The bags of rubbish collected by the Highfields Residents' Association

The bags of rubbish collected by the Highfields Residents’ Association

Sutton Council issued a call to local people to get involved in the country’s first ever Community Clear Up Day on Saturday 21 March.

Richard joined with other residents organised by his local residents’ association, the Highfields Residents’ Association, to help clear his local neighbourhood of litter. Richard is a former chair of the Association.

The Council supported volunteer groups willing to help clear their local area, by providing litter picking tools, rubbish sacks and gloves.

As well as being an awful blight on the green borough of Sutton, litter costs the council up to £4m a year to clean up.  That is the equivalent of running a library service for a year; repairing 100,000 potholes, providing 210 residential care places for the elderly; or building half a primary school.

The Council successfully campaigned against litter last year – hiring two new enforcement officers to issue penalties to those who litter in Sutton; installing 300 new bins; and even displaying 11 tonnes of rubbish on the high street, to demonstrate a year’s worth of litter.

But there is still work to be done to keep Sutton clean and save the taxpayer money.


On 6 January (Twelfth Night) Richard and his wife Gloria had lunch at “The Clink” restaurant which is in Her Majesty’s Prison High Down, in Banstead. Richard now regards this as the best restaurant within a half mile radius of Sutton South Ward.

Negotiating the website and the security checks to get a booking at this restaurant is a challenge. We tried to go before Christmas but it was full. Today the restaurant, which can seat about 60, was fairly empty. You have to turn up early, bring lots of photo ID, not have a mobile phone on you, and be prepared to pay by cheque. It is a bit of a walk from the reception area to the main gate of the prison, where, accompanied by a warder, you are taken through numerous gates that are opened before you and locked behind you, and across various internal courtyards. When you reach the restaurant it has the ambience of a good central London restaurant, and the food is superb.

The restaurant is run as a training restaurant and the prisoners so trained are helped to find jobs in catering after they leave the high security prison. Richard had a Caesar salad, some duck, and a peach desert. Gloria had soup, some beautifully presented fish, and the peach desert. No alcohol of course. All for a little over £50 for two, with an option to leave a donation for the charity, devoted to the rehabilitation of offenders.

The restaurant can be found, and a booking made, at  this address (click on “at”).



Work will be carried out between 24 October to 11 November to clean the gulleys in roads in our Ward. This is essential work to avoid flooding.

The work will require temporary  waiting restrictions – ‘no waiting’ – and loading restrictions – ‘no loading / unloading’ – in those roads or lengths of roads where cleaning is taking place on the day of the cleaning.  Advance notice will be given to residents three days before the restrictions are due to apply.  The restrictions will be removed as soon as the works are completed.  The works will take place between 7am and 2pm on Mondays to Fridays.

The work will require the temporary  suspension of any disabled persons parking places,  permit parking place,  shared use permit/pay and display parking place,  loading place or any other free parking place in those roads or lengths of roads that are adjacent to a drainage gulley, on the days cleaning is taking place.

The days the work will take place are:

24/10/2014 Abbottsleigh Close, Audely Place, Carmborne Road and Stanley Road (between Worcester Roadand Ventnor Road).

27/10/2014 Blackbush Close, Effingham Close, Grange Road (Overton Road to Worcester Road), Grange Vale, Tapestry Close. Upton Dene, Ventnor Road and Westmorland Drive.

28/10/2014 Bonchurch Close, Brighton Road, ( Devonshire Avenue to Mulgrave Road), Devonshire Avenue, Devonshire Road Sutton (Langley Park Road to Devonshire Avenue).

29/10/2014 Christchurch Park, Milestone Close, Walnut Mews and White Lodge Close

30/10/2014 Albion Road, Downside Road. Farm Close Sutton, Farm Road, and The Ridgeway.

31/10/2014 Ambleside Gardens, Cavendish Road, Prior Avenue and Upland Road

10/11/2014 Cedar Road, Chalgrove Road, Eaton Road, Langley Park Road, (Chalgrove Road to Railway Bridge), Mitre Close.

11/11/2014 Cedar Gardens, Cumnor Road, Hillcroome Road, Mayfield Road, Rutherford Close and Wellesley Road.

12/11/2014 Coniston Gardens, Copse Hill, Eastleigh Close, Ferndown Close, Kayemoor Road, Leslie Gardens, Summers Close, Willis Avenue and Worcester Road (Overton Road to Mulgrave Road).


Richard plus tree in Farm Road 

Richard planting a tree in Farm Road.

Richard, Nali, Heather and Sue with trees

Richard, Nali, Heather and Sue with trees

There is a new programme of tree planting in our Ward, over the winter. Exciting news. Some of these are already planted. Here is a listing of sites. Contact us if you have other nominations to make.

