|Justine Greening MP Writes To Residents|
Westminster and local role, includes Hammersmith Bridge and school fetes
It's a crucial time in Parliament, and later this month a new Prime Minister will have to confront the same realities and Parliamentary arithmetic as the outgoing PM, Theresa May. I believe it is vital for our democracy that both the new Prime Minister and Parliament can debate the next steps on Brexit before any summer break. I first set out my concern that we would have Brexit gridlock in Parliament last July - that has unfortunately been proven correct. The uncertainty over Brexit has to end and I will continue to press a new Prime Minister on their Brexit strategy and what their plans are to find a route forward for Britain.
In the meantime, I'm working hard on all the other issues that affect us day to day - whether transport, air pollution, crime, housing - so if there is ever any issue you are concerned about or project you'd like to get involved in, do let me know.
Working in Putney, Roehampton and Southfields
• Responded to over 1200 emails and letters from constituents.
• Met with students at Southfields Academy for National Sports Week to discuss the school's plans for next year's physical education curriculum and how to encourage teenage girls to get more involved with sport.
• Spoke to nurses and doctors on wards at St George's Hospital with Chief Executive Jacqueline Totterdill about improvements the hospital is making to ensure that patients receive excellent care.
• Attended the Putney Business Improvement District's Annual General Meeting to meet with businesses to discuss local concerns on the High Street, plus also to hear from the BID about work underway and hand out awards to some of our fantastic local businesses in Putney.
• Met with the acting Chief Executive of Kingston Hospital, which a significant number of residents use and had a tour around key parts of the hospital to meet staff.
• Judged a very tough competition between local schools organised by Friends of Wandsworth Park - Brandlehow, St Joseph's and the Roche School on their garden recycling projects. Very well done by all the children involved and they had lots of great ideas on how we can reuse plastic and cut down generally.
• Joined everyone at the annual St Michael's school fete in Southfields - a fantastic day and I also got to judge the fancy dress competition. Great music provided by SingSwell too!
Working in Westminster
Hammersmith Bridge Public Meeting Update
I also wanted to update you on the public meeting I held the week before last with Transport for London on Hammersmith Bridge. I know some people who wanted to come were unable to attend so I thought a brief summary of the discussion and meeting would be helpful.
TfL are already carrying out extensive and detailed work to get the clearest picture possible of the current state of the bridge. It's got extra cracks that have now been found which will need sorting out. They hope to be in a position to set out possible options and costs for each option by August. That will lead to a better idea of how long the work will take. Unfortunately, it is likely to be about 3 years before we have fully working bridge again.
TfL emphasised that their view was that the best case scenario would be a bridge which could take all traffic with no weight restrictions. Although some people suggested that it could just be a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists, the general view at the meeting was that there is a priority for a working bridge to accommodate the volume of traffic that needs to cross from north to south and vice versa, and it needs to be a long term solution, not just a short term fix. Some residents also suggested that a completely new bridge should be built, either as a direct replacement or in another location in the area. TfL said that, realistically, this was unlikely, as for a new location we'd need roads at either side to feed the bridge, the costs would be huge and entirely replacing the existing bridge would take even longer than repairing it (and it's a listed building too).
A large number of people raised issues related to specific bus routes, including the 72 in particular, the 265, the 33 and the 337 services. It was massively helpful to give TfL such a clear message on how important these bus routes are for us. TfL have undertaken to look at every comment and suggestion that relate to bus routes and will review the situation to ensure that any changes they have made are working, or whether there are others that should be made in the future. Having put an initial set of services in place, they're now checking how to improve them via a consultation. It’s really important that we feed our comments in directly to TfL so please do use their consultation website here https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/buses/hammersmith-bridge to make your suggestions and they have said they will consider each one.
Pollution was another issue that was high on everyone's agenda, especially for residents around Putney High Street where there have already been problems with poor air quality. A number of residents have been in touch with me to say that other roads in the area have become much busier and congested since the bridge was closed, particularly along Lower Richmond Road but also some smaller roads which are now being used as cut throughs.
TfL said that this issue will also be considered in the consultation. As part of addressing the congestion, a number of key traffic lights will be rephased to mitigate the impact of the traffic that has now been diverted to Putney. TfL assured us that the buses that it currently runs are of the highest standard in terms of emissions. TfL also stated that it will discuss possible limited parking suspensions on Lower Richmond Road outside the Star and Garter as it joins Putney Bridge to help reduce the congestion there.
TfL have said they will continue to hold public engagement events and I will have a further public meeting once their current review is complete so, as a community, we can continue to feed in our comments on the proposals.
Heathrow Airport has launched the most recent of its consultations about the layout of its proposed expansion, which you can see here. As you know, as a community, we have long campaigned against the expansion of Heathrow because of the noise and air pollution it causes for our local area. The extra flights and noise, and for more hours every day, will be over Southfields, West Hill, Roehampton and even Wimbledon Common, which is unacceptable.
It's an overly expensive hub airport in the wrong place and expanding it just makes that worse. I know it feels like we have endless consultations on this, but we have to keep making sure we respond so our views are clear. Persistence is the key to success - Heathrow would much prefer if we all went quite, but I believe this project is a white elephant for our country aswell as ruining our quality of life locally - even there, if London isn't liveable, then that's bad for Britain too.
I will be holding a public meeting in July in Putney and will invite representatives from Heathrow and Wandsworth Council to speak. I'm just getting it organised, so do look out for a future email confirming the date, but in the meantime, look over the consultation, do respond to it, and let me know your views.
Roehampton Playing Fields
Wandsworth Council wants to see the playing fields have a long term plan and are now holding a consultation to see how we use the playing fields and what we'd like to see improved on in the future. That should then help it launch a new tender process that we hope the Roehampton Playing Fields Community Trust can bid into. The support from local groups and people has been fantastic.
Share your views and respond to the consultation here.
Alton Green, the new development, guarantees housing for all current secured council tenants and will see over a thousand homes built, providing more jobs and housing for people in Roehampton. I've met and discussed with JobCentre Plus in Wandsworth to work on helping local people take full advantage of the new job opportunities coming to Roehampton.
However, we need to make sure that as a community the scheme works for us, and that every pound of investment makes a real difference. I will press to make sure there are good community facilities, including for youth activities, good transport for the increase in residents and adequate affordable housing. If you're a Roehampton resident in particular, do make sure you respond. Several years ago we had lots of investment in the Queen Mary's site across the road, but it's now long overdue that we have investment in the Alton estate.
Planning applications for permanent above ground structures for both the Putney site and the King George's Park site have both now gone live on Wandsworth Council's website. You can view them here and here. Let me know if you have any ideas about the designs and I'll feed them back, or better yet, come along to one of our Community Liaison Working Group meetings. We have one for each site next month - in Putney for the Putney work and in Wandsworth for the King George's site work, so get in touch for details if you are interested in joining that.
Finally, Tideway does an amazing community outreach programme to fund projects in the local community, so if you have a project for a community group or a school and need some help, particularly around King George's park, let me know and I'll see if they can help.
I hope that this update gives you a brief snapshot of some of the things I am working on as our local Member of Parliament. As ever, if you would like to contact me or raise an issue, than please get in touch and I will do the best I can to help. You can email me on email@example.com, write to me at 3 Summerstown, SW17 0BQ or call my office on 0208 946 4557. You can also follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to see all my latest updates.
July 4, 2019