Updated: Nov 12, 2020
Richmond Park News: 9 November 2020
I was very pleased to see Joe Biden confirmed as the next President of the United States over the weekend. I believe his policy priorities reflect what our government's priorities should be here: competence and compassion in the fight against Covid-19, a strong programme to combat climate change, a commitment to fight racism and prejudice, and an economy that works for everyone. I respect President-elect Biden's honesty and integrity and am relieved to see the return of decency to the White House. I also congratulate US Vice President- elect Kamala Harris on her election as the highest ranking woman ever to hold public office in the US.
In Westminster, Liberal Democrat peers continue to defend honesty and integrity here in the UK by challenging the Government over the Internal Market Bill, which even the Government itself admits breaks international law and our previous treaties. The Government must reflect on its fresh defeat in the House of Lords and remove the illegal aspects of the Internal Market Bill.
SUCCESSFUL VACCINE TRIALS
I was very happy to see the news of Pfizer/BioNTech's successful vaccine trials. It is wonderful to be able to hope that an effective vaccine is only a couple of months away for our frontline workers and vulnerable people. With the AstraZeneca vaccine only a few weeks behind we should be able to start the new year with hope that it will be better than the last.
On Sunday, I was privileged to represent the people of my constituency in laying a wreath at Richmond's war memorial. The event was scaled down, but I was able to pay tribute to the fallen on your behalf, in company with Deputy Mayor of Richmond Julia Cambridge and the President of the Richmond British Legion.
If you would like to lay a personal wreath or memento at one of the war memorials in Kingston or Richmond you may still do so this week.
CANBURY GARDEN ACTIVITY
I enjoyed the opportunity to join other gardening enthusiasts pruning roses in Canbury Gardens over the weekend. Trevor Willis leads a team of volunteers every Saturday (weather permitting), meeting at 10.30am outside the Canbury Gardens pavilion. The path from the children’s playground is currently closed, so walk round the tennis courts and across the grass. He is always keen to welcome new helpers.
STAG BREWERY AND HAMMERSMITH BRIDGE
Given the recent developments on Hammersmith Bridge, I have written to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, about the impact of the Hammersmith Bridge closure on the planning application for the Former Stag Brewery site in Mortlake.
Mayor Khan has announced he will hold a hearing to decide on the planning application, on 26th November. In my letter to the Mayor, I have asked him to note that the Government is saying it will take at least six years to repair the bridge. In addition, we do not know when it will be safe for boats to travel under the bridge.
In my letter to the Mayor, I explained that the bridge closure would affect the Stag Brewery site. Construction-related river traffic to the site will not be able to reach it from the east. Construction-related road traffic to the site will not be able to reach it from the north- east via Hammersmith Bridge.
Traffic jams and engine idling are already a serious problem for Mortlake residents, exacerbated by the re-routing of traffic from Hammersmith Bridge. I explained to the Mayor that it would be unwise and contrary to his own London Plan, as well as Government policy and Richmond’s Local Plan, to bring more traffic onto these roads from the development.
I shall continue to lobby the Mayor on these matters and will endeavour to keep residents informed on progress with the bridge repairs and plans for the Stag Brewery. You can see my letter to the right:
SUPPORT AND CHILDCARE BUBBLES
In response to queries from some of my constituents I wanted to clarify the rules on support bubbles and childcare bubbles. If you are in a single adult household, i.e. if you live alone or only with your children, you can form a support bubble with another household of any size. You can find more information on the rules for this here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/making-a-support-bubble-with-another-household
If you have a child or children under 13 you can also link up with another household in a childcare bubble, to provide informal (unpaid) childcare to children in either or both households. You can see all the rules on this here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/making-a-childcare-bubble-with-another-household
This means the options for childcare for working parents are:
People in your household
People in your support bubble
People in your childcare bubble
The child's other parent if they live separately
Paid childcare providers
TRANSPORT FOR LONDON AND HALFORDS TEAMING UP TO SUPPORT CYCLING
Bike use is up since the pandemic began, but unfortunately so is bike theft. Transport for London (TfL) has launched a new collaboration with UK cycling retailer Halfords to encourage Londoners to safely and securely lock up their bikes and reduce the risk of theft. From today, everyone who completes TfL’s free online Cycle Skills course will receive 15% off Halfords’ own brand locks as well as lights and helmets. There are Halfords stores in Kingston, Twickenham and Chiswick.
