Wimbledon Police Station chosen for combined emergency response unit

Two years ago, Cllr Paul Kohler won his court case to stop the Mayor of London closing Wimbledon Police Station.

Today he has some further good news. Paul said:

"I was contacted by the BCU commander Sally Benatar today and told that Wimbledon Police Station has been chosen as the site for a combined emergency response unit covering Merton & Wandsworth.

"This is brilliant news following the success of our legal action to prevent the station’s closure.

"And whilst it doesn’t guarantee the station’s long term future it is another positive sign that the operational arguments we have pursued for last 3 years are winning through. It also means Wimbledon’s 24 hour front desk, which was only saved because of our legal action, remains open."

 


Fears that vulnerable children are being left behind during lockdown

As new research reveals the impact of lockdown on childrens’ education we’re calling on the Council to lay out its plans to support
vulnerable children and help schools reopen safely.

Research out last week suggests that as many as 20% of pupils are doing less than an hour of school work a day during lockdown, with some children doing none at all. 

Here in Merton, Lib Dem councillors have discovered that in May the Council identified 666 children and young people as not having suitable computer equipment or internet access available to learn from home. On 22 June, 107 devices were distributed to children in year 10 but it is unclear when the rest of the needed equipment will arrive from the Government.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Hina Bokhari said:

“As a parent, school governor, and former teacher I am profoundly concerned by the deepening educational inequality that lockdown is causing.

“Local charities have been doing incredible work securing laptops and other equipment to allow children to access school work from home. And I know that schools and teachers are doing everything they can to support students.

“But the Government and local authorities need to sit down with teachers, and work out a strategy to enable children to catch up on the education they’ve missed. Otherwise we’re risking the educational development of a generation of children.

“As part of this we’re calling on Merton Council to consider using local public spaces to ease pressure on schools by allowing them to make more space for socially distanced learning.”




Restore free travel for under 18s

Restore Free Travel for Under 18s in London

Siobhan Benita, Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London, has called on the government to urgently reverse the temporary suspension of free travel for under 18s in London.

The condition was part of the recently announced support funding package for Transport for London.

Benita described the scrapping of the concession as “unjust” and said that it will be “a disaster for the capital’s poorest families”. 

Local authorities remain responsible for providing free travel between home and school for children eligible for free school meals, and who need to travel over 3 miles. Following questions from Liberal Democrat councillors, Merton Council estimated this would cost close to £100,000 per year.

Cllr Jenifer Gould added:

“Many young Londoners rely on free travel to get to school. Taking away this concession at a time when so many families are struggling financially is indefensible. And there doesn’t appear to be any plan in place for those in need. The most sensible thing to do at this stage is to urgently reverse the decision.”

You can sign the London-wide petition against this here.


More than ever, Merton needs a fresh start

As the Government begins to ease the current lockdown, Liberal Democrat councillors have written to the Chief Executive and Leader of the Council to thank council staff for all their hard work during this difficult time.

The Open Letter published by the group also outlines their views on the borough’s vision and approach, as the Council begins to examine what recovery looks like.

Lib Dem lead councillor Anthony Fairclough said: "We wanted to highlight some of the key questions and challenges we think the Council should reflect on as we move into the 'new normal'. We hope to start a discussion of the borough’s future.

"Merton needs to be bold, imaginative and not afraid to occasionally fall short of its ambitions – because to do so means to learn and then improve. We need to show courage and energy, and be willing to do things differently. Our local communities need to be able to trust us to work out what needs to be done, but to be open about why things don’t work sometimes".

"More than ever, our area needs a fresh start. That's about engaging with residents; strengthening local decision-making; building resilience in our communities; rebuilding the local economy; and maximising safety in public spaces".

For the letter in full, please click here.

 


Keeping children (and adults) entertained

We know what it is like trying to keep children entertained and engaged, whilst trying to also work from home.

So we thought we would share some resources we seen, below. Let us know if you've any other suggestions!

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Local businesses offering home delivery and collections in Merton

We want to support local businesses, and have listed some we have heard about here – but please note that we haven’t used all of the services below, so cannot endorse them! Let us know if you hear about any others.

**Love Wimbledon, the Wimbledon business improvement district, has information on those businesses that are open in Wimbledon, including pharmacies and post offices and those that do delivery**

Groceries

Clapham Fresh - fruit, veg, 'larder items', has also collected meat from local butchers and bits from Screw Fix. Delivery takes 1-2 working days. Free delivery to SW postcodes, min order £20. https://www.claphamfresh.co.uk/

First Choice Produce - veg boxes, dairy, bread, frozen food - 0207 498 0550, sales@firstchoiceproduce.com / https://www.firstchoiceproduce.com/ 24h phone line Mon-Sat, closed Sunday.

Fruit on Route - weekly fruit, veg and egg orders. Email by Tues midday, with delivery on Thurs, Fri or Sat - @Fruitonroute info@fruitonroute.co.uk 07867972718.

Gourmet Hog Roast - weekly meat and veg boxes (also milk and toilet rolls) - deliveries on Wed/Fri - @GourmetHog info@gourmet-hog-roast.co.uk.

IA Harris - fruit, veg, dairy, dried goods (rice/pasta), tins - min order £20, free delivery - 0207 622 7176 orders@iaharris.co.uk

Leon Wimbledon - now a mini-supermarket, stocking basic essentials such as freshly baked bread, rice, teabags and toilet paper - 02089473550.

