Richard and Heather have helped the residents of Cavendish Road to win another important battle in their bid to control speeding in their road.

And we have succeeded in extending the proposed speeding survey in Cavendish Road to cover a wider area of our south Sutton ward.

The petition on speeding in Cavendish Road, which Richard and Heather presented to Sutton Council on behalf of the residents in July, was discussed at the South Sutton, Cheam and Belmont Local Committee on 11 October.

In the discussion, Richard drew attention to a speeding survey conducted in the road in 2008 which showed that even then traffic was exceeding the speed limit, on average, by a factor of over 50%. But the same survey showed problems in other local roads.

The committee agreed to a survey of the area by traffic engineers, charged with finding out the facts and coming back to the committee by next February with costed proposals for dealing with the problem.

We persuaded the committee to extend the survey to a wider area. The roads to be surveyed now are:

Cavendish Road

Christchurch Park

Cedar Road

Cumnor Road

Devonshire Road

Devonshire Avenue

Egmont Road

The committee noted that any recommendations could cost money and decisions would be needed on priorities for spending.

Richard said “This is a good result. I am pleased we are going to undertake a full survey and get the traffic engineers to look at a range of solutions.”

Heather added “I am pleased we are going to look at a wider area. Residents in Cumnor Road and Christchurch Park have also complained to us as ward Councillors about the speed of traffic in their roads.”

The petition was signed by 77 residents of Cavendish Road calling for action on the speed of traffic in their road, where a number of blocks of sheltered housing for the elderly are situated. It was presented to Sutton Council at the request of the residents by Councillors Honour and Clifton on 16 July, and referred to the local committee.

The photo above shows the Cavendish Road residents at the meeting flanked by Richard on the left and Heather on the right.


For the second year in a row Sutton has been named as one of the best places in London to bring up a child, in a national survey.

Children’s savings provider “Family Investments” names the Borough top of a list of Greater London areas, after comparing statistics including house prices, education statistics, low crime rates and expected annual salaries.

In the report, Sutton comes out ahead of areas including Bexley and Banstead, partly as a result of its excellent Key Stage 2 school scores, childcare provision, affordable housing, low crime rate, “green” suburban environment and earnings prospects.

The London list has been divided into two sections with Sutton heading the Greater London area and Islington being named as the best Metropolitan London area to raise a child.

Key Stage 2 test results, including English and maths, improved in Sutton in 2012 by over 3%, to 85%, compared to 2011. According to the report the average expected salary across the area was almost £34,500, and we know (see a post below) that Sutton is surviving the recession well with a high proportion of its residents in employment.

The “Family Investments” report is based on data on all 2,400 postcodes across England and Wales, analysing 67 different data sets covering crucial factors likely to impact a family’s decision-making process when they consider moving to a new area.


A number of residents of Cedar Road have drawn our attention to problems of late night noise and disturbance, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights. We believe this is often from people walking along Cedar Road to get home from nightclubs in Sutton town centre, often in the early morning. We have resisted efforts to open more clubs and extend their hours of operation to yet later in the early hours of the morning (see our post below “Late Night Noise Danger Averted”).   

We raised the matter at a recent meeting with the police. The police say that their planned use of resources are mainly influenced by the priorities set in the ward (currently non-residential burglaries and vehicle crime) and what crime or anti-social behaviour is reported. They pointed out that they had received few reports from residents of noise problems.

We suspect residents are not reporting these incidents to the police at the time as they believe the police can do nothing immediately, or that it is not a serious enough issue with which to bother them. However it is still worth  reporting these incidents to the police – using 101 not 999 – as it gives the police a better picture of behaviour in our Ward and they can target their resources accordingly. 

We have written to residents in Cedar Road with this advice. If you want to discuss any aspect of local policing with a police officer you can contact our excellent Safer Neighbourhoods Team on 020 8721 2497, but let us know your views.


Mayfield Road

The Council strenuously fought an appeal relating to an extension at a property in Mayfield Road, in Sutton South Ward (St Jude’s nursing home), and sought an award of costs due to the unreasonable behaviour of the applicant. The Council has won on both counts. 

There is a history of planning difficulties with this site, with three different extensions being the subject, at different times, of appeals to the Planning Inspectorate against Council decisions. 

