TOP MARKS FOR SUTTON SOUTH POLICE

police station

SUTTON SOUTH WARD POLICE/COMMUNITY PANEL MEETING 5 JANUARY 2016

Trish and Richard attended their first local meeting of 2016 when they attended the consultative panel for Sutton South Ward set up by the police, on January 5, in Christchurch hall.

The police had reported at the previous meeting that that there had been a further fall in the total number of crimes in our Ward in the most recent three month period, a fall of 1.5% compared to the period a year previously. The downward trend has continued and data were presented to the meeting to show that the number of residential and non-residential burglaries in the last four months are down compared to the figures for the corresponding period in 2014. Sutton South Ward continues to have one of the lowest crime rates in London. It will be difficult to reduce it further.

Priorities remain tackling burglary, anti-social behaviour and speeding. The police are continuing to conduct some evening and night patrols with the objective of tackling rough sleepers in certain blocks of flats.

The threat to the future of PCSOs (Police Community Support Officers, the backbone of our neighbourhood policing approach) remains a matter of concern.

An exercise to test public satisfaction with the police has found that satisfaction rates are highest in Sutton, of all London boroughs.

SATISFACTION WITH THE COUNCIL HAS INCREASED, SURVEY SHOWS

Richard and Trish are always seeking new ways to consult local people

Richard and Trish are always seeking new ways to consult local people

Almost 8 in 10 people feel Sutton Council is doing a good job and 9 in 10 are satisfied with their local area as a place to live, an independent borough-wide survey has found.

The data comes from an independent bi-annual survey commissioned by the council to analyse public perception of the borough. This year the survey was carried out by M.E.L Research, which surveyed 1,022 residents aged 16+ with quotas set on age, gender and work status to match the profile of the population of Sutton.

The percentage of respondents satisfied with how the council runs services in the borough has risen two percentage points in the past two years to 78 per cent. The satisfaction rate for the local area as a place to live has been maintained at 90 per cent compared to 2013.

This is despite the council having to save £74m from its annual budget between 2011 and 2019 due to unprecedented Government cuts to its annual budget.

So far the council has saved £43m from its annual budget, with the majority of the saving (£32m) being made without frontline services being affected. However the remaining £31m will result in services being changed, reduced and in some cases stopped which is likely to have an effect on future surveys.

The council launched the Sutton’s Future campaign in July 2013 to involve residents in making the savings. So far there have been more than 10,000 responses.

The campaign looks to have had an effect with a rise in:

·        the percentage of people saying they feel informed about how council tax is spent (48 per cent in 2013 to 65 per cent in 2015)

·        the percentage of people feel informed about Council services and benefits (49 per cent in 2013 to 64 per cent in 2015)

·        the percentage of people that they feel they can influence council-run services (44 per cent in 2013 to 51 per cent in 2015)
Other survey results included:

·        Most residents (98 per cent) feel safe walking alone during the day in their neighbourhood. After dark, three-quarters (75 per cent) feel sale, compared with 71 per cent in 2013. The level of worry for burglary and antisocial behaviour has continued to decrease since 2011 (48 per cent and 41 per cent respectively to 37 per cent and 35 per cent in 2015).

·        More than half of residents want to know what the Council is doing but do not wish to be involved beyond that, with only 13 per cent wanting to be more involved or have a say in what the council is doing. Of those who want to be more involved or have a say, just over a third (34 per cent) would be willing to complete a questionnaire, 25 per cent to submit their views through an online channel and 28 per cent to attend a public meeting arranged by Sutton Council.

·        The satisfaction level with Sutton Council has risen consistently since 2009, when just under three-quarters (72 per cent) of residents thought the council was doing a good job. Just over six in 10 (61 per cent) agree that the council provides value for money, up from 54 per cent in 2013.

·        Residents on the whole appear to be reasonably satisfied with Council services. Since 2013, resident satisfaction has increased for services such as borough theatres, the arts and events, historic places and museums, playgrounds, sport and swimming facilities, and pavement and road maintenance.

·        However, resident satisfaction has decreased in recycling, down from 85 per cent in 2013 to 77 per cent in 2015, street cleaning from 76 per cent in 2013 to 69 per cent in 2015, refuse collection from 88 per cent in 2013 to 82 per cent in 2015, and parks and open spaces, from 87 per cent in 2013 to 82 per cent in 2015.

