GOLD DUST FOR THE LOCAL ECONOMY: SUBSEA7 MOVE IN TO THEIR NEW HQ

The new building now completed

The new building now completed

The design for the Subsea7 office in Brighton Road

The design for the Subsea7 office in Brighton Road

Over the weekend 15 January Subsea7 have started to move their staff out of the Reed building in the Quadrant and into their attractive new headquarters building in Brighton Road.
By this time next year there will be 750 people working in the building.
The Sutherland House building – now re-named Northumberland House – almost opposite, is being converted to 128 flats, with parking spaces, that are being offered for rent. The first residents were moving in over the same weekend. The shops at the bottom are yet to be occupied. Sainsburys have changed their mind about opening a store there, but it would have been competing with the Tesco opposite.
Money has been spent improving the look of the former Sutherland House

Money has been spent improving the look of the former Sutherland House


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.
On 24 November we attended the final meeting of the liaison group with Subsea7 and local residents that has monitored the progress of the project to build the new headquarters of Subsea7, here in Sutton.
The company will arrange visits for local residents to see inside the building when it is fully occupied. And discussions continue on a new pedestrian crossing outside the building, crossing Brighton Road, given the massively increased footfall from those who work in the building arriving at Sutton station and walking down Brighton Road.
On 4 September last year the Subsea7 building was “topped out.”
subsea on the roof 1
“Topping out” is a ceremony traditionally held when the building has been built to its full height. Richard and Trish were there on the roof of the building when the final piece of concrete was put in place on 4 September.
The site won the Ivor Goodsite Hoarding Competition 2015!  The site was one of 8 winners out of 48 entries nationally to receive the award which showcased the great artwork used on the hoarding, produced by local schools; Devonshire Primary and Overton Grange Secondary.  The schools produced widely praised artwork on the themes of ‘Under the Sea’ and ‘Subsea 7’.
The picture below is of Trish and Richard with the Devonshire Avenue primary school artwork displayed at the site.
Following consultation with residents on the parking arrangements in the side road separating the site from Raeburn House and Girtin House, now named Berridge Close, the road is now included in the controlled parking zone with parking bays in the road reserved for residents with parking permits.

TWO OF US SMALL

TRISH LEADS THE FIGHT FOR A BETTER TRAIN SERVICE

R and T at station smallMany of our residents commute to London by train, and the combination of good schools, low crime, a green and leafy borough and proximity to local railway stations is what attracts many London commuters to Sutton South Ward.

For this reason we are concerned at the reports we get from many residents that the train service is not adequate. Both of us have, at times, been commuters into central London and we know the frustrations. In September Trish made an impassioned speech to Sutton Council on the problems residents have experienced, quoting the stories residents have shared with us of cancelled services and broken down trains. The Council called on the Government to review the franchise of Southern Railway and Govia, and implement stringent penalties for failure to deliver an adequate service.

Since Richard was elected he has fought successful campaigns to save the Thameslink service and to get the side entrance to Sutton station open. We are now campaigning to get Network Rail to increase the capacity of the station car park. We want to monitor the performance of the railway so please continue to contact us with your thoughts and experiences.

tunnel train

WEEKLY COLLECTION OF FOOD WASTE PROPOSED

bulbs oct 15

Proposals for a new waste collection service include a weekly collection of food waste.

There will continue to be fortnightly collection of re-cycling waste. The waste that currently goes in the brown bin will be divided, with the food waste collected weekly and other waste collected fortnightly. At present around 40 per cent of brown-bin waste is food waste, so this will mean residents will be able to reduce significantly the amount of waste in their brown bins. These changes will mean less waste goes to landfill, which is good for the environment.

Garden waste collections for paying residents will be extended from nine months a year to all year round. This will be collected in the same green and brown wheelie bin.

Street cleaning operations will be extended to 10pm from the current 6.30am start.

The new contracts will enable Sutton Council to save £10.3m over the first eight years. It is estimated that Sutton’s recycling rate will increase from 37 per cent (2014/15) to 42 per cent by the end of the first year of the contract.

Sutton Council has agreed to the shared service approach with its neighbours due to the unprecedented Government cuts to the Council’s budget, along with the opportunities to increase recycling rates. Currently Sutton has to save £31m from its annual budget due to Government cuts. The Council’s annual budget is £148.4m.

quadrant bins

ROAD NEWLY NAMED AFTER CELEBRATED LOCAL RESIDENT

berridge road sign

Following a campaign led by Richard and Trish, Sutton Council have named a previously un-named road in our Ward just south of Sutton station after a distinguished local inventor and engineer who once lived there.

