PRESS RELEASE: Former Deputy Mayor calls for inquiry into suspended New Malden councillor


Lib Dem councillor Lesley Heap has been suspended from her job as a children’s swimming teacher at the Malden Centre after a complaint from a parent that she verbally and physically abused a child in her care. She remains suspended whilst investigation from the centre is ongoing.

In contrast Cllr Heap has been reappointed by Kingston Lib Dems as a Council ‘mental health champion’ for housing and a reserve member of the committee that deals with children’s safeguarding issues.

Former Deputy Mayor, Mary Clark is demanding the council take action. She has written to the Chief Executive to ask him to temporarily remove Cllr Heap from these duties while her suspension from work goes on.

She said, “I am saddened I have had to raise this issue in public, but I have tried to get the council to understand this is an issue of safeguarding – not personality. If you can’t trust someone with a child at work – how can we be sure to trust them on council duties? The Malden Centre recognises there is a safeguarding issue here and it’s time the council does too.

“As mental health champion for housing Cllr Heap has an important role highlighting the need to deal with mental trauma and other stresses – and she may well be involved in dealing with children as part of this role. The council must hold an internal investigation to reassure local people there are no safeguarding issues with Cllr Heap’s continued presence and council duties.

“Cllr Heap clearly has support from Sir Edward Davey and the Council leader Liz Green and I feel it shows a failure in judgement by them – they seem willing to turn a blind eye and sweep important issues under the carpet for the sake of party image rather than a commitment to do what’s right for local people. 

“Given the history of the Lib Dems in Beverley ward with former council leader Derek Osbourne – you would have thought they would do everything they can to demonstrate that their New Malden councillors are not a risk to local children. That’s why Cllr Heap should be suspended until we can be sure that she is no threat to children.”



Notes to Editors:

For any further information, or for interview requests, contact the group office on 020 8050 5096.

PETITION: Call to properly scrutinise provision of transport in light of massive development forecast

Canbury Ward campaigner, Caroline Shah Scott, is calling for Kingston Council to properly scrutinise plans for the provision of local transport infrastructure to support the massive development forecast across the Borough from now until 2041.

This could see the development of more than 46,000 new homes and building for at least 43,000 new jobs across KIngston Town, Norbiton and New Malden, around Surbiton station and down to the Hogsmill Valley, Chessington, Tolworth and south of the A3.

The call for scrutiny comes as the Council has failed its manifesto commitment to ‘robustly challenge’ these shocking targets in the new London Plan.

It does not come clean in its Local Implementation Plan about the extent of future development, the negative effect it will have on our existing neighbourhoods or the fact that the vast majority of development is due to happen without CrossRail 2.

Caroline said: “Liberal Democrats have broken their promise to ‘robustly challenge’ the London Plan, and are moving forward with unsound plans. It is now up to us, as local residents, to make sure what happens in Kingston is in the interests of the residents who have chosen the Borough as their home and is not pushed through in hidden and confused agendas.

“Kingston’s Local Implementation Plan is full of assertions and claims which are based upon undisclosed housing and development targets which constitute gross overdevelopment for our Borough. We must act now to bring these plans back to a scrutiny panel for proper investigation.”

Join Caroline’s call for the Council to scrutinise these plans by signing below:

CALL IN: Local Implementation Plan


Call in of Decision Two (Part 2) on 12 February 2019 by The Environment and Sustainable Transport Committee of Kingston Council to approve the 3rd Local Implementation Plan (the “LIP”) for the Borough.

The Greater London Authority Act 1999 (The GLA Act) requires each borough to prepare a LIP containing its proposals for the implementation of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy in its area.

