2015 may be drawing to a close, but I have one last campaign success – and plenty of news - to share with you. So please read on for my last community update of the year.
Planning Protection for the Granada Cinema
The Granada Cinema on Mitcham Road is probably our area’s most iconic building, inside and out. However while its Grade 1 listing protects its structure, there is nothing to stop a future owner from closing its doors to the public.
Recognising this threat, I initiated a campaign in January to get the Granada listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV), which you’ll recall is a status that harnesses ‘people power’ and has already been used to protect much-loved local assets - the Wheatsheaf pub, the Romany nursery, and the Tooting Lodge to name but a few.
I was delighted that the Council listed it as an ACV last Friday, meaning that we have a much better chance of keeping this popular local building open to the public for generations to come. You can read more in the Wandsworth Guardian article.
Dog’s Dinner at the Wimbledon Stadium
In less good news, I was disappointed when Merton Council last week approved the development of the Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium, without making any concessions to residents in Earlsfield and Tooting.
Wandsworth Council made a strong representation that better transport, parking and other community services were needed to accommodate the large influx of new residents and football supporters that the project will bring.
Given Merton’s decision, your local Conservative team have asked the Mayor of London to call-in the development and insist that Merton Council find money from the development to make improvements and ensure Wandsworth residents get a fair deal. There will be more news on this in January.
Crossrail 2 Consultation
The controversy over Crossrail 2 rumbles on and local residents continue to give their view on the ‘Balham Or Tooting’ question via my survey. Almost 3,000 people have now responded, with 80% wanting to keep the Tooting station option on the table.
If you haven’t yet given your view on the survey above, or the Transport for London (TfL) consultation on Crossrail 2 as a whole, please do so. The latter closes on 8th January and can be completed here.
I have attended the public meeting at Town Hall and multiple Crossrail 2 drop-in sessions, as well as several discussions with resident groups that have concerns about the plans. The feedback is consistent throughout - TfL needs to commission more research on the options and not rush to a premature decision - so I really do hope it listens to the very strong message our community is sending.
Celebrating our Community's Strength
It’s not just a strong local economy that we all benefit from, but a strong local community too. In the past few weeks I’ve been involved with a number of projects that demonstrate that when it comes to community cohesion, our area is second to none.
· Balham & Tooting Community Awards: we had 200 local volunteers, representing all parts of our diverse area, attend this year’s BATCA awards, which celebrated local residents and community groups who give so much time to help the needy and improve our area
· Earlsfield Christmas Lights: our fantastic business community was able to raise over £10,000 to bring the first ever Christmas lights to Earlsfield high street. The switch-on saw a huge turn-out and Ainsley Harriet was a star! You can see photos from the night on my Facebook page.
· Be a Councillor event: I held this meeting to encourage better political representation amongst our Muslim and BME communities. We had a full room of local people to watch inspiring talks by Sir Iqbal Sacranie, Zac Goldsmith MP and Justine Greening MP, among others. There’s a full write-up of the event from the Wandsworth Guardian here.
On that positive note, I’d like to wish you and your family a restful and enjoyable festive season, and thank you for all the support you have given in 2015 to my campaigns to improve our area.
With best wishes,
Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman for Tooting