There will be a number of different types of tree including laburnum, malus trilobata, corylus colurna, prunus sargentii rancho, crataegus laevigata “Paul’s Scarlet” and acer campestre “Streetwise”.


ALBION ROAD, SUTTON Outside number 20      









  DEVONSHIRE ROAD, SUTTON  near junction Egmont Road      


 near junction Egmont Road      






7, and opposite Kayemoor Road      



Outside 24/26, outside 10, outside 32/34      



Outside 41





Close to number 90      



Outside 45, 53/55, 76




Outside 9, 62, 4




Outside 15




Outside 15/17




 Outside 5, and outside 6      






An additional tree has been planted outside 3 Chalgrove Road at the suggestion of a resident.

Residents have the opportunity to foster these new trees and help leave a green legacy. Under the Council’s Tree Fostering Scheme they can help look after trees that are planted near their homes for up to three years. Maintenance duties include watering the trees with three buckets of water a week in the dry months and, if they want to, loosen tree ties and trim off broken twigs. By signing up, residents will receive a tree care guide with information on how to look after their tree.


Fly tipping in Prior Avenue

Fly tipping in Prior Avenue

The latest public satisfaction survey shows most of our residents really like living in Sutton, and the Borough achieves higher satisfaction scores than most comparable London Boroughs.

Amongst the things that bug people, however, is the litter people drop. The Council has taken new powers, including to impose an £80 on-the-spot fine, enforced by new litter wardens.

An 11 tonne mountain of rubbish, one day’s worth of litter was created in the middle of Sutton High Street on 6 February as part of the anti-litter campaign to change bad habits and save council tax payers money.

The pile, over 10ft tall and just as wide in clear plastic bags, demonstrated how much street litter is collected each day at a cost of £4m a year. That is the equivalent of running a library service for a year, repairing 100,000 potholes, providing 210 residential care places for the elderly or building half a primary school.

litter picture

The anti-litter event also included a display of fly tipping collected from the Borough’s streets. Despite the Council having a dedicated service for collecting larger goods, some people still fly tip at a cost of £170,000 a year to clean up. Fly tipping can include anything from TVs and sofas to large tipper trucks dumping commercial waste. There have been particular problems at certain roads in our Ward such as Prior Avenue.


Homeland Drive, Belmont

Homeland Drive, Belmont

In earlier posts on this site we have set out our concerns about the proposed closure of the Grove Road and Belmont surgeries, used by many residents of our Ward, and opening of a replacement surgery in a building in Homeland Drive, in Belmont. This is of particular concern due to the high proportion of over 75s in our Ward (a higher percentage than for any other Ward in Sutton) and the lack of any GP surgery in the Ward. There is a problem of access to the site, which is poorly served by public transport.

At the Council’s Strategy and Resources Committee on 11 February and at the Council meeting on 3 March Richard and Heather repeated their opposition to the proposal and pressed for improvements to the proposed community transport scheme. This would go some way to ameliorating our concerns.

In speeches to Council on 3 March both Richard and Heather expressed concern that the doctors did not seem interested in proposals from Ruth Dombey, our Council leader, to help find a better alternative site.

We are writing to NHS England and continuing our campaign within the decision-taking structures of the NHS. Here is the text of Richard’s speech to Council on 3 March summarising our position.

“Councillor Honour and I, as Councillors for Sutton South Ward, have consistently opposed the move of the two surgeries to the Henderson hospital site. Our Ward has the highest proportion of elderly residents of any Ward in Sutton and there are many residents of our Ward who go to the Grove Road or Belmont surgeries. Our objection to the site is that it is not sufficiently accessible by public transport. What has been offered by way of a community transport service, to deal with this problem, is a help but does not resolve the problem.

This motion applauds the efforts made by Councillor Dombey to resolve this issue, and I would like to warmly support that sentiment.

This is a decision taken by local doctors who work within the National Health Service. I understand from the evidence that NHS England gave to the Council’s Scrutiny Committee last year that the doctors have to put their case for the move to NHS England. Councillor Honour and I have written to NHS England to remind them of their responsibilities in this matter and ask them not to endorse this decision.

The local authority has come into this by the back door in three ways. First, as local planning authority, because the doctors need planning permission for the building. I sat through the discussion at the Development Control Committee and respect the fact that the Committee concluded ultimately that there were insufficient planning grounds to turn down the application. Its decisions are subject to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate so it cannot capriciously ignore the published planning policies. Second, I understand that the authority is a joint owner of the site but legal advice is that the Council would be in breach of contract were it not to proceed to completion of the sale – if the decision is taken, by the doctors and the NHS, to go ahead with this move. Third, the offer of Councillor Dombey to act as a mediator. I still hope that will be taken up.