We, the undersigned, call in the decision to approve the Borough’s LIP for the following reasons:

The LIP breaches Requirements laid out in TfL guidance on how to prepare LIPS and more specifically in – Guidance for Borough Officers on Developing the 3rd LIP, March 2018. The following Requirements of the latter guidance are breached:

R3 – Statutory Consultation. There is no evidence that all the consultees listed were actually consulted or demonstration that all consultees views were taken in to account in the final LIP. Specifically, there is no evidence that eight residents’ associations were consulted. Additionally, it is not democratic to choose 8 residents’ associations as representative of residents’ views across the Borough. It also is not correct not to seek the opinion of representative organisations such as the North Kingston Forum and associations that represent large numbers of residents. No evidence has been made available about which associations were consulted and the outcome of such consultation. The requirement to consult with stakeholders registered on the Local Plan consultee database also appears to have been breached.

R5 – Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA). There is no evidence that an up-to-date SEA has been completed. No such SEA is available on the Council’s website.

R7: Local Context – the LIP does not give detail of “other characteristics of the Borough”, which it could easily have done using the Borough Character Study. The local context demographic information does not include coherent, full, accurate or up-to-date information on the Borough, of recent population changes as development has happened and of how these are affecting the local context. There is no detailed and up-to-date information on forecast increases in population and the changes that such growth will bring to the predominant characteristics of different areas of the Borough. Under Employment, the requirement for the Borough to provide for an additional 30,000 jobs on top of the 2016 London Plan expectation of 13,000 jobs (Kingston Transport Forecasting Report 2018) is not mentioned. No reference is made in this section to the Direction of Travel growth strategy approved by the Council in 2016 and no explanation is given of its implications for the Borough. No meaningful reference is made, detail or explanation given of the planned “nascent Opportunity Area” for Kingston.

R11: The LIP fails to set locally-specific objectives for the 9 outcomes of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, namely Outcomes 3,8 and 9. Objectives for some of the other outcomes are vague, for example, 5.1 Kingston “supports” CrossRail2 and subsequently, many are not specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-orientated .

R12: The LIP does not reflect directly, specifically, accurately, clearly and consistently how other Mayoral strategies, such as the Mayoral strategy on Housing (summer 2018) and the forthcoming draft new London Plan (late 2019), that has set clear and massive development targets for Kingston in terms of new housing and the provision of jobs, will affect the Borough.

R13 and R16: the LIP does not list CrossRail 2 as a project that will help contribute to the delivery of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy out to 2041.

The draft LIP is currently not available for residents or other stakeholders to see on the Council’s website
The Mayor’s Transport Strategy does not mention a Kingston Opportunity Area. It is therefore incorrect and misleading for the LIP to include mention of an Opportunity Area in Kingston in point 2.4 and in the map on page B40.

Forecast household, population and employment growth figures in the LIP are not consistent, comprehensive or accurate with latest available data. No coherent picture is given of Kingston’s recommended growth targets. Figure 3 is unclear and not explained. Points 2.14 to 2.18 give historical transport trend information and do not use data from the Kingston Transport Forecasting Report 2018 on predicted growth and the effect on transport requirements. Figures given to the Mayor’s office in a bid for mini-Holland monies and the impact of what has been built and what has been planned to be built have also been omitted.

Misleading statements are made about CrossRail 2 (CR2) in points 2.24 and 2.81 which link CR2 explicitly and positively to the Borough’s ability to meet its housing targets, when Kingston’s core housing and employment growth figures are not dependent on the arrival of that infrastructure project. The misleading statement in 2.81 fails to inform people that the majority of the 20,000 extra housing units that must be built when construction of CR2 starts will be in Kingston. In addition, CrossRail 2 does not show up in any conveyancer infrastructure searches for people purchasing property in Kingston.

The council’s Sustainable Transport SPD (STS) dates from May 2013. There is no evidence of an up to date STS for the Borough and no up-to-date STS is available to view on council website despite reference to it in Appendix C of the Council’s LIP which links the Mayor’s Transport Strategy’s nine key outcomes to the STS.

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Motion: Council have spent £450k of your taxes paying off staff, stop them paying off more…

Kingston Council is supposedly facing a ‘Bankruptcy Battle’, according to the Liberal Democrat administration’s latest borough-wide leaflet. This comes despite news that the Council intends on spending an estimated cumulative £462,000 on paying off senior staff that have clashed with the new Liberal Democrat leader, Liz Green.

