The speed signs – one in each direction – in Farm Road
The “Speed Awareness Signs” that warn motorists of their speed are very effective. We are finalising arrangements to instal more of these signs, in Grange Road and in Cedar Road.
Locations have been agreed for the new speeding signs the Council will instal in Cedar Road. They will be slightly different from the ones in Farm Road, pictured, One sign in each direction, they will warn motorists of their speed as they approach the Langley Park Road junction. A study in 2012 found cars regularly speed in Cedar Road despite the humps and 20 mph speed limit. But residents were unhappy with a proposal for a width restriction. A re-arrangement of the parking places and the zebra crossing at the Brighton Road end have been of some help in slowing the traffic. Last year Richard took part in a police “Speedwatch” operation to record the speed of speeding vehicles in the road and was surprised at the speed some vehicles reached.
A lot going on in the Ward at the moment – the Council continues its programme of repairs to the potholes that were caused by the hard winter (which seems a long time ago now). This one in Langley Park Road. And repairs to the chain fence in Christchurch Park at the junction with Brighton Road, with repainting.
A pothole in Langley Park Road is repaired
Restoring and repainting the fence in Christchurch Park
We have said that one of our objectives is to protect the Ward from inappropriate development.
At Sutton Council’s Planning Committee on 6 June Richard spoke in support of two residents from Allon Court in Eaton Road in a bid to overturn a recommendation from officers to permit the erection of a further storey on the roof of the block of flats, though the block is occupied and this would have been disruptive to residents. The developer wanted to erect a penthouse on the flat roof of the building.
The higher building would also have blocked the light of residents in Cumnor Road.
After a wide ranging debate, Richard and the residents persuaded the Committee to reject the application. Sadly, this may not be the end of the story if the developer goes to appeal – see our story below.
At the next meeting of the Planning Committee, on 4 July, Richard again persuaded the Committee to reject an application officers had recommended they accept, this to extend a house in Mayfield Road, The Highfields Residents’ Association had raised objection.
Officers have rejected a plan to demolish a house at 87 The Ridgway and build a small estate. Richard and Trish campaigned against this proposal,
Left or right ?
The width restriction in Grange Vale slows the traffic to protect pedestrians passing under the bridge, but we are going to slightly widen the gap for cars (moving the right bollard slightly further right or the left bollard further left, by about an inch). We were surprised when, at the first Local Committee meeting (the South Sutton, Cheam and Belmont Local Committee) since the election, at Overton Grange school, on 21 June, the big issue of the evening turned out to be whether the width restriction should be modified by moving the left hand post an inch to the left or the right hand post an inch to the right. A decision was left to the traffic engineers.
The speed signs – one in each direction – in Farm Road
And two more of the vehicle activated signs to deal with speeding are to be installed, in Worcester Road and Grange Road.
Above, the new low energy lights being installed, these in Cavendish Road.
Below, the new tree replacing one that was vandalised (also pictured), in Willis Avenue. Note the protection against vandals.
A green, pleasant, suburban environment – this is Sutton
Trish and Richard were members of the task group that drafted the new local plan for Sutton. After going through a process of public review by a Government Inspector, the plan was presented to and agreed by the Housing, Economy and Business Committee on 13 February. Richard addressed the Committee on what he saw as the virtues of the plan. The plan was endorsed by Council on 26 February and Richard again addressed the meeting, reminding Councillors that the process of public review – which can lead to major revision of such plans – left it virtually unscathed. The core policies of the plan survived without alteration, and are the central policies that have helped us maintain the pleasant, green, suburban character of Sutton our residents cherish. This is evidence of the strength of the document.
The plan supports development that is in keeping with the best in our local environment – preserving the green, suburban feel of Sutton while meeting the aspiration to have homes for our children to grow up here. The plan promotes good quality design, school places, the London Cancer Hub, surgeries, the protection of pubs, parks and open spaces, and minimum standards for housing. It also strengthens the protection of Conservation Areas and Areas of Special Local Character. It is our plan for a successful Sutton.
Two speed signs – one in each direction – in Farm Road
Two new developments in our war on speeding – new speed indicator signs in Farm Road. These do have an impact on traffic speeds, as people are reminded how fast they are going. Where else should we have them?
And the width restriction has now been installed in Grange Vale to slow traffic passing under the bridge, which will be of benefit to pedestrians passing along the narrow pavement under the bridge against the flow of traffic (in particular if pushing a buggy).
Almost as soon as the width restriction was installed on 22 January it was vandalised, with one of the bollards being removed. This must have been done by someone with sophisticated cutting equipment. the road will be closed again on Monday 5 February for the bollard to be replaced.
On 24 January Richard attended the meeting of Sutton Council’s Licensing Committee and spoke to the Committee about the new licence application submitted by the Noor Jahan Tandoori bar, at 10 Station Parade, Sutton, just south of Sutton station on the Brighton Road.
The bar has a current Premises Licence to sell food and drink, but wanted to extend the hours of trading to 02:30 hours, to sell alcohol and food. Therefore, instead of varying the existing licence, they submitted a new application.
Applicants for licences are required to stipulate how they will promote the licensing objectives of:
- Prevention of crime and disorder
- Protection of children from harm
- Public safety
- Prevention of public nuisance.
The bar is in an area where special considerations apply and applicants have to demonstrate to a high standard how they comply with and promote these objectives. The bar is in a well populated residential area. We had doubts about it continuing to sell alcohol till 2.30am, even though this would be to people consuming food, as there could be noise problems for local residents in the wee small hours when it closes.
We sought the views of residents before commenting. A significant number of residents wrote expressing concern so Richard registered an objection to ensure the application was considered by the Licensing Committee.
The decision of the Committee was to restrict the hours of opening, so the bar will not stay open till 2.30 am.
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.
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.
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.