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.
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,
At the Housing, Economy and Business Committee meeting on 13 February the Committee considered a draft of a publication that will list all the “locally listed” buildings in Sutton. Most people are aware that historic buildings might be “listed” to prevent their being inappropriately developed or demolished. This is, however, a national system, and local authorities can prepare lists of local structures that are of significance locally though not grand enough to go on the national list.
There are four such structures in Sutton South Ward.
- the Registrar’s office (The Russetings) in Worcester Road, a Victorian house that it is believed the Walls family, famous for Walls ice cream and Walls sausages, lived in, though this is disputed
- Stowford in Brighton Road, a Victorian house, now the Eagle House school
- the pavilion of the Highfield Lawns tennis club at the junction of Mayfield Road and The Ridgway, as an example of an Edwardian tennis pavilion, build by local builder Percy Vere Windebank in 1908
- a Victorian sewer vent pipe in Hillcroome Road, one of 24 in the area, manufactured at an ironworks (W. Macfarlane and Co.) in Glasgow and erected when mains sewerage came to the area in the nineteenth century.
Perhaps the most unusual of these is the sewer vent pipe, pictured above.
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.
After a long consultation, to which the Council contributed, the Mayor of London has announced the closure of counter services at a swathe of police stations across London. We campaigned to save the service at Sutton station, and we have been successful.
Sadly, the counter service at Worcester Park station is to close. Shame on you, Sadiq Khan!
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.
Many local residents use the medical centre in Grove Road in Sutton. Several years ago Richard was involved, with former Councillor Heather Honour, in a campaign to prevent this practice closing and moving to the Henderson hospital site in Belmont, as there were few transport links to the site and it would not have been easily accessible to those without a car.
We are pleased that this proposal is not being proceeded with. NHS Sutton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) now propose to move the surgery to a health centre in Robin Hood Lane in central Sutton, closer to the current practice. This is a proposal currently being worked up. It is also proposed to move the Mulgrave Road surgery, which many local residents use, to this site. The full list of surgeries that might move to the site is:
- Grove Road practice
- Mulgrave road surgery
- Benhill surgery (part of Benhill and Belmont GP centre)
In addition, Dr Grice and partners branch surgery is already at the site (though not their main surgery at the Old Court House) and Dr Seyan and partners are already at the site. If you are registered with any of these practices you should have received a letter from the CCG inviting views on the proposal.
The Grove Road practice does need to move. It is currently in a converted house so some surgery rooms are upstairs, with no lift, and it is not possible to have a private conversation with reception staff as the reception is in the hallway of the house. It does not meet modern standards and NHS England will require it to move. But there are few sites available in Sutton. There are some similar problems with the Mulgrave Road surgery.
You can comment on this proposal, which is at an early stage of development, at
For our part, we will be seeking to ensure that transport and accessibility issues are fully taken into consideration when working up the proposal.
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.
The concern of Sutton Council to protect the green and pleasant environment in our Ward has again been demonstrated in Cavendish Road, though the threat to sensible and informed local decision taking from the remote Planning Inspectorate, based in Bristol, remains.
A planning application was submitted for the buildings at 7-9 Cavendish Road, previously a care home, for demolition of the buildings and erection of a three storey block of flats, with roof accommodation, comprising 16 flats (three 1-bedroomed, seven 2-bedroomed and six 3-bedroomed), 9 car parking spaces, secure cycle parking, provision of a refuse store, with access to the rear.
The Council has turned the application down. The Council considered that the proposed development, by reason of its height, bulk, mass and detailed design, would constitute an unsympathetic form of development that would have a negative visual impact on the Cavendish Road street scene. The proposed development would therefore have a detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the area.
The Council also turned the application down because it considered that at least some affordable housing ought to be provided as part of an acceptable development on this site and, as such, the proposal would cause significant harm to the promotion of mixed and balanced communities.
An earlier application was also turned down but is now the subject of an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. This is a threat we cannot control. We will let residents know the outcome and if further applications are made.
A proposal for a house extension in Downside Road was also rejected as it would close the visual gap between houses, causing harm to the spacious and open character of the road and result in a visual terracing impact on the street scene.