This application sought the retention of an outhouse built in a garden at the north end of the site, without planning permission, which had already been the subject of earlier appeals that had been lost. 

Unusually, not only did the Planning Inspector dismiss the appeal but made an award of costs. He points out in his judgement that arrangements were made for visits to the site as part of the process of determining the appeal but the applicant did not turn up. He says in the judgement: 

“For these reasons, I therefore find that unreasonable behaviour resulting in unnecessary or wasted expense, as described in Circular 03/2009, has been demonstrated and that a full award of Costs is justified.”

Richard has attended previous appeal hearings relating to this property. He says “I am not surprised at the view the Inspector took. This appeal was never likely to succeed. I have tried to assist in sorting out the planning problems the applicant faces by arranging meetings between him and local residents. I hope he will now take the necessary action to resolve the remaining planning issues.” 

The Inspector says “The proposal would cause harm to the living conditions of the residents of the adjoining property by reason of its overbearing nature contrary to DPD Policy DM2 and the Framework, which aims to protect amenity by ensuring no adverse affect (sic) on the amenities of the occupiers of adjoining properties.” The Inspector also makes reference to the importance of the Area of Special Local Character.



Where’s the money gone?

Heather is playing a major role on a newly-created committee probing the massive hole in NHS Croydon’s finances. She is determined to find out what mistakes were made, who was at fault and what impact it will have on future healthcare in south west London.

The South West London Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee on NHS Croydon finances met for the first time on 6 September and set itself the task of answering three crucial questions.

First, how was it that on 8 June 2011 the year’s accounts were signed off with a £5.54million surplus, yet when the same books were re-examined a year later they revealed a £22.7million overspend?

Second, why were officers – charged with managing a huge and vital job – not properly monitored, and were they given the right tools to do the job?

And, third, why in July 2012 did the South West London Cluster Board decide to try to cover up the huge deficit as a ‘prior period adjustment’?

Heather, one of two Sutton councillors sitting on the committee, said: “It is vital that we reach the bottom of this and that we do that quickly.

“If this is the sort of financial mismanagement we see from NHS bosses how can we be sure that the NHS BSBV team, which is after all proposing a multi-million pound plan which would close vital parts of St Helier Hospital, be able to run such a huge scheme successfully? Their track record is simply dreadful.”

Some observers believe the problems started in April 2010 when NHS Croydon was given the added responsibility of hosting London Specialised Commissioning Group. It is thought that running the £800million project may have stretched the resources of officers beyond their ability to cope.

The committee, which is comprised of councillors from Sutton, Richmond, Croydon, Merton, Wandsworth and Kingston, meet again on 24 September. It will call a number of witnesses including Ann Radmore, Chief Executive of NHS South West London.

Ms Radmore was appointed Sector Chief Executive for South West London in 2009 and led the establishment of the SWL Cluster in early 2010.

Another witness will be Dr Peter Brambleby, who was Croydon’s Director of Public Health from March 2010 to February 2012. On 6 July he blew the whistle on NHS London’s decision on 28 June to try to hide the deficit as a ‘prior period adjustment’ which, despite Dr Brambleby’s revelation, the South West London Cluster tried to repeat on 26 July.

Heather added: “Key personnel involved in the Better Service Better Value team planning the future of healthcare in south west London are involved in this Croydon mess. What confidence can we have in their plans for St Helier?”



Richard and Heather with SHP staff inspecting the Sutton Court estate

Every day we are involved in some activity as Councillors, be it on behalf of our residents in Sutton South Ward or in respect of our responsibilities as Vice-Chair of the Council’s Adult Social Services and Health Committee (Heather) and Vice-Chair of the Council’s Housing, Economy and Business Committee (Richard). The 12th and 13th of September were no exception.  

On 13 September we attended the police consultative panel for the Ward. The attendance was a little disappointing, though with new members representing the Sutton Court residents’ association and the Highfields residents’ association. The panel congratulated the police on the latest crime figures, showing an overall drop in crime in the Ward in the year to date of almost a quarter. There were some significant variations between categories, with assaults causing injury and harrassment both up. However, there were large falls in non-residential burglaries and criminal damage, which mainly accounted for the overall reduction. The area remains a low crime area with the police confident they are on top of the overall situation.

