The three Sutton South Councillors are united in opposing the extension of ULEZ to Sutton. While everyone is concerned about air quality, it will have a detrimental effect on so many of our residents, particularly those who run businesses or depend on using a car to get to work or to see family. At the Sutton Council meeting on 24 April we debated ULEZ. This is the speech Louise made.

“So ULEZ… I don’t have a car and I don’t drive, so it won’t affect me…

Only, actually it will…

You see, as I don’t have a car I have to rely on people that do, and many of the people I know do not have ULEZ compliant vehicles…

I rely on 

The friend that’s taken me and my son on days out to places that we wouldn’t be able to get to by public transport,

The neighbour that’s taken me and my son Christmas shopping so we didn’t have to carry everything on a long bus journey,

The friend that’s picked me and my son up from hospital when my son was taken in for an emergency,

The friend who has moved furniture for me in his van.

The family and friends that come and visit me from outside the borough.

This is just a tiny snapshot of the people who I and people like me depend on who will have to change their vehicles because of the ULEZ, but these people are all going to struggle to replace those cars or vans because they are already wrestling with the after effects of COVID and the cost of living crisis. Public transport isn’t currently an alternative in Sutton, it’s too expensive, too infrequent and too patchy throughout the borough.

Don’t get me wrong, I live on a busy cut through road and would appreciate cleaner air and all the health benefits, but the effects on the quality of life and opportunities for me and my son are just too great. This will leave so many people like me without that extra help they need and rely on, they will find it harder to work, socialise and access healthcare and become even more isolated than before.

So you can see, this doesn’t just affect a small amount of vehicles as the Mayor of London claims in his now withdrawn advert, the knock on effect if this is brought in its current form will actually affect a much wider community of people whose lifelines will be cut. “


Trish wearing the chain of office made for her by Devonshire Avenue Primary School children

At the Sutton Council meeting on 24 April Councillors passed a vote of thanks to Trish for her service, for the third consecutive year, as Mayor. Here is the speech Richard made moving the vote of thanks.

“It is often the case that these votes of thanks at the end of a period of office are seen as routine.
I would like to suggest to you some reasons why this particular vote of thanks is far from routine and
should be a heartfelt “thank you” from all of us.
First, stamina. This is Councillor Fivey’s third successive year as Mayor. I recollect from my own year as Mayor how drained I felt at the end of it. I know that activities in Councillor Fivey’s first year as Mayor were limited by the pandemic, and she was evidently ready to have another go at it when it came to the end of the year. But to go on for a third successive year is extraordinary.
And my observation is that she was such a success in her first two years – so energetic, so popular, someone who brought real fizz and energy to any event she went to – that the invitations and the demands on the Mayor kept increasing, as people wanted to see her again, and again,
and again. She has taken whatever workload has been thrown at her in her stride. And her sparkling and warm personality has been the key to her popularity and her success.
What I have really admired in the past year, though, is her remarkable good judgement in the handling of these Council meetings. We have seen interruptions and behaviour at recent meetings that were not problems, on the same scale, that her predecessors, in my thirteen years as a Councillor, have had to deal with, and all of us would have struggled with. Trish has shown great ability, great common sense and impeccable judgement in the way she has handled these problems.
Councillors, it gives me great pleasure to move this vote of thanks.”

The day after her election Trish visited Devonshire primary school to thank the children for making her chain
Trish’s chain – made by the children


Louise made an excellent speech on ULEZ at the Council meeting on 24 April. Richard had prepared a speech but was not called to speak, as so many members of the public and Councillors wanted to speak. So here is what he would have said.

“My own objections to ULEZ are because it does something that is rare in British public administration – it
creates massive winners and losers on a random basis, for some of the losers it is devastating, and these are ordinary families not corporations or organisations.
To illustrate, I have a resident who purely by chance has a car that is not ULEZ compliant, who has to travel each day to a workplace not easily accessible by public transport, and for whom the consequence of paying £12.50 a day to go to work is not supportable from his income. Selling his car is difficult as the bottom has fallen out of the market for non-compliant cars. It is difficult now to obtain a second
hand complaint car, and the cost is prohibitive even if you can find one. The supply of new cars has been disrupted by the problems related to computer chips – I have a resident who has been on a waiting list for a year, waiting to buy a new van for his business. Re-distributing non- compliant cars does nothing to improve air quality and the replacement of old cars by new is proceeding at a pace determined by supply, so quite unaffected by ULEZ. ULEZ may lead to some trips in cars being undertaken by public
transport, though not so much in Sutton where the public transport infrastructure is less well developed.
So ULEZ will, randomly, reduce some families to poverty with at best a small effect on air quality.
Clearly a major factor is the deal Sadiq Khan made with the Government to offset part of the implications of the post-pandemic collapse in TfL finances through ULEZ, in return for Government subsidy to cover the rest. So let us be clear that the Tory Government is as much implicated
in this as the Mayor of London. In this chamber, the only political party leading the fight and not implicated in causing the problem is the Liberal Democrats.”


