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Richmond Park News: 22nd March 2024

I was very sorry to hear of the Princess of Wales' diagnosis earlier this evening. I know everyone in Richmond Park will join me in wishing her a full and speedy recovery during this incredibly difficult time.



This week, I wrote to the Chair of the House of Commons Procedure Committee, Dame Karen Bradley, to demand an investigation into why DEFRA Ministers have not responded to my parliamentary questions (WPQs) about Thames Water.  


In the last few weeks, I have been calling on Ministers to publish the details of ‘Project Timber’, the Government's secret rescue plan to save Thames Water in the event of the company's collapse. As part of my campaign, I asked the Secretary of State for the Environment three questions which he was expected to respond to by Friday, 15th March. Unfortunately, only after I brought the matter before the Procedure Committee did I receive any sort of response.

You can read a list of the questions I put to the Secretary of State here and the response I received from the Government here. While this delay may seem like a small issue, it is indicative of a much wider lack of transparency from Ministers. If London's water supply is under threat, residents deserve to know how the Government intends to step in.


More widely, following news that Thames Water had failed to invest in a new £180m fund to combat the sewage scandal, the Liberal Democrats called on the Conservative Government to put them into special administration. This would enable the company to be restructured as a public benefit company, guaranteeing a continuation of service for all customers whilst forcing it to take further measures against sewage pollution. 

You can read more about my letter here, and the Liberal Democrats proposals about special administration here.


On Monday, MPs voted on the Lords' Amendments to the Rwanda Bill.  The Liberal Democrats voted to retain the amendments that the House of Lords had made to the Rwanda Bill, including ensuring that the Bill complies with international law and preventing the government declaring Rwanda to be a safe country.  Conservative MPs voted down these amendments and returned the Bill to the House of Lords unamended. 


The Government’s Rwanda plan is unworkable, expensive and immoral.  It will do nothing to stop dangerous Channel crossings, people trafficking or modern slavery and has so far cost over £240 million that could have been spent on essential services.  The Liberal Democrats will continue to oppose this piece of legislation.


On Tuesday night, I joined the Mayor of Richmond, local councillors, and around 50 residents at the Metropolitan Police's “New Met for London” event at the Wetlands Centre in Barnes. With the police making huge changes to the way they operate, local forces have been hearing from communities across the constituency to learn about their experiences of policing and how they can rebuild trust.


The focus of the night was anti-social behaviour. Specific concerns that were raised by attendees included safety in the area near Hammersmith Bridge and the increase in shoplifting.  It was great to see so many police officers at the event so that they could hear directly from local residents about their experiences of policing.


I continue to believe that the needs of Richmond Park residents will be best served by reopening a police station in central Richmond and to that end,  I wrote to Sir Mark Rowley, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, highlighting the significant community support for a new base for the police in the constituency of Richmond Park.

You can read the text of this letter here and learn more about the Met's turnaround plan here.


Earlier this week, Freedom of Information requests submitted by my team uncovered that Sadiq Khan has quietly slashed 700,000 services from the London bus network over the last year. What is even more concerning is that the remaining services have not, at the very least, worked properly. In 2023/2024, 1.5 million journeys were cancelled before they had reached their destination. This has been a particular problem both in North Kingston, where buses have been curtailed due to a range of roadworks, and near Manor Circus, where delays have resulted in buses stopping short of their final destination.

I've written to the Deputy Mayor of London for Transport, Seb Dance, to ask him to investigate these curtailments and to put a transport strategy in place for all future roadworks to reduce the likelihood of future issues. If there is a bus service in the community which you've noticed is regularly curtailed, please let me know on


Last Wednesday, I joined the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Ethnic Minority Business Owners annual general meeting and, along with a cross party group of MPs, helped to lay out a roadmap for how we could best champion BAME business owners over the coming year.

Over the past year, the APPG has achieved a huge amount, including working with the Lending Standards Board to improve standards around lending to ethnic minority owned businesses and hosting a roundtable with the Department for Business and Trade to improve access to Government support.

I am very proud of all the wonderful work we have done over the past year, and I'll keep working to make sure all business owners in the constituency get a fair deal.


Earlier today, I met with Stuart Richards, the local barman who recently won an award for stopping a case of domestic violence outside the pub he was working at in Kingston. Alongside stopping the incident, Stuart also intervened when the assailant tried to attack the responding officer. For his bravery, he was awarded the "Bravery & Meritorious Conduct Award” at the National Pubwatch Conference and it is extremely well deserved.

Local pubs are the heart of many of our communities here in Richmond Park and I've been keen to promote their good work in our community during my time in office. Every year, the APPG on pubs recognises local pubs that do great work in our constituency. If your local pub matches this description and you would like them to be recognised, please do let me know.


Earlier in the week, I received an update from TfL relating to the ongoing works at Manor Circus. From Monday 25th March, TfL will be installing a temporary roundabout which will further improve traffic flow through Manor Circus. The pedestrian crossings will operate independently and traffic will return to using the give way roundabout.

Following discussions with Richmond Council, the ongoing closure of Sandycombe Road for vehicles travelling southbound will remain in place for an additional week. Subject to traffic conditions operating in a normal manner on the A316, it will reopen on Tuesday 2nd April.

Once Sandycombe Road is reopened, TfL are expecting bus route 110 to return to its normal route from Monday 8th April. Following a route test, Route H37 should also be able to return to its normal route. While I do not wish to speak too soon, it does seem like finally, the major disruption at the roundabout is coming to an end.



While the war in Ukraine has ceased to be front page news, there are still thousands of people across the UK and in Ukraine in need of refuge. More than 160 Kingston residents took in Ukrainians over the past 2 years and more volunteers are always needed.

If you would like to host a Ukrainian or would like to help but do not have the space, visit Kingston Council's website with the link here.



This spring, local communities and park visitors will get the chance to find out about the plans for a new café and enhanced landscape at Roehampton Gate in Richmond Park. 

The Royal Parks is proposing a project to replace the older café with a new, modern structure, as well as to improve the landscape it sits in to help increase biodiversity in that part of the park. The charity is holding three public engagement days and is encouraging local residents and park visitors to come along, have a look at the plans, ask questions, and give feedback. The dates for the engagement days are:


  • 1-4pm, Thursday 4th April, Roehampton Café

  • 10am-1pm, Saturday 6th April, Roehampton Café

  • 11am-2pm, Friday 12th April, Pen Ponds

Visit their website to find out more.

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