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21 September 2012 15:16

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In this edition:
Greg Hands M.P.’s Diary Website of the Week: NHS North West London’s A&E services consultation Photo news: 30th Anniversary of Maison Blanc Exam reforms will help young people and businesses in Chelsea and Fulham Greg Hands M.P. pledges support for Guide Dogs in London Heathrow should not grow says H&F Council Residents source drinking fountain Annual report to Council Tax payers in Kensington & Chelsea Neighbourhood Watch awards in Hammersmith & Fulham How to contact Greg Hands M.P.

Issue 345 Friday 21st September 2012

Since the last edition, Greg:
Urged all Chelsea and Fulham residents to oppose NHS North West London’s plans to close A&E services in the local area. Residents must respond to the consultation by 8th October. For more, see “website of the week” below. Was guest speaker at the Reading Conservatives, kindly hosted by Rob Wilson MP. Attended the 30th anniversary celebrations of Maison Blanc, the award-winning Chelsea patisserie on Fulham Road. Attended the Palace Riverside Ward Conservatives event, kindly hosted by HRW Antiques, in Fulham. Met the Colombian Ambassador in the House of Commons, to discuss UK trade opportunities and other issues in the country. 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. Conducted a surgery for local Chelsea and Fulham residents at Fulham Methodist Church. Greg’s surgeries are generally weekly, and held weekly, at either Fulham Methodist Church, Fulham Broadway, or Peter Jones, Sloane Square. To make an appointment, email mail@greghands.com or telephone 020 7219 5448.

Website of the Week:

NHS North West London’s A&E services consultation
Residents in both Chelsea and Fulham must respond to NHS North West London’s consultation on the future of A&E services at Charing Cross and Chelsea & Westminster Hospitals. Greg strongly believes that the premise of the consultation is fundamentally flawed, and that neither hospital’s A&E needs to close. The consultation closes on 8th October, and residents need to respond to the form here.

Photo news: 30th Anniversary

of Maison Blanc

Greg Hands M.P. at the 30th anniversary celebrations of local Chelsea patisserie ‘Maison Blanc’ this week.

Exam reforms will help young people and businesses in Chelsea and Fulham
Greg Hands M.P. has backed bold reforms to the exams that young people take at 16. Under plans revealed this week, English Baccalaureate Certificates (EBCs) will replace GCSEs in the core subjects of English, maths, sciences, languages, history and geography. Pupils will be assessed on the basis of a three-hour examination at the end of the two-year course, rather than the current system of modules, coursework and controlled assessment. The changes announced by the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, will mean an end to falling standards and a focus on the subjects that employers value most. They have been already been endorsed by the Institute of Directors and the Confederation of British Industry. The number of pupils with a core of academic subjects among their GCSEs halved under Labour. The last government also removed marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar, which will now return. Likewise, a single exam board for each English Baccalaureate Certificate will end the ‘race to the bottom’ in which competing exam boards had an incentive to make their own courses easier. Many independent schools and, increasingly, top state schools had stopped entering their pupils for GCSEs altogether, because of their concerns about the quality of the current exams. Welcoming the reforms, Greg Hands M.P. said: "These changes will ensure that all young people in Chelsea and Fulham have an exam system that matches the world’s best and prepares them for success in the workplace. "For too long under Labour, politicians took parents for fools with tales of ever-improving results. In future, the system will no longer be about making our politicians feel good, but making sure our children sit proper, rigorous exams."

Greg Hands M.P. pledges support for Guide Dogs in London
Team members from Guide Dogs for the Blind in London have met with the M.P. for Chelsea and Fulham, Greg Hands to seek his support for current Guide Dogs campaigns. Greg Hands is fully supportive of the work Guide Dogs for the Blind is doing in London, and has agreed to raise several issues with colleagues to ensure the organisation gets its voice heard. Dave Kent from Guide Dogs for the Blind in London said: “We have a number of campaigns that we’re highlighting with all London M.P.’s over the next few months, mainly dog attacks on guide dogs and street planning. “Mr Hands was supportive of our calls to be involved in any street planning schemes in his constituency that involve any significant changes to the street layout. Our concern is that so called ‘shared spaces’ schemes that appear to be proving popular across the city and do not always take into account the issues faced by blind and partially sighted people.” Greg added: “It was great to meet the London Guide Dog Team, and with my constituency having London’s highest proportion of blind and partially sighted people, it’s vital I hear their concerns. Like them, I’m keen to crackdown on dangerous dogs and we had a constructive discussion about how that debate can best be had. “Local Authorities should also ensure that Guide Dogs for the Blind is made aware of, and involved in, any ‘shared spaces’ schemes. These schemes need to make clear to guide dog owners where the road begins and ends.” More information about campaigns that Guide Dogs for the Blind are currently running can be found online at www.guidedogs.org.uk/campaigns.

