Reporting Back - April 2018
I hope you and your family had a good Easter break. This month’s email has news on Merton Hall, NHS Funding, rogue builders and more. 

Below are just some of the things I have been doing locally and in Parliament since my last email.

  • Summerborn Children – Asked the Minister for Schools two questions on summerborn school admissions, which you can read here and here. I have also applied for a Westminster Hall debate on the topic.
  • BrexitAsked the Prime Minister about the financial services sector and the future relationship with the EU.
  • Spring StatementAsked the Chancellor about how much the tax yield has risen since the Government cut Corporation Tax.
  • Small BusinessesAsked the Minister for Small Business about access to finance.
  • Wimbledon High School - Visited the school to meet with teachers and students.
  • Wimbledon Foundation – Attended the Wimbledon Foundation’s reception to hear about their fantastic local charitable work.
  • Kingston Hospital – Visited Kingston Hospital’s refurbished emergency department.
  • Merton Citizens – Met with Merton Citizens, an alliance of 18 member organisations working together to make Merton a better place to live.
  • South Ridgway Residents Association – took questions at their AGM and talked with local residents.
  • Kew House Care Home – Visited for the launch of ‘Tovertafel’, which helps those residents with cognitive challenges.
  • Wimbledon and Putney Commons – Met with the Chief Executive to discuss the future of the Common.
  • Raynes Park High School – Visited Raynes Park High School to celebrate it becoming a Tim Henman Foundation BECSLink Community school.
Merton Borough Council Elections – Thursday 3rd May 2018
Whilst I always try my best to keep my community email non-political, on Thursday 3rd May you will face the important choice of who runs Merton Council.

Merton Council is currently run by the Labour Party and has been for the last eight years. Over these eight years, and particularly recently, I have seen a dramatic increase in the number of complaints from constituents about Council services.

The Council is failing to pick up our bins on time, sweep our streets, modernise our Town Centres, support our small businesses, manage its social housing and protect Merton’s heritage.

I strongly believe it is time for change. Merton Conservatives have a plan to make your life a bit better with lots of ideas to make a positive difference locally. If elected, Merton Conservatives would protect the weekly bin collection and ensure clean streets, transform our high streets and Town Centres, save Wimbledon Police Station and much more which you can see here.

The election is on Thursday 3rd May, but the deadline to register to vote is Tuesday 17th April. If you are not yet registered to vote, you can do so online by clicking here.
Save Merton Hall
For months now residents and residents groups have been fighting Labour Merton Council’s plans to partially demolish Merton Hall on Kingston Road to make way for a pentecostal church. This is part of a freehold swap to move the Elim Pentecostal Church from the High Path Estate to make room for a new secondary school.

Labour controlled Merton Council refuse to halt the works at Merton Hall, despite it being listed as an Asset of Community Value and community groups having the right to bid for the site.

Cllr Oonagh Moulton and I wrote to the Council to request an urgent halt to the building works until after the Merton Council elections on Thursday 3rd May, as the Merton Conservative Group has adopted a policy which is opposed to any demolition or hand over. You can see a copy of our letter here.

We believe that to persist with the works at Merton Hall would be to pre-empt the election result and would contravene the restrictions on local authorities during the immediate run-up to an election by effectively implementing a highly contentious policy during the purdah period. 

The Council have refused our request, and so I have written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Labour are determined to dismiss local concerns about the loss of this historic community asset and let the bulldozers loose. If you believe, as we do, that the works should be stopped for the election, please do write to Leader of the Council Stephen Alambritis and make these points.
Waterside Way Concrete Batching Plant

This is brilliant news, as I said in my representations to the Council, the application was unsuitable for the area, especially given the proximity to the River Wandle, parks and Garfield Primary School. 

Huge congratulations to Haydons Road North Residents Association, particularly Nicola Thompson, and the local Conservative councillors who fought so hard against these plans.
NHS Funding
I was pleased to hear that as part of a £760m capital investment in the NHS, South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust has been given £11.1m to provide more joined up services and offer better vital emergency mental health services. This is the biggest one-off capital investment in NHS services in the last decade, and is in addition to the £600m already announced last year. 

I am also very happy to say that the Government has announced that it will fund a new pay rise for NHS staff, worth over 6 per cent over the next three years. This will benefit not just nurses, but all staff on the Agenda for Change pay scale. This is supported by over £4 billion of new investment which the Chancellor pledged to spend in addition to the existing NHS budget. 
Rogue Builders
I have been receiving an increased number of complaints from constituents about rogue builders taking money without completing jobs or providing poor quality work.

When undertaking building work, my advice is to be aware, take recommendations, shop around for quotes, and most importantly do not pay the full balance up front. Instead, keep to an agreed payment plan and keep some funds back until the job is over.

For more information and advice on rouge builders, please click here
Gas Works – Approach Road/Grand Drive
For approximately 6 weeks, from 3rd April, Approach Road will be closed between its junctions with Clifton Park Avenue and Grand Drive. For more information please click here.  

After this, from Monday 23rd July for approximately 20 weeks Grand Drive will be made one-way southbound for the duration of the works.
Mucky Merton 
Large numbers of people are continuing to get in touch with me to report litter problems. We are rightly proud of our area, and are frustrated when Labour Merton Council cannot provide a simple service like emptying bins on time and sweeping the streets. Their decision to stop weekly street cleaning and the weekly bin collection are making a mess of our community.

Merton Conservatives and I are campaigning to improve this situation by reintroducing weekly street cleaning, protecting the weekly bin collection and increasing mobile CCTV to crack down on fly tipping. If elected to run the Council in May, Merton Conservatives will retain the weekly bin collection and reduce the size and number of Labour’s new wheelie bins. You can support our campaign at
Unauthorised Traveller Encampments
Unauthorised traveller encampments are a problem around our area, particularly on Cannon Hill Common.

I am pleased that the Government have launched a consultation on the law and powers to deal with unauthorised caravan sites and developments.

T he Government is committed to taking action and is seeking views on what more can be done to ensure local authorities, the police and landowners can deal with unauthorised sites and developments efficiently. Ministers also want to hear about any barriers to the provision of authorised sites.

The consultation – carried out jointly by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Home Office and Ministry of Justice – covers police and local authority powers, court processes, Government guidance, the provision of legal sites, and the impact on settled and nomadic communities.

The consultation runs until 15th June, and you can find more information here.
K2 of Wimbledon Indian
A huge congratulations to K2 of Wimbledon who were a runner up in the prestigious Tiffin Cup this year. 
Wimbledon Theatre
I am always happy to highlight local events in my community email, and if you would like me to do so, please let me know by replying to this email. Below is a message from Wimbledon Theatre about their upcoming productions.

David Walliams' amazing tale of frights, fights and friendship, Awful Auntie arrives at New Wimbledon Theatre from 24 to 28 April – a must see for the whole family from ages 5 and up. Then from 1 May, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures return to SW19 with Cinderella – the classic fairy tale reimagined and set during the Second World War. We’ll also be seeing comedians Ed Byrne, Brian Conley and Danny Baker at the theatre in the coming months. Dates for the diary include a conversation with tennis star Judy Murray on 1 July and new productions of Madagascar and Saturday Night Fever in July and August.
Promoted by David Jones on behalf of Stephen Hammond MP, both of 3 Summerstown, London, SW17 0BQ