The panel discussed the three Ward priorities – drug use in the Brighton Road, motor vehicle crime and theft from garages. Theft from garages and motor vehicle crime have fallen but it was agreed that we want to keep it that way and these should remain priorities. It was agreed that drug dealing and drug use in the Brighton Road would be put into a “normal vigilance” category for the immediate future. Significant action also continued to be taken on the theft of metal.

Other issues discussed included:

– late-night noise problems at the weekend in Cedar Road

– the application of a nightclub in Sutton town centre to extend its opening hours from 2am to 3am

– cutting of a hedge at the ball court at Sutton Court to increase the visibility of the ball court and its surrounding area

– fencing at Sutton Court

– petrol theft from a local garage

– speeding in Cavendish Road

– security arrangements concerning some specific locations

– a cannabis factory in Ferndown Close. 

The meeting was pleased that the local police had kept things under control when the Olympics had placed a strain on resources, though the Sergeant felt this had been less of a strain than expected. While we were pleased the Olympics were now over and demands on police resources would return to normal, we felt the police had done a superb job during the Olympics.

On Thursday 13 September we both went to Sutton Court to the estate “walkabout” with staff of Sutton Housing Partnership (SHP). These are essential to keep on top of the repairs and maintenance work needed on the estate. We met a number of residents who have problems we have taken up and were able to check on the progress of issues as varied as the work on the fence separating Sutton Court from Forest Dene Court, the cutting of the hedge separating the children’s play area from the ball court (discussed yesterday with the police), the repairs to the garages and the operation of the lighting system. We then went to Beauclere House where there are various issues of concern to us raised with us by residents, including the arrangements for disabled residents to enter and exit the building and how they can make better use of the grass area at the side.


We have actively campaigned against the planning application for 54-58 Overton Road and were delighted when the Development Control Committee, after considering a paper in which our objections were recorded, threw it out, on Wednesday 5 September.

Although the development is not in Sutton South Ward it is right next to the Ward, as the Ward boundary runs down the middle of Overton Road. Our residents are among those affected by and objecting to this proposal.

We objected to the proposal on the grounds that it is overdevelopment of the site, with 50 dwellings crammed in. It is the type of low-quality accommodation that we continue to oppose in Sutton South Ward, where so many houses have been demolished to give way to flats. There is as a result a shortage of larger family homes and many children grow up in a flat with no garden. In addition, as many objectors pointed out, the provision for car parking (33 car parking spaces for 50 dwellings) was inadequate and will lead to great pressure on parking, with additional demand for parking in an area that is already fully parked up much of the time.

We will continue to oppose this type of development. We oppose the demolition of family homes to make way for blocks of small flats as it is leading to an imbalance of housing in the Ward. Unfortunately the developer can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate and in both Albion Road and Eaton Road (the site pictured above) there are current examples of houses demolished after the Council rejected the application but the Planning Inspectorate granted it. We cannot control that aspect of the process but will continue our campaign to protect the quality of housing, and life, in Sutton South.


Mums with children in buggies,  walkers with dogs and pedestrians generally  have diced with death for years as they walked along Kings Lane Bridge, which lies at the end of Hillcroombe road and is a busy  thoroughfare leading  to Carshalton Road.

For years concerns have been raised about pedestrian, cyclist  and  driver safety on Kings Lane bridge which is only 3.6 m wide over the railway and only allows one line of traffic at a time.  Approaches to the bridge are at 90 degree bends and the bridge parapets are a combination of solid brick with rails on top which makes the sight lines very poor.

There have been 3 personal injuries at the junction between April 2008 and April 2011, and residents who use the park have reported numerous “bumps” as cars failed to negotiate the difficult twists and turns safely.

Heather Honour, Lib Dem Councillor for Sutton South, raised this in April at the Sutton South, Cheam and Belmont Local Committee,  Discussions followed with other councillors in Sutton South and the neighbouring ward, Carshalton Central, residents and with the council’s traffic engineers.

On July 5th Heather presented a proposal to the Local Committee drawn up by traffic engineers.  Building out the footways on both sides of the junction would slow and guide vehicles on a more visible line and provide a longer footway for pedestrians.  The warning signs will be upgraded and re positioned and be more prominent.  The cost of implementing the complete scheme is £16,000.  Other improvements, amounting to £500  will be made at the Carshalton end of the bridge.

