Richmond Park

2015 Result:
Conservative: 34404 (58.2%)
Labour: 7296 (12.3%)
Lib Dem: 11389 (19.3%)
Green: 3548 (6%)
UKIP: 2464 (4.2%)
MAJORITY: 23015 (38.9%)

Category: Safe Conservative seat

Geography: Greater London. Part of Richmond upon Thames council area and part of Kingston upon Thames council area.

Main population centres: East Sheen, Mortlake, Richmond, Ham, Kew, Barnes, Petersham, Coombe.

Profile: Richmond Park is a large royal park in south-west London, home to a herd of over 600 deer. The electorate of the Richmond Park consituency consists of the residential areas bordering it - Richmond itself, the riverside communities of Kew and Barnes and, to the south of the park, Kingston upon Thames. It is an affluent, middle-class suburban seat, characterised by desirable period houses, large gardens and huge property prices. The seat also contains Kew Gardens, the National Archives and Kingston University. The majority of planes landing at Heathrow airport descend over Barnes and Kew and the potential expansion of Heathrow airport is an important local issue.

Politics: The Richmond Park seat was created in 1997 from the merger of Richmond and Barnes and part of Kingston upon Thames, leaving the Kingston MP and former Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont to go on his doomed run up to Harrogate. Along with Twickenham and Kingston and Surbiton it formed part of a wedge of Liberal Democrat strength in South-West London until falling to Zac Goldsmith in 2010.

Current MP
ZAC GOLDSMITH (Conservative) Born 1975, Westminster, son of Sir Jimmy Goldsmith, the founder of the Referendum party. Educated at Eton, where he was expelled for posession of cannabis. Former Environmental activist and editor of The Ecologist. First elected as MP for Richmond Park in 2010.
Past Results
Con: 29461 (50%)
Lab: 2979 (5%)
LDem: 25370 (43%)
UKIP: 669 (1%)
Oth: 789 (1%)
MAJ: 4091 (7%)
Con: 20280 (39%)
Lab: 4768 (9%)
LDem: 24011 (47%)
GRN: 1379 (3%)
Oth: 936 (2%)
MAJ: 3731 (7%)
Con: 18480 (38%)
Lab: 5541 (11%)
LDem: 23444 (48%)
GRN: 1223 (2%)
Oth: 463 (1%)
MAJ: 4964 (10%)
Con: 22442 (39%)
Lab: 7172 (13%)
LDem: 25393 (45%)
Oth: 379 (1%)
MAJ: 2951 (5%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
ZAC GOLDSMITH (Conservative) See above.
ROBIN MELTZER (Liberal Democrat) Born Hammersmith. Educated at Shenfield High School and Cambridge University. Former BBC producer. Contested Kensington 2010.
ANDREE FRIEZE (Green) Journalist and editor.
Comments - 2,152 Responses on “Richmond Park”
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  1. Barnaby on the Filton thread:

    “I now find that Richmond’s pubs are getting much worse and becoming gastros to far too large an extent”

    I can speak with a little authority on some of Richmond’s pubs now.

    The Watermans is very good and has a coal fire.
    The White Cross is nicely positioned and has a coal fire.
    The Sun is a good rugby pub.
    The Orange Tree is perhaps a bit gastroee but still looks a good place to watch sport.

    The other pubs around the Green looked pretty good from the outsiode as well.

  2. The Watermans is probably the best pub in Richmond & I ought to go there more than I do. I’ve always thought the Orange Tree overrated. Your other observations are accurate but given the choice there are several other areas of London where the pubs are better. And plenty where they’re worse too.

  3. I wonder what the cheapest pint in Richmond is?

  4. I went to one Youngs pub, asked for a local bitter (from Twickenham brewery) and was flabbergasted to be asked for £4.25. Won’t be going there again. The cheapest – might be the Mitre but none of them is cheap nowadays.