In August, the Liberal Democrat administration removed Charlie Adan, the Chief Executive, at a cost of £312,000, and now intend on making the Deputy Chief Executive, Roy Thompson, redundant at a cost estimated by insiders to be around £150,000. On top of this, whilst Mr Thompson was off over the summer on sick leave, they spent £950 per day on an interim consultant.

The Kingston Independent Residents Group say enough is enough. Council funds should be spent on resident services, as paying senior staff off does not give value for money in our council tax.

As such, we demand an urgent review of ex gratia and other payoffs, and condemn the haphazard way in which the council has ignored its own advice in paying off these staff, which leave us with a greater risk of becoming ‘bankrupt’ as an authority.

Please sign our motion, which will be debated at Full Council when 500 signatures are reached, to demand better for your Council Tax.

Motion: Demand Better on Senior Staff Payoffs


Community Motion (Standing Order 7A)

Demand Better on Senior Staff Payoffs

This Council notes:

1. the Council, under the Liberal Democrat administration, removed the former Chief Executive Charlie Adan at a cost of £312,000, which could have been spent elsewhere;

2. the Council’s press release, on 29 June 2018, states ‘Roy Thompson will become interim Chief Executive… for up to 12 months… the Deputy Chief Executive position will remain vacant during this time’, which makes clear the post was not occupied by any individual;

3. the Council, owing to illness, brought in an ‘interim interim CEO’, at a cost of £950 per day, despite a commitment to reduce the number of consultants, yet only months earlier employing three highly skilled and senior directors perfectly capable of covering the post; and

4. the Liberal Democrat administration is now attempting to make a redundancy payment to Roy Thompson estimated in excess of £150,00 for his role as Deputy CEO, despite the Council having made it clear this post was vacant.

This Council believes:

1. Council funds should be spent on resident services as paying senior staff pay off does not give value for money;

2. residents deserve clarity and transparency, and it is the duty of the Council to ensure this; and

3. there is a lack of confidence from residents that the payoff for Roy Thompson is justified, since it was later reported by the Leader that the payment was not for redundancy but an ex-gratia payment for long service (12 years).

This Council resolves:

1. to set up a review of ex-gratia and other payoffs, with a focus on legality and the future cost of pensions.

2. to condemn the haphazard and perilous way in which the leadership of the Council has ignored its own advice since May 2018, employing consultants and spending hundreds of thousands paying off staff, furthermore adding to a potential bankruptcy; and

3. to report back to the Finance and Contracts committee with a report on how implementing a new procedure to ensure that any such payments are within the revised Constitution and that a constitutional procedure is introduced, so future payoffs are lawful and transparent.

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PETITION: Demand better on development in Kingston

Canbury Ward Campaigner, Caroline Shah, has launched a resident petition asking for the Scrutiny Panel to re-evaluate the decision to put out an ‘Issues and Options’ document to consultation, to form the new Local Plan.

The Council propose building over 30,000 new homes in the borough between 2019 and 2041, without providing information on where these homes will be built, with the misleading assumption that a Borough wide Opportunity Area is a foregone conclusion, and without consultation on whether residents agree with this target. This figure is also nearly three times the number of homes needed even for the huge increase in population that the Council is planning

Caroline said: “Many of the questions the Council are asking residents are based on limited and closed or biased information, often focus on meaningless detail, and are biased in issues and content towards jobs and business, overlooking key issues such as CrossRail 2.

She added: “Furthermore, it is unacceptable that the decision to put this incomplete document out to consultation, given the scale and type of growth envisaged, was the penultimate item on a long agenda, with the meeting, and discussion on this decision, being brought to a premature close after nearly five hours. One councillor even abstained because they didn’t feel able to make a reasoned decision past midnight.

“We need your support to take this decision to the Scrutiny Panel, to ensure decision making in Kingston is sound and based on the facts. We demand better for residents on the issue of growth and development in Kingston.”

