THE BOUNDARIES OF OUR WARD WILL CHANGE: FINAL DECISIONS PUBLISHED BY THE BOUNDARY COMMISSION

Are the boundaries of Sutton South Ward right?

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England has been reviewing the boundaries of the local Government Wards in Sutton prior to the next local elections in 2022.

They published draft proposals last year and have now published final decisions. You can view these on their website.

Their final decisions leave the Ward much as it was, with the addition of a part of Mulgrave Road. The new structure they outline will be the structure of Wards at the next Council elections in 2022. The new Ward will be one of the largest Wards in the borough.

Currently the Ward runs from Sutton station in the north to Devonshire Road in the south, and Banstead Road South in the east to Overton Road in the west. It is mostly a Ward of residential roads with three schools (Devonshire Avenue primary, Overton Grange, Eagle House school), one small park (the Devonshire Avenue Nature Area), three places of worship (Christchurch, the Friends’ Meeting House, the synagogue in Cedar Road), split into three parts by Langley Park Road and Brighton Road running north-south.

The draft proposals published earlier this year removed from the Ward roads east of Upland Road – Kaymoor, Willis, Prior, Downside, Farm Close – and put them into Carshalton Beeches Ward. There were minor adjustments at the western end so the whole Ward moved westwards.

In drawing up new boundaries, the Commission is required to aim to deliver electoral equality for voters in Council elections so that each Councillor represents roughly the same number of voters. The review also aimed to ensure that the new Council wards reflect, as far as possible, the interests and identities of communities across Sutton.

The final proposals leave the Ward much as it was, with the addition of a small part of Mulgrave Road. The new Ward will be one of the largest Wards in the borough.

After a debate on 14 October Sutton Council submitted some proposals. Richard spoke in this debate, commenting in particular on the proposals fro Sutton South Ward. He said:

“I recognise that there is always a tension between drawing lines on maps that create sensible geographical structures in terms of communities and natural boundaries and getting the numbers right in terms of residents per Councillor. I would like to stress that where these create tensions I think it important to give priority to getting the boundaries right, creating areas that residents recognise as communities, in particular respecting natural boundaries such as main roads and railway lines, and keeping recognised communities together, and this should be the priority even if it does lead to some unevenness in Ward sizes. In any exercise like this there will inevitably be some disparity in the size of Wards with some outliers.”

TRISH AND RICHARD RAISE CONCERNS OVER THE FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF NORTHUMBERLAND HOUSE

Northumberland House viewed from Brighton Road

Trish and Richard have been in discussion with Criterion Capital, the owners of Northumberland House. Northumberland House is the tower block at the corner of Brighton Road and Wellesley Road, about 200 yards along Brighton Road if you turn left when coming out of Sutton station.They are seeking planning permission to extend the building, creating a further 36 flats by having two extra storeys on the ten storey part of the building and an extra storey on the lower part, with some additional flats in the”undercroft” above the parking area. A few of the 47 parking spaces will be lost, due to a need for additional bin space.

The application is number DM2020/00571. Residents have until 27 June to register objections. There will be some positives, such as the creation of a community amenity and play space on the tarmaced area at ground floor level. However, while there is a shortage of accommodation in London and more housing is needed,we are concerned that the building work has the potential to be disruptive to the lives of current residents. Also, an extra two storeys on top of the building may look incongruous if clearly out of keeping with the design of the rest of the building.

We are continuing to seek the views of the residents of the building, and residents in the wider area, on these proposals. Residents of Northumberland House have been concerned about the likely disruption involved in this proposed work, and have long standing concerns about frequent lift breakdowns in the building and security. We are aware that if Sutton Council refuses planning permission the developer has a right of appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, which, we find, almost invariably sides with developers on applications such as this. One thing we can do as local Councillors, however, is to try to identify conditions that will protect the interests of residents, and that we could then try to get built into any planning permission they obtain. For example, we can seek to ensure there is a construction management plan to control hours of work and control noise and dust nuisance. We can ask that the contractor joins the Considerate Contractors Scheme, which provides a route for residents to raise concerns if they observe poor behaviour. We can seek conditions that will require that access to the roof areas is only by external hoists, and that the peace and quiet of the interior of the building is not disturbed or the interior turned into a storage area, or building site. We will also want the views of residents more widely on the design. We would like your ideas and views.

MORE TREES, TO COUNTER GLOBAL WARMING

Richard with the tree outside White Lodge Close

One of the ways to combat global warming is to plant more trees. Richard and Trish have been responsible for getting the Council to plant many trees in our Ward, some to replace trees that were lost to disease but many new trees. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and pollution, and pump out oxygen. Sutton is amongst the leaders among the 32 London boroughs in the number of street trees per yard of pavement. This contributes to the pleasant, green, suburban atmosphere of the area we all so much enjoy, though it creates a headache every autumn when the leaves fall.

