POLICE PRIORITIES CONFIRMED

Our police station in Carshalton Road

Although Sutton borough has one of the lowest crime rates in London – and Sutton South Ward is among the Wards with the lowest crime rates in the borough – we must never be complacent.

We take part in regular consultation meetings with the police to discuss crime trends and priorities for police action in our Ward, and on Tuesday 31 October we met the police at Christchurch hall in Christchurch Park.

Our new Dedicated Ward Officer, PC Kellie Heath, is fitting in to her role and has been very active in meeting local community groups. Although the revised policing model promised by Borough Commander Mark Lawrence promises two Dedicated Ward Officers, supported by a PCSO, by the end of 2017, Kellie is at the moment something of a one woman band.

We were delighted that Frank Berry, who lives in Christchurch Park and was formerly chair of the Sutton Federation of Residents and Tenants’ Associations has agreed to chair future meetings.

The meeting ran through the crime statistics for the last three months. A theme in the four burglaries from houses was windows left open, and in motor vehicle crime carelessness about locking vehicles and leaving SatNavs on display inside the car. Other themes discussed at the meeting were incidents of rough sleeping in stairwells of blocks of flats. The meeting agreed that police priorities should continue to be burglary, anti-social behaviour and speeding.

This consultation meeting was much better attended than recent meetings in this series so our efforts at publicity are bearing fruit.

A GREEN AND PLEASANT SUTTON SOUTH

One of our concerns as Councillors is to maintain the pleasant, green, suburban feel of our area. Recently there have been a number of planning applications for sites in our Ward, including in Cavendish Road, Langley Park Road and Downside Road, that the Council’s planning officers have, rightly, turned down.

These have included proposals for house extensions that would close the visual gap between houses, causing harm to the spacious and open character of most of the roads in our Ward, and proposals for blocks of flats whose height, bulk, mass and design would constitute an unsympathetic form of development and have a detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the area. Applications have also been turned down where at least some affordable housing ought to be provided, to promote mixed and balanced communities.

We are concerned that developments should relate sympathetically to the street scene and the local area. We have also objected to the way the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol sometimes over-rules democratic local decisions, leading to inappropriate development.

A post below describes the concerns in Cavendish Road. In Langley Park Road a proposal for a block of flats was turned down because the proposed development would result in an incongruous layout and unduly prominent development, excessive in scale, bulk and width, with an overly dominant parking area to the front out of keeping with the existing development pattern in the locality, thus detrimental to the character and appearance of the area and the street scene. It would by virtue of its siting and height result in an unacceptable impact on the outlook of the neighbouring occupiers, and would be detrimental to the health of significant trees affected by the development.

In Downside Road a proposal for erection of a two storey side/rear extension was turned down by the Council. The grounds were:

  • The proposal would uncharacteristically close the visual gap between the application site and the adjoining neighbour causing significant and unacceptable harm to the spacious and open character of Downside Road and resulting in a visual terracing impact on the street scene contrary to planning policies.
  • The proposal, by reason of its lack of a setback from the shared side boundary and excessively narrow garage, would result in a contrived appearance that would fail to relate sympathetically and subordinately to the original dwelling and cause harm to the street scene and the local area contrary to planning policies.

SLOWING TRAFFIC IN FARM ROAD AND GRANGE VALE

At the South Sutton, Cheam and Belmont Local Committee meeting on 7 September our main decision was to install a vehicle operated sign in Farm Road to reduce speeding. Richard lives round the corner from Farm Road and vehicles certainly speed down it. This complements other measures in the Ward to reduce speeding, in particular in Cavendish Road and Cedar Road.

We also agreed to install a width restriction at the point in Grange Vale where the road passes under the bridge. The speed of vehicles has a safety implication for pedestrians walking west to east on the narrow pathway, particularly if pushing a buggy. We also agreed to plant a replacement for the vandalised tree in Willis Avenue. The committee also agreed Richard’s proposal to purchase from the Royal British Legion a “Silent Soldier” and install it in the flower beds in front of Northumberland House. These are large silhouettes of soldiers, designed to be installed through 2018 in prominent places to remind us that this is the centenary of the conclusion of the Great War.

