COVID-19 CASES RISING IN RICHMOND AND KINGSTON
Earlier this week I attended a briefing for MPs by the Greater London Authority's Strategic Coordination Group, which directs London's response to the Covid-19 crisis. The SCG briefed us on the gradual and sustained increase in cases across London, with current rates in London boroughs ranging from 28 cases per 100,000 people to 90 cases per 100,000.
Richmond is on their list of boroughs of special concern. with a rate above 70 cases per 100,000 and climbing.
The SCG reports increased transmission in the community and increasing rates among young people. Here are some other points they made to us:
Testing rates in London are up 30% since mid-September, near the national average. Testing capacity is up 35% in London since mid-September and is still increasing. Turnaround times for tests are improving and the distance people are being asked to travel for a test is going down. Please let me know if you have trouble booking a test, as we have been informed that the problems from last month have been resolved.
Councils are putting systems in place now for £500 payments to be made to people who have to self-isolate, and making arrangements to support them with food etc.
Antibody testing, to see if a person has had the virus in the past, has been rolled out to care home staff, and will soon be available to in-home care providers too.
Given the alarming increase in cases in this area, I am asking residents of Richmond Park to do all they can to reduce transmission in the community. Please keep the Hands, Face, Space message in mind at all times when you are out, and if you have any symptoms of Covid-19 don't go out at all. Isolate yourself at home until you can get tested and are confirmed to be Covid-negative. I am calling on all constituents to play their part in getting this virus under control. Lives and livelihoods are at stake and we must all pull together to protect ourselves and each other.
FOCUS ON POLICING IN SOUTHWEST LONDON
This week I did a lot of work on issues around policing in my constituency. We have had issues over the summer with anti-social behaviour and ongoing reports of muggings. I had my first meeting with the Met Police's new Commander for Southwest London, CS Lis Chapple, on Tuesday, and then led an Adjournment Debate on Policing in SouthWest London in Parliament on Wednesday. I also spoke with Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick yesterday about community police resourcing in SW London.
I am determined to ensure that the right resources get to the right areas to address these ongoing issues. My constituents, young and old, should not be afraid to go about their business. We need a stronger police presence as deterrent to crime and antisocial behaviour in their communities. I am, however, strongly opposed to the private police forces that some residents have proposed. Everyone has a right to safety and justice - these should not be reserved for those who can pay for them. It is for the Government to commit sufficient resources to ensure the safety of Southwest Londoners.
You can see some of my speech in Parliament here: https://twitter.com/sarahjolney1/status/1313950183403794435
And you can read the full text of the debate here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-10-07/debates/E4A6F940-D23D-4903-9F1E-BBCB1408EEB9/PolicingInSouth-WestLondon#contribution-C934D343-D752-4B0B-ACCB-30E5A7BDF424
PLANNING CHANGES DEBATED IN PARLIAMENT
I also spoke in Parliament during this week's Planning Debate, talking about the importance of Local Plans and Neighbourhood Plans in the planning process. After paying tribute to the community forums that I have been a part of in North Kingston, Ham and Petersham, I talked about the impact that removing local authority control over planning applications would have on our towns, using the example of Mortlake's Stag Brewery development, which the Mayor of London has approved despite the impact its immense size will have on local residents, services and amenities. I will continue to fight for local residents to have a voice in guiding development, both through their elected representatives and directly.
I also discussed the importance of empowering the public sector to drive up standards in the local housing market by commissioning their own housing developments. You can see my speech about both of these important planning and housing issues here: https://twitter.com/sarahjolney1/status/1314191612977741824
The Hammersmith Bridge Taskforce has once again published an update following their latest meeting. You can find it here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/hammersmith-bridge-taskforce-meeting-8-october-2020. I am pleased to see there will be a virtual meeting with resident representatives to give people an opportunity to question the taskforce directly.
Regarding transport connections, I have collated all the latest information on the transport options for reaching Hammersmith from north Barnes into one document, which I have attached here. I hope you find it useful.
I am still in regular contact with TfL about improving the 533 and 378 buses and other plans to improve connectivity further.
I also have a meeting scheduled with Network Rail later this month to discuss potential improvements to Barnes Bridge station, as more people are reliant on it now. I will also get an update from them on the proposed accessibility improvements to Barnes station.
RETAIL WORKERS SHOULD BE WEARING MASKS
I have heard from a number of constituents this week who are concerned that people working in shops are not wearing masks. According to current rules, shop workers should be doing so. If you own or work in a local business, please ensure that masks are being work at all times. This will not only reduce your own chance of transmission to others, it will reinforce the message to customers to comply with this rule as well.
FLASHING LIGHTS THIS WEEKEND TO SUPPORT OUR HOSPITALITY SECTOR
I wanted to let my constituents know that pubs and restaurants across the country will be protesting the new 10pm closure time by flashing their lights in the SOS pattern after closing tonight and tomorrow night. If you run a pub, restaurant or bar you can participate by flashing your lights on and off after 10pm when your customers have left, and posting a video of your SOS on social media using #KeepTheLightOn and #CallTimeOnTheCurfew. For information, including the flashing pattern to use, go to https://keepthelightson.uk
COUNCIL LEADER GARETH ROBERTS SHARES RICHMOND COVID FIGURES
Richmond Council Leader Gareth Roberts has posted a new video giving residents the latest Covid-19 figures. With cases rising quickly in Richmond I urge you to watch Cllr Roberts' video and hear his powerful words of advice to residents here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOO4X0h0jqY&feature=youtu.be
SHOP LOCAL IN RICHMOND BOROUGH
Richmond residents should have received a Shop Local brochure through the post this week. The Council is distributing these handy guides to independent businesses in each town in the Borough to support our local small businesses. Please have a look at the guide and try to help boost the health of our high streets by shopping local whenever you can.
BARNES CHARITY FASHION WEEK SHOW
Starting tomorrow, the Barnes Charity Fashion Show is back, with this year's Barnes Charity Fashion Week. Join them online and support both Barnes' independent fashion boutiques and the local charities they support with this event. https://www.barnescharityfashionshow.com/
KINGSTON COUNCIL ASKING FOR RESIDENTS' VIEWS
Kingston Council recently undertook a COVID-19 Experience Survey to get a clearer picture of how the last few months have affected residents and what support is still needed. Click here to read the full report: https://kingstonletstalk.co.uk/4945/widgets/17133/documents/6945
Conversations with residents will continue as the council runs a number of focus groups on specific topics in the coming weeks:
Health and Wellbeing - 12 Oct, 5:45 - 7pm
Local Environment- 13 Oct, 6 - 7:15pm
Local Town Centres - 20 Oct, 6 - 7:20pm
Kingston’s Communities - 19 Oct, 5:45 - 7pm
Employment and Skills - 21 Oct, 6 - 7:20pm
Young People’s Experience of Covid (For ages 18 and under) - 27 Oct, 5:30 - 7:05pm
HEALTHWATCH KINGSTON ALSO ASKING FOR KINGSTON RESIDENTS' VIEWS
Healthwatch Kingston is independently gathering the views of local residents about the NHS Test and Trace Process to get an pictures of how local people are responding to this initiative. They will share their findings with the stakeholders that can make a difference in these services. Information about the survey is available on their website here: https://www.healthwatchkingston.org.uk/news/2020-10-05/test-and-trace-app-and-survey
The direct link to the survey is here: http://bit.ly/HWK_test_and_trace_survey