In this month’s newsletter I have some excellent news to share with you about Crossrail 2, showing just what can be achieved when we speak up in unison on an issue. In addition I have updates on our efforts to bring Boris Bikes to Balham, a number of local business initiatives, and results from my latest efforts to clean up Tooting High Street.
Tooting's Crossrail 2 Case Receives Boost
As you'll recall, we achieved a huge local response to the recent 'Balham or Tooting' Crossrail 2 consultation, with over 3,000 people alone giving their view via my www.BalhamOrTooting.org.uk survey.
Many of us feared that Transport for London (TfL) would conclude the recent consultation by ruling out Tooting as an option for our local station. Instead, TfL has noted the strength of our view, confirmed that it will retain Tooting Broadway as an option and has committed to further research accordingly. You can read more details on this positive development here.
Thank you for engaging with such passion on this topic. More than 80% of residents wanted to keep the station at Tooting and I'm delighted that TfL has listened and given more time for the case to be made.
Bringing Boris Bikes to Balham
The London Cycle Hire Scheme has been a success since it was launched in 2010, with high satisfaction rates and strong usage, encouraging many to take up cycling for the first time. It expanded into the north of Wandsworth in 2013, where take-up has also met expectation, adding to local transport options for residents.
Last week I visited TfL with Jane Ellison MP to discuss how we could bring Boris Bikes further south to Balham, Earlsfield, and Tooting. It will need TfL funds to build new docking stations - and Mayoral priorities will be key – but the transport and public health benefits are high in our area, so the opportunity exists if the political will is there.
You can see a mapped example of the local area that an expanded Cycle Hire zone might cover in my article here. If you support Boris Bikes coming to our area – whether it be for the added transport capacity it will bring for commuting, or as a healthy way to enjoy our heritage and green spaces – please email me at email@example.com to add your support.
Supporting Small Business
As a long-standing local business owner, I have always understood the crucial role that small firms play in our local economy, and I am keen to help them grow and create jobs whenever I can. So I’m pleased to let you know of several positive developments on this front:
- Love Your Local: Received it's thousandth vote from local residents last week. We were honoured to have Zac Goldsmith, Conservative Candidate for London Mayor, visit some of our independent shops in Earlsfield and show his support for ‘buying local.' Polls close after Easter, so if you haven’t yet cast your vote for your favourite local shops, please visit www.LoveYourLocalShops.com today!
- Business Launchpad: This excellent charity, based in the Tooting Trident Centre, helps young entrepreneurs get their new business ideas launched. They are now looking to expand their service and I’m delighted to be one of the presenters at their awards ceremony on Thursday; if you need advice for your start-up idea, do get in touch via their website.
- Tooting Market / MarketSnapp: Tooting Market continues to go from strength-to-strength, with the team behind it launching Marketsnapp, which will help markets and start-ups get more easily found by consumers. Markets represent a low-cost option for entrepreneurs looking to open a shop-front, so I hope Marketsnapp will help markets continue to play a key role supporting small businesses in the local economy.
Cleaning-Up Tooting High Street
A long-running project of mine has been an attempt to clean up Tooting High Street. Not only has it regularly suffered from litter, but the pavements have often been blocked by encroaching traders and unnecessary street clutter, at times giving a poor image to the town centre.
I did another ‘clean-up’ session with Councillors last month, examining issues which residents had reported to me and identifying areas which need more attention. While progress is steadily being made, there is more to do and you can read my summary here. Please do email me with any concerns you have on this or related issues.
With best wishes,
Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman for Tooting