An update from your local ward Councillors
Welcome to the Spring 2019 e-Newsletter from your East Putney Councillors
Hammersmith Bridge closure ‘seriously bad news’, says Ravi
The sudden and “indefinite” closure of Hammersmith Bridge by Hammersmith and Fulham Council, citing safety concerns, has disrupted traffic on local roads and caused severe congestion on other river crossings.
East Putney Cllr and Wandsworth Council Leader Ravi Govindia said: “This is seriously bad news, especially for our residents living near Putney and Wandsworth Bridges. The problems with Hammersmith Bridge are very well known and have led to numerous closures over the past decade. This has not suddenly emerged out of the blue, so Londoners will rightly ask why Hammersmith and Fulham Council have allowed the bridge to deteriorate so much that it must now be closed without warning. Neighbouring communities should not be suffering from the failure of Hammersmith & Fulham Council to get a grip on this long-standing problem; they have a major responsibility to get the bridge repaired and reopened.”
Wandsworth transport chiefs are talking urgently with TfL to try to manage traffic flows and diversions, to cushion as far as possible residents living on the Putney and Wandsworth Bridge approaches. Our Council is also closely monitoring the impact on air quality around Putney High Street.
Our MP Justine Greening has set up a petition urging Hammersmith and Fulham Council to get the bridge reopened as soon as possible. You can sign it by clicking here.
For information about the closure, see Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s website.
Pedestrians and cyclists can still cross the bridge, but bus routes 33, 72, 209, 419, 485 and 609 are disrupted. Passengers can check for updates on the TfL website or at @TfLBusAlerts on Twitter. Motorists can get up to date travel information at www.tfl.gov.uk/trafficnews or via Twitter @TfLTrafficNews.
Putney Pergola - Palmhouse
On 25 April the Council Planning Committee narrowly approved the application for a ‘Palmhouse’ restaurant and drinking venue on the rooftop of Putney Exchange Shopping Centre.
Cllr Sarah Binder said: “I know a number of residents were concerned about this and were pleased when the previous application was withdrawn last year. They will be disappointed that the Planning Committee decided to support this application. The Palmhouse will have capacity for 700 patrons, operating from 12 noon-11pm most days and 12 noon-11.30pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
“I am concerned that licensed premises of this type could potentially lead to more congestion on the High Street and anti social behaviour. With a venue this size local residents are rightly concerned about the noise and disturbance that could be created when customers disperse. The next stage is for the Licensing Committee to evaluate whether the Palmhouse should be granted a licence. Along with other Council colleagues we will be working to ensure that the licensing committee is fully aware of residents’ concerns about the potentially negative impact on the local neighbourhood from this type of late night drinking venue.”
Cllr Ravi Govindia has expressed his dismay at the High Court’s failure to quash the Government’s Airport National Policy Statement on Heathrow expansion. Ravi said: “Today’s ruling is hugely disappointing for Londoners. It shows that the Government can drive through expansion plans without properly considering the full environmental and health impacts. But this is not yet over. A third runway still faces enormous legal obstacles, particularly around air pollution.”
Wandsworth and four other Councils, Hillingdon, Hammersmith and Fulham, Richmond upon Thames and Windsor and Maidenhead, asked the High Court for a judicial review of the Government’s decision to build a third Heathrow runway. Joined by the Mayor of London and Greenpeace, they argued that it would mean demolishing thousands of homes, greatly increasing road traffic and making life noisier and unhealthier for millions of Londoners.
The court refused a judicial review essentially because at this policy stage the decision to support a third runway at Heathrow need only meet a low level of judicial scrutiny. Ravi added: “There will be another stage where the damage to life, health and the environment will be more closely scrutinised. Objections must be heard then and any decision to approve it will be open to challenge through the courts. We will continue to explore every possible avenue to protect our residents from the health and environmental consequences of a third runway.”
The councils say a new runway would run a very high risk of breaching air quality limits, and as there is still no evidence as to how air quality obligations can be satisfied, this makes it increasingly unlikely that a third runway could ever be built and opened.
East Putney is to be one of the areas taking part in the Council’s 12-month trial of new ‘smart’ bins. Cllr George Crivelli said: “Lytton Grove will have a smart bin installed, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this develops. These bins are fitted with a sensor that alerts the Council’s waste team when they are full, which means collection teams can focus on the ones that need emptying. Eleven smart bins will be installed throughout the borough and they have great potential to ensure Wandsworth’s bins are emptied more efficiently. We’ll be watching keenly to see how the trial works.”