Sign the petition below:

Call-in of Issues and Options for the Local Plan decision


We, the undersigned, hereby call in the decision number 3 of the Strategic Housing and Planning Committee of Kingston Council on Thursday 8 November 2018, Issues and Options for the Local Plan, for the following reasons:

- “The Opportunity Area” referred to on page 6 of the document does not exist
- The Council appears to have agreed with the GLA behind closed doors to merge the creation of a Local Plan with the creation of an Opportunity Area Planning Framework. The nature of the growth strategy that Kingston council is pursuing with the GLA is not made clear in this document
- The possible creation of an Opportunity Area(s) should be conducted as a separate process and residents should be consulted as part of this process. The council’s approach will mean that residents will be deprived of their democratic and statutory right to be consulted on the possible creation of Opportunity Areas in the borough. The council will also fail the requirement to be transparent and to consult fully with residents
- The Direction of Travel referred to on page 7, note 7 did not establish any Opportunity Area(s) or confirm agreement for large scale development in any area of the Borough
- The Direction of Travel is unsound and should be discarded – see Appendix One ( for the reasons supporting this assertion
- The Council gives a figure for growth of new homes in the Borough, taken from the draft London Plan, of 30,008 between 2019 and 2041. The council should ask residents if they believe this target is correct for the Borough and challenge the figure if people believe it is too high
- The figures given do not make sense and need further clarification. Planned population growth is 23,000 people from 2019 to 2041, yet, in the same period, the council intends to build 30,008 new homes. Assuming two people per household, this number of homes would accommodate 60,016 people. The council should provide information that explains why it wants to build nearly treble the number of homes that it needs
- The information presented on sites is unclear, lacks meaningful detail and does not provide a reasonable and clear context for informed consideration by residents to take place. The basis on which the sites came forward is also not explained. It is unclear why these specific sites are being presented, how they compare in size and location with other sites that remain confidential, and no information is presented on which have a viable possibility of development. The exact location of sites is not explained
- The questions that the Council proposes to ask are inadequate, often unclear or based on limited and closed or biased information, often focus on meaningless detail, and are biased in number and content towards business and jobs, overlooking key issues such as CrossRail2 – see Appendix Two (
- This item was the penultimate item on a long agenda. It is unacceptable that discussion about a document about growth on the scale and type being envisaged should happen between 10.35pm and 00.12 and at the end of a meeting that lasted 4 hours 37 minutes in total
- No councillor was in a position to make an informed and intelligent decision at this time of night. One councillor even felt unable to make such a decision because of the late hour and abstained from the vote. Councillor Sharon Young, at 4.32.40, said: “I feel that its getting so late that I know myself I can not contribute anything meaningful at this moment in time”. She also requested that the meeting was “wrapped up” soon which the Chair person promptly did
- The document and proposed consultation makes no attempt to identify the key issues that residents may have about growth in the Borough
- An Issues and Options document is meant to help the council identify the “issues” that exist in the Borough in the context of putting together a new Local Plan so that it can use this information to put together viable and acceptable options to put to residents. Instead, this document presents two basic options and asks residents to choose between them. In addition, only one option presented would bear the growth planned by the Council. This gives a clear impression that the council’s plans have been predetermined
- On the GLA’s website, dated 28/1/16, in the meeting notes of the Opportunity Area Growth Board, it is stated that “we need to do a with and without scenario because of Crossrail”. This document fails not only to present a with and without scenario, it fails to discuss CrossRail2 in any detail whatsoever
- The document presented to Committee was so vague and incomplete and uninformative and confusing that it should not have been approved in its current form. The final consultation draft, with what will doubtless be major changes, should come back to the Strategic Planning and Housing Committee for approval before going out for consultation

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Caroline has produced two supplementary documents regarding this call-in, which can be found below:

Appendix One – Call-In Why the Direction of Travel is unsound

Appendix Two – Call-in, Issues and Options QuestionsT

Local campaigners urge Council to review viability of town centre developments

In light of John Lewis Partnership’s 99% drop in profit warning, local campaigners are urging the Council to conduct an urgent review into the viability of growth and redevelopment in the town centre.

