Planes, trains, tubes, taxis and more
The year continues to be a busy one both locally and at the Department for International Development. There’s some really positive news on a number of local transport issues but the possibility of further expansion at Heathrow has again been raised. So do read on for an update…
Following the publication of the interim report by the Airports Commission last December, three possible options have been identified for consideration by Howard Davies and his team - two options for a third runway at Heathrow and one for a second runway at Gatwick, together with an option for a new airport on the Isle of Grain.
Aircraft noise is a real concern locally, and I held a public meeting earlier this year with Wandsworth Council and HACAN to give our local community the chance to discuss all of these options and to express their views on some of the issues they raised. I think it’s such an important issue affecting our quality of life that I have asked Heathrow Airport Limited and Heathrow Hub, the proposers of the two Heathrow options, to a further meeting in Putney later this year so that we can ask them directly about their proposals.
The next step in the process is the Airports Commission will launching a consultation on the three shortlisted options, and to say whether it will be adding a fourth option of an estuary airport. As your local MP, I will continue to represent our concerns to the Airports Commission, and I believe it is vital that as many people in our local community as possible have their say.
Improvements on South West Trains/Network Rail
Overcrowding on our train services has been a huge issue for us locally and I’ve met regularly with South West Trains and Network Rail to press for a better service and to discuss how conditions can be improved for local commuters. It’s great news that new 10 carriage trains are now being rolled out on the service into Waterloo with 108 extra carriages being rolled out over the next 12 months, providing extra space for 23,000 peak time travellers every day. Hopefully it will make a big difference.
Work at Putney Station is due to be completed this summer. New lifts, ticket gates, extended canopies and an expanded concourse area outside will mean a much more attractive and user friendly station for residents.
I’m also working hard with Wandsworth Council to try to get a second entrance to Putney Station and many local residents have got in touch to say that they really support this idea. It will help overcrowding at the entrance to the station as well as improve connections between Putney Station and East Putney Station. I’ve already met the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, to see how we can get the project pushed forward, and I will keep working with Wandsworth Council Leader, Ravi Govindia, who is also keen to try and get the second entrance.
New District Line trains
A lot of constituents have been getting in touch to say what an improvement the new District Line trains are. Alongside the extra South West trains capacity improvement, getting better services on our tube line to reduce overcrowding and improve reliability is something I’ve worked hard on. It’s fantastic that the new tube trains are finally here, and they are certainly a big improvement. The new walk through trains are more spacious and are longer, providing the equivalent space of an extra carriage. With air conditioning, wider doors and walkways, lower passenger alarms and extensive CCTV, it should really improve passengers’ comfort and safety.
The new tube trains are a little faster as well. I organised for the Putney Society and Southfields residents’ associations to get a demonstration ride in the driver’s cab of one of the first new trains from Southfields to Westminster so that they could see how much better the new trains are. They’re being rolled out between now and the summer, as drivers are trained. The next investment that should also help improve our local service is the new signalling which will help us manage more trains on the track.
Do keep letting me know your concerns and experiences on the District Line. It helps me to show London Underground what our priorities are for getting our local services improved.
Many of you have contacted me about our commuter river service in the past. Recent figures show that record numbers of people locally are using the River Thames to travel, with a 130% increase in passengers since the relaunch of the Putney to Blackfriars River Bus service this time last year. I have been working with your local councillors and your London Assembly Member, Richard Tracey, to ensure we have a regular and reliable river service. An extra two morning and three evening sailings have been introduced as well as clearer timetables and a Tube-style route map and local residents are clearly taking advantage of one of our best local assets to travel into central London. As further development along the river takes place, we will continue to see how we can get more improvement on the river service.
I’ve been working with local cab drivers, Wandsworth Council and Transport for London to try to improve the availability of services in Putney. We’re looking at the possibility of getting extra ranks near Putney Cinema, potentially up at the Telegraph pub on Putney Heath, and round Putney Station, to give residents a better choice when they want to find a taxi locally. TfL held a consultation which is looking at the future of taxi licensing in suburban London. I put in some proposals for how we could get better taxi provision locally and will follow that up over the coming months to see if we can get some improvements.
The Thames Tunnel Working Group of local residents that I set up recently met representatives of Thames Water to get the latest update on the project. The investigation by the Planning Inspectorate has now closed and the application has gone to the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government for consideration.
Minimising disruption to local residents and businesses is very important and Thames Water recently agreed to use river barges to transport construction materials rather than HGVs. This will mean that residents of Glendarvon Street will see a reduction of 80% in the number of previously proposed lorries using that road. The only lorries accessing the street will be those transporting machinery and equipment that cannot go by barge which will mean that there will be far fewer of them. Also, rather than having HGVs up and down Glendarvon Street for the whole 2-3 month period, it’s now expected the lorries will be active for a couple of weeks at the beginning and end of the 3 month construction phase, so Glendarvon Street will have fewer lorries over fewer weeks. That’s one of a number of improvements we’ve managed to get using the Thames Tunnel Working Group and its fantastic that local residents are working with me to help us better deal with the impact of the work.
As you may know, Wandsworth Post Office in Southside Shopping Centre closed some months ago and we’ve had two smaller Post Offices in the meantime. I recently met with the Post Office network to discuss their longer term plans and a major Post Office is opening on a new permanent site in Wandsworth High Street which should finally give our local community the modern, state of the art Post Office branch we need.
Out and about
I’ve been having lots of meetings locally, as well as holding my weekly MP’s surgery, and it is really important to me to get out and about in the constituency to hear about the issues that matter to you. I met the Managing Director of Rosslyn Park Rugby Club, one of the oldest clubs in the country, to talk about the future of the club and the facilities it can offer local people and I joined them for their World War I Centenary event to commemorate the lives of club members who served in that war. I visited Eastwood Centre for Children & Families for their International Women’s Day event and I gave a talk to the Putney Society about my work as International Development Secretary. It’s always great to get the chance to listen to the Wandsworth Symphony Orchestra and I also supported a concert at All Saints Church in Putney where lots of very talented musicians played to raise money for the British Red Cross Appeal for the Philippines.
However busy things get in Parliament, I’m always around locally so if you ever need my help don’t hesitate to contact me by email at email@example.com or by writing to me at the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA. I also hold regular surgeries at libraries around the constituency and if you’d like to find out where the next one is do give my office a call on 020 8946 4557.
Rt Hon Justine Greening MP
June 5, 2014-->