Tag Archives: Christmas

Weekly wrap-up, 4 December

LFB Fire Safety Check

Re-using the LFB photo, if only because my wife likes it!

It isn’t unique to being a councillor (although it might be exacerbated by the lack of structure) but I struggle to think of the things I have been up to this week! So when I can look to my diary to remind me of what meetings and appointments I’ve had I find myself thinking “was that really this week?” So, in a slightly different format, this week’s wrap-up.

Stuff I’ve already blogged
A few of the things I have already blogged about, I attended a fund-raising dinner with Ken Clarke on Monday and spent time with the London Fire Brigade on their fire safety visits on Wednesday.

Stuff I missed
Annoyingly I missed two Christmas light switch-ons this week – Tooting last Tuesday and Northcote Road yesterday. I like to attend them where I can, partly to show support for our Town Centres, but also because it appeals to the child in me!

A prior commitment meant I also had to miss one of the regular meetings between the council and Chamber of Commerce. These are useful meetings, if only because it means we get to hear directly from local businesses. And I would have loved to hear how the season is going. We did, of course, get the good news that Wandsworth is going to benefit by £52,000 from the Department for Communities and Local Government. An early Christmas present (although probably too late to use before Christmas) that will help us with our plans, which are already fairly well advanced, to ensure Wandsworth’s high streets are blighted by the recession.

Stuff I did, but didn’t mention
I’ve had a few of the fairly ‘routine’ meetings this week. Next week sees a Full Council meeting, the last before Christmas and New Year, so we had our usual Conservative group meeting to discuss it. It has an element of smoky rooms to it, since while we’re sat talking in one room the Labour Party are having the same sort of discussions just down the corridor. And afterwards the two whips compare notes to agree the agenda of council meeting!

I also had one of my regular policy meetings with the officers in my portfolio area. Checking on how things are going (a much nicer task as the recession seems to be easing and the spate of gun crime has ended) and discussing how various projects and ideas can be taken forward. Or not, if you’re of the Yes, Minister school of government.

Finally, I was at the inaugural meeting of the national Advisory Panel on Tackling Worklessness. I was a little surprised, as a councillor from a borough with fairly low unemployment, to be asked onto a body like that. I often wonder if I’m wheeled out as a token cynic because I do like to focus and concentrate on the deliverables, if you will allow me a little jargon. But an interesting body and one I hope will be productive, not least because, as a national group made up of many fairly frontline people, so many different perspectives can be brought to bear on the problem.

Stuff I’m not going to mention
A fairly self-defeating headline. But I occasionally worry I give the impression that everything is blogged and, therefore, if it’s not on here I didn’t do it. As usual the week has been peppered with reading, emailing, casework and small meetings and discussions; none of which ever get close to a blog post. While I’d love to pretend it’s because they are important and super-secret, it’s mainly because they are quite dull!

Balham Christmas lights

Balham Community Space in a larger map Tomorrow (Thursday 26 November) is Balham’s turn for a festive light switch-on with the Christmas lights being turned on by the deputy Mayor of Wandsworth, Cllr Jane Cooper.

The even starts at 5.30pm with the switch-on taking place at 6.00pm.

More details, including the entertainment, are on the council’s website.

Weekly wrap-up, 20 November

Lonely: For the speakers at the Business Forum it was a big lonely stage in front of a big audience.

Lonely: For the speakers it was a big lonely stage in front of a big audience.

A few bits that I’ve not posted about separately during the week.

Clapham Junction
This week saw the (superficially) good news that Clapham Junction is to receive some funding for improvements, combined with the bad news – which we all sort of knew – that it’s the country’s second worst station. I’ve not written anything about this because I have been trying, and failing, to get some more information. It doesn’t seem like there’s much out there, just that the total pot is £50 million. Obviously any improvements to the station are good, but my fear is that the amounts suggested are nowhere near enough to make the difference needed. The major problem is congestion in the tunnel, and there’s no easy solution to that.

Wandsworth Business Forum
Thursday saw one of the regular, council organised, Business Forums. I don’t think there are many equivalents elsewhere in the country, but these serve two purposes. Part is information, they usually have a few interesting speakers and part is networking. Thursday’s event saw over 350 local businesses gather at the Wandsworth Palais for an evening largely focused on culture and the creative sector.

A great night, and I understand it continued long after I left at 9pm – and when people linger it’s usually a good sign.

If you are a business and aren’t already on the guest list and getting regular invites you can get more information from the council’s website.

Battersea Poems
Following on the culture theme; this morning I served as the token Philistine on the judging panel for Battersea Poems. There were some excellent poems submitted and going through and selecting the poems for the anthology was a lengthy process. The winners will be notified in coming days and the book should be published in time for Christmas.

Christmas is starting in Wandsworth

It is time for people like me to start getting grumpy as Christmas begins despite being over a month away.

Last night saw the first of our Town Centres turn on its lights with local author Isabel Losada hitting the button at the Slug and Lettuce in Clapham Junction (with some rather bemused passers-by in the background).

I think she did a much better job than I did last year!

There are a number of switch-ons, of various sizes over the coming days and weeks.  One of the key reasons for the lights is to help promote our town centres, so if you are starting to think of your Christmas shopping why not see how much you can do locally?

Waitrose comes to Clapham Junction

The new Waitrose store on St John's Road

The new Waitrose store on St John's Road

It was a good day for Clapham Junction with the opening of the new Waitrose store on St John’s Road.  It seemed to be doing a roaring trade from the outset, but most importantly it was a vote of confidence in Battersea and Wandsworth at a time when other high street names are closing.

It is very hard to be positive when the economic outlook is looking bleak, to say the least, but Waitrose will provide some stability (they replaced a Woolworth’s store) and will provide around 130 local jobs.  It would be irresponsible to suggest that Wandsworth won’t be hit by the recession – but there is some evidence, like Waitrose’s confidence, that the borough is well-placed to avoid the worst effects.

Deputy Mayor Peter Dawson switches on Northcote Road's Christmas lights

Deputy Mayor Peter Dawson switches on Northcote Road's Christmas lights

On a brighter note Northcote Road celebrated Christmas with the turning on of their Christmas lights tonight with a healthy crowd braving slightly damp weather to join the Deputy Mayor in the switch-on.  The whole of Northcote Road joined in with a late night shopping event with many stores offering one day sales.  If you went along I hope you managed to snap up a few bargains!

Clapham Junction Christmas lights and Lavender Hill skating rink

A late cancellation and the fact that all other celebrities are in an Australian jungle led to me officially turning on the Clapham Junction lights tonight – despite being on a list that exists well beyond any alphabet known to man.

Clapham Junction were the first town centre to officially turn on their Christmas lights (although Tooting have had their Diwali lights for nearly a month) and this marks an important season in the retail calendar, especially as the news on the economy gets bleaker by the day.

Also officially opened today was the Lavender Hill skating rink with a demonstration from the Streatham Redskins ice hockey team.  Although organised by the Lavender Hill Traders Association (through the commitment and support of Anthony Laban and Clapham Junction Asda) the rink is at the Albert Bridge car park in Battersea Park.  The rink is already proving popular, particularly with local schools and with all proceeds supporting the Devas Club, a local youth club, it’s well worth a visit.  Tickets can be bought from www.QuayTickets.com or 0870 0666 844