side entrance

Ever since we were elected in2010 we have been pursuing an objective to get the side entrance to Sutton station opened as a second entrance.

There are several reasons for this, and it is a particular passion for Richard who for over 20 years of his life commuted from his home in The Ridgway to central London for work, running (as he was usually late for his train) past the shuttered and barricaded side entrance to the station to enter by the front, then in the evening shuffling (as the station is officially classified as overcrowded) to get out the front, when he could have left by the side. There are many residents of our Ward who commute to central London for work and approach the station from the Wellesley Road direction, so have the same experience every working day as Richard had. But opening the side entrance will also make The Quadrant and the bike rack more accessible.

Today, 25 July, is likely to be seen as the day we were able to be sure the side entrance will open next year.

Today there was the first meeting of the Sutton Gateway project board, of which Richard is a member. There were discussions involving the Council, Network Rail and Transport for London. It was confirmed that the firm intention, now, is to open the side entrance. The project is more complex than simply putting a row of entrance gates where the shutter closing the side entrance is currently situated. There will be some re-building of the side entrance, a canopy, gates and the very steep flight of stairs (too steep to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act) will be replaced by a flight at right angles to the current flight of stairs, at a more gradual gradient.

Richard said “This is exciting news for Sutton South residents. The campaign we started in 2010 has succeeded.”

R and H at side entrance


police station

Heather and Richard attended the Sutton South Ward police panel on 12 June. There was discussion of current crime trends, including recent burglaries and attempted burglaries in Mayfield Road.

While the police were unable to give a reason for these incidents they commented that sometimes there is a “clustering” of crime in an area for a short period for no obvious reason, but it would be unusual for it to persist as a problem. They have moved quickly to re-assure residents and have knocked on doors in Mayfield Road, and left a feedback form where there was no-one in. If you have any observations you want to make to the local police you can contact them on

Also, nine local residents attended their recent street briefing.

While no-one can ever be complacent and we must all maintain our vigilance, it remains the case that this Ward is a low crime area, indeed one of the safest areas in south London. Burglary, along with theft from motor vehicles, remains a police priority for the area, but the most common form of burglary in our area is theft from garages, and residential (house) burglaries are mercifully rare.

The meeting also discussed future action on speeding, a dog seizure in Cumnor Road, a cannabis factory in Westmoreland Drive and the success of the extension of the “No Drinking Zone” to our Ward.

We also discussed the introduction of the “London Policing Model” on 24 June. While the implications are not all positive, these changes are not going to damage the excellent service we generally get from our local police.

 Next street briefing: 12 July outside Lavender Court in Cavendish Road.


Here are some examples of the things Richard and Heather, as your local LibDem Councillors, have been working to achieve, all things Sutton Council has done to improve Sutton South, action we have taken on behalf of the community, or campaigns we have launched.

Action to oppose the opening of a nightclub on the border of the Ward, operating till 4.30am seven days a week, which would add to late night disturbance in the streets of Sutton South Ward.

kings lane bridge

Improvements to the Kings Lane bridge to make it safer for pedestrians.


img00017-20101105-1223downside-rd.jpg Re-surfacing Downside Road to deal with potholes after the hard winter 0f 2009/2010.

New grit bins at many places in the Ward, such as this one in Leslie Gardens put in at the request of Richard following an approach from a resident.

And this grit bin in Cavendish Road which Richard got put in after approaches from residents – this photo taken on the morning the bin arrived, just before it was filled with grit.

New litter bins in the Ward, such as this one that Richard got put in at a strategic point in Cedar Road. A resident suggested this was about the point where someone walking back from the station with a takeaway snack would finish it and drop rubbish.




img00018-20101105-1224hillcroome.jpg Re-surfacing of Hillcroome Road to deal with potholes after the hard winter of 2009/2010.

Improvements to the layout of the Brighton Road at the junction with Ventnor Road and Devonshire Avenue, to reduce road accidents. 

img00023-20101105-1238overton.jpg Improvements made in relation to signage and road markings outside Overton Grange school due to concerns about road safety when students leave the school at the end of the day. A new, flashing “wig wag” sign (it flashes when switched on at about the time students arrive at or leave school) erected.