·        But resident satisfaction remained the same in 2013 and 2015 in parking (46 per cent), libraries (73 per cent) and street lighting (81 per cent).

THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT

band stretch xmas 15

For the third year in a row Richard helped arrange for one of his bands, the Phoenix Concert Band, to come to the Friends’ Meeting House in Cedar Road on the second Saturday in December to play a concert of Christmas tunes and Christmas carols. See if you can see Richard, who plays trumpet with the band, in one of the the photos. The Phoenix Concert Band comprises sections of flutes, clarinets, saxes, brass and percussion, about 30 members when all turn up. There is a tea for senior citizens every second Saturday of the month at the Friends’ Meeting House. Richard’s band is already booked to play a concert there on 11 June 2016.

band xmas 15[ Richard is second from left in the picture above. ]

SUTTON COUNCIL FREE GRIT SCHEME AGAIN A GREAT SUCCESS

PREPARE FOR THE SNOW

PREPARE FOR THE SNOW

Sutton Council again provided free grit to its residents this winter, to be ready for what could be cold and snowy conditions.
The free grit was available at several locations on 5  and 12 December, at B and Q in Sutton and at the Kimpton Park Way reuse and recycle centre. There was again a massive takeup.

And Sutton’s car parks were crowded over the weekends before Christmas due to the Council repeating its policy of not charging for using its car parks over weekends in the run-up to Christmas.

The Gibson Road multi-story car park in Sutton town centre and several other car parks across the Borough, including Carshalton High Street, Kingsway Cheam, and Wallington Library, offered free parking.

Spectacular lights last year but now the crane is gone

Spectacular lights last year but now the crane is gone

SCHOOL PLACES FOR LOCAL CHILDREN ASSURED

overton bulbs

Sutton Council’s Planning Committee, which Richard chairs, has agreed expansion plans for Overton Grange school, the only secondary school in Sutton South Ward.

Sutton Council, like every London Borough, has been pursuing a strategy to cope with the increased demand for school places. Having successfully coped with a surge in demand for primary school places, the bulge is now moving through to secondary schools. The Council continues to work on its proposals for at least one new secondary school in Sutton, while almost all of the existing secondary schools – including Overton Grange – are submitting plans to expand the number of places.

Overton Grange school is the only secondary school in our Ward and, while it takes students from all over Sutton, many local parents send their children there. Like many Sutton schools, it is planning to expand its intake to meet the additional demand for secondary school places in the Borough due to rising numbers of children. Currently the school takes in 210 students each year and it plans to expand the school by increasing its intake by a class of 30 each year from autumn 2016.

The school, which has “Academy” status so it is not under the control of the local authority, staged an exhibition of its building plans on 22 April, at the school. A new teaching block is proposed, and the school is taking the opportunity of the building work to expand its canteen, which is not large enough for the current size of the school.

At the time of the last local elections, last May, scare stories were put round that the school planned to expand into Overton Park. This is not the case.

Richard said, after the Planning Committee decision ” The rising number of children reaching secondary school age means that expansion of our schools is necessary, alongside the proposals for new schools, and I am pleased the Council is taking effective action to avert any crisis in school places. I am pleased there is no intention to expand into the park, a story that had no foundation and was a political scare story.”

Overton Grange plans to expand its intake by 30 pupils per year, a one form intake, from the autumn of 2016. The Planning Committee considered a report on an application for the erection of a part ground, part first, part second floor extension, to provide five additional classrooms with ancillary accommodation, three single storey extensions to provide additional canteen, kitchen and storage facilities, together with roof canopy to the main front entrance, a detached store, with soft and hard landscaping.

Overton Grange is a popular local school and this extension will continue to ensure there are sufficient places locally for children reaching secondary school age, so this is good news for the many parents in the area who have young children. Secondary school provision in the area will be further enhanced by the decision to build the first of the new secondary schools we need on the nearby Sutton hospital site.

“GATEWAY” PROJECT COMES IN ON BUDGET

The old side entrance - shuttered and barricaded

The old side entrance – shuttered and barricaded

The New Entrance - open all day every day

The New Entrance

The £1.2 million Sutton Gateway project – largely financed by Transport for London – has come in £8 000 within budget, a remarkable degree of accuracy.

The main success for Sutton South Ward residents, in particular those who commute to central London, is the opening of the side entrance to Sutton station. The side entrance is now open from 6am to 11pm seven days a week. The cycle racks next to the side entrance have been improved and the number of racks doubled.

