Where You Live: Merton

Where you live >> Merton

London is more than just the City and its famous landmarks. More than its museums, theatres, palaces, taxis and red buses. It is home to some 8 million people. You live, work and socialise across London’s 32 boroughs – you make them tick. You give Merton’s neighbourhoods, Raynes Park to Colliers Wood, their unique identity. It is these distinct areas that make our great capital such a rich and diverse city. Unlike the previous Mayor, Boris is working to give all your boroughs - not just Zones 1-3 - his attention.

Boris Johnson has a nine point plan to secure Greater London’s future. He is paying for this plan by cutting waste at City Hall to free up £3.5 billion for services.

In Merton the plan means:

  • Cutting City Hall’s share of council tax this year after freezing it for three successive years, benefitting 81,070 Merton households and putting an average £445 back into pockets. (Point 2) (GLA, Press Release, 1 February 2012, link: GLA Website, ‘Budget archive’, link.)
  • Investing in local high streets and supporting small businesses with £3 million of funding for Merton from the Mayor’s Regeneration Fund to help repair damage caused to high streets and town centres during last summer’s riots. (Point 6)  (Mayor Investing £177 million to Regenerate Capital, 17 January 2012, link)

  • Investing in transport by upgrading Tube lines running through Merton with £11.7 million to boost local transport and constructing a Cycle Superhighway from Merton to the City. (Point 8) (TfL, Borough LIP Funding, link; TfL, Press Release, 20 November 2008, link; TfL, Press Release, 11 December 2009, link; TfL, Press Release, 16 December 2010, link; TfL, Press Release, 15 December 2011, link).
  • Boris is benefitting local pensioners by reversing the previous Labour government’s decision to stop those at 60 getting the Freedom Pass until 65.
  • He is also the only candidate in this election who can secure a better deal for London from No 10.

Freezing council tax

  • Boris Johnson has frozen council tax for three years and is cutting it this year. Boris Johnson has frozen his share council tax for three years and is cutting it this year (GLA, Mayor’s Final Draft Consolidated Budget 2012-13, link).
    • This has helped keep cost of living low for 81,070 households in Merton (DCLG, Council Tax Base, October 2011), putting an extra £445 back in the pocket of the average household.

Restoring green space

  • 394 street trees. 394 street trees have been planted in Merton under Boris Johnson (London Assembly, Written answers to Mayoral questions, 25 January 2012, link).
  • 29 green spaces. 29 green spaces, which allow local residents the opportunity to grow their own food, have also been created (Capital Growth Website, link).
  • Ending garden grabbing. Boris Johnson has introduced new protections for gardens from development. His revised London Plan enables boroughs to: ‘introduce a presumption against development on back gardens or other private residential gardens where this can be locally justified’ (GLA, The London Plan 2011, July 2011, p. 86-87, link). Draft guidance also urges councils to prevent garden grabbing: ‘Such a presumption reflects Government’s recognition in PPS3 of the need to provide support for justified, local measures to prevent “garden grabbing”’ (GLA, Draft supplementary planning guidance, December 2011, link).

Investing to transform local high streets

  • Merton received £3,000,000 in funding from the Mayor’s £70 million Regeneration Fund. The £70 million Fund was set up by Boris Johnson to help repair damage caused to high streets and town centres during last summer’s riots (GLA, Press Release, 17 January 2012, link).

Making your streets and homes safer

  • 1,000 more police by May and £132 million more investment under Boris. The number of Special Constables has more than doubled from 2,500 to well over 5,000 (GLA, The Mayor’s Consultation Budget, 22 December 2011, link; MPA Website, Police numbers, link; GLA, Mayor’s Final Budget 2011-12, link; Evening Standard, 30 January 2012, link).
  • Total crime and youth violence in Merton have reduced. Since May 2008, Merton has seen a 8.6%% decrease in total crime, a 27% reduction in youth violence and bus crime has fallen 27.5% (MPS Statistics, May 08 – Jan 12 compared to Aug 04-April 08).

