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23 November 2012 22:19

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In this edition:
Greg Hands M.P.’s Diary Website of the Week: Ray’s Playhouse Hands is top Tory for constituency work New sleep unit set to help 1,000 children each year Helping disabled people into work Photo news: District Line Control Centre Hands: PM has delivered on his promise to get people the lowest energy tariffs Aircraft noise getting worse, say H&F residents Chelsea resident celebrates 100 years Outline planning permission given to Earl's Court development New school proposed in Chelsea Hands in the papers: Constituency Matters column How to contact Greg Hands M.P.

Issue 352 - Friday 23rd November 2012

Since the last edition, Greg:
Was shown around the District Line control room (near Baker Street) by Transport for London, and a new “S Stock” train on the Hammersmith & City Line, which will next year be introduced on the District Line, which will increase capacity markedly on the line for local people. Opened the new paediatric sleep unit at the Royal Brompton Hospital, Chelsea. For more, including photos, see below. Held a round table with H&F Mencap and ParentsActive to discuss issues facing the mentally and physically disabled in Hammersmith & Fulham, and parents of children with Special Educational Needs. Greg will be taking up a number of issues for the local groups. Visited Ray’s Playhouse in Fulham to view their facilities and hear their appeals for more donors and volunteers. For more, see website of the week. Visited Kensington Prep School in Fulham, and was given an hour long Question & Answer session by Year 6 girls at the top-performing local prep school. Met Daniel Moylan, Mayor Boris Johnson’s aviation adviser, to discuss efforts to prevent Heathrow expansion and to build instead an estuary airport for London, and other possible schemes to increase London’s aviation capacity, without the need to fly over central London. Attended and addressed the Annual Dinner of the Hammersmith Conservative Association, held at Westfield, Shepherds Bush, with guest of honour, the Rt Hon Lord Strathclyde, Leader of the House of Lords. Attended the Annual General Meeting of the Fulham Society, held at Lady Margaret School, Parsons Green. Met representatives of “Teach First”, the highly successful scheme aimed at putting more top graduates into teaching. Attended the Spectator magazine’s awards for “Parliamentarian of the Year” and other categories. As the Government’s Treasury Whip, spent two days in a Commons Committee debating the Government’s Public Service Pensions Bill, which reforms public sector pensions and puts them onto a more sustainable footing. Held two surgeries for Chelsea and Fulham residents at Peter Jones, Chelsea. Greg’s surgeries are held generally every Monday at 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:

The website of Ray’s Playhouse in Sands End, Fulham, which provides play and drop-in facilities for young children. Greg visited the popular facility this week. Ray’s needs more donors, volunteers and maybe you could help?

Hands is top Tory for constituency work
Figures released this week by BBC London show that Greg Hands meets more constituents at his surgeries than any other Conservative M.P. Around 1,000 local people are seen each year at his weekly constituency surgeries. Although M.P.s with so-called “safe seats” are sometimes accused of doing less work in their constituencies, this clearly doesn’t apply to the Chelsea & Fulham M.P. He comes out on top for constituency work, despite having the largest percentage majority of any Conservative M.P. in London. Asked why, Mr Hands said: “I really value the weekly, face-to-face contact with local people. It’s all too easy for M.P.s to become trapped in the Westminster bubble. Surgeries are the best way to grasp the problems that exist and, often, to be able to help.” He has held surgeries at numerous venues since he was first elected in 2005. Some are even held in meeting rooms at Peter Jones, the famous department store in Sloane Square. Eager to maintain contact with his voters, he also sends out a weekly email bulletin, which has just had its 351st edition. And it seems there is no shortage of demand. As Mr Hands says: “Any constituent who is struggling with a particular problem to do with public services can make an appointment. I also take up casework in relation to private sector companies and operators. “Whatever the problem, my mission is to solve it, or, at the very least, to get my constituent an answer. I became a Government Minister last year, but I’ve continued to keep up my weekly surgeries. I look forward to holding many more.” More information on Greg Hands M.P.’s surgeries is available at www.greghands.com/content/surgeries-0 or by ringing 020 7219 5448.

