SCHOOL STREET AT OVERTON GRANGE SCHOOL

Trish and Richard at the school

Students returning to school this term at Overton Grange school will be able to enjoy a quieter and safer atmosphere due to the introduction of a “school street” at the gates in Stanley Road at the time students are arriving and leaving for the school day. This involves the closure of the part of Stanley Road adjacent to the school for a short period in the morning and afternoon, when the school day starts and ends.

The objectives of school streets are:

1) To improve safety around the school at start and finish time

2) To improve air quality for children outside their school gates (small people are particularly vulnerable to emissions from cars)

3) To create a more welcoming atmosphere around the school, where children can walk in the road and parents can feel more relaxed.


It may also increase the number of children walking/cycling/taking buses, but that isn’t the primary objective. 


The school streets proposal involves the closure of a small stretch of Stanley Road between the Camborne Road junction and the bridge for a short period when students are arriving and leaving morning and afternoon on weekdays when the school is operating. It will benefit the children. The parameters of this experimental programme were set by TfL who are funding it. At the end of the six month trial the scheme will come out, but if the Council wishes to make it permanent there will need to be a traffic management order which requires extensive consultation.

Many of our residents send their children to this school and have campaigned for measures to improve road safety at the school gates.

MAJOR THREAT TO DEMOCRATIC DECISION-TAKING IN OUR WARD

Local consultation on planning proposals is vital to maintain standards of build and design, and the street scene

As local Councillors, we have always been active in looking at planning applications in our Ward and opposing those not good enough to meet our high standards in Sutton. Recently we have been active on proposals in Brighton Road, The Ridgway and Hillcroome Road, not all of which have yet been resolved. If you scan down the posts on this website you will find numerous examples of planning applications where we have joined with local residents to get improvements or oppose what developers are proposing. It is our claim that since the last local election every time we have taken an application to Planning Committee because we thought it not good enough we have got the proposal rejected.

But now there is a major threat – the proposals of the Government to “reform” planning law are likely to, in many cases, remove the requirements for local consultation on planning proposals and act as a developers’ charter. We want to retain a system that, while it has defects, lets local people have a democratic say on what is built locally. It is too important a right for us to lose. 

MAINTAINING THE “NO DRINKING ZONE” IN OUR WARD

The “No Drinking Zone” was extended south from Sutton town centre

When Richard was first elected in 2010 one of the first projects he initiated was to get the “No Drinking Zone” in the centre of Sutton extended to our Ward. There were a group of what the police termed “all day drinkers” who used to congregate on Cedar Road outside Forest Dene Court.

The zone was extended to cover the area of our Ward south of the station as far as Cavendish Road, and running west to east from Brighton Road to Langley Park Road. In this area it is unlawful to continue to drink alcohol if asked by the police to stop, and there are provisions that would enable the police to confiscate alcohol. You will find reminders of the provisions attached to lampposts in the area, for example in Cedar Road.

The Council has, by law, to re-consider and consult afresh on these provisions from time to time. It is doing so at present. You can comment or make representations on the proposal to maintain these provisions. Representations must be made in writing and addressed to Safer Sutton Partnership Service, Environment, Housing and Regeneration Directorate, Sutton Police Station, 6 Carshalton Road, Sutton, SM1 4RF, before 21st September 2020. You need to state the grounds on which your representation or objection is made.

If you have any questions about this consultation, you can contact the Safer Sutton Partnership Team via email at safersutton@sutton.gov.uk

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 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

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.

TREE PRUNING TIME AGAIN

The trees can look bare and shorn when pruned

Every four years there is a full review of all the street trees in our Ward and a pruning exercise to take down the height of the largest trees. Some trees are found to be diseased and a few have to be felled, but will be replaced.

When the trees are pruned they look bare, but the foliage will re-grow next year.

It is believed that Sutton has more street trees per yard of pavement than any other of the 32 London boroughs, with over 20 000 trees across the borough and over a thousand in our Ward. This leads, every autumn, to a big job collecting up the leaves. There is a schedule for collecting them, but the speed of doing this is directly related to the resources devoted to it. Tory Government cuts to Council funding have not helped.

This looks a bit dangerous – pruning in The Ridgway

 

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.

POTHOLES AND REPAIRS

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.

A pothole in Langley Park Road is repaired

Restoring and repainting the fence in Christchurch Park

RICHARD WINS SECOND CONSECUTIVE BATTLE AT PLANNING COMMITTEE

,Allon Court

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,