Heathrow should not grow says H&F Council
>> Take H&F Council’s Heathrow expansion poll A third runway at Heathrow Airport is the wrong answer to the right question, according to a prominent west London council. It is right that the issue of extra air capacity for the south east of England is looked at, according to Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council’s Leader – Cllr Nicholas Botterill, but a third runway is not the answer. Cllr Botterill says a ‘pint sized’ third runway, that could not take fully laden 747s or the big A380 Airbuses, is not the answer to trigger economic growth or increase the capital’s air capacity. Cllr Botterill says an entirely new airport with four runways east of London is likely to be the long term solution to Britain’s hub airport problem. H&F Council has consistently argued that a third runway, or any other form of expansion, at Heathrow would bring extra noise hell for residents, more air pollution put further pressure on overstretched roads and public transport in the area and yet it would still not create a ‘fit for purpose’ hub airport. Cllr Botterill says: “The decision to locate the UK’s main airport at Heathrow was taken over 65 years ago at the end of the Second World War and it is simply now in the wrong place. Britain is an island and it makes no sense for thousands of planes to roar over densely populated areas where millions of people live when they could be making their final approach over water if the airport was closer to the coast. “A pint sized extra runway at Heathrow would do little to improve Britain’s economic prospects but would allow a big increase in aircraft noise by introducing yet another flight-path over our heads.” If a third runway is built, the number of flights is likely to rocket from the current limit of 480,000 to 702,000 by 2030 – equivalent to building a new airport the size of Gatwick in the most densely populated part of the country. Plans for the expansion of Heathrow were thrown out by a High Court judge in March 2010 after H&F Council and a coalition of other concerned local authorities challenged the plans. 93 per cent of H&F residents said they were against Heathrow expansion in a council poll of more than 4,000 people in 2008. Meanwhile, complaints over increased aircraft noise – due to a trial of new runway rules at Heathrow are also starting to soar, according to the council. Residents are voicing more and more serious concerns over BAA’s ‘Operational Freedoms’ trial which allows the airport operator to use runways simultaneously under certain circumstances. Residents who are disturbed by aircraft noise should respond directly to BAA so that concerns are formally logged in their consultation. Visit www.heathrowairport.com/noise or call 0800 344 844 or email noise_complaints@baa.com. The Department for Transport (DfT) is also currently consulting on its national aviation framework. The framework spells out the Government’s objective to limit and, where possible, reduce the number of people affected by aircraft noise. The framework states: ‘For those who are already affected by noise, and especially where frequency of movements has increased over time, the Government believes that it is important to give respite wherever feasible.’ The council will submitting a response to the consultation, but is also encouraging residents, affected by aircraft noise, to e-mail aviation.policyframework@dft.gov.uk by 31st October, 2012.

Residents source drinking fountain
Visitors to St Luke’s Gardens in Chelsea can now quench their thirst with fresh water from a smart Italian water fountain courtesy of the Sydney Street and District Residents’ Association. The Residents’ Association was given a grant of £500 from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea when it achieved a Gold Standard status and decided to use the grant to buy a water fountain for the benefit of park users and promote the use of tap water rather than bottled water. The cast iron fountain, with a brass tap, was formally unveiled by Council Leader Cllr Sir Merrick Cockell to the delight of some thirsty school children on Friday 7th September. Finding a suitable fountain to complement the 125-year-old Grade II listed park had proved quite a challenge as most modern designs are very utilitarian and not in keeping with the area. Fortuitously association member, Kim Taylor Smith, spotted just the right design during a trip to Pisa, Italy and tracked down the manufacturer. Mr Taylor Smith explained: “The fountain was shipped to the UK and installed by the Royal Borough. It was originally painted a bright green but we gave it a coat of dark green paint in keeping with the park.” Speaking at the unveiling of the fountain Cllr Sir Merrick Cockell said: “St Luke’s Gardens is a very popular park and I’m sure its visitors, especially youngsters, will be grateful that there is fresh water on tap thanks to the thoughtfulness and generosity of the Sydney Street and District Residents’ Association. Using the grant in this way reflects the spirit of the Gold Standard Award which is about building community spirit through doing things that matter to people such as installing this splendid drinking fountain.”

