CELEBRATING THE CONTRIBUTION OF BLACK CULTURE TO SUTTON

Richard and Gloria at the Black History Month Closing Event

Richard and Gloria at the Black History Month Closing Event

On 29 October Richard, as Mayor of Sutton, delivered a strong message of support for the contribution those of African and Caribbean heritage have made to the borough. This is a concern Richard and Trish share – on 8 October Trish attended a service in St Paul’s Cathedral to express our detestation of the racist hate crimes that followed the Brexit vote.

Richard was making a speech closing Black History Month, which he had opened at an event at the start of October, and he repeated themes he had raised the previous day when addressing the Annual General Meeting of Sutton’s Afro-Caribbean Heritage Association.

While drawing attention to positive developments in the promotion of diversity and multiculturalism he said he had been shocked by the racist hate crimes that followed the Brexit vote, and hoped this was a phase we would quickly move on from.

The Mayor said:

“Each year October is Black History Month, focused on raising the awareness of African and Caribbean history and cultural heritage, and celebrating the positive contribution of this heritage to the political, economic and cultural life of Britain.

My own family has a great interest in black history, in diversity and multiculturalism. Our daughter is married to man whose family comes from Ghana, so we have a grandson who is of mixed race. I look forward to having long, deep and meaningful discussions with him about diversity and multiculturalism, and what he can draw from a heritage that is both British and African. But he is only one year old, so not yet.

First celebrated in the UK in 1987, Black History Month is marked annually as an important point of reference for the black community. I believe we have made progress in the UK over recent decades in tackling racist attitudes, increasing diversity, and improving equality, within Sutton and in Britain as a whole. I tell my daughter and my son-in-law that when I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s in this country, her marriage, a white woman marrying a black African man, would have been unusual and provoked openly racist comment in the white community.

Today, where she lives in Brixton, it is quite usual, and when I take my grandson to play groups there, such as the one I took him to in Brockwell Park last Monday, I cannot help but notice what an enormous melting pot there is of children of many different colours and racial groups, and many variation of mixed race, playing happily together. It makes me optimistic about the prospects for further progress in building a diverse community, something that is re-enforced every week when I represent the community, as Mayor, at Citizenship ceremonies, where people of many different cultural backgrounds take British citizenship.

For that reason I have been shocked, we have all been shocked, by the racist attacks and hate crimes following the Brexit vote, and we must pray that this is a phase we will, as a community, quickly recover from.

Sutton’s Black History Group was established in 2010 and has promoted a wide range of free community-wide events. The Group has been strongly supported by Sutton Council which is why I, the Mayoress and the Deputy Mayor Councillor Patel are here today, to show that support.”

TAKING CRIME SERIOUSLY

With Chief Superintendent Stringer

With Chief Superintendent Stringer

Sutton South Ward has one of the lowest crime levels in London, but we cannot be complacent and need to take the simple precautions necessary to avoid making life easy for the criminal.

We are well served by our local police, and we meet them regularly to assess crime trends in the Ward. There are many blocks of flats in the Ward and recently there have been a small number of incidents reported to us of rough sleepers spending the night in stairwells.

The problem of homelessness has, of course, increased recently due to Government housing policies. We have been involved in discussions with housing managers and the police about precautions such as entryphone systems and sought to help local groups that are trying to deal with the problem of homelessness and rough sleeping. If you observe rough sleepers in stairwells it is best to contact the police on the non-emergency 101 number. They can also be directed to sources of advice such as the Salvation Army (02086429862), Shelter (02034686293) and the Sutton Civic offices (02087705800).

Sutton police station in Carshalton Road

Sutton police station in Carshalton Road

A MORNING OF CELEBRATION OF DANCE IN SUTTON TOWN CENTRE

The dancers wore traditional dress

The dancers wore traditional dress

On 17 September Sutton hosted a performance in the town centre from the famous dance group L’Aubade de Quercy, who come from Sutton’s twin town of Gagny near Paris.
The group danced for an hour in Trinity Square in the centre of Sutton, alongside the Pennyroyal Clog Dancers and the East Surrey Morris Men, making it a remarkable international festival of traditional dance. L’Aubade de Quercy specialise in traditional French folk dancing, performed in traditional costume. The group included ladies who demonstrated lace making, traditional in this part of France.
The lace makers

The lace makers

Prior to the performance Richard, as Mayor, welcomed the group to a reception in the Mayor’s Parlour, where the dancers from Gagny presented the borough with an emblem made in lace, and Richard presented them with a copy of the Sutton Coat of Arms.
Richard holding the lace emblem presented to the borough

Richard holding the lace emblem presented to the borough

WELCOMING RABBI SHMULI SAGAL

With Rabbi Shmuli Sagal

With Rabbi Shmuli Sagal

There are three places of worship in our Ward – Christchurch in Christchurch Park is a Victorian Church of England church while in Cedar Road there is the Friends Meeting House and the Sutton and District United Synagoge.

