NEW CROSSING IN CEDAR ROAD – COMPLEMENTING THE GATEWAY PROJECT

zebra crossing cedar

After a long campaign initially led by Richard and former Councillor Heather Honour, more lately by Richard and Trish, the new zebra crossing in Cedar Road is there. This project began some years ago when we obtained funding for a survey of traffic speeds in the Ward which identified Cedar Road and Cavendish Road as speeding hot spots. The new traffic islands in Cavendish Road have reduced speeds. People will doubtless think the Cedar Road zebra crossing is part of the Sutton Gateway project, but in fact it is a separate project.

The Gateway project should be completed in the next month and has smartened up the station area.

The project aims to further develop the area around Sutton station, including by:

– refitted shop fronts, new paving and newly planted trees to improve the look of the area

– more lighting and CCTV cameras to make the area safer

– extra cycling facilities, with new bike racks and shelters

– a town centre clock

– less crowded pavements and bus shelters

–  a new crossing in Brighton Road.

OVER 14 000 RESIDENTS SIGN UP TO GREEN GARDEN WASTE SCHEME

quadrant bins

10,000 people needed to sign up by the 15th February 2015 to make the proposed service viable. By the middle of January over 8 000 residents had signed up and by the due date it was over 12 000. We are there!

Now, those who have signed up need to make sure they make the necessary payment, and you can do this via the Sutton website. 

 

Stopping the free service will save the Council £736,000 a year, a contribution to the £40 million needed as a result of Government cuts.

Sutton Council will begin charging for Green Garden Waste Collection from July 2015.

Residents had until 15th February 2015 to sign up for the service. They can still sign up and make the required payment, either online by visiting

www.sutton.gov.uk/ggw

or by returning the form received in the post to the Council.

A 240 litre bin will be charged at £59 annually with an early bird discount rate of £49 offered to people who signed up before the 15th February 2015. That’s cheaper than neighbouring boroughs of Kingston (£71), Merton (£65) and Richmond (£60). This decision was taken by the Environment and Neighbourhood’s Committee after almost 2,000 people had their say on the future of the service. The consultation was part of the Council’s “Sutton’s Future” campaign which encourages residents to help the Council achieve £40m of savings from its annual budget by 2019. The savings are being forced by unprecedented government reductions to funding and growing demand for Council services.

Residents were given the option of the current free service becoming a charged for service, or being stopped completely. The paid for service will start on 1 July, 2015. The Borough-wide consultation included a telephone survey representative of the Borough, an online survey on the Sutton’s Future website and three ‘Have Your Say’ events where residents could give their views in person and ask questions. In the telephone survey, 79% of those surveyed had a garden and 74% of these used the current service. Out of the 1,002 people surveyed, 32% were in favour of charging for the service and 42% supported it being stopped. In the online survey, out of the 892 people that took part, 69% favoured the chargeable service and 60% said they intended to subscribe, while 11% said they supported the service stopping. In the three ‘Have Your Say’ events, the preferred option among the 92 attendees was to charge for the service.

WILL THE TRAM COME TO SUTTON ?

tram

Consultation to gauge public views on phase 1 of the proposed Tramlink extension to Sutton indicates overwhelming support.

The proposed route consulted on would involve a branch to the current Tramlink route after it has left Wimbledon and got as far as Morden Road. The branch to Sutton would leave the current Wimbledon to West Croydon Tramlink route at that point, proceed via St. Helier Avenue to the Rosehill roundabout, then to Angel Hill and on to Sutton, where it will go round the gyratory. There will be a loop from the Rosehill roundabout to St. Helier hospital.

Full details can be found at  www.suttonmertontramlink.co.uk or by clicking on this link.

If agreed and built, phase 1 may be followed by phase 2, an extension to the re-developed Sutton hospital site in Belmont. This is as yet far into the future. We remain hopeful that funding will be found for phase 1.

RICHARD SETS OUT HIS VISION AS CHAIR OF THE PLANNING COMMITTEE

richard-councillor-002

On 11 July Richard took the helm as chair of the Council’s Planning Committee (formerly the Development Control Committee) by chairing the first meeting of the Committee following the election and his appointment as chair.

A lively meeting dealt with some important planning applications, including one for the re-development of Times Square in the Sutton shopping centre.

Richard commenced by thanking his predecessor, former Councillor John Leach.

Richard introduced his first meeting by setting out his view of the vision and mission of the committee, saying that the work of our committee is massively important and our mission is:

– to achieve the vision for Sutton in our plans and ensure that acceptable standards are observed in all developments within the Borough.

He said “The business of the committee is to consider certain categories of planning applications, particularly those that are significant to the development of Sutton and those that are disputed.

The way the planning system works is that Sutton Council adopts and publicises planning policies, setting out its overall plans for the Borough and standards on such matters as design, environmental impact and the impact on local amenities.

