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8 September 2012 16:19

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In this edition:
Greg Hands M.P.’s Diary Website of the Week: Save Charing Cross Hospital David Cameron repeats no Heathrow 3rd Runway pledge Reshuffle shows Cameron means business Photo news: London Guide Dogs Important progress made on Earl's Court development Public Meeting for Chelsea residents on hospital A&E threat Thames Water move to buy up land for their Super Sewer Man fined for assault on councillor Hands in the papers: Constituency Matters column   How to contact Greg Hands M.P.

Issue 343 – Saturday 8th September 2012

Since the last edition, Greg:
With fellow West London MPs, met with the Aviation Minister and industry groups to reiterate opposition to any third runway at Heathrow Airport, and to call for night flights to be minimised. Was reconfirmed by the Prime Minister in the Government reshuffle as the Government Treasury Whip. For more information, see below. Met representatives of London Guide Dogs to hear about issues facing blind and partially sighted people with guide dogs in the capital and elsewhere. Main concerns included dangerous dogs and “shared streets”. Met management representatives of the Royal Brompton Hospital to discuss the ongoing campaign to stop the closure of children’s cardiac services at the hospital. Attended the patrons dinner of the Kensington, Chelsea and Fulham Conservatives, with guest speaker Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith, MP. Attended the annual members reception of the Conservative Friends of Israel, held at the House of Commons. Had a full schedule of activity as a Government Whip in and around the chamber of the House of Commons, including ministerial meetings and organising votes and standing committees. Held a number of surgeries for Chelsea and Fulham residents at Fulham Town Hall, over the Summer recess. Greg’s surgeries are held generally every Monday at Fulham Town Hall, the Fulham Methodist Church, or at Peter Jones, Sloane Square. To make an appointment, email mail@greghands.com or call 020 7219 5448.

Website of the Week:

www.lbhf.gov.uk/savecharingcross
The website of the campaign to Save Charing Cross Hospital, which is under threat from a proposed reorganisation of A&E services in North West London, which also threatens Chelsea & Westminster Hospital.

David Cameron repeats no Heathrow 3rd Runway pledge
The Prime Minister has confirmed that there will be no plans for a third runway at Heathrow in this Parliament, honouring his pledge in the Conservative manifesto. Speaking in the House of Commons earlier this week, the Prime Minister said: “Let me say clearly that, while I believe that we need to establish a form of review that will bring parties together and make a decision about airport capacity, I will not break my manifesto pledge.” The new Transport Secretary set out the remit of the review, which will examine all available options, including the so-called “Boris Island” proposal for a new hub airport in the Thames estuary. In a written statement to Parliament, he said: “Today the UK is amongst the best connected countries in the world. Our airports, particularly those in the South East, deliver direct flights to over 360 destinations, including those of greatest economic importance. London has more flights to more destinations than any other city in Europe. More flights to the important trading centres like New York, Hong Kong, and Singapore. The Government is determined to deliver a solution which will continue to provide that connectivity in the short, medium and longer term. “Successive Governments have sought to develop a credible long term aviation policy to meet the international connectivity needs of the UK. In each case the policy has failed for want of trust in the process, consensus on the evidence upon which the policy was based and the difficulty of sustaining a challenging long term policy through a change of Government. The country cannot afford for this failure to continue. “The Government has asked Sir Howard Davies to chair an independent Commission tasked with identifying and recommending to Government options for maintaining this country’s status as an international hub for aviation.” The Commission will produce a final report in the summer of 2015 for consideration by whatever government is formed in the next Parliament. The full statement can be read here.

