WELCOME TO OUR SITE

Ed, Richard and Trish at our outdoor surgery in Brighton Road

AS LOCAL COUNCILLORS WE AIM TO KEEP SUTTON A GREAT PLACE TO WORK, LIVE AND RAISE A FAMILY, AND TO PRESERVE THE PLEASANT, GREEN, SUBURBAN FEEL OF SUTTON SOUTH WARD.

WHAT WE VALUE ABOUT SUTTON IS:

  • low crime
  • good schools
  • more affordable housing than in many London boroughs
  • easy access to the countryside and to the centre of London
  • a pleasant, green, suburban atmosphere.

There is a great deal of information on the Sutton Council website about local aspects of the implications of the coronavirus pandemic.  http://www.sutton.gov.uk

Trish wearing the chain of office made for her by Devonshire Avenue Primary School children

TRISH WAS THE MAYOR OF SUTTON FOR 2020-21 AND HAS BEEN RE-ELECTED MAYOR FOR 2021-22

On 18 May 2020 Sutton Council elected Trish as the Mayor for the municipal year 2020-21. On 4 May 2021 Trish was re-elected, to serve a second term. Scroll down to see more details.

Richard and Trish on the top of the Subsea7 building during its construction

Contact Richard at  richard.clifton@sutton.gov.uk and Trish at trish.fivey@sutton.gov.uk

Richard was first elected to Sutton Council in 2010, and was re-elected in 2014 and 2018. Trish was first elected in 2014 and was re-elected in 2018. Richard served as Mayor of Sutton for 2016-17 and Trish is our Mayor this year for a second term, serving for the current municipal year, till May 2022.

R and T at station small

Welcome to our site. This site aims to tell you the latest news about Sutton South Ward and our work as your local Councillors.

CONTINUE DOWN THE PAGE TO OUR CURRENT NEWS STORIES

OR CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW TO GO TO OUR SPECIFIC PAGES

Sutton South Hello!
Find out about this pioneering local initiative to combat loneliness in Sutton

Public Art and Historic Buildings in Sutton South
Some of Sutton South Ward’s best public artwork and the important historic buildings in our Ward

Richard’s Blog
Richard reports back on his recent activities

Sutton police
Contact details and information on our local police force

Who Are We?
Trish and Richard introduce themselves

Here is Trish on an electric bike

Trish visiting Devonshire Avenue school, her first commitment as Mayor of the Borough

Richard with the tree we got planted at White Lodge Close, one of many we have had planted in the Ward. Posts on the site list roads where we have had trees planted.
Richard had his second COVID jab on 24 March

ACTION TO OPPOSE PLANNING APPLICATIONS FOR TOWER BLOCKS AT BRIGHTON ROAD/ COPSE HILL JUNCTION AND THE SITE OPPOSITE

Dunsfold Court in Blackbush Close is nearby and residents already say it is difficult to find a parking space

TWO PLANNING APPLICATIONS FOR THIS AREA THAT WE ARE OPPOSING

We are currently, as your local Councillors, taking action on two planning applications that are of concern in this area.

First, successive applications to demolish 2-4 Copse Hill and 52-54 Brighton Road to build a 7 storey building with 55 flats and little parking have been rejected by Sutton Council. We object to this proposal as it will cause parking difficulties in the area. The developer has, for a second time, appealed to the Planning Inspectorate. If you wish to make comments to the Planning Inspectorate on this follow the links at this address

www.planningportal.gov.uk/planning/appeals/online/comment

Alternatively three copies of a letter of representation should be sent to The Planning Inspectorate, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Bristol BS1 6PN

Quote reference APP/P5870/W/21/3269612 (but you only need put in the final seven digits)

We only learned of this invitation to comment at the end of July. Comments are sought by 9 August. We are seeking an extension.

Second, we have learned of proposals for a five storey block for 36 flats with only 4 parking spaces almost opposite, on the corner of Cavendish Road. No planning application has yet been submitted by the developer but we will keep you informed on this proposal, which we will oppose in its current form due to the impact on parking.

These applications are submitted at a time when the Government are proposing to remove the right of local residents to comment on planning applications, in some circumstances. Richard made a speech at Sutton Council on 12 July attacking these proposals, which undermine local democracy. See posts further down the site.


The site of the proposed block, viewed from Brighton Road

THE POLICE CONSULTATIVE PANEL IS UP AND RUNNING AGAIN

Our police station in Carshalton Road

The Sutton South Ward Police Consultative Panel met on 21 July, by Zoom. The statistics presented by the police showed that the Ward remains a low crime area, with one burglary and 37 motor vehicle related crimes (mainly theft from vehicles) in the period commencing in May. We also discussed the work of the police in relation to drugs warrants, but the most interesting discussion we had was about e-scooters. We hope to meet again in person in the autumn.

After a gap of a year and nine months due to the pandemic, a meeting of the Sutton South Ward police consultative panel took place, on 18 March. Before that, it had last met on 16 June 2019, after which some meetings were cancelled and then the pandemic struck. This meeting was by Zoom. We were delighted to learn that nothing much has changed – Sutton South is still a low crime area. Our discussion ranged widely, including garage burglaries, catalytic convertor thefts, speeding, and how to enforce the new 20 mph speeding limit in roads to the east of the Ward.