These policies are discussed and adopted by the Housing, Economy and Business Committee (HEB).

Our committee is concerned with the implementation of those policies – in the actuality of the proposals for new developments in Sutton, in the planning applications that come before us and thus what is actually built.

In considering planning applications we will not grant them where there is clearly a conflict with our planning policies. A decision not to grant an application is of course subject to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.

But the work of our committee is massively important – to achieving the vision for Sutton in our plans and in ensuring that acceptable standards are observed in all developments within the Borough.”

 

RICHARD AND TRISH TAKE ON NEW RESPONSIBILITIES

TWO 1 ROTATED

Trish and Richard are taking on a range of new responsibilities, following their election.

Trish will be a member of the Council’s important Housing, Economy and Business Committee. She will be a member of the Licensing Committee, having had experience in matters relating to licensing. She will also be a member of the Appeals Committee and of the Merton and Sutton Joint Cemetery Board.

Richard will be chair of the Council’s Planning Committee (formerly Development Control Committee) and continue as chair of the Health and Safety Committee. As a former chair of the Board of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work he cannot escape that task. He will also sit on the Strategy and Resources Committee and the Standards Committee. He will also sit on the Council’s joint committee with recognised trade unions and have other responsibilities on joint committees of London Councils. His wife Gloria sometimes reminds him that he is supposed to be retired.

NEW STREET TREES PROGRAMME ANNOUNCED

Richard plus tree in Farm Road 

Richard planting a tree in Farm Road.

Richard, Nali, Heather and Sue with trees

Richard, Nali, Heather and Sue with trees

There is a new programme of tree planting in our Ward, over the winter. Exciting news. Some of these are already planted. Here is a listing of sites. Contact us if you have other nominations to make.

There will be a number of different types of tree including laburnum, malus trilobata, corylus colurna, prunus sargentii rancho, crataegus laevigata “Paul’s Scarlet” and acer campestre “Streetwise”.

SUTTON SOUTH WARD

ALBION ROAD, SUTTON Outside number 20      

 

ALBION ROAD, SUTTON 10 (FLATS 1-8) near FERNDOWN CL      

 

CHRISTCHURCH PARK, SUTTON AMBERLEY COURT(FLATS)      

 

DEVONSHIRE AVENUE, SUTTON

PENARTH COURT      
 

DEVONSHIRE ROAD, SUTTON

10      
  DEVONSHIRE ROAD, SUTTON  near junction Egmont Road      
 

DEVONSHIRE ROAD, SUTTON

 near junction Egmont Road      

 

EFFINGHAM CLOSE, SUTTON

57      

 

FARM ROAD

7, and opposite Kayemoor Road      

 

KAYEMOOR ROAD, SUTTON

Outside 24/26, outside 10, outside 32/34      

 

PRIOR AVENUE, SUTTON

Outside 41

     

 

STANLEY ROAD, SUTTON 3-15 ESPRIT COURT (entrance)      
 

UPLAND ROAD, SUTTON

Close to number 90      

 

UPLAND ROAD, SUTTON

Outside 45, 53/55, 76

     

 

UPLAND ROAD, SUTTON

Outside 9, 62, 4

     

 

MAYFIELD ROAD, SUTTON

Outside 15

     

 

WILLIS AVENUE

Outside 15/17

     

 

 EFFINGHAM CLOSE

 Outside 5, and outside 6      

 

 CAMBORNE ROAD

 4b

     

 

An additional tree has been planted outside 3 Chalgrove Road at the suggestion of a resident.

Residents have the opportunity to foster these new trees and help leave a green legacy. Under the Council’s Tree Fostering Scheme they can help look after trees that are planted near their homes for up to three years. Maintenance duties include watering the trees with three buckets of water a week in the dry months and, if they want to, loosen tree ties and trim off broken twigs. By signing up, residents will receive a tree care guide with information on how to look after their tree.

NEW GP SURGERY ? NOT IN THE RIGHT PLACE

Homeland Drive, Belmont

Homeland Drive, Belmont

Heather and Richard are concerned at the proposal to close the Grove Road surgery and move it to a building in Homeland Drive, in Belmont.

There is no GP surgery in Sutton South Ward. Our residents are spread between a number of surgeries and many (including Richard) use the Grove Road surgery. There is no disputing that this building, a converted house, is not the best place for a surgery and it does not meet the best standards. However, closing it and moving to Homeland Drive is not the best move, as the new building is not on a bus route and it is a difficult walk for those with mobility problems from the nearest bus stops in the Brighton Road. Increased traffic at the site will give rise to safety concerns. We believe there are better sites, such as locating the surgery at the Sutton hospital site, where part of the site is shortly to be vacated. This is not, of course, an issue on which the decision rests with the local Council. An application for planning permission has been made, but issues that concern whether there are better sites are not planning issues on which a decision to turn down the application could be based.

