Following the annual Council meeting in May where membership of Council committees is decided, Trish has an important new role as chair of the Council’s Licensing Committee. This is an appointment that makes full use of Trish’s previous experience in owning and managing licensed premises. Richard has a new appointment to the Council’s Strategy and Resources Committee.
The new pedestrian crossing in Mulgrave Road is a few yards outside our Ward but it will be of great benefit to our residents. Richard and Trish campaigned for this crossing. Crossing the road has never been easy at this point but the crossing will be of great importance and help.
THE ARTICLE BELOW WAS PUBLISHED IN MAY 2019 – THERE ARE FURTHER DEVELOPMENTS SO SEE THE LATER ARTICLE ABOVE. THIS ARTICLE IS KEPT ON THE SITE TO SHOW HOW THE PROPOSALS EVOLVED.
Sutton South Councillors have now seen the results of the second stage of
the consultation on parking. There was a strong response rate – about half of
residents responding in some roads, high for this type of study. The results
are clear enough for conclusions to be drawn, but raise some issues on which
some more detailed information would be helpful.
The results for Mayfield, The Ridgway and Chalgrove indicate that residents
are not happy with the proposals for yellow lines and bays, so might prefer a
residents’ permit parking area. Upland Road residents want to join in any scheme for this area, which makes it logical to also include Farm Road. There is concern about the form of the controls, the proposal being for yellow lines where parking is prohibited for a set period on weekdays, and bays where anyone can park. This could lead to competition between residents and commuters for the bays, the bays attracting “longstay” parkers and commuters touring the area looking for bays. The alternative is a Residents’ Parking Area with no yellow lines or bays, but only residents who have obtained a parking permit, or their visitors displaying a Visitors’ Permit, allowed to park in the street for this set period. This would remove commuters, increase the parking available to residents and eliminate the disadvantages described above, though there would be a charge for the permits to cover the administrative costs of the scheme. We
would like your views on these options.
There was a lower rate of response from Kayemoor Road, Prior Avenue, Willis Avenue, perhaps because the Stage1 proposals for parking controls in The Ridgway and Mayfield Road were thought to have limited implications. We think the displacement of parking, and the fact that numbers of vehicles parked is continuing to gradually increase, could have an impact in the medium to long term, particularly given current housing developments in central Sutton, So there is a case for further consulting residents of these roads, now that the parking control area will be extended to include Upland Road.
There will be further consultation.
On 8 March we attended a meeting of the Police Consultative panel for the Ward. We continue to have no dedicated Ward office above the level of PCSO. Two police attended – our loyal PCSO Laura Jogoe and PC Adam Nawol, from Cheam Ward, also came.
As usual, the police SNTs are seriously undermanned. Over the 4 wards, ie Sutton South, Cheam, Belmont and Sutton West, there are 1 sergeant, 5 PCs, of whom only 3 are “operational” and 3 PCSOs. There are supposed to be 8 PCs, 2 per ward. We were told that there is a PCSO recruitment campaign. Great concern was expressed by all at the meeting and we agreed to write to MPs and the Mayor of London.The police reported that in the period December to March, there were 16 burglaries and 21 vehicle crimes in Sutton South Ward. Common methods of entry included getting over a back gate and entering from the rear of the premises by breaking a door or window. We were advised to link a burglar alarm to a call centre, rather than rely on a neighbour. Car thefts were mainly opportunist, some people forgetting to lock their cars. Drugs were not viewed as a big problem, incidents being very sporadic and tackled quickly, after which the drug sellers would move on to somewhere else.
THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED IN FEBRUARY 2019. THERE ARE LATER DEVELOPMENTS COVERED IN LATER ARTICLES, ABOVE. THIS ARTICLE IS KEPT ON THE SITE TO SHOW HOW THE PROPOSALS EVOLVED.
We would like to again thank residents who have contributed to the two stages of consultation by the Council on parking.
Since some misinformation has been put round in the Ward, we want to summarise where matters now stand – though all the information on the process is on the Council’s website, click on parking and follow the links to the parking strategy.
No decisions have been taken. We await the analysis by the traffic engineers of the results of the second consultation. As Councillors, we only want to do what residents want. We will be guided by the results of consultation and are determined not to impose our own views on this process.
