Southeastern commuters have suffered for far too long

Matt Hartley and Chris Grayling at Eltham station

 

I invited Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, to Eltham yesterday to talk about the Department for Transport’s ongoing consultation on the future of the South Eastern rail franchise.  You can read the interview that Chris gave yesterday to the Greenwich Mercury online here.

As an Eltham councillor and Leader of the Conservatives at the Town Hall, I have strongly opposed any suggestion that Bexleyheath line trains should go to Cannon Street only.   The answer to South East London’s transport problems is more connectivity, not less – and I have been making the case to Ministers for Charing Cross and Victoria services to be maintained.

This week I submitted the Conservative Council Group’s formal response to the consultation, which has been extended until 30th June to give commuters more time to share their views.

In our meeting yesterday and in his interview with the Mercury, Chris Grayling was very clear – his priority as Transport Secretary is improving services and crucially, delivering longer trains – and when it comes to the issue of the terminals served from our local stations, he is not going to make any change that doesn’t have the support of commuters. Continue reading Southeastern commuters have suffered for far too long

Taking Southeastern to task at the Town Hall

Southeastern meetingPlease note this post is from my previous blog. To read my posts during the 2017 General Election campaign click here.

On Thursday I had the opportunity to ask some searching questions of Southeastern, as well as Network Rail and Transport for London, at a bumper councillors’ scrutiny meeting at Woolwich Town Hall.

Thanks in large part to lobbying from my colleague Cllr Matt Clare, the Conservative Transport Spokesperson in the Royal Borough, this meeting was arranged to enable councillors to hold Southeastern, in particular, to account over measures to improve the atrocious service local commuters receive. I’ve detailed the results of our questioning below. Continue reading Taking Southeastern to task at the Town Hall

New ‘Sort it, Southeastern’ campaign

Sort It SoutheasternPlease note this post is from my previous blog. To read my posts during the 2017 General Election campaign click here.

Today I am launching a new consumer campaign – Sort It, Southeastern – to secure much-needed change in the atrocious service that commuters across Greenwich receive.

When I was selected as Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Greenwich and Woolwich back in July, I made championing the interests of frustrated Southeastern commuters in the constituency one of my first pledges in this campaign. Continue reading New ‘Sort it, Southeastern’ campaign

The Ikea saga continues

Sainsburys bugsby wayPlease note this post is from my previous blog. To read my posts during the 2017 General Election campaign click here.

I’m on the front page of the Mercury this week giving my reaction to last week’s decision from English Heritage not to approve the Sainsbury’s eco-store on Bugsby Way as a listed building, despite a very strong campaign from residents and the Twentieth Century Society.  Outline planning permission was granted for the site to be demolished in favour of Ikea earlier this year, over the strong objections of Conservative councillors.

As I told the Mercury, I think it is extremely disappointing that English Heritage hasn’t recognised the unique qualities of the building and why it should be protected, and that this hope for a reprieve has not materialised.  The real blame here, however, lies with those Labour councillors who have forced Ikea’s big blue box on us in the first place – this is the wrong location, and as well as seeing Greenwich lose this iconic building the store will bring yet more congestion to roads that are already heavily congested.

I was speaking to residents in Westcombe Park about this issue just last week, and there is a real anger at how these plans have been rushed through.  With outline planning permission now in place, we are where we are – and we have to now ensure that Ikea is forced to stump up as much Section 106 funding for the community as possible, invested in ways that will minimise the damage the new store will bring.

You can read more about the decision at the website of the Twentieth Century Society here and read the Mercury’s front-page piece on the e-edition here.

It’s time for the devolution of commuter rail in South East London

SoutheasternPlease note this post is from my previous blog. To read my posts during the 2017 General Election campaign click here.

There are many wonderful things about living in South East London – to me it is the perfect compromise between the pace, excitement and opportunities of London and the many virtues of life in Kent. It does come, however, with a particular curse – a curse with a name: Southeastern.

I have been moved to write this blog now – after having been meaning to pen these words for months – by the latest in a long series of reminders of why Southeastern is a company wholly undeserving of its franchise. Continue reading It’s time for the devolution of commuter rail in South East London