So the spotlight has to focus on the decision-taking processes in the NHS.

Councillor Honour and I have written to NHS England to remind them of their responsibilities in this matter and urge them consider alternatives to this decision.”

 Here is the text of our letter to NHS England.

“Unsuitable Location for Proposed GP Surgery in Sutton

As Councillors for Sutton South Ward in the London Borough of Sutton we are deeply concerned at proposals to close two GP surgeries and replace them with a new medical surgery at a site unsuitable for many of our residents.

There is at present no GP surgery in our Ward, which has the highest proportion of residents aged over 70 of any Ward in the Borough of Sutton. Our residents use a number of local surgeries but many go to the surgery at Grove Road in the centre of Sutton and to the Belmont surgery, close to Belmont railway station. These are to close, under the proposals.

The proposed new medical centre is in Homeland Drive, at the site of the former Henderson hospital. However, the site is not sufficiently accessible for the elderly and those without a car. It is rated PTAL 1b, which means that it is not accessible to public transport.  It is in fact at least 300 metres up a steepish inclined road that is dark and uninviting. Our GPs state that 75% of  patients will use a car. The remainder are likely to be elderly, unable to drive a car, or on a low income. They also are likely to be amongst the most frequent patients at the surgery.

There are severe limitations on the use of dial-a-ride and taxicard, so use of these services is not an option for people who find it difficult to access public transport and this site.  

The statistics on the population of the Ward illustrate the problem. Sutton South has much more sheltered housing, and more care homes than other parts of the Borough. 2.94% of Ward residents live in managed residential accommodation compared to a Borough average of 0.78%. Over 75 per cent of properties in Sutton South are flats, many of them single occupancy. 46.3% of households in Sutton South are single person households, with 15.5% occupied by people over 65. The population of the Ward is elderly.

Sutton South      Sutton average      National average

Over 65s        17.49%           14.32%                       16.74% 

Over 75s        10.62%           7.07%                         7.96%

Over 85s        4.13%             2.1%                          2.31%

Although 73% of residents in the Borough say they are ‘well connected’, 10% of respondents in Sutton South say “they have no one to turn to locally for help”, compared to a Borough average of 6%. This means that they would not have people to assist them with transport.

We therefore consider that the proposed site for the new GP surgeries does not meet the needs of the most vulnerable in our Ward and we would prefer a more  accessible site.

From the information that we have received it does not appear that the GPs have considered the transport needs of their  elderly patients, a growing demographic,  who will need to use the surgery often, possibly as much as once a week for visits to the other services at the centre as well as their GPs. Many have said to us that they will need to change their doctor if this goes ahead. 

In response to our concerns the developer of the site, Assura, has offered a community transport scheme. However, after close examination of this, it does   not appear to be a practicable solution.

Once again the NHS, which declares that it is patient centred, is failing its patients by not taking account of their transport needs. This has been a major local issue in the abortive Better Services Better Value  plans to change the status of our local hospital, St Helier. 

It is by no means clear to us what the process is in the NHS to take a wider view of the optimum location of GP surgeries in the interests of the patients. However, we understand from evidence that NHS England gave to Sutton Council’s Scrutiny Committee last year that NHS England have a role. We would therefore like to meet you to discuss how you conside that these proposals meet the needs of our most vulnerable residents and your most needy patients.

Yours sincerely.




St Helier

The following statement was issued at the start of January by Six South West London Clinical Commissioning Groups – Croydon, Kingston, Merton, Richmond, Sutton and Wandsworth..  They are the NHS decision makers for South West London:

“The six south west London CCGs are actively discussing the next steps for local health services following the withdrawal of Surrey Downs CCG from the BSBV programme. As we have made clear in the past, the BSBV business case is now invalid and the options put forward through the programme are no longer on the table for consultation. It follows that all six CCGs are in the process of dissolving the committees to which they had delegated decision-making on BSBV.

“However, the challenges outlined in the BSBV case for change remain. If we do not address these challenges, we know that local services will decline in quality and that we will not be able to meet the required quality and safety standards. We are discussing with each other and with our boards how we address these challenges and we hope to make a further announcement in February.”

The key phrase is “The challenges outlined in the BSBV case for change remain”.  They are right in saying this.  Too many people do go to A&E, who should instead be going to a pharmacist or their local GP.  The reason they do is often because they can not get an appointment with their GP and they do not realise that visiting a pharmacist is even an option!

