RICHMOND PARK TO PARTIALLY REOPEN TO CARS ON SATURDAY
Royal Parks has just announced that they will be trialling a partial reopening to cars in Richmond Park from Saturday. The route down the western edge of the park from Richmond Gate to Ham Gate and Kingston Gate will be reopened to vehicles on a trial basis for the next six months. The northeast route from Richmond Gate to Roehampton Gate will be open on weekdays only during this period. Car parks will still be accessible from nearby gates where the roads are closed to through traffic.
See the new route map for the park here:
With this trial, Royal Parks is trying to balance the needs of many kinds of park users. They hope this will keep a large central swathe of the park car free at all times and an even larger area car free at weekends, while also allowing blue badge holders and the less mobile to use the car parks to access the park. They want to take some of the traffic pressure off of Petersham Road and Richmond Road in Ham, and off of the congested roads near the park in East Sheen, while leaving cyclists some extra car free space at the weekends.
The trials will be monitored through visitor satisfaction surveys and feedback from stakeholders, and a formal consultation will be launched in November. I will be watching the trial period closely and will represent the views and interests of my constituents to Royal Parks throughout the trial, consultation and evaluation periods. I am hoping this will be a good compromise to meet the competing needs of drivers, cyclists and walkers but will be looking to see if they have got the balance right.
A LEVEL RESULTS DAY THIS THURSDAY
A Level results will be distributed to our sixth form pupils this Thursday. I know many of them will be anxious about whether they have received the grades they need for their further education, training or jobs. Universities have been asked to be flexible in these difficult times, but they will need to see what has been awarded before taking their decisions.
The government has not put in place the robust system for challenging marks that I would have liked to see. Every single A Level candidate is a young person whose opportunities, choices and confidence will be shaped by these grades, and it is vitally important that the government strain every sinew to ensure that none of them sees their hopes dashed by an unfair mark given to them because of the interruption to their education. I will continue to press the Government, with my Liberal Democrat colleagues, to strengthen candidates' rights and their ability to appeal the marks they were given by the Government's algorithm.
SHOP LOCAL WEEK
This week is Shop Local Week, and while I have been asking Richmond Park residents to support their local independent businesses as much as possible since lockdown began, this is a great time for us all to renew our commitment to help our high street businesses survive by giving them our custom as often as we can. Shopping locally is good for the environment, good for the community, good for local jobs and good for customers, who benefit from independent shops' knowledge of the local market.
I have been impressed with the distancing and hygiene measures put in place by our small enterprises; pop to your shops and see if you agree!
RICHMOND MANOR ROAD DEVELOPMENT
The Greater London Authority (GLA) has launched a new consultation on the Manor Road development site in Richmond, currently occupied by Homebase. Constituents are being invited to comment on developer Avanton’s third set of proposals for the site by 3 September 2020.
There is much about these proposals that concerns me. In Avanton's original proposals, which were refused by Richmond Council in July 2019, they planned to build 385 flats. Now they want to build 453 flats, partly by raising the heights of some of the buildings.
In addition to my concern about the overbearing nature of this development, I consider it to be problematic in terms of transportation planning. The developer calls this a car-free development, but in reality constituents living nearby will have to pay to have their roads turned into Controlled Parking Zones, to stop them from becoming its unofficial car park. More cars will mean more air pollution and traffic, and there are questions about whether North Sheen station, local schools, GP surgeries and other public amenities can cope.
I shall write to Mayor Khan again to express my opposition to these revised plans. Mayor Khan will decide on the application at a virtual public hearing currently scheduled for 1 October 2020.
I urge you to submit your views on the revised scheme to the GLA by 3 September 2020, by email to ManorRoad@london.gov.uk.
For more information, this is the GLA’s webpage for the Homebase site development: https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/planning/planning-applications-and-decisions/public-hearings/homebase-manor-road-public-hearing
FUNDRAISING DRIVE FOR OSO ARTS CENTRE IN BARNES
The OSO Arts Centre in Barnes has done its best to support the local community during lockdown. They plan to reopen in September, but are trying to raise £25,000 to support their plans to once again bring the arts to South West London, with plays, music, comedy and more. If you want to support them go to https://bit.ly/3ewFIs1 or visit their website at
KINGSTON RESIDENTS COVID-19 SURVEY
Kingston Council wants to know how the last few months have affected you, your family and your friends. They are asking residents to fill out their survey to help them understand what support they can offer in future to best meet the needs of the community. You can find the survey at kingston.gov.uk/covidsurvey
KINGSTON ADULT EDUCATION
Kingston Adult Education is now open for enrolment on autumn courses. They will be offering a mix of courses in the classroom and online. This is a great time to develop your skills, learn something new and meet new people. Go to kingston.gov.uk/adulteducation to see all the courses you could take for pleasure or to add something new to your cv.
LEISURE CENTRES REOPENING
Kingston Council has announced that Tolworth Recreation Centre, Malden Centre and Weir Archer Athletics and Fitness Centre will reopen this month. The leisure facilities will reopen gradually from today with a full reopening from 24 August. For more information about the reopenings see their news update.