Brexit is a mess. That much is true whether you were one of the 72% in Wimbledon who, like me, voted to remain in the European Union, or whether you voted to leave.
Following Theresa May’s crushing defeat in the vote on her Brexit deal any hope of an orderly Brexit is rapidly disappearing.
The UK has been negotiating for more than two years, and the best deal the government could come up with has been (rightly) thumped in Parliament.
Without this bad deal the only Brexit that remains is the worst case scenario: a chaotic No Deal Brexit. A No Deal Brexit that means food and medicine shortages, higher prices in shops and flights grounded.
A quick look at what's happening in and around the borough over the festive period
Recycling and rubbish collection dates:
Christmas events in Merton:
Festive Carriage rides at Morden Hall Park, 8-23rd December
Cards for Good causes, 12-15th December
Merton Chamber Christmas lunch, 13th December
Wimbledon Guild Carol service, 13th December
Christmas dinner and dance, 15th December
Christmas markets on the piazza, 15-16th December
Beer and Carols at St Andrews, 21st December
Christmas markets on the piazza, 21-23rd December
Tinsel 10k run, Morden Hall Park, 23rd December
Don't be alone on Christmas day, 25th December
Merton Heritage Service, festive events:
- 10-31st December,`Tis the Season to be Jolly, the story behind popular Christmas customs
- 10-31st December, Frosts & Festivities, an exhibition about Merton in winter
- 10-31st December, The Twelve Days of Christmas, a Merton heritage exhibition inspired by the popular festive rhyme
- 10-18th December, Local History Christmas Sale
All events held at Merton Heritage Centre, 2nd floor - Morden Library
Free Christmas parking
Parking will be free in Council-managed car parks in Mitcham, Morden and Wimbledon on a number of weekends. See here for full information.
Local shops and other information
As you know, next week you and your fellow MPs will be faced with a historic decision that will determine the future not only of the people you represent today, but also of their children and grandchildren.
When we debated during the election campaign last year you pledged to stand against a hard Brexit. The withdrawal agreement being presented to Parliament next week is a blueprint for a damaging hard Brexit. It will leave us with a worse deal than we currently have in the EU, severing trade links and stripping us of our ability to influence many of the rules that govern our trade. Rather than taking back control, this Brexit deal would see us lose control. It satisfies neither those who voted leave nor those who voted remain.
Now you may feel that because Labour has once again gone missing on the most important issue of the day you can afford to back this deal without opposition. I am writing to you to underline that I and your constituents will hold you to account for your vote next week.
Having knocked on thousands of doors and spoken to thousands of your constituents, I know the people of Wimbledon will not easily forgive a vote for this botched deal. If there is to be an early general election, rest assured people locally will know that when it came to the crunch you chose your party and your career ahead of the future of this country and honouring your election pledges.
It is clear that the only way out of this mess is through a People’s Vote with an option to remain in the EU. Polling shows the people of Wimbledon back one; thanks to the Lib Dems Merton Council now backs one; so join us and back one too – even if that means leaving behind your newly minted ministerial salary.
It’s time for you to do the right thing for your constituents: vote down this botched Brexit deal and back a People’s Vote.
Cllr Carl Quilliam
Lib Dem parliamentary spokesperson for Wimbledon
We are really pleased to hear that train company South Western Railway have applied to the Government's ‘Access for All’ fund for funding to put a lift or ramps into Raynes Park and Motspur Park stations.
Lib Dem councillors Eloise Bailey (West Barnes) and Anthony Fairclough (Dundonald) have been working since Summer to encourage the train company to apply, and to get Merton Council to agree to look at a financial contribution to help the application.
Following the councillors' work, Merton Council has confirmed they provided a letter of support for these improvement works, indicating that they would consider supporting the projects financially should the applications be successful. And in September, Council bosses accepted a Lib Dem proposal to work to support access improvements at stations across the borough.
Thank you for signing our petition on this, and please keep letting us know your problems with using the stations.
Tonight Merton Council approved building a new school in South Wimbledon, despite serious air quality concerns.
Cllr Simon McGrath - a member of the Planning Applications Committee - ultimately voted against granting planning permission. Reflecting on his decision, he said:
“Air pollution is a silent killer, and it really needs to be treated as the public health emergency it is.