This planting activity has included trees in:

Upland Road – outside 18, 20, 39. 103

Camborne Road – outside 47/49, 32/34

Effingham Close – 17, 26

Langley Park Road – opposite 91 Egmont

Devonshire Road – outside the school

The Ridgway – 18, 59

Christchurch Park – one outside, and one opposite, White Lodge Close.

TRISH AND RICHARD SECURE IMPROVEMENTS TO LIGHTING AND PAVEMENTS

The Council’s programme for re-surfacing roads and pavements has been under pressure over recent years due to the impact of austerity and cuts to Government support to Councils. The Council has had to implement savings measures in order to survive, and it has been a struggle to maintain these programmes.

There is an annual programme of review of priorities for the resurfacing of roads and pavements and replacement of light columns. Last year, we were delighted by the re-surfacing of the pavement in Mayfield Road. The programme for the coming year includes more work in our Ward, including the re-surfacing of the footway in The Ridgway (pictured above) and the replacement of concrete light columns in a number of roads at the western end of the Ward –

  • Effingham Close
  • Grange Road
  • Grange Vale
  • Overton Road
  • Stanley Road
  • Ventnor Road
  • Summers Close

APPEAL LAUNCHED AFTER NOOR JAHAN BAR LOSES LICENCE

The owner of the Noor Jahan Tandori Bar in Brighton Road has submitted an appeal against the decision of Sutton Council to remove his licence to sell alcoholic drinks.

Sutton Council completed its review of the licence of the Noor Jahan Tandoori Bar, at 10 Station Parade, Sutton, just south of Sutton station on the Brighton Road, earlier this year. The bar is the only bar in Sutton South Ward.  

At a hearing of the Licensing Committee on Monday 17 February in the Civic Offices in Sutton, the decision was taken to revoke the bar’s licence. Trish and Richard attended the hearing. Richard told the committee that he did not want to see the bar closed but it needed to be much better managed, as it had been in the past, to ensure there was no nuisance to local residents.

The bar had a Premises Licence to sell food and drink till late at night.

Discussion at the committee related to the four licensing objectives of:

  1. Prevention of crime and disorder

     2. Protection of children from harm

     3. Public safety

     4. Prevention of public nuisance.

The committee was shown video evidence indicating breaches of the licence conditions, with trading outside the permitted hours, smoking in the bar, and noise problems.

The decision of the owner to appeal means that, in normal circumstances, the bar could continue to operate until the appeal is determined. However, the current coronavirus restrictions mean that the bar, along with other pubs, restaurants and bars, is closed. The current restrictions mean it may be a while before the appeal is determined.

The premises are up for sale and it is believed that there is a buyer keen to take over the bar. The buyer would, unless the appeal succeeds, have to apply for a new licence and convince the Licensing Committee that the premises will be better managed in future.

It is understood that the Spagetti Tree restaurant, near the bar, is taking over the vacant unit next to it (also an Italian restaurant until it closed recently). And that the vacant Rift and Co. premises opposite Sutton station will become a Sainsbury’s local.  

GO SUTTON BUS WITHDRAWN: JOIN OUR CAMPAIGN TO KEEP THE BUS

The coronavirus crisis has led to the suspension of the Go Sutton bus service, as demand for the service has collapsed due to the restrictions on leaving your home and on travelling. We will petition to have it restored once the crisis is over.

The Go Sutton bus trial attracted massive attention. Information is at http://www.gosutton.co.uk

The year-long trial for this on-demand bus service had positive feedback and the service was extended to cover the area shown on the map. You could register online and phone when you want to use the bus. The cost was £3.50 (plus additional passengers at £2) but free if you have a Freedom Pass, like Richard.

The bus service was innovative, on-demand scheme which picked up
residents close to where they lived and took them to any destination
across most parts of the borough. The scheme started in 2019
and was due to end in May 2020 but Liberal Democrats in Sutton petitioned for the service to become permanent.
Residents told us, especially elderly people or those with learning difficulties, that the bus scheme proved to be a lifeline for them.
That’s why Liberal Democrat councillors set up a petition calling
on the Mayor of London and Transport for London to make the
scheme permanent.You can still sign the petition by clicking here .
Apart from helping people to get around the borough,  the scheme helped us to improve air quality, reduce congestion and cut down on the
number of individual car journeys. Please sign the petition.

LIVEABLE NEIGHBOURHOODS

A cycle hanger provides secure bike storage

Sutton Council has put in a bid to a fund financed by the Mayor of London called “Liveable Neighbourhoods”. It will be in competition with lots of other bids from other boroughs and Sutton has a poor record of getting funds from the Mayor. So it is a bit of a gleam in the eye. If Sutton is successful we will know by about next March.