Reshuffle shows Cameron means business
The Prime Minister has appointed a new team of ministers to the government, in his first full-scale reshuffle. There are now new Secretaries of State at Health, Justice, Environment, Transport, Culture, Wales, Northern Ireland and International Development. Substantial changes occurred to the ranks of junior ministers and whips, as a host of new faces arrived at the Treasury, Business and other departments. Following the reshuffle, the Prime Minister said: “It demonstrates that the Government absolutely means business. I’ve told all of them the economy is the priority whatever your job, whether you’re in charge of education or the Foreign Office there’s something you can do to grow and boost our economy. “We’re all part of one vital mission which is to get the debt down and get the economy moving.” Commenting on his reappointment as a Government Whip, Greg Hands M.P. said: “It is an honour to serve in government and I am looking forward to working with those who have joined us in the Whips Office and elsewhere. “I am proud to be the first sitting M.P. for either Chelsea or Fulham who has been a serving Government Minister since the 1990s, making sure that local people have a voice at the heart of government. “This is a Government determined to get Labour’s deficit down and help businesses grow.”

Photo news:

London Guide Dogs

Greg Hands M.P. meeting Dave Kent, Community Engagement Officer from London Guide Dogs, with his guide dog, Quince, in the House of Commons this week.

Important progress made on Earl's Court development
A proposed agreement which paves the way for thousands of new homes and jobs in the North Fulham and Earls Court area has been approved. Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council’s Cabinet agreed on 3rd September 2012 to enter into a Conditional Land Sale Agreement (CLSA) with developer EC Properties to include the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates in the planned redevelopment of the wider area. If planning permission is granted, it would pave the way for more than £1billion worth of community benefits in the local area, creating 9,500 permanent new jobs and 8,000 new homes – including 760 new replacement council homes. Cllr Nicholas Botterill, Leader of H&F Council, said: “This major regeneration could lead the way in lifting the country out of recession – ploughing hundreds of millions of pounds worth of investment into London’s economy and bringing thousands of new homes and jobs. “We have said all along that the major beneficiaries of this investment have to be the residents living on West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates, followed by the wider area, the borough and London as a whole. “We have made this decision after weighing up all arguments, looking at the economic studies and the views of our residents. We know that many people living on the estates want new homes, while many other people have concerns. If the CLSA is signed we will continue to listen to people and do our very best to address those concerns.” Residents living on the estates have created their own steering group, chaired by Maureen Way, and have drawn up their own legally binding contracts with the council should the CLSA be signed and planning permission granted. These promise that council tenants and resident owners will be offered compensation and a brand new replacement home in the redevelopment. Residents would only have to move once – when their new home is ready, while neighbours would be moved with neighbours. The size of new homes would be comparable to existing properties on the estate, while the one in ten households who are currently overcrowded would have bigger homes. All council tenants who are looking to downsize would be given a property with one additional bedroom more than they needed. An outline planning application to redevelop the area, based on Sir Terry Farrell’s masterplan, is due to be considered by H&F Council’s planning committee on 12th September 2012. The recommendation to transfer the estates land follows an independent economic assessment which looked at how residents would benefit from £1billion worth of community benefits