What we know from the first consultation is this. Much of Sutton South Ward experiences a high demand for parking as we are close to the town centre and the railway station. Parking is rationed by having a controlled parking zone (CPZ) but this leads to bumper to bumper parking six days a week in the roads just outside the zone, such as Mayfield Road. The results of the first round of consultation were consistent with previous studies by Councillors, the Council and the residents’ association, in that:
- there is a strong majority favouring parking controls in Mayfield Road
- there are more mixed views in Chalgrove Road and The Ridgway but, overall, support for controls
- there are more mixed views in Upland Road and roads beyond, though less support for parking controls the further you are from the CPZ.
The proposals of officers was to introduce controls in Mayfield, The Ridgway and Chalgrove. It will be interesting to see whether the results of the second consultation mean that other roads, in particular Upland Road, want to join the scheme. The objective of having successive consultations was to let residents have a second opportunity to give a view when they could see what was proposed for neighbouring roads, recognising that any parking scheme will lead to some displacement.
Previous surveys have suggested that there is no appetite for a full CPZ with machines. The solution adopted with success elsewhere in Sutton, including in Hillcroome Road, is to have a mix of yellow lines operative for an hour a day to deter commuters, with some free to park bays. These bays are needed to cater for residents who will need to park a vehicle on the road and they also reduce the amount of displacement into neighbouring roads, which is a legitimate consideration.
An alternative that has been suggested is to have a “residents’ only” parking scheme with residents obtaining a permit to park during controlled hours. Disadvantages are that this scheme would involve extensive signage along the roads involved, bureaucracy, and a cost as the administrative costs of dealing with permit applications would have to be covered by charges for permits. It would also lead to more displacement. We welcome views on that alternative.
Parking has been an issue of concern locally for the 30 years Richard has lived in The Ridgway. We want to tackle this issue though recognising that it is problematic. We are consulting and will do what the majority of residents want, not impose our own solutions.
An effort is being made, on 8 March, to re-launch the Community-Police Consultative Panel for our Ward.
This will be a meeting to which the public are invited, at 6pm, at Christchurch in Christchurch Park.
We were concerned after the last meeting of the panel, on 29 November, that numbers attending and the importance the police placed on the work of the panel were slipping. It was the first meeting for a long time as the summer meeting was cancelled at a late point due to it being on the evening of one of the football matches England were involved in in the World Cup. It was a meeting that left us feeling worried. An increase in crime, in burglaries and thefts from motor vehicles, was reported for the first time for some time. This may not be unrelated to problems of police numbers following the merger with Croydon and Bromley. There were a significant number of unfilled posts, vacancies, that the police were struggling to fill, particularly PCSOs (Police Community Support Officers). These officers are important for work on community relations. One member of staff was about to be moved to work in Croydon and we have again lost our Dedicated Ward Officer, Kellie Heath. Kellie has also moved to Croydon.
We hope for a better attendance on 8 March and welcome a new Chair, Aime.
Richard and Trish were invited by Glenthorne school to attend their careers fair, where they met many of the school’s students. They discussed the work of local Councillors, political life in general, and careers as a local Government officer. Councils employ local Government officers as managers but also a wide variety of specialists, including town planners and traffic engineers.
Richard commented that during his year as Mayor he went to most Sutton schools and was particularly impressed by Glenthorne.
The second round of consultation on parking proposals for the Ward has concluded and we await the results, which will be consulted on further. Here is the text of Richard’s speech on the parking consultation to the recent Council meeting.
“I am in my ninth year as a Councillor.
From day one, parking has been one of the major issues my residents complain to me about.
And it is obvious why – Sutton South Ward is close to the town centre, in the area close to the station there is intense demand for parking so it is rationed by making it a controlled parking zone, then you get to the area just outside the zone.
The example I always give is Mayfield Road which is the first road you come to outside the controlled zone walking east. So this road has bumper to bumper parking every day except Sunday, and the residents get fed up with it and campaign continuously for parking controls.