New sleep unit set to help 1,000 children each year

Greg Hands being shown around the new children's sleep unit at the Royal Brompton Hospital this week. A new state-of-the-art children’s sleep and ventilation unit was opened last night at Royal Brompton Hospital by Greg Hands, M.P. Greg said: “This is my seventh visit here and I am delighted to be here again. I am very proud to open the sleep centre and congratulations to everyone involved in making this unit possible.” The unit, representing an investment of close to £1 million, will help around 1,000 children each year who experience difficulties breathing at night. Disorders affecting children’s sleep can have a negative effect on their brain development, heart and blood vessel metabolism and the immune system. The children’s sleep and ventilation unit is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment for sophisticated tests that can monitor oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the bloodstream, movement of the chest and abdomen, heart rate, airflow, and electrical activity in the brain. Data gathered during testing is used in diagnosis and treatment planning. Royal Brompton Hospital is a leading centre for research into and treatment of respiratory conditions in children. Experts at the hospital treat about 2400 children each year with conditions such as muscular dystrophy, severe asthma, cystic fibrosis and rare lung diseases. Many patients begin their treatment as small children and stay with the hospital throughout adulthood. Commenting on the new unit, Dr Duncan Macrae, director of children’s services at the hospital, said: “We are delighted to have these impressive new facilities, which allow us to do very sophisticated testing and treatment, in a dedicated environment designed to put our patients at ease. We are also very pleased that such sophisticated technology will allow us additional scope for our research into sleep disorders.” Dr Hui-leng Tan, consultant in paediatric respiratory and sleep medicine, is spearheading development of new research programmes into sleep-disordered breathing and paediatric sleep medicine, and fostering collaborations with sleep centres in other parts of the world. Children on long-term ventilation, meaning they rely on ventilators to help them breathe when they return home from hospital, will benefit from improved care during stays on the unit, and parents of young patients can stay overnight on the dedicated unit with their children, helping to put them at ease so they sleep well. Claire Goodbody, recently stayed with her seven-year-old daughter Gemma at the new unit, and said: “Gemma has congenital muscular dystrophy and has her sleep monitored at the Royal Brompton Hospital each year. We were so surprised and thrilled by the new unit. It has been very thoughtfully designed with privacy and everything we could need, so that we felt like we were in a home away from home. The whole environment is set up to make it as easy as possible for Gemma to get to sleep." The new unit also provides expanded and improved facilities for Royal Brompton’s outreach training programmes. Earlier this year, the Children’s Long Term Ventilation (LTV) service launched a specialist training programme involving hands-on training, along with an elearning package, for hospital and community staff across London and the South East, as well as parents of children who need to be ventilated. This means parents have access to practical support close to home and enables ventilated children to be safely cared for in their own homes. Previously such babies stayed in specialist intensive care units for many months, but it is now widely recognised that with the appropriate care at home, and in the community, they can thrive. The unit was funded by Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Charity and features original artworks commissioned by rb&hArts and made possible through donations from the Octavia Appeal, which works through the Friends of Royal Brompton. Greg Hands also took the opportunity to reiterate his support for Royal Brompton’s children’s cardiac surgery unit. He said: “I believe the decision that London should only have two centres is fundamentally wrong and I am delighted that Jeremy Hunt has decided to look at this again. I am hopeful that we will get a good result, not just for Royal Brompton, but for the future of children’s heart services in England.”

Helping disabled people into work
The Government has announced more support for small businesses to pay for specialised equipment and cover the other costs facing disabled people in the workplace. Businesses with less than 49 employees will no longer pay towards these costs, saving them up to £2,300 for every employee who uses the Access to Work fund. As part of the package of measures, disabled jobseekers who want to set up their own business using the New Enterprise Allowance will now be eligible for Access to Work funding from day one of claiming Jobseekers Allowance. Greg Hands M.P. commented: “Under this Government, the number of disabled people in work has steadily increased. There are now 123,000 more disabled people in work than before the election. “This is fantastic progress, but we need to do more. That’s why this announcement is so welcome. We are breaking down the barriers facing disabled people who want to work.”

Photo news:

District Line Control Centre

Greg Hands M.P. at the District Line Control Centre this week.

Hands: PM has delivered on his promise to get people the lowest energy tariffs
Greg Hands M.P. has welcomed Government plans to ensure that energy bills are set at the lowest possible price, ending the rip off of multiple tariffs. The plans announced this week will force energy suppliers to offer their customers the best deals, fulfilling the Prime Minister’s promise to take action to get people the lowest tariff possible. Under the proposals: Households will no longer face hundreds of tariffs, with energy companies limited to four tariffs per fuel. Energy companies will have to make bills simpler for customers to understand, and outline personalised information on the cheapest tariff that they can offer. Households will be moved onto the cheapest tariff under their supplier that suits them. With gap of more than £300 between the cheapest and the most expensive tariffs on the market, this is likely to make a significant difference to anyone worried about the cost of their energy use. Commenting, Greg Hands M.P. said: "The Prime Minister promised to take action to get people the lowest tariffs and he has delivered. "Households across Chelsea and Fulham will welcome this move to get their energy bills down. It shows that the Government is serious about helping people with the cost of living. Along with tax cuts, low council tax and low interest rates that are protecting mortgage payments, this action on energy prices will really help with family budgets."

