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Malden and Coombe

EU referendum voters wade through water as floods hit Kingston

James Giles

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Kingston faces further thunderstorms overnight after downpours disrupted voting in the EU referendum, flooded homes and caused severe travel delays.

Torrential rain seeped into polling stations, with one voter in Chessington describing how she had to be carried over the water. Another said she had seen people “rolling up trousers and removing shoes to wade barefoot through dirty water” to vote.

Kingston Council took the decision this morning to close its Devon Way polling station because of flooding, telling voters to go to the Hook Centre instead. The decision was also taken to close the Shiraz Mirza Community Hall in Old Malden Ward over flooding concerns, instead moving to a nearby location.

There were concerns that heavy rain could affect turnout, but there were reports of long queues at polling stations despite the downpours. In the rest of the country, especially northern England and southern Scotland, voters enjoyed balmy weather, with sunshine and temperatures up to 20C.

Forecasters said on Thursday that more stormy weather was expected in the south-east later on Thursday.

“Another wave of thunderstorms breaking out across south-eastern UK this afternoon and evening is likely to bring some thunderstorms into the London area,” said the Met Office’s chief forecaster.
“Whether these storms are as severe as those of last night is, at this stage, uncertain, but in view of storms being expected during the afternoon and evening, impacts may be as widespread as those of last night and first thing this morning.”

The London Fire Brigade’s 999 office received more than 550 weather-related emergency calls and firefighters attended more than 400 incidents overnight.

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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