Over my nine years there have been several surveys of residents’ views on parking controls in Mayfield and neighbouring roads, including in 2016 when the three Ward Councillors – Councillor Shields, Councillor Fivey and myself, working across party lines as we often do – agreed a scheme with the traffic engineers which residents in Mayfield and neighbouring roads were consulted on. That scheme was abandoned as residents in other roads nearby said “What about us?” Fortunately the Parking Strategy Consultation had just been agreed so we were able to abandon the more limited scheme and promise a wider consultation of a wider area. I particularly remember this as the residents of Mayfield Road were not happy at the abandonment of the parking scheme for their road and came to the local committee to protest, where Councillor Shields told them we now intended to undertake a more “holistic” survey of the whole area. I particularly remember this as he used the word “holistic” and the residents looked at each other, seemingly wondering what this word meant.
So we, the Ward Councillors, jointly made a commitment to this consultation.
I think the staged consultation exercise is the best approach. It enables residents to see what is proposed for the wider area around them, based on the opinions of residents in the first round of consultation, and to modify their views accordingly in the second round.
And there will be a third round of consultation. Some residents say to me you are endlessly consulting, when are you going to do something?
The aim is to discover what the prevailing opinion is, and do what residents want.
Of course, whatever the result, even in some roads where there is a strong prevailing opinion, some people will be unhappy.
But that is no reason to hide under the table and not tackle what residents see as an important problem. We should not ignore it.
Now there are some bits of misinformation and distractions put about.
The “an abstention will be a positive vote” story has been adequately discredited. Of course, in Sutton South as a whole most residents are unaffected by these changes but in the roads affected there is a ferment of debate and social media helps spread awareness – every day someone tells me of some new Whatsapp or Facebook page. I cannot keep up.
The cash cow: parking schemes bring enforcement costs which have to be covered, though in fact of the 32 London Boroughs Sutton is one of the cheapest places to park. And we all know that the decision in the 2013 Barnet Council v Attfield case prohibits cross subsidisation of other Council services from parking charges, and as chair of the Audit and Governance Committee I can tell you that the external auditors would come down on us instantly if we breached that. In Sutton South the changes currently out for consultation would not increase revenue but would have costs.
Emissions based charging: I am not very green, we have two cars. The road tax – a charge set by Government – on my petrol driven Nissan is £120 a year. On my hybrid Honda it is £10. A massive difference. So relating charges to vehicle emissions is not an idea invented in the London Borough of Sutton, it is Government policy, a Conservative Government.
From next year the Ultra Low Emissions Zone will mean I will pay to drive my Nissan – but not my Honda – north of the south circular road, and with current public concern over the impact of vehicle emissions on air quality I would wager that the general direction of public policy in the UK in the next few years will be further in this direction, not in the direction of the abolition of such differential charges, which I see is the policy of Sutton Conservatives, but evidently not that of the Conservative party nationally.
Some residents in my Ward ask about the closure of the Brighton Road car park, six years ago. We can draw a distinction between people who are prepared to pay for parking and those not prepared to pay. If the people who park in the roads near Brighton Road were prepared to pay for parking – so might have parked in the Brighton Road car park, demolished six years ago – they could park at the Gibson Road car park, closer to the town centre, ten minutes walk from Brighton Road, which is never full.
The choice for Brighton Road is – is this site better used as the HQ of a major international company, creating 900 jobs in Sutton that would otherwise have been in Epsom, or as a half-empty car park ten minutes walk from another multi-storey car park which is never full.
My simple point on the parking strategy is this, we should consult our residents, and then do what they want us to do. It is not complicated.”
On 31 January Trish and Richard joined residents of Sutton Court and Beauclere House on a “Community Walkabout” organised by Sutton Housing Partnership (who manage the estate) to look at problems on the estate.
In freezing weather, the group toured the estate and found a number of instances of outside pipes and overflow pipes that are leaking, fencing in need of repair, fly tipping needing to be removed and lights that are not working – or in some cases still on in broad daylight, when they need not be.
The walkabout provided opportunity to discuss the problems of the estate with senior SHP staff. The “right to buy” has reduced the number of properties occupied by social housing tenants, with just under half of the properties in Sutton Court sold off and just over half in Beauclere House. In Beauclere House over a fifth of tenants are in receipt of Universal Credit, and over a fith are in arrears. This indicates the financial problems that many face.