The owner of 34 Mulgrave Road is seeking planning permission to extend the building – in effect adding an extra storey to the top of the block of flats.

As local Councillors, we object to these proposals. While there is a need for more accommodation, the changes to the building will make it look incongruous and ugly, not good enough for Sutton. The changes will also involve building work that will disturb the current residents of the block The owners have used a mechanism called “prior approval” when submitting their application which, in our view, was introduced by the Government to undermine the planning system. As a result, we cannot take the application to the Council’s Planning Committee, which Richard chairs, for decision by Councillors. We may not be able to stop these changes taking place given the powers of the Planning Inspectorate to over-ride local decisions. However we are seeking to ensure 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 would welcome feedback from residents on your views on the proposals. You can look at the details of the application (number DM2012/00430 for 34 Mulgrave Road),


“A pleasant, green, suburban feel in our Ward”

The four yearly survey of the over 800 street trees in our Ward has found that most trees are in excellent condition. Inevitably there are a few (twelve) that are diseased and have to be removed. Where this happens, the residents living close nearby get a letter explaining the reasons for the removal. There has been a programme of pruning of the trees in the Ward over the autumn and winter period, in the light of the survey.

Many new trees have been planted in the Ward in the last year. This has included new trees in Farm Road, Devonshire Avenue, Effingham Close, Prior Avenue and Kayemoor Road.

The many trees in our Ward are a delight, and help give us the pleasant, green, suburban feel that is so attractive. They are also a major part of our efforts to reduce global warming. Richard, Trish and Louise have got many new trees planted in the Ward, over recent years, and we will continue our efforts to increase tree planting.

We are looking into the replacement of the trees that had to be felled. We have obtained funding to replace what was undoubtedly the most prominent tree to be removed, the one in Brighton Road outside Northumberland House. This is the tree pit we hope to fill.

The other trees being removed are:

Blackbush Close – adjacent to Brighton Road (two trees)

Camborne Road – outside Lorraine Court (number 32/34)

                               Adjacent to the drive of 12

                                Outside 10

Cavendish Road – outside Melford Court (opposite 16)

Chalgrove Road – outside 7

Kayemoor Road – outside 44

The Ridgway – outside 36

Upland Road – outside of 5A

Willis Avenue – outside 13

The pruning of the trees is a big job


Sutton Council has declared that there is a climate emergency and at the Council meeting on 16 January we adopted a progress report entitled “Environment Strategy and Climate Emergency: Progress Report and Update.” In his speech on this important report Richard pointed out that far from being some vague affirmation of worthy sentiments the report was packed full of detailed, positive actions we had taken and could be proud of. He listed some of them

– ten new school streets

– 120 dockless ebikes (although we came quite late to the concept of ebike schemes compared to many London boroughs)

– double the number of new trees planted than our target

– seven parks received the green flag award for their biodiversity management with butterfly banks in the parks

– almost 7 000 teaching sessions on biodiversity, mostly to school age children

– the work of the Sutton Nature Conservation Volunteers, the Community Environment Champions Network, the Green Enterprise partnership

– the Healthy Homes Advice and Support Service, providing assessment of homes for energy efficiency

– promoting green spaces, energy efficiency and electric vehicles through our planning policies and decisions

– LED street lighting and electric vehicle charging points in street lamps

– promoting re-cycling of waste

– the promotion of initiatives to support locations where items can be repaired and re-used

– action to deal with extreme weather events

– promoting the cycling network and cycle maintenance and safety workshops

– travel plans for our own staff to promote cycling and walking, and switching our own vehicles to electric.

The list goes on and on.

This is an important programme based on positive, practical steps we are taking to protect the environment.


The panel is our opportunity for residents to discuss with the police the policing of Sutton South Ward.

The panel met again, chaired by Raj Kondipalli, our Sutton South Ward Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator, on 11 January 2023, at Christchurch hall. Constable Robyn Skivens presented data on crime levels in the Ward – in the period from 1 October there were 2 residential burglaries in our Ward. There were 32 instances of motor vehicle crime, a worrying increase, and 3 robberies. These involved theft of mobile phones and laptops. There were four instances of theft of catalytic converters. There was one instance of grievous bodily harm, though this concerned an altercation between school pupils outside Sutton station during which one sustained a minor injury. While any crime is too much crime, the data indicate that Sutton South Ward remains a low crime area by comparison to the outer London average.

The police mentioned the commitment to attend all burglaries. They mentioned some good crime prevention advice. Do not leave anything of value on show in your car. Phone the police on 101 to report something that is not an emergency. Always report all crime. Report computer scams and frauds to Action Fraud (www.actionfraud.police.uk). Parcel theft is a problem as couriers often just leave these on doorsteps. You might want to consider delivery to a locker such as those at Morrisons and close to Sutton station.

