[ Sutton Magistrates’ Court, in Wallington – click on any of the pictures on this site to see them full size ]
“The certainty of justice and the visibility of justice is eroded if justice is not sufficiently local.”
This was the message given by Councillor Richard Clifton, in his maiden speech since being elected to Sutton Council, on 6 December, when he called on the Ministry of Justice to re-think the proposal it has recently floated to close the only Magistrates’ Court House in Sutton, in Wallington.
Councillor Clifton stressed that important decisions that affect redress, justice and even people’s liberty will be taken on the basis of poorer evidence if people – including the victims of crime and witnesses to crime – are deterred from attending Court by the distance they have to travel.
He stressed two particular consequences:
– cases are lost because key witnesses do not show up
– magistrates from Sutton have a detailed and personal knowledge of the pertinent local issues, helpful in understanding a case such as a road traffic case, and this will be lost.
He was responding to a challenge by Tory Councillors to justify a statement in a motion presented to Council by Liberal Democrat Councillors, that the proposed closure would have an “inevitably damaging effect.” The motion was eventually carried unanimously.
However, despite forceful lobbying and representations by local groups, the Ministry of Justice has now announced the planned closure of the Court house. Councillor Clifton said “I called for the campaign to continue as I felt the arguments were on our side. I am disappointed that the campaign has not come to a successful conclusion.”
[ A 280 bus approaches the bus stop at the end of Cavendish Road in Sutton South Ward ]
Your Sutton South Liberal Democrat Councillors have recently responded to the Transport for London Autumn 2010 Bus Service Review Programme, for services with contracts that are due to end in 2012.The services of relevance to Sutton South residents included in this review are:
- The X26 Croydon to Heathrow service
- The 280 Tooting to Belmont service.
This is part of formal consultation process. We have responded to point out that these services are of value to those living in south Sutton, the Belmont to Tooting service being an important south-north link and the Heathrow service providing a means of getting to the airport at reasonable speed by bus without having to go in to central London. We would not want to see these services withdrawn or reduced.
In support of the points we have raised, the Council has written formally to Transport for London to set out the concerns of local people. The council has recorded that the X26 is a highly valued service providing an orbital bus link through the Borough and a speedy route to Heathrow. The Council has sought an extension of the frequency of the service, which is half hourly during the day but only hourly after 7pm, to be half hourly during the evening. The Council has pointed out that the service is often crowded during the day and has sought an increase in the frequency of the service to once every 20 minutes.
The Council has also stressed the importance of the 280 route, connecting local people to Mitcham and Tooting. It has commented that the timetabling of the service could be improved.
As your local Councillors, we will closely follow this consultation process and seek to ensure these services are retained and, if that can be justified, improved.
Councillor Heather Honour has congratulated Sergeant Dave Williams and the members of the Sutton South Safer Neighbourhoods Team after an amazing police coup, uncovering a cannabis factory in an empty office building in Sutton South Ward, Sutherland House.
Writing to Sergeant Williams, she said “Congratulations to you and your team on the discovery of the cannabis factory in Sutherland House. What a very positive story for Sutton South Safer Neighbourhoods Team!”
Police uncovered one of the biggest cannabis factories ever found in Sutton Borough. The cannabis factory was over four floors of the disused office building at Sutherland House, Brighton Road, Sutton – just a few yards from Sutton train station.
Officers estimate the 6th to 9th floors of the building contained around 3,000 plants. Two of the floors contained plants three feet high that were within days of being harvested. The other floors contained a nursery, a drying room and living accommodation for two people complete with beds.
The cannabis factory was discovered after an electrician had been called to carry out some electrical work by the building’s management company. The electrician became suspicious and alerted a Police Community Support Officer, who was on patrol near the building at the time. Officers forced entry to the top floors and were astounded by what they found.
Forensics experts were called in to gather initial evidence and to take photographs whilst the police helicopter circled overhead in case the suspects were on the roof of the building. Sergeant Dave Williams, of Sutton South Safer Neighbourhoods Team, said: “It’s the biggest find I have ever had.”
Sutherland House, where the cannabis factory was found, yards from Sutton rallway station.
Sutton police station, the base for the Sutton South Safer Neighbourhoods Team.