Our focus must continue to be securing the delivery of cost effective services that meet the priority needs of our local community. The way in which we do this varies across the partnership with a mix of direct delivery by partners and commissioning others to deliver services on our behalf.
Whatever the means of securing delivery, the Partnership has signed up to working to some shared priorities and objectives which have been developed together through analysis of community data and needs, a review of our performance and engagement with local stakeholders. These will inform what services are delivered and are described more fully elsewhere in the plans listed in Further information.
The borough is generally a safe place for children and young people to grow up, with low crime levels and low numbers of road accidents. Only around 50 children are subject to a Child Protection Plan and around 80 children are in care.
Richmond upon Thames is also a healthy place to grow up – with a high proportion of mothers breastfeeding their children; good rates of immunisation; ample opportunities to participate in sporting activities and generally low levels of obesity compared with other boroughs. Although immunisation rates are quite high there remains a need to increase MMR take up as there has been a rise in children developing measles in the borough. Teenage pregnancy in Richmond is one of the lowest rates in the country.
Richmond upon Thames remains an excellent place for children to achieve their potential. The Council has embarked on a plan to increase the provision of sufficient numbers of high quality primary school places through its expansion programme. It is also committed to expanding the capacity for secondary education and supports the growth of powerful, independent secondary schools and the adoption of new social enterprise models. Over the next three years we expect to see the creation of a faith based Roman Catholic school and we will encourage the establishment of free schools that meet the needs of local communities.
The Children and Young People’s Trust carried out a Child Poverty Needs Assessment in 2011. This found that child poverty in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames is the lowest of all the London Boroughs and one of the lowest nationally- the proportion of children in poverty in the borough is between 9.2% and 11.5% depending on which measure is used. This compares to a London average of 20.9% and a national average of 30.8%.
However, despite overall child poverty levels in the borough being low, there are still pockets where child poverty levels are high. In fact, depending on which measure of child poverty is used, there are between 3,500 and 4,435 children who are considered to be living in poverty in Richmond Borough.
Specialist services providing support to the most vulnerable children and young people have been rated as good and children in care enjoy very good outcomes compared with other boroughs. However, there remains a need to continue to improve services for some children with additional health needs – including disabled children and those requiring Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and those exposed to ‘hidden harm’. The Council and its partners have identified families who have multiple needs and are engaging with a variety of agencies in order to better support these families to achieve positive outcomes.
In order to continue to provide high quality services for children and young people, in a time of financial constraint the Council will create a local authority owned company with Kingston Council, to be known as Achieving for Children. This will bring greater opportunities for enterprise and innovation to both councils and reduce the burden of management costs and administrative costs, protecting front line services.
Voluntary and community groups deliver a range of services that make a significant contribution to supporting children, young people and their families within the borough. The Richmond Partnership is committed to working with the voluntary and community sector to ensure their vital role in this area of work continues to grow.
Richmond is generally a healthy Borough, with low levels of premature mortality and with access to green spaces and good schools. However, health inequalities are apparent in the Borough and, despite favourable comparison with other areas, the numbers of people with unhealthy lifestyles are still large. There are also ‘hidden harms’, such as increasing rates of alcohol-related hospital admissions.
The need for services supporting older people is likely to increase, with a relatively high proportion of people aged 90 and older, a high proportion of older people living alone and an expected increase in the number of people with physical long-term conditions and mental health conditions (such as dementia).
A wide range of factors impact upon an individual’s health and wellbeing, such as whether they have a regular income, adequate housing, are able to access social and leisure activities and feel a sense of belonging in their local neighbourhood.
The role of local voluntary and community groups is important in helping people to maintain their independence for as long as possible, helping them to be active in their community and preventing the need for more costly interventions by providing a range of services within the community, including support to carers. Many voluntary and community groups contribute to health improvement by encouraging people to do things that lead to a healthier lifestyle and promote greater wellbeing.
The broad scope of these areas highlights the importance of a partnership approach in delivering services for local people and ensuring that social care and community health services work well together. This is especially important for children with long term support needs as they move from using child based to adult focused services and for those with more than one condition that requires co-ordination of care.
The Health & Wellbeing Strategy 2013-16 has focused on priorities where improvement can only be made in partnership. These priorities are to improve the integration of services across organisational boundaries from a patient focus, in the following four areas:
In order to provide more integrated health and social care services Richmond Council will work with Hounslow Council, the Richmond and Hounslow Clinical Commissioning Groups and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust to take steps to set up an Integrated Care Organisation.
