THE SNOW, THE GRIT – AND THE POTHOLES

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Periods of cold weather and snow inevitably bring a rash of potholes in the roads throughout the Ward.

If there is a pothole in your road, please contact us at the addresses given on this website and we will follow up with the Council to get it in the queue to be fixed. Use the “Report a Problem” button on the website or email us at the address given on the banner at the top of the website. 

During the period of cold weather and snowfall, we were contacted by many people in the Ward seeking assistance.

We were contacted by a resident in Rutherford Close who commented on the icy state of the pavements in Rutherford Close and in Cumnor Road, as they had to walk the length of Cumnor Road to get a bus in Langley Park Road. We contacted the gritting team who left a pile of grit at each end of Cumnor Road. We went round to Cumnor Road and ourselves distributed grit along the pavements, including gritting the road at the Cumnor Road / Rutherford Close intersection, a part of Wellesley Road and most of Rutherford Close. We were assisted by Courtney and Curtis Sampson of Cumnor Road, to whom we extend thanks.

The Council does not have the resources to clear or grit all the pavements in the Borough. After each fall of snow priority is given to pavements outside hospitals, GP surgeries and schools, and care homes. Responding to requests we made, the pavement outside Fiske Court (a large care home in Cavendish Road) was partly cleared, and Councillor Clifton himself cleared a further stretch of the pavement, in response to a request from a resident. It is worth noting that, if there is more snow before the winter ends, if people clear a path outside their own house it will dry off during the periods of thaw when the temperature gets above freezing, and this will leave the pavement clear of ice. Which is why we encourage people to do this.

The new grit bins in the Ward have been of value but were rapidly emptied. The gritting teams are continuing to fill them up but they are emptied again almost as soon as they are filled. Which, of course, means they are being used for their intended purpose. Most of the bins in the Ward were re-filled in the period immediately after Christmas.

Residents of Downside Road have commented to us that the new bin, installed at the request of Councilor Clifton, in the middle of the hill, outside number 31, has been of great value and helped them keep the road open during the snow. This supplements the bins at the top and bottom of the hill.

MORE CAR CLUB PARKING BAYS IN SUTTON SOUTH WARD

We are both enthusiastic supporters of the objective to make Sutton a cleaner and greener Borough. Car clubs have a role to play.

Car clubs form an important element in our local sustainable transport policies. The car club “Streetcar” has proven popular in Sutton since it was launched three years ago. It now has more than 800 members in Sutton and wishes to expand further with new bays and cars.

Click on this link to find out more about Streetcar.

We have supported the installation of an additional car club bay in Albion Road, in Sutton South Ward. This would involve a change of use in respect of a bay that is currently for “pay and display” parking, but which is not occupied for that purpose very often as there are enough other bays in the road. It was proposed that, subject to consultation, this bay would be reserved for a car club car that members of the club can use. The proposal is currently “on hold” due to issues concerned with Streetcar, but we hope it will be returned to in due course.

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[ The bay in Albion Road ]

COUNCILLOR CLIFTON “DISAPPOINTED” AS CAMPAIGN TO SAVE WALLINGTON MAGISTRATES’ COURT FAILS

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[ Sutton Magistrates’ Court, in Wallington – click on any of the pictures on this site to see them full size ]

“The certainty of justice and the visibility of justice is eroded if justice is not sufficiently local.”

This was the message given by Councillor Richard Clifton, in his maiden speech since being elected to Sutton Council, on 6 December, when he called on the Ministry of Justice to re-think the proposal it has recently floated to close the only Magistrates’ Court House in Sutton, in Wallington.

Councillor Clifton stressed that important decisions that affect redress, justice and even people’s liberty will be taken on the basis of poorer evidence if people – including the victims of crime and witnesses to crime – are deterred from attending Court by the distance they have to travel.

He stressed two particular consequences:

– cases are lost because key witnesses do not show up

– magistrates from Sutton have a detailed and personal knowledge of the pertinent local issues, helpful in understanding a case such as a road traffic case, and this will be lost.

