COVID-19 TEST AVAILABILITY
I have been very concerned to hear stories from quite a few constituents this week about not being able to get a Covid-19 test. This is a very dangerous state of affairs, with children back in school, students returning to university, and workers being encouraged to return to their workplaces. The rate of transmission is now around 1.2, and cases are rising rapidly. The only way we can get this virus back under control will be rapid testing, tracing and isolating.
This is not an unforeseen event. The return to school, university and work was bound to cause a rise in demand for testing. The problem cannot be laid at the feet of travelers misusing the system; there are far fewer people traveling in mid-September than in the summer holidays, even without the travel restrictions in place.
The government needs to address this gap immediately. With winter around the corner this must be sorted out right now.
In the meantime, please do not book a Covid-19 test unless you are experiencing one or more of the main symptoms of Covid-19 - a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of your sense of taste or smell.
If you need a certificate for travel, please book an antigen test privately. (The NHS test will not provide you with the certificate you need anyway. ) If you have been asked to book a test before going into hospital, please ask your doctor to arrange this. If you would like a test for any other reason, please book a test privately or wait until government guidance allows you to do so.
MANOR ROAD DEVELOPMENT PLANNING APPLICATION
Following my letter to Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, he has written to the Greater London Authority notifying them that he is considering calling in the proposal for the redevelopment of the Homebase site at Manor Road, and directing them to put a hold on it. The planning application was originally rejected by Richmond Council in July 2019 on the grounds of size,parking and transport concerns. I will report back to you when he has made a decision on it.
MY VISIT TO BOA BRIDAL
On a recent visit to Richmond businesses, I met with Sheila at BOA wedding dress boutique. She showed me her wonderful selection and I met her very talented seamstresses. Sheila manages to stay ahead of her competition by offering (as well as designer gowns) her own collection, which she develops from learning about what brides-to-be are asking for when they come to see her. She has managed to keep the special and unique experience of wedding dress shopping alive while implementing measures to protect against Covid, such as regular steaming of the dresses and introducing temperature checks and mask-wearing. The pandemic has hit all aspects of the wedding industry hard, so I was pleased to see a local business starting to bounce back. https://www.boa-boutique.co.uk/
FAT MACY'S BISCUIT BUSINESS FOR HOSTEL RESIDENTS
Fat Macy’s is an enterprise helping to get young Londoners out of hostels and into their own homes. Fat Macy’s has created a tailored work experience programme for trainees living in hostel accommodation. They use the profits to fund a housing deposit scheme for trainees, who gain real life work experience while saving securely for their futures. They are asking local residents to make a difference by ordering a hand-baked biscuit subscription to their offices or home. Click here to order. Fat Macy's is also available for larger catering jobs.
KEW ROTARY CLUB MATCHING DONATIONS FOR REFUGEES
Kew Rotary Club has set up a crowdfunding site to collect donations for Europe's largest refugee camp in Lesbos. They will be matching donations up to £2,000. They are also working with a number of other Rotary clubs to get as much assistance as possible to the camp, which was recently destroyed by fire. Food aid is needed to keep the refugees alive - many of them are now living on the streets. “Home for all”, a local charity, is responding to this challenge and currently feeding 4,000 people a day. The Rotary Club is very pleased to support their work. See: www.kewrotary.co.uk
RICHMOND NAMED TOP BOROUGH FOR SOCIAL COHESION
A new report by think-tank Onward, overseen by a cross-party Parliamentary advisory committee, reveals a wide variation in the sense of community felt by residents of different areas. Richmond Upon Thames was the top borough nation-wide, attesting to our strong social fabric and the community spirit we have seen on such inspirational display throughout the Covid crisis. You can see more about the report in this article: https://inews.co.uk/news/britain-social-fabric-fraying-urgent-attention-study-suggest-644422
SCAMMERS TARGETING PAY AND DISPLAY MACHINES
Parking machines in Kingston Car Parks have been targeted by scammers looking to steal credit and debit cards from users. If your credit card is not returned by the machine, please report it immediately using the details on the machine. More information on this scam and what to do if something doesn't look right can be found on the Council's website here: https://www.kingston.gov.uk/news/article/958/pay_and_display_machine_scam
TACKLING ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOUR ON KINGSTON RIVERSIDE
Kingston residents will be pleased to hear that litter, noise and urination on the riverside have been addressed by a three-year Public Space Protection Order. Antisocial behaviour in Eagle Brewery Wharf and the immediate vicinity has had a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those living and working in the area for a considerable period of time.
Kingston Council and the Metropolitan Police have made a Public Spaces Protection Order to tackle this problem. The order prohibits the operation of loudspeakers within the restricted area from 9pm to 8am, and at any other time where it is likely to cause a nuisance. It also prevents the public consumption of alcohol if it is likely to cause a nuisance, unless on licensed premises. The possession and consumption of psychoactive substances is prohibited, along with urination and defecation. General antisocial behaviour is also prohibited. The police will have powers to enforce the order.