This is the “wig wag” sign.

r-and-h-devonshire1.jpg Expansion of Devonshire Avenue, The Avenue and Barrow Hedges primary schools will make it easier for Sutton South parents to get their children into these excellent, popular and frequently over-subscribed schools. We also succeeded in moving the polling stations from Devonshire and Barrow Hedges schools to local church halls, so the education of the children will not be disrupted for a day and related child care problems can be avoided.

img00026-20101105-1241sutherland.jpg Extension of the “No Drinking Zone” into Sutton South Ward, to deal with issues of anti-social behaviour associated with a group of “all day drinkers” who tend to congregate on the corner of Cedar Road and Brighton road, the location shown in this picture.

bus280.jpg Representations made by your local Liberal Democrat Councillors to contribute to Sutton-wide response to Transport for London consultation on the future of the X26 Croydon to Heathrow service, the 80 service from Sutton station to Belmont and the 280 Tooting to Belmont service, to stress the importance to local people of these services. 

albioncarclub.jpg Support for the creation of more “car club” bays in Sutton South Ward, such as this bay in Albion Road which was identified for conversion to a “car club” bay, in order to encourage better car use, reducing pollution, a “greener” Borough and policy on sustainable transport. This proposal is currently on hold but Car2go have expanded their car club service in the Ward. 

copese-hill-tree-pic.jpg New street trees planted, such as this one in Copse Hill. And in Copse Hill we also intervened to get Council officials to look at the potential for a flooding problem at the foot of the hill, with the cleaning out of the soakaways and other improvements.

pic-reserve.jpg Action to improve the Devonshire Avenue Nature Area, involving, amongst other things,  re-positioning the benches, partially removing a wall that divides up the site, possibly fencing some areas with low wooden fencing to protect the kidney vetch essential for the small blue buterfly, removing the corrugated iron sheeting found at the site and installing a small piece of play equipment for children aged 5 to 7 at the entrance, while taking action to control the habitat. The reserve is the only open space in the Ward. We have supported only limited installation of play equipment as we believe the area should continue to be a nature reserve, and our proposals are designed to ensure the habitat of the area will not be harmed. We are promoting a programme to assist the small blue butterfly.

Action to improve the safety of pedestrians who pass under the railway bridge in Grange Vale. There is a narrow pavement and, as it is a one-way street, cars roar round the corner from the Brighton Road end and under the bridge, the driver only seeing a pedestrian on the pavement under the bridge at the last moment. This is a particular problem for parents with buggies or with small children passing under the bridge against the direction of traffic. A barrier and set of posts have been erected to slow the traffic.


This photo shows the improvement made.

Action taken to discuss with BT the installation of the new generation of very large green cabinets at locations in the Ward, to ensure they are put in locations that do not cause annoyance to residents, as this box in Cedar Road does. Action to prevent the boxes being covered with unsightly advertising.

Action to promote the sensitive re-development of Sutherland House, which is currently an eyesore, and to ensure that if it is re-developed there will be gains for the residents of the Ward through a programme of improvements funded by the developer, through the community infrastructure levy and section 106 contributions.

Action to get the Edwardian tennis pavilion in Mayfield Road included on the Sutton Local List as a building of significant local historical importance and interest.

Campaign launched to stop Thameslink services being terminated at Blackfriars, something that would lead to dispersion of commuters onto other services that are already packed, cut Sutton off from St. Pancras International and north London, and harm the attractiveness of Sutton to companies locating their offices away from but close to central London.


A programe of road maintenence throughout the Ward – this picture shows line painting in Eaton Road.

The side entrance at Sutton station

Our campaign continues to get the side entrance to Sutton station opened. A bid submitted by Sutton Council for funding from the Mayor’s Outer London Fund was not successful, but the campaign continues and a further bid (to TfL) has been successful. This is not the end of the story as negotiations continue on matched funding..

We succeeded in getting the date for the four-yearly pruning of the thousand or so street trees in Sutton South Ward brought forward to the end of 2011. We have also got commitment to an interim look at the state of the trees, outside the normal four year cycle, in 2014.





Our gritting lorries are prepared

All the evidence is that Sutton’s free grit scheme has been, for a third year, a massive success.


Residents of South Sutton Ward have been able to obtain a supply of free grit for the third year running.

Many households took up the offer of 10kg of grit to use on footpaths, pavements or roads in front of their homes, preparing for the cold weather predicted to come before the end of the year. Many householders also collected free grit for elderly neighbours and residents who do not have a car.

The Council successfully pioneered the scheme , which has been copied by other authorities around the country. In previous years the Council gave out grit to more than 10,000 residents.

The free grit is the most practical way of helping residents, though there are in addition over 40 grit bins in our Ward and the Council has a number of gritting lorries fully equipped and ready to hit the roads if a cold snap makes conditions difficult. 

Following an analysis of take up after the two weekends that he grit was on offer, there was a further weekend when grit was available.

The grit bins are everywhere


Local campaigners have won a victory in the ongoing battle to save St Helier Hospital.

Liberal Democrat campaigners are celebrating the announcement that the immediate threat to St Helier Hospital’s Accident and Emergency, maternity and children’s wards has passed – although the future remains very uncertain.

The Better Services Better Value (BSBV) review, which in May recommended the cuts to these hospital services, has now recommended delaying going out to consultation on the plans saying, ‘This is because NHS Surrey wish to more fully understand the impact of BSBV on their residents who use NHS services in south west London, and implications for the NHS in Surrey, before public consultation begins. 