He was responding to a challenge by Tory Councillors to justify a statement in a motion presented to Council by Liberal Democrat Councillors, that the proposed closure would have an “inevitably damaging effect.”  The motion was eventually carried unanimously.

 

However, despite forceful lobbying and representations by local groups, the Ministry of Justice has now announced the planned closure of the Court house. Councillor Clifton said “I called for the campaign to continue as I felt the arguments were on our side. I am disappointed that the campaign has not come to a successful conclusion.”

 

COUNCILLORS HONOUR AND CLIFTON SUPPORT MAINTENANCE OF IMPORTANT LOCAL BUS SERVICES

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[ A 280 bus approaches the bus stop at the end of Cavendish Road in Sutton South Ward ]

Your Sutton South Liberal Democrat Councillors have recently responded to the Transport for London Autumn 2010 Bus Service Review Programme, for services with contracts that are due to end in 2012.The services of relevance to Sutton South residents included in this review are:

  • The X26 Croydon to Heathrow service
  • The 280 Tooting to Belmont service.

This is part of formal consultation process. We have responded to point out that these services are of value to those living in south Sutton, the Belmont to Tooting service being an important south-north link and the Heathrow service providing a means of getting to the airport at reasonable speed by bus without having to go in to central London. We would not want to see these services withdrawn or reduced.

In support of the points we have raised, the Council has written formally to Transport for London to set out the concerns of local people. The council has recorded that the X26 is a highly valued service providing an orbital bus link through the Borough and a speedy route to Heathrow. The Council has sought an extension of the frequency of the service, which is half hourly during the day but only hourly after 7pm, to be half hourly during the evening. The Council has pointed out that the service is often crowded during the day and has sought an increase in the frequency of the service to once every 20 minutes.

The Council has also stressed the importance of the 280 route, connecting local people to Mitcham and Tooting. It has commented that the timetabling of the service could be improved.

As your local Councillors, we will closely follow this consultation process and seek to ensure these services are retained and, if that can be justified, improved.

TRUE GRIT – HOW WE FARED DURING THE COLD AND SNOW

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[ Snow in The Ridgway – click on any of the photos on this site to see them full size ]

The cold weather and snow in December was a massive challenge for the gritting teams of Sutton Council. As your local Councillors, we received many enquiries concerning the gritting of particular roads. We were in frequent contact with the gritting teams.

While it is inevitable that there will be roads that have not been gritted as frequently as some residents would like, the gritting teams made heroic efforts. We would like to pay particular credit to duty manager Mick Carter and his team. Mick and his team worked virtually round the clock, getting home in the early hours of the morning, during the snowy weather. We alerted Mick to a request from some elderly residents at Hampton Lodge, a block of flats for people aged over 60 and where some residents are over 90, in Cavendish Road, in Sutton South Ward. After a strenous evening gritting, a gritting machine arrived at Hampton Lodge at 1.30 in the morning. It was found that the machine was too large to get through the gates of Hampton Lodge so the driver backed the vehicle in as far as it could go and spread as much grit as possible, before putting down a mass of grit on the pavement and the road outside, so that when people left the premises they would be walking on a secure surface. Well done! Mick was still working at almost 4am when he emailed Councillor Honour to tell her what had been done. Councillor Honour  said to Mick “on behalf of myself, Richard Clifton and the residents of South Sutton Ward can I say a big thank you to you and all your team. The fact that you were working at 3.56am shows the grit and determination of the whole team.”

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[ The gritting team with Councillors Honour and Clifton. Team members Mateus Malczuk, Lee Hunt, Graham Murray and Mick Carter are in the picture. The other member team member is Przemyseaw Szczygiel. ]

Priority is given to the main and through roads, and to roads used by buses. This meant that for most of the period of snowfall the “hail and ride” “S” buses continued to run through Sutton South Ward, though the S4 was suspended for a short period by the bus company.