Funding will be allocated  from the Local Implementation Plan.  The work should begin in November 2012.

Councillor Heather Honour said,

“ Someone said to me  that the road is so dangerous we should leave it as it is. I don’t think that is good enough for our residents who risk their lives every day as they walk or drive over Kings Lane Bridge.  Our traffic engineers have worked hard to find the best solution because no one wants the road closed  to traffic or made one way.  

It is great that funding can be found quickly and let’s hope that the work can be completed before we have snow and ice on the bridge”.

Resident served with Sutton’s first ‘Acceptable Behaviour Contract’

A resident has been served with Sutton’s first ‘Acceptable Behaviour Contract’ for the alarm and distress caused to her neighbours by her dogs.

The 24-year-old female dog owner, who lives in a block of flats in Langley Park Road, Sutton, allowed her two Staffordshire Bull Terriers called ‘Roxy’ and ‘Governor’ to:

  • Run out of control off the lead
  • Jump up and intimidate residents
  • Carry on barking for long periods

In addition, she also repeatedly failed to clear up after her pets.

Police decided to take formal action following an incident on Friday 30th March when her dogs ran out of their home in pursuit of a man making a delivery in Langley Park Road. The man was forced to run and jump onto a vehicle to avoid being bitten.

As a result the resident was sent a letter on the 13th April advising that this incident had come to the attention of police. A second letter was sent on 2nd July after her dogs had continued to behave in an unacceptable way.

This second letter included an Acceptable Behaviour Contract – a voluntary agreement between the resident and Sutton Council, the Met Police in Sutton and London and Quadrant Housing Trust – the resident’s landlord.

The contract only named one of her dogs – Governor – as she had given up Roxy at around this time. The conditions in the agreement include:

  • The dog being kept on a lead no longer than three metres in a public place including Langley Park Road, public footpaths and roads within Sutton borough
  • Clearing up after her dog
  • Regularly exercising her dog

Failure to comply with the agreement may result in an Anti-Social Behaviour Order being obtained to stop the resident causing harassment, alarm or distress and the tenancy agreement being reviewed and even revoked.

The action is part of borough’s Local Environmental Awareness of Dogs (LEAD) initiative to make owners of all breeds of dog aware of their responsibilities to their pet and the wider community.

Since August 2011 a total of 27 letters have been sent to residents whose dogs have come to the notice of police.

PC Heath Keogh, of Sutton Police station, who is co-ordinating the LEAD initiative for the borough, said: “Whilst we want to work with residents to reduce the nuisance and concerns caused by their pets, we are equally determined that we will take whatever action we need to make sure that this happens in reality.

“The bottom line for Sutton residents is a breach of an ASBO which could result in five years jail or a fine or both, and a possession order leading to a tenant’s eviction, for those in rented accommodation.”

The LEAD initiative was prompted by the fatal dog attack in Demesne Road, Wallington, on 23 December 2010, when a 52-year-old woman died after being attacked by a dog.


We were recently approached by residents in Worcester Road concerning the licence application to re-open the former “Academy” public house in Grove Road as a nightclub. They were concerned at a likely impact on late night noise problems in the area.

Following discussions with residents, Richard submitted representations on the prevention of public nuisance to Sutton’s Licensing Committee, and spoke at the public hearing held on 28 March.

He pointed out that it would be a matter of concern for premises so close to many residential properties to be offering music, dancing, films and sale of alcohol (for consumption on and off the premises) until 4.30am, seven nights a week, and then – after a break of just a few hours – starting again at 9.00am.  The application, if approved, would lead to an unacceptable degree of public nuisance, particularly due to noise from people coming away from the premises into neighbouring streets in the early hours of the morning.

Although the premises are not in Sutton South Ward, some of the people coming away from the club in the early hours would walk through our Ward. Concerns had been raised by the police about disturbance and noise late at night, drunken people walking home, alcohol-related brawls and anti-social behaviour. The application should be refused. 

We are pleased say that the application was refused, the Committee citing in particular problems with noise, community impact and alcohol-related crime.