"After looking at all the evidence, I felt that the proposal should only go forward with significant, measurable improvements in pollution levels near the school site.
“Labour Council bosses are putting our children’s health at risk by pushing through new Harris Academy without doing anything to improve the air quality. The Council's own research shows that air pollution levels are far above the acceptable level, and the argument that pollution will simply have reduced by the time the school opens is an unacceptable risk.
“It is extraordinary that the Council did not look into the need to reduce pollution levels before they spent millions of pounds buying the site. Local children deserve better from Merton.
“Local Lib Dems have long pushed for improvements to air quality across Merton - and specifically near to our schools. It's time the Labour Council faced up to their poor record on air quality.”
Merton Liberal Democrats have previously highlighted research showing that a number of Merton schools are located in areas with dangerously high pollution levels. They are calling for a radical and ambitious plan to improve air quality as an urgent priority.
Scores of Merton residents were among the nearly one million people who marched on Parliament on Saturday 20 October to demand a "People’s Vote".
The People’s Vote campaign is calling for a referendum on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, with the option to remain in the EU on the ballot paper. This would allow people to be given a final say on the negotiations.
Nearly two-thirds of Merton residents voted to remain in the EU at the 2016 referendum, and hundreds more since have signed a petition coordinated by Merton Liberal Democrats calling on the two local MPs to back the campaign for a People’s Vote. In September, Merton councillors supported a Liberal Democrat proposal in support of a People’s Vote
. Conservative and residents association councillors abstained.
Unlike his Mitcham & Morden counterpart - Wimbledon's current MP, Conservative Stephen Hammond has not yet committed to supporting a People's Vote.
Speaking after the march, Lib Dem parliamentary campaigner for Wimbledon, Cllr Carl Quilliam said:
“The Government has made a total mess of these Brexit negotiations. We are now facing the very real possibility that we will crash out of the EU in the most chaotic way possible, without a deal of any kind.
“Nobody voted to be poorer, yet that is exactly what will happen if we leave the EU with a bad deal or no deal.
“The overwhelming majority of Merton residents are deeply concerned with the direction the country is heading. Merton Liberal Democrats believe they, not politicians, should be given the final say on the Brexit deal.”
If you would like to join the Merton Liberal Democrat campaign for a People's Vote you can sign up here
Merton’s new rubbish collection scheme has been in place since 1st October, and we have been made aware of a number of issues. Recurring problems include wheelie bins not being returned to properties after rubbish collection, and collections being missed.
Cllr Paul Kohler has been in touch with council officers regarding bins being left in the pavements / roads after collection, and it has been confirmed that instructions given to Veolia staff are to replace bins on properties after collection. If your bins are not replaced on your property after collection please let your local ward councillors know so they can raise it with the relevant team at the council, who will handle the complaint.
If your rubbish isn’t collected you can report it on the Merton Council website, and a team will come out to collect it provided the rubbish was `presented'. Some residents are having issues with rubbish not being collected as it wasn’t presented properly - information on how rubbish should be presented can be found here. If moving the bins each week is difficult for you, you can apply for assisted collection.
The new scheme of wheelie bins and fortnightly collections begins on 1 October.
There is some flexibility in the system if wheelies don't work for you.
So: please call the Council on 020 8274 4902 if
- You will struggle to store the bins in your front garden (or if you don’t have one!) - the Council will reassess your property [although still trying to get them to confirm the size of garden they think is needed].
- Moving the bins each week would be difficult for you. You can apply for an assisted collection. You can also do this online here.
- You are in a household of five or more, or have a medical condition, to request a larger bin.
- You want to share some bins with a neighbour.
Lastly, it's really annoying/not possible for lots of people to wait in a phone queue - your councillors can contact the relevant Council department for you (without needing to call). Find your councillor here.
If you haven't any wheelie bins, but they've been delivered to your neighbours, you can report a missing, lost or stolen bin online. Please use your current method of collection until your new wheelie bins arrive.
AND - your old bins can be collected by the Council for recycling using the bulky waste collection service, *apparently*.
Find your NEW COLLECTION DAY here.
The leader of the Council said on 18 September, that they are considering a borough-wide collection of old bins for recycling, we should know in a few months.