Tooting residents speak up at Let’s Talk

Published: Friday, March 13, 2020

Residents of Tooting ward were able to speak to councillors and senior council officers about their area at the latest Let’s Talk meeting last night.  

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The meeting at Smallwood School was chaired by the deputy leader of the council Cllr Jonathan Cook and attended by the leader of the opposition Cllr Simon Hogg and ward councillors Cllr Annamarie Critchard, Cllr James Daley and Cllr Paul White. 

The meeting started with an update on the Coronavirus from the council’s director of adult social services Liz Bruce who explained the latest advice from the government about self-isolation. She said the council has been planning for the impact of the virus, testing different scenarios and ensuring that vital services can continue to be delivered. It is also working with health service partners and contractors and linking with London-wide emergency planning. Elderly and other vulnerable people who are known to the council are being supported and she stressed the need for friends and neighbours to keep an eye on other vulnerable people. 

Denis Kirby, the communications director of gas company SGN, gave an update on the loss of gas supply in the area. He explained that a digger working at the Springfield Hospital site collapsed a gas main, which led to thousands of gallons of water from the field above pouring in and making its way through seven miles of pipes, stopping the supply to 1300 homes and businesses. Engineers have been pumping out water and for safety reasons had to turn off the gas supply in each home.  SGN has handed out 1700 free hotplates and heaters from its temporary customer service centre at Tooting Leisure Centre, has a team dedicated to visiting vulnerable people and hopes to reconnect most people by the weekend.  He said he had never experienced such a serious gas outage and apologised for the inconvenience. A full investigation into what happened will be held.  

Following this, residents asked about issues including litter, housing advice, the introduction of bike hangars, access to Fishponds Playing Fields and planned improvements to local roads and the town centre.  

Cllr Cook said: “It is clear the people of Tooting love their town and hate seeing litter. I’d like to reassure them that we sweep busy roads up to five times a day, but we will continue to work to stop people littering and flytipping, and hope our new campaign to publish videos of flytippers caught in the act will show people that we mean business. We would also ask people who have any information on who is doing this, including private landlords who encourage tenants to dump rubbish on the street, to get in touch. We would love not to have to spend £4m a year picking up things that people have dropped or dumped.  

“We understand that the better cared-for an area looks, the less likely people are to drop litter or fly tip. Over the coming months we have a programme of road improvements and a major upgrade of Garratt Lane on the cards, and early next year we hope to finally see work start on the long-delayed Transport for London improvements to Tooting Broadway.” 

*Let's Talk meetings are held in all 20 council wards. Find details on the council website.