Richmond Council’s Tories have voted through plans to merge with Wandsworth, without consulting residents.
The plans will see Richmond losing their Chief Executive and entering into a shared staffing arrangement, whereby one staff body attempts to deliver the separate goals of the two areas. Labour Councillor Jennifer Churchill opposed the plans, and voted in favour of consulting the public before going further. While Wandsworth residents have been consulted, Richmond residents have had no say in the matter.
Cllr Churchill said:
"This decision is reckless, and the refusal of Richmond’s Tories to consult the public unbelievably arrogant. The Tories are unable to answer two key questions: Why Wandsworth? And why such an extreme model?
"Stronger collaboration with Kingston might make sense: both Richmond and Kingston are outer London boroughs, both comparatively small by London standards, and they already work together on key issues such as policing. Wandsworth is a very large inner London borough. It offers very different services on a very different financial footing. It just doesn't make sense.
"And why go so far as to lose our Chief Executive? Other boroughs have tried this, like nearby Hammersmith and Fulham. They found it impossible to follow their own policy agenda. They have since changed course and reinstated their Chief Executive. Can we not learn from others? This decision is bad news for residents, bad news for staff, and bad news for local democracy."