The group meets again on 19 April in the hall at Christchurch – all residents are welcome. These consultation meetings with the police are open to all local residents to attend, The next is on Wednesday 19 April, 7 pm, Christchurch hall, Christchurch Park. Are you worried about crime? Or have a view on police priorities. Please come.

Our Ward police team are based at Sutton police station in Carshalton Road


Ready for the snow



Richard, Trish and Louise have worked hard to ensure that there are plenty of grit bins at strategic places in the Ward. We need to know if they need topping up with grit. The spell of icy weather at the start of December has led to many bins being almost emptied – but that is what the grit is there for, to grit your roads and pavement when there is snow and ice.

Sutton Council again, this year, offered residents and businesses in the London Borough of Sutton the opportunity to collect 10kg of free grit per household/business. Free grit was available from the Household Reuse and Recycling Centre, Kimpton Park Way. This is always a popular service and has again been well taken up this year.



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

Planning issues have always been a major concern in Sutton South Ward, with numerous examples of poor quality developments we have seen off but others where local democracy has been overturned by the decisions of the remote Planning Inspectorate based in Bristol.

As Liberal Democrats, we think that an effective planning system based on local consultation is essential to maintaining the quality of development in our Ward. The system has been undermined by the Government, by extension of “permitted development” rights and by new provisions that make it possible to add two storeys to the top of a block of flats by going through truncated planning approval arrangements.

There has been a growing trend for developers to try to add extra storeys to the tops of blocks of flats. We have recently seen off three such proposals in our Ward, where the proposal would have made the building look incongruous and the building work would have been a nightmare for the current residents. The first of these was a block in Mulgrave Road, which failed to meet our standards of design – not good enough for Sutton. The second was in Grange Road – Magnolia Court. The third in Brighton Road – Northumberland House.

We need more housing, but not by agreeing to buildings that will be blots on the landscape for the next fifty years.


In collaboration with HumanForest Sutton Council has launched a dockless electric bike hire scheme in the borough to provide residents and visitors with Sustainable Transport options for their journeys and to meet one of the aims of the current Sustainable Transport Strategy to increase the number of local journeys made by cycle rather than by private motor vehicle. The scheme launched on 22nd September with 120 ebikes in each borough and the potential to increase the fleet size. This is a year’s trial with the option to extend the contract for a further two years. This is a year’s trial with the option to extend the contract for a further two years.

Users register to use the scheme via the HumanForest app and receive up to 10 minutes free use each day.  Additional use time costs 17p per minute and “usage bundles” are available to reduce this. HumanForest is launching a discount scheme for NHS employees and students. 

Currently, HumanForest operates successful schemes in Islington, Hammersmith & Fulham and the City of London. We understand that Merton Borough is considering a scheme too.

Sutton’s Sustainable Transport and Commissioning team has been working with Human Forest to identify locations where dockless e-bikes are deployed (for users to collect) and where users may also finish their ride. Known as “green bays’, ebike users are not charged for parking the e-bike in a “green bay” as a way of encouraging responsible use. E-bikes parked outside of the “green bay” are charged £1.50 (even if the user is within their daily 10 minute free allowance).  Users who consistently park inconsiderately incur a penalty charge and repeat offenders may be banned from using the scheme.

Currently, all bays are on the footway and it is the borough’s intention to move some e-bike parking to the carriageway, once usage patterns become known and we receive funding from TfL. HumanForest is currently negotiating with Rail Operators and NHS trusts to use their land as “green bays” and, whilst this was not in place on the launch day, 22nd September, we are aware that the Royal Marsden has asked to host “green bays”. HumanForest is also talking to organisations representing those who may be adversely affected by inconsiderately parked ebikes e.g. Sutton Vision, Sutton Talking Newspapers, Sutton Living Streets and  Wheels for Wellbeing.

Geo-fencing technology is used to define the “green bays” and users will see them on the HumanForest app  Bays which are found to be inconvenient to residents or visitors will be removed within 5 working days although, as these are “virtual”, we anticipate that urgent requests can occur sooner.  Hire ebikes have a regulated maximum speed of 15.5 miles per hour but they can be programmed so that the motor slows in certain locations e.g. the pedestrianised sections of Sutton High Street and they can be excluded from locations where cycling is not permitted. This is work in progress which will continue during the course of the contract and we welcome resident feedback initially or during the course of the contract.

HumanForest were appointed as the supplier for the ebike hire scheme following a procurement exercise in spring 2022 for both Sutton and Kingston Councils. This is a “concession contract” and as such the boroughs do not pay the operator, who makes revenue from bike hire and “in-app” advertisements”.

Sutton Council web pages contain links to report incorrectly or inconveniently parked ebikes and this information will be continuously updated with information on the Human Forest.