Adequate housing is a key factor in maintaining health and wellbeing. Research carried out for the Richmond Housing Partnership (RHP) and the Council in October 2012 concludes that the nature of the housing market in Richmond upon Thames means that only the relatively wealthy can afford to buy a home. The private rental market largely serves the same community and is not oriented to serve those on low incomes or working households on modest incomes, like the rest of the UK. The demand for housing continues to outstrip supply due to the increasing population and lack of suitable sites for new homes.
The lack of affordable housing is a particularly significant problem. An analysis of the 250 households in highest priority need on the Housing Register show that over half are families with children (131) and of these, half need a 3 or 4 bedroom home. Of all high priority applicants, the largest proportion needs a two bedroom home. There are just over 1000 overcrowded households on the Council’s Housing Register with 50% of these applicants having other needs, e.g. medical conditions. The majority of overcrowded households are families with children.
More information about housing need can be found in the Local Economic Assessment.
We are committed to making local services flexible and responsive to individual needs, meeting people’s wishes for independence and greater control over their lives. We will build on what we have already achieved, focusing more on prevention and early intervention and ensuring that mainstream services cater for everyone within our community.
An important aspect of this work is providing the information and support to enable and empower people to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing; for example in making healthy lifestyle choices and in planning for their future. As changes are made to the welfare and benefits system we will ensure that residents are informed about the changes that affect them and are able to obtain the right advice and information. The voluntary sector makes a significant contribution to this work, advising, advocating and assisting people to get the help they need. An example of how we are helping people to deal with changing circumstances is Richmond Housing Partnership’s Wellbeing, Opportunities and Work (WOW) events. This is a programme of events aimed at helping their customers lessen the impact of welfare reform by giving them practical advice and guidance, helping them to save money and stay healthy even on a tight budget. These events also offer people support to get into employment with job search and training opportunities.
You told us in the All in One survey that the level of crime and anti social behaviour is one of the most important factors in making the borough a good place to live. Richmond borough residents, or people who work or visit here, have one of the lowest risks of being victims of crime for any London borough. Partnership working between the Police, the Council and other organisations (both voluntary and statutory) has made a significant contribution to the reduction in crime over the last ten years. The Residents Survey 2012 showed that 88% of people were satisfied with the safety of the area and 67% of people felt that the police and other agencies were successfully dealing with crime and anti-social behaviour.
A number of tactics, including drug tests on arrest, Controlled Drinking Zones and Dispersal Zones have been used to ensure that people visiting our town centres remain safe and are not disturbed by alcohol related anti-social behaviour.
More information about community safety.
We will focus on reducing low level high volume crime by initiating a communication campaign to help residents keep their belongings safe. We will also participate in the Home Office Community Trigger pilot, which enables local people to hold us to account for the way that we are tackling anti-social behaviour.
Overall, the borough has had a dynamic economy, until the recession, creating more jobs and more businesses than the London and national average. The business population is dominated by micro-businesses, including a very large number of self-employed, a significant proportion of which are home-based.
Town centre health checks confirm that Richmond town centre is very successful and that the other district centres are generally relatively buoyant compared to the national average. However it is recognised that Twickenham is in need of some improvement and revitalization and the Twickenham Area Action Plan sets out a framework for environmental changes and the development of sites which will stimulate enterprise and investment.
The proportion of vacant shops has remained fairly steady at an average of 8% for the Borough, with vacancies in Whitton tending to be higher than average and vacancies in Teddington lower than the average. This compares well to the national position.
Responses to the All in One Survey identified that being able to shop in the local high street was important in making the borough a good place to live and that this needed improving in a number of areas. The most recent Residents Survey 2012 showed that most people were satisfied with their local high street overall, (78%), with 77% satisfied with the appearance of their high street and 69% satisfied with the range of shops available. We will continue to make improvements to the public realm and car parking, working with Transport for London to reduce congestion, supporting tourism and events and supportive regulatory and planning regimes.
Businesses have an important role to play in maintaining the vibrancy and distinctiveness of local areas, making them attractive for residents and visitors and are a key factor in the quality of life for residents. We will support the improvement of the trading environment through the Town Centre Opportunity Fund.
The number of claimants for Job Seekers allowance has hovered around the 2000 mark for most of the last two years. Unemployment using this measure is low in the borough, at 1.4% of the working age population, compared to 4.3% in London and 3.9% in Great Britain. More information about the economic life of the borough can be found in the Local Economic Assessment.