We hope the parking consultation will now take place much earlier than anticipated.

PROTECTING OUR ENVIRONMENT

 

 

The concern of Sutton Council to protect the green and pleasant environment in our Ward has again been demonstrated in Cavendish Road, though the threat to sensible and informed local decision taking from the remote Planning Inspectorate, based in Bristol, remains.

A planning application was submitted for the buildings at 7-9 Cavendish Road, previously a care home, for demolition of the buildings and erection of a three storey block of flats, with roof accommodation, comprising 16 flats (three 1-bedroomed, seven 2-bedroomed and six 3-bedroomed), 9 car parking spaces, secure cycle parking, provision of a refuse store, with access to the rear.

The Council has turned the application down. The Council considered that the proposed development, by reason of its height, bulk, mass and detailed design, would constitute an unsympathetic form of development that would have a negative visual impact on the Cavendish Road street scene. The proposed development would therefore have a detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the area.

The Council also turned the application down because it considered that at least some affordable housing ought to be provided as part of an acceptable development on this site and, as such, the proposal would cause significant harm to the promotion of mixed and balanced communities.

An earlier application was also turned down but is now the subject of an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. This is a threat we cannot control. We will let residents know the outcome and if further applications are made.

A proposal for a house extension in Downside Road was also rejected as it would close the visual gap between houses, causing harm to the spacious and open character of the road and result in a visual terracing impact on the street scene.

REDUCING VEHICLE CO2 EMISSIONS IN SUTTON SOUTH

A significant part of the northernmost section of Sutton South Ward is in the central Sutton Controlled Parking Zone. Sutton Council is consulting on a scheme to alter charges for parking permits in the Controlled Parking Zone so that charges relate to the CO2 emissions of vehicles. It is also introducing special provisions to help carers and those undertaking childcare who are regular visitors.

The general nature of the Order is, to support the Council’s Parking Strategy and policy to cut carbon emissions in the Borough, to link the charges for parking permits in the controlled parking zones to the CO2 emissions of the vehicle for which the permit is issued; and also to introduce the facility to purchase carer and childcare permits for use in the zones. The impact will be to reduce charges for the least polluting vehicles and increase them for some others, and facilitate carers and those with regular childcare responsibilities to park in the zone.

You can find the proposals at

www.sutton.gov.uk/trafficpublicnotices

clicking on “view our Permanent Traffic Order Consultations” and “Notices of Proposals”

Reference PP1035 – CPZ permit charge changes linked to CO2 emissions and carer permits

Comments are invited by 31 August.

Richard has commented on the proposals that he would like to see a differential scheme imposed for diesel vehicles as they do not emit excessive CO2 compared to other vehicles but do emit other harmful particulates.

 

TACKLING SPEEDING ON 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 we promoted 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 on lamp-posts as your approach the bend.
A proposal now under consideration and discussed by the local committee on May 25 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 will, of course, be extensive consultation with residents before such a proposal is implemented and, given current funding restrictions and other priorities, action on this proposal – which is a proposal for Transport for London funding – cannot be guaranteed even if supported in consultation.
We would welcome any reactions, particularly from residents who live in the area.
We have also previously floated, in the list of bids to Transport for London, consultation of residents on the inclusion of Christchurch Park in the Sutton South 20mph speed limit area.

GOLD DUST FOR THE LOCAL ECONOMY: SUBSEA7 MOVE IN TO THEIR NEW HQ

The new building now completed

The new building now completed

The design for the Subsea7 office in Brighton Road

The design for the Subsea7 office in Brighton Road

Over the weekend 15 January Subsea7 have started to move their staff out of the Reed building in the Quadrant and into their attractive new headquarters building in Brighton Road.
By this time next year there will be 750 people working in the building.
The Sutherland House building – now re-named Northumberland House – almost opposite, is being converted to 128 flats, with parking spaces, that are being offered for rent. The first residents were moving in over the same weekend. The shops at the bottom are yet to be occupied. Sainsburys have changed their mind about opening a store there, but it would have been competing with the Tesco opposite.
Money has been spent improving the look of the former Sutherland House