The scheme would fund action on a range of measures that would improve the environment locally. If successful we could get funds to invest in our neighbourhood. This money could be spent on issues like safer crossings, reducing cut-through traffic, better roads so children can walk to school safely, more electric charging points and better cycling infrastructure. This would include measures to encourage walking and cycling, and to improve air quality. There is a website with details and a survey you can complete.

https://sutton.citizenspace.com/highways-environment-and-planning/sutton-liveable-neighbourhoods/

There is also information on the fund on the TfL website. This says:

“Our Liveable Neighbourhoods programme gives boroughs the opportunity to bid for funding for long-term schemes that encourage walking, cycling and the use of public transport.

The programme supports the aims of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy by funding local schemes to reduce car trips and improve neighbourhoods for walking, cycling and public transport.

Grants will be provided for a wide range of community-supported projects. These could include creating green spaces and cycling infrastructure and redesigning junctions. The programme can also fund the widening of walking routes to improve access to local shops, businesses and public transport.”

Trish and Richard visited Waltham Forest where they had funding under this scheme, in the time Boris Johnson was Mayor, for a scheme known there as “Mini-Holland” as one of the objectives, but not the only one, is to promote cycling.

One of the ideas, just to give an example, is “cycle hangers” which provide secure outside storage for bikes – very popular in areas where there are blocks of flats and people have little room for bikes in their flat. This is particularly so if they do not live on the ground floor so have to lug a bike upstairs. A majority of residents in our Ward (Sutton South) live in flats, a majority of these people living in upstairs flats, so we think there would be great demand for these spaces. The hangers take up one parking space in the road. See photo above.

Closing roads outside schools for half an hour when the pupils are going in and out is an idea, but this is now a common practice in some parts of London, for example at the school Richard’s grandson goes to in Herne Hill, where there is a rota of parents who erect temporary gates.

Road closures (turning some residential roads into cul-de-sacs by closing them at one end) to reduce rat-running down otherwise quiet residential streets and move the traffic onto main roads is certainly an aspect, but it needs approaching with care. The objective would be to move traffic onto main roads so that residential streets are quieter, with no through traffic, safer for pedestrians and cyclists, and with improved air quality.

There are undoubted pros and cons that need careful examination. There is a good example locally, in Belmont, the gate in Dorset Road close to the junction with Holland Avenue. This is inconvenient to motorists and many residents, and adds to traffic in roads like Holland Avenue. But it massively adds to the quality of life, quiet and clean air of residents of the Homeland Drive area, who otherwise would experience a lot of rat running traffic. It is surely worth investigating whether there is scope for similar interventions locally. Examples in our Ward could be Chalgrove Road and Cumnor Road, where the removal of through traffic would have a transformational effect on the quiet of the road and air quality.

We were told that the experience in Waltham Forest was that they put in some “modal filters” as they call these closures in some roads for a six month trial. In most but not all cases the residents wanted to keep the controls in place at the end of six months, and in some cases where the residents wanted them removed the residents now want them back. Some residents find them inconvenient as they make their own journeys by car more complicated, but it seems most feel this downside is outweighed by having quiet streets with reduced traffic and less air pollution. There is also the fact that if there are comprehensive parking controls introduced in an area, reducing parking, there will be speeding and probably increased through traffic.

Residents have asked us about the circulation of a list of possible road closures. The origin of this list is some illustrative examples prepared by consultants working on the bid to demonstrate what might be done. In fact the Dorset Road example is a much better example as it is real and already exists.

So we think it worthwhile bidding for this money. The Council has made no announcement about it as we do not know yet if the funding will be forthcoming.

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS TOP IN SUTTON: STRONG SHOWING IN SUTTON SOUTH IN EU ELECTIONS

Trish and Richard were delighted at the strong showing for the Liberal Democrats in the elections for the European Parliament. The results for Sutton showed the Liberal Democrats polled 18 706 votes, ahead of the Brexit Party which polled 17 307. The Tories polled just 4 863 votes. 
Those present at the count told us that the indications were that in Sutton South we won about the same share of the vote, or even did a little better, as in Sutton as a whole. 
Trish and Richard are delighted at this result.
Richard, who joined the LibDems when the Social Democratic Party merged with the old Liberal Party in the 1980s,  said he was delighted by the result.

CONSIDERATIONS RELATING TO TRANSPORT IN SUTTON SOUTH

 

bus

Transport for London is consulting on proposals for a new, direct and fast public transport link  service for Sutton and Merton. This consultation is called the Sutton Link and seeks views on bringing the tram to Sutton, or developing what is called a new Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) route. You can respond to the consultation at

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/sutton-link

Councillor Whitehead, the Chair of Sutton Council’s transport liaison 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 has been held in previous years but Councillor Whitehead tells us a more thorough review of outer London services is now promised by TfL.

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 when consulted in the recent past.

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?

Passenger information – it has been 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 has often been 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.

We have put this digest of views forward to officers for consideration. Any decision rests, of course, with Transport for London.

MORE VEHICLE SPEED SIGNS TO BE INSTALLED

 

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.