“HIDEOUS” PROPOSALS FOR THE FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF NORTHUMBERLAND HOUSE THROWN OUT

Northumberland House viewed from Brighton Road

Last June Criterion Capital, the owners of Northumberland House, sought planning permission to add two storeys to the top of the building. Their application has been refused by Sutton Council. 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.

Richard says “This proposal to put an extra two storeys on top of the building was hideous in terms of design. I am glad it has been thrown out.”

The owner sought planning permission to extend the building, creating a further 36 flats by having two extra storeys on 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. A few of the 47 parking spaces would be lost, due to a need for additional bin space.

The application was turned down on the basis of design of the proposed tower extension and the lack of window openings within some of the proposed units.

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 has the potential to be disruptive to the lives of current residents. Also, an extra two storeys on top of the building would look incongruous and clearly out of keeping with the design of the rest of the building.

Residents of Northumberland House were concerned about the likely disruption involved in this proposed work, and have long standing concerns about frequent lift breakdowns in the building, and security. We know that, Sutton Council having refused planning permission, the developer has a right of appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, which, we find, often sides with developers on applications such as this. One thing we can do as local Councillors is to identify conditions that will protect the interests of residents, and that we will try to get built into any planning permission they eventually obtain. For example, we can seek to ensure there is a construction management plan to control hours of work and control noise and dust nuisance. We can ask that the contractor joins the Considerate Contractors Scheme, which provides a route for residents to raise concerns if they observe poor behaviour. We can seek conditions that will require that access to the roof areas is only by external hoists, and that the peace and quiet of the interior of the building is not disturbed or the interior turned into a storage area, or building site.

READY FOR COLD WEATHER

Ready for the snow

Yet again this year Sutton Council offered residents and businesses 10kg of free grit per household/business to collect from Denmark Road Car Park, Carshalton. This year a booking system and a number of other changes had to be introduced to help the operation run safely and in accordance with Government guidelines designed to contain the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Anyone visiting without a valid booking was not allowed access to the site.  

Residents could also collect grit for elderly friends and neighbours or others who don’t have cars. 

LET US KNOW IF THERE IS A GRIT BIN IN YOUR ROAD THAT NEEDS TOPPING UP.

REMEMBERING THE FALLEN IN WAR

pond and memorial straight

On Remembrance Sunday, November 8, Trish – our Mayor – led the brief service at the war memorial at Carshalton ponds, to remember the fallen. Due to the COVID restrictions, the traditional service was kept very brief this year.

Richard attended the service and laid a wreath.

Sadly, the event normally held in Manor Park, at which Richard played the Last Post last year, was called off due to the COVID restrictions.

FREE SCHOOL MEALS

Trish and Richard were horrified by the indifference of the Government

After the Conservative Government refused to back Free School Meals for hungry children during the half term break, Liberal Democrat-run Sutton Council has stepped up to provide Free School Meals for local children during the holidays.

Footballer Marcus Rashford has spearheaded the campaign that brought national attention to children living in food poverty.  

We are disappointed that our local Conservative MP Paul Scully refused to support Free School Meals. Paul Scully callously dismissed Free School Meals on live television, claiming “Children have been going hungry under a Labour government for years”.

Local councils are under huge financial pressure across the country, with the Government only providing half the funding required to support additional COVID-19 related services. It is not true that the Council has been funded to provide free school meals at half term. That funding was received back in July for families who needed extra support and had to be allocated within twelve weeks. It wasn’t nearly enough at the time and it certainly wasn’t intended to cover the cost of feeding hungry school children at half term in October. However, the Liberal Democrats in Sutton were determined to ensure no child went hungry.

CLEARING UP THE LEAVES

Every year, in the autumn, residents contact us to enquire about the leaf clearing programme. Each year the Council has a leaf clearing programme in place, where a team is deployed to all roads/streets that suffer from significant leaf fall. No Council can keep every road entirely free of leaves during the autumn leaf fall period, as resources are not unlimited. However, there is a programme that will, over a period, gradually clear away the fallen leaves.

As part of the South London Waste Partnership contract with Veolia, dedicated resources are provided for leafing, in support of the core street cleaning service. The operation is in two parts.  

