Council leader’s New Year message to Wandsworth
Published: Thursday 31st December 15
"2015 has been another busy and exciting year and I want to thank our staff and everyone involved in the local community for their tremendous efforts.
Our wonderful borough has continued to grow and improve, and now enjoys one of the highest employment rates in the capital. Fuelled by major new investment in areas like Nine Elms and Wandsworth Town, there is no doubt our local economy is performing well and creating many new jobs and apprenticeships. The council’s Work Match team and other employment programmes are making a big contribution to this process by linking the most disadvantaged Wandsworth residents to these valuable new opportunities.
Housing has been a top priority and I’m proud that since January we’ve approved over 900 new affordable homes, while more than 400 were built and handed over to local families. We are on track to see a further 450 low cost homes delivered by April 2016, with another 750 due over the next two years. And the council is building too, with 300 new council homes in the pipeline.
Most of all 2015 has been a year of major triumphs in our campaign to improve Wandsworth’s transport choices. In November work began on the Northern Line Extension, which will add Battersea to the Tube network by the end of 2020. The redesign of the Wandsworth one way system also moved a step closer with TfL publishing new proposals which will divert traffic away from the high street and make the town centre much safer and more pleasant for pedestrians and cyclists. The new Plantation Wharf river bus pier also opened in 2015 and we welcomed another car club operator to our streets which will help more local people give up cars they don’t often use and free up parking spaces for those who really need them.
Crossrail 2 also moved forward this year, but it has not all been good news on this front. While we were delighted Clapham Junction is part of this new underground route, we were deeply disappointed to learn that TfL wants to move a proposed station from Tooting Broadway to Balham. We are examining their case very carefully as we still believe Tooting is the best option.
I also know many of you will have been as disappointed as I was to learn in recent weeks that the Government has not ruled out the third runway at Heathrow, but we do welcome their recognition of the serious environmental impacts that a third runway would pose. This council will continue to work with our partner boroughs in the 2M Group to highlight the unacceptable burden of noise, congestion and pollution that an expanded Heathrow would bring.
Looking ahead to 2016 our job is to keep up the momentum, lobby for further investment in the borough’s transport network and create additional opportunities to help local people reach their full potential. We will also move forward with our plans to deliver two of the most ambitious estate regeneration schemes in Inner London at Winstanley and York Road and on the Alton.
I wish everyone a very healthy, prosperous and happy 2016."
Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council