Annual report to Council Tax payers in Kensington & Chelsea
The annual `Report to Taxpayers' has been published and provides an overview of what the Council has been doing over the past year and how it has spent residents' money. Against a background of a sustained freeze in public spending the Council has pressed on with work to protect front line services and, where possible, to improve them. It has made substantial savings by combining some services with neighbouring Hammersmith & Fulham and Westminster councils. Over £33 million will be saved by 2014-15. The report highlights some of achievements of the last year including keeping all libraries and leisure centres open with plans well underway to transform the North Kensington Leisure Centre into one of the best in London. Despite the tough economic circumstances 84 per cent of residents agree that the Council is doing a good job compared with a London average of 72 per cent. Cllr Rock Feilding-Mellen, Cabinet Member for Civil Society, said: "This report shows residents just how their money is being spent and how the Council is dealing with the challenge of providing high quality services at a time when the amount of money in the public purse is much reduced. "It also clearly shows that despite the economic constraints we remain an ambitious borough with exciting plans for news schools, housing and leisure facilities." Greg Hands M.P. added: “The two local councils in my constituency do a great job at delivering value for money Council services. Hammersmith & Fulham has the third-lowest Council Tax in the whole of Britain, and K&C the 4th lowest, saving my constituents hundreds of pounds a year compared to extravagant Labour Councils nearby.” The report is available on the Council's website here.

Neighbourhood Watch awards in Hammersmith & Fulham
Members of more than 70 Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) schemes from across the borough attended a ceremony at Hammersmith Town Hall on Tuesday 18th September. And a woman who twice helped the police to apprehend shoplifters from the Westfield Shopping Centre picked up an award as this year’s outstanding NHW volunteer. The NHW Annual General Meeting celebrates the achievements of the 196 ‘Watch’ organisations in Hammersmith & Fulham, which cover an incredible 266 streets. Viv James, an NHW member and key member of the Shepherds Bush ward panel walked off with the coveted Douglas Hurd Cup, which is awarded annually every year to an outstanding NHW volunteer. The annual award was named after borough Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary Lord Neighbourhood Watch in 1983. The peer is Hammersmith & Fulham Neighbourhood Watch chaired by local resident David Millar. resident and former Hurd, who founded also patron of the Association which is

Earlier this year, Viv noticed two women travelling to and from Westfield to a car that was parked close to her home. She rang the police with descriptions of the individuals and their vehicles. Officers attended the scene as one of the suspects returned to the vehicle. An arrest was made, during which the suspect assaulted one of the police officers. The suspect had stolen goods to the value of £172 on her person, with a further £6,000 worth of goods in the vehicle. After enquiries carried out with retailers in Westfield the suspect was convicted of three counts of theft, four of handling stolen goods and one offence of assault. They were both given a 28 days suspended prison sentence. In May 2012 Viv spotted further similar suspicious activity which she reported to the police. The suspect was apprehended and was found to be in possession of £3,500 worth of stolen goods. She was given a one year suspended sentence of 20 weeks imprisonment and told to do 100 hours unpaid work. The Douglas Hurd Cup was presented to Viv by the Mayor of the borough, Cllr Belinda Donovan. Borough Commander, Chief Superintendant Lucy D’Orsi attended the event and gave a overview of crime in the borough and steps being taken by the police to combat it. She said: “Viv exemplifies the ethos that Neighbourhood Watch Members are the ‘eyes and ears’ of the community and she is truly deserving of this award. There has been an overall reduction in crime this year and it is wonderful to see Viv and so many other residents devoting their time to work with us to reduce crime.” Cllr Greg Smith, Deputy Leader of H&F Council, said: “Analysis proves that areas with high concentrations of Neighbourhood Watch groups have less crime and fewer burglaries than areas without. I would like to congratulate Viv and all our Neighbourhood Watch volunteers for their sterling work.” For more information about Neighbourhood Watch in the borough visit www.hfnhw.org.uk.

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
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