TfL’s online Cycle Skills course covers everything from getting your bike set up to tips for cycling safety with children, and is tailored to cycling in London. Since it was launched in July, more than 1,400 people have completed the four-module course.
TfL has an online video course specifically for children too, so you can get your child cycling to school safely. Look for it here: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/cycling/cycle-skills
RICHMOND COMMUNITY ACTION AGAINST DOMESTIC ABUSE
Richmond residents, businesses and professionals are invited to attend two workshops aimed at supporting local communities from domestic abuse. The events are being held as part of the White Ribbon Day campaign; a day designated by the United Nations as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
In partnership with local organisations including REFUGE, the Asian Women Resource Centre, Age UK, ManKind, Safety Net, GALOP and Al-Aman, two virtual workshops are being held. The first event on 25 November will be for local residents, and will look at issues such as forced marriage, faith-based abuses and honour-based violence. Register here.
The second event on the 27th November is for professionals and community organisations to learn more about understanding different communities, breaking down barriers, access for all, discrimination, safety and support. Register here.
RICHMOND HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS PLAN
Richmond Council is asking people for their thoughts on its plans to address housing need and homelessness in the borough for the next five years. A four-week consultation into the Council’s draft Housing and Homelessness Strategy begins today and closes on 7 December.
The strategy aims to ensure that current and future housing needs of the borough are met and sets out how the Council plans to do this. You can read the draft Strategy and have your say here or alternatively you can email firstname.lastname@example.org for a paper copy of the Strategy and questionnaire.
NEW CARE TECHNOLOGY FOR VULNERABLE RICHMOND RESIDENTS
Richmond residents who have a council care or a support package will soon be supported by an innovative videophone system supplied by the Council. In partnership with Alcove, Richmond Council will be providing virtual care and health and wellbeing support to vulnerable people through Alcove Video Carephones, to supplement their in-person care.
The Carephone is an easy to use video communication tablet that allows people with little or no technological expertise to engage in two-way video calls with family, friends, care workers and other approved service providers. This will help care workers to perform tasks that do not require face-to-face visits and will also help vulnerable people to keep in contact with their loved ones whilst eliminating the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
If you feel a Video Carephone would help a relative or friend who receives Council care or a support package, please email email@example.com
HAS YOUR HOME EVER FLOODED?
Householders or property owner s in the borough that have experienced flooding in their home or business are asked to let the Council know via a new online reporting tool.
They want to know about both one-off and regular flooding caused by heavy rainfall, burst pipes, groundwater, sewer failure, blocked gullies or proximity to the river.
The information will be used to help the Council work with other authorities and agencies to prepare for and manage future flood risks in the borough. Let them know here:
KINGSTON RIVERSIDE REGENERATION PLANS
The Reimagining Kingston Town Centre Strategic Partnership aims to breathe life and vibrancy into a revitalised creative and enterprise area of the town.
A substantial part of the funding secured from the Get Britain Building Fund administered by the Mayor of London will go to the refurbishment of the basement of the John Lewis site, which hosts ancient remains of a bridge over the Thames. In a joint collaboration with Creative Youth, the Undercroft, 7,000 sq ft of empty space, will become publicly accessible, providing new jobs and a creative and performance space for young people.
The grant will also help fund improvements to the Kingston Bridge underpass with art installations, lighting and upgrades to the area to transform the walkway along the Thames into a new vibrant riverside space.
Caroline Kerr, Leader of Kingston Council, says: "This is a fantastic opportunity to reinvigorate a historic riverside location in Kingston and create a vibrant cultural space for young talent in the heart of the town."
NEW 'CARE READY' HOUSING APPROACH FOR PEOPLE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
A new approach for Strategic Housing, Accommodation and Facilities Delivery aims to deliver a range of housing and support accommodation for children and adults of all ages with specialist needs. Homes which are ‘care ready’ will help individuals and families to live as independently as possible and be connected with their local communities and networks.
One of the priority sites is Murray House, a vacant care home in Canbury ward, that could be used for a range of much needed specialist housing to support older people or people with a disability, within the borough. These projects will be council-led with collaborative working across property, development housing, Adult Social Care and Achieving for Children.
Please feel free to forward this newsletter to your neighbours, or anyone else you know who might be interested. If you have received this newsletter from someone else and would like to subscribe yourself, please see the bottom of the page.