The new grit bins at many locations in Sutton South Ward, and the Council’s arrangements for distributing grit, came just in time and helped. 

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Please note that the story that you could be sued if you cleared the snow from the front of your house and then someone slipped when the area iced over again, is a complete urban myth. There is no record of anyone being successfully sued in these circumstances. We want to encourge everyone in Sutton South to consider clearing the pavement in front of their house, if able to do this (not everyone can and please don’t take risks if it’s too much hard labour in the cold), as their contribution to “The Big Society”. 

Please get in touch with us if there is anything you want the Council to do if the cold and snowy weather returns.

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[ Gritting takes place in the early hours.  This picture was taken in The Ridgway]

MORE GRIT BINS

Plans to deal with the cold weather include facilities for residents to collect grit, advertised on the Council website, and many more grit bins all over Sutton South Ward. Here is a selection of the bins. In the cold weather they have been emptied by local residents many times over, and the gritting teams have commented to us that they are emptied almost as fast as they are filled. But that means they are being used for their proper purpose and being of benefit to local people.

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The bin in Ventnor Road,  at the start of the slope (slippery in cold weather),  put in at the request of residents.

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The bin in Hillcroome Road, put in following a request to Councillor Clifton from a resident.

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The bin at the middle of Downside Road, which is a hill (there is also a bin at the top), put in after a request to Councillor Clifton from residents.

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The bin at the end of Devonshire Avenue.

SUTTON SOUTH GETS PRIORITY STATUS

Thanks to the efforts of Councillors Heather Honour and Richard Clifton, on Thursday evening  18th November members of the Sutton South, Belmont and Cheam Local Committee acknowledged the need for extra play areas for children and young people in South Sutton ward. Following a question raised by resident Mrs Ceri Schillinger and interventions by Councillor Honour,  the committee agreed to investigate how to improve outdoor play areas for children in the ward.  Sutton South has only one safe outdoor playing area for children, the  small Devonshire Avenue Nature Reserve. In recent years, when the Local Committee had only Conservative councillors as members, Sutton South ward lost out to Cheam and Belmont and did not receive its fair share of  “public realm” funding available.  Now, with three Lib Dem councillors ( Heather, Richard, and Mary Burstow in Cheam) the committee is waking up to the needs of all its residents.

Councillor Honour said, “We want to hear what play schemes the people of Sutton South would like their children to have.  Of course we do not have much space so we will need to as creative as possible, but I am glad this subject is on the agenda at last”

COUNCILLOR HONOUR CONGRATULATES SUTTON SOUTH POLICE TEAM

 Councillor Heather Honour has congratulated Sergeant Dave Williams and the members of the Sutton South Safer Neighbourhoods Team after an amazing police coup, uncovering a cannabis factory in an empty office building in Sutton South Ward, Sutherland House.

Writing to Sergeant Williams, she said “Congratulations to you and your team on the discovery of the cannabis factory in Sutherland House.  What a very positive story for Sutton South Safer Neighbourhoods Team!”

Police uncovered one of the biggest cannabis factories ever found in Sutton Borough. The cannabis factory was over four floors of the disused office building at Sutherland House, Brighton Road, Sutton – just a few yards from Sutton train station.

Officers estimate the 6th to 9th floors of the building contained around 3,000 plants. Two of the floors contained plants three feet high that were within days of being harvested. The other floors contained a nursery, a drying room and living accommodation for two people complete with beds.

The cannabis factory was discovered after an electrician had been called to carry out some electrical work by the building’s management company. The electrician became suspicious and alerted a Police Community Support Officer, who was on patrol near the building at the time. Officers forced entry to the top floors and were astounded by what they found.

Forensics experts were called in to gather initial evidence and to take photographs whilst the police helicopter circled overhead in case the suspects were on the roof of the building. Sergeant Dave Williams, of Sutton South Safer Neighbourhoods Team, said: “It’s the biggest find I have ever had.”

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Sutherland House, where the cannabis factory was found, yards from Sutton rallway station.

