First victory for ‘Save our High Street’ campaign

Planning permission for two Coral betting shops near Tooting Broadway tube has been refused by Wandsworth Council’s Planning Application Committee. This follows a swell of opposition by local residents, local Labour Councillors and MP for Tooting Sadiq Khan. DSC_1703

Wandworth Councillors voted against granting planning permission for the betting shop at 64 Tooting High Street on design grounds, and at the site of the former H Samuels at 17A Mitcham Road, on grounds that it would not be in keeping with the character of the town centre. Approval of the applications would have brought the number of betting shops in Tooting up to 24.

Local MP Sadiq Khan had raised objections to both applications to Wandsworth Council on behalf of the local community, urging the council to listen to residents’ concerns and to take action to encourage diversity on Wandsworth’s high streets.

Following government changes to the rules on high street planning, last year, which has made it easier for betting shops to open in our town centres, Sadiq recently launched his ‘Save Our High Street’ campaign. The campaign calls on the government to give more power to residents to shape our high streets and local councils to be given power to control the number of betting shops that open – a power they don’t currently possess.

Sadiq Khan MP said:

“Like many local residents I am relieved that Wandsworth Council have refused planning permission for yet another two bookies in Tooting. We already have too many, and certainly don’t want any more, and that is why alongside the community I have been so vocal in my objections.

“The response to the ‘Save Our High Street’ campaign, with hundreds of people already adding their name to the petition in the last month, has demonstrated the strength of feeling against more betting shops.

“Coral can still appeal these decisions – and if they are successful this would mean local views are ignored. The lack of Council powers to control the number of betting shops that open in our community needs to change – and I would encourage people to sign the petition now – to send a clear message to the government; that we need to say no to more betting shops.”

Do we REALLY need another betting shop in Tooting?

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Sadiq with Rex, Andy and Alaina – Graveney’s team

News that another betting shop may open in central Tooting is being met with anger by the local community. The former HS Samuel jewelers at 17 Mitcham Road has been targeted for planning and licensing permission to become a bookies.

Tooting residents have expressed their dismay about a new betting shop being located in the town centre to Graveney Councillors and MP Sadiq Khan.

Sadiq said: ‘Many of my constituents are concerned that there is already a heavy concentration of betting shops in Tooting, especially along the High Street, including Tooting High Street, Garratt Lane and Mitcham Road.  Local residents, who live and shop in the area do not want another betting shop to open in Tooting Broadway and I share their concerns. It is important that Wandsworth Council encourages diversity on our High Street and does not allow so many betting shops to operate in one town centre.

In a recent article in the Evening Standard Tooting was described as ‘rooting’ and ‘the next Shoreditch’, following the recent surge in popular bars, restaurants and art clubs on the High Street. The popular franchise, Eggfree Cake Box has just opened in Tooting and the Soho House group are soon to open a Chicken Shop on Tooting High Street. It is fantastic to see Tooting attracting exciting new businesses and being seen to the outside world as a desirable place to live, eat and shop, but I am very concerned that allowing any more betting shops to open on our High Street will put people off from shopping here and other retailers from setting up in business here.

Another concern is that a betting shop in such a prominent location, across from Tooting Broadway Station, could attract more on-street drinking in the area and therefore lead to more anti-social behaviour and disruption. There is an alleyway adjacent to the property where groups can gather, and there is a real worry that this could ultimately lead to the site becoming a source of noise and disturbance in the local area, and one that residents avoid.’

Graveney ward Councillor Andy Gibbons said ‘It’s important that the local community objects to this application as residents’ opinion should count when it comes to deciding what kind of area we want to live in. A lot of school children travel through Tooting Broadway to get home, and they shouldn’t be walking past a parade of gambling arcades, bookies and pawn shops. The government should be looking at ways to keep a mixed economy in town centres, not making it easier to turn retailers in to betting shops.’

You can find the application and object online here: http://planning.wandsworth.gov.uk/WAM/showCaseFile.do?appType=planning&appNumber=2013/5390

Sign Sadiq’s petition to save Tooting high street: http://www.sadiqkhan.org.uk/save_our_high_street?recruiter_id=27509

Labour’s policy on betting shops: http://www.labour.org.uk/betting-shops-clustering-in-areas-of-deprivation

Evening Standard article on Tooting: http://www.standard.co.uk/goingout/attractions/tooting-is-officially-rooting-sw17s-best-bars-restaurants-and-culture-8929104.html

Graveney Ward #supersaturday!

Wandsworth Labour councillors and Sadiq Khan MP made it a super Saturday today by meeting Graveney residents at four Tooting school and church fetes.Sellincourt

After breakfast at Tooting Baptist Church’s Funday, Cllrs. Andy Gibbons and Rex Osborn joined Cllr. Billi Randall and Graveney Labour team member Alaina McDonald to meet with local residents.

