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Richmond Park News: 1 July 2022

Updated: Jul 27, 2022

This week, I was delighted to welcome both Coombe Girls’ School and Christ’s School to Westminster for a tour, followed by a question and answer session in Westminster Hall.

Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, for most of my time at MP these tours have not been permitted. So I was delighted to be able to welcome students from across Richmond Park to Parliament again and answer their questions.

I wanted to pay particular tribute to the fantastic level of detail in the questions they posed, which varied from solutions to rising inflation to the current challenges facing residents across the constituency, such as the closure of Hammersmith Bridge to road vehicles. The pupils from both of these excellent local secondary schools were impressively well informed and curious.

A great thank you to Mr Marrs and Ms Paudyal for organising the visits. I encourage all local schools to come and visit Westminster. School visits can be booked here.


Last Friday, my constituent Philip Pirie met with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to discuss suicide risk assessment procedure.

I have been working with Philip on a campaign to change the way we assess suicide risk in this country. Shockingly, of the 17 individuals who take their own life each day in the UK, five are in touch with mental health professionals, and four of those five are considered to be at ‘low’ or ‘no-risk’ of suicide. Together, Philip and I composed an open letter, signed by charities such as Mind, Samaritans and Papyrus, which asked Mr Javid to sit down with Philip and discuss issuing guidance to ensure binary suicide risk assessment tools such as checklists were no longer used in practise. You can read this letter here.

The meeting went well, and Mr Javid received the recommendations of our letter extremely positively. We hope to see them incorporated into the upcoming review of the 2012 National Suicide Prevention Strategy, which is due to be published later this year.


On Wednesday, I attended The Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge drop-in event in Parliament to show my continued support for children’s reading and our local libraries.

I was delighted to be given a copy of The Ship of Doom by M.A. Bennett, which I plan to donate to Ham Library to add to their wide collection. We know that many children have struggled with their reading while schools were closed over the pandemic. Encouraging everyone to keep up their reading over the summer is more important than ever. I look forward to supporting the Challenge going forward, and encouraging reading across Richmond Park.


Today, I was delighted to visit Windham Nursery in North Richmond and meet some of the dedicated team working hard to give local children the best start in life. After the trials of the pandemic, it was lovely to see children playing with one another, enjoying being among their friends, and learning in a fun, safe environment. You can learn more about Windham Nursery by clicking the link here.


On Tuesday, I spoke in Parliament about the possibility of a toll on Hammersmith Bridge, and once again called for greater transparency from both LBHF and the Government. You can view my speech here.

In the chamber, I made the case that clear, open lines of communication are vital to limiting the negative impact of any decisions that are made. Paying to use the bridge is a serious proposal that needs detailed consideration from all parties, especially in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis. Currently, 28 companies have registered their interest in the bridge. More information on the progress of the private financing of Hammersmith Bridge can be found here.

It is unfortunate that Baroness Vere has refused two direct letters from my office calling for an urgent meeting of the Hammersmith Bridge Task Force. During my speech, I took the opportunity to ask once again that our community is not cut out of the decision-making process. The bridge’s closure has affected tens of thousands of people and residents deserve a seat at the table. I will continue to keep residents apprised of any developments.

Barnes residents crossing over Hammersmith bridge on foot or two wheels may pleased to learn that this week TfL has completed works to make the roads around Hammersmith gyratory safer and more accessible for all road users. The works have also delivered a 5 km Cycleway from Kew Bridge to Hammersmith, and will further link areas north of the river to cyclists from Richmond. If you would like to learn more about this, click the link here.


I was informed by southwest London NHS leaders this week that the Village Surgery in New Malden is being permanently closed due to poor inspection reports. It was already under external management and the decision has now been taken to permanently remove its licence. Patients registered at the Village Surgery will be moved to other local surgeries. If you were a Village patient and you have any concerns about this change, please feel free to email me for advice or assistance.


The Hill Group, in partnership with Richmond Housing Partnership (RHP) has submitted a planning application for the regeneration of Ham Close. The developers hope to replace the existing 192 flats with 452 new homes that will house all existing tenants and leaseholders as well as provide more affordable housing in the area.

While developments of this size are often beset with issues, I was very pleased to hear that RHP have listened to many residents’ comments and adapted their plans accordingly.

I do share the concerns raised by a number of constituents that this amount of new housing could put pressure on local infrastructure. However, on balance, I believe RHP and the Hill Group have worked hard to mitigate these impacts with secure cycle parking spaces and an emphasis on planning for electric vehicles. I am pleased to see high quality open space included as well as community facilities.

You can submit comments and observations about the project here.


Following reports of recent dangerous and antisocial behaviour at Teddington Lock the local police took action, sending a significant presence there last weekend. They have written to tell me that various large groups of youths were moved on and dispersed during the course of the weekend. Twenty eight "Section 35" dispersal notices were issued and various items seized. No incidents of note occurred and there were no issues in any open space area within the dispersal zone due to the displacement.

Inspector McLoughlin has also told me that the schools team (with the help of the cadets) also undertook a test purchase operation at four off licences near the Lock. All four passed the test and Met Police are satisfied they are not providing the youths with alcohol.

I was very pleased to hear about this collaborative effort to reduce crime and ASB in the area.


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IPSA has created a 90 second myth-buster video, aimed at tackling the top five misconceptions surrounding MPs' staffing and business costs. If you would like to know more about how MPs' costs are overseen you can click here.