Richmond Park News: 4 September 2020
HAMMERSMITH BRIDGE PROTEST
I went to Barnes yesterday to attend the Hammersmith Bridge protest and listen to the residents who spoke about how the bridge closure is affecting them. I was most impressed with all the school children who came on stage in front of the large crowd assembled to speak about how long it had taken them to get to school. Many other residents told heartbreaking stories about being unable to get to medical appointments or work. I was unexpectedly invited to respond by the protest organisers, and you can see my remarks here: https://www.facebook.com/saraholneyld/videos/365524261134251
Happily, thanks to the hard work of Barnes residents in publicising the protest, there was a lot of press there including the BBC. I am hopeful that widening public awareness of the matter will add to the pressure on Government to address this situation at last. I am still pushing Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on the matter and will continue to demand he attend to it until we get a satisfactory response.
UK TESTING REGIME STILL INADEQUATE AS CHILDREN RETURN TO SCHOOL
Yesterday, the Government missed its contact tracing target for a tenth consecutive week. The Government has also admitted that tests are now being rationed in certain areas because the demand is outstripping capacity. With children going back to school, the priority has to be staying right on top of any possible outbreaks, which will only be possible with good testing and tracing schemes in place. Our second wave will arrive very soon if the Government doesn't find a way to deliver on their promises on testing and tracing.
IPPR REVIEW INTO THE HOME OFFICE'S HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT POLICY
Since becoming your MP in December I have been contacted by dozens of Richmond Park residents with immigration issues. In many cases their applications have been left in limbo for months or years with no explanation for the delay. Many have been unable to make essential trips abroad as the Home Office retains their passport indefinitely. Others languish on benefits, when they are desperate to work and contribute to the economy.
Yesterday, the Institute for Public Policy Research published this critical review of the Home Office's "hostile environment" policy: https://www.ippr.org/research/publications/access-denied . I would certainly like to see the Home Office handling my constituents' applications in the timely and fair manner they deserve.
TALK RICHMOND PODCAST: BACK TO SCHOOL SPECIAL
Richmond's regular podcast, hosted by Councillor Jim Millard, welcomes Elaine Ball, the Head Teacher at Orleans Park School and Ian Dodds, the Director of Children’s Services for Richmond and Kingston to talk about children heading back to school, the anxiety many parents are experiencing, and the measures taken to make schools as safe as possible.
NEW VIDEO EXPLAINS CHANGES AT RICHMOND GP SURGERIES
There have been a lot of changes put in place to keep you safe when you visit your GP practice in Richmond. Watch this short video to see what’s different and how Richmond's GP surgeries are working to #KeepYouSafeSWL. Watch the video here.
LOCAL DEVELOPMENT SCHEME PUBLISHED
Kingston Council has published a new Local Development Scheme setting out a timetable for implementing the borough’s forthcoming Local Plan. This version reflects changes in the timescale for producing the Local Plan due to the impacts of COVID-19 and the delay in implementation of the Mayor of London’s London Plan. Kingston’s Local Plan must align with both the London Plan and the national planning policy framework.
The Local Plan will set out a vision for the future of the borough for the period 2019-2041 and will guide what development goes where, including homes, schools, infrastructure and transport links. It will include planning policies, and will provide a policy context for Neighbourhood Plans. You can read the Local Development Scheme here.
SURBITON AND HOOK & CHESSINGTON LIBRARIES REOPENING
Two Kingston libraries will be reopening for browsing next week, with new hygiene and social distancing procedures in place to keep everyone safe. The initial opening hours are:
Surbiton Library - (reopening Monday September 7) Monday 10am-4pm Tuesday 10am-4pm Thursday 10am-4pm Friday 10am-4pm Hook and Chessington Library (reopening Wednesday 9 September) Tuesday 10am-4pm Wednesday 10am-4pm Thursday 10am-4pm Friday 10am-4pm