  5. You can get a pint of OBB in the Chandos near Trafalgar Square for £2.90.

    Which must be a contender for cheapest pint in central London and in a nice pub too.

    Although that is still over a pound more than it costs in Yorkshire.

  6. It’s even cheaper in some of their pubs in outer London. Unfortunately it isn’t available in all of them. The cheapest beer in Britain appears to be Holts of Manchester but sadly (it’s my favourite beer) you can’t get it in London.
    This is way off-topic!

  7. Well in an attempt to link my trip to London with an electoral discussion I was struck my the difference in the nature of the rugby fans in Richmond to those in Rotherham or Doncaster.

    Whereas in South Yorkshire they appear to be a UKIP campaigner’s dream – all C1C2 disgruntlement – in Richmond they were dominated by yummie mummies, hooray henrys and JJB types.

    Come to think of it I’ve noticed a similar difference in cricket crowds between the north and London as well.

    Whereas football crowds do seem rather identikit socioeconomically.

  8. While I thought very highly of Richmond I was seriously unimpressed by the other areas passed on the train from Waterloo.

    Perhaps the parts of Clapham, Putney and Barnes within view of the train aren’t the best? But I was surprised that such downbeat looking areas are rated as desirable, let alone have million pound properties in them.

    I noticed a large allotments are in Barnes and wondered if that was where Barnaby has his?

    And on another transport topic, while there were planes flying overhead at Richmond they weren’t too distracting. Is AW correct in saying the problem occurs a few miles north of there?

  9. Richard –

    Heathrow produce maps showing the various flightpaths and the proportions of arrivals and departures that use each route:

  10. AW

    As a Dartford man are you in favour of Boris Island or would you prefer the airport to be kept to the west of London?

  11. Would be further out near Medway or Swale, with flightpaths presumably going out over the north sea, so my view would be conditioned by transport links. Anything that shoves more traffic over the Dartford crossing I’d obviously dislike!

  12. The areas close to the railway include Mortlake, and North Sheen which have voted Labour in the past, but are now increasingly populated by people who work in Central London and bought up the cottages.

    This is quite an urban constituency yes, outside the green spaces.

    I think the large allotments area is in North Sheen but there is another one in Mortlake I think.

    You can’t see that much of Barnes itself from the train – and that is very desirable, although there is some variety with social housing schemes, although good quality.

  13. The large allotment site you would have seen Richard is, as Joe says, actually at North Sheen. That’s where my plot is, though I am on the very far side furthest away from the railway. Of course, in this weather there’s a limited amount I can do there.
    It’s not usually a good idea to judge an area from what you can see from the railway – it rarely gives you a true picture – but nevertheless there’s much in what you say. If I had unlimited money to buy a house, certainly Battersea wouldn’t be very high up my list, though there are some very nice areas indeed in Putney.

  14. Certainly in urban areas you do n’t see the best aspects from the train but I do n’t think that getting an impression from a train of an area works in London since the housing stock is broadly similar over a vast area. It’s the socio-economic character which makes the difference ie house prices, how the houses are maintained, multiple or single occupancy, what the shops are like.

  15. Perhaps Barnaby could get a few sheds and coal furnaces and start a Richmond forced rhubarb collective on his allotment? It could be a prized produce among the local ‘lentil and museli’ crowd.

    The pub aficionados might be amused at my experience yesturday.

    Having, somewhat against my better judgement, agreed to watch the rugby with some people I know my suggestions of the pubs to watch it in were outvoted.

    Everyone else preferring that centre of sophistication which is Walkabout.

    So for 5 hours I had a Dantesque experience with neither the commentaries or my suggestions of “shall we move somewhere else for the second half / England game / second half” being audible.

    At least I bet on both Ireland and Wales to win.

  16. Richard – any friend of mine who forced me to drink in a Walkabout wouldn’t remain a friend of mine for long. I feel your pain.
    I can think of greater priorities than starting a forced rhubarb collective. Nevertheless, I’ll bear it in mind.

