|London Borough of Wandsworth|
|Friday, 30 June 2006 15:55|
On Monday, I had my usual drop in surgery at
Balham Community Centre on Bedford Hill. I then had to go to the headquarters of
Tubelines to be trained in advance of my vist to inspect the
maintenace work Tubelines are doing on London Underground (see later). Tubelines
is the company responsible for maintaining and upgrading the Jubilee, Northern
and Piccadilly Lines under a 30-year contract with London Underground. Before
anyone is allowed on the tubes after hours they must have been on a health and
training course and passed a test. I am pleased to announce that I am now the
proud owner of an Entry Permit that allows me to visit the Underground after
In the evening I attended a ceremony at Wandsworth Town Hall where I had the honour of being awarded the title Honorary Alderman of the London Borough of Wandsworth. The 12 years that I was a councillor for Tooting ward in Wandsworth seem to have flown by and I was particularly pleased that longstanding Council colleagues Del Hossain, Diane Whittingham and Gordon Passmore were amongst those who received the title as well.
On Tuesday I spent most of the day in Oxford visiting Harcourt and Elsevier offices as part of the IPT (Industry and Parliament Trust) project that I am on, with Ed Vaizey MP.
On Wednesday, I hosted the first ever attestation of Special Constables from Wandsworth to take place in the House of Commons. Special constables are unpaid, trained volunteers who devote their spare time to helping regular officers patrol the streets. They perform patrols in a variety of situations and have the same powers as regular officers but do not perform some of the essential support functions that some regular officers do, ensuring they will always be available for patrolling. The Wandsworth members of The Metropolitan Constabulary play an important role in providing additional officers at peak periods such as Friday and Saturday nights.
On Thursday, I attended a Parliamentary meeting with UNISON. After my parliamentary engagements I took 20 MPs and a MEP to Tooting for a cricket match at Spencer Cricket ground on Burntwood Lane. The game was between the Labour Party and the Opposition. Unfortunately, the bad guys won! You can click here to see a team picture.
In the evening and late into the night I was in the tunnels underneath Tooting Bec tube station inspecting the work that Tubelines do. A considerable section of the Tube is almost 100 years old now and has been neglected for decades. I witnessed some of the line being changed than had a journey down to Morden to see the major modernisation and step free access that is going on at the end of the Northern Line. Building works are hoped to be completed at Morden by August and the work looks pretty impressive which will improve the quality of journey of literally thousands of passengers. The replacement of sections of the lines should eventually lead to a better journey and less delays due to problems with the lines or signal failures. You can see a Press release by clicking here.
On Friday morning I met with senior officers from Wandsworth Town Hall to discuss the options available at the end of Thrale Road and Furzedown Road for some sort of crossing for pedestrians travelling to and from Tooting be common. Local Labour Furzedown Councillors John Farebrother and Judy Gasser were also present.
I also visited Balham Nursery School on Endlesham Road with Battersea MP, Martin Linton and Tooting Councillor Nick Bowes. The staff, parents and governors are extremely concerned that Wandsworth Council may have plans to relocate this excellent nursery from it's current location to a new site on Oldridge Road. The Labour government is investing millions of pounds in Children's Centres and there is a concern that this may be used as an excuse to move the only maintained nursery in Tooting to the site of the proposed new Childrens Centre on Oldridge for the primary purpose of sellling off the old site of the nursery to raise funds for the Council. I have written to the Director of Education in Wandsworth for his response to the genuine and serious concerns parents have raised.
On Saturday, I joined Graveney's Labour Councillors, Belinda Randall, Rex Osbourne and Andy Gibbons and Furzedown Councillor John Farebrother on Rame Close Estate in Tooting celebrating the acheivements of local young people and community consulation on development ideas for this estate. In conjunction with Groundwork, Wandsworth Council and YPAC (Young People Agents for Change) Board, local young people in Tooting made some terrific contributions to learn about gardening in order to make their local area a greener and nicer place to live. Young residents developed designs to turn an underused car park to a community garden which was being consulted on.
On Sunday, after a gruelling game of football at the Furzedown Recreation Centre, I took part in a sponsored walk in support of White Pigeon Charity at Tooting Bec Common. Councillors Rex Osborn and Belinda Randall from Graveney joined me and more than fifty others to talk part in various events organised to raise funds and awareness of the work this excellent charity does in the area of supporting those disabled by landmines and war in Sri Lanka.
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