader of Wandsworth Council and a member for Putney's Thamesfield ward.