On 30 November Richard and Trish sat as members of the Council’s Planning Committee, with Richard chairing the meeting, to consider the fate of the B and Q site in central Sutton. This is just outside our Ward. B and Q plan to close the store next June. Richard commented that, though he is no do-it-yourself fanatic, he regretted the closure of the store, but B and Q say it no longer makes them money and they have decided to close.

It is inevitable that the site will be developed as housing. There is no demand for new office space (more people work at home) or new shops (more people shop using the internet) but there is a housing crisis. On the day of the discussion 970 Sutton families were homeless and living in bed and breakfast accommodation, at the expense of the Council and thus our Council tax payers. More homes are desperately needed. The philosophy in the Sutton local plan is to meet our housing targets partly through a more intensive area of development close to the town centre and near the railway station. As public transport links are good in this area it is possible to envisage a car free or “car light” development – if you have to provide a parking space for every house many fewer homes can be built. This reduces development pressure on the borough’s suburban heartland and Green Belt areas. Planning Committee often considers proposals to build on the Green Belt which we resist, but the new homes must go somewhere. The more intensive development in the town centre will inevitably include some tall buildings, and there is a cluster close to the railway station.

Evidence was presented to the committee on action taken to deal with some of the consequences of this development, such as a need for places in local schools, demands on health services and additional strain on water and sewage systems. Richard commented that there were attractive features to the proposed development, 60% of which would be open space, including an area of public parkland, a water feature, an amphitheatre and terraced roof gardens. The most important aspect, though, was the plan for 337 “affordable” homes where Sutton Council can place the most deserving of the 2 600 families on the housing register. This will include families that are homeless or those we meet, in our Ward, who are living in dreadful housing circumstances – sometimes families with three or four children living together in tiny flats.

The planning application was approved. Initially all that local people will observe is the closure of the store, hoardings put up round the site and the store demolished. Then there will be building work but it will be several years before anyone moves in. Eventually, it will be an attractive, landscaped site. On the website

there is a video of a walk through a CGI representation of what the final product will look like.


As local Councillors, we responded to the consultation exercise on the closure of ticket offices in local train stations. The closure of the ticket office at Sutton station, which is in our Ward, was threatened. We responded to the consultation opposing this move.

We drew attention to instances where family members were able to get a cheaper deal on tickets than they could have got buying tickets over the internet by getting the advice of the staff at the ticket office. Having staffed ticket offices is essential to giving people advice on travel. People need advice on travel when they arrive at the station. Having these staff wandering around the station means you will not find them when you arrive at the station. There are particular difficulties for those who are partially sighted or disabled.

The consultation was, after an outcry over the limited nature of the consultation proposals, extended to 1 September. The decision has now been taken not to proceed with the closure plan but we will monitor the situation as effective closure of the ticket office by stealth, in particular the progreesive reduction of the hours of opening, is entirely possible.


On 21 September Richard attended a “Community Walkabout” organised by Sutton Housing Partnership (SHP) at Kingslee Court and Thorn Court in Worcester Road. These events are organised to provide an opportunity for residents to raise issues of concern with SHP staff. SHP’s Chief Executive and senior SHP staff attended. A high proportion of the residents are leaseholders and many took part. The residents said they appreciated the recent re-location of the refuse bins and the re-painting of the entrance gate. Some “snagging” arising from the recent renovation work on the buildings was noted and various other concerns of the residents explored.

On 19 October all three Councillors attended similar “Community Walkabouts” at Sutton Court and at Beauclere House, in Brighton Road. These were again well attended by residents. A wide variety of issues were raised including the use of the garages, parking, dealing with anti-social behaviour and lighting. These exercises were thought to have been very useful by those who took part. The photo shows the group at Kingslee Court.


On 18 October the three Councillors met with several Council officers from the Parks Department at the Devonshire Avenue Nature Area to discuss improvements to the area. This is the only open space in our Ward so is precious to us. It is a nature area so requires careful management. We agreed measures to improve the seating, replace the signage – some of which has been vandalised – and clean off grafitti.


Our police station in Carshalton Road

The Sutton South Ward Police Consultative Panel met on the evening of 11 October. These are open, public meetings all residents can attend. We were addressed by our Ward Constable, Constable Robyn Skivens. Her colleague Constable Owen Harding often attends but was involved in work for his University course. Constable Skivens set out the crime statistics from 1 July this year to the present. This meeting was much less well attended than the previous meeting, held on 19 July at the Friends’ Meeting House in Cedar Road. Prior to this, meetings were held at Christchurch in Christchurch Park, but this is now unavailable.

Given the level of public interest in crime it is disappointing that these meetings are not better attended and there was discussion of how to increase attendance. A provisional date of Wednesday January 10 was agreed for the next meeting, venue to be determined, and it was agreed that approaches would be made to Ward-based churches, residents’ groups and schools to see if attendance could be increased.