Ensuring a true Olympic legacy

  • Boris Johnson has funded four sport participation programmes in Merton so far. (Mayor of London, Sporting future for London, April 2009, p. 9, link):
  • 4 organisations in Merton are receiving Sports Legacy Programme grants to offer free sports coaching to London (Freesport Programme Website, link).
  • Investing in Merton sports facilities. The Mayor has helped fund one facility in Merton to enhance sporting activities:

Investing in transport

  • £11.7 million of funding for local transport in Merton. This included £330,000 to improve pedestrian links to Wimbledon Town Centre with a diagonal crossing at the junction of Alexandra Road and St George´s Road, and £220,000 for a number of improvements for cyclists, including new cycle lanes, cycle parking and cycle training (TfL, Borough LIP Funding, link; TfL, Press Release, 20 November 2008, link; TfL, Press Release, 11 December 2009, link; TfL, Press Release, 16 December 2010, link; TfL, Press Release, 15 December 2011, link).

Underground

  • Improving reliability on Tube lines running through Merton. This is part of the Tube upgrade programme secured by Boris Johnson:
    • District Line. This will improve capacity by 24% on District line, meaning the line can carry an additional 10,000 passengers per hour at peak time. 80 new trains will also begin to be introduced from 2013, with all new trains in service 2016. These will be air-conditioned, have walk-through carriages, and wider doors and walkways to improve accessibility (TfL Website, ‘District line upgrade plan’, link).
    • Northern Line. When the upgrade is completed in 2014 capacity will have been improved by one fifth, meaning the line can carry an additional 11,000 passengers per hour at peak time.  Passengers will also see an 18% reduction in journey time (TfL Website, Northern line upgrade plan, link).
    • Potential Northern line extension to Battersea Bridge. The Northern line is potentially being extended to Battersea Bridge, generating up to 25,000 jobs and 16,000 new homes if it goes ahead (TfL Website, ‘Northern Line Extension, link).

Rail

  • Oyster Cards rolled out on national rail. After years of talk under Ken Livingstone, Boris Johnson secured the roll-out of Oyster cards onto national rail. Merton is now the 8th highest oyster- using borough on national rail services and Wimbledon is the 4th busiest station annually (TfL Website, ‘Oyster on National Rail’, December 2009, link).
  • £54 million upgrade of Tramlink. By 2015, £54 million will have been spent upgrading the tram network, investing in ten additional trams and renovating older vehicles (BBC News Online, 10 March 2008).

Roads and congestion

  • Improved pedestrian and cyclist access at Merton stations. This includes £700,000 for the South Wimbledon Business Area, £650,000 for Mitcham Junction Station, £440,000 for Earlsfield Station, and £2.9 million for Wimbledon Town Centre and Station Forecourt.
  • Reviewing traffic lights. 2,000 London traffic light signals have been reviewed since 2009 and a further 1,000 signals are being reviewed in 2011/12 (TfL Website, ‘Smoothing traffic flow’, link). The timings of eleven traffic lights in Merton reviewed since 2009 to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion (TfL, Suggested Signal Removal List, link).

Buses

  • Bus improvements. 14 bus routes in Merton have been expanded and/or improved under Boris Johnson (TfL, Bus service changes borough by borough, May 2008-January 2012)
  • Bendy Buses removed. Nearly 500 new vehicles boasting the latest clean engine technology will replace the Bendy buses. TfL estimates this will save more than £7 million a year (TfL, Press Release, 5 October 2011, link).

Cycling

  • Cycle Superhighways. Cycle Superhighway 7 runs from the City to Merton. (TfL Website, ‘Cycle Superhighways: About the scheme’, link; TfL Website, ‘Cycle Superhighways’, link).

Housing

  • 420 total affordable housing units completed in Merton. 220 social rented and 210 intermediate  affordable housing units were completed in Merton between 2008/09 and 2010/11 (DCLG, Affordable Housing Live Tables 1006,1007,1008).

Mayoral visits

  • Boris Johnson has made more visits to Merton in four years than Ken Livingstone made in eight. Boris Johnson has visited Merton seven times since July 2008. Ken Livingstone visited Merton only three times in his eight years as Mayor (GLA, Mayor’s Report to the Assembly, May 2000 – April 2008; GLA, Mayor’s Report to the Assembly, May 2008 – March 2012).

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