Walking up the steep staircase at Teddington’s Park Road Surgery recently, I saw for myself how difficult – impossible, even – it is for a parent with a buggy, or an elderly or disabled patient, to reach the consulting rooms.
The lack of enough rooms on the ground floor means staff spend precious time juggling room bookings – time that could be spent seeing patients instead. With the highest number of excess patients in the borough, the need to move out of the surgery’s old Victorian building is clear.
This is why, with our local council and councillors, I’ve been supporting the surgery’s bid to move to the former site of Teddington Police Station.
When I first learned back in 2017 that Teddington Police Station would be closed, I fought to keep it open as part of my efforts to hold the Government to account on its promises of more police officers on our streets. Now that it’s for sale, the priority must be to maximise the social and community benefit of the site – not just sell to the highest bidder.
Apart from finding suitable space for the surgery, ensuring that any redevelopment plans include affordable housing is also crucial. The housing affordability and cost of living crisis we’re seeing at the national level is being felt keenly in our borough too. Whether it’s the nurses who work in our local hospitals, the teachers who educate our children, or the young people who grew up in this area but can no longer afford to live here themselves – they all deserve an affordable place to call home.
As we await the final outcome of the bidding process, I’ll continue to demand that the Metropolitan Police and the Mayor of London consider social and community benefit as part of any bid.
Last month I launched a petition and, with Cllr Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, wrote a letter to the Mayor of London calling for the site to be retained for community use and affordable housing. Most recently, I challenged the Government on this issue in Parliament.
The sale of Teddington Police Station provides a rare opportunity to transform a publicly owned building into a community asset with health services fit for the 21st century. Let’s keep up the pressure. If you’d like to sign my petition to the Mayor of London, you can do so on my website: munira.org.uk/TPS
Munira Wilson, MP
call 020 8977 0606 for her constituency office or 020 7219 6474 for her parliamentary office