Who Wants to be Councillor for the Thamesfield Ward?

Four prospective candidates give us their views

With the by-election on June 30th to replace Edward Lister who has stepped down following his appointment as Deputy Mayor working with Boris Johnson. We have asked the four candidates for the position of Thamesfield Councillor to let us know what they think the most important issues are for the ward & Putney and to tell us how they would propose to resolve them if they were elected to be Councillor. Here is what they said:

Christian Klapp

Mike Ryder


Lisa Smart
Liberal Democrats

Marian Hoffman
Green Party

I’ve lived in Putney nearly my entire life.

I work in the business my mum started: a recruitment consultancy, where we help people get placed into their ideal careers.

I live in Upper Richmond Road, right in the heart of the area most threatened by the council’s overdevelopment threat. This overdevelopment blight isn’t just a distant political issue for me – it’s personal.

I’m not just passing through on my way to bigger and better things: Putney is my home; it’s been my home nearly all my life and I am passionate about this place. I want to give something back and get more involved in the issues that affect Putney.

There are only two candidates who can win this by-election. Putney can either elect a 47 th Conservative councillor or it can send me to the town hall as an independent voice speaking up on issues our current councillors are silent on.

Please visit my website: www.putneyriverside.info, to find out more about me, my values and my pledges to Putney.

The issues

There are five key issues that go to the heart of everyday life in riverside Putney:


  • The overdevelopment threat
  • Our sky-high crime rate
  • The illegal levels of pollution in our grubby,neglected High Street
  • The shocking and unsafe neglect over years of Putney Bridge
  • The threat to Barn Elms and the Putney foreshore of the Tideway Tunnel

This by-election won’t change control of the council – the Conservatives have a huge majority: 46 seats out of 60. Council Tax will not rise. The government and MP will be unaffected. It’s simply a free vote for Putney residents to send a message on those five issues that define our area now and will do for years to come.

How I’d resolve them

I’ve put more detailed ideas on my website, and written to residents about those ideas, so please visit www.putneyriverside.info for more information. But the headlines are:

I will be an independent voice for Putney on the Planning Applications Committee. I have been guaranteed a Labour seat on this committee.I will use that seat to work to scrap the policy that permits all new town centre buildings to be as high as 13 storeys and gives wriggle-room to developers to push for even taller buildings. Labour councillors have been the sole votes against Carlton Tower, Tileman House, Putney Place and overdevelopment of the Riverside Quarter and the Ram Brewery.

I want town centre wardens introduced to Putney – tested for one year, paid forby a tiny fraction of the £100million reserves the council is stashing. When we had town centre wardens in Clapham Junction and Tooting, street crime fell by a third. Town centre wardens will free up the resources of our police so they can patrol the rest of riverside Putney away from the high street.

I oppose the sacking of all 24 of our Parks Police – especially as the decision to sack them was made before any agreement had been made with the Metropolitan Police as to what responsibilities they would take over. Our parks: Wandsworth Partk, Leaders Gardens, Putney Cemetery must be patrolled by day and secure at night.

I will press the council to set up an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) specifically for Putney High Street and the surrounding residential streets. That gives the council all the powers it needs to begin cutting toxic Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions that make Putney’s the second-most polluted high street in London.

I will open negotiations with Transport for London to relocate Putney bus garage to reduce congestion and pollution in the high street, as buses are major polluters here. And I’ll make sure when TfL relocate they do so without a single reduced bus service.


Putney Bridge
The bridge is the gateway to our part of the world and its neglect has shamed Putney for years. Everytime we have the smallest amount of rain the surface collapses: the world’s only non-waterproof bridge! I want our bridge fixed now. Not in three months. Not in three years. Now. If I have to drag the council to weekly meetings on progress just to get some action, so be it.


The Tideway Tunnel
Putney needs a strong campaigner to champion its concerns on the Tideway Tunnel. I have two priorities here – a project I think is vital to rid our river of raw sewage.

First, it’s no to Barn Elms: brownfield sites should always be considered over greenfield, and the particular site they’ve picked – closest to Putney homes – is the worst possible location for the main sewer access shaft. Second, I want to see the unavoidable outlet works by Putney Bridge take place east of the bridge so Putney’s historic foreshore is protected. Plus, I will expect work on the tunnel to be tightly controlled by planning conditions and inconvenience to Putney minimised.


I'm a semi-retired freelance journalist and travel writer who's worked for nearly 40 years on local and national newspapers. I've lived in Putney for nearly 25 years, most of them in Thamesfield.

I'm married, with three grown-up children, and I've supported children in Kenya for many years through the Action Aid charity. I'm glad to have this chance to talk about the issues that many local people have raised with me on the doorstep....

Although there are many issues that residents have spoken to me about, many local people do comment on how well Wandsworth Council works. We enjoy the lowest Council tax in the country thanks to the hard work of Edward Lister and the teams who have kept delivery high quality services and the lowest council tax in the country. Now under new Leadership, I hope to play my part in keeping that going.