Londis, 57 Church Road, Mitcham - offering local delivery for elderly / vulnerable - 02086484968.

Pale Green Dot - fruit, veg and ‘staples’ (bread/milk/eggs) boxes delivered, happy to take payment over the phone - https://www.palegreendot.co.uk/

Solstice - fruit, veg and 'staples' (milk, butter, bread, eggs) boxes - 020 7498 7700 homedelivery@solstice.co.uk - free next day delivery on orders placed by 8pm.

Smith and Brock - various fruit & veg and dairy/bread boxes. Delivery free with orders over £35 (£5 delivery charge otherwise). Delivery to SE, SW and W postcodes only - delivery takes 3 days. knockknock@smithandbrock.com / https://www.knock-knock-groceries.com/

Sushi Cupcake - fruit, veg, 'staples', and household items - delivery is free for elderly/vulnerable, £7.50 for others - £60 min order - grocery@sushicupcake.co.uk / https://sushicupcake.co.uk/grocery/

Time & Leisure Magazine's take on food delivery services - in south west London.

Meat and fish

Coppin Brothers - butcher, Mitcham Road, free delivery locally, min order £15 if further away - 07957666191 / www.coppins-butchers.com

Field and Flower - online butcher/fishmonger - delivery £2.95 Mon-Frid, and £3.95 at weekends - 02037358005 https://field-flower.mention-me.com/m/wa/ho5zy-antonia-nogales-pena

Heanens Wholesale Meats Ltd - free delivery, min order £25. http://heanens.com

Prepared meals

Earles & co - delivery of freshly prepared meals - https://www.weareearles.co.uk/eat/delivery

Mica Cafe - call 020-8542-6555 for takeaway.

Mustard Family Foods - delivery of frozen prepared meals, soups etc, meat and vegan options - 25% off with codes THANKS25OFF or NEW25OFF - 02038481303 info@mustardfoods.com

 


COVID-19: Coronavirus advice

As of 16 March 2020 the Government has announced a series of new measures to combat the spread of coronavirus. These include working from home as much as possible, avoiding unnecessary travel, reducing social contact and avoiding public spaces like bars, restaurants and theatres.

The Government's guidance on these measures can be read online here - please take a moment to read it carefully.

If you are aged 70 or over, you are pregnant, or you have a health condition which means you would normally be instructed to get the flu jab each year you are advised to take additional precautions - please read the guidance above and refer to the table below.

More general advice from the NHS on coronavirus, symptoms and how to avoid catching or spreading the virus can be found online here.

The table below provides a helpful summary of the Government's recommended measures:

Read more

The Lib Dem plan for a fresh start for Merton

What is Merton Council for? Neither the Labour administration nor the Conservative opposition seem to have an answer to this simple question. But we do: Lib Dems believe our Council exists to take those decisions - sometimes small, sometimes tough - that can make our daily lives better.

We want the Council to be the best it can be, so it can do the best it can do for local people. But up until now the Council, under the same Labour adminsitration and with the same timid Conservative opposition that it’s had for the past decade, has been unwilling to change or to try new ideas.

We think Merton Council, and local people, need a fresh start.

So today Lib Dem councillors will be putting forward amendments to the Council’s annual budget to change the way that the Council works for the better. Here’s our three point plan:

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Time to give Wimbledon “peace of mind” over police station

Time to give Wimbledon “peace of mind” over police station, Mayor told

Two years after it was saved from closure by a court case, local Liberal Democrat councillors are looking to force the Mayor of London to admit defeat and confirm that Wimbledon Police Station is safe.

The councillors – including Wimbledon Lib Dem Parliamentary spokesperson Paul Kohler, who led the successful court case blocking the Mayor’s plans to close Wimbledon Police Station back in 2018 – are presenting a motion at today’s (Wednesday 5 February) Merton Council meeting which, if voted through, would require the Council to write to the Mayor formally asking him to confirm that the police station will not be sold, and that its long term future is now secure.

 

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Is Wimbledon Police Station's long term future now secure?

Yesterday evening (Wednesday 29 January) Labour's Leonie Cooper, the London Assembly Member (LAM) for Merton & Wandsworth, stated "[t]here is no plan to close Wimbledon Police Station" and went on to suggest its long term future is now secure. 

She made the comments during her annual report to the Wimbledon Community Forum when she was discussing the Mayor of London's answers to questions submitted by members of the London Assembly.

Paul Kohler, the Lib Dem Parliamentary spokesperson for Wimbledon responded: 

"I was  delighted to hear Leonie suggest that Wimbledon Police Station is safe, following my successful legal action that kept the station open by reversing Sadiq Khan's decision to close it in 2018. Caroline Pidgeon, the Lib Dem member on the London Assembly, is now seeking formal confirmation that this is indeed the case. 

"Local Conservatives have repeatedly attempted to talk down the importance of the court case in saving our police station despite the reprieve we earned giving time for the incoming Borough Commander, Chief Superintendent Sally Benatar to recommend keeping the station. 

"By taking the Mayor of London to court we retained a fully functioning police station in the heart of Wimbledon. This is in contrast to 36 other stations across the capital that Sadiq Khan also decided to shut, that have now been sold, moth balled or otherwise had their front desks closed, so that members of the public can no longer use them to report crime."  


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