Edward Lister is the Leader of Wandsworth Council and a member for Putney's Thamesfield ward.



The Royal Mail very rarely brings good news these days. But the double announcement this week of plans for a new two tier delivery service and the closure nationally of some 3,000 sub post offices will have horrified even Putney's long-suffering residents and small businesses.

It's not as if we are not used by now to having to wait for our post in Putney. But these changes will confirm once and for all the status of ordinary residents and small businesses (in Consignia's eyes) as second class customers. Although no figures have been released yet it is likely that those of us receiving fewer than, say, 25 deliveries a day will have to give way to higher volume users. These will get their deliveries before 9am. The rest of us will have to wait until later in the day.

That's no good if you are a trader or businessperson waiting for an important cheque which you might not be able to pay in until the following day. People in South West London already have the worst postal service in the country - even the Hebrides gets its mail quicker. The council together with the Putney Partnership and the consumer group Postwatch will fight these changes while for town hall mail we will have to look again at whether we might get a better service by using our own staff to deliver it.

We're not having much joy either with the Royal Parks. The half-baked plan to stop traffic entering one gate only at Richmond Park - Robin Hood - will have catastrophic effects for people on Roehampton's Alton estate. Up to 700 extra vehicles an hour could be forced onto local roads during the morning peak period if the closure goes ahead as planned on 2nd April.

The council is currently taking legal advice on the plan. We could be joined by an unlikely ally in the Mayor of London. It seems that his Transport for London organisation was not consulted on the changes which will have far reaching effects for traffic on the main A3 into town. Alton Road is already a dangerous rat run for drivers trying to avoid the queues at the Roehampton Lane junction.

The Royal Parks agency is a public body. It is accountable to a cabinet minister. Its motives in protecting the park are understandable but its arrogance in ignoring the impact of its actions on those people who live close by is unforgiveable.

The council has done much over the years to help the borough's young people afford the cost of a home in our increasingly high-priced borough. It was Wandsworth after all that pioneered the range of low cost home ownership opportunities that continue to offer a first step on the ladder for thousands of local people.

So this week's news that the council's sale of a former school site in Battersea to a local housing association was bringing the number of new sensibly priced homes in the borough up towards the 1,000 mark was a real cause for celebration.

The vast majority of these homes will be available to buy. They will all go to local people on the councils' waiting lists. We are not building vast single tenure estates as some would advocate. We are working with a variety of agencies to provide homes in all types of location which can be purchased by those on average and below average incomes.

The more property values rise the harder we have to work to make these low cost purchase schemes stack up.

Residents on the Wandsworth side of Dyers Lane will have been amused by the story and picture in the Evening Standard this week on London's council tax bills. Wandsworth had of course just announced its new figure of £398 (Band D) which will be the lowest in the country this year. People on the Richmond side of this road which acts as the boundary between the two neighbouring boroughs will pay more than £1,000.

People want good services from their council at a price they can afford. That's the balance we have always tried to strike in Wandsworth throughout the last 20 years.

Edward Lister
Leader of the Council

You can contact Edward Lister at the Town Hall on 0208 871 6041 or by email at

Cllr Lister comments on the current planning furore, pigeon mess, cctv and policing.

Cllr Lister writes on Pensioners Freedom Passes, good news re Hotham School, development progress at Ashlone Wharf and aircraft noise from Heathrow Airport.

Recent visit to the Leisure Centre was less than enjoyable - see forum.

Cllr Lister writes on the new school for the area, housing development and Heathrow.

Cllr Lister writes on developments at the Putney School of Art & Design, The Leisure Centre and the excellent league results for local schools.

Tony Colman MP for Putney speaks about current local issues