The following is the text of a letter we sent to the Sutton Guardian:

“What the discussion in the letters page of the Guardian, about the proposed new GP surgery on the old Henderson Hospital site, has failed to address is the scandal that there is no GP surgery in the whole of Sutton South Ward.  This issue has long concerned us because our Ward has the largest proportion of people over 65 in the whole of Sutton,17 per cent.  The needs of this group was one of the reasons for launching Sutton South Hello this year. Closing down the Grove Road Surgery only makes the situation worse.
 
New health facilities are desperately needed but can’t we find somewhere more accessible, and safer?  We understand that there have been four collisions at the junction of Homeland Drive and Brighton Road.  These might have been categorised as light but, with increased traffic flow, they could increase.  And what about those who have no cars, are elderly,  and will have to trudge up the dark and steep road from Brighton Road?”

 

FEWER EMPTY HOMES IN SUTTON

end of devonshire

With continuing pressure on housing in the Borough, it is a matter of concern if houses are left empty for long period.

Last year Sutton Council introduced a number of technical changes to Council tax collection arrangements that changed financial incentives to keep properties empty. Richard, in his role as vice-chair of the Housing, Economy and Business Commmittee, was closely involved in the design of these changes, which involved the removal of discounts on Council tax previously enjoyed by owners of second homes and owners of empty properties.

At the meeting of the Housing, Economy and Business Committee on 8 October Richard commented on figures the Committee discussed that showed a fall in the number of empty properties. However, while the figures are moving in the right direction there is clearly some way to go. They show that there are still 200 properties in Sutton empty for over two years (excluding those in probate), down from 210, and over 450 properties unoccupied and unfurnished (470 down from 573). 

Richard said “at a time of housing pressure these empty properties are a cause for concern. The policy the Council introduced last year to remove financial incentives to keep properties empty has been a success, in that the numbers have fallen, but there is still a way to go.”

SUTHERLAND HOUSE – PLANNING INSPECTORATE SUPPORTS VIEW THAT AFFORDABLE HOMES ARE REQUIRED

Sutherland House

The owners of Sutherland House will make sufficient profit when they re-develop Sutherland House as 160 luxury flats that they can and should include some “affordable homes” in the proposal.

This is the view of the Planning Inspector who has rejected the appeal by the owners of Sutherland House against the view taken by the Council and supported by Richard and Heather. The Inspector awarded the Council costs on the grounds of the unreasonable action of the developers.

Richard and Heather have appealed to the developers to now get on with the re-development of the site taking on board the Inspector’s views – that we need some affordable housing and a better design for the units in Cedar Road.

Richard spoke at the appeal hearing on 17 July.

The Council supported the re-development of Sutherland House as residential units but argued for some affordable housing and that the proposed development fronting on to Cedar Road included accommodation of a quality that was not acceptable. The Inspector supported the Council on both points. The Inspector accepted a financial analysis of the viability of the project that showed there was sufficient profit to make it possible to include some affordable housing.

Richard says “The views of the Inspector accord exactly with the case I put to the hearing. I feel vindicated, in saying this proposal was not good enough. The developer will make a lot of money from turning this building, close to the town centre and Sutton station, into luxury flats. The appraisal accepted by the Inspector showed there can be some affordable housing included without threatening the financial viability of the project. As a Councillor, I meet local families living in extremely overcrowded conditions and we desperately need more affordable housing. The building has been empty too long and I call on the developer to now get on with it and come up with a scheme that reflects the Inspector’s decision.”

OPENING THE SIDE ENTRANCE TO SUTTON STATION

side entrance

Ever since we were elected in2010 we have been pursuing an objective to get the side entrance to Sutton station opened as a second entrance.

There are several reasons for this, and it is a particular passion for Richard who for over 20 years of his life commuted from his home in The Ridgway to central London for work, running (as he was usually late for his train) past the shuttered and barricaded side entrance to the station to enter by the front, then in the evening shuffling (as the station is officially classified as overcrowded) to get out the front, when he could have left by the side. There are many residents of our Ward who commute to central London for work and approach the station from the Wellesley Road direction, so have the same experience every working day as Richard had. But opening the side entrance will also make The Quadrant and the bike rack more accessible.

Today, 25 July, is likely to be seen as the day we were able to be sure the side entrance will open next year.

Today there was the first meeting of the Sutton Gateway project board, of which Richard is a member. There were discussions involving the Council, Network Rail and Transport for London. It was confirmed that the firm intention, now, is to open the side entrance. The project is more complex than simply putting a row of entrance gates where the shutter closing the side entrance is currently situated. There will be some re-building of the side entrance, a canopy, gates and the very steep flight of stairs (too steep to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act) will be replaced by a flight at right angles to the current flight of stairs, at a more gradual gradient.

Richard said “This is exciting news for Sutton South residents. The campaign we started in 2010 has succeeded.”

R and H at side entrance