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Council promises better support to rough sleepers

James Giles

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Around 400 homeless people in South West London could be helped ‘off the streets’ thanks to a £400k grant.

Kingston, Richmond and Wandsworth councils have been awarded £400k from the Department of Communities and Local Government to fund innovative homelessness prevention schemes and help support rough sleepers.

The councils, together with homelessness charity SPEAR, applied for the funding to expand existing support programmes and introduce new services in each borough.

SPEAR is a charity working with homeless people in South West London. It offers services to street homeless and vulnerable people, to enable them to find secure accommodation.

This funding will enable the current service to be expanded in Richmond and will fund two new outreach model services plus enhanced accommodation in Kingston and Wandsworth.

Cllr Kevin Davis, Leader of Kingston Council, said:

“This funding from the Government will help us to meet the objectives set out in our housing strategy and contribute towards securing a brighter future for rough sleepers and vulnerable households in our borough”

Stuart Nevill from SPEAR Chief Executive, commented:

“Our work preventing homelessness and providing fast and effective solutions for people rough sleeping in South West London is a matter of the utmost urgency – peoples lives depend on it. Rough sleeping continues to grow and so must the services we provide. This grant will enable us to work with more rough sleepers, building on our strong partnership with Kingston, Richmond and Wandsworth councils.”

James Giles is the Editor of the Kingston Enquirer, covering local news and events in Kingston, New Malden, Surbiton, Tolworth and Chessington.

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Kingston Town

Lib Dems in CHAOS after 2000 sign petition on parking charges… but refuse to back down

James Giles

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Kingston Lib Dems are in chaos after refusing to back down on controversial changes to parking permits in the borough, instead announcing an amended scheme which has been blasted by residents as ‘hap-dash and ill-thought-out’.

The proposals would have resulted in a 350% hike in the cost of a parking permit for some residents in the borough, whilst newly purchased Teslas would get to park for free.

Instead, amended proposals announced today mean that cars will, this year, face a cost of up to £245, up from the current £90, but down from the proposed £465.

In a press release explaining the rationale for the latest amendment, Councillor Hilary Gander said: “I believe that differential parking is one measure that will go towards achieving [cleaner air in Kingston].

“It seems, however, we may have moved too fast and not fully explained our approach.”

The ruling Lib Dem administration has, refused to rule out increasing the charges again next year, and have not announced how they are plugging the £525,000 gap this will leave in their budget for this financial year.

New Malden resident Angie, who lives in Queens Road, said: “It’s clear to me from what the Lib Dems have written that they fully intend to increase permit costs again next year – it’s not a case of ‘moving too fast’, it’s a case of these charges being discriminatory and unfair.

“How on earth can the Council practically halve these figures on a whim. It just proves that this is not really about tackling the issue of air quality, it’s about making a quick buck.”

Campaigners who set up a group to attempt to halt these proposals say that this latest amendment will not reduce local opposition to the plans, and are urging residents affected to attend Full Council at the Guildhall next Wednesday, starting at 7:30pm, where they have forced the Council to debate the issue by raising a community motion.

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