Tony Colman MP for Putney writes

In this week's diary for our MP covers Airport noise, effects of Robin Hood Gate closure, Putney's Pensioners, Police Accountability, Fireworks plus more cash for Wandsworth.

Airport noise and pollution:

It is very good news if The Times story of 5 November reporting that there will be no third runway at Heathrow is true. It is worth remembering the Department of Transport figures which showed that if the costs of air travel were internalised the increase in traffic demand would reduce from 4% to 2% per annum and no new capacity in the South East would be needed.

I have campaigned against the expansion of Heathrow since 1991 when I was leader of Merton Council. I am glad to say that Eddie Lister came on board in 1997 (why not before?). I will continue to campaign.

However, just to show how contradictory politicians can be (like life) I was saddened to see Concorde go last month. I know how many Putney residents gathered on Putney Bridge for the final fly in of the three Concorde flights. So long as the flights were not at night and limited there were no complaints. I was surprised that none of the UK media backed Sir Richard Branson's offer of £5 million for the Concorde Fleet. Remember British Airways was given the fleet by the then Government.

Closure of Robin Hood Gate, Richmond Park

The effect of this in the mornings on Roehampton has been disastrous. I secured a review of the closure after six months but would ask for all those affected by the closure to write now before the normal November closure timings. You need to write to: William Weston, Chief Executive of the Royal Parks Agency, Hyde Park, London W1.

Putney and Roehampton Organisation of Pensions (PROP)

PROP has now moved to Putney Library as their regular meeting point. The new venue is a bit tight on space, but at least it is cosy!

I regularly attend their meetings to hear their views - and to receive a gentle grilling! Any pensioners who do not know of PROP do turn up on Mondays 2-4 pm.

I attended Len Holmes' funeral last Friday. Len was Chair of Wandsworth Age Concern and PROP and he will be greatly missed. He was a wonderful man and our thoughts are with his wife at Dora at this time.


The new Government legislation kicks in on 1 January 2004 - obviously not in time for this year's Guy Fawkes Night! But a voluntary code is already in place to stop the sale of fireworks to under 18s and the sale of all the louder fireworks to the general public. There will also be an 11pm curfew for fireworks - this last change will be very welcome to Putney residents all year round as there seem to be too many fireworks set off in the middle of the night. It is sad to see firework night extend for up to four weeks - and terrorise us all. This must stop and I applaud the three organised displays Wandsworth Council put on for us all to enjoy.

More money for Wandsworth Borough?

One of my jobs is to make sure the Council tax payers of Wandsworth continue to get as much central government funding as possible. I have been pressing the Government Office of National Statistics to look again at the 2000 census. The numbers for Wandsworth in this looked far too low. It does not seem to take into consideration that, for example, Putney contains two large communities: we have 7,500 plus students at the University of Surrey Roehampton and large numbers of South Africans (circa 25,000?) who fill our pubs, restaurants, shops. These are to name but two instances of why intuitively the Wandsworth (and Putney) numbers seem to be too low. I understand that the ONS has agreed to look at the Wandsworth raw data again to see if an upward adjustment is necessary (as they have just done in Manchester this week). And more people in Wandsworth should mean a bigger central government grant…

Police Accountability

The Home Secretary has asked for views on how to inform Police accountability. A major consultation on the future of police reform was launched on 4 November entitled, 'Policing Building Safer Communities Together'. The aim is to improve community engagement in policing; to create a police service which is more responsive and accountable to local communities and better able to deal with serious and organised crime. For more information on the consultation exercise see the Home Office website:

I spent thirty days with the MET Police in 2000 (including in Putney). I understand to a certain extent the frustrations on all sides. However, I do believe accountability to Putney residents could be improved - let me know what you think. I particularly want more police officers based in and working in Putney.

Tony Colman MP

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For Parliamentary Information:

November 6th, 2003

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