RICHARD SPEAKS OUT ON THE NEED FOR LOCAL DEMOCRACY

Richard spoke at a Sutton Council meeting on 12 July, expressing his concern at the Government’s recent White Paper on changes to the planning system.

During his eleven years as a Councillor one of his main preoccupations has been the quality and impact of development in the Ward. The current planning system involves local consultation and provides Councillors with opportunities to oppose developments that are inappropriate. At present there are two sets of proposals for major blocks of flats and tower blocks in Brighton Road that raise problems, particularly related to parking.

We are both concerned that the Government’s proposals increase the targets for new housing to a level that would require intensification of development in suburban areas, reduce requirements for affordable housing and remove requirements for consultation with the local community in some circumstances.

It was found that the recent Liberal Democrat victory in the Chesham and Amersham by-election was in part attributable to public concern over these proposals. we are hopeful that pressure on the Government to have a re-think will succeed.

This is what Richard said:

“What is great about Sutton is good schools, low crime and its pleasant, green, suburban feel. That pleasant suburban feel depends on a robust development control system that responds to what our residents want. Local democracy and local consultation on planning proposals are vital to maintaining the key elements – good standards of building and design, and the protection of the street scene.

I can take you on a tour of planning mistakes in my Ward, Sutton South, that have occurred when local democracy has been over-ridden – when the remote Planning Inspectorate in Bristol has overturned democratic local decision. Now, we have proposals from the Government that would mean that in certain areas developers would get automatic consent to planning applications without there being any process of consultation with local people, the voices and opinions of local people removed from the process. This is at a moment, in Sutton South Ward, when we are grappling with two proposed major developments, tower blocks, along Brighton Road, but with the possibility that the views of local residents will not even be sought. These Government proposals will run a coach and horses through the local democracy elements of the planning system. They are a charter for developers to make large profits building slum housing, while ignoring and side-lining the views of the local community. This continues a process of undermining the local democracy aspects of the system, already undermined by the Government’s extension, over the years, of rights of permitted development. They are based on a view that sees, somehow, the requirement to consult the community as being a brake on necessary development. That is nonsense – what the planning system does is ensure acceptable standards are met. We want to retain a system that, while it has defects, lets local people have a democratic say on what is built locally. That is too important a right for us to lose. “

WELL DONE SUTTON!

On the day England qualified for the final of the European football championship, 7 July, Richard attended a meeting of Sutton Council’s Planning Committee, where we approved the proposals of Sutton United for a new stand, floodlights and a grass pitch, following their promotion to the English football league. Well done Sutton! Richard made a speech recollecting that in 2017 the club had, for the first time ever, reached the fifth round of the FA Cup, playing Arsenal at home. He was Mayor of Sutton at that time and attended the match. The facilities at the ground need upgrading, so he was delighted with these proposals for renovation. This puts Sutton on the map. Now that Barnet have dropped out of the football league, Sutton is the only one of the 32 London boroughs that people will regularly hear of, as a borough with a football league club that has the same name.

LIBERAL DEMOCRAT VICTORY IN CHESHAM AND AMERSHAM POINTS THE WAY IN SUTTON

Trish and Richard were delighted by the victory of the Liberal Democrats in the Chesham and Amersham by-election. There is no doubt that a strong factor was the deep unpopularity of the Conservative proposals to emasculate the element of local democracy in the planning system. This is of particular concern in places like Sutton, where developers will destroy our pleasant and green local environment if given a free reign.

NEW ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING POINTS IN OUR WARD TO COMBAT GLOBAL WARMING

Charging points are needed for electric cars

In support of our policies to combat global warming and reduce carbon emissions, electric vehicle charging points are being fitted in lampposts in our Ward. The first three will be fitted shortly. The locations are:

The lamp column near 18 Camborne Road, SM2 6RH (lamp column no. 11)

The lamp column near 20 Stanley Road, SM2 6TB (lamp column no. 14) 

The lamp column near 13 Stanley Road, SM2 6TB (lamp column no. 7) 

charging points are also planned for The Ridgway and Cedar Gardens. Given the policy to ultimately phase out petrol driven vehicles, a big and continuing expansion will be needed.

Sutton Council is working with Siemens to install Ubitricity lamp column electric vehicle charging points. Ubitricity lamp column charging points are compact and fit into the door of a lamp column. The aim is to deliver around 100 lamp column charging points in 2021. 
The aim of lamp column charging is to give residents the ability to easily charge electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles on the street where they live, especially if they do not have off-street parking or are unable to install their own home charging point. Installing residential charging points is important because a key barrier to people switching to electric vehicles is the concern around where they will be able to charge their vehicle. 

These will be a new feature for Sutton, though they are now becoming commonplace on residential roads in other London boroughs and the numbers are increasing rapidly each year.  

Lamp column charging points are most likely to be useful in roads with limited off-street parking (such as in private driveways), so priority is being given to locations where many residents park on the street.