CEO of Kingston Council, Roy Thompson, said on June 7th that developers at Eden Walk were “not making any money” and there was risk they could walk away.

Bob Tyler, campaigner in Grove Ward, said: “We demand that Kingston Council conduct an immediate review into redevelopment of the town centre, in particular of the viability of the Eden Walk development.

“I urge all concerned residents to sign my petition below to ensure the Council is aware of the pressures facing business, and the knock-on effect this could have on developments in the town centre.”

Review viability of town centre developments:


We the undersigned demand that Kingston Council, particularly in the light of the John Lewis Partnership's 'no profits' announcement, conduct an immediate review of business and regeneration in the town centre, particularly of the viability of the Eden Walk development, moreso as Council CEO Roy Thompson, at a scrutiny meeting on June 7th, said the developers of Eden Walk needed to start the development quickly as they were “not making any money” and could walk away.

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Waitrose reinstate 2 hours free parking following campaign

Your Kingston Independent Residents Group team in Beverley have secured the reinstatement of 2 hours free parking at the Waitrose Car Park in New Malden. This is a victory for New Malden residents and businesses in the High Street, and we would like to thank everyone for their support.

Local resident James Giles with the new signage in Waitrose, reintroducing a 2 hour maximum stay

Waitrose recently changed the maximum stay from 2 hours to 90 minutes, and increased the penalty from £25 to £95. The car park is subject to a number of legal agreements with the Council and Waitrose did not have permission to reduce the maximum stay.

Following our campaign and intervention in Beverley Ward, Waitrose have now reinstated a maximum stay of 2 hours. Further, users of the car park are no longer required to spend £10 in Waitrose, which could boost trade for independent businesses in the High Street.

The one remaining area of concern is the £95 penalty charge, which we are asking to be reduced back to £25, to give shoppers peace of mind when using the car park.

KIRG Group Leader and member of the Beverley Independent team, Mary Clark, said:

“These changes would have impacted on shoppers who use the car park for both Waitrose and our independent businesses on the High Street. They were introduced with no consultation with residents or even the council. I’m very pleased that Waitrose has made the right choice in reinstating the longstanding parking arrangements, which date back before 2003.”

Local resident James Giles said:

“This is fantastic news. We would like to thank Waitrose for their co-operation in the matter, and their commitment to the community in New Malden.”


Final call for candidates to step forward to clean up Kingston in 2018 elections

The Kingston Independent Residents Group (KIRG), the local party for Kingston residents, has moved forward its campaign for better local government by asking residents from across the borough to step forward and join its team of candidates for its 2018 election bid.

Residents saw their first independent council seat in 2015 – Mary Clark in Old Malden Ward. The May 2018 local elections will see new councillors elected from every ward across Kingston.

Mary Clark, group leader of KIRG said:

“The current Tory controlled council have failed the residents of Kingston. For 4 years they’ve incompetently forced national party policies on our borough. These have traded our long-term legacy and quality of life for short-term cash grabbing and self-serving politics. Residents from across the borough have told us they want far higher standards and effective accountability from borough leaders. It’s time for a wholesale change. We desperately need a Council that will work competently and responsibly for the residents of Kingston.”

Patrick Wylde of the Kingston Independent Residents Group said:

“The national political party whip has been running roughshod over the wishes of residents for too long – and every community in Kingston is affected. The only way that locals can decide for themselves is to elect independent councillors in 2018 to be the voice that holds the Council to account. We’re calling on residents from across the borough to join our growing team of residents’ independent candidates for Kingston 2018.”


To find out more about becoming an R4U candidate, volunteer or supporter please call 020 8050 5096 or e-mail

Beverley residents call upon Waitrose to reintroduce 2 hours free parking

Your Kingston Independent Residents Group team in Beverley are campaigning to restore 2 hour free parking in the Waitrose Car Park in New Malden.

 Waitrose recently changed the maximum stay from 2 hours to 90 minutes, and increased the penalty from £25 to £95. The car park is subject to a number of legal agreements with the Council and Waitrose do not have permission to reduce the maximum stay.