First, throughout the borough leaves should be cleared by beat sweepers as they break down and start to lose their shape and structure.  Gully grates should also be kept clear, by beat sweepers, to help minimise surface water runoff and drainage.  Second, the dedicated Veolia team will work to clear leaves throughout the borough, aiming to ensure they do not become hazardous to road users and pedestrians, turning into detritus and blocking road-side gullies with danger of flooding.  If there are particular streets that residents feel need to be addressed more urgently, we ask that this is done through the Report It function on the Council website.

Commencement of the dedicated resource is a joint decision with Veolia and is based on the level of leaf fall and forecast weather conditions. The leaf fall programme is likely to start in the first week of November.  There is an operational document that schedules which roads will be visited by the dedicated leafing team and when.  As with all operational documents, and particularly with leafing, those involved have to be prepared to respond to weather conditions, to locations where demand and need is greatest, taking decisions on the basis of available resources. This means that the schedule is being constantly reviewed. 

If residents or a community/resident group would like to get involved in clearing leaves from streets or communal areas please contact Council officers. Simply complete our Community Clean-Up Event Form with a few details. We can provide bags for use and will arrange for them to be collected from a pre-arranged location.

Leaves from residents own property can be disposed through our paid for Garden Waste service or taken free of charge to the reuse and recycling centre at Kimpton Park Way, Sutton SM3 9QH.   Alternatively, a garden composting bin could be used.

Residents should not sweep leaves from their own property into the road.

CHANGES PROPOSED TO LOCAL BUS ROUTES: HAVE YOUR SAY

Transport for London are planning to make changes to local bus routes, including the S1, S3, S4, 80 and 407. There is a link to maps, below. which will help you see what is proposed. 

The S3 will be renumbered as 413 and will no longer run along Cedar Road. It will serve Belmont Station to Morden via Banstead Road, Carshalton Station and Westmead Road

Some parts of the routes S1, S4 and 407  will be changed but not in our immediate area.

S1 will run with longer busses.

There will be more busses serving the Sutton Hospital site (Cancer Hub and School) including a new S2 (which replaces some of the S4 in Belmont and roads west of Brighton Road and stops at St Helier Station) 

The 80 will be a double decker and will no longer serve the prisons. 

To find out more, including maps of all routes affected and to have your say as part of the consultation, please visit Transport for London’s website: tfl.gov.uk/sutton-croydon-bus-changes

The consultation has been extended to 20 December 2020.

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.

PARKING PERMIT SCHEME SUPPORTED IN CONSULTATION NOW TO BE IMPLEMENTED

The Sutton South Parking Permit Area is to be implemented, to come into force on Monday 30 November. The scheme has been subject to several rounds of consultation. Earlier proposals were thrown out by the residents, on consultation, but the scheme now to be implemented won broad support. In the final round of consultation a majority of those responding, in every road that will be included, supported the proposal.

The scheme covers, broadly, roads east of Langley Park Road as far as Banstead Road South. So Chalgrove Road, Mayfield, The Ridgway, Farm Road, Farm Close, Upland, Downside, Kayemoor, Willis Avenue and Prior Avenue. It prohibits parking in the road between 9 am and 11 am on weekdays unless you are a resident of the area and display a parking permit on your car. It means that those (including Richard) who need to park a vehicle in the road between 9 and 11 am on weekdays will need to obtain a parking permit. All residents can obtain a supply of visitors’ permits. There will be a letter from the Council with information on this. Some signage will appear and be “bagged” until 30 November. We are happy to field questions on the practicalities. 

It has long been recognised that clearing the parked cars from roads such as Mayfield Road will lead to speeding. This is one of the reasons why, at the same time, a six month trial of making this area a 20 mph speed limit area is underway.

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. 

A MOVING ADDITION TO THE DEVONSHIRE AVENUE NATURE AREA

The “memorial” bench that has been placed in the Devonshire Avenue Nature Area, incorporating commemorative images remembering those who died in war, is a moving addition to the area. Here is Trish at the new bench.

The nature area is the only open space in our Ward and, particularly as many families live in flats with no access to a garden for children to play in, the nature area is an important amenity.