Local resident Steven Mindel, who was very active in the ultimately unsuccessful battle to keep the former Membery's site as a retail premises, has written an angry letter to the Richmond and Twickenham Times after receiving a Liberal Democrat campaign leaflet. The leaflet promised that the LibDems would listen to residents’ concerns about the number of estate agents in Barnes and ‘act accordingly’. Mr Mindel pointed out that the change of use application for the former Membery’s site was pushed through with Liberal Democrat support and that attempts to engage the Liberal Democrats with the campaign against the new tenants of the shop were entirely fruitless. He says " We want support from all the political parties in our battle to keep estate agents out of existing retail premises in Barnes. However, it leaves a nasty taste in the mouth when we have asked for that support, heard nothing back and then received campaign literature which talks about support which has so far been unforthcoming. After all the recent media coverage on the Barnes estate agent issue. it appears that the LibDems are jumping on the bandwagon and hi-jacking an issue for political gain."
You can read the full text of Mr Mindel's letter below.
It was disappointing to receive the recent Liberal Democrat leaflet which suggested that if the candidates were elected they would listen to residents when it came to change of use on Barnes High Street.
I have been present and spoken with our local councillors, at all meetings regarding the Change of use for Winkworths, Membury's, Ladbrokes on White Hart Lane and at the licensing committee for the betting shops in which over 500 residents signed a petition. At ALL of these meetings the plans went through with a Lib Dem majority, voting against the residents wishes. Yes at times some conservatives members helped sway the majority vote, but the maximum support we received from the opposing party was one vote from four.
Further insult to injury is that with the Membury's application, the Lib Dem campaign office was contacted and asked if Cllr Meltzer would be able to support our position in any way. Cllr Meltzer did not even have the courtesy to respond to this request. We wanted to demonstrate that all parties were united in opposing this application, that our High Street was not a toy in a political game. To receive this literature now saying they “would listen and act accordingly” when we have been requesting this and when their colleagues have not been acting accordingly, provides little comfort or assurance.
I felt compelled to write to ensure residents are reliably informed of the real situation, rather than the rather skewed version given in their leaflet. It is an unfair account and one residents should be made aware of with the current election approaching.