Art, culture and sport are important in the community life of the borough, making a valuable contribution to learning, health, wellbeing, economic regeneration and community cohesion. Richmond upon Thames has the richest historic environment outside central London. English Heritage, the National Trust and the Historic Royal Palaces all own property within the borough, and heritage attractions include Hampton Court Palace, Ham House, Strawberry Hill House, Garrick’s Temple to Shakespeare, Kew Palace, the Palladian villa at Marble Hill and Richmond Theatre, designed by the world renowned Victorian theatre architect, Frank Matcham.
Richmond upon Thames has a strong sporting tradition. Twickenham Stadium, the home of the Rugby Football Union and one of the premier sporting arenas in the world, is located in the borough. Club rugby is represented by a number of local clubs and St Mary’s University College, also in Twickenham, is the national High Performance Endurance Centre for athletics, bringing elite athletes into the borough to study and train.
The borough has a strong and vibrant voluntary and community sector which is able to harness the talents and skills of local people to improve their communities, particularly through volunteering. We will work together to promote collaboration and sustainability of the sector for the future and to ensure it has the tools it needs to expand the services it provides to local people.
The environmental quality of the Borough is its most valuable asset and much of its character derives from its location on the Thames. The borough consists of a group of urbanised areas, connecting former villages, divided by the Thames and interspersed with open space, linked by roads and railways. Much of the open space is of historic importance including Bushy Park, Hampton Court Park, Richmond Park, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and the Thames itself. The view from Richmond Hill is protected by statute.
These parks and open spaces were identified by nearly three quarters of residents as the most important factor in making the area a good place to live in the All in One survey 2010. The Residents Survey 2012 showed that 90% of residents were satisfied with these services.
The Council has now embarked on a 3 year investment programme for parks. This programme will offer more facilities and experiences for all users and will ensure that Parks and Open Spaces remain as the most important service to borough residents. The overarching aim of the programme is to provide people with the opportunity to “live their lives through our parks”, encouraging residents to make parks part of their everyday life. We will work together to develop specific projects to reflect the themes of Intellectual Access, A River Borough, A Place to Play and a Flowered Borough.
As well as improvements to the Thames riverside, the Crane Valley Partnership will consult with local interest and residents groups on improvements to the Crane riverside.
High streets and commercial centres are also important and our aim is to make every town within Richmond upon Thames a place which its residents can be proud to live in and which has a lively high street with thriving businesses. The results of the Residents Survey 2012 shows that overall, most residents (57%) say they feel their local high street has stayed the same over the last 12 months. A quarter (24%) say they feel their local high street has got better, rising to 38% in Whitton, 33% in St Margaret’s and 31% in Strawberry Hill. 16% of residents perceive that their high street has got worse, rising to 23% in Mortlake and Twickenham and 24% in Barnes.
Uplift is the Council’s programme to rejuvenate the Whitton, Hampton North, Barnes, Mortlake and Ham areas of the borough, which local people say are in need of improvement.
This will be achieved through listening and working with people to address concerns and use local knowledge, allowing a bespoke ‘uplifting’ of each area which respects both its heritage and future potential. The Council is working through all of the ideas generated through the All in One survey and other consultations to work with partners to create schemes for each area which residents will be in favour of and which will create a better trading environment.
The Twickenham Area Action Plan covering the use of land and buildings for Twickenham town centre has recently been subject to Examination in Public. This statutory plan covers the period up to 2027; setting out an overall strategy for the future of Twickenham town centre and the principles for transport, environmental improvement and design.
The Twickenham Town centre improvements, along with the changes due to be completed in Richmond by Easter 2013 will aim to smooth the flow of traffic, improve safety and improve the environment to assist with the regeneration of the town.
At the moment the borough has a high level of carbon dioxide emissions (both from buildings and transport), generates large volumes of waste per capita and will increasingly be subject to the effects of climate change, particularly flooding. We will continue to work as a Partnership with residents and local businesses to reduce carbon emissions, support access to the Government’s Green Deal initiative and ensure our own properties are efficient.
Public transport accessibility is generally good, but there are some areas that are less accessible by public transport. Alleviating traffic congestion continues to be identified by residents as a priority, with 52% citing this as a problem in the Residents Survey 2012. The limitations of the road network mean that ways need to be found to reduce the need to travel, and encourage the use of other more sustainable forms of transport. This would also help to reduce air pollution.
Aircraft noise is very significant issue in the Borough which has an impact on the quality of life, health and education of residents. Night flights are particularly intrusive. The levels of air pollution along the main road corridors remain unsatisfactory in terms of EU standards. The Council will therefore resist any proposals to expand Heathrow airport after 2015 and would like to see a permanent block on any expansion of the airport.
Residents will be invited to publically declare their views on any expansion through a referendum-style vote, which would be held by 31 May 2013.
Updated: 15 December 2017