with new jobs, homes, local tube improvements, a new school, health hub, shops, leisure centre and park land. Residents living on the estates would be offered the chance to build new skills in preparation for the 9,500 permanent new jobs. The recommendation follows an extensive consultation on the estate and wider area which revealed that the majority of the people in the wider area are in favour, while a majority of people who took part in the consultation on the estates are opposed. In terms of the statutory consultation on the estates itself: 324 secure council tenants out of 584 eligible submitted responses (55%), of which: 213 objected - 66% who took part in the consultation or 36.5% of the total number of secure council tenants who could have participated. 103 supported - 32% who took part in the consultation or 17.6% of secure council tenants who could have participated. One person had a concern but did not indicate support or objection (less than 1% of people who took part in the consultation). 7 people were neutral or did not provide enough information (2% of people who took part in the consultation). The terms of the CLSA state: All homes on the estate would be replaced within the redevelopment area. People would only have to move when their new home is ready to be occupied. People who are currently overcrowded on the estate would be offered a home with more bedrooms. People who are underoccupying would be offered a new home with one additional bedroom above their need. Secure council tenants would remain secure tenants, with rents remaining in line with the rest of the council’s housing stock, and receive £4,700 compensation per household, plus new white goods, carpets and curtains. All reasonable fees will be paid and a dedicated re-housing officer will help every step of the way. Resident leaseholders and freeholders would receive the market value of their home, to be independently assessed, and an extra 10% of that amount in compensation up to a cap of £47,000. They would be offered a 10% early purchase discount on the value of a new home should they wish to buy-back into the redevelopment. They would not be expected to increase their mortgage costs to do this. Leaseholder service charges would be capped for five years and then controlled by the council after that point. Tenant service charges will remain in the control of the council and only cover the services actually received. Once the CLSA is signed the council would eventually receive approximately £105million, an estimated £54million of which, after compensation and costs, would be available to be reinvested back in the borough. The council would also receive 760 replacement homes for people currently living on the estates. Taken together independent financial advice received by the council says the CLSA would be worth £220million to £289million as a whole before costs. If planning permission is approved on September 12 it would be based around the vision of Sir Terry Farrell’s masterplan which would create 9,500 new permanent jobs and 1,500-2,000 jobs per year in construction. The masterplan is built on a vision of creating four separate ‘villages’ linked by a new High Street and park. Overall this would include 7,583 new homes, of which approximately 1,500 would be affordable. It would also include new shops, offices, leisure facilities, a new school, new transport links and healthcare centre. A detailed planning application to build 808 homes at Seagrave Road has been approved by H&F Council. If the CLSA is agreed approximately 200 of these homes would be used in a first phasing plan. People would be moved in defined blocks designed to minimise disruption, keep neighbours together and ensure that people only have to move once. What happens next? H&F Council will make an application to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to transfer estates land. This is likely to be considered next March. H&F’s planning committee is due to consider whether to grant outline planning consent for the redevelopment on September 12. If the planning application is granted, H&F will refer it to the Mayor of London, while the Secretary of State also has the discretion to call it in.

