I will continue working on the Hammersmith Bridge situation every day until we get the immediate problem of moving cyclists and pedestrians across the river addressed. I wrote to Baroness Vere at the Department of Transport again today, pointing out that it has been three weeks since the bridge was closed completely and we still have not had an answer from the Department for Transport. I am most disappointed that they do not seem to grasp the seriousness of the situation.
You can see my letter to Baroness Vere here: https://www.facebook.com/saraholneyld/photos/a.544236949113994/1372340322970315/
Richmond Council is exploring every option for temporary and/or mitigating measures for our residents, and we are both working with Transport for London on this as well.
EXTENDING THE RIGHT TO STAY IN THE UK TO HEALTH AND CARE WORKERS
The Liberal Democrats introduced a bill in Parliament yesterday calling on the Government to offer indefinite leave to remain to foreign nationals working in the health and social care sectors. The NHS and our social care system could not function without their contributions. Health and care workers risked their own lives to protect others from the virus; we should extend our warmest welcome to them.
ADDRESSING THE LOAN CHARGE SCANDAL
I wrote today to Chancellor Rishi Sunak urging him to address the issue of the Loan Charge scandal, which is still causing enormous distress to thousands of people caught up in it. These victims need urgent relief from the pressure they are under, and a fair settlement to their cases. They have been treated badly for too long and the Government needs to address the situation urgently. You can see my letter here:
HOMEBASE MANOR ROAD DEVELOPMENT
I have filed objections with the Mayor's office against the latest proposals put forward by Avanton for the old Homebase site on Manor Road in Richmond. I consider the plans to be highly detrimental to the site and the surrounding neighbourhood, and have asked Mayor Sadiq Khan to refuse permission for this application to go ahead. My reason are:
The proposed development’s design, specifically its height, mass, scale and layout mean that this application is fundamentally flawed. An eleven-storey tower block will loom large over the five-storey apartment blocks around it, while an eight storey block will impose itself on two-storey houses and gardens on the site’s southern side.
I am also concerned that the proposed eleven-storey tower will be visible from the Botanic Gardens, Kew, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with views protected by the Local Plan.
Richmond Council’s traffic officer expects at least an additional 200 cars to come into the area as a result of that proposed scheme, resulting in increased levels of air pollution, traffic congestion and parking problems.
Local services will be strained by bringing more than 1,000 additional residents into the area. An upgrade of North Sheen station would be needed to cope with extra passenger numbers. Other services, such as schools and doctors’ surgeries may also struggle to cope with the increased demand.
The proposed development lacks social housing, which is sorely needed in Richmond.
The current designs also suggest that this development would offer a relatively low standard of living for its occupants in terms of room size and outdoor space.
Please see this link for details: https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/planning/planning-applications-and-decisions/public-hearings/homebase-manor-road-public-hearing
THAMES TIDEWAY TUNNEL PROJECT
I've had an update on the Thames Tideway Tunnel project, which is progressing well with over 16km of the sewage-bearing tunnel now constructed. Despite a pause in construction activities during the lockdown, they are now operational once again and tunnelling operations beneath the river have resumed.
In Richmond, they have also been working on the construction of a connection tunnel that will link the old sewer system under Barn Elms into the new tunnel. This work takes us a step closer to cleaning up the River Thames and preventing millions of tonnes of untreated sewage discharging into the river each year.
STORIES FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH
To commemorate Black History Month later this year, Richmond Council is asking for Black people who live, work or study in the borough to share their stories and experiences - so that Richmond can recognise the outstanding contribution Black people make in shaping the borough, and allow everyone to better understand the histories of fellow residents, colleagues and students. Click here to Find out more.
FREE EMPLOYABILITY COURSES FOR AGE 45+ RESIDENTS
Room for Work is offering two online employability courses to support Richmond residents in getting back to work. Each course is designed for skilled workers 45+ with work experience ranging from administrative to managerial and professional roles. To attend, participants need a good working knowledge of English, basic computer skills, access to the web plus a laptop or tablet. The courses are free and delivered on Zoom in a group format. Richmond residents are eligible to join either the Tuesday ESF-funded course or the Wednesday course which is supported by Richmond Parish Lands Charity. Click here to Find out more.
RE-IMAGINING KINGSTON LIBRARIES
Reimagining Kingston Libraries is an opportunity to help shape a library service of the future.
Kingston Council will be organising engagement activities, including workshops engaging with community partners, digital events and an ideas board. The transformational review aims to place libraries at the heart of the community and bring council services closer to residents, ensuring they meet the needs of communities both now and in the future. The first phase of the transformation process will take place between 1 September and 21 October. Residents, library members, staff, partners and other key groups are asked to share any ideas on what the library means to them and what the library could offer through Kingston’s Let’s Talk Portal, or by calling 020 8547 6451 Wednesdays 10am to 4pm. For more information, visit the Council's libraries website.