On March 31 the two Councillors, with local residents and Sutton Council officers, supervised the erection of the street sign.

The road is a turning off the Brighton Road that separates Raeburn House from the new Subsea7 offices, under construction, and is now named Berridge Close.

This is to remember Harold Berridge (1872-1949), a celebrated engineer who lived in a house on the site now occupied by the Subsea7 offices, from the 1920s through to 1949. Berridge was an engineer who travelled the world and contributed to many important civil engineering projects worldwide, including the building of tunnels under the river Hudson in New York in 1902 and the development of the port of Aden – in modern day Yemen – in the ensuing decade. He settled in Sutton in the 1920’s to work on housing development for the London County Council. He is noted in civil engineering circles as the inventor of equipment for the testing of concrete, based on principles which are still relevant to modern day equipment used for this purpose.

Trish said “We favour naming roads after celebrated local people and think it is appropriate to name this road after an interesting and distinguished man who once lived here, and made a significant contribution to civil engineering.”

Harold Berridge was born in 1872 and went to the City of London school. After serving a pupilage in civil engineering from 1890 to 1893 he became the resident engineer at Poole Harbour in 1893.

After working as an engineer for companies including John Mowlem & Co. and the City and South London Railway in the period to 1898, he became Assistant Superintendent supervising the approaches to the Hudson Tunnel, in New York, in 1902, before becoming Chief Engineer to the Aden Port Trust in 1904. He was involved in work in Aden through to 1924, after which he worked on housing development schemes for the London County Council through to 1931. During his time in Aden he was awarded the OBE.

The Times of 20 June 1949 reports his death, on 17 June 1949, at 8 Worcester Gardens, Sutton, Surrey. Worcester Gardens stood on the site now occupied by the Subsea7 building in Brighton Road, and was a turning off the Brighton Road. Berridge lived in a Victorian house in Worcester Gardens.

Berridge is remembered for his patents relating to principles and equipment for the testing of concrete, including one dating from 1925 under the title “Contractible and expansible supporting means suitable for use in the construction of pipes, tunnels, bridges and other bodies or structures.” In 1932 he submitted an important patent entitled ”Apparatus for Testing the Strength of Materials.” His equipment for the testing of concrete was based on principles which are still relevant to modern day equipment used for this purpose.

COUNCIL OPPOSES THREATENED CLOSURE OF SUTTON STATION TICKET OFFICE

R and T at station small

Southern have been consulting on certain changes to Sutton station that will involve the closure of the ticket office. The details are on their website at

www.southernrailway.com/your-journey/station-information/changes-to-the-opening-hours-of-ticket-offices

Richard and Trish have helped draft the response from the Council, opposing this change. The following is an extract from the lengthy and considered Council response.

“The Council strongly objects to the proposed closure of Sutton ticket office. Sutton is the 6 th busiest station on the Southern network and 7th busiest in south London, having almost 7 million passenger entries and exits per annum. The Council has major growth plans for Sutton, a Metropolitan town centre, in terms of housing and employment, which will result in a significant increase in station usage over the next decade. The Council has also recently completed the Station Gateway scheme at Sutton, which made some significant improvements to area outside the station, as well as opening the side entrance. The ticket office at Sutton is well used most of the time and there is often a queue. We consider that the ticket office at Sutton should remain open during the peak times at least, and this should include the busy periods at weekends when there are a considerable number of leisure and infrequent passengers who do not have smartcards and may need advice or help. Outside peak times sufficient staff should be available on the concourse to sell tickets and assist passengers with the machines. As the station concourse in front of the ticket barriers at Sutton is quite small and congested we would suggest having a station host desk or podium in the existing ticket hall with a formal queuing system as for the ticket office. Many stations in your “Model 3″ outside London have much lower usage than Sutton yet are to retain their ticket office, and we consider it is important that this major London Metropolitan town centre should retain a ticket office facility.”

We have reproduced below some of the key points made by Southern, taken from their website. Most residents use the train service from Sutton station from time to time and those we have discussed this issue with support our view that this is a proposal we should object to.