  17. Joe James

    Any thoughts of my views of the differences between rugby crowds in London and Yorkshire?

  18. Richard, you made an interesting observation there, which I largely agree with.
    I was recovering from yesterday’s rout before I could give it proper thought.

    Assuming I think I know what you mean by a JJB type!

    There is some variety though – more than before.
    There are more black players, and Danny Cipriani (now with Sale) is from a poorer background.

    There was an interesting scheme in 2008 in Barking and Dagenham, where a rugby club offered to train up chaps from a local failing school(s), with considerable success, which I think motivated them to do much better with other school work.
    In West Yorkshire, and Wakefield/Castleford,( but also Doncaster I think), the Rugby League players and fans will be different,
    as there are small Rugby Union clubs scattered around most parts of Britain (although not as much as in the South, and particularly South Wales), there
    will be people from different backgrounds there.
    (Eg Consett in Durhan)

    In Wales, though, Rugby Union is ingrained I would say as much as in New Zealand, with small clubs in former mining villages, giving them lots of talent.
    But I guess that could be a double edged sword, because their revival from 2005 onwards (surprisingly not earlier, interrupted in 2006) was partly due to the merging of some clubs to create centres of excellence, but they need to be careful not to let that tear away at the roots of the community. It seems they are undamaged though, if yesterday is anything to go by.

  19. I think you are right though that even in towns outside the South East, such as Northampton, Matlock, Harrogate, and the far SW, there is some difference with those around outer London/Home Counties.

  20. Rugby League would have a very working class following whereas the RU clubs within the same area – in Yorkshire Rotherham, Leeds, Doncaster and formerly Wakefield – would have a fan and player base higher up the socioeconomic scale.

    But still there does seem to be a big difference in the RU crowds between Yorkshire and around London.

  21. On a somewhat related socioeconomic note there was a big description in yesturday’s Sunday Times of what are Britain’s best places to live.

    It did strike me that the requirements to be in it were very upper middle class related. Private schools and fishmongers on the local high street being the sort of thing.

    Now they might be important things if you’re wealthy upper middle class and with the time to go shopping along your local high street.

    But irrelevant for the vast majority of people for whom good state schools and variety of supermarkets are what matters.

    The danger I think we have is that its this upper middle class lifestyle that is increasingly deemed the ‘right’ one by the ‘opinion formers’ and something everyone else should be pushed into.

    An example being IIRC Zac Goldsmith and John Gummer producing a report saying that people should have to pay parking charges when visiting a supermarket.

    Have to do some work now but I will try to formulate my thoughts later.

  22. High streets are much more important in London, where at least half the population doesn’t own a car.

    In the sticks high streets will become more important again as the costs of running a car continue to increase whilst real wages decline.

  23. Having seen the mention of Richmond’s pub scene on the Filton thread and now carried on over here, I’m interested to see (and agree with) the views re: the pubs. Although my current family status tends to prevent my regular patronage of pubs, I tend to agree with Barnaby re: the Orange Tree. I was last in there a few years back and even then the price of the beer was horrendous, and it seemed a bit barren. I was pretty disappointed too when the Racing Page was re-branded.

    For me the best pub I’ve been in recently was the White Swan in Twickenham.

    Re: the views from the trains – I suspect fairly naturally the train views will be of the slightly more “undesirable” aspects of the areas concerned – as the smarter developments will have been away from the train lines! Putney is a strange one for me though – I worked there for nearly a decade and couldn’t find much charm about the place.

  24. Richard – sorry to nitpick
    but here you seem to be saying that we should use supermarkets
    and not small businesses?

  25. In a lot of areas outside big cities there aren’t any decent small food shops: if people want to buy food of a fairly good quality they have to go to supermarkets – and they don’t want to have to pay for parking there. It’s the sort of thing that someone like Zac Goldsmith wouldn’t understand because he’s probably never lived in a medium-sized provincial town.

