The coalition government has agreed extra funding for new schools for local councils with a shortage of school places – including Kingston.
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Liberal Democrat Councillor for Surbiton Hill ward, Umesh Parekh (left in picture), has stepped down from Kingston Council to take up an exciting new job with the major environmental campaigning charity Friends of the Earth.
A requirement of Umesh’s new role is that he cannot stand for, or be elected to, a local Council.
Just as the largest ever investment programme into council housing in Kingston has been launched, the Liberal Democrat Administration has more good news for Council tenants with an announcement that over £500,000 New Homes Bonus Grant will be used this year to bring ten long-term empty three bedroom properties in the Norbiton/Mount Pleasant area back into family use.
As Kingston makes plans for the number of events happening in the borough for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the first real test for the Borough will be the Road Cycle Test Event (the London Surrey Classic Race) on Sunday 14 August.
At a time, when the depth and severity of the government cuts are biting hard into everyone’s budgets, residents will be pleased to know that the Liberal Democrat Administration delivered a final year-end budget with a £71k under spend.
Kingston council will be increasing their contribution to the Taxicard scheme from £41k to £391k over two years. This is to accommodate a reduction in Tfl funding of almost £300k at the same time as an expected increase in demand. The contribution changes are part of a package of reforms to the scheme agreed by the Council’s Executive on Tuesday 5 April, also including a commitment to maintain the ability for users to swipe the card twice for longer journeys.
Tuesday’s meeting of the Executive saw the Lib Dem members agree to give backbencher’s and opposition councillors decision-making powers through three new Strategic Committees.
The proposals will now go to Full Council on 27 April. If agreed, these committees will take over the legal powers of the Executive once parliamentary legislation allows.
Kingston Council has turned down the offer from the Olympic Committee to purchase up to 100 VIP tickets for the games in 2012. The Olympic Committee have offered VIP tickets to all London Boroughs.
The Lib Dem council administration did not think it right to shell out thousands of pounds on VIP tickets particularly after one of the toughest budgets for a generation.
On Wednesday 9 March, TfL representatives attended a meeting of the South of Borough Neighbourhood Committe to discuss plans for the Malden Rushett Junction.
This was in direct response to two objectives in the community plan. Through the plan, local residents had asked specifically for the junction be made safer and less congested and also for TfL engagement with residents to improve.
Kingston residents will see no increase in the level of Council Tax they pay from April as a result of the budget passed by Lib Dem councillors.
The latest Lib Dem budget focuses on making savings in back office functions and red tape, while minimising the effect on services local people receive.
London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson, has scrapped many of the one day travel cards previously available. Kingston’s residents can no longer buy travelcards for zones 2 to 6, and so are being forced to pay higher prices for an all-zone travel card.
Local Liberal Democrats are joining the campaign led by Leader of the Lib Dem Assembly Group, Caroline Pidgeon, to persuade the Mayor to think again.
Kingston Council has been granted £11.6 million by the coalition government to fund Decent Homes work in our housing stock. This is a four-year programme and there will be no money in the first year (2011/12), but then £2m, £4.4m and £5.2m in the following years.
Kingston residents have voiced opposition to the proposals to turn the old Gala Bingo Hall into a 24-hour drinking venue.
New owners of the venue have made public their plans to convert the old Bingo Hall into an arena with dance and pop acts.
However the recent submission of a 24 hour drinking license application has raised fears amongst residents that the venue will be turned into a large nightclub. On Saturday 22 January, residents gathered outside the venue to protest at these plans.
Cllr Tricia Bamford of Chessington South ward has met with Caroline Pidgeon, the Vice Chair of the London Assembly’s Transport Group to discuss problems affecting the A243 Hook Road - Leatherhead Road.
At the request of South of the Borough Liberal Democrat councillors, Cllr Bamford invited Caroline Pidgeon to look at issues on the A243. Tackling issues affecting this busy road are also a key component of the South of the Borough Neighbourhood Community Plan.
Kingston Lib Dems have condemned the Government’s decision to shut local Magistrates’ Court as part of a cost-cutting exercise by the Ministry of Justice.
The Government’s decision to close the Magistrates’ Court is frankly outrageous. Kingston has clearly demonstrated the cost effectiveness of our local court, with the building and repair work needed on other courts being substantially greater and more expensive.