We are concerned that even though the BSBV business case is now invalid, the original solution proposed by the six CCGs of closing St Helier A&E and closing St Helier’s Maternity Ward still remain as favoured options, by the CCGs.  We have to wait to see what they say.

An indication was given on 18 February when GPs and healthcare professionals from across South West London announced that the BSBV review that recommended the closure of key healthcare services at St Helier hospital has been scrapped.  
A new strategy on how to deliver health services in our area will now be developed by local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) so that the best possible care can be delivered in the future.

We welcome that, in contrast with the failed BSBV review, healthcare services will be viewed in a holistic way and that the CCGs will be working closely with all health providers and local authorities to deliver high quality care services.  

While t is good news that the BSBV review has been scrapped we still need to continue demonstrating our support for St Helier and make sure that essential health services remain accessible.

We want to see Sutton CCG working closely with St Helier Hospital, Sutton Council (Adult Social Services and Childrens Social Services) and the Royal Marsden (Community Health Visitors) to resolve the issues raised by the original BSBV plan, and not promoting the closure of the A and E Department at St Helier. 


Homeland Drive, Belmont

Homeland Drive, Belmont

Heather and Richard are concerned at the proposal to close the Grove Road surgery and move it to a building in Homeland Drive, in Belmont.

There is no GP surgery in Sutton South Ward. Our residents are spread between a number of surgeries and many (including Richard) use the Grove Road surgery. There is no disputing that this building, a converted house, is not the best place for a surgery and it does not meet the best standards. However, closing it and moving to Homeland Drive is not the best move, as the new building is not on a bus route and it is a difficult walk for those with mobility problems from the nearest bus stops in the Brighton Road. Increased traffic at the site will give rise to safety concerns. We believe there are better sites, such as locating the surgery at the Sutton hospital site, where part of the site is shortly to be vacated. This is not, of course, an issue on which the decision rests with the local Council. An application for planning permission has been made, but issues that concern whether there are better sites are not planning issues on which a decision to turn down the application could be based.

The following is the text of a letter we sent to the Sutton Guardian:

“What the discussion in the letters page of the Guardian, about the proposed new GP surgery on the old Henderson Hospital site, has failed to address is the scandal that there is no GP surgery in the whole of Sutton South Ward.  This issue has long concerned us because our Ward has the largest proportion of people over 65 in the whole of Sutton,17 per cent.  The needs of this group was one of the reasons for launching Sutton South Hello this year. Closing down the Grove Road Surgery only makes the situation worse.
New health facilities are desperately needed but can’t we find somewhere more accessible, and safer?  We understand that there have been four collisions at the junction of Homeland Drive and Brighton Road.  These might have been categorised as light but, with increased traffic flow, they could increase.  And what about those who have no cars, are elderly,  and will have to trudge up the dark and steep road from Brighton Road?”



paul at St Helier

A staggering increase in the workload of the St. Helier hospital Accident and Emergency Department, during the hot weather, has again challenged the case for closure of this important facility.

The hot weather has led to the busiest July in six years at St Helier and Epsom’s Accident and Emergency departments.

The threatened A&E departments saw an increase of 19 per cent – which is around 1,420 extra patients between July 1 and 22.

Overall 8,917 patients were seen during that period compared to 7,496 in 2008.

An average of 405 patients came in to A&E each day and on July 15 a staggering 468 patients attended A&E.

Our photo above shows Heather and Richard at St. Helier hospital protesting against the closure of the A & E and maternity departments.


police station

Heather and Richard attended the Sutton South Ward police panel on 12 June. There was discussion of current crime trends, including recent burglaries and attempted burglaries in Mayfield Road.

While the police were unable to give a reason for these incidents they commented that sometimes there is a “clustering” of crime in an area for a short period for no obvious reason, but it would be unusual for it to persist as a problem. They have moved quickly to re-assure residents and have knocked on doors in Mayfield Road, and left a feedback form where there was no-one in. If you have any observations you want to make to the local police you can contact them on

Also, nine local residents attended their recent street briefing.

While no-one can ever be complacent and we must all maintain our vigilance, it remains the case that this Ward is a low crime area, indeed one of the safest areas in south London. Burglary, along with theft from motor vehicles, remains a police priority for the area, but the most common form of burglary in our area is theft from garages, and residential (house) burglaries are mercifully rare.

The meeting also discussed future action on speeding, a dog seizure in Cumnor Road, a cannabis factory in Westmoreland Drive and the success of the extension of the “No Drinking Zone” to our Ward.

We also discussed the introduction of the “London Policing Model” on 24 June. While the implications are not all positive, these changes are not going to damage the excellent service we generally get from our local police.

 Next street briefing: 12 July outside Lavender Court in Cavendish Road.