Bold promises on housing, schools and recycling in Merton Conservative manifesto launch

Merton Conservative leader Oonagh Moulton

Merton Conservative leader Oonagh Moulton

First published in News Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

The Merton Conservative manifesto has been launched today with bold promises of building schools, opening a recycling centre and building homes for residents.

With the local elections looming in May, the group is keen to set out its objectives if it gets voted into power this summer.

However one of the manifesto promises, to open a new recycling centre, does not seem to have gone beyond the idea stage.

The pledge under the ‘greener environment’ heading stated the Conservatives will open a new recycling centre, to make recycling easier and cut down on car journeys across the borough.

When questioned by the Wimbledon Guardian, Conservative leader Councillor Oonagh Moulton said they hoped to re-open the Weir Road site closed by Labour in 2011.

Now people go to Garth Road in Morden to dispose of their waste.

However the group had not approached the company who lease the site from Merton Council, and had not identified any alternative sites for a recycling centre if that fell through.

Coun Moulton said: "The closure caused a huge amount of upset in the borough and across the area."

Councillor Henry Nelless added: "We want people to recycle more.

"We will be looking to reverse the decision [to close the Weir Road site.]"

Merton Council said the site was closed because of financial reasons.

When asked about the cost of the project to re-open the site, opposition councillors were unable to provide figures.

Coun Moulton said: "It wasn’t a huge saving."

The group claims in its manifesto that they will build a new school, and "invest in a first class careers service."

When asked where the school would be and for what age group, Coun Moulton and Coun Nelless stated they would monitor birth rates and decide whether there was a greater need for primary or secondary schools.

The promised school could either be in the west or the east of the borough - no site has been identified yet, the group said.

Coun Moulton said: "We are looking at not just one school but all our schools becoming better."

A promise to build new homes was not specific, although the councillors pledged to get residents more involved in the planning process.

Coun Nelless said: "People don’t have any objection to the new homes it is the design and quality.

"We will support more quality homes being built.

"We will involve residents in developing neighbourhood plans."

Other pledges include giving Merton residents a permit to park in council car parks for free for one hour, abolishing evening car parking charges and introducing a minimum of 20 minutes free parking for all local shopping parades.

A ten per cent reduction in council tax over a four year term, investing in parks and green spaces and investing in cleaner streets by sweeping up after rubbish and recycling is collected and increase enforcement for persistent fly-tippers.

The manifesto was launched on Saturday, March 22, with a visit from home secretary Theresa May, a former Merton councillor.

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