Money has been spent improving the look of the former Sutherland House


Occupation of these two buildings, increasing footfall in the area and business for local shops, restaurants and hotels, will have a positive effect on the local economy. And the Subsea7 project will keep many hundreds of jobs to our area that would otherwise have been in Epsom or Leatherhead, and add several hundred new jobs. Jobs are gold dust for the local economy.
On 24 November we attended the final meeting of the liaison group with Subsea7 and local residents that has monitored the progress of the project to build the new headquarters of Subsea7, here in Sutton.
The company will arrange visits for local residents to see inside the building when it is fully occupied. And discussions continue on a new pedestrian crossing outside the building, crossing Brighton Road, given the massively increased footfall from those who work in the building arriving at Sutton station and walking down Brighton Road.
On 4 September last year the Subsea7 building was “topped out.”
subsea on the roof 1
“Topping out” is a ceremony traditionally held when the building has been built to its full height. Richard and Trish were there on the roof of the building when the final piece of concrete was put in place on 4 September.
The site won the Ivor Goodsite Hoarding Competition 2015!  The site was one of 8 winners out of 48 entries nationally to receive the award which showcased the great artwork used on the hoarding, produced by local schools; Devonshire Primary and Overton Grange Secondary.  The schools produced widely praised artwork on the themes of ‘Under the Sea’ and ‘Subsea 7’.
The picture below is of Trish and Richard with the Devonshire Avenue primary school artwork displayed at the site.
Following consultation with residents on the parking arrangements in the side road separating the site from Raeburn House and Girtin House, now named Berridge Close, the road is now included in the controlled parking zone with parking bays in the road reserved for residents with parking permits.

TWO OF US SMALL

SUTHERLAND HOUSE – NOW NORTHUMBERLAND HOUSE: RESIDENTS MOVE IN

sutherland house

The contrast - what it used to look like and now looks like

The contrast – what it used to look like and now looks like

Residents have started to move in to the the block in the Brighton Road just south of Sutton station that we all knew as Sutherland House but which now has a new name – Northumberland House. Perhaps the owners changed the name as – after it being empty for five years – they want to signal a new beginning for this building. They have spent money on the renovation and certainly improved the way it looks, as the pictures above show.

The apartments in the block, a few hundred yards south of Sutton station and in our Ward, are available to rent. The Acorn Group are in charge of renting out the flats. If anyone is interested in renting they can contact Kimberley Ellen (kimberley.ellen@acorn.ltd.uk or ring her 020 8315 6917). The flats are also advertised on the website Rightmove.

On 14 January Richard visited the block. It has been refurbished to a high standard and it is good to see it occupied. There are 128 flats with parking spaces.

As long ago as December 2015 we met with Council officers and the developer to discuss renovation of the front, to fit in with the Gateway scheme further north. We have sought agreement that the owners fund the renovation of the area in front of the building, to bring it up to the same standard as the area renovated during the “Gateway” project just to the north.  The shops at the bottom are not fully let out and we have hopes that the area just south of the station will include of a mix of good restaurants, shops and maybe a wine bar as the area will have so much  more footfall. We are pleased that the Rose cafe and Sofra are surviving. We look forward to the area in front of the building being renewed and improved in due course and the vacant shops let out. However Sainsburys have pulled out of opening a store at the bottom.

We have been critical of the developers as they used a route to bypass normal planning permission requirements, but at last the building will be occupied. The year 2017 will be a good one for the area with the occupation of the Subsea7 building and Sutherland House, bringing people into the area who will spend money in local shops and restaurants, which will give the whole area an uplift.

The area has in the past suffered from a group of “all day drinkers” who walk the streets drinking alcohol from cans. However, one of Richard’s first acts when elected in 2010 was to get the “no drinking” zone extended from Sutton town centre into Sutton South Ward. This makes it unlawful to drink alcohol in public in the area if a police officer asks you to stop.

Richard and Trish held a surgery at Sutherland House to advise residents

Richard and Trish held a surgery at Sutherland House to advise residents

CONSIDERATIONS RELATING TO BUSES IN SUTTON SOUTH

 

bus

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.

TRISH LEADS THE FIGHT FOR A BETTER TRAIN SERVICE

R and T at station smallMany 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.

tunnel train