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Sutton police station, the base for the Sutton South Safer Neighbourhoods Team.

WORKING FOR YOU

SUTTON SOUTH LIBERAL DEMOCRAT COUNCILLORS: WORKING FOR YOU


 

An amazing number of people helped us get two Liberal Democrat Councillors elected in Sutton South. Thank you. We now want to build up Lib Dem support in the ward and increase our number of councillors to three next time.  It is very important that we keep our Ward members in touch with what we are both doing and find out what you think we can all do to make Sutton South an even better place to live in.   Being a Councillor is not a job for slouches!  The few paragraphs below give you a sample of what’s been going on.

 Police 

Although crime is statistically low in our area, on a number of occasions we have met local police from the Sutton South Safer Neighbourhood Team to discuss what to do about the drug dealing that has been taking place outside some blocks of flats; “street drinkers” congregating near Forest Dene on Cedar Road, and about serious instances of anti social behaviour affecting a number of residents in social housing. Some significant proposals are under discussion. We are of course in touch with our local Neighbourhood Watch scheme.

Planning 

Richard is becoming something of a planning expert!  He has spoken several times at the Development Control Committee on planning applications that have worried residents, and attended Planning Inspectorate hearings on appeals concerning planning decisions affecting the Ward.  One concerned a nursing home in Mayfield Road, where the owner breached planning conditions. Another concerned the prospect of additional noise and disturbance for residents of Grosvenor Court in the Brighton Road from a proposed pizza takeaway which planned to use six motorbikes to deliver pizzas.

Open Spaces 

Although Sutton is renowned for its delightful green open spaces, there is only one such area in Sutton South, the nature reserve in Devonshire Road. After we discovered that 50 per cent of children in Devonshire School do not have the use of a garden, we’ve been working to improve this area, but without detracting from its purpose and basic informal character. 

In collaboration with LibDem Councillors in Carshalton Central we are forming a Friends of Warren Park group, a much loved park on the borders of this ward. Do let us know if you are interested in being involved.

Local Schools 

We have been talking to residents and head teachers about the Council’s proposals to increase the intake and expand the buildings at both Devonshire and Barrow Hedges Primary Schools.  Expansion is needed because the number of young children has increased in the borough.  Both Head Teachers support the proposals and see them improving standards. It should now become easier for our local parents to get their children into these popular and successful schools. But we will be watching to make sure that the expansions are well managed, to meet the concerns of some parents at Barrow Hedges about issues such as parking.

We visited Overton Grange School to discuss road safety concerns with the Head Master. Following this visit council officials have come forward with proposed improvements, which we support.

 

Rubbish etc 

Rubbish remains a problem.  Some local residents are vigilant in tackling this unhealthy and unpleasant eye sore.  We have been addressing the issue of rubbish at the side of Sutherland House and Richard as dealt with problems about rubbish disposal at Grosvenor Court.

Other issues we have taken up include blocked drains, potholes, grit bins, noise in flats, the pruning of trees and replacing trees damaged by cars in Copse Hill.

Sutton Housing Partnership 

With staff from Sutton Housing Partnership, we have visited a number of properties that they manage in this ward to identify necessary remedial work to the buildings.  More visits are planned.  We believe that our concern about the state of the ball court at Sutton Court has revived plans for its improvement, which are now being pursued.

Meetings, Meetings and More Meetings! 

Aside from this, we are both members of several Council committees, including the Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee, the Health and Safety Committee (which Richard chairs) and the Audit Committee. Heather is a member of the Smarter Sutton Services Steering Group, looking at strategies to transform planned expenditure reductions into an opportunity to improve efficiency and services. She has already made her maiden speech at a Council meeting

Local Action 

We both sit on the Sutton South, Belmont and Cheam Local Committee. This has previously been entirely Conservative controlled.  Most residents are unaware of the committee which provides small amounts of funding for local capital projects.  We need to make this committee work better.  Please come and take part.