After a fantastic election night (and years of tireless campaigning), local Lib Dems are celebrating the election of 6 incredible new councillors, representing West Barnes, Dundonald and Trinity Wards. The largest group of Liberal Democrats elected to Merton Council.
We want to thank everyone across Merton who gave their support to the Lib Dems on Thursday 3 May.
Your Lib Dem council team - consisting of Eloise Bailey, Hina Bokhari and Carl Quilliam in West Barnes; Anthony Fairclough and Simon McGrath in Dundonald; and Paul Kohler in Trinity - will be working hard to repay the support shown to us by being a strong voice for all Merton residents.
We will always seek to do our best for you and work hard with the rest of the local Liberal Democrat team to deliver on our pledges. Please do get in touch if you have questions, comments, thoughts or anything we can assist with. We'd love to hear from you.
The Council now comprises 34 Labour councillors, 17 Conservatives, 6 Liberal Democrats and 3 residents association councillors. The Labour Party will continue to run the Council.
Together, we can achieve a #FreshStart4Merton!
We want a Council that acts in the interests of all residents in the decisions it takes.
We want an honest and open conversation with people about what’s going on locally.
We're calling for a fresh start for Merton on health, housing, our environment - and more.
The Lib Dem team will stand up for you on the big issues - against cuts to local police and to save Wimbledon Police Station, for investment in our local NHS and care services, fairer funding for our schools and more affordable homes.
We are also working hard for our area on the specific things that make a real difference: making local stations "step-free", pushing the Council to keep on top of litter, flytipping and graffiti, and fighting to ensure that residents are listened to.
Read our 2018 local election manifesto
Merton Liberal Democrats have backed 60 candidates to bring a fresh start to our area. This is the most candidates the party has ever fielded.
You will get 3 votes on Thursday 3rd May and each ward elects 3 councillors. To find out which ward you live in, see here.
Liberal Democrat-backed candidates are as follows:
Government cuts have taken their toll on the money local schools have to repair and decorate their classrooms and buildings.
Local Lib Dems have proposed a new "schools bonus", requiring developers to pay an amount into a special fund when they get planning permission. This can then be used by schools to maintain and improve their infrastructure.
Merton Council is currently looking at putting in place new planning rules so it's a good time to suggest new ideas, but Labour and Conservative councillors don't seem to have any.
Local campaigner and parent Anthony Fairclough said:
"Our local area desperately needs some new ideas and a fresh start. I'm so pleased to back this schools bonus - a great idea to give back to the community. Everyone deserves the best start in life and a top quality education. Ideas like this would help teachers provide a great environment for learning".
Yesterday, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced dramatic and damaging changes to local policing for Merton and London.
The changes would replace the Met’s current 32 borough model, by merging local policing across boroughs.
As part of the changes, Merton police will come together with Wandsworth, Kingston and Richmond to form 1 of 12 Basic Command Units (BCU).
BCUs will be expected to deliver frontline police services including neighbourhood policing, emergency response, CID and safeguarding. Each will be led by a chief superintendent who will be the BCU Commander. This move comes as the Met is being forced by the Tory Government to make further savings of £325m by 2021/2022 in addition to the £700m in cuts they have already suffered under the Conservatives.
Lib Dem campaigner & Wimbledon resident Paul Kohler is already bringing a court case to stop the closure of Wimbledon police station and 36 others across London. Reacting to the news, he said:
''The Conservatives’ decision to cut the police budget means London has lost 2000 officers since 2016, with another 2,500 expected to be lost over the next few years. That means that across Merton we will have lost some 15% of police officers during Sadiq Khan's tenure as Mayor of London.
"Sadiq Khan cannot simply hide behind these foolish and dangerous Tory cuts. He needs to fight harder for the needs of Londoners and embrace a more imaginative approach that maintains police in the heart of our communities, rather than making them increasingly remote".
"Merton residents will be shocked by these proposals that will inevitably suck away key resources from Wimbledon, with its historic low levels of crime.
"Wimbledon is about to be hit by a triple whammy losing its police station, its borough commander and many of its officers. We currently live in one of the safest boroughs in London but crime is already beginning to rise and these dangerous cuts will simply exacerbate that problem."
1. Everyone knows that Merton Council is failing to keep the streets clean.
Since last April, a new company - Veolia - has been responsible for cleaning our streets and collecting our rubbish.
Recent figures obtained by the local Lib Dems have revealed a shocking complacency. 4,792 instances of flytipping were reported to Labour Council bosses between January and September 2017, and yet only 18 fines were issued. For full details of Merton's shock flytipping figures, click here.
2. Whilst Merton’s litter problem is getting worse, residents are concerned about plans to bring in fortnightly waste collection.
The local Lib Dem team have been calling for the Council to commit to maintaining a weekly collection for hygiene waste such as nappies. For full details of our call for action on weekly waste collections, click here.
The petition launched by the local Lib Dems to keep children's football league free, has had a massive response from parents and residents.
Voluntary organisation Raynes Park Little League has played on Sir Joseph Hood Memorial playing fields for more than fifty years, but now they could have to fork out in excess of £4,000 per year, owing to Merton Council's contract with private company Id Verde which is proposing the changes.
A quick look at what's happening around the borough over the Christmas and New Year period.
Recycling and rubbish collection dates
If, like many people, you generate more rubbish and recycling than usual over holiday periods, when there’s wrapping paper and boxes to dispose of, we have been told that the Council is operating their “collect all” policy this year. This means that as long as rubbish/recycling is gathered in suitable containers and does not create a nuisance to others, it will be collected.
Local shops and other information
Fight to save Ridgway Stables only just beginning, local community vows
As Ridgway Stables officially closes its doors today (28 September) local community campaigners have vowed that the fight to save the stables 'is only just beginning'.
Ridgway Stables is closing after almost a century, following a decision by the landlords to evict the tenants.
Ridgway Stables has long been a fixture of the Wimbledon Village community, offering affordable and accessible riding lessons for children across Wimbledon.
Stables manager Julia Hardy, who has run the business for 37 years, has devoted her career to making riding accessible to all, especially underprivileged young people in the local area. As well as offering lessons, the stables runs a number of programmes to widen participation in the sport, in partnership with Merton Council, Camp Beaumont and several local schools.
Rights of people living/working in the UK who happen to be EU nationals
The Government has recently announced that all 3 million EU citizens resident in Britain will have to apply for inclusion on a “settled status” register if they want to stay in the country after Brexit.
Those living in the UK for at least five years will have two years to apply for “settled status”. Any EU citizens who arrived before the cut-off point will be given “blanket permission” to stay for around 2 years, and then will be able to gain “settled status” when they’ve been here for 5 years in total. During that two year “blanket permission” period, they will need to apply for a temporary residence document from the Home Office, and then again for "settled status" when they've been here for 5 years.
We say: this offers little in the way of reassurance to EU citizens who have made Britain their home, and continues to use them as bargaining chips. It also risks the rights of Brits abroad.