It wasn’t achieved by accident, your Conservative councillors have ensured the Council delivers quality services, and makes sure they are cost effective.  That’s a culture that I fully ascribe to and one we shouldn’t take for granted. If you didn’t know the figures, council tax for a band D property in Fulham is £1,121, Richmond is £1597, in Wandsworth its £682.

While I’ve been on the doorstep many people have raised issues relating to our High Street, crime and alcohol that are linked. But there is also an appreciation that we are fortunate to have such a range of restaurants in close proximity. Our high street is good, but I want it to be better.

One of our real issues relates to the sale of alcohol and the anti social behavior it causes. We live in a safe area, although we should always be vigilant about crime – especially burglary of which there have been a few incidents lately. Unfortunately the High Street does skew the figures, just take a look at the Governments ‘crime map’ (www.police.uk) and you can see exactly what crime has happened locally. It also gives the names and contact details for the local police team.  If you are worried about crime, call and speak to the team or call into their next meeting on Wednesday 29 th  June at Putney Library.

What we can do to get the crime levels down and improve the High Street is implement a Cumulative Impact Zone (CIZ), something I’d like to write about in the necessary detail later. A CIZ would enable us to put new license applications by bars, restaurants and shops under more scrutiny. I’m particularly keen that we have a dialogue about the High Street and these issues so please in touch, I’d love to hear your thoughts, email me.

The Thames Tunnel project has many residents concerned. Proposals to build on the beautiful Barn Elms site are completely unacceptable. Local residents, the Council and our MP Justine Greening have done a great job in getting a brown field site considered as an alternative to Barn Elms development. I do think we on the Council need to be better at communicating what we are working on here and I promise to be the point man for that.

A lot of residents have raised concern over the number of big developments, and we have to look through the noise. Putney desperately needs additional new homes, particularly those that enable first time buyers to get on the housing ladder. I also remember Riverside quarter as an eyesore of a disused oil depot, instead we now have much needed new homes!

But let’s talk about what we can do here, I promise to make sure local residents are aware of forthcoming planning applications that include big developments in the area. We can all object to local planning applications and I will work with local people to draft effective responses and lobby my colleagues to make sure their views are heard.

I have lived in Putney for over ten years now and I am proud to call it my home.

I am Director of Client Relationships for an international asset management company, working with some of the world’s largest pension funds, foundations and charities.

When not at work I am a school governor at a local secondary school and a trustee of a charity which raises funds for education and health projects in developing countries.

Over the last few weeks my team and I have been going door to door surveying the residents of Putney and asking them what they feel the most important issues are for our area.

The two issues which have come up time and again are the concerns local people have regarding the Council not listening to their views on planning issues, particularly concerning the building of unsuitable high rise developments, and Conservative plans to make local children pay to use local parks.

If the residents of Thamesfield elect me to be their next Councillor, I will be a strong, independent voice for our area – not just another Conservative councillor to do what town hall bosses say. I will always put local people and our area before party politics.

As a local councillor I would take a proactive approach to all significant planning applications affecting the residents of Thamesfield and actively seek local people’s views before waiting for them to complain.

Putney is a lovely place to live and we are in danger of letting over-development irretrievably harm our area.

It is vital that any council provides amenities which are available to all children.

Children are our future and it is wrong that children should be excluded from play facilities simply because their parents cannot afford it.

I am campaigning to ensure that local children are not made to pay to play on local parks.

I am an adult basic literacy tutor working in the mental health sector. 

I took part in the recent campaign against the closure of the York Gardens Library. 

I am currently involved in developing a community garden in Wandsworth

Thamesfield problems and possible solutions

Overdevelopment in general with consequences for traffic congestion & pollution

- Carlton Tower is an example of this – 15 stories high it will block out the sun from gardens in Disraeli Road.

Putney is losing its character mainly due to lack of protection for small businesses: corner shops closed because of Sainsbury & Tesco Locals; closure of small, independent shops. (no greengrocer, only 1 butcher, no fishmonger or independent baker; proliferation of betting shops)

Solutions – Better criteria for granting and withholding planning permission would avoid overdevelopment and siting of supermarkets and their ‘local’ shops where they kill off small independent shops. The Council should be lobbying Government for powers to set their own business rates as high business rates help to put small shops out of business.

Parking – car clubs as part of the solution

Schools – school buildings to be sustainable and provide a good learning environment; educate children to accept collective responsibility for the global environment; promote walking buses and food growing; supplies for school dinners to be sourced locally where possible; encourage school trips.

Adult education – reverse the tendency to concentrate all adult classes in a shrinking number of venues, especially now the Putney Hill site has closed; (withdrawing subsidies for adult classes that do not lead to a qualification is very short-sighted, as a wide choice of affordable leisure courses has a positive impact on a community’s mental health.)

Open spaces – obviously not charging children to use playgrounds! expand the encouragement of community gardening

Public Toilets – make sure existing facilities are properly signposted, veto closures and actively encourage businesses to participate in the Mayor’s Open London scheme, opening their toilets to the public.

Council energy use – promote a culture of energy saving throughout the council; cut down on excessive street lighting, saving energy and reducing light pollution (and letting us see the stars).

Avoid cuts which affect the most vulnerable by spending some of Wandsworth Council’s swollen reserves.



June 15, 2011