Tackling rat running
A 6-month pilot scheme to deter rat runners is being used to stop motorists at peak times from leaving the A3 at Tibbet’s Corner and using residential streets to avoid traffic queues going down to Wandsworth. One of the roads worst affected by the rat running was Granville Road in East Putney.
Since the end of March, motorists have been banned from turning left from Wimbledon Parkside into Withycombe Road and the northern end of Inner Park Road from 7am-10am. The aim is to keep traffic on the main West Hill trunk road and deter motorists from cutting through quiet back roads. Cameras are being used to ensure drivers obey the restrictions.
Cllr Sarah Binder said: “Residents were concerned about the volume and speed of traffic in several residential streets. Studies showed that much of this traffic was not local - drivers were cutting through these roads to avoid queues on the A3 from Tibbet’s Corner. Some residents have already said the pilot scheme is having a positive impact. The views of local people will determine whether we make it permanent, so I urge residents to take part in the survey and give us their opinion on the pilot scheme.”
Residents can register their views at https://haveyoursay.citizenspace.com/wandsworthecs/west-hill-19
Street trees blooming!
East Putney is enjoying its annual spring display of blossom as Wandsworth’s many street trees start blooming. Over the last two winters, about 1,000 new trees have been planted on the borough’s pavements, with more planted on housing estates and in parks. East Putney has received 51 of these new street trees, six of them in Kersfield Road alone. Another 200 street trees will be planted next winter. The species include London plane, cherry, lime, pear, crab apple, rowan, oak, hazel, whitebeam, maple, hornbeam and birch.
The Council looks after more than 60,000 trees in its parks, commons and open spaces and around 16,000 grow on our residential streets and housing estates. Cllr Ravi Govindia said: “We aim to make Wandsworth one of inner London’s leafiest boroughs, and our planting programme over the last two winters has been our biggest ever. Many of our street trees are monitored by local tree wardens - residents who work with the Council to look out for the health and well-being of their neighbourhood trees. I’d like to thank everyone who helps us to look after our trees.”
If you’d like to become a tree warden, you can email Wandtreeward@aol.com
London Mosque Liaison Committee
The London Mosque Liaison Committee held its latest meeting in April at the Gressenhall Road Mosque, with Mosque members and other local residents discussing issues around parking and the Mosque redevelopment.
Cllr George Crivelli, who chaired the meeting, said: “Members were updated about the relocation of the Caliph and the construction proposals at the Mosque by Akram Ahmedi, National Vice President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association. The Caliph, Hazrat Mirza Masoor Ahmad, has recently moved to his new accommodation at Tilford in Surrey. The Mosque anticipates that this will mean fewer worshippers coming to Gressenhall Road, which will potentially address local residents’ concerns about congestion and parking.
“Meanwhile we heard that the Gressenhall Road Mosque will continue to be the HQ for the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, and Mosque representatives said early 2021 is the most likely start time for the Mosque redevelopment, which will include a new multi-purpose hall.”
More electric vehicle sockets on street lights
Another 220 charging sockets have been fitted to street lights as part of a £400,000 project to deliver up to 900 street charging points across the borough. The latest sockets have been fitted to lamp posts in partnership with Siemens and the leading charging provider ubitricity. Electric vehicle owners can either use a special Ubitricity cable that comes with the customer’s own electricity tariff, or a standard cable for pay-as-you-go.
East Putney so far has 9 lamp post sockets in Carlton Drive, Galveston Road and Merton Road. Charging at street lights doesn’t impact on parking, as parking spaces next to them can be used by both electric and non-electric vehicles.
Another electric charging company, Source London, is also providing about 200 charging points around the borough, and there are others at supermarkets and petrol stations.
Wandsworth has one of London’s highest electric vehicle take up rates; the number bought by Wandsworth residents has grown from 127 at the end of 2015 to about 800 today, rising by around 10% every three months. This suggests some 6,000 electric vehicles will be registered in the borough by 2025, but with more charging points, it could be nearer 10,000. The Council’s cars and vans are also being replaced by electric versions. Cllr Sarah Binder said: “Providing the right infrastructure makes it easier for people to go electric, reducing vehicle emissions and helping to improve air quality. By creating such an extensive network of charging points we are removing one of the biggest hurdles people face in thinking of changing from petrol or diesel to electric.”