During the period from 1 July there had been 21 burglaries in the Ward. This included 9 residential burglaries, 5 burglaries of garages, 2 of building sites in the Ward and 4 burglaries of commercial premises – including a vape shop and a barbers. These are investigated by a specific Sutton borough burglary team. CCTV evidence including evidence from doorbell cameras is useful to the team. There had been 25 incidents involving motor vehicles, including 9 thefts of vehicles, 7 thefts from vehicles and 4 thefts of number plates. Interestingly, there had been no catalytic converter thefts. The important advice is not to leave anything valuable in your car and be careful to check it is locked when you leave the car. One resident at the meeting said he had accidently left the car unlocked one evening and money had been stolen from the car. There was one parcel theft, one robbery, one offence involving possession of an offensive weapon and four incidents classified as violence against women and girls, including stalking. These offences are a London-wide priority for the Met at this time. The police always stress the need to report all crime, however trivial.

Constable Skivens commented on the number of “extractions” when she and Constable Harding are asked to leave Ward duties and assist in activities elsewhere. This reduces attention to Ward matters. Recently this has included hospital guarding and re-assurance patrols in Wallington following the murder on the Roundshaw estate. There is still a vacancy for a PCSO in the Ward team.

A further meeting was arranged for 10 January, at Overton Grange school.

The localised information given at the meeting usefully supplemented some more general information given at the local committee meeting the previous week. This gave an annual figure for crime in Sutton South Ward for the year ending 31 July 2023, compared to data for the previous year. The figures showed there were 507 offences (total notified crime) in the Ward, a drop of 8.3 % on the previous year. Crime had fallen in every category except robbery, which was thought to be some incidents near Sutton station and arguments between teenage schoolchildren. The data also confirmed that Sutton is a low-crime borough and our Ward a low- crime area within Sutton. Sutton is one of the five safest boroughs in London with figures 21% lower than the national crime rate and 31% lower than London as a whole.


The owner of Chelsea Court, 54 Mulgrave Road has had planning permission to extend the building – in effect adding two extra floors to the block of flats – refused by Sutton Council. This was the latest in a series of applications in our Ward where owners of blocks of flats have sought to extend the building upwards.

As local Councillors, we were concerned about these proposals. While there is a need for more accommodation, the changes to the building would in our view make it look incongruous, not good enough for Sutton. The block is an attractive architect-designed building (see photo), one of the more attractive blocks in Mulgrave Road, and the proposed changes would destroy the symmetry of the building. The Planning Department at Sutton Council agreed with our objections. The changes would also have involved building work that would greatly disturb the current residents of the block.

The owners used a mechanism called “prior approval” when submitting their planning application. This mechanism, in our view, was introduced by the Government to undermine the planning system. As a result, we could take the application to the Council’s Planning Committee, which Richard chairs, for decision by Councillors. We may still not be able to stop these changes taking place given the powers of the remote Planning Inspectorate based in Bristol to over-ride local decisions.

We always seek to ensure in such cases that a number of conditions are stipulated in any planning permission, if one is ever granted, to try to protect the peace and quiet of the building during construction work. These include that access to the roof should be via an external hoist with all materials for work on the roof transported to the roof by an external hoist and not brought up via the well of the building. The interior of the building should not be a storage area or building site. There should be a construction management plan to minimize disruption to existing residents and ensure there are controls on dust and noise, and on hours of work. The contractors should join the Considerate Contractors’ Scheme. There should be a liaison officer that residents can contact if they observe poor behaviour. If scaffolding is erected outside residents’ windows it should only be erected when needed and removed as soon as it is not needed.

We have successfully opposed this development but wait to see if the developer will appeal to the Planning Inspectorate against the decision of the Council.


Louise, Richard and Trish travelled to City Hall, the HQ of London Mayor Sadiq Khan, on 30 June to join other Sutton Liberal Democrat Councillors in presenting a petition to the Mayor. The petition, signed by over 10 000 Sutton residents, expressed our opposition to the extension of the ULEZ zone to outer London boroughs. Our views on why we opposed the extension of ULEZ can be found in posts further down this site.

Despite our opposition, ULEZ has now been extended by the London Mayor to outer London.


Northumberland House viewed from Brighton Road

We are again involved in arguments over proposals to add extra storeys the top of Northumberland House.

Northumberland House is the tower block at the corner of Brighton Road and Wellesley Road, about 200 yards along Brighton Road if you turn left when coming out of Sutton station.

