Reporting Back - September 2021
As most Covid-19 restrictions were lifted at the beginning of summer, it has been fantastic to be able to replace zoom meetings with getting back out and about in Wimbledon in person, and visiting fantastic local organisations. Below are just some of the things I have been doing locally and in Parliament recently.

As ever, I am always happy to be contacted if I can be of any help with anything, or to answer any questions or comments you may have – just simply reply to this email. 
Step Free Access
Last month local councillors Oonagh Moulton, Janice Howard, Ed Gretton and I celebrated the success of a 20-year campaign with residents and residents’ groups to secure step free access at Wimbledon Park station.

I am delighted the lift is now fully operational so that Wimbledon Park Station is finally accessible & step free.

In other step-free news, last year the Government announced that Motspur Park station would benefit from extra funding for step-free access, which is fantastic news for Motspur Park residents with disabilities and those travelling with young children in pushchairs.

Since I was first elected, I have been campaigning for step free access at all local stations alongside local Conservatives, especially the then local councillors Gilli and Brian Lewis-Lavender.

This week I asked Network Rail for an update on the project, and I received the following reply.
"At this station, the scheme is progressing to plan: the outline design stage is underway and is due to be completed in March 2022. Detailed design should be completed in November 2022, with construction work on site due to commence shortly after.

Once the designs are complete, local residents will be given the opportunity to see the design and understand more about the scheme and I’ll keep you updated on progress."

I will continue to work with Network Rail so that step-free access is delivered as soon as possible, and I will also continue to make the case for Raynes Park, Haydons Road, and other local stations to benefit from better accessibility.
Wimbledon Park Golf Club
The All England Lawn Tennis Club bought out the remaining years of the lease from Wimbledon Park Golf Club in 2018. They have developed a masterplan which has proposals to build an 8,000-seat show court and 38 smaller courts, and a public park.

A number of local residents have raised serious concerns about the impact this will have on the area, particularly developing on Metropolitan Open Land. There is also a concern that the landscape created by Capability Brown will change, although clearly a golf course would not classify as a heritage landscape either.

The Council has confirmed that the deadline for comments on AELTCs planning application for Wimbledon Park Golf Course is 30th Sept, even though their website says 22nd. The planning application reference number is 21/P2900 and you can have your say by emailing
Visit to Queen Mary’s Hospital
I was delighted to be able to visit the new surgery hub at Queen Mary’s Hospital

One of the pressing post pandemic issues is the need to address the elective and day Surgery backlog.

The new surgery hub at Queen Mary’s will definitely help to reduce this problem in South West London.
One of the most impressive features of this state-of-the-art development is that it can provide the most appropriate and convenient access to treatment to patients.

The new hub was constructed using the latest construction techniques at excellent value, this was achieved by cooperation across the local NHS and should be an example for similar units.
The fall of the previous Government, and the speed of the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, was distressing for many reasons, and like so many I have been shocked and horrified by the scenes at Kabul Airport. Whilst the last 20 years were difficult for Afghanistan, with huge sacrifices made by British and other NATO troops, there have been significant signs of progress. You can read my general statement on Afghanistan here:

Over the past month my office has been assisting many people who were in Afghanistan, or had family members in Afghanistan. My website has the latest advice for people in that situation, which can be found here:
Local Recovery Survey
This has been an incredibly difficult year, with everybody impacted by Covid-19 either directly or indirectly. However, we have seen the already vibrant community spirit in Wimbledon grow to meet the challenge, which has been inspiring to participate in and witness.
We’ve been able to protect local jobs with the furlough scheme, ensure that our local services get the support they need, and roll out the vaccine to people across our area.
As we recover from the pandemic, and with Merton Council elections next year, we have the chance to make Wimbledon an even better place to live.
So why not tell me your priorities and help shape our local recovery? You can fill out my short survey here:
Morden Hall Park
I recently visited Morden Hall Park with the National Trust Team.

We discussed their experiences throughout the lockdowns, with the majority of the National Trust’s parks and gardens remaining open, providing an important way for people to stay connected to nature.

They also told me about their plans to contribute to tackling climate change, by planting 20 million trees by 2030; ensuring the National Trust is carbon net zero by 2030 and working in conjunction with local organisations and local authorities to help create green corridors for people and nature near towns and cities.

Morden Hall Park really is a hidden gem in South West London, with a fascinating wet woodland, and I would encourage everyone to visit. 
Polka Theatre Redevelopment
I have been supporting the Polka Theatre's redevelopment for many years and was delighted to visit again and see the wonderful renovation complete.

I hope many children will go to their first show RED which opens on 25 September and is a great chance to explore the brand-new building, as the show journeys around the different spaces.

You can find more details here:
AFC Wimbledon Foundation – Visit to Plough Lane
Many of us will be excited that not only have AFC Wimbledon returned to Plough Lane, but also that they have made such a great start to the season.

The great community news is that the AFC Wimbledon Foundation is now also based at the new stadium and I was really excited to meet the new chair, Jenny Scott, and the CEO, Philip Rudling, recently.
After a tour of the fantastic new stadium, I enjoyed hearing what great work the AFC Wimbledon Foundation is doing in the community.

We discussed how the Foundation could build on its excellent work to date, and their plans to develop further their positive impact on our local community.
You can find out more about the AFC Wimbledon Foundation and how to support them here:
New Internationl Travel Rules
From 22 Sept, eight countries will be removed from the red list, including Turkey.

From 4 Oct, England will switch to a simplified travel list and pre-departure tests will be scrapped for eligible fully vaccinated passengers.

You can find out more here:

I was also pleased to see confirmation that from November, foreign travellers will be allowed to fly into the US if they are fully vaccinated, and undergo testing and contact tracing.
Abundance Wimbledon
A fixture in the Wimbledon September calendar is the Annual Fruit Day for Abundance Wimbledon, which was held at St Marks Church last Saturday.

As ever there was the very fresh apple juice in plentiful supply, which was expertly pressed by Cllr Nick McLean, and a vast array of jams and cakes.

I was delighted to be able to donate some apples and damsons Sally and I had recently picked.
Abundance Wimbledon picks, collects and receives fruit to pass on to its team of volunteers to make into jams, cakes, puddings, and juice. Some of the fruit is also distributed to local charities which provide support for the elderly and those impacted by Covid-19. 
West Barnes Litterpick – Saturday 25th September at 10am
Gilli Lewis-Lavender, Joe Hackett and Lily Alimi have arranged a community litter pick this Saturday at 10am, meeting on the corner of Linkway and West Barnes Lane, after noticing a build-up of rubbish nearby.

Litter pickers will be supplied but if you have your own, then please bring it along.
Michaelmas Market in aid of Macmillan Merton
Promoted by David Jones on behalf of Stephen Hammond MP, both of 3 Summerstown, London, SW17 0BQ