The project further developed the area around Sutton station with:

– 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

– the town centre clock

– a re-arrangement of the bus stops to reduce congestion

– re-design of the Cedar Road / Brighton Road junction to improve visibility for motorists

– after 6.30 some taxis can park immediately opposite the station, with the bus stop previously opposite the station moved further down Brighton Road to ease congestion of buses at peak times

– the timing of the pedestrian crossing at the High Street / Grove Road / Sutton Court Road junction has been amended to give more time to cross

– the number of parking spaces in the station area has been increased

– general improvements in design and to the “public realm” around the station, with more flowers, more colour and better signage

– new “legible London” signs based on this design, still to be installed.

legible london sign

These changes are largely funded by grants the Council has obtained, not local Council tax payers.

The results of the earlier consultation exercise on the Gateway Project indicated general support for the scheme, but we were able to make a number of changes to respond to specific issues raised. In our Ward, a particular concern for the businesses was the need for a loading bay on Regents Parade just south of the station. We successfully lobbied for this to be incorporated into the scheme.

The improvements attributable to the Gateway project are complemented by the installation of the new zebra crossing in Cedar Road, which was not part of the project.

WELCOMING NEW CITIZENS

Swearing the oath of allegiance

Swearing the oath of allegiance

On 21 October Trish and Richard participated together at a Citizenship ceremony to welcome new British citizens, held at the Sutton Registrar’s office in Worcester Road, in our Ward. We had new citizens from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nigeria, South Africa, China and Iraq. Richard made a speech welcoming the new citizens and stressing what they can add to multi-cultural Britain.

On 26 November Richard participated in a further event when new citizens came from Iraq, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bulgaria, Poland, South Africa and Nigeria.

TACKLING SPEEDING IN THE ROADS OF SUTTON SOUTH

20mph on lampost sign
Since we were elected as Councillors for Sutton South Ward we have been concerned about speeding in the Ward. Following the speeding survey conducted in 2011 new traffic islands in Cavendish Road have had an impact on the speed of vehicles using the road. The new zebra crossing with the re-distribution of parking bays along the road – so there is more parking along the road, which generally does slow the speed of traffic – in Cedar Road (between Brighton Road and Langley Park Road) has had some impact on speeds there.
We have also sought to deal with the specific problem of the speed of vehicles approaching the right turn from The Ridgway into Chalgrove Road with better signage on the road and lamp-posts as your approach the bend.
A longer term proposal now under consideration concerns the area of the Ward west of Brighton Road. If fully implemented this would introduce a 20 mile per hour limit in the area east of Overton Road (including Overton Road) as far as the Sutton to Belmont railway line, so including these parts of Worcester Road, Grange Road, Camborne Road and Stanley Road. There would be signage to indicate the speed limit and some raised junctions, and road humps, where roads crossed. This follows a speeding survey indicating some vehicles travel too fast along these roads. There would, of course, be extensive consultation with residents before such a proposal was implemented and, given current funding restrictions and other priorities, action to consult on this proposal – which is a proposal for Transport for London funding – is not likely in the near future.
We would welcome any reactions, particularly from residents who live in the area.
We have also floated, in the same list of bids to Transport for London, consultation of residents on the inclusion of Christchurch Park in the Sutton South 20mph speed limit area.

ONE PLANET SUTTON

dana final

On 15 July Sutton Council debated our on-going commitment to the sustainability agenda and Sutton’s desire to be London’s most sustainable suburb. Sutton is ranked the highest outer London Borough in having the lowest CO2 emissions.

We represent Sutton South Ward, which has only one open space, the Devonshire Avenue Nature Area, an oasis of open space in an area dominated by small blocks of flats, where a study showed half the children live in properties without a garden. We think it commendable that Sutton Council has ensured that this site remains a nature reserve. But a few years ago that meant leaving it as jungle. It was little used, except for anti-social happenings behind the brick walls that still occupied part of the site. Today it remains a nature area, aiding the survival of the rare small blue butterfly (a talisman of Sutton South Ward), but it has benches, paths and a nature trail. We wanted to take the opportunity the motion afforded to pay tribute to Sutton Nature Conservation Volunteers, who maintain the site, and to those who distribute the funds to aid community projects provided by the landfill operator Viridor, whose funding, in 2012, paid for the renovation of the site.