Cllr Mary Clark, group leader and Beverley lead, said: “These changes will impact on shoppers who use the car park for both Waitrose and our independent businesses on the High Street. They were introduced with no consultation with residents or even the council.

Many, including the disabled, will be deterred from parking here at a risk of a new massive £95 penalty, should they overstay in any form. A large number of residents have been in touch to make us aware of these changes which will damage the local economy.”

Your Independent Residents Group in Beverley has written to the Council Enforcement about this matter.

If you support our campaign and want to see 2 hour free parking reinstated, sign below and add pressure to the Council and Waitrose:

Waitrose: Reinstate 2 hr free parking and £25 penalty charge


We, the undersigned, call upon the John Lewis Partnership to immediately reinstate 2 hours free parking at their branch in New Malden and the £25 parking charge.

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Coombe Hill resident to take on sitting Tory councillor ‘parachuted in to a safe seat’ in May election

The Kingston Independent Residents Group (KIRG), the local party of residents, has announced that Coombe Hill resident of 20 years and mother of 3, Helen Hinton, has resigned from the Conservative Party and will be standing as a candidate in Coombe Hill.

Her resignation comes following the decision to select existing Tory Councillor, Ian George, to stand in Coombe Hill, despite being an elected representative for Alexandra Ward in Surbiton.

Helen Hinton, the KIRG prospective ward candidate, said: “Existing Surbiton councillor Ian George became unelectable in his Alexandra ward after overseeing the building of hundreds of homes in Tolworth against the residents‘ wishes; so now he has been parachuted into a safe seat, forcing out a local candidate.

Residents don’t want their town damaged by unsustainable development or a party-poltical refugee; they want a councillor who will actually represent them. We must ensure residents, not politicians, represent Coombe Hill, which is why I am delighted to be standing for the Kingston Independent Residents Group.”


KIRG party leader Cllr Mary Clark said: “We are delighted to have Helen representing residents in Coombe Hill, and I have no doubt that, if elected, Helen will work tirelessly on behalf of her neighbours. It is about time that someone represented the interest of interests rather than those of national parties, and Helen, with her proven track record, will do just that.”

Last year, Helen Hinton called in the controversial Surbiton Crescent decision to Full Council, with the support of hundreds of residents in Coombe and across the borough. To date, the controversial scheme has made some £4.5 million in fines.

Extraordinary meeting of Health Scrutiny Panel called to scrutinise hospital decision on blue badge parking

With the support of hundreds of local residents, the Kingston Independent Residents Group has been putting heavy pressure on Kingston Hospital to reverse their damaging decision to introduce parking charges for blue badge holders at Kingston Hospital.

Led by Councillor Mary Clark, a cross-party letter has requisitioned an extraordinary meeting of the Health Scrutiny Panel, with representatives from the Hospital being called to the meeting, in order to scrutinise the decision and for residents to have their voice heard. The meeting will be at the Guildhall in Kingston, 7:30pm start, on Wednesday 21st February.


Mary Clark, the KIRG group leader stated: “These charges are a disgrace, and must be reversed. We will end up with gridlock on Galsworthy Road where blue badge holders will legally park on the double yellow lines, and a situation where those who desperately need to go into hospital may not for fear of cost.

I urge all residents to attend the extraordinary meeting of the Health Scrutiny Panel this Wednesday, at Guildhall, to make their voices heard to Kingston Hospital and join us in our call to reverse this decision. ”

A letter was sent to Kingston Council demanding an extraordinary meeting of the Health Scrutiny Panel, under Standing Order 24, and was signed by Councillors Mary Clark, David Fraser and Sheila Griffin in their capacity as members of the Health Scrutiny Panel.

The Kingston Independent Residents Group will be holding a demonstration on the steps of Guildhall from 7pm on Wednesday 21st February, before the meeting begins at 7:30pm.

Can you join us and make sure that the voice of vulnerable residents in Kingston are heard?