Public Meeting for Chelsea residents on hospital A&E threat
Kensington & Chelsea Council is holding a meeting to discuss proposed A&E closures in West London on Tuesday 11th September 2012 at 6.30pm in the Small Hall, Kensington Town Hall, Hornton Street. Major changes are being planned for hospital provision in West London. By concentrating some services onto fewer sites the NHS hopes to deliver better health care because specialists will be less thinly spread. One of the options under consideration is to reduce the number of accident and emergency units in the North West London region from nine to five. The NHS is consulting on its proposals and you can find out more at the Healthier North West London website. The Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee is holding a public meeting to discuss the options and give you an opportunity to question the NHS Team. Put the date in your diary now and join the debate.

Thames Water move to buy up land for their Super Sewer
Thames Water has made its initial move to snap up land near the River Thames as it paves the way to build its controversial Thames Tunnel ‘super sewer’. The water-utility giant wants to plough-ahead with its 20 mile long concrete mega pipe under the capital despite repeated warnings from industry experts that there are cheaper, greener and less disruptive ways to improve water quality in the river. Despite not yet having planning permission for the tunnel, a Thames Water official wrote to Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council with a series of maps highlighting vast tracts of land that the water company wants to snap up for their £4.1billion project. The Thames Water maps show council land on Carnwath Road in Fulham, around Frank Banfield Park in Hammersmith and around the Emlyn Gardens Estate near Wendell Park all highlighted as land that the company wants to buy. The maps show the precise route that the tunnel would take underneath residents’ homes and businesses. Bizarrely, Thames Water has also marked parts of major roads including Carnwath Road, Chancellors Road and Distillery Road. In an email entitled ‘Thames Water seek to acquire an interest in LBHF land’, Thames Water’s Planning Consents Manager, Chris Stratford, stated: “As you may be aware, we need to acquire some property interests from you. We are obliged to seek to do this by agreement before applying for compulsory purchase powers.” The council has been a fierce critic of the super sewer and has been highlighting the cheaper, greener and less disruptive alternatives to the massive pipe – which would be around the size of the Channel Tunnel, if it is built. But Thames Water stands to make around £162million a year in additional revenue from the super sewer due to a ‘perverse incentive’ in the way the water industry is financed, according to Professor Colin Green – who is a national expert on water economics. 14million Thames Water customers face paying an extra £100 per year for life on top of current bills to pay for the huge tunnel with an area the size of six football pitches on Carnwath Road earmarked for heavy digging work 24 hours a day, seven days a week for at least six years. Cllr Greg Smith, H&F Council Deputy Leader, says: “If threatening to blight our lives and our wallets wasn’t bad enough, Thames Water now appear intent on blighting our homes and property. The maps they have sent us - highlighting homes, offices, parks and roads – show the truly devastating impact the sewer could have if construction work is not prevented. We remain 100% opposed to the super sewer not only because it will turn residents’ lives upside down and bring massive disruption to communities across London but because we know there are cheaper, greener and less disruptive alternatives.” Alternatives to the sewer including sustainable urban drainage solutions, or SUDS, – e.g. water butts, green roofs and permeable pavements – which conserve and recycle rainwater instead of letting it flood into the sewers triggering pollution in the river. For more visit www.lbhf.gov.uk/supersewer.

Man fined for assault on councillor
A man was found guilty at Hammersmith Magistrates' Court of assaulting a public-spirited Councillor after being asked to pick up a bag of dog mess. Luigi Lauro, 53, of Slaidburn Street, SW10 was fined £200 for assaulting Paul Warrick on Monday 2 April this year after Mr Warrick, a Stanley ward Councillor, reproached him for throwing a bag of dog excrement over his shoulder. The court heard that words were exchanged before Lauro responded to the request to remove the dog mess by swinging the bag and striking Mr Warrick in the face and chest. Magistrate, Mrs Joy Hatfield, described Mr Warrick as a responsible member of the community and said she had no reason to doubt his account of events which were corroborated by a witness. The court heard that Lauro was in receipt of disability living allowance and suffered from mental and physical health problems. Councillor Sir Merrick Cockell, the Leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, said: "This was a nasty assault on a publicspirited man. Paul Warrick cares about his community and it is no surprise to me that he was not prepared to walk by when someone was acting in such an antisocial way."

Hands in the papers:

Constituency Matters column
Hammersmith & Fulham Chronicle The Olympics have been a huge success, but now the focus of the Government´s efforts are rightly turning back to the economy. Times have often been tough, as Britain has once again had to learn to live within its means. Public spending and borrowing has had to be controlled after years in which too much was spent, too carelessly. Yet there are signs that these new efforts are having their reward and not just from the international markets we rely on to service the UK’s debt. Unemployment has been falling, nationally and locally, and there are 283 fewer people on unemployment benefit in Chelsea & Fulham than a year ago. And although it’s still too high, having 1,661 claimants is a significant change from the 2,068 people who were unemployed back at the election in 2010. These are real improvements for local people and families. Nor is this merely a local phenomenon. Since May 2010, some 900,000 new jobs have been created in the private sector across the UK, more than cancelling out the 420,000 jobs shed by the state. Getting people into work is crucial to our recovery. As the Government continues to reform the welfare system to make work pay, there is a good reason to ditch the gloom. Britain is working again.

5 ways to contact Greg Hands M.P.:
By Phone: By email: By post: In person: 020 7219 5448 mail@greghands.com Greg Hands M.P. House of Commons London SW1A 0AA Click here for details of how to book an appointment at Greg Hands M.P.’s weekly surgery

www.greghands.com

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Greg Hands M.P. – a strong voice for Chelsea & Fulham
Published & Promoted by Jonathan Fraser-Howells on behalf of Greg Hands M.P., both of 1a Chelsea Manor Street, London SW3 5RP

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