Criterion Capital, the owners of Northumberland House, are again seeking planning permission to add two storeys to the top of the building. The owners are again seeking to extend the building, creating a further 29 flats by adding two extra storeys on the top of the ten storey part of the building and an extra storey on the lower part, with some additional flats in the “undercroft” above the parking area. Some of the current parking spaces would be lost.

An earlier similar application was not supported by Sutton Council on the basis of design of the proposed tower extension and issues about the alignment of the windows. Planning law allows developers to seek to over-ride the decisions of local Councillors by appealing to the remote Bristol-based Planning Inspectorate, whose decision is final. The developers went to appeal, to the Planning Inspectorate, and on 5 October Richard and Louise attended and spoke on behalf of residents at a hearing organised by the Planning Inspectorate.

We had noted that there would be some positives, such as the creation of a community amenity and play space on the tarmaced area at ground floor level. However, while there is a shortage of accommodation in London and more housing is needed, we were concerned that the building work had the potential to be extremely disruptive to the lives of current residents. And an extra two storeys on the top of the building looks incongruous and out of keeping with the design of the rest of the building. Richard told the Inspector the design “looked like a couple of portacabins had been dumped on the top of the building.” At the hearing we told the Planning Inspector that residents of Northumberland House are concerned about the likely disruption involved in this proposed work, and have long standing concerns about frequent lift breakdowns in the building and the general standard of housekeeping, particularly in the bin area. We pressed the Inspector to impose conditions, if he were to agree to the scheme, to protect the interests of residents, and include these conditions in any planning permission they eventually obtained. We asked that access to the roof areas would be only by external hoists, and that the peace and quiet of the interior of the building would not be disturbed or the interior turned into a storage area, or building site. We sought controls on scaffolding to ensure any scaffolding that is required is removed as soon as the requirement has passed. We insisted there must be a construction management plan to control hours of work and control noise and dust nuisance. We asked that the contractor joins the “Considerate Contractors Scheme”, which provides a route for residents to raise concerns if they observe poor behaviour. We were pleased that the developers indicated they would accept all these conditions.

The Inspector supported our views and commented that the proposed building looks “incongruous” – the exact wording Richard had used at the hearing. He turned down the application and also refused the application for costs.

The owners have now submitted a further, similar application. Residents can see the proposals via the Council’s website (go to the section on planning and follow leads to get to comment on planning applications). It is application DM2023/00796. We are keen to learn of the views of residents on this matter, particularly those who live in Northumberland House. Do contact us at the email addresses given in the first post on this site.


This picture shows Louise and Trish cleaning off the graffiti we found in the area outside Northumberland House in Brighton Road. We want residents to report to us instances of graffiti, which is one of the scourges of our times, worldwide. In general, the Council has a good record in cleaning off graffiti quickly. A difficulty is when the graffiti is on private property and the owners of the property have responsibility.

Here is an example of graffiti we got cleaned off, on the bridge at Kings Lane.


The simplest way to get in touch with us on any issue or to volunteer is by email

or by phone on 0775 905 0685

STOP PRESS: A date for a further meeting of the Sutton South Ward Community/Police Consultative panel has been provisionally set, Wednesday 10 January 2024, 7 pm, at Overton Grange school. These are open, public meetings all residents can attend. The police report on the crime statistics for the Ward and policing priorities. Do you have concerns about crime? Come to this public meeting with our local police officers to give them your views. See articles further down on crime and policing in our Ward.

Trish, Richard and Louise in the Devonshire Avenue Nature Area


Our site aims to tell you the latest news about Sutton South Ward and our work as your local Councillors. 



  • low crime
  • good schools
  • more affordable housing than in many London boroughs
  • easy access to the countryside and to the centre of London
  • a pleasant, green, suburban atmosphere.

Richard and Trish on the top of the Subsea7 building during its construction

Richard was first elected to Sutton Council in 2010, and was re-elected in 2014, 2018 and 2022. Trish was first elected in 2014 and was re-elected in 2018 and 2022. Louise was elected in 2022. Richard served as Mayor of Sutton for 2016-17 and Trish was our Mayor for a record three yearly terms, to May 2023. Louise is our Deputy Mayor for the year through to May 2024.

Louise, Richard and Trish at City Hall presenting the  petition opposing ULEZ signed by over 10 000 Sutton residents



Richard’s Blog!
Richard reports back on his activities

Public Art and Historic Buildings in Sutton South
Some of Sutton South Ward’s best public artwork and the important historic buildings in our Ward

Sutton police
Information on our local police force, on crime statistics in the Ward, on consultative meetings with the police you can attend

Who Are We?
Trish, Richard and Louise introduce themselves

Louise is Deputy Mayor of the Borough for the year to May 2024

Richard with the tree we got planted at White Lodge Close, one of many we have had planted in the Ward
Trish and Louise cleaning off graffiti outside Northumberland House. We strive to keep our Ward clean