Charlie Dewhirst, Lucy Ivimy and I are delighted to have been re-elected as the Conservative councillors for Ravenscourt Park Ward after a keenly fought contest. Thank you to those who voted for us and we will do our best to represent all residents for the next four years.
Some of our Conservative colleagues elsewhere in the borough were less fortunate and Labour gained control of the council. There are now 26 Labour councillors and 20 Conservatives.
At a Conservative Group meeting Cllr Greg Smith was elected Leader of the Opposition and Lucy the Deputy Leader. Charlie is the Conservative candidate for the Hammersmith constituency at the General Election next year. For years the Labour MP for Hammersmith, Andrew Slaughter, has blamed everything on the council. Now he will have to find something else to complain about.
I have written more about the election results here.
CHARING CROSS HOSPITAL
Labour’s campaign was dominated by two straight lies – firstly that the hospital will cease to exist, and secondly, that what happens to it is a decision for Hammersmith and Fulham Council. The constant repetition of those lies constituted Labour’s election campaign and was crucial to their victory.
In fact the NHS are responsible for Charing Cross Hospital. Their plans are for a phased £200 million rebuilding. A full Accident and Emergency service will be retained – with 24/7 emergency care and full range of diagnostics and recovery beds.
The hospital will also become a leading centre for elective surgery. 90% of patients will still use Charing Cross Hospital in the same way. Some will be taken elsewhere – in order to receive better specialist treatment. Charing Cross will be a smaller hospital with fewer beds – but it will be a better hospital.
The NHS point out that the mortality rate is much higher for patients admitted at weekends than week days – as they are more likely to see junior doctors rather than consultants. They estimate the reorganisation of stroke care in London is saving 500 lives a year.
The proposals apply the same logic – a shift away from general hospitals towards specialist hospitals. Given the Labour scaremongering I do feel the NHS need to do more to justify their changes. I support the changes as I believe they will save lives – even if they may have lost me some votes.
The Conservatives achieved a lot in our eight years in charge of Hammersmith Town Hall. Your Council Tax is lower. The streets are cleaner, the parks greener. We helped the police reduce crime. School standards have improved – and the Hammersmith Academy and West London Free School opened. There are fewer empty homes and more new homes. These include far more “affordable homes” than Labour managed – including those for “shared ownership” to help people get on the housing ladder.
I wrote more about this on City AM.
But we did not get everything right. Planning policy for example. There is no reason why new buildings should not be beautiful and traditional. Yet most planners, architects and developers have a presumption in favour of ugly, modernism – with a particular enthusiasm for brutalist tower blocks. They must be resisted. Parking is a complicated subject but again we could have done better in that area. Some feel that after eight years we become too close to the bureaucrats and didn’t listen to residents enough. Going forward we will be holding regular “Councillors Forums” – really old fashioned public meetings – across the Ward to hear your views.
- Ravenscourt Park Ward has more Neighbourhood Watch schemes than any other ward in the borough. They help reduce crime – especially burglary. If you would like to start one in your street please email our Safer Neighbourhood Team on RavenscourtPark.SNT@met.police.uk
- The Hammersmith Society is a non-party political group which works for a better urban environment. It’s AGM will be at 7.30pm on 19 June in the Small Hall of Holy Innocents church in Paddenswick Rd, W6 OUB with guest speaker William Burdett-Coutts, Artistic Director of Riverside Studios. Membership only costs £6!
- There is a proposal for Farmers Market in Ravenscourt Park on Saturday mornings. (In any event there will be a bit more room in the park as some of the arches are being cleared out.) Please let me know your views.
- If you would like the Conservatives to regain Hammersmith and Fulham Council please consider joining the Hammersmith Conservatives or making a donation. You can do so via our website or by sending a cheque to Hammersmith Conservatives, 4 Greyhound Road, London, W6 8NX. (firstname.lastname@example.org 020 7385 1002.) Or if you don’t want to join but are willing to campaign or come to our events let us know. The International Development Minister Alan Duncan is coming to a party in Hammersmith Grove on July 2nd. Details here.
Councillor for Ravenscourt Park Ward