‘This means that the BSBV programme and NHS Surrey now need more time to carry out further detailed analysis of the impact of the proposals.’

In May,  BSBV recommended that St George’s, Croydon and Kingston hospitals remain as they are while St Helier should lose these crucial services, and instead become a centre for planned surgery across south west London.

The Liberal Democrat campaign to save St Helier immediately swung into action and months of effort reached a climax on 8 September when a Fun Day outside the hospital attracted protesters from across the area, who presented petitions carrying thousands of names to health service representatives.

The proposals were due to go out to a three-month consultation period at the beginning of October and we were preparing to continue the fight.

Heather Honour is one of two Sutton Councillors sitting on the pan-South West London committee investigating the proposals.

She said: “From the start we have made it clear that this was a deeply flawed process. What a pity that so much taxpayers’ money has been wasted by the BSBV team before they came to their senses.”

Councillor Mary Burstow, Chair of Sutton’s Scrutiny Committee, said: “Of course this is a reason to celebrate, but now we must work to secure the future of St Helier Hospital for generations of Sutton residents to come.

“This is now a real opportunity for residents, politicians and medical staff to work out exactly how we want to see healthcare delivered in years to come.

“And it is crucial that that discussion covers the entire capital. London’s health services need to be looked at as a whole and decisions need to be reached that meet the needs of all Londoners.”

However, the uncertainty remains for hospital staff and patients, who are still unclear about what the future holds.


Blackbush Close

Following an important meeting with officers on 5 November, progress is now being made on a number of parking and traffic management schemes we have been progressing on behalf of residents.

BLACKBUSH CLOSE – residents approached us about the shortage of parking spaces on the Blackbush Close / Bonchurch Close estate. Following a meeting with residents last January, we agreed to pursue proposals to remove yellow lines on one side of a stretch of Blackbush Close to provide more parking spaces. This is now likely to go ahead in the New Year.

EASTLEIGH CLOSE – residents have been concerned at the difficulty of parking in their own cul-de-sac, as it is often parked up with the vehicles of people who do not live in the Close. The concerns of residents led to a major survey of views on parking across the whole of the west end of our Ward, in early 2012. The results indicate a desire for parking controls in Eastleigh Close but not elsewhere. It is proposed to hold a final consultation on a proposal to extend the Controlled Parking Zone from its current boundary at the east end of Camborne Road as far as the junction with Stanley Road, taking in Eastleigh Close.

LORRAINE COURT, CAMBORNE ROAD – some residents were concerned at the difficulty of exiting into Camborne Road if cars were parked close to and thus narrowing the entrance. We have obtained agreement for yellow lines to be put across the entrance.

We are also continuing to pursue action on the KINGS LAND BRIDGE safety improvements and speeding in CAVENDISH ROAD.


Wellesley Road: the passageway

Wellesley Road is divided into two with a passageway linking the two sections. Residents in Wellesley Road have mentioned to us the quality of the lighting in the interconnecting passageway.

We took this up with the lighting engineers. Aiming to improve matters, they are going to replace the existing light fittings with units that provide a better light distribution. In addition they will arrange for a tree that is affecting one of the lights to be trimmed to remove blocking foliage.

The work may take six to eight weeks to implement. We have asked residents to let us know if there are other ways we can help as hard working local Councillors.


Richard and Heather have helped the residents of Cavendish Road to win another important battle in their bid to control speeding in their road.

And we have succeeded in extending the proposed speeding survey in Cavendish Road to cover a wider area of our south Sutton ward.

The petition on speeding in Cavendish Road, which Richard and Heather presented to Sutton Council on behalf of the residents in July, was discussed at the South Sutton, Cheam and Belmont Local Committee on 11 October.

In the discussion, Richard drew attention to a speeding survey conducted in the road in 2008 which showed that even then traffic was exceeding the speed limit, on average, by a factor of over 50%. But the same survey showed problems in other local roads.

The committee agreed to a survey of the area by traffic engineers, charged with finding out the facts and coming back to the committee by next February with costed proposals for dealing with the problem.

We persuaded the committee to extend the survey to a wider area. The roads to be surveyed now are:

Cavendish Road

Christchurch Park

Cedar Road

Cumnor Road

Devonshire Road

Devonshire Avenue

Egmont Road

The committee noted that any recommendations could cost money and decisions would be needed on priorities for spending.

Richard said “This is a good result. I am pleased we are going to undertake a full survey and get the traffic engineers to look at a range of solutions.”

Heather added “I am pleased we are going to look at a wider area. Residents in Cumnor Road and Christchurch Park have also complained to us as ward Councillors about the speed of traffic in their roads.”