Next stop was Franciscan school where there was excellent Ethiopian food and a big crowd of parents and children enjoying the sun.

MP Sadiq Khan joined the fun at St Boniface School, where a young pupil sang a brilliant version of Adele’s ‘Set Fire to the Rain’.

The team finally arrived at Sellincourt School to another busy fair, with the crowds being entertained by a singer from ‘The Voice’!

Five things we did in Tooting Graveney Ward in 2012…

Graveney Councillors Rex, Billi and Andy, Sadiq Khan MP and local supporters

Trident Centre, Bickersteth Road

After objections by local residents, concerns about the future of the businesses in The Trident Centre and the suitability of the site, the sponsors decided to withdraw from establishing a ‘free’ school.

New Primary School, Franciscan Road

We encouraged the establishment of a new primary school, linked to Graveney School, in the old school building on Franciscan Road. This is planned to open in September 2013.

Planning application  for the Professional Centre, Franciscan Road

We supported residents’ objections to the over-development of the playground area of what will become the new primary school on Franciscan Road. Developers plan to build a four storey building for elderly residents.

Crossing at St. Boniface Church, Mitcham Road

After a long campaign by the congregation of St. Boniface church, backed by ourselves and Sadiq Khan MP, the Council agreed to site a new pedestrian crossing by the Church. This was a great credit to the Late Fr. Bonvini, who was instrumental in the success of the petition.

Tooting Town Centre

We supported a plan by local police to curb street drinking by establishing a street drinking exclusion zone and helping people with alcohol problems through an outreach scheme. We are keen to see further development of the town centre and the market.

…… as well as attending street parties, school fetes, working with churches and community groups in Graveney and being your local voice in the Town Hall. And, of course, helping Graveney residents with individual concerns.

Cllr. Rex Osborn is a founder member of Tooting  History Group and conducts local historical walks. He is a Vice Chair of the Local Safer Neighbourhood panel.

Cllr. Billi Randall is Chair of Governors at Franciscan school. She is an active member of the Tooting Town Centre Partnership.

Cllr. Andy Gibbons is involved in organising local music events around Tooting and has close links with the Tamil Welfare Association of Wandsworth.

Let us know your priorities for 2013:  office@tootinglabour.org.uk or leave a comment below.

Council U Turn on Garden Waste

After years of campaigning by Labour to get free collection for small amounts of garden waste, there is finally good news for residents.

The Council’s website now says: ‘Reasonable quantities of garden waste can be collected free of charge – just put it in tied refuse sacks and/or dustbins along with other domestic rubbish for collection.  Please note that where crews find more than five sacks of garden waste, they have been instructed to refer the matter back to the Council, which may decide that the quantity presented constitutes a bulk clearance for which collection charges apply.’

Previously a £15 charge for collection was applied to all garden waste, even small amounts. Graveney Ward Councillor Andy Gibbons said: ‘ A while ago I spoke to an older resident in my area who loves gardening but said she simply couldn’t pay the council to take away her garden rubbish and didn’t have the space to compost all her clippings. So I’m pleased that this stealth tax has been removed and I’m sure Wandsworth’s residents will be too’

Street Parties In Battersea and Tooting

Parties at Savona and Sellincourt Road

More Pictures from Tooting here…

http://www.tootingonline.com/forum/album.php?albumid=12

The flotilla at The Waterfront, Battersea, BATCA Funday, and the Heart Radio girls in Loubet Street

Victory For No Pay2Play

Labour and Tory Councillors have approved plans to modernise and refurbish the adventure playground in Battersea Park with brand new equipment and keep play free.

Ken, Sadiq Khan and Rex Osborn at No Pay2Play

The decision, taken on Wednesday, will now be subject to public consultation. If backed by residents it would mean the playground does not need to introduce an admission charge – and would remain free to use. Councillors want to spend £200,000 on providing modern new equipment for the playground, which would conform to all the latest safety standards.

This would replace the playground’s existing wooden play structures and mean that staff would no longer be needed to supervise activities. The plans would allow the playground to remain open for longer than is currently possible. It would be available for use at all times the park is open, seven days a week.

In a radio interview for Radio London Cllr. Leonie Cooper, Labour’s GLA Candidate for Wandsworth and Merton also got a promise that all Wandsworth’s playgrounds will stay free. But Labour continues to have concerns about safety and loss of jobs, so any future proposals will be scrutinised for their impact on these two vital aspects of the service. Cllr. Andy Gibbons said ‘We are pleased the adventure playground will stay free, but we believe there is a role for professional staff in ensuring children play safely.’

http://www.wandsworthguardian.co.uk/news/9640777.Group_calls_for_council_to_retain_play_staff/?ref=ms