Not all lamp columns are suitable for lamp column charging points. The lamp columns need to be “electrically suitable”, be positioned near the kerb and have enough internal space to fit the charging point. They need to be sensibly located so that a vehicle could safely park and charge next to the lamp column. The lamp columns also need to be made of metal, not concrete. 

An “earth mat”, a small metal grid, is also installed in the footway next to the lamp column. This is to make the charging point “electrically safe” if there is a fault. The current parking restrictions in any street where there is a charging point will continue to apply and be unaffected by the charging point. There will be signs to indicate that the lamp column has a charging point fitted, though this sign will not prevent non-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles from parking next to the lamp column. 

This is a major advance in our drive to promote electric vehicles and combat global warming.

SOME NEW RESPONSIBILITIES

Trish visiting Devonshire Avenue school

Every year Sutton Council holds what is referred to as its “Annual Council Meeting” where it elects the Mayor and appoints Councillors to committees. This year it was held on 4 May and held by videoconference. Trish was re-elected Mayor. Richard was relieved of membership of the Audit and Governance Committee but appointed to the Housing, Economy and Business Committee, the Planning Committee, the Greater London Employment Forum (where he is the Leader of the Liberal Democrat Delegation) and the Council and Employees Joint Committee, which he chairs. He will be busy!

QUEEN’S SPEECH HERALDS MAJOR THREAT TO DEMOCRATIC DECISION-TAKING IN OUR WARD

Local consultation on planning proposals is vital to maintain standards of build and design, and the street scene

Planning issues have always been a major concern in Sutton South Ward, with numerous examples of poor quality developments we have seen off but others where local democracy has been overturned by the decisions of the remote Planning Inspectorate based in Bristol. The Queen’s Speech on 11 May, setting out the legislative plans of the Government, included proposals we hoped had been dropped to run a coach and horses through the local democracy elements of the planning system. Richard has denounced these as a charter for developers to make massive profits building slum housing, while ignoring and side-lining the views of the local community.

The proposals would mean that in certain areas developers would get automatic consent to planning applications without there being any process of consultation with local people.

These proposals are not new. At the meeting of Sutton Council on 23 November last year – the first Council meeting chaired by Trish as our Mayor – Council passed a motion expressing concern at the threat to democratic decision taking from the proposals the Government had set out to change the planning system.

Councillors noted that the proposals would lead to automatic approval of many developments with the voice and opinions of local people removed from the planning system. They noted that requirements for new developments to include affordable housing would be severely eroded and the housing target for new building in Sutton increased from 427 units to 1122 units. This latter figure is impossible to achieve without massive increases in the density of housing, undermining the pleasant, green, suburban feel of Sutton. The Government claims, falsely, that the planning system is an impediment to development, but we have to suspect that what this is really about is the right of developers to ignore local opinion when it gets in the way of what is profitable.

As local Councillors, we have always been active in looking at planning applications in our Ward and opposing those not good enough to meet our high standards in Sutton. In the recent past we have been active on proposals in Brighton Road, The Ridgway, Upland Road and Hillcroome Road. Some proposals that we thought objectionable have been turned down, including putting two stories on the top of Northumberland House. If you scan down the posts on this website you will find numerous examples of planning applications where we have joined with local residents to get improvements or oppose what developers are proposing.

The proposals of the Government are a major threat. These proposals to “reform” planning law are likely to, in many cases, remove the requirements for local consultation on planning proposals and act as a developers’ charter. We want to retain a system that, while it has defects, lets local people have a democratic say on what is built locally. It is too important a right for us to lose. 

IMPROVING THE DEVONSHIRE AVENUE NATURE AREA

We are going to refurbish the small piece of play equipment in the Devonshire Avenue Nature Area, which has become very tatty over the ten years since it was installed. Here is Richard’s grandson, Ciaran, enjoying playing on the installation. You can see how tatty it has become.

The refurbishment of the play area will see the removal and recycling of this damaged timber play equipment, comprising of over two hundred sleepers in various sizes. It will see the installation of new sleepers, wooden kickboards and “play bark safety surfacing” surrounding the play area. This will encourage children to stay active and provide an invaluable communal focal point in keeping with the natural materials of the Devonshire Avenue Nature Area.

The “memorial” bench that has been placed in the nature area, incorporating commemorative images remembering those who died in war, is a moving addition to the area. Here is Trish at the new bench.

The nature area is the only open space in our Ward and, particularly as many families live in flats with no access to a garden for children to play in, the nature area is an important amenity. The nature area has, during lockdown, like most parkland, been much more extensively visited than is normal. This has led to some erosion of its value as a nature area. We would greatly welcome the ideas of residents for improving it.

While the Devonshire Avenue Nature Area is the only open space in our Ward, our residents make good use of Overton Park at the western end of the Ward and Warren Park at the eastern end. On 30 April Richard met with Council officers and other Councillors in Warren Park to discuss the vandalisation of the picket fence protecting the nature area in the park. We are anxious to preserve this chalk grassland nature site, which at certain times of year has a wonderful show of cowslips, ox-eye daisies and other wild plants, which will be lost if the area is trampled. Again, we would welcome views on how Warren Park might be improved.

The vandalism in Warren Park