Spelthorne Liberal Democrats has read with deep concern the hastily contrived cuts to train services on the main line through Staines and Ashford and the even more drastic reductions on the Shepperton branch, all taking effect from Monday 17 January 2022. This coincides with significant increases in train fares introduced earlier this month. Long suffering commuters and travellers are in effect suffering a double blow of yet again paying more for a worse service.
The main line from Reading has always been heavily used and rush hour trains are often crowded. However the even more drastic reduction on the Shepperton Branch is totally unacceptable. The halving of the service to one train an hour, apart from a condensed period in rush hour and withdrawal of all peak hour trains via Richmond, makes travelling on this line difficult and distinctly unattractive even more so than before.
As we come out of the Omicron peak with Plan B restrictions to be reviewed shortly, the timing of this rushed and unjustified decision needs an urgent rethink. We will be taking significant steps to return to a fair degree of normality very soon, with people steadily returning to the office and leisure travel also increasing. The expectation is that passenger numbers will steadily increase again.
We call upon SWR to look again at what they are doing, particularly on the Shepperton Branch to restore the justified half hourly service on this line at the earliest opportunity.
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VICTORY PLACE - The vacated land situated at the back of the Tesco site opposite Ashford Hospital. A revised Council Planning Application incorporating many of the Councillor-requested changes to improve the development proposal was submitted and passed by the Planning Committee in November. This will provide a total of 127 residential units specifically targeting provision for key workers.
CHURCH ROAD CAR PARK - After much discussion the Council are now firming up plans to be presented to the Planning Committee in Spring 2022. This will consist of some housing, a community facility and a small amount of retail outlets.
STANWELL ROAD - The Planning Committee recently approved plans for a change of commercial use at this location. Hitchcock and King the current occupants are to vacate the warehouse at the front of the development, moving to the rear. The front area will be taken over by Supermarket chain LIDL and another commercial outlet.
Cllr Tom Fidler has contacted the council to find out what is happening
The wall at Sunbury's Flowerpot Garden collapsed a few months ago. Lib Dem Councillor Tom Fidler has been in communication with the council about this and things are happening.
A full list of the work necessary was created and contractors invited to tender. the Council has acting quite fast on this matter and we can confirm that work has started. Subsequently, it was discovered that the tree growing through the wall had created more damage than originally thought but even with this extra work, completion should be by the end of November.
Cllr Sandra Dunn replies to residents' concerns about Fireworks
Thank you for raising your worries about the impact of fireworks in Spelthorne and I note it specially raises concerns about animals and their welfare during the firework season. I can advise you that as a Council we have been increasing publicity, of the organised events, via the Council's website and social media sites and it is hoped that by sharing information it gives advance notice of where these are taking place.
First ever non-Conservative LEADS Spelthorne Council
History was made at the end of May this year when Councillor Lawrence Nichols was elected Liberal Democrat Leader of the Council. He became the first non-Conservative to hold this position since the Authority was created in 1974.
Lawrence heads a multi-Party grouping formed to radically alter how Spelthorne is run. He is supported by Independent Councillor Jo Sexton as his Deputy. This change coincides with the introduction of a Committee based system which will bring greater accountability, participation and transparency to the Council's affairs after the previous Strong Leader model was discredited.
Young Zane, aged just 7 years old, lost his life as a result of inhaling toxic fumes at the family home during heavy flooding in 2014. A Coroner's verdict in 2016 ruled the boy had been poisoned by carbon monoxide poisoning caused through a petrol powered pump used at the time to clear floodwater from out of their home. This judgement however has been disputed by the family and its supporters who have consistently claimed that hydrogen cyanide gas was present. This they say was something that had seeped into their home during the flooding.
Until now repeated attempts to have the case revisited have failed, despite the case often making national news headlines. As recently as late last year Spelthorne Council passed a motion, seconded by Cllr Chris Bateson and passed unanimously, to write again to the Home Secretary demanding that the case be re opened. This request was declined so once again we had reached a position of stalemate.
However very recently the Mail on Sunday published an article claiming they had been supplied with new evidence that cast doubt over the Coroner's findings. The paper claimed that they were in receipt of more evidence that indeed hydrogen cyanide gas was present. The new administration running the Council have wasted no time in moving that tests be carried out on a former landfill site close to Zane's home in a concerted effort to get to the bottom of this long and protracted case.
Commenting Cllr Chris Bateson said "Issues surrounding this case and unanswered questions have gone on far too long without satisfactory answers. Zane's family have long felt they are victims of injustice and have had to fight a system they felt has not delivered them justice. They have suffered the pain and grief of losing a son and in the process have had to continue to fight to get to the truth regarding their son's unnecessary death. These latest developments I think mark a turning point in the application of yet further pressure in getting a full review of this whole case, something the Home Secretary has the power to grant. Only by granting this for the family can they feel that they can obtain the absolute truth about what happened and then and only then ultimate closure."
Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron has joined over 100 cross-party MPs in writing to the Environment Secretary George Eustice, urging the Government to introduce a ban on the sale and import of animal fur.
Despite banning fur farming in 2000, the UK currently allows imports of tens of millions of pounds of animal fur every year.
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