CHANGES AT SUTTON STATION

Southern point out that the majority of customers use ticket machines rather than the ticket office. They propose to establish a “station hosting point” with the staff available on the concourse, able to sell the full range of tickets from first to last train. They propose to move staff onto the concourse as ‘Station Hosts’

The website states that Station Hosts will be:

  • visible and available from first service until the last, which is longer than current ticket office hours
  • trained in customer service
  • able to sell tickets and provide information using a new handheld device
  • helping passengers use the ticket machines

Sutton station will have a Host on duty at specified times, Monday to Friday 5.25 to 23.00, Saturday 6.25 to 23.00, Sunday 7.00 to 23.00, these being in excess of the current ticket office hours as the ticket office closes at 9pm. The Host will provide assistance with ticket purchases, information provision and assisted travel. The Host will have a hand held ticketing system that will enable them to provide tickets that are not available from the self-service machines.

The Ticket Office will close. The primary point for purchasing tickets on the station will be from the self-service machines or from the Station Host. In the event that a ticket type is not available through these machines then the Host will have access to a ticket office machine within the concourse area to enable those ticket types to be issued.

Southern State “At some of our stations we know that our ticket offices sell fewer than 12 tickets per hour and the vast majority of customers don’t use the ticket offices on a daily basis. At these stations, we want our staff to become more available for all users of the station and ensure there is a visible presence on our station concourses where they can help customers with all of their queries, provide information, offer assistance and have the ability to sell tickets when needed.

At some of our busier stations, we want to relocate the ticket selling equipment to a station hosting point so the staff are available on the concourse, able to sell the full range of tickets but for longer times than today.

We believe that this will provide an improved customer experience, with all the affected stations being staffed from the very first to last train, 7 days a week. Facilities such as waiting rooms will be open for longer and Station Hosts will be available answering customer queries, providing advice and assisting with ticket purchases.”

 

GETTING YOUR FIRST CHOICE OF SECONDARY SCHOOL

Overton Grange school

Overton Grange school

Every borough in London is struggling to keep place with the increasing demand for school places. Sutton has done well to cope with the increased demand for primary school places. The bulge is now working its way through to secondary schools. Hence the need for Overton Grange school (the only secondary school in our Ward) to expand, and the need for a new school.

Sutton is doing well. It has the third-highest first-preference rate for secondary school places in London, with almost 80 per cent of local families receiving their first choice of school for their child – well above the London average of 68.52 per cent.

Sutton has once again achieved one of the best rates overall, with the percentage of families receiving one of their top-three preferences increasing to 94.5 per cent – up 1.5 per cent from 2015 and almost six percentage points above the London average of 88.64 per cent.

Parents in the borough have been told which secondary schools have made offers of places for their children for the September 2016 intake.

In September, these children will start at our secondary schools, officially ranked as being among the best in England for teaching and exam results. In 2015, the proportion of Sutton students scoring 5 or more A* to C grades including English and Maths was 76.9 per cent, well above the 2014 national average of 53.4 per cent. Across the borough, 83.5 per cent of pupils achieved five or more GCSEs.

Almost two-thirds (65.1 per cent) of students across the borough achieved the highest A-Level A*, A and B grades in 2015 and the percentage of Sutton students achieving an A-Level pass grade (A* to E) increased to 99.7 per cent from 98.5 per cent in 2014. This was well above the UK average.

 

SCHOOL PLACES FOR LOCAL CHILDREN ASSURED

overton bulbs

Sutton Council’s Planning Committee, which Richard chairs, has agreed expansion plans for Overton Grange school, the only secondary school in Sutton South Ward.

Sutton Council, like every London Borough, has been pursuing a strategy to cope with the increased demand for school places. Having successfully coped with a surge in demand for primary school places, the bulge is now moving through to secondary schools. The Council continues to work on its proposals for at least one new secondary school in Sutton, while almost all of the existing secondary schools – including Overton Grange – are submitting plans to expand the number of places.

Overton Grange school is the only secondary school in our Ward and, while it takes students from all over Sutton, many local parents send their children there. Like many Sutton schools, it is planning to expand its intake to meet the additional demand for secondary school places in the Borough due to rising numbers of children. Currently the school takes in 210 students each year and it plans to expand the school by increasing its intake by a class of 30 each year from autumn 2016.

The school, which has “Academy” status so it is not under the control of the local authority, staged an exhibition of its building plans on 22 April, at the school. A new teaching block is proposed, and the school is taking the opportunity of the building work to expand its canteen, which is not large enough for the current size of the school.

At the time of the last local elections, last May, scare stories were put round that the school planned to expand into Overton Park. This is not the case.

