The float entered by the London Borough of Sutton won fourth prize in the 2017 London New Year’s Day Parade, our best result in over a decade and a stunning achievement given the stiff competition from other London Boroughs.
Councillor Whitehead, the Chair of Sutton Council’s Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee, and Sutton Council officers will be meeting with TfL London Buses in the New Year to discuss how bus services can be tailored to meet future development proposals in the borough. It will also provide an opportunity to raise any issues related to any shortcomings with existing services. A similar meeting was held earlier in 2016.
This is an opportunity to set out views on any changes we would like to see made to services in the area, including changes to frequencies or the duration of services, or route diversions/extensions to provide missing connections.
Officers will consider how this information is presented to TfL. However, the final decision on any such changes rests with TfL and there will be limited resources available.
Local residents in Sutton South Ward have raised with us the following concerns:
Route frequency – although residents have commented that on some routes, such as route 80, frequency and reliability is good, bus 470 is seen as too infrequent, being only about every half hour.
Similarly, route S4 could be more frequent.
A further difficulty with the 470 is that it does not run on a Sunday so our suggestions for the 470 are to increase the frequency from once every half an hour, run it on Sundays and (see below) extend it to Epsom hospital.
The X26 bus to Heathrow is used by many and the increased frequency of the X26 is welcome, but the buses have difficulty in keeping to the timetable, perhaps because of the length of the route. Some residents say they would not use it if travelling to Heathrow to catch a plane as it is not 100% reliable. There may thus be a case for increasing the frequency further.
Route length – could the 470 go to Epsom hospital rather than Epsom market as there are residents who use it to go to the hospital?
On route 151, the frequency and reliability is generally good but the service could be improved if some rush hour buses turned round at North Cheam, bearing in mind that the 213 duplicates the 151 onwards to Worcester Park.
Timetabling – it is noted that the 80 and 280 buses running northwards along Brighton Road frequently arrive at the same time. Could the timetabling be looked at?
A resident made the following comment on the S1 timetable information.
“We use the S1 service quite a lot, and really appreciate it, especially when the frequency increased to every 15 minutes a while ago. However in the latest timetable adjustments it is not scheduled for the same minutes past every hour, as it used to be outside peak times, so is not so easy to use.
Unfortunately this also coincided with TfL rearranging the timetable information on their website. It is still easy to look up when a particular bus is due, but it used to be easy to print out a complete timetable for the service, on one side of A4 for each direction. Now the timetable information gives the times of buses for the one particular stop you select, and it is 3 pages of printing for each stop. For example if I were to print the times from my local stop to Sutton or St Helier and to Banstead, and back again from those three, I would have 15 (sparsely used) pages.
For many people who use the service, and cannot or do not wish to be constantly looking it up on phones, it would be much simpler if there were the option of printing one complete timetable.”
Passenger information – it was pointed out that the two bus stops in Mulgrave Road close to Sutton station do not include digital displays on bus arrival information. Although there are other ways of getting this information, on your mobile phone, not all passengers have the skill to get this.
A review of the information arrangements was suggested for some routes. On route 164, at some stops the bus is recorded as a minute away or due but it does not turn up for six or seven minutes.
Other matters – There was some comment on arrangements at Sutton station. A resident suggested that congestion in Mulgrave Roadcould be alleviated by moving the taxi rank. It would be possible to move it to The Quadrant now the side entrance to the station is open, but this would probably be unpopular with the taxi drivers and railway passengers, and was not a proposal pursued under the Sutton Gateway project. A resident also commented that this part of Mulgrave Road has on occasions been briefly flooded during very heavy downpours. I have asked Council engineers to investigate.
A summary of these comments, by bus route, is:
470 – increase the frequency from once every half an hour, run it on Sundays and extend it to Epsom hospital
151 – the service could be improved if some rush hour buses turned round at North Cheam, bearing in mind that the 213 duplicates the 151 onwards to Worcester Park
80 and 280 – buses running northwards along Brighton Road frequently arrive at the same time so review the timetabling
164 – review the information arrangements as at some stops the bus is recorded as a minute away or due but it does not turn up for six or seven minutes
S1 – review the way the timetable is set out on the website
S4 – review the frequency.
It should be noted that while this summary is focussed on suggesting improvements, many residents have commented to us in favourable terms on the frequency and reliability of local bus services.
I have put this digest of views forward to officers for consideration. Any decision rests, of course, with Transport for London.
We hope you’ll join us in checking in with vulnerable neighbours to see if they need help in cold weather.
POWER CUTS – The cold weather is upon on us. Do you or someone you know need extra support during a power cut?
Although power cuts don’t happen very often when they do they can be worrying. UK Power Networks is the electricity network for London and it provides a ‘Priority Services Register’ for people who might need extra help in a power cut. Older people, families with very young children, and people with specific medical conditions are among the many people who are eligible to register for free support. You can find more details and register by visiting ukpowernetworks.co.uk/prioritysupport or calling 0800 169 9970.
FREE GRIT – Sutton Council’s offer to residents and businesses in Sutton Borough of 10kg of free grit per household or business, to use on their drives, paths and nearby pavements, was again a great success, as was the free parking in Sutton car parks on the weekends before Christmas.
Many of our residents commute to London by train, and the combination of good schools, low crime, a green and leafy borough and proximity to local railway stations is what attracts many London commuters to Sutton South Ward.
For this reason we are concerned at the reports we get from many residents that the train service is not adequate. Both of us have, at times, been commuters into central London and we know the frustrations. In September Trish made an impassioned speech to Sutton Council on the problems residents have experienced, quoting the stories residents have shared with us of cancelled services and broken down trains. The Council called on the Government to review the franchise of Southern Railway and Govia, and implement stringent penalties for failure to deliver an adequate service.
Since Richard was elected he has fought successful campaigns to save the Thameslink service and to get the side entrance to Sutton station open. We are now campaigning to get Network Rail to increase the capacity of the station car park. We want to monitor the performance of the railway so please continue to contact us with your thoughts and experiences.
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.”
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).
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.
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.
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.