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?

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:

Sign Sadiq’s petition to save Tooting high street:

Labour’s policy on betting shops:

Evening Standard article on Tooting:

Sign Sadiq’s letter and save the Wheatsheaf!

The Wheatsheaf has been a famous Tooting landmark all of my life – and has gone from strength to strength in recent years, becoming one of the busiest and friendliest family pubs in the area. wheatsheaf

Since rumours emerged that supermarket giant Tesco was looking to take over the Wheatsheaf pub in Tooting Bec, the local community has come together to work with the pub to take action.

After raising local residents’ concerns directly with the Chief Executive of Tesco, I received assurances that Tesco will not be taking over the Tooting Bec pub, which is a huge achievement.

But the campaign doesn’t stop here.

The next task is to make sure no other retailer is allowed to turn The Wheatsheaf into a supermarket or shop. It simply does not make sense to close this much-loved and extremely popular local pub, to allow another supermarket to open. Supermarket giants shouldn’t be allowed to take over successful and well-loved businesses, simply by throwing more money at them.

Wandsworth Council can stop another supermarket taking over by using planning legislation now to ensure that only elected councillors can decide on any change to the use of the building.

Sign Sadiq’s letter here:


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’!

‘One O’Clock’ Kids’ Play Clubs Saved!

For the last six months Wandsworth’s Labour Councillors and Sadiq Khan MP have been working hard with parents and carers to fight the council’s plans for the  closure of One O’clock play clubs.

One O'clock Clubs Demo

Those of you who have ever been along to a One O’Clock Club will know what a vital resource they are in our community – providing the much-needed opportunity to talk with other parents in an environment where children can play safely. That’s why local parents were outraged when the council first announced their plans to close the clubs in January.

Parents have campaigned, signed petitions and marched through the streets of Wandsworth in opposition to the cuts. The good news is that at a town hall meeting this week the Tories backed down:  Stay and Play has been saved at all centres except Battersea Park, nursery workers at Windmill, Bolingbroke, and Coronation Gardens jobs have been saved and charges will be kept affordable. But despite support from independents on the committee, Labour’s amendment to cap charges at £1 was defeated by the Tories.

We have come such a long way. When the plans were first announced the council wanted to close the afternoon clubs completely: but now, thanks to a fantastic campaign, families will be able to use the clubs in the afternoon and access the outdoor space for free in the late afternoons and at weekends.

Labour Education Speaker Cllr. Sheila Boswell said: ‘All in all an innovative campaign with a powerful alliance between ‘Nappy Valley’ parents, Battersea and Wandsworth  trade unions, Labour Councillors and Tooting’s Labour MP.  There is a lot to be proud of.’


Wandsworth Guardian

Nappy Valley Parents

Wandsworth Unions

Wandsworth Council continues to pay top salaries while services are cut

by Sadiq Khan MP

I write about an issue that many angry local residents have raised with me, the amount of money spent by Wandsworth Council on paying some staff extortionate wages. sadiq

Wandsworth Council has 33 employees receiving remuneration of more than £100,000 – the third highest of local authorities all over the country with the top earner on more than £200,000.

By digging into this further I have also found out that Wandsworth Council now employs more staff on salaries of over £100,000 and £150,000 than they did back in 2009.

As pay at the top has increased, Wandsworth Council has slashed funding for our lollipop ladies and men, cut the much-valued Meals on Wheels service and pledged to close our One O Clock Clubs

Great to celebrate fantastic new crossings in #Tooting with St Boniface students and @livingstreets

2,005 into 10 won’t go – Wandsworth Council unprepared for impact of Government’s Bedroom Tax

By Sadiq Khan MP

Freedom of Information requests made by the Labour Party to Wandsworth Council have revealed that 2,005 families across the Borough will be hit by the Bedroom Tax which came into force on 1st April. Yet there are only ten 2 or 1 bedroom properties available if the families wanted to downsize. sadiq

The Bedroom Tax means that tenants in social housing will have their Housing Benefit reduced by 14 per cent if they have one spare bedroom, and 25 per cent if they have two or more spare bedrooms.

But this new information proves that there are not enough smaller properties for affected families to move to, even if they are willing to do so.
It is estimated that the Bedroom Tax will cost an estimated 30,000 people across the South West of England £780 per annum.

Last month National Housing Federation figures revealed that 855 people would be affected in Tooting alone.

Sadiq Khan MP said, “These shocking figures show that 95% of people hit by the Bedroom Tax in Wandsworth will have nowhere to move to. Instead people, many of whom are the most vulnerable in our community, will have to pay the unfair tax or be forced to move into the expensive private rented sector or in the worst cases, become homeless.

“It would be one thing if the Council or government provided enough properties for these families to consider moving into but they haven’t. 2005 does not go into 10! These families will have no choice to pay the penalty and have their Housing Benefit deducted by way of a Bedroom Tax.

“This is happening in the same week that the Government is choosing to give millionaires a huge tax cut. This is absolutely disgraceful.

“I will continue to support the people affected by this unfair tax and demand the Government drop it now.”

Tooting Works With Sadiq

Tooting Works is a jobs fair and advisory workshop offering practical help and advice to jobseekers in Tooting and the surrounding area. 

If you’re out of work, looking to start work soon, or want to move job, and want advice on improving your CVwriting a good applicationinterview technique, or maybe even starting up your own businessTooting Works is the place for you.

Organised by Sadiq Khan MP and two local recruitment experts (and generously supported by South Thames College), the day will bring together experts from a wide range of local and national organisations to help you reach your potential.

We’ve got advice sessions from recruitment experts, business start-up experts, The Prince’s Trust, Job Centre Plus, Wandsworth Business Launchpad and many more.

All of this is free – so sign up today.

If you have any questions please email or call Sadiq Khan MP’s office on 020 7219 6967. 

When:  Friday 31st August 2012, 10am-4pm
Where: South Thames College, Tooting Broadway