Sadness at Debenhams closure
Cllr Ravi Govindia has expressed his regret that Debenhams in Wandsworth Southside is one of the 22 Debenhams stores earmarked for closure next year. Ravi said: “Debenhams’ arrival in 2015 signalled a new chapter for Southside shopping centre. It was a key milestone in the regeneration of Wandsworth town, which has been transformed over the last 20 years. I’m very disappointed that it looks set to close. Department stores and Debenhams in particular face well publicised challenges, and ultimately the sector and our town centres need to adapt to changing consumer tastes.”
Ravi has written to Debenhams thanking them for their contribution to Wandsworth and welcoming their undertakings to support store staff through this difficult time. Debenhams worked with the Council’s Work Match team to place local people into its jobs, and Ravi has offered continuing support to help staff find work elsewhere in the borough. He added: “I’m confident that Wandsworth town centre will weather this setback. It continues to attract investment, creating new homes and jobs. Wandsworth is a borough of opportunity with many jobs available now and in the future, and one of our priorities is to help local people from all backgrounds benefit from these opportunities.”
Employ Wandsworth the biggest yet
Meanwhile more than 750 people attended this year’s Employ Wandsworth in April, making it one of the most successful yet. Fifty businesses were hiring on the day, and there was standing room only in the Google workshop on CV development, building a personal brand online and self-promotion skills.
The free annual event is run by the Council’s Work Match team, for Wandsworth residents who want to work nearer home, are returning to work, want to step up a level or need help finding the right career. Visitors could find out about local job opportunities, talk to potential employers and get expert advice. The Interactive Skills Zone gave live demonstrations including barista skills and hair design, while construction skills were demonstrated by a scaffold tower built live in front of the crowds. Cllr George Crivelli said: “Work Match does a great job in boosting local employment. It’s a free service for Wandsworth residents that matches local people seeking jobs, training and apprenticeships with local vacancies. It also offers coaching for interviews, pre-employment training, guidance with applications, and help to build confidence. So far it’s helped over 1100 Wandsworth residents into work.”
If you missed Employ Wandsworth, you can still get help. You can call the team on 020 8871 5191 or email your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org. There is more about Wandsworth Work Match here, including a full list of vacancies.
Community Local Fund bids invited
Do you have ideas for improving your neighbourhood? The Council is inviting bids from residents and community groups for grants from the Wandsworth Local Fund. The Fund comes from a charge the Council levies on large developers to pay for improvements that benefit the local area. Applications for grants are invited three times a year, and bids are now being accepted until 1 July, with £710,000 available for projects in Putney.
Projects that have received funding include new LED street lights; improvements to parks, sports pitches, playgrounds, roads, pavements and public spaces; and the new floodlighting at St Mary’s Church.
Last year over 400 people responded to a consultation on how the money should be spent, leading to these priorities: improving public spaces including protecting biodiversity; community safety; street improvements such as pavements, lighting, tree planting, cycling facilities and street furniture; investing in sport and leisure facilities; improving traffic and parking.
Cllr George Crivelli said: “To make sure projects are based on what local people want, we’re asking residents to bring ideas to their ward councillors, to submit schemes to be considered for funding. You can find out more, including guidance on how to apply, here.”
Who do you think you are? Your library can help you find out!
Did you know that Wandsworth libraries can help you research your ancestors? Our libraries not only have access to the world’s Most comprehensive name database but also to www.ancestry.co.uk, the top site for finding out about your family history. To access this from your home computer costs about £200 a year, but you can use this resource for free at any Wandsworth library.
Our libraries also run the Wandsworth Heritage Service, an archive and local history resource covering Wandsworth, Putney, Battersea, Tooting and Balham, based at Battersea Library.
The Heritage Service is currently organising the Wandsworth Heritage Festival, to run from 25 May to 9 June, with events this year in Putney including a literary murder mystery at Putney Library, talks on the history of Putney’s cinemas and the 1890s Putney Velodrome, a guided walk round Putney’s magnificent trees, and a tour of Putney’s Antique Breadboard Museum!
Cllrs Ravi Govindia CBE, George Crivelli & Sarah Binder
May 16, 2019