Save Putney Town Centre - Labour produces 7 point plan

Cllr Stuart King gives his exclusive analysis of the recent survey

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Today, Labour in Wandsworth publishes the results of our “Save Our High Street” survey. Those results are conclusive and emphatic.

The purpose of this survey was not to talk down Putney. Instead it was to highlight what local residents have been telling us for some time, but which the council has continually denied: Putney town centre is in decline. If we are to help turn this problem around then we need ALL interested parties to recognise and accept the problem as it is.

The first thing to be recognised: by those of us who have been insisting that something’s amiss and those who have been denying anything’s wrong, is that Putney clearly has a problem with it’s High Street – and that this should transcend politics.

Indeed, while 60% of respondents replying identified themselves as Labour supporters, 40% did not; but the consensus was the same: it will no longer do for the council simply to brush off criticisms as coming only from local Labour politicians. This survey gives expression to local residents’ views.

The findings were indeed overwhelming:

 89% of you agree with us that Putney High Street is in decline
 6% of you agree with the council that it is not

 86% of you agree with us that Putney High Street is very, or somewhat dirty
 14% of you agree with the council that it is either very or passably clean

 86% of you agree with us that we need to jet our pavements clean
 6% of you agree with the council that our pavements aren’t greasy and grimy

 89% of you agree with us that the council’s planning policies are largely to blame for the clone nature of the high street
 4% of you don’t want town centre planning policies reviewed

 68% of you want town centre patrollers
 19% of you don’t

These are just five of the sixteen questions nearly 500 Putney residents have taken the time to respond to since we launched our SOS campaign in September alongside our ten point plan to bring about improvements to Putney High Street. if you were one of the respondents, may I thank you indeed; let’s see if we can make a difference.

Labour’s action plan for Putney calls for:

1. Putney High Street to be repaved with smart stone.

2. Pavements to be jetted regularly – not just swept – because sweeping doesn’t tackle the grease and grime that builds up in our 24 hour economy

3. The council to clear away needless clutter and give pedestrians more space.

4. Putney Station to be smartened up, with ticket machines relocated inside and negotiations opened with Transport for London to relocate Putney bus garage. This will both cut congestion and open up a major development opportunity at the southern end of the High Street

5. An immediate review of town centre planning policies to clamp down on banks becoming gambling dens, grocers becoming coffee shops and independent shops becoming clone multinationals. Planning our town centre properly is the foundation of it becoming cleaner, smarter and more attractive to shoppers

6. The council’s existing town centre improvements grants scheme revamped and used to work with businesses to improve their shopfronts and create a common identity along the entire high street – something that will emphasise the character of our town centre.

7. A public inquiry into town centre traffic – because something needs to be done to tackle the pollution and congestion and the only way we can reach a consensus is by hammering the issues out in public and allowing every point of view to be heard.

We will be discussing town centre policies as part of the local election campaign, and Labour in Wandsworth intend to present the findings to both the Council and the Town Centre Partnership.

Cllr Stuart King
Wandsworth Labour Leader

31st March 2006