|Labour's man Stuart King writes to Putney|
|Housing, Roehampton regeneration and Wanndsworth Museum all in his first diary...
I was born and brought up here so my commitment to and passion for Putney is, I’m sure similar to your own: it goes far beyond narrow party politics. Growing up I lived in flats just behind King George’s Park; I had summer jobs in both the Arndale and Putney High Street, and I turn out on Sundays for a football team in Roehampton. Local roots do matter.
My first priority is housing: a national problem particularly acute locally.
On 4 th July I attended the Putney Society meeting on the plans to redevelop the centre of the Alton Estate in Roehampton.
A major demand of local residents is that any of them displaced by the redevelopment will have a guaranteed right of return. Over 650 local people have signed a petition demanding such guarantees because they suspect the council’s motives are to replace local rented homes with private accommodation they will be excluded from. I stand 100% behind residents on this.
There were many other issues raised and as the timeframe for these plans extends beyond 2013 I’ll have plenty of chances to talk more about them. But my real concern is that without leadership residents face the prospect of little – if anything – actually coming of this. Roehampton doesn’t deserve to be let down again.
The job of an MP is not just to deal with national issues – it’s also their responsibility to stand up loudly for the community on local issues like the closure of Wandsworth Museum. Every one of us who values the Museum is, I am sure, immensely grateful to the Hintze Foundation for their £2million lifeline. It had become clear that despite over 22,000 people petitioning to save it, the Council was determined to close it. Even with this infusion of outside cash the Museum’s future is not assured. It makes no sense to waste almost £2million just playing musical chairs with the Museum and West Hill Library when both do perfectly good jobs where they are now.
The campaign to save the Museum has been magnificent: backed by supporters of all parties and none, which is as it should be. But this debacle is the perfect answer to the question “why bother voting: you’re all the same”. We’re not. Your vote does have consequences: good and bad, locally and nationally.
I’ve been up to much more over the past month but you’ll have to wait for my next report for more. In the meantime, my website is up and running, where I talk about these and other local issues in more detail. It’d be great if you could find the time to visit: the address is www.stuartking.net.
With best wishes