Richard said, after the Planning Committee decision ” The rising number of children reaching secondary school age means that expansion of our schools is necessary, alongside the proposals for new schools, and I am pleased the Council is taking effective action to avert any crisis in school places. I am pleased there is no intention to expand into the park, a story that had no foundation and was a political scare story.”

Overton Grange plans to expand its intake by 30 pupils per year, a one form intake, from the autumn of 2016. The Planning Committee considered a report on an application for the erection of a part ground, part first, part second floor extension, to provide five additional classrooms with ancillary accommodation, three single storey extensions to provide additional canteen, kitchen and storage facilities, together with roof canopy to the main front entrance, a detached store, with soft and hard landscaping.

Overton Grange is a popular local school and this extension will continue to ensure there are sufficient places locally for children reaching secondary school age, so this is good news for the many parents in the area who have young children. Secondary school provision in the area will be further enhanced by the decision to build the first of the new secondary schools we need on the nearby Sutton hospital site.

“GATEWAY” PROJECT COMES IN ON BUDGET

The old side entrance - shuttered and barricaded

The old side entrance – shuttered and barricaded

The New Entrance - open all day every day

The New Entrance

The £1.2 million Sutton Gateway project – largely financed by Transport for London – has come in £8 000 within budget, a remarkable degree of accuracy.

The main success for Sutton South Ward residents, in particular those who commute to central London, is the opening of the side entrance to Sutton station. The side entrance is now open from 6am to 11pm seven days a week. The cycle racks next to the side entrance have been improved and the number of racks doubled.

The project further developed the area around Sutton station with:

– newly planted trees to improve the look of the area

– more lighting and CCTV cameras to make the area safer

– extra cycling facilities, with new bike racks and shelters

– the town centre clock

– a re-arrangement of the bus stops to reduce congestion

– re-design of the Cedar Road / Brighton Road junction to improve visibility for motorists

– after 6.30 some taxis can park immediately opposite the station, with the bus stop previously opposite the station moved further down Brighton Road to ease congestion of buses at peak times

– the timing of the pedestrian crossing at the High Street / Grove Road / Sutton Court Road junction has been amended to give more time to cross

– the number of parking spaces in the station area has been increased

– general improvements in design and to the “public realm” around the station, with more flowers, more colour and better signage

– new “legible London” signs based on this design, still to be installed.

legible london sign

These changes are largely funded by grants the Council has obtained, not local Council tax payers.

The results of the earlier consultation exercise on the Gateway Project indicated general support for the scheme, but we were able to make a number of changes to respond to specific issues raised. In our Ward, a particular concern for the businesses was the need for a loading bay on Regents Parade just south of the station. We successfully lobbied for this to be incorporated into the scheme.

The improvements attributable to the Gateway project are complemented by the installation of the new zebra crossing in Cedar Road, which was not part of the project.

NEW CROSSING IN CEDAR ROAD – COMPLEMENTING THE GATEWAY PROJECT

zebra crossing cedar

After a long campaign initially led by Richard and former Councillor Heather Honour, more lately by Richard and Trish, the new zebra crossing in Cedar Road is there. This project began some years ago when we obtained funding for a survey of traffic speeds in the Ward which identified Cedar Road and Cavendish Road as speeding hot spots. The new traffic islands in Cavendish Road have reduced speeds. People will doubtless think the Cedar Road zebra crossing is part of the Sutton Gateway project, but in fact it is a separate project.

The Gateway project should be completed in the next month and has smartened up the station area.

The project aims to further develop the area around Sutton station, including by:

– refitted shop fronts, new paving and newly planted trees to improve the look of the area

– more lighting and CCTV cameras to make the area safer

– extra cycling facilities, with new bike racks and shelters

– a town centre clock

– less crowded pavements and bus shelters

–  a new crossing in Brighton Road.

NEW COMMUNITY GARDEN OPENED AT CHRISTCHURCH

christchurch garden

On 24 March Richard attended the opening of the new community garden at Christchurch. This is a remarkable piece of work to turn a scrubby bit of wasteland into something attractive and useful, funded by lottery money, the church and the Council.

The picture shows left to right our MP Paul Burstow, the Mayor, the Reverend Justine Middlemiss (of the Christchurch team Ministry), the Bishop of Croydon and the Reverend Mark Pullinger (the vicar of Christchurch) at the opening. The Bishop blessed the garden.