Aircraft noise getting worse, say H&F residents
75 per cent of residents who responded to a poll about the relaxation of runway rules at Heathrow have noticed more aircraft noise as a result of the trial. The poll asks: ‘Has Heathrow Airport's trial of relaxed runway rules affected you? For example, have you noticed more aircraft noise?’ Of the 1,151 people who have responded so far, 867 (75%) voted yes and 284 (25%) voted no. If you haven’t voted yet, you can have your say now here. Concerns about BAA’s ‘Operational Freedoms’ trial, which allows the airport's operator to use runways simultaneously under certain circumstances, have spiralled rapidly. The number of complaints has rocketed by nearly 900% - from around 200 in May to a spike of around 1,800 in August, according to BAA statistics. Historically the airport has used a runway alternation system which means using one runway for arrivals and the other for departures. Traditionally their use is switched halfway through the day at 3pm to give residents a predictable period of relief from aircraft noise. However, under the current trials – which last until March 2013 – the threshold for triggering dual use of the runways has been significantly lowered. Both runways are now being used when planes face a 10-minute wait to land or take off or if there is more widespread disruption to the airport’s flight schedules, for example due to bad weather. On a typical day around 665 aircraft now fly over the borough with the earliest usually starting at 4:20am and flights continuing throughout the day, at intervals of about one every 90 seconds, until around midnight. Cllr Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler, H&F Council Cabinet Member for Transport and Technical Services, says: “A clear majority of people who responded to our poll have noticed more aircraft noise due to the relaxing of rules at Heathrow. If BAA thought this trial was a foot in the door to get more flights into the airport – and over our heads – they need to know that we will fight them all the way. I would encourage anyone who has been disturbed by these trials to make their views known.” H&F Council is part of the all-party 2M group – which represents more than five million people in boroughs close to Heathrow – and wants a guarantee that runway alternation and night flight restrictions will not be sacrificed so the airport can handle more planes. The campaign group says that allowing both runways to be used in tandem for arrivals and departures – a system called 'mixed mode' – would be just as damaging as creating a third and fourth landing strip. The councils are now preparing evidence for a new aviation commission, headed by Sir Howard Davies, which was launched by the Government to examine the case for airport development across the UK. 2M has successfully blocked previous attempts to introduce mixed mode and overturned the previous Government's plans for a third runway in the High Court. H&F Council has consistently argued that any form of expansion at Heathrow, including a third runway, would bring extra noise hell for residents, more air pollution put further pressure on overstretched roads and public transport in the area. In addition to voting on the council quick poll residents 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.

Chelsea resident celebrates 100 years
Chelsea resident Dorothy Patrick celebrated her 100th birthday in October with a weeklong flurry of activities with family and friends but she did not let the celebrations prevent her attending her weekly exercise class at the New Horizons Centre. Dorothy started attending the exercise class at 98 years young after being recommended to take it up by a hospital physiotherapist following a fall. "It is difficult to say how beneficial it all is but I would recommend the class to anyone. We've a really good teacher and spend 55 minutes exercising to music. She's very clever and gets us to exercise all our muscles," Dorothy explained. "When I was young I did a lot of walking and also played tennis but you did not consciously exercise in those days," she added. She attributes her longevity to enjoying life. "Apart from the tragedy of losing my husband I have had a very happy life. I gave up smoking with great difficulty at 73 because my second husband did not like it and asked me to stop." Dorothy's first husband John Symons died in the Second World War in 1944 just after her second daughter was born. After her husband's death Dorothy lived in Battersea for nine years with her two young daughters before moving to Chelsea in 1954 where she still lives. She has five grand children and eight great grand children. She remarried when she was 66 years old but after eight and half years her second husband Noel Patrick died. "I had an incredible birthday, the main celebration was a family event at the Cavalry and Guards Club. My actual birthday was on Sunday 28 October and I went to my church, St Mary in the Boltons, and unbeknown to me one of the great grandchildren tied a helium balloon to the back of my pew for everyone to see." In spite of turning 100, Dorothy continues to enjoy an active social life as well as going to her exercise classes at New Horizons. She enjoys attending the Christ Church Fellowship, listening to classical music, watching television and reading. Cllr Fiona Buxton, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: "I wish Dorothy hearty congratulations on her 100th birthday. I'm delighted that she is able to enjoy the activities offered by the New Horizons Centre. Dorothy's is an example to us all and proof that you are never old to take up exercise." New Horizons Centre Cadogon Street, SW3 is a multi activity centre offering varied weekly activities for those aged 50 and over. It is delivered by a consortium of three charities, Open Age (lead), Age UK Kensington and Chelsea and the Guinness Trust, in partnership with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the NHS Kensington and Chelsea.

Outline planning permission given to Earl's Court development
A planning application, which opens the way for the redevelopment of the Earl's Court site, was approved on Tuesday 20th November by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea's Major Planning Development Committee. The decision gives outline planning permission for the redevelopment of the part of the site within Kensington and Chelsea which includes the Earls Court 1 Exhibition Centre. The overall Earl's Court plans will see the creation of a new urban quarter spanning the two boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham, which will provide thousands of new homes, a minimum of 7,000 new jobs, new retail units, community facilities and new cultural facilities. Neighbouring Hammersmith & Fulham Council is seeking to regenerate the West Kensington and Gibbs Green Housing Estates and Transport for London is looking at options for its Lillie Bridge Rail Depot making the area a site of immense potential. Councillor Paul Warrick, who chaired the meeting said: "Redeveloping Earl's Court to provide much needed housing and other uses has been our policy for many years. "On both sides of the border we hope that the granting of this planning application will make Earl's Court a more desirable place to live with less congestion and more opportunity for work, commerce and leisure."

New school proposed in Chelsea
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and John Lewis announced proposals on Thursday 15th November 2012 to develop two closely related sites in the heart of Chelsea - Marlborough Primary School and the Clearings site on Draycott Avenue SW3. The proposals offer the chance to build an entirely new school to replace the current Victorian buildings. If planning permission is granted, the new Marlborough Primary would offer state-of-the-art facilities and more space to accommodate the growing demand for places. During construction, the nearby Clearings site would accommodate a high quality interim school. Once the new school is complete, the Clearings site would then be redeveloped for residential use. Councillor Elizabeth Campbell, Cabinet Member for Education, said: "This is a once in a generation chance to provide a fantastic new school, with more space and better facilities. If planning permission is given, I am sure the pupils, staff and indeed residents of the area will all benefit from the opportunities this presents." The Council and John Lewis will shortly be consulting with the local community on the proposed plans prior to submitting formal planning applications next year. At which point the local planning authority will carry out a formal statutory consultation to get residents views. Public exhibitions will be held at the Clearings site and Marlborough Primary School. The exhibition at the Clearings will take place on the following days: Thursday 6th December - 9am to 8pm Friday 7th December - 9am to 8pm Saturday 8th December - 10am to 6pm An exhibition at the school will take place on Friday 7th December between 4pm and 7.30pm. For further information contact the Clearings community line on 020 7618 9195 or email Marlborough@rbkc.gov.uk. To keep up-to-date with www.clearingsdevelopment.co.uk. developments go to

Hands in the papers:

Constituency Matters column
Greg Hands M.P., Hammersmith & Fulham Chronicle Friday 23rd November 2012 One of the great, transformative policies of the last 30 years is the “Right to Buy” your council home. It has helped thousands of people locally since it was introduced by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. Home ownership is a good thing, it encourages people to take responsibility, and it has brought real benefits to our housing estates. Despite this, Labour deliberately sabotaged the Right to Buy, slashing the discount and making it unaffordable for all but a handful of tenants. Thankfully, the Government has changed all that by increasing the discount from £16,000 to £75,000. Our local councils have been inundated with new enquiries from hard-working tenants who are finally able to get the chance to own their own home. Last week, Hammersmith & Fulham completed its first Right to Buy sale under the new scheme to a couple with a young daughter, who described it as a “no-brainer” and spoke of their relief at owning their own home at last. They are now set to be joined by many more. London is an expensive place to live, but I’m delighted that the Government is doing all it can to help people who want to get on.

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


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Greg Hands M.P. – a strong voice for Chelsea & Fulham
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