I am really delighted that David Cameron has decided to appoint local girl Nicky Morgan MP as Women’s Minister in the Cabinet. See the story on the Surrey Comet website; find the link in the right hand column.
I knew Nicky Griffiths (as she was then) as a Surbiton Young Conservative in the 1990s and have watched her career with great interest since then. I’m sure we all wish her every good fortune in her new role. In the aftermath of the business involving the lady from Wimbledon and Basingstoke, I have been cheered up considerably by this news.
I am writing to call on Edward Davey MP to publically retract his claims that the Green
Belt is not safe under Kingston’s Conservatives and that the Conservatives back
Neither claim is true. Both claims are highly irresponsible.
The facts do not support the Liberal Democrat’s position, which is cynically timed to
coincide with the imminent local elections.
On 4 March 2014 an independent think tank called London First published a report
entitled “Home Truths” which suggested building new suburbs in Chessington and the
Lea Valley as a solution to housing shortages in London. That report had nothing to do
with the Conservative Party.
The Liberal Democrats have suggested that the Deputy Mayor for Housing endorsed
London First’s proposal for mass housing in Chessington. He did not. More importantly,
Boris Johnson was unequivocal when he came to Kingston for Mayor’s Question Time
last week that he would not support building on the Green Belt.
On 26 March 2014 Mr Davey sent an email to Kingston residents asking them to make
people aware that the Green Belt is not safe with Kingston’s Conservatives. That is
simply not true. Kingston Conservatives never lent their support to London First’s
proposal. Nor have I. Nor have your local Conservative Councillors and candidates.
The truth is that the Conservative Party in Kingston opposes building on the Green Belt.
What’s more, we are proposing to invest more money than the Liberal Democrat
administration on the green spaces that we have for everyone to enjoy across the
People in Chessington and beyond would rightly have been concerned to hear Mr
Davey’s allegations about the Conservatives’ position. Mr Davey’s claims were
irresponsible, especially coming from someone who is currently your local MP. They
were also wrong. I call on Mr Davey to now act responsibly and retract those claims.
Public faith in politics has been rocked in recent years. A genuine debate on issues that
matter to hardworking people should help to restore that trust. By contrast, non-issues
conjured up by Liberal Democrat scaremongers will only erode public faith in politics
Prospective Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Kingston and Surbiton
The Lib Dems appear to be claiming that the Conservatives want to build 70,000 homes on greenbelt land in Chessington.
· That accusation is false. It is absolute nonsense.
o No Conservative Councillor or candidate in Kingston has supported any such proposal.
o I have not supported such a proposal
o And the Mayor does not support such a proposal either.
· The proposal came from a report by a think tank which was not produced by or endorsed by the Conservatives.
· It’s right that we need more housing – especially housing that hardworking people can afford.
· But Kingston Conservatives will not support housing being built on greenfield sites. I’m personally dead against building on greenfield sites.
· So as you can see, there is not one scintilla of Conservative support from Kingston Conservatives for mass building on greenfield sites in Chessington and it is misleading to suggest otherwise.
· I’m sure that the Kingston Conservative housing lead and the Mayor’s office will confirm this. When they do, I hope our side of the story will get just as much coverage as you have given the blatant Lib Dem smear.
You may have received an email from Mr. Davey alleging that there’s a Tory-backed plan to build 70,000 new houses – ‘a whole new Borough’- in Chessington. Not only did i receive this but I also had a leaflet pushed through my letter box and I see that the Comet is carrying a version of the story on its website.
Not surprisingly I made enquiries into the truth or otherwise of this scare, the results of which I share with you here.
The Deputy Mayor for Housing and Land, Richard Blakeway attended the launch of a London First report, Home Truths, as part of a panel of experts. The contents of the report were not produced by the GLA, nor endorsed by them. One of the recommendations in the report regards Chessington, however this was not highlighted to the Deputy Mayor, nor did he comment on it.
In contrast, as Mayor Boris Johnson has ensured that measures protecting the green belt are a key part of all his housing and planning strategies. In Kingston, and across the outer boroughs, he strengthened the protections of green spaces and enabled boroughs to introduce a presumption against development on gardens through the London Plan.
The truth is often less dramatic than the propaganda put out by frightened politicians. We saw plenty of this kind of thing from the same source in 2010 – a point recently acknowledged by Mr. Falchikov. Please note that, apart from your vote, what they really want is your email address which you will give them by signing their petition. They will then be able to send you much more of the same.
Where do I stand on this?
Knowing Chessington and its green belt well I just wonder where anywhere near that number of new homes would fit. There’s already massive building going on in the ‘Epsom Cluster’ which is clogging Malden Rushett, Chessington and Hook with traffic and 70,000 homes would be, as Mr. Davey says, ‘a whole new Borough’. In any case, if anyone were to propose anything so outlandish as this, I should oppose them, irrespective of party.
This week I have set out my Budget for building a resilient economy.
It is part of our long-term economic plan - a plan that is delivering economic security for families up and down the country.
We have come a long way. The independent forecasts show growth is up, jobs are up, and the deficit is down. But the job is far from done. I haven’t shied away from telling the British people about the difficult decisions we face. And just because things are getting better now, I haven’t shied away from it today either.
The deficit is down by a third, and in the coming year it will be down by a half. But it is still one of the highest in the world - so we are taking action to bring the deficit down further.
Investment and exports are up. But we’ve got twenty years of catching up to do - so I have backed businesses who invest and export.
Manufacturing halved under Labour, with all bets on the City of London. But manufacturing is growing again, and jobs are being created across the country - and we’re doing everything we can to support that.
And while as a nation we’re getting on top of our debts, for many decades Britain has borrowed too much and saved too little. So today, I have made sure hardworking people keep more of what they earn – and of what they save. Support for savers is at the centre of this Budget.
With the help of the British people we’re turning the economy around. Our goal is economic security for the families of Britain - and today, with this Budget, we take another step towards it.
I have heard today that the ‘Toby Jug’ site in Tolworth, so long blighted by Tesco’s controversial plans to build a superstore there, will not now house a store but that it will be given over instead for housing.
Earlier plans for the site, which incorporates the last major former government office site in the south of the Borough, included plans for up to 170 units (from memory) of affordable housing. Kingston now has a waiting list for such housing some 7,500 strong. Although this site will not solve this problem on its own, it will go some way to helping.
I have fond memories of the whole area as an opportunity site when we were drawing up the UDP some 12 or so years ago. Everything has been on hold for far too long pending the resolution of the superstore question. Let us hope that imaginations can now be engaged in regenerating that whole area of Tolworth west of the A240 and incorporating both sides of the station.
Nearly 80% of people taking part in the online poll on Tolworth Greenway still think it will be more likely than not to reduce safety in the area. Angela D’Ercole wrote recently that they’d be re-erecting the central barrier within 12 months. I doubt it really, though the designers seem to have ignored the fact that the barrier was put there for a very good reason in the first place, as the consequences of its removal have clearly demonstrated.
The latest accident involved a young mum and small child – and a car, naturally.
Whoever gets elected in May, I hope they will take this risk to life and limb seriously. I don’t see this as a party issue. I see it as a matter of common sense!