The petition was signed by 77 residents of Cavendish Road calling for action on the speed of traffic in their road, where a number of blocks of sheltered housing for the elderly are situated. It was presented to Sutton Council at the request of the residents by Councillors Honour and Clifton on 16 July, and referred to the local committee.

The photo above shows the Cavendish Road residents at the meeting flanked by Richard on the left and Heather on the right.



Richard and Heather with SHP staff inspecting the Sutton Court estate

Every day we are involved in some activity as Councillors, be it on behalf of our residents in Sutton South Ward or in respect of our responsibilities as Vice-Chair of the Council’s Adult Social Services and Health Committee (Heather) and Vice-Chair of the Council’s Housing, Economy and Business Committee (Richard). The 12th and 13th of September were no exception.  

On 13 September we attended the police consultative panel for the Ward. The attendance was a little disappointing, though with new members representing the Sutton Court residents’ association and the Highfields residents’ association. The panel congratulated the police on the latest crime figures, showing an overall drop in crime in the Ward in the year to date of almost a quarter. There were some significant variations between categories, with assaults causing injury and harrassment both up. However, there were large falls in non-residential burglaries and criminal damage, which mainly accounted for the overall reduction. The area remains a low crime area with the police confident they are on top of the overall situation.

The panel discussed the three Ward priorities – drug use in the Brighton Road, motor vehicle crime and theft from garages. Theft from garages and motor vehicle crime have fallen but it was agreed that we want to keep it that way and these should remain priorities. It was agreed that drug dealing and drug use in the Brighton Road would be put into a “normal vigilance” category for the immediate future. Significant action also continued to be taken on the theft of metal.

Other issues discussed included:

– late-night noise problems at the weekend in Cedar Road

– the application of a nightclub in Sutton town centre to extend its opening hours from 2am to 3am

– cutting of a hedge at the ball court at Sutton Court to increase the visibility of the ball court and its surrounding area

– fencing at Sutton Court

– petrol theft from a local garage

– speeding in Cavendish Road

– security arrangements concerning some specific locations

– a cannabis factory in Ferndown Close. 

The meeting was pleased that the local police had kept things under control when the Olympics had placed a strain on resources, though the Sergeant felt this had been less of a strain than expected. While we were pleased the Olympics were now over and demands on police resources would return to normal, we felt the police had done a superb job during the Olympics.

On Thursday 13 September we both went to Sutton Court to the estate “walkabout” with staff of Sutton Housing Partnership (SHP). These are essential to keep on top of the repairs and maintenance work needed on the estate. We met a number of residents who have problems we have taken up and were able to check on the progress of issues as varied as the work on the fence separating Sutton Court from Forest Dene Court, the cutting of the hedge separating the children’s play area from the ball court (discussed yesterday with the police), the repairs to the garages and the operation of the lighting system. We then went to Beauclere House where there are various issues of concern to us raised with us by residents, including the arrangements for disabled residents to enter and exit the building and how they can make better use of the grass area at the side.


Mums with children in buggies,  walkers with dogs and pedestrians generally  have diced with death for years as they walked along Kings Lane Bridge, which lies at the end of Hillcroombe road and is a busy  thoroughfare leading  to Carshalton Road.

For years concerns have been raised about pedestrian, cyclist  and  driver safety on Kings Lane bridge which is only 3.6 m wide over the railway and only allows one line of traffic at a time.  Approaches to the bridge are at 90 degree bends and the bridge parapets are a combination of solid brick with rails on top which makes the sight lines very poor.

There have been 3 personal injuries at the junction between April 2008 and April 2011, and residents who use the park have reported numerous “bumps” as cars failed to negotiate the difficult twists and turns safely.

Heather Honour, Lib Dem Councillor for Sutton South, raised this in April at the Sutton South, Cheam and Belmont Local Committee,  Discussions followed with other councillors in Sutton South and the neighbouring ward, Carshalton Central, residents and with the council’s traffic engineers.

On July 5th Heather presented a proposal to the Local Committee drawn up by traffic engineers.  Building out the footways on both sides of the junction would slow and guide vehicles on a more visible line and provide a longer footway for pedestrians.  The warning signs will be upgraded and re positioned and be more prominent.  The cost of implementing the complete scheme is £16,000.  Other improvements, amounting to £500  will be made at the Carshalton end of the bridge.

Funding will be allocated  from the Local Implementation Plan.  The work should begin in November 2012.

Councillor Heather Honour said,

“ Someone said to me  that the road is so dangerous we should leave it as it is. I don’t think that is good enough for our residents who risk their lives every day as they walk or drive over Kings Lane Bridge.  Our traffic engineers have worked hard to find the best solution because no one wants the road closed  to traffic or made one way.  

It is great that funding can be found quickly and let’s hope that the work can be completed before we have snow and ice on the bridge”.