On 11 September Richard attended the induction service to induct Rabbi Shmuli Sagal at the Sutton and District United synagogue in Cedar Road. Rabbi Shmuli Sagal studied in Israel and the USA, as well as the UK, in completing his studies prior to his appointment. The service was attended by the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, both Sutton and Carshalton Members of Parliament, and the Leader of Sutton Council, Councillor Ruth Dombey. It coincided with the 70th anniversary of the founding of the synagogue and was celebrated by the dedication a set of renovated Torah Scrolls.

PROGRESS ON TRAFFIC AND PARKING SCHEMES IN THE WARD

 

The extended yellow lines at the bottom of Downside Road

The extended yellow lines at the bottom of Downside Road

There is further progress on the traffic and parking schemes under consideration for the Ward to report following the meeting of the South Sutton, Cheam and Belmont Local Committee held on 8 September 2016 and the discussion at the Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee on 15 September of a global strategy for parking. To ensure a consistent approach throughout the Borough, all local schemes will be drawn into a central strategy and progressed on the basis of an assessment of priorities.

An ambitious scheme for the introduction of a 20mph scheme across most of the area of Sutton South Ward west of the Sutton to Belmont railway line has now been included in the “Local Implementation Plan” prepared by Transport for London. This was the subject of proposals put to the local committee in 2015. However, it is on the “reserve list” which means that implementation in the near future is most unlikely.

A parking scheme for the newly-named Berridge Close is agreed, implementation to coincide with the opening of the adjacent Subsea7 building, as this will lead to more intensive use of the road by those working in the building and accessing the underground car park. Obstructive parking in Berridge Close could lead to problems when the building is occupied, so needs to be avoided. It is proposed that the road will be included in the controlled parking zone with four parking bays in the road, reserved for residents with parking permits. Completion of the building is unlikely before December.

Traffic and parking schemes were the subject of a session at the December 2015 meeting of the South Sutton, Cheam and Belmont Local Committee, when residents noted down parking and traffic problems. A list of the proposals raised by residents was reported back to the local committee meeting on 10 March.

In relation to our own area, the proposals fell into three main categories.

First, concerns about intensive and sometimes obstructive parking in Mayfield Road and roads nearby (The Ridgway, Chalgrove Road, Upland Road).

Second, concerns about visibility at the Farm Road / The Ridgway junction.

Third, a set of other concerns, mostly about speeding at various locations.

This listing will form the agenda for further work by the traffic department within a wider cross-Borough study, which is centrally managed by the Council. A number of minor, initial proposals were agreed on 10 March, including to restrict parking at the Prior Avenue / Banstead Road junction due to visibility issues.

The question of a parking control scheme in Mayfield Road and the surrounding area was the subject of a consultation exercise by local Councillors last year which showed support in Mayfield Road but not adjacent roads. On 10 March the local committee agreed to devote some of its public realm funds to fund the traffic department to “kick start” a study of potential for parking controls in this area. A discussion between traffic engineers and Ward Councillors to consider this study was held on 8 June in Mayfield Road. The traffic engineers will design a parking control scheme for consultation. The precise parameters of this scheme and the consultation have yet to be finalised. Consultation with residents is due to begin in January 2017.

Some residents of Audley Place have commented to us that there is difficulty when driving out of Audley Place in seeing vehicles coming down Camborne Road, if cars are parked close to the corner. We raised this issue with traffic engineers and the Council is proposing a small extension of the yellow lines on each side at the exit from Audley Place. We think this will do the trick in terms of making it easier, and safer, to drive out into Camborne Road.

Residents of Tapestry Close have complained to us about obstructive parking in the Close. We raised this issue with traffic engineers and a scheme of yellow lining was proposed. Further consultation with residents, required by law, found some residents objecting and this scheme is currently on hold.

Several schemes consulted on some time ago have now been implemented, including yellow lining at the bottom of Downside Road to deal with obstructive parking (see photo above) and switching some “pay and display” bays to “dual use” so residents with parking permits can use them, in Grange Road and Langley Park Road.

A CRICKET BALL ROLLS IN SUTTON

Richard with the two teams and supporters

Richard with the two teams and supporters

On 16 August Richard, in his capacity as the Mayor of Sutton, together with the chief of Sutton’s police service, Chief Superintendent Stringer, gave enthusiastic support to the teams from Sutton police and the local Muslim community who met for their annual cricket match at Purley cricket ground.

The match, which was called off last year due to rain, was played in near perfect conditions, warm evening sunshine, starting at 5pm. The match was played under 20/20 rules. The police won the toss and put the Muslim Cultural Welfare Association in to bat. The Association’s batsmen were quickly racing along at over ten runs an over, and scored 204 for the loss of seven wickets off their twenty overs. The police were never likely to match this score and eventually fell well short, scoring 152 and losing by 52 runs.
Richard said “The quality of the cricket we saw thisevening was inspiring. It is heart warming that, at a time of problems and difficulties in some parts of the world, we have the annual tradition of this cricket match in Sutton promoting warm relations between the police and the local community.”
Richard with Chief Superintendent Stringer

Richard with Chief Superintendent Stringer

VICTORY IN CARSHALTON CENTRAL BY-ELECTION

The Liberal Democrat fightback continues.
The Party won the Carshalton Central by-election and Chris Williams has been elected as a new Sutton Councillor!
This maintains the number of Liberal Democrat Councillors on Sutton Council as 44, with just 8 Tories and two Independent Councillors (not elected as such but one each elected as a Tory and a Liberal Democrat who later fell out with their parties).
Chris achieved a 5.1% increase in the LibDem share of the vote compared to the 2014 result.

WEEKLY COLLECTION OF FOOD WASTE PROPOSED

bulbs oct 15

Proposals for a new waste collection service include a weekly collection of food waste.

There will continue to be fortnightly collection of re-cycling waste. The waste that currently goes in the brown bin will be divided, with the food waste collected weekly and other waste collected fortnightly. At present around 40 per cent of brown-bin waste is food waste, so this will mean residents will be able to reduce significantly the amount of waste in their brown bins. These changes will mean less waste goes to landfill, which is good for the environment.

Garden waste collections for paying residents will be extended from nine months a year to all year round. This will be collected in the same green and brown wheelie bin.

Street cleaning operations will be extended to 10pm from the current 6.30am start.

The new contracts will enable Sutton Council to save £10.3m over the first eight years. It is estimated that Sutton’s recycling rate will increase from 37 per cent (2014/15) to 42 per cent by the end of the first year of the contract.

Sutton Council has agreed to the shared service approach with its neighbours due to the unprecedented Government cuts to the Council’s budget, along with the opportunities to increase recycling rates. Currently Sutton has to save £31m from its annual budget due to Government cuts. The Council’s annual budget is £148.4m.

quadrant bins

AMNA AHMAD TO FIGHT SUTTON IF SNAP ELECTION CALLED

Amna addressing the Sutton Liberal Democrat Group

Amna addressing the Sutton Liberal Democrat Group

Amna Ahmad has been selected overwhelmingly as the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Sutton and Cheam, ready to fight the seat if a snap election is called in the autumn. The Liberal Democrats are now ready to fight a General Election, having selected candidates in areas with a proud liberal tradition, such as Sutton and Cheam.

This follows reports that the new Prime Minister might go to the country early, before a possible recession and to take advantage of Labour in-fighting.

As the former London Assembly candidate for Sutton, Amna has a strong record of fighting for people, having campaigned for better trains, half price fares and more affordable housing for local residents.

Amna Ahmad said: “I am really proud to have been selected. It would be a huge honour to represent this wonderful area.

“I am well aware that Sutton, Cheam & Worcester Park does have its challenges. As such my three campaign priorities will be to improve train services, provide more school places for local families and protect local health services. 

“Nationally the country is in crisis. Both the Conservatives and Labour are focused entirely on in-fighting while the economy worsens, threatening jobs, public services and our efforts to build the houses Britain so badly needs.

“The Liberal Democrats are well placed to fight a general election whenever it is held and I am raring to build on our local tradition of delivering for local people. Since the referendum we have signed more than 17,500 new members nationally including a large number in Sutton.

“The Conservatives have destroyed their reputation for economic competence, with investment plummeting, putting Sutton jobs at risk. Their vicious cuts to local government are putting a strain on our community services. Labour has given up even trying to speak to the British people, and is engaged in a vicious fight with itself. We, meanwhile, are selecting candidates in key seats.

“Only the Liberal Democrats are an open, optimistic and united party committed to spreading opportunity for the next generation and focus on re-building the British economy to protect jobs and services.”

Former Sutton and Cheam MP, Paul Burstow said: “I am delighted that Amna Ahmad will be fighting for Sutton, Cheam and Worcester Park. We have a strong liberal tradition in the area and I am confident that Amna will continue this, and make sure the voices of  residents are heard.”
Amna with Trish and Richard

Amna with Trish and Richard

SUTTON SOUTH HELLO’S SUCCESSFUL GARDEN PARTY

hello garden party 16

On 20 July we attended the Sutton South Hello annual garden party, held in the garden of Nancy, in Chalgrove Road. About 50 residents attended. There was good weather and music, and a good time was had by all.

Sutton South Hello, a social club for the elderly and those seeking friendship, is the result of collaboration between local Councillors, associations, residents, churches, our Sutton South Safer Neighbourhood police team and voluntary organisations like Age UK Sutton and SKILL (Sutton Centre for Independent Living). Heather Honour, former Liberal Democrat Councillor, chairs the Board and has worked hard to involve all aspects of the community in the project. Richard is a trustee of Hello, sits on the committee and was amongst those who helped found it.

It was launched at Christchurch, in Christchurch Park, on 9 May 2012 by the then Care Minister, Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb, and was the pilot for similar initiatives elsewhere in the Borough.