    One of the reasons UKIP are doing so well at the moment is because none of the political parties appear to speak for the lower-middle classes who seem to be regarded as a bit of a joke by the political elite. For example most of today’s politicians are much happier visiting a multicultural school in East London than talking about anything the lower-middle classes might be interested in. Another example is the way that there are pressure groups and thinktanks devoted to all sorts of causes but few of them have anything to say that connects with those who are neither particularly rich nor poor.

  26. Apart from in areas like richmond ant twickenham where butchers are coming back, you tend to get better quality in small towns in rural areas. Supermarket meat is being found out. There is a lovely Italian deli very near the Conservative office in finchley aswell. These are generalisations of coiurse, you will find prettymuch everything somewhere in a large city, and waitrose is okish for meat

  27. “waitrose is okish for meat”

    Without meaning to sound offensive, that must be the snootiest comment on this site. There’s no wonder the Tories are finding it hard to connect with ordinary people these days.

    The majority of people view Waitrose as posh and far too expensive for them to shop in.

  28. “The majority of people view Waitrose as posh and far too expensive for them to shop in.”

    Very true.

    Not that I couldn’t afford it, its just crap value compared to anywhere else.

    I’ve never understood the wonders of John Lewis either.

  29. Now perhaps things are different in London.

    But the big advantages supermarkets have over high streets are:

    1) They’re open all the time, not only 9-5 Mon-Sat
    2) They give free parking
    3) Everything is available in one place
    4) They’re cheap

    Sometimes I wonder if there are people with the time and money to shop as if we were still in the 1950s – by strolling up a high street every day with a wicker shoping basket.

  30. You don’t offend me HH

    Why not go for the best, and celebrate excellence.
    Like Welsh rugby.

    Butchers meat – particularly in the rural areas (perhaps not so where you can find one in London) is quite often cheaper aswell, and better.

    I’m amazed we had an approximate decade (late 1990s to a few years ago) where people have been so taken in by supermarket meat.

  31. The chickens in Tescos are particularly horrible.
    It’s best to buy meat a bit less often but get something really good.

  32. “Sometimes I wonder if there are people with the time and money to shop as if we were still in the 1950s – by strolling up a high street every day with a wicker shoping basket.”

    The mining village I grew up in was still like that when I was a small child in the early 1980s. I remember our food being expensive and the quality being much poorer than is the case in the supermarkets today. JJB is romanticising small, wealthy idyllic villages but they are very unrepresentative of the places most non-city people live in.

    “The chickens in Tescos are particularly horrible.
    It’s best to buy meat a bit less often but get something really good.”

    I don’t disagree with that, and personally always shop in Sainsbury’s in preference to Tesco….and sometimes buy bits in Waitrose too. We have to remember those who are less comfortable than ourselves though, and for them in particular the likes of Tesco have significantly improved food quality and value for money over the past 30 years.

  33. “But the big advantages supermarkets have over high streets are:

    1) They’re open all the time, not only 9-5 Mon-Sat
    2) They give free parking
    3) Everything is available in one place
    4) They’re cheap”

    For me, number 5) They are small child friendly. You can push toddlers around in a trolley, which keeps them entertained, warm and safe, rather than dodging traffic outside in the rain and cold. That goes for out of town shopping centres as well.

  34. The best butcher I ever found was in Matlock actually.

    Try their pork pies.

    I am told there is a very good one in Stockbridge (Romsey consitiuency).

    I think pub food did deteriorate in southern areas close to London in the late 1990s.
    I remember driving round Surrey at great length in 1998 thinking there would be lots of places but there weren’t actually,
    Perhaps there has been a revival since, but of course pubs are having a tough time for other reasons.

  35. Btw it is a good idea to do most of the shopping in a supermarket – except for the meat.

    That isn’t too impractical.

  36. “The mining village I grew up in was still like that when I was a small child in the early 1980s. I remember our food being expensive and the quality being much poorer than is the case in the supermarkets today. JJB is romanticising small, wealthy idyllic villages but they are very unrepresentative of the places most non-city people live in.”

    That brings back memories.

    As Andy said earlier many of the establishment have no idea and no interest as to how most people live.

  37. “Richard – sorry to nitpick
    but here you seem to be saying that we should use supermarkets
    and not small businesses?”

    Supermarkets suit my way of life, small individual shops on high streets don’t.

    I would suggest that that people buy British produce where possible but you can get that from a supermarket as easily.

    Morrisons is good for meat.

  38. I like Morrisons as well, although there are very few stores in London.

    I find Sainsbury’s meat fine as long as you buy British and avoid the basics range. It stands to reason that a 99p pack of burgers is not going to be great quality. I tend to avoid Tesco completely, partly because their Beckenham store car park is always full of rats.

    Another good tip is to eat turkey mince in preference to beef – the quality is much better for a similar price and it’s much healthier.

  39. Sainsburys sometimes have Norfolk Black chickens, which are very good though I’m not sure they’re quite as good as those of my local butcher. Waitrose meat tends to be disappointing.

  40. Richard – I’d rather give my money to local people in local markets, than corporate suits in bulk-buy supermarkets.

  41. Morrisons is excellent for meat…

    Sainsbury’s made a cock-up in Wakefield by moving from a location with free parking for customers, to one with paid parking.

    They suffered accordingly and, to stop Tescos opening a store on the old site (which would’ve been the coup de grace), they re-opened the store on the old site, so now have two large-ish stores in central Wakefield within less than a mile of each other.

    It must be completely unsustainable in the long-term.
    It doesn’t give me great confidence in their business nouse.

  42. A question to JJB and Barnaby:

    Do you watch the boat race and if so from where?

    As JJB is a rowing man and Barnaby a Cambridge alumnus I would expected the first answer to be Yes.

  43. I presume from the question that it’s on Saturday – if so, I have to work that day (even though it’s my birthday), so won’t be able to see it. Normally I do watch it on TV but don’t get too worked up about it.

  44. It’s on Sunday, Barnaby, so you may be able to catch it after all.

    The more important question is Oxford or Cambridge? I’m an Oxford man myself.

  45. Robin Meltzer has been selected as the LD candidate. Does anyone know anything about him in terms of his political career?

  46. No, this came up previously. I have absolutely no knowledge of him. I’m sure all will become clear though.
    Cambridge for me of course, though I am not as bothered about it as I am about Test cricket or football.

  47. Like Barnaby I am a Cambridge alumnus so I have my fingers crossed for Cambridge!

  48. I used to support Oxford – because they always seemed to win.

    But now having a cluster of friends near Cambridge I have been to the town many times in recent years and so have changed my allegiance.

    I’ve never been to Oxford.

    How does historic/tourist Oxford compare to historic/tourist Cambridge?

  49. They are surprisingly similar in many ways, though the river seems to play a greater role vis a vis the colleges in Cambridge. The architecture in Oxford however does show the influence of the nearby Cotswolds a bit. Oxford is definitely better for eating out I reckon; in terms of pubs the 2 cities are close to even, with Cambridge perhaps having a slight edge (though the best pubs are well outside the collegiate areas).

  50. My experience of the Cambridge pubs is that they’re very ‘touristy’.

    Perhaps something I shouldn’t complain about as I’m a tourist when I’m there but in my opinion not all tourists are the same.

    Clearly I must look something like a local in Cambridge to the ‘proper’ tourists as I’ve twice been asked by Americans where the nearest Starbucks was.

    I was rather pleased to be unable to answer such a depressing question.

    Which is the pub between Kings college and the town centre which surrounds a courtyard and has the RAF Bar and where Crick and Watson announced their DNA discovery?

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