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,
The last two winters have been fairly mild with not much snow, so many of us who collected free grit under the Council’s scheme to distribute free grit against icy weather in the last two years have still got the grit. This winter is, by contrast, proving severe and the cold weather at the end of February is demonstrating to all of us the value of the grit distribution scheme.
Trish and Richard were members of the task group that drafted the new local plan for Sutton. After going through a process of public review by a Government Inspector, the plan was presented to and agreed by the Housing, Economy and Business Committee on 13 February. Richard addressed the Committee on what he saw as the virtues of the plan. The plan was endorsed by Council on 26 February and Richard again addressed the meeting, reminding Councillors that the process of public review – which can lead to major revision of such plans – left it virtually unscathed. The core policies of the plan survived without alteration, and are the central policies that have helped us maintain the pleasant, green, suburban character of Sutton our residents cherish. This is evidence of the strength of the document.
The plan supports development that is in keeping with the best in our local environment – preserving the green, suburban feel of Sutton while meeting the aspiration to have homes for our children to grow up here. The plan promotes good quality design, school places, the London Cancer Hub, surgeries, the protection of pubs, parks and open spaces, and minimum standards for housing. It also strengthens the protection of Conservation Areas and Areas of Special Local Character. It is our plan for a successful Sutton.
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.
Occupation of these two buildings, increasing footfall in the area and business for local shops, restaurants and hotels, will have a positive effect on the local economy. And the Subsea7 project will keep many hundreds of jobs to our area that would otherwise have been in Epsom or Leatherhead, and add several hundred new jobs. Jobs are gold dust for the local economy.
Councillor Whitehead, the Chair of Sutton Council’s Environment and Neighbourhoods 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 was held earlier in 2016.
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:
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?
A resident made the following comment on the S1 timetable information.
“We use the S1 service quite a lot, and really appreciate it, especially when the frequency increased to every 15 minutes a while ago. However in the latest timetable adjustments it is not scheduled for the same minutes past every hour, as it used to be outside peak times, so is not so easy to use.
Unfortunately this also coincided with TfL rearranging the timetable information on their website. It is still easy to look up when a particular bus is due, but it used to be easy to print out a complete timetable for the service, on one side of A4 for each direction. Now the timetable information gives the times of buses for the one particular stop you select, and it is 3 pages of printing for each stop. For example if I were to print the times from my local stop to Sutton or St Helier and to Banstead, and back again from those three, I would have 15 (sparsely used) pages.
For many people who use the service, and cannot or do not wish to be constantly looking it up on phones, it would be much simpler if there were the option of printing one complete timetable.”
Passenger information – it was 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 was some